there are 6 posts from March 2007

March 29, 2007

The MTT files

Justin Davidson (standing in for Alex Ross) covers the upcoming American Public Media radio show, The MTT Files.  (Where MTT = Michael Tilson Thomas.)

Rather than leading listeners on a dutiful trudge through history, MTT tells stories of the “I remember when Stravinsky told me…” variety. Like any accomplished raconteur, he has buffed each memory to a blinding sheen of significance, poignancy, or wry humor — or all three. He has a well-stocked storehouse of anecdotes, but if I can recognize some of them from the half a dozen hours I have spent interviewing him over the course of ten years, I suspect his close friends have his stories cataloged and numbered by now.

I once had the pleasure of seeing MTT do an intro talk to John Adams’ Harmoniliehre…he’s an incredible speaker / storyteller, so I’m really looking forward to this show.

March 26, 2007

now they know where i go

Ezrider_rotate Today was my first day with the new EZ Rider BART card.  No more paper tickets, no more fumbling with the world’s most unusable UI when I have to refill said paper tickets, no more wondering if there’s enough value on said paper ticket to make it home.  Instead, an RFID-enabled card linked to an appropriate credit institution which is swiped on entry and exit.  The combination of this and the FasTrak-enabled automobiles means that The Man will know where I am, but it’s not as if my route between North Berkeley and Powell is much of a secret…

Insanely jealous BART rider?  The program’s currently in pilot; apply today.

March 16, 2007

dump the bags

A hearty +1 to Dale Dougherty’s post Bag the Schwag.  In Austin this week all I wanted from the bag was the tiny conference guide that I could fold up and stick in my pocket or inside my badge; the rest of it was just wasted promotional material.  And when I told the bag people this, they were literally shocked.  “You mean you don’t want all these magazines?  Look at all these great magazines!”  And then after I convinced them that No, I didn’t want the magazines, they told me I had to take at least the full-size program (along with the micro-sized one) because, and I kid you not, “people sell them for thirty bucks on eBay.”  The program went back in the bag.

Other highlights of Austin:  Henry Jenkins; catching up with “easterners” Bryan Boyer, Molly Steenson and the Hesketh crew; our panel on After Bust 2.0 (“How many of you are here because you’re afraid of losing your jobs?”); general twitter mania; having the mobile web panel I was on scheduled opposite of Will Wright’s Spore demo (gah!); contributing to continuous partial attention by phoning Jason Shellen while Heather Gold was interviewing him about the same; meeting a bunch of great MT, TypePad, Vox and LJ bloggers; and the lightning show on Sunday night.  Wow…a real thunderstorm!  We don’t get those out here very often.

And In case you’re curious, as of this afternoon there are exactly zero conference programs for sale on eBay.

March 15, 2007

game of shadows

Being a Giants fan, this probably isn’t the best way to get ready for the season, but while the boys of summer are enjoying spring training, I’ve been reading the new paperback edition of Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports. Two things of interest / note…

First, I kind of followed the coverage in the Chronicle as the story broke, so I knew the general outline of the story with Victor Conte, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and the rest of that illustrious crew.  But I didn’t know the extent to which Conte, Greg Anderson and the other BALCO hangers on were such sycophants, clutching at the hems of not only the baseball stars, but also the doping Olympic track and field stars.  Nor did I know the extent to which those athletes relied on Conte and BALCO; I guess this speaks to the lack of an open, transparent market for undetectable performance-enhancing drugs.  If you’re Marion Jones, you can’t fire your dealer just ‘cause he’s creepy.

Second, Fainaru-Wada and Williams do a great job of presenting the Bonds stats that back up their case that what has happened in the latter stages of his baseball career is, frankly, insane.  Appendix Two of the book is full of analysis (charts and graphs!) of Bonds’ career, homeruns per at bat, comparing composite careers before and after steroids, etc. It won’t be enough for the sabremetrics crowd, but it was enough to help bolster the reporting…

If you’re a baseball fan (or a track and field fan, for that matter), you owe it to yourself to pick it up.

March 08, 2007

at sxsw

For the first time ever I’ll be attending SXSW.  (If you have vague memories of drinking margaritas with me in Texas at some point during Bubble 1.0, you’re probably remembering Miller Freeman’s Web Austin show in October 1999, back when Andrew Beebe was still doing Internet stuff (covering Google with solar panels doesn’t really count), Eric Lunt wasn’t burning feeds, Molly Steenson was “on fire” about Scient, and I was working for competitor Viant.  Ahhh…good times.)

At any rate, I’ll be there Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.  I’m on two panels on Tuesday.  At 11:30 am it’ll be After Bust 2.0: Ten Years Later Where Will We Be with host Lane Becker; and at 2:00 pm it will be There’s No Such Thing as the Mobile Web (or is there) with host Bob Morgan from Shozu. Should be fun.  Thankfully, I’m not as stressed about what to pack as fellow Bust 2.0 panelist David Hornik was about packing for TED.

At any rate, if you’ll be there and want to catch up, drop me a line.

March 01, 2007

dick's a wizard!

Dick Costolo, CEO of FeedBurner, has launched my new favorite blog, “Ask the Wizard.” I’ve known Dick for years, but when we get together we don’t get into Deep Conversations about startup life and competitive strategy; instead we talk shop in the “let’s gossip and tell jokes and wonder just how this person manages to attend so many conferences” kind of way.

So I’m thankful he’s blogging his CEO / startup experiences, because now I’m learning about a whole other side of Dick.  As in “Holy cow, he really is that smart; I could have sworn he was just faking it.” Unless, of course, he’s hired a ghost writer and this is just draft work on his way to some unannounced book deal.

Recommended post:  read all about Quantum Hidden Barriers to Entry. Not only his analysis spot on, but he uses the word “quantum,” which makes it that much cooler.