January 31, 2004

Poor Bullies

So far there's only one member of the "English Bull Terriers" community in Orkut. This just won't do. Surely there are one? two? four? eighty? other folks in Orkut who own a Bullie.

How about you? Are you an English Bull Terrier owner? Want to join a new forum for Bullie owners? Let me know.

Posted by brian at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

We Have Met The Boiling Frogs, And They Are Us

Anybody notice it's getting awfully hot around here? I agree with Pierre about the boiling frog situation described in Bruce Schneier's news.com editorial.
Posted by brian at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2004

The Chess Game, aka Microsoft v. Michael

Microsoft made another move against Lindows yesterday, this time in the Netherlands. Back in December they made their moves in Sweden and Finland. Microsoft's playing a chess game, and Michael's track record suggests he's never been much of a chess player. Next up: France, Belgium, and Luxembourg...

Think about it: you're a judge in one of these countries, where English is not your natural language (although I'm certain you speak and read it fine). Here comes this Microsoft-hired attorney, pleading with you -- look at the similarity "Lindows" and "Windows", why, it's outrageous, see how similar, just one letter off.... One wonders whether the judges are even considering the issue of "Windows" being a common name and not trademarkable. I suspect the Microsoft attorneys are conveniently not even bringing up that issue....

Posted by brian at 07:12 AM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2004

orkut milestone

Orkut just hit 15,000 members a minute ago. It seems to be growing at about 1 new member every 20 seconds at this hour. Let's see what it's doing a week from now.

UPDATE 19:38 --- then again, maybe 15,000 is not the real number. A Slashdot article from today says they at about 100,000 users. Where'd they get that number, I wonder. I got mine from the Search page, searching for all: 15,000 results were returned.

Posted by brian at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

Holocene Chat

Interesting... I noticed noted scifi author David Brin is listed in LinkedIn, and nt only that, he's affiliated with something called Holocene Chat. Anyone heard of this?

Posted by brian at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2004


Andy's been busy workin' on a very nice new site called Folklore, a place to collect anecdotes about the history of the Macintosh. What's especially exciting is that the software that Folklore is written in is going to be released as GPL source in a few months. It might just be what I've been looking for, for the PLATO History folklore site. Stay tuned!
Posted by brian at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2004

Orkut? Nah. Pricekut? Yeah!!

By now everyone's heard of Orkut, the latest social network.

But have you heard of Amazon.com's new Pricekut?

Posted by brian at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2004

How Far Can YOU Hit the Penguin?

Personal best: 323.5

What can you do?

Posted by brian at 10:39 PM | Comments (7)

January 19, 2004


2004 has not been good to RealNetworks so far. Here's a NYT story about how the popular NPR show Car Talk is "unceremoniously dumping RealMedia" after listener complaints. The replacement? Microsoft's Windows Media Player, of course.

Then there's this scathing review in the Washington Post of Real's new RealPlayer 10. From the article:

In some ways, the new RealPlayer 10 is the worst of all of Real's releases -- after years of complaints about the same problems, the company made only token efforts to address them. And the program's major new feature, an online music store, is an appalling mess.

Posted by brian at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2004

Speaking of which...

So Winer's made it possible to view what other people are subscribing to. Fine.

What I still want is the ability to view other people's shopping carts. Think of those millions of poor, unattended shopping carts, wasting away, soon to be forgotten...

Posted by brian at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Reverse Bozofilters

It had to happen: the reverse bozofilter. If bozofilters are tools for ignoring the posts by individuals whose comments you deem unwelcome or a waste of time reading, then reverse-bozofilters are tools to promote those individuals whose coments you deem worthy of your attention.

And what better way to achieve one's 15 megabytes of fame in the technorati/pundit world than to rise up the list of who's who in subscribing to who's who.

Posted by brian at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

Comments off -- temporarily

I've shut comments off for a while. Too much spam, too little time to combat it.

I'll turn 'em back on when I have time. In the meantime, anyone wishing to comment on anything is welcome to email me (scroll to bottom of page to get email addr) and I'll add manually.

Posted by brian at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2004

I Want Your House, dot com

There other day I had an idea for a new website: IWantYourHouse.com.

Let's say there's a house in your neighborhood or town that you would LOVE to buy -- if only it were on sale. You would be willing to wait, for months or even years if necessary, for that house to go on the market -- if ONLY it'd go on the market!

You could, I suppose, write a letter to the owner of the house and sent it to their address. (This happened to me once: I owned some property and got a letter one day years after buying it, from someone willing to buy it for twice what I paid).

Or, you could go to a site, say, IWantYourHouse.com, where you could type in the street address, city, state, and zip code, and then provide an email address to get instant notification the moment the house goes on the market (say, gets listed in the MLS or in one of the major real estate listing sites). Perhaps you could leave a message to the owner. Perhaps IWantYourHouse.com would send the letter on its stationery:

Dear (Owner's Name, as registered in the county deeds office):

IWantYourHouse.com currently has three customers who have indicated that they would like to buy your house. Here are their letters to you.

Customer A writes: etc, etc, etc."

