May 29, 2005
Better Than Star Wars, Worse Than Star WarsBeen to a few movies lately, and it's funny -- I hear people commenting over and over about whether the film they've just seen is better or worse than the current run of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
My own two cents:
May 26, 2005
The Long Tail of Tags, or, Spamming del.icio.usRecently I noticed a whole bunch of links to a company called Airset when searching for del.icio.us bookmarks with the "evdb" tag.
Why would EVDB be associated with Airset, I wondered?
Strangely, all these bookmarks had the exact same number of contributors . . . 23:
And not only had exactly "22 other people" added the same entries in del.icio.us, but many had used the same tags: "online web calendar Treo Sunbird EVDB Blackberry mobile phone cellular".
Most of these users, like "pilotdad3", "jimdefrisco", "paqstuff", and "edelsesto", have only added one bookmark to del.icio.us, namely, the link to Airset, along with its long tail of tags.
One of these "22 other people" is pbhurley, who, if you Google for "hurley airset", you learn is Patrick B Hurley who works at, yes, you guessed it . . . Airset. In fact, he's their media contact according to Airset's own site.
Hurley, who also has only contributed one bookmark to del.icio.us (at least under the pbhurley user ID), takes the cake for the ultimate Airset tag spam:
productivity, software, tech, technology, tools, todo, free, asp, internet, 43Folders, online, web, calendar, Treo, Sunbird, EVDB, Blackberry, collaborate, collaborative,web-based, mobile phone, mobilephone, cellular cellularphone, cellphone,cell phone,PIM, address book, addressbook,contact list, to-do GTD, Getting Things Done, calendars, airena, smartphone, PDA, beta, Palm, Outlook, 43 Folders, webapp, app, shared connected , calendar,tiddlywiki, social networking, organizer, lifehack
Some of the other userIDs appear to be Airset employees as well: "dfults" I suspect is Doug Fults; "edelsesto" I suspect is Eric Del Sesto. I'm also gonna guess that "BrianDoc" is Brian Dougherty, founder of Airset.
Question is: will all this tag spam help or hurt Airset. We'll see.
May 22, 2005
Steve Jobs at the D ConferenceHere are some hastily jotted-down notes from the Steve Jobs session at the WSJ "D" conference.
WM = William Mossberg
(((comments shown in triple parenthesis a la Bruce Sterling)))
WM: We're pretty sure we're the only conference with a giant D. (((Stands by this huge decorative "D" center-stage))).
WM: You cannot do audio, video, or photograhy in the room because we want to keep those things for themselves. (((Meanwhile photographers keep coming up to everyone who's talking to others, interrupting them, asking them to move here or there, and then resume the conversation -- it's very invasive... how come they aren't paying me for the privilege?)))
(((When Steve Jobs comes out on stage, they briefly play Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" in the background.... interesting choice)))
KS: What have you done for us lately
WM: ipods 99 to 450, $50 increments......... is this the year it all collapses?
KS: can you give us an idea.... video
WM: wireless.......... digital hub.........why would the internet w/ wireless.......... avoiding the need to go thru a pc or mac....... SJ: should we intergrate wireless networking into an ipod....... power........ heart of the issue......... when you're in the music store, you want a nice big screen vs a tiny little screen........... discovering and buying music on a computer and downloading it to the ipod is part of the genius of the ipod......... i don't think it's goingn to ever mean that ..........
KS or WM asked about what it would take......
WM: why are you doing store on motorola.........
WM: customers are paying for ringtones...........
KS: I want an ipod phone
WM: why not form your own MVNO.......
WM: cellphone is the big deal...........your dinner companion bill gates was quoted as saying lifespan of ipod is limited, it's all going to move to cell phone........ i know that you can put music software musiuc firmware ..... why sin't that true
KS: yahoo just announced a music subscription serviice..........
KS: record industry.........
