there are 12 posts from July 2005

July 29, 2005

local excitement

So the big news in North Berkeley this week was the guy who drove his SUV through the front door of the Starbucks that’s literally up the block from my house.  Photo and excerpt swiped from the Berkeley Daily Planet story (emphasis mine)…

An SUV driver battered his vehicle through the doors of the Starbucks at Solano and Colusa avenues Tuesday morning, scattering a dozen or more customers who leapt out of the way and jumped through open windows as he backed up and tried it again.  “He appeared to be aiming for the counter,” said Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies.  After the second try, the driver backed out and sped away northbound on Colusa Avenue, leaving parts of vehicle scattered inside and outside the coffee shop.

Either the guy really hates coffee, or maybe he got the Scharffen Berger story wrong?  Whatever his motivation, thank God no one was hurt…

July 27, 2005


This one’s for Webb and Coates, the motivating factors behind any recent visits to the Tonga Room:  When Plunge was a Splash, a piece in yesterday’s SF Chronicle about the formerly famous diving pool that became the currently famous tiki bar…with a pool.  (And a floating island.  With a band on it.  That arrives and departs through actual indoor thunder showers.)

July 26, 2005

button economics

It’s retrofun day on!  Jason’s linking to Mahir, the hampster dance, the Internet’s last page, the cookie recipe and, of course, the really big button that doesn’t do anything, which has a treasure-trove of user generated content, including this gem from “Esther Dyson.”

The really big button that doesn’t do anything poses interesting challenges both for owners/creators/sellers and for users of the button. Because the button allows for essentially endless pressing, it dramatically changes the traditional economics of “buttons.” In this new world, competing with the old one, the button is easy to press, but hard to understand. The button allows creativity to proliferate, but button quality will be scarce and hard to recognize. Button creators will have to fight to attract attention, and to get paid. Logistics alone used to add value to buttons; it does so no longer.

Ah, good times.

July 26, 2005


And now for something completely different, Hershey announced yesterday that they’re buying Berkeley-based Scharffen Berger.  I’m anxiously awaiting the Berkeley City Council measure that will officially condemn the sale of the gourmet chocolatier to corporate shills that exploit children by selling them non-organic snacks laden with refined sugar and saturated fats.

I haven’t been on the Scharffen Berger tour, but I hear there may be a chocolate waterfall involved.

July 24, 2005

new rule

Sky Captain!I have a new rule.  If I can’t stay awake during a movie, it’s not worth watching twice.  Thank God for Netflix, I can just power through movies I won’t watch twice.

(My God, how dreadful was Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?  The look was “nice,” but it got in the way of the story, and the soundtrack was insufferable.  Ever present, melodramatic – it kept reminding me of why I can’t stand watching Gone With the Wind – the music just won’t stop.  And then there were power hungry robots living in Tibet, and then nothing but sleep.  Blissful sleep.)

July 20, 2005

one or more

Jim Lanzone from Ask posts some some interesting stats to their blog about “what feeds matter.”  I’m sure this will spark all sorts chatter about index size and audience size and power laws and all the other usual topics related to blog indexing, blog search, audience size, etc.

But I thought I’d point out one interesting thing in Jim’s analysis:  his definition of a feed that matters is any feed with at least one reader.  Even though “one or more” may not be a terribly useful filter if you’re a buyer of site-specific advertising, there’s something simple and elegant about the statement that “if it matters to one reader, it matters.”  It’s a reminder that the long tail has the potential to become very, very long.

July 19, 2005

help me, longhorn.

So some tidbits of news about Longhorn are making their way out of Microsoft.  Included in Mary Jo Foley’s writeup, amongst the (as yet unproven and untestable) claims of faster boot times, faster resume from suspend times and easier install was this little nugget…

Longhorn will allow users to customize the help system with their own annotations.

Now that’s interesting.  I wouldn’t put it past the new and improved ‘soft to enable enterprises to aggregate these annotations for wider use, or to allow users to opt-in to have their annotations shared back to the mother ship as a feedback mechanism.  The spam problem would be a bit problematic without either central or community-based editorial control, but one could imagine having the help system auto-subscribe to useful annotations from other Windows users that match your skill level.

July 15, 2005

a trip down powerbook memory lane

Jason Levine posts a great little photoset of the otherwise deadly boring act of migrating files off an old computer…except this time the old computer is a PowerBook Duo 230.  Has to be one of my all time favorite machines; I used one for a couple of years – well after its prime – and wrote my most (um, only? –ed.) productive two years of Obvious pieces on it…  I recognize the ridiculousness of professing love for a hunk of plastic, metal and glass…but I loved that machine.

(Oh, and I wanted to leave the nostalgia category alone with its sole black holes post, but I just couldn’t file this one anywhere else, now could I.)

July 14, 2005

movable type 3.2 beta available

In case you haven’t heard, the beta of Movable Type 3.2 is available. It’s an open beta, so if you’re at all inclined, go grab and install it. For info on what’s new, Anil and Jay have been running a series on the Six Apart ProNet blog titled “Our 32 Favorite features in Movable Type 3.2.” They’re through 12 of the 32; only 20 more features to go… Congrats to the team for hitting this milestone.

July 13, 2005

aisle photos

I really like Bryan Boyer’s Aisle of Averages

Perspective shots of grocery store aisles are distorted back out of perspective so that the shelf forms a rectangle in the picture plane instead of trapezoid. Then four passes of motion blur @ 999 to arrive at a kind of loose average or wash of the shelf’s chromatic contents.

…even though I’d rather imagine Bryan mounting his camera on a shopping cart, setting the exposure time to 10 seconds and then hurtling the cart down the aisle shouting “Fore!”

July 11, 2005

of course that's missing

So a friend mentioned in passing today that she’s about to take a trip to L.A., and that one of her destinations is The Museum of Jurassic Technology.  (Which, if you’ve never been to, you need to visit.  Don’t ask questions, just go.)  Since there was connectivity and a browser at hand, the conversation led to a quick visit to the MJT’s website.  And that led, naturally, to their online museum shop, which is chock full of great products like The Eye of the Needle View-Master Reel and The Cone of Obliscence Pedestal.  (Ahhh, if only they resold such goods through Amazon, then I could add them to my wishlist.)

Fans of the museum will relish the fact that the “recommended books” section of the gift shop is naturally missing Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet Of Wonder (subtitled “Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology,” and should be read only after a pilgrimage to Culver City).

July 06, 2005

i want my jetpack, too

If we’re supposedly living in this glorious future of personalized news and social search delivered through flashing desktop widgets and ambient devices, why don’t I have lights flashing and bells whistling alerting me to the fact that it’s 12:01 a.m, and there’s no apparent BART settlement?  This is one piece of news that absolutely will have a tangible impact on my day (and demeanor) tomorrow…why don’t I know about it now?

Whine, moan.

Update:  OK, so no BART strike.  That’s a good thing.  I still want my jetpack, though.