Tuesday, 29 April 2008

RE: How Do People Find The Time To Watch Television?

…for the first time, society forced on an enormous number of people the requirement to manage something they’ve never had to manage before…which was free time. And what did we do with that free time? Mostly we panicked and spent it watching TV.” – Clay Shirky

A nice reminder on what is actually active and social:

“People still spend a huge amount of time consuming passive media like television. If even a small fraction of that mental energy was diverted to more active pursuits, it could lead to the production of dozens of socially-beneficial efforts like Wikipedia. The problem isn’t finding people with time on their hands; we’ve got tens of millions of those. The challenge is finding socially-beneficial projects that they’ll enjoy participating in more than re-runs of Seinfeld.” – Timothy Lee

Thursday, 24 April 2008

…And They Asked 4 Followers, And They Asked 4 Followers

Something I wrote on Twitter a couple weeks ago:

“…2 questions: a) What if there was an open source, more effective alternative to Google search? b) What if Twitter is that alternative?”

Today, Four Reasons Why Twitter is the Next Google writes:

“Not only has Twitter inadvertently taken crowdsourcing to search, it has actually taken it a step further into friendsourcing. In fact, it has created the first personalized and trusted search engine in the world.” – Mr. List

The interesting bit is that Twitter doesn’t even offer ‘search’. Search engines like Summize (how I tracked down my above tweet) et. al, are building search atop Twitters API.

Steve Gillmor was absolutely right to cut off Dan Farber. Pasting text ads (a la Google) onto Twitter is boring. That’s why we haven’t seen it. And won’t.

As more vendors like H&R Block, Joyent, and even Comcast start to invest themselves in Twitter, we get much much closer to a VRM world. A world where both customers and vendors are smart people speaking intelligently to each other.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Garrick’s SXSW 2008 Showcasing Artists Picks

Not only are these picks really late (SXSW was months ago) but unlike other years, none of the 700+ tracks grabbed me immediately. The overall tone felt like the ‘college rock’ of 20 years ago. Good, sometimes interesting, artistic even, but every song sounds um, the same.

As in previous years, these are track that are both new to me, struck me, and will keep me in the zone while working. This time around, inspired by J Wynia approach last year, I set up a smart playlist in iTunes that automatically removed tracks after 5 skips. The theory is that this would bias more long term listening enjoyment, rather than short term first impressions – a reverse Pepsi Challenge. I blame this approach and how iTunes counts ‘skips’1 as part of the reason this list took forever to compile.