WM: is there anything new in ipod
(((Jobs gets up to do a demo))) SJ: one of the fun things about itunes.......... we'll roll it out ion the next ...........Bill you have your hand up?.....(((audience laughs))).... podcasting............wayne's world for radio...........it's not just the wayne's worlds of radio, but real radio............. Pew survey done last month......... 29% of ipod users had listened to a podcast............... not subscribed but just listened............. over 8000 podcasts........ no FCC regulation cause your not using spectrum.......... tivo for radio for your ipod............ next release of itunes....... 4.9................... podcasts............ page full of podcasts right here......... subscribe to podcast............ clear channel infinity sirius NPR, all free........ newsweek, business weke, forbes, denver post, seattle post, philadelphia daily news.......... adam curry.......... daily source.......... i had to start the show 3 times cause my mac has been acting up (audience roars).......... chapters........ artwork........... all these things sync up with your ipod............. existing podcasting programs pretty crufty........... this is gonna send it into orbit............ these podcasts don't have to ...
WM: how do people register their podcasts with the store
WM: the macintosh.... market share small.....
WM: market share for mac
WM: when do you get to 10%
WM: you have free of known successful viruses of OS X............ none spreading on Macs in real world............ you're not that big in the fortune 500............
(((SJ demos))) SJ: baseball, yosemite.............. better in 3 ways..........
SJ: eventually file system management will be an app for pros............
WM: people will stop making folders
KS: split betwene pixar and apple
it's job security for me not to tell you so you invite me back next year
WM: what's the deal with this suing journalists
KS: would you have sued the WSJ if we had done something like this
KS: [asks question about] enron........... (((audience member: bullshit)))
SJ: the law is already there......... I think this case could go to the supreme court............
Q: porting OS X to other platforms
Q: recycling programs......... when will we see that from apple
Q: lusting after subnotebooks ........ why no subnotebook from apple.......
Q: another controversy about a book..... Steve, what in ICON ............
Q: [question about his health] sj: well I'm vertical................
Q: WMA for Ipod
Jason Calcanis Q: why is it nobody at apple doesn't blog
JC: will you be able to add any podcast any rss feed.......... sell podcasts?
Q: tivo......... two brands she loves apple and tivo.....
WM: [didn't write down what his q was]
Well there you have it.
May 20, 2005
We went to see a matinee of Star Wars yesterday, and I'd bought 8 tickets in advance through the Fandango online ticketing service. The way it is supposed to work is, you buy your tickets online, Fandango gets its $1 per ticket markup, and you print out a piece of paper and take it with you and go to the theatre. Instead of standing in the ticket purchasing line, you're supposed to be able to walk up to the Fandango kiosk, press a few buttons and presto, your tickets spew out.
The placement of the kiosk at the sprawling Edwards Mira Mesa megaplex in San Diego says a lot about what the theatre company thinks about Fandango. When you walk into the massive lobby, it's very easy to miss the Fandango kiosk because they have it turned around backwards. That's right: as you enter the lobby, the nondescript, unlabeled rear of the kiosk (imagine looking at the back of a video arcade game machine) stands there hiding in plain sight.
I went up to it, and it asked me to type in a code from the printout. There was no code on my printout. Then it asked to run the same credit card through that I'd ordered online with. I ran it through. "We could not find any Will Call tickets for your card -- Please See Box Office". So I had to get in the line anyways. I noticed others who were walking up to the kiosk were also having trouble.
I've never once been able to successfully get tickets from this kiosk. Don't think I'm gonna try anymore.
May 11, 2005
Tiger Continues to DisappointI'm glad I'm not the only one who's found the new Mail.app in MacOS X Tiger a disappointment. It's slower, it's uglier, it's less flexible, and did I mention it's slower?
