there are 38 posts from August 2007

August 30, 2007

but mom, lawn darts are FUN!

Since Mattel is recalling all those toys with lead, Radar Online does the public a service by recycling their “10 most dangerous playthings of all time” story. Number one on the list? Lawn darts, of course.

August 29, 2007

merc on wilco

The SJ Merc reviews the Wilco show I saw last weekend. (Via The Standing Room.)

Glenn Kotche … can take a simple dusty acoustic riff in more directions than perhaps any rock drummer in existence. … Tweedy’s the brains, Cline and guitarist/keyboardist Pat Sansone are the electricity, and bassist John Stirratt is the rock. Keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen is the musical icing. But Kotche is what makes this band go, and it’s wonderful to watch.

Hooray for drummers!

August 26, 2007

what happened there?

Remember the Google / AOL deal of December 2005? One of the bullet points in the press release was the announcement of “enabling Google Talk and AIM instant messaging users to communicate with each other, provided certain conditions are met.” I’d love to find out what those conditions were, and what so far has prevented them from being met. A boy can still dream of federated AIM, can’t he?

August 26, 2007

merit badge

I must have earned one of these Ikea merit badges by now.

August 25, 2007

she taught me everything i needed to know

Stephanie DiMarco, CEO of Advent Software (and my old boss) tells the story of starting, leaving and coming back to the company in the Sunday Times.

Not only was I young, I looked young. It was a challenge to be taken seriously. I was at a trade show when I overheard a competitor talking about Advent. He said, “It’s that little company in California run by that little girl.” I wasn’t going to let it get me down. I turned it into an advantage. As the public face of the business, one that people didn’t expect, I was able to surprise a lot of customers. That competitor is no longer in business.

August 25, 2007

itzkoff on gibson

Dave Itzkoff reviews Spook Country:

What initially unites these seemingly unrelated narratives is a theme familiar to Gibson’s work: the novice initiated into an alternative reality he or she never knew existed. But in each of these strands, Gibson is also playing on the word “spook,” not just in the slang sense of a spy, but also in the more traditional sense of a ghost — of figures who pass through the world unnoticed and unrecognized, and who are about to find out how empowering anonymity can be.

August 24, 2007

i'm flattered

Andre Torrez has done a brilliant job of adapting the (un)filtered design to Excellent!

August 23, 2007

more like this

What William Gibson is doing with Spook Country and Pattern Recognition before it feels like what DeLillo was doing with The Names and his other books around that time (pre Libra): presenting the world that’s invisible to us but we sense exists alongside ours.

August 22, 2007

but mom, math is hard!

Eh, who needs clickthrough rates. From the Facebook Flyer FAQ, the answer to the question “Can I see how many people clicked on my Flyer?”

Unfortunately we can’t provide you with a click-through-rate for your Flyer. These rates vary drastically from one Flyer to the next because they depend on the interest that is generated by the ad’s content. The value proposition of Flyers is primarily the high volume and localized exposure of your ad, not click through rates.

August 22, 2007

but i don't mean you. i love you.

From the department of self-promotion, Buddy List Zero: action-based instant messaging.

Want to really Get Things Done? Then turn off IM. These are tips on the skills, tools and attitude needed to empty your buddy list – and then keep it that way.

August 21, 2007

can i go back and do it again?

File under [this is good]: Nathan Shedroff is leading the new MBA in Design Strategy program at the California College of the Arts.

August 17, 2007

connections galore

Brad Fitzpatrick and David Recordon on the social graph problem:

A centralized “owner” of the social graph is bad for the Internet. I’m not saying anybody should ban Facebook, though! Far from it. It’s a great product, and I love it, but the graph needs to exist outside of Facebook. MySpace also has a lot of good data, but not all of it. Likewise LiveJournal, Digg, Twitter, Zooomr, Pownce, Friendster, Plaxo, the list goes on. More important is that any one of these sites shouldn’t own it; nobody/everybody should. It should just exist.

August 17, 2007

black is the new black

In case you’re looking for a reason why updates to this site have been sparse the past few weeks, we shipped Movable Type 4.0 on Tuesday night. I’ve never worked with a more talented or hard-working team; huge kudos to everyone involved (you know who you are). And here’s to the tremendously addictive rush that comes from shipping great products. So, onward!

August 16, 2007

ready, aim, fire

From best of craigslist (where user generated content goes to shine), this listing offering a potato cannon. Look, I’ll save you the trouble and quote the whole thing since I know you’re too lazy to click through: “It’s 8ft long. My neighbors figured out what was happening so I need to get rid of it today.”

