Monday, 27 August 2007

Zodiac: Long, Unsatisfying

Much like the story Zodiac was retelling, it was long, drawn-out, and came to a less than satisfying end.

Though the 2 decade long serial killer story was condensed down to 157 minutes, much of it could have been cut (the pre-re-married Jake Gyllenhaal character with his son, all of the murder scenes, the scene at the theater owner’s house, Robert Downey Jr. on the house boat, etc) to put the focus on catching the murderer. There was plenty of interesting things going on at the papers, police stations, FBI, etc – all of it diffused by the character development stories.

Thursday, 23 August 2007 Kicking Off the Next Generation of Feed Aggregators

Looks like somebody else out there is building a next-gen feed aggregator: Beta.

“Our goal is to bring you personally relevant news in an engaging, collaborative environment….we do intend to kill the dry, boring RSS reader. I’m talking about the inbox-style RSS reader that is not intriguing, not social, and makes little or no attempt at personal relevance. ” – Don

Yeah! Gives me hope. In the I’m-not-the-only-crazy-one-here kinda way.

Podcast Advertising Not Working for Me

1. The (second) battery in my 3G iPod is dying and I want to buy a replacement. A while back, an iPod battery replacement company was running ads at Dave Slusher’s Evil Genius Chronicles. But that’s all I remember.

At the time the ads were running, I didn’t need an iPod battery. Now I do and can’t find the name of the vendor by searching Dave’s site. Am I going to arbitrarily re-listen to the archive of clambakes just for that one bit of info? No, I’ll probaby buy from whoever’s selling them on Amazon.

Extend this to dynamic-insertion technologies (not that Dave uses them) and even if I found the epsisode, and re-listened, the same ad may or may not be there. Unhelpful.

2. Limelight Networks has been a long-time supporter of ITConversations (or whatever they call themselves today). Yesterday, I received an unqualified, unwanted, and frankly spam message from Khoi Nguyen, Limelight’s Biz Dev Manager, it included phrases like:

“My main objective is to gain a better understanding of how you are currently delivering your content out to your end-users while discovering a solution that will help to improve delivery while reducing your cost.”

“So your users are happy and they will marvel at the speed of your media. Your videos will start in ‘real time’ so it is truly a media grade experience.”

I’m not the right person for this message, and if I was, I don’t want to be talked to like that. In fact, after reading Nugeyn’s message, if I have bandwidth issues, I’m more likely to call up Swarmcast than Limelight.

Dave says it’s iPodJuice and the last clambake they sponsored was Mar 6, 2006 – 17 months ago.

There’s a interesting marketing strategy conversation in there. Feel free to explore it in the comments. Thanks.

Just placed the order for the new battery from ipodjuice.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Regrets: Not Getting a CS Degree

“My advice to young people is to get a computer science degree, if for no other reason than you can avoid those odd jobs and get right to the programming.” – Brent Simmons

I’m continually bumping up against my ignorace of good programming practices that one would get in Comp. Sci. 101. Not that it stops me, just makes the time from idea to reality much longer than I’d prefer – especially for tiny things.

On the flip side, I’m suspect if I got a CS degree instead of a Graphic Design degree, I’d probably be fighting with my ignorance of visual composition, color theory, typography, and interface design.

Seem to me, taking a couple Comp Sci classes in college not only helps you “find out if you were, in fact, born a programmer”, it makes you less of a user.

More of a doer.

Phil Crissman talks about the differences between software development and Computer Science degrees

Monday, 20 August 2007

Saturday, 18 August 2007

How to Decode TinyURLs with Ruby

def reverse_tinyurl(tinyurl)
  require 'open-uri'
  require 'net/http'

  url = Net::HTTP.get_response(URI.parse(tinyurl)).to_hash['location'].to_s

This should also work for any url that is a known redirect whether it be a,,, or what have you.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Prepare Your Pocketbooks

“Launching a paytoplay service in the midst of free alternatives makes little sense…But there’s a lot more to the conversation.” – Aaron Mentele

Heh. That’s why the next web app I launch, I’m charging. A pile. Get ready cause, I’m looking at your pocketbook.

Seriously, if you want to get in on the action early, show me the money. At least 3 digits. I’m not so much looking for angels as lifetime account holders.

I Still Don’t Care What Everyone Thinks

AideRSS (a feed-filtering service) is starting to pick up traction in my blogosphere.

“[AideRSS] analyzes the activity around each item in an RSS feed – Technorati hits, comments, links, traffic reports, etc. – and calculates a score for the item. It then creates four feeds from the original feed, each set to a higher activity threshold.” – Matt Thompson

Centralized metrics are a great idea from the publishers perspective – potentially more comprehensive than both Technorati and FeedBurner. Now, do you see the problem from the reader’s perspective?
To paraphrase Tony Hung at Deep Jive Interests – just because something is internet popular, doesn’t means it’s personally relevant.

A year ago I wrote:

“[T]here isn’t an easy way to glean the conversations, emerging and otherwise, within the comparatively small group of people I trust.”

It’s still needed.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

License Recalled

Mattel Inc, recalls 9 million toys after recalling 1.5 millon.

All the recalled products are licensed – Barbie, Batman, Big Bird, Cars, Dora, Elmo, Thomas (shakes fist).

Back In My DayTM, very few licensed toys were allowed in the house. I’m sure it was a combination of the ickyness of branding your child, the sensitivity of a developing imagination, and because I remember them being more expensive.

These days, I’m sure the products are subsidized by the license-owner’s marketing budget, making the toys cheaper, more plentiful, and hazardous to your health. Makes me confident in my position to severely limit licensed products in my home as well.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Rennaissance: If Blade Runner Wasn’t Drawn By Frank Miller

There are 3 reasons to watch cyberpunk animated film: the story, the animation, the gear. Christian Volckman’s Rennaissance is all about the gear.

Rennaissance starts very slowly. The first 45 minutes are all backstory, with just enough cool tech gear to keep you wondering when the story will actually get interesting. It does, at the hour marker. And the Frank Miller-esque stark black and white animation – often too dark to make out what’s going on – makes it a struggle to reach that point.

In fact, just watch the last 45 minutes, you’ll end the movie with some ethical issues to discuss. Not just happy that it’s over and wondering why it took so long.