Slower: Spotlight makes everything slow. More disk activity for everything. Each incoming mail has to be saved not only in the mbox, but in this new "emlx" format. Plus, huge index files for searching. The result? Slow slow slow. Why index and create emlx files for SPAM, pray tell? Everything was working fine with SpamSieve until Tiger came along. What used to take a few seconds now can take a minute or more. If hours have gone by since the last Get Mail action, and I have a hundred or more emails coming in, Mail.app has to chug its way through each individual email, indexing, duplicating, who knows what else. This is not progress.
Uglier: The interface was better in the previous release. The new buttons are ugly, break some well-established design principles, and sometimes don't work at all (I've twice so far encountered Mail.app with broken buttons, half-drawn, or missing buttons in the tool bar -- very buggy!)
Less Flexible: Used to be if the user wanted the mailbox "drawer" on the right, the user could have it on the right. Not anymore. Now we are all forced to have it on the left. This is not progress.
Bottom line, I've turned off Spotlight altogether on my machine.
If only Qualcomm would decently fund Eudora and make it better than Mail.app, I'd switch back.
May 09, 2005
VonageThey may have raised $200 million in venture capital but Vonage still stinks. I've been a customer for seven months and my recommendation is . . . avoid.*
Why? Because it just doesn't work reliably. You can't depend on the service being there when you need it. If you don't care about reliability, then sure, I suppose Vonage is a value. But who doesn't care about reliability?
Imagine if the plain old telephone company worked the way Vonage worked. Nobody would put up with it. Why do customers put up with Vonage's nonsense?
A summary of my Vonage experience so far in 2005:
As I said, if you care about reliability, avoid Vonage.
*You're probably asking yourself, why have you been a customer for seven months if they're so bad? Well, I don't plan to be a customer much longer.
May 08, 2005
Stuff I'm Listening ToFred Wilson and I are roughly the same age, therefore went to high school roughly at the same time, and I roughly agree with many of his top 50 favorite album rankings. (There are some surprises in that list. . . why folks rate, for starters, Paul Westerberg, The Replacements, The Ramones, or Black Sabbath, so highly I'll never understand.) But I find I'm listening to fairly different stuff than he is these days.
Here's some stuff I'm listening to (besides tuning in to KCRW on a regular basis):
A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy . . . Without Ship B?There's something terribly appropriate and unsurprising, I'm afraid to say, that the whole Golgafrinchan Ship B segment didn't make it into the Disney film version of Douglas Adams' A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in the room where that decision was made. One can only imagine the reasons . . .
Thankfully, there's the original BBC television series from 25 years ago which is an infinitely better rendition of the book than this new Hollywood fare.
May 04, 2005
Down Tiger! Bad! Bad!Installed MacOS X Tiger on Friday night and it's been nothing but trouble. It wanted 14 hours to index my disk drive. Argh! Then the first time I went into Mail.app, it said, oh, please wait while I index 75000 emails. Problem is, it's hard to index the emails while Spotlight is busy indexing the hard drive. I was attending a conference on Sunday and Monday and noticed that Tiger was incessantly causing disk access -- and when you're on the road, battery power is precious, and incessant disk activity means no battery power. Argh!
Then tonight I connected my external Firewire drives at home for the first time. Tiger gleefully went to town, beginning to index 550GB of backup data. Arrrrgh! Make it stop!
Only nice feature in Spotlight: if you go into System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Privacy and you indicate that there are entire disk drives you don't want it to index, it'll stop indexing them right away, even if it's in the middle of indexing them.
One really annoying feature in Spotlight: Mail.app's Library/Mail folder is MUCH bigger (I discovered this when my normal mail backup was 3.5x normal size tonight!) because of all the Spotlight index files. Ugggggghhh!
But then, that's only one of Mail.app's problems. There are lots of others. I see I am not alone in noticing them.
So far I see no value in Spotlight, and I think the improvements in Mail.app are not improvements at all. The previous release was better.
Ever since I installed Tiger, my Powerbook runs hotter. Meaning, more CPU time. Meaning, less battery time. Ugh.
Exactly why is Tiger so great, again? I think I missed the memo.
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