Sunday, August 11th, 2002

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Wish You Were Here

The Red Sox have acquired Clifford Floyd from Montreal. I think that this will be an excellent deal for the Sox. Now, if they can only cut Jose Offerman, then all will be well.

Down to New Orleans

Excellent article on the realities of the road from the perspective of a truck driver. Here’s a hint: If you cut off a truck and get hit, you will lose.

Soon to be extinct

Ford is killing the Excursion. I hope that this will signify the end of that ugly trend. There is nothing worse than be stuck on the road behind (or under) one of these gas-guzzling swine-mobiles.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

I hope more publishers follow their lead

IVillage is getting rid of pop-up ads, citing a survey saying that 95% of their readers considered them to be the most frustrating feature of the web. Good.

Of course, I browse in Mozilla, so I haven’t seen a pop-up ad in months….

The new club fed

New York Magazine has an in-depth article about the new reality of white-collar prisons.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

I’m Back!

Hi, everyone. I got back late last night from my amazing trip to Guatemala. I will be able to post a lot more about the trip soon, but I know that you want to see some pictures. Here is an *extremely* quick and dirty slide show. I will have the full travelogue up in a couple of weeks. If you want more, here is the cache of the high-resolution (warning: big files) images.

Saturday, July 6, 2002

Hasta la vista

I’m off to Guatemala for a Habitat for Humanity Global Village program, returning on July 20th. See you in a couple of weeks!

What’s in Jason’s Walkman?

It’s always fun trying to pick out 24 discs from the collection for the trip. Here’s the list (in random order):

I’ve been lucky enough to see three of these acts in person. Can you guess which three? Here’s a hint.

Friday, July 5, 2002

Sad news today

Ted Williams, dead at 83.

Another sad article

Cambridge bicycle rider killed on Mass Ave. This is about 3 minutes from my apartment. Very scary. (Thanks, Matt)

Spam comes to the cell phones

The Times has an article this morning on the growth of telemarketing calls to cell phones. I already refuse to answer my home phone because of continuing telemarketing calls, I hope my cell phone doesn’t become similarly infested.

In related news…

People aren’t responding to annoying advertising online. What a giant, steaming pile of Duh. Gee, you mean you can’t spam, annoy or trick people into buying stuff from you? Garsh.

Life here in the People’s Republic

My home town of Cambridge, among other cities, has passed a resolution calling the USA Patriot act a threat to the civil rights of the residents of their communities.

Billy, Don’t Be a Hero!

This is a fun one: Really sad songs from the 70s. Ah, the memories. Luckily, thanks to my Rhino box set, I actually have copies of almost all of these songs. (via Scrubbles)

Thursday, July 4, 2002

Happy Independence Day!

From the cradle of the American Revolution: Boston, Massachusetts.

Save the world with an iBook

In other news, the movie Independence Day has horrible physics as, of course, do other movies


I leave for Guatemala in forty hours or so. I have most stuff squared away, but there are still a couple of loose ends. The biggest question will be the camera — I’ve never taken a trip with the digital camera before. I have always clicked the shot and forgotten about it until I got back. Now, I wonder if I will be constantly reviewing the pictures to edit. We’ll see…

Chances are there