Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Speak When You Have Something to Sell

“They are the un-Apple or un-Amazon, two companies who never say anything without offering something to buy.” – Dave Winer

This is the most important and prescient thing I’ve read in quite a while.

Speak When You Have Something to Sell.

If memory serves – this point is why my favorite Evil Genius hasn’t published as much as he once has.

Same is true – to a degree – here.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Fermenting: “GnomeMower” – Biére de Garde

After a three batches of beers with 6+ month fermentation timelines ( “Marley was Dead“, “Out Like a Lion” , “Sour Suburbanite” ) I wanted something with a slightly, faster turnaround.

And – less, um, experimental.

So, I pulled together this Biére de Garde Golden Strong Ale.

Simple and straight-forward ingredient list.

  • Original Gravity: 1050 ( ~6.5% ABV though, I’m pretty sure that’s a low reading)

Update 1 April 2011
After a day of being quiet – re-attached the blowoff tube last night. Woke up this morning to a hose full of new krausen. Golly.

Update 7 April 2011:
I moved it to the secondary today. Kinda flat. Hmmm.

Update 3 May 2011:
According to the Hopville’s Beer Calculus – I completely missed both Golden Strong & Biére de Garde. Not off by much on the Bier de Garde – and that’s what I’m really in the mood for any way right now.

Update 16 May 2011:
Bottled tonight.
Final Gravity: 1.002
Tasting notes from bottling: medium body with a sugary grapefruit notes in the nose and aftertaste. I’ve also renamed this ‘GnomeMower’ since it’s so far form a Golden Strong.

Update 23 May 2011: Fantastic. The carbonation gives it a perfect head – and it lasts for the entire pint. The grapefruity-ness has subsided considerably and the body is much more forward. There’s a little off-sweetness on the nose but the finish is clean. Turned out to be quite the nice beer.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Fermenting: “Sour Suburbanite” – A Bitter Lambic

  • Original Gravity: 1050

Update 22 May 20100
Bottled today. Final Gravity 1004.
Pre-carbonation tasting notes: Amber in color. Tastes like pure 100% grapefruit juice. Real sweet & citrusy nose. Just the faintest hint of a body. Both a sour and bitter finish. Definitely not what I was aiming for. Once carbonated – I suspect this will be very refreshing. Though – definitely not what I was hoping for.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Speedtesting Qwest’s Heavy Duty DSL

After a decade with Speakeasy, I switched to Qwest for my DSL.

From what I understand, Qwest has fiber running to the my block with copper the house. Additionally as I understand – this switch from copper to fiber means Qwest is no longer compelled to make bandwidth available to resellers like Speakeasy.

The copper turns into WiFi once it gets inside my house, then down the basement to me. I’ve got sneaking suspicion that I could squeak out a few more Mbs and shorten the ping times by moving the phone jack downstairs and running ethernet to my primary machine.

The first few days, the throughputs were highly erratic but everything seems to have stabilized quite nicely.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Monday, 21 March 2011

AT&T Also Betting on WiFi?

I’ve got a long bet that WiFi will take over our telecom. Voice, video, everything.

It’s cheap, it’s unlicensed, it’s nearly ubiquitious and both 802.11[a-z] and the wired broadband to those wireless points is getting faster and faster.

For years now I’ve been a fan of T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home program where calls originating within a WiFi network don’t count against the monthly minute plan. I found this program to have an interesting side-effect:

“Additionally, if I’m not within a wifi network, I’m probably driving or otherwise not able to talk.”

Cringely says this mixed network technology is why AT&T acquired T-Mobile.

“Clever use of other people’s bandwidth can add an order of magnitude to AT&T’s connectivity and backhaul for no marginal price at all. Suddenly the network expands, coverage gaps go away, yet backhaul bandwidth actually drops. Look for it.” – Cringely

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Working at it

“In fact, to the extend that the future is shaped by human action, it is not much use in trying to predict it – it is much more useful to understand and work with the people who are engaged in the decisions and actions that bring it into existence” – Saras D. Sarasvathy

“The instant somebody goes from playing their guitar in the bedroom and at parties to wanting to make money off of it, they are no longer an artist, but an entrepreneur and a business owner. The same rules apply to them as to every other entrepreneur on the planet: They need to provide something which somebody else is prepared to pay for.” – Rick Falkvinge

Thursday, 17 March 2011

My Reaction to the NYTimes Announcement

Today, the NYTimes announced their digital subscription offering.

In reading through the 6 major bullet-points describing the subscription offering, my initial reactions as a reader are:

  1. This sounds hard and complicated.
  2. Can I become a home delivery subscriber and opt out of receiving the paper?

Earlier this week, Elko pointed me to NYTimes Chrome – a non-scrolling, HTML5 implementation of NYTimes’ top news…that looks just like the print edition. Only much, much smaller and harder to both read and navigate.

Take a look at this article: 2 columns spread across multiple pages. We solved this interaction problem thousands of years ago.

The problem I don’t see the NYTimes solving in either of these efforts is relevance, clarity, expertise, and guidance.

I don’t have time or inclination to read every section head, let alone every article. What would a presentation look like that only gave me the stories, coverage, and writers that I find most compelling.

Yes – let me filter and block stories from ever being shown to me.

Today, here’s how I solve this problem:

  1. Not read NYTimes.
  2. Wait for someone I trust and respect to point me to a NYTimes story.

“if it’s important, it will find me.”

What if the NYTimes knew me well enough to be that trusted and respected link source – by not giving me everything – just the most compelling & relevant.

For example – take a look at amazon.com, I’m assuming the sections below the big Kindle ad don’t look much like this to you.

I’m assuming our pages look different because Amazon discovered that promoting different items to different individuals increased overall sales.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ve grown weary of the Fukushima story.

To me that sounds like a compelling, useful, differentiating, chargeable news offering.


“They’re not offering anything to readers other than the Times’ survival, and they’re not even explicit about that”. – Dave Winer

“This paywall is anything but simple, with dozens of different variables for consumers to try to understand… If you’re already paying $15 every four weeks to have full access to the website, why on earth would you pay extra just to be able to read the paper on its own dedicated app rather than in Safari? I, for one, prefer the experience of reading nytimes.com on the web on my iPad, rather than reading an iPad app which has no search, no links, no archives, no social recommendations, etc etc. If the NYT wanted to kill any incentive to read and develop its iPad app, it’s going about it the right way.” – Felix Salmon

“Now, there are those who will tell you that your business model couldn’t be more doomed if you opened a chain of in-temple money changers, which is no doubt why you wanted to try it out on Canadians before attempting any human testing.” – Marcus Carab

“The NYT arguably will be running fewer cliched or predictable or easily substitutable articles. It should make the paper less comprehensive, but sharper at the edges..” – Tyler Cowen

“I don’t have the patience for convoluted overpriced schemes like this. I’ve had it with ultimatums. This is just one more lopsided End User License Agreement. And it’s one that I can walk away from, so I’m walkin’.” – Richard Fink

Update 19 Mar 2011:
I’m intrigued with this notion of charging those whose world-view requires the NYTimes and no one else. Perhaps I’m missing something, but the incentives to migrate into that world-view don’t seem very strong.