  1. Obvious by Watershed
    I haven’t heard this mixture of poppy, light-hearted post-punk and “I’d rather be at the bar with you than on stage” since Too Much Joy’s “Gods Make Love” or Ben Folds’ “One Down”.
  2. Toes by Zac Brown Band
    Yes, it’s a blatant rip off of Jimmy Buffet’s “Five O’Clock Somewhere” with the working class country vibe turned to 11. The last couple lines make the song.
  3. Come On, Claire by Aberfeldy
    The kid in Fountains of Wayne’s Stacy’s Mom is now in college…
  4. Juliet by Army of Freshman
    …but he’s still hanging out at the mall.
  5. Set the Table by Screaming Cyn Cyn and The Pons
    Screaming atop a very catchy, if simplistic riff. Makes Madison a much cooler town. This will either annoy you or get you dancing. Continues to do both for me.
  6. Everybody Knows by The Gougers
    Catchy little Country tune in the vein of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi.
  7. The Mountain by Lucero
    I’m a Lucero junky.
  8. So Long to the Red River Valley by The Quebe Sisters Band
    Every now and again, I’m in the mood for the Western in Country & Western. This is such a great example of modernizing that sound. Reminds me of listening to The Lone Ranger and old radio dramas.
  9. Mean Son of a Gun by Kitty, Daisy and Lewis
    The theme song to a old time radio drama about Calamity Jane
  10. Everyone’s Got’em by White Ghost Shivers
    The jazz tune playing in a secret speakeasy right before the cops busted in.
  11. Cooler than Me by Ari Shine
    A much hipper version of Billy Joe’s ‘Uptown Girl’
  12. I Wanna Be Ignored by Ezra Furman & The Harpoons
    Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy.
  13. Electric Bird by Sia
    This song is a picnic blanket in sun-filled valley.
  14. How Lucky We Are by Meiko
    Such an optimistic song about the day after tomorrow and the person you’ve committed to join you there.
  15. Fascination by Correatown
    The break up side of ‘How Lucky We Are’
  16. See and Be Seen by The Hard Lessons
    This is Facebook and MySpace…put to a beat far less than annoying than either.
  17. All My Love for You by The Emeralds
    Another great track from a typical American 3-piece garage rock band. But from a garage in Yokohama, Japan.
  18. Fireflies by Search/Rescue
    This is the lead track from John Hughes’ next teen romantic comedy.
  19. Clandestine by Brooklyn
    Early Beatles with a French attitude.
  20. Shut Up by Shellshag
    This is closest I’ll get to hardcore punk these days, there’s no way I can take these guys seriously. I imagine this is what it was like to deal with me as an angst-ridden teen.
  21. Champagne Girls I have known by Johnny Foreigner
    Yelpy, like Tullycraft with undertones of Oasis
  22. Only Fooling Myself by Kate Voegele
    Inclusion of this song betrays that I still enjoy listening to Wilson Philips’ ‘Hold On’.
  23. You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie by The Submarines
    This reminds me a lot of Redd Kross, if it was fronted by Aimee Mann
  24. 1906 by Songs for Moms
    An all-woman, 3-piece, folk-punk. Had me at folk-punk.
  25. Balboa by Cruiserweight
    I’m a sucker for Stella Maxwell’s voice.
  26. Oh Man! by Sybris
    and for whomever’s voice this is.
  27. So Down by Jen Lane
    Jen’s a Canadian signer-songwriter. That’s a magic combination.
  28. Half My Kingdon by Alina Simone
    A Ukranian April March. Except she’s really Ukranian.
  29. Blinkandyou’llmissit! by Bo Pepper
    Highly dance-able smack-down dropped by some distorted female vocals.
  30. Smoking Gun by The Tennessee Boltsmokers
    A finger-picking discussion on the dangers of following fashion trends.
  31. 4th of July by Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
    A stereotypical Country song about loss, patriotism, and vans. Includes the great line, “Ever think maybe if you’re not happy it’s because of you.”
  32. Blue Canoe by Blue Mountain
    I’ve never heard a song about going fishing in a canoe. You have? With a distorted guitar?
  33. Secretary’s Day by TAB the band
    A great example of the blues-based, guitar-driven rock I remember as a kid.
  34. Stand Up by Thurogood Wordsmith
    I’m very critical about hip hop rhymes. This one made the list with: “I came to clean house, kick ass, and take names / Like white Anglo-Saxons across the Great Plains.”
  35. Do It Again by You, Me, and Everyone We Know
    If Ben Folds was backed by Blink182
  36. Tu Boca Lo Quita by Alex Cuba
    A rocking mash-up of electric guitar, ska, steel drums, and an amazing voice.
  37. No Matter How Bad It Gets by The Barker Band
    A poppy little tune for eating buckets of shellfish.
  38. Hello Friend by Cheveu
    Guitars and distorted vocals. Over before reaching a climax. Like a cheap midway ride.
  39. Inmovil (Wrong ID) by Le Baron
    A solid early-90s rock track from a typical 4-piece American indie rock band. But from Mexico.
  40. International Flight by Le Concorde
    The theme song to a fantastic new sitcom about an American girl falling in love with a London record store owner.
  41. Nono by Ze Dos Frangos
    I keep expecting this to be that sappy, overexposed Moldy Peaches track. It’s not. It’s Portuguese. Just that makes it better.
  42. Exodus Honey by Honeycut
    A softer, mellower Strawberry Fields.
  43. Mina do condominio by Pierre Aderne
    For those days when your life is a walk on the beach.
  44. Negative Thinking by TheDeathSet
    Vocals of a cheap punk band and a crisp, jumpy, electronica beat.
  45. Namida Vacuum Sound by Ketchup Mania
    Love song by a very, very angry Manga character.
  46. Morningside Heights by The Strugglers
    Dirt roads, melancholy, and violins
  47. American Hearts by A. A. Bondy
    As honest and patriotic as any Dylan, but intelligible.
  48. Nickels and Dimes by Scissors for Lefty
    “Hey, hey, nickels and dimes are all we need to rock tonight.” Yeah!, that lines earns automatic inclusion.
  49. Let’s Get Crazy by Limbeck
    Finally, a song with clapping. Just not enough songs with clapping in them this year.
  50. Dirty Blonde by Greta Gaines
    One of those tracks that feels like college rock from the late ’80s.
  51. Julia, we don’t live in the 60s by The Indelicates
    Here’s another.
  52. EXTINCTION by The Muslims
    Here’s a punky third.

1. Play duration longer than 2 seconds but shorter than 20 seconds. Personally, I found it can take a solid minute to find a song distracting.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Fermenting Alpha: Bavarian Hefe Weizen

This weekend, I invited Christopher, the Master in Fermentation Sciences, over to walk me through brewing up a batch of Bavarian Hefe Weizen from Northern Brewer. While I’m sure the extract kit didn’t take full advantage of his expertise, we had an excellent time and I picked up a few tips1 and got a better understanding of the chemistry behind the instruction sheet.

Here’s some shots of the initial fermentation:

1. Question: How much of the kitchen I can expect the wort to cover if it boils over?
Answer: All of it.

Update July 18 2008.
I haven’t written about this batch. It wasn’t anywhere near what I expected in a Hefe Weizen. It was full with just a hint of the banana-y flavor I expected. I would have preferred the other way around. Unless you knew it was supposed to be a Hefe Weizen, you’d would have been able to identify it. Not good. Glad there’s only a few bottles left.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Thinking About iPhone Web Apps for the Enterprise

Apple’s initial iPhone application model (build a decent website) is brilliant. Websites are easily the fastest, most compatible, most maintainable, most popular, way to create software applications. Once Apple supported adding specific website’s to the icons on the iPhone’s home screen, you’ve got the equivalent of applications on the Palm Treo – with internet access required, sure.