Curious homeowners could also use IWantYourHouse.com to find out if anybody wants their house! Imagine the thrill of going online, typing in your own address, and seeing a search result that says something like:

Address: 123 Main Street

Interested Parties: 27

Twenty-seven people want your house! And here, you were thinking of moving to something bigger, but weren't in the mood to deal with real estate agents and everything. Now you know there's already a demand, and you haven't had to lift a finger or pay a cent to find out.

I checked, and the domain's taken. I emailed the domain owner, who wrote back telling me he's planning on setting up a real estate website. I wonder what he'll do with it . . .

Of course, by extension this sort of service naturally leads to IWantYourCar.com, IWantYourBike.com, IWantYourConcertTickets.com, IWantYourBusinessNetwork.com, IWantYourJob.com . . . :-)

Posted by brian at 03:49 PM

January 11, 2004

Beware Disgruntled BizDev Types Who Write Marketing Slogans...

Noticed this company called Picasa in the ideaLab portfolio. Picasa, makers of consumer digital photography software, currently have this image and messaging on their homepage:

"The software WOULD have come with your camera IF ONLY the manufacturer would have LISTENED to us! But NOOOO . . . . "

Posted by brian at 09:06 PM

January 09, 2004

Fast Food Frequencies

There's a story on Ananova with the headline, Burger King customers told: 'You are too fat to have a Whopper':
Police believe teenage pranksters are hacking into the wireless frequency of a US Burger King drive-through speaker to tell potential customers they are too fat for fast food.

Policeman Gerry Scherlink said the pranksters told one customer who had just placed an order: "You don't need a couple of Whoppers. You are too fat. Pull ahead."

Which makes me wonder: has anyone setup a webcam-like site where one can tune in to the frequencies at fast-food restaurants over the web? I'm imagining a site like the ones that webcast scanner channels for police and emergency services in various cities. It'd be amusing to listen to not only the orders, (think of it as Eigenradio for fast food restaurants (Eigenburger!)), but the internal employee chatter about the customers...

(Thanks to Chris Carroll for originally mentioning the Ananova article)

Posted by brian at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2004

Godwin v. Sterling

Mike Godwin interviews Bruce Sterling in Reason. Worth reading.

Posted by brian at 09:25 PM

A Blog I'd Tune Into

A la smart mobs or something, it's high time the audience got together and coordinated an ongoing blog of the taping of shows like The Daily Show, Letterman, SNL, and Inside the Actors Studio, to mention four I'd be curious to hear more about.

Every now and then someone on The WELL mentions they attended one of the free tapings of The Daily Show and the report is always an interesting read. It'd be great if there were a place where lots more people who've been to tapings could go to recount their stories for those who might be interested.

In a very short period of time, I bet we'd get a really interesting and different view of these shows, and I bet it would encourage more folks to tune in, to catch things only those following the blog would notice or appreciate.

Posted by brian at 08:27 PM

Apple Pulls A George Lucas

Click anywhere on the images for a close-up

If you look closely, Apple has modified its famous 1984 ad to include an iPod. Apple showed the ad today at MacWorld in SF during the Steve Jobs keynote.

Here's a link to the full Quicktime movie from Apple's site (hi bandwidth recommended).

Posted by brian at 01:54 PM | Comments (2)

January 04, 2004


Tremendously exciting evening, watching live coverage on NASA's cable TV channel, of the activity at JPL at CalTech for the successful landing of the Mars Rover, and then successful receiption of lots of data including great images. We're on Mars!
Posted by brian at 12:11 AM | Comments (1)

January 03, 2004

Allen Brain Atlas

This could be interesting. Paul Allen has invested $100 million for a three-year project to map the map each of the 20,000 genes related to the human brain, in an effort to help understand the workings of the mind and clues to causes of disease.

Here's an article about the project from the Jan 2004 issue of IEEE Spectrum. (The whole issue is worth reading, and is online).

Posted by brian at 08:55 PM


Someone on The WELL was mentioning there was an interesting editorial by Paul Krugman in the December 26th issue of the New York Times. Unfortunately, as per NYT policy, that article is no longer available through the nytimes.com website --- unless you pay.

Thing is, if you call up the link to the article from this Krugman page on the NYT site, you find that what the NYT wants you to pay is $2.95. Which, besides being too much, is more than the cost of that day's entire newspaper. Something ain't right.

I sure wish there were an iTunes Music Store-like service, a "Lexis/Nexis for the rest of us," hey, we could call it iClips, where you could search for archived articles from thousands of publishers (including, why not, bloggers!), and pay some simple fee, certainly less than 99 cents for a 700-some-odd-word-article, and get in return a PDF of the article.

A win-win-win for everyone: much bigger market gets access to a large library of archived material; writers can sell their material to more people; publishers make more money at $.10 at volume than they do selling a few copies at $2.95.

Funny thing is, this is not a new idea. It's been batted around forever. Remember AMIX? Take iTunes ease of use, attach it to a fully-realized AMIX implementation, and you got iClips.

I'd probably use this more than iTunes --- considering I've yet to buy any music through iTunes (although I love using the app to manage my 50gb of music), that wouldn't be hard!

Posted by brian at 10:42 AM
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