there are 8 posts from November 2004

November 30, 2004

yearning for long lost dotcoms

Even with all the whiz bang of today’s web(s), not a month goes by when I don’t yearn for some of the early dotcoms.  Who didn’t love the at-my-beck-and-call convenience of Kozmo, and their on-demand Odwallas?  Or the friendly delivery guys from Webvan and their green plastic buckets?  Or even the feel-good organic-or-free-range dilemma vibe from

The one I’m missing presently is the erstwhile  Remember them?  Perfect integrators of content, commerce and community; the ones who smartly planted the “add to wheelbarrow” button in their interactive garden planner?  Darlings of the IA crowd, was one of those early “trusted brands” of ecommerce; the ones you knew you could go to 24/7 with your “basil or bellflowers on the kitchen window sill” question, and find an answer you could believe in.

The problem was, very few of us early adopter types were actually planting basil or bellflowers.  We were just marveling at wonderful it was that if we ever needed to, we could buy basils or bellflowers (as well as soil and shoes and spades) from those nice, smart folks in Austin.  You know the rest of the story, so feel free to insert your own awful pun about dying on the vine.

But tonight, as I ponder that age old holiday question – will this year be the year we do a live Christmas tree instead of a chopped one? – I wish were here to help.  Not that Google isn’t helpful, mind you; there are plenty of sites advising me that it’s probably not the best idea, since I can’t be trusted to regularly change the oil in my car, much less water a plant on a daily basis and then replant it outside.  But Garden would have told me all that with style, in a unique voice, wrapped in great nav, and with a perfectly matched set of cross-selling sidebars that, with luck, would have helped me cross a few folks off my Christmas shopping list.

November 23, 2004

hoax warning

I don’t believe the disclaimers on Not Nick Nolte’s Diary. Not a bit.

November 18, 2004

filtered for purity?

Kudos to Matt Haughey for (finally!) implementing a nominal charge for new MetaFilter memberships….

Due to the bursting size of the community, its use of resources, and the cost of running the servers, all new users have a one-time $5 charge, to help defray these costs. Keep in mind this is a donation towards the server, and not a purchase. If you sign up an account to pimp your product, act like an ass, or generally just do things that break the guidelines you will be booted and there will be no refunded donations.

I’m sure the irony-challenged are happy that Haughey didn’t implement all the ideas in my MetaFilter Proposal from October 2001.

November 15, 2004

if jason = ross, then...

Yet another proof point that web folk are disconnected from teevee:  there are probably three hundred comments on the Kottke “name my monkey” Flickr thing, and just one reference to Friends.

November 11, 2004


I really want to see Hektor in person.

Hektor is a Graffiti Output Device.  … Hektor consists of a suitcase which contains two electric motors, a spray-can holder, toothed belts, cables, a strong battery and a circuit board which is connected to a laptop and controls the machine. The motors that are mounted onto the wall suspend the can holder through the toothed belts and define its position by changing the length of these belts.

Think vector images transferred to a wall by motor.  There’s great documentation, images and movies at their site.

November 09, 2004

amazonian diversity

Two signs that Amazon has a very diverse set of talent:  Amazon Theater (“a series of five original short films available exclusively at as a free gift to our customers”) and the Amazon Simple Queue Service (“a reliable, highly scalable hosted queue for buffering messages between distributed application components”).  There’s a joke in there somewhere about queuing up for the theater, but I’ll leave that exercise to the reader.

November 05, 2004

what you see is what you get.

Just can’t tell you how excited I am about this

If there’s anything that the current batch of web apps is teaching us, it’s that the tiniest details of interaction ergonomics can have a great deal of influence over how apps get used.  That’s not to say that WYSIWYG post editing and integrated spell checking are by any stretch of the imagination “tiny details.”  But the team has paid a tremendous amount of attention to the fit and finish of the new post editing screen, and now I can only hope that our customers will continue their tradition of piping up with feedback and suggestions so that we can make it better.

November 03, 2004


Well, that was a let down…but not terribly surprising. While full of hope, there hadn’t been much polling data to support a Kerry victory. The early returns showing incredibly strong turnout amongst young voters and their support for the dems was heartening, but Rove’s “get out the evangelicals” strategy paid off. Here’s to four more years of open disdain for “reality-based” viewpoints. Whee!

While I hate to see the minority leader lose his job, I’m not that disappointed by Daschle’s defeat. But the thing that’s really killing me this morning is Colorado’s electoral college reform going down the tubes. Sure, we now have a president who won both the popular vote and the electoral college vote, but the campaign process will continue to suffer from the focus on disproportionately “important” states like Ohio. My brother Jason, who’s an expat living in Mexico City, was quoted in the Mexican edition of the Herald today…

“The United States has been preaching to the world that freedom is the result of democracy, and look at us,” said Jason Sippey, an executive working in Mexico originally from Chicago. “The electoral college has let a lot of people down, the focus on swing states has kept a lot of important issues like infrastructure, immigration and the environment out of the debate.”


At least locally there was some sanity. California will fund stem cell research, Alameda approved a small increase to property taxes to fund public transit, and Berkeley won’t provide public financing for mayoral campaigns (but will switch them to coincide with US general elections every four years).