Doesn’t (or shouldn’t) this model cover 97% of all software?

The alternative is learning Objective-C, the development language in OS X and the amazingly popular GNUStep. Um. While not exactly wide reaching, this should increase the demand for ObjC developers.

For the commitment to ObjC, what to you get?
Some deeper ties into the iPhone’s hardware capabilities and iTunes as only distribution method.

In a client meeting earlier this week the team mentioned how the project needed to be available on mobile devices for internal use.

This brought to mind the Symbol barcode scanner running Palm’s OS and the handheld devices package delivery people at UPS and FedEx use.

Could they be replaced with an iPhone?


“Most road warriors could use Web-based tools with little loss in productivity.” – Phil Windley

Scanning an object’s barcode and manipulating data about it by multi-touch is a very compelling vision – whether on sales floor or in the warehouse.

On the flip side, I have a hard time imaging signing for a package on an iPhone…or enterprises IT departments agreeing to push out updates to a iPhone-native app via iTunes.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Unexpired Potential – Domains I Own

Inspired by Rex’s unused domain list, here’s my list of yet-to-be-released projects:

  • BlockByBlog.com
  • CoffeeHacks.com
  • Dashcaster.com
  • ExpiredPotential.com
  • Limble.com
  • LunchForBrains.com
  • Nusability.com
  • Unlistened.com
  • PodcastCalling.com
  • RedBallThankYou.com
  • SLAReporter.com

Update June 3, 2008.
A few more I’ve picked up since we last talked:

  • DroidWarehouse.com
  • Kernest.com (Launched July 17, 2009)
  • MSGCTRL.com
  • NeuPost.com

Update October 21, 2008.
Just added:

  • BroadcastCulture.com

Update February 8, 2009.
Just added:

  • Crumbl.es
  • Crumbl.us

Update March 4, 2009.
Just added:

  • Unbrkn.com

Update June 13 2009
Recent Acquisition:

  • KidStoryReviews.com
  • PressOnRails.com

Update Sept 16 2009
Recent Acquisition:

  • Smirkless.com
  • Fontue.com
  • Woffly.com
  • AdOrNews.com

Update Sept 30 2009
Recent Acquisition:

  • WallTales.org

Looking at the list and remembering the projects behind them, I’m pleasantly surprised;

  • how much these ideas still interest me
  • how some of these ideas are far easier to execute today then when I purchased them,
  • how diverse these ideas are.

All good things.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

What Andrew Baron Should Be Selling: Following

There’s lots of chatter today about Andrew Baron auctioning off his 1500 Twitter followers.

As of this writing, the auction is just over $500.

Standard ad-based media play: aggregate eyeballs and sell them off to the highest bidder.

Yummmm. Eyeballs.

“This stunt may spark some copycatters, but it is essentially meaningless.” – Stowe Boyd

I suspect I’m not the only one that unfollowed prior to the outcome, not because of the auction specifically, I just didn’t enjoy his messages and this development was a fine enough reason to dump him. :p

That’s what made me think Andrew is selling the wrong asset. He can only sell his followers once. What he should be doing is auctioning off his ‘following’, the people he’s paying attention to.

“Will the new Andrew Baron, unlike the old one, follow me?” – Stephen Baker, Business Week

Andrew is the advertisement anyway.

This has a couple benefits for Andrew that his current stunt doesn’t:

  1. It’s an ongoing revenue stream. If someone wants Andrew to pay attention to them, this makes it real easy, pay him.
  2. It puts a dollar figure on attention. I suspect Steve Gillmor would love that
  3. It reduces Andrew’s information overload.


“There’s nothing wrong with stunt income, but it can only work once at best.” – Ewan Spence

“Don’t care, don’t believe it proves anything one way or the other except this: It proves the shallowness of at least a few folks who actually care to waste $1500+ dollars on something that means exactly nothing.” – Karoli

And to lighten things up a bit:

…I also participate in another telephone number over on my cell phone so I’m thinking I’ll start taking more calls over there and start up a new phone to do what I want to do next…. – Alexander Muse

Saturday, 12 April 2008


When I talk about Cullect to people publishing feeds, I very consciously don’t use the word ‘blog*’. Primarily because bloggers blogging blogs aren’t the only people publishing online. Almost everyone publishing online publishes a feed.

No matter if that publication contains text, audio, video, software, or something completely different. Cullect works the same if you’re CNN, Dave Winer, or Eric Larson.

“Being called a ‘writer’ has a far more important vibe to it, perhaps the opposite of ‘blogger’, which seems to have a more amaterurish flavor about it.” – Eric Rice

I’m much more comfortable with the word ‘blog’ at blog.cullect.com – where it represents the voice of a non-human entity – and much less so everywhere else. Now that I think about it, that may be the only WordPress install I maintain identifying itself as a ‘blog’.

Also note, the button in WordPress to make this public is labeled ‘Publish’.