August 16, 2007

i am collectively unintelligent

OMG, do you think they disclose the interestingness algorithm?

August 15, 2007


Todd Gibson, who is sitting in for Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes, speculates that the art market bubble has already started to burst, and that the credit crunch will continue to hurt “the small subset of the NetJets-set who do the art fair and contemporary auction circuit with checkbooks in hand.”[1]

Here’s the key point in Gibson’s post; that the market for the ultra high end of the contemporary art market is very small:

The law of pricing in the secondary art market is that it takes only two people with money to push the value of Peter Doig’s work to $11.2MM. Or the value of a Rothko painting to $72.8MM. Or a Picasso to $104MM. If only one of the two doesn’t have that extra $10MM or $70MM or $100MM anymore, the work is no longer worth that amount.

Art Basel Miami will be the true test. From what I’ve heard the past few years have been frothy; by December we’ll know whether or not the bubble has truly burst. Will as many pop stars and hedge fund managers be making the rounds with their art buyers as in years past?[2]

[1] Don’t bubbles burst immediately? If a bubble “starts” to burst, doesn’t it just burst with a bang? Dear popular press, please invent a different metaphor than “bubble” because even if there is rapid decline, it’s not a burst.

[2] Comments are open for the hell of it.

August 14, 2007

mega mega

Worth quoting at length and reading in its entirety, Phat Data from Bill de hÓra:

Good luck explaining to data professionals and system architects that centralised relational databases are not the right place to start anymore. They work really well. There is a ridiculous amount of infrastructure and expertise invested in RDBMSes. Billions of dollars. Man-decades. Think of what you get - data integrity, query support, ORM, ACID, well understood replication and redundancy models, deep engineering knowledge. Heads nodding in agreement at your system design. Websites in 15mins on high productivity frameworks. Java Enterprise Edition. You’d seem to be crazy to give that up for map-reduce jobs, tuple models, and tablestores that can’t even do joins, never mind there’s zero support for object mapping or constraints. It’s no small ask to let go of these features. Psychologically, the really hard part seems to be giving up on consistency. The idea of inconsistent data by design is odd-sounding thing to be pitching, no matter how many records you’re talking about. You’re in danger of sounding irresponsible or idiotic.

August 13, 2007

nice job if you can get it

Fake Steve on his clone:

He’ll be raised at Apple, in a secret environment where he’ll be exposed to a completely accurate copy of the real world. If I live forever, as I plan to do, well, fine. Simon P. has the easiest job in the world, just hanging out in his hermetically sealed environment, going to the gym and getting laid and having people tell him how brilliant he is – in other words the same life as Sergey Brin.

August 13, 2007

living without balance

Anil on Apple and insufficient ambition. “If the anti-enterprise advocates had their way, none of us would have web browsers at work, but we’d still be ideologically pure and stickin’ it to the man. Yeah!” And, as always, there’s great stuff in the discussion.

August 13, 2007

interesting subjects make for interesting photos

Joi’s taking great photos lately, like this one: George Lucas and JJ Abrams.

August 10, 2007

walk it out

Bob Fosse was a genius.

August 10, 2007

sting is an ape, too

Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Ford: “If we have a child and the rats do not eat it first I will teach her (or him) to fear Sting. ‘Be good,’ I will say, ‘or Sting will come with his lute.’”

August 10, 2007

and san francisco parking still sucks

File under: whoa. The Standing Room turns three and gives a gift to its readers: the blogger’s identity. (It’s Sidney Chen, the artistic administrator of the Kronos Quartet!)

August 09, 2007

fisher art museum

Kenneth Baker on the possibility of a Fisher collection museum in San Francisco’s Presidio.  “on Tuesday, Donald Fisher said that to have given SFMOMA their collection would have burdened the museum with unbearable pressures of storage, conservation and display. The facility the Fishers propose would have more exhibition space than SFMOMA as a whole contains.” (Holy shit.)

August 08, 2007

it's his

George Vecsey in the New York Times (behind the Select paywall; isn’t that going away?) on Barry Bonds hitting number 756.

It’s his record. What is baseball going to do, come up with some magic formula to pare down his home run totals? They are all his, every one of them. Victor Conte of notorious Balco didn’t hit them. Greg Anderson, the trainer guarding Bonds’s secrets in a California jail, didn’t hit them. The people who made money off Bonds and the union officials who blocked testing didn’t hit the home runs. Barry Bonds hit them, all 756 of them.

August 07, 2007

read: unreadable

From the Gawker media site that everyone loves to love, news that Courtney Thorne-Smith  has a new book, titled Outside In.  The only thing you need to know is this delicious adjective from Emily Gould:  “unghostwritten.”

August 07, 2007

green on the deyoung

Tyler Green takes apart the Fine Arts Museum of San Franciso’s program. Though it was site of probably the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to (save mine, of course), I’m not really a fan of the DeYoung as a museum. It’s an interesting building (or, rather, it’s a beautiful facade and a dramatic lobby), but I’ve always found the program confused (Sugimoto and Annie Leibovitz?) and there are rarely shows that inspire me to encourage friends to take the trek to the park.

But Green, of course, is the much better blogger because back in February he blogged a bunch of ideas to make FAMSF better. Diebenkorn! Park! Maybeck! Morgan! Still! Yes yes yes! Please!

August 07, 2007

ga ga ga

Somewhere there is a computer that already knows how much I’m enjoying the new Spoon record. And now, because of this post, there are even more.

August 07, 2007

but was he wearing tights?

From Ana Marie Cox’s liveblog coverage of the dems debate:  “BIDEN TRYING TO TALK. Olbermann stops him. Superhero!”

August 06, 2007

you had me at...

Collaborative Gmail video: “Help us imagine how an email message travels around the world.” I’m waiting for the contribution that includes an overdose of SMTP humor (“EHLO again, HELO.”).

August 03, 2007

i want to try

In the Serious Eats Talk section flye3076 posts the simple statement “I want to try ______.” The community’s dishing up fantastic responses; from Cabesa tacos to tupelo honey to guedeck clam to this gem: 

Hmmm. Good question. I suppose I’m waiting on someone in the Bay Area to offer fresh, live cobra that they’ll pull from a cage, flay, cut the still-beating heart out of and serve to me in a shot glass of rotgut ‘whiskey.’

August 02, 2007

i've been meaning to blog this, even though most of you won't really care

Recommended: Florian Balmer’s notepad2 (for Windows), “a fast and light-weight Notepad-like text editor with syntax highlighting.”  Free, simple, well-designed and gets out of your way and lets you focus on what you’re supposed to be doing, which is writing and editing gobs and gobs of Markdown.

August 02, 2007

filmmaking with a rubber hose

Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review of The Bourne Ultimatum has more than a few lines in it that I don’t really understand but make me want to see the movie Right Now.

  • “This is the passion of Jason Bourne, with a bullet.”
  • “…the more formally bold Mr. Greengrass shatters movie space like glass…”
  • “It’s filmmaking with a rubber hose.”
  • “They take us inside an enormous train station and a cramped room and then, with whipping cameras and shuddering edits, break that space into bits as another bullet finds its mark, another body hits the ground, and the world falls apart just a little bit more.”

OK, that last quote I understand. And seriously, I need to see this Right Now.

August 01, 2007

user generated clothing

Thanks to Heather Champ the phrase “user generated discontent” has found its rightful home.

August 01, 2007

the value of free

Drew McManus, who writes the excellent blog Adaptistration on arts administration, on reports that free symphony concerts don’t drive incremental ticket sales to paid events:  “I continue to think that the real failure of most free concerts has more to do with implementation and lack of adequate interaction between attendees and representatives of the orchestra.”

August 01, 2007

silence is golden

Robert Olen Butler’s (now open) email re. his wife leaving him for Ted Turner really could have used an editor.  An editor that would have consigned the entire thing to the “never to be spoken of again, much less sent” folder.

I was able to help her a great deal. She says I saved her life. But de facto therapy as the initial foundation of a marriage eventually sucks the life out of a relationship. And it is very common for a woman to be drawn to men who remind them of their childhood abusers. Ted is such a man, though fortunately, he is far from being abusive. From all that I can tell, he is kind to her, loyal, considerate, and devoted to his family, and perhaps, therefore, he can redeem some things for her.

Wow wow wow.  Train wreck in Tallahassee, details at 11.

August 01, 2007

fine on dow jones

Business Week’s Jon Fine on the Dow Jones two tier stock structure:  “This insulated the Journal from some of the harsher, short-term demands of the market. It also insulated Dow Jones’ management from feeling market pressure to make any moves that might have made the company bigger—and thus much harder for News Corp. to swallow.”

August 01, 2007

all meta, all the time

Wednesdays are hack days at Six Apart.  My limited skills led to this limited (but fun!) hack:  activity on (un)filtered.  TypePad template tags + JavaScript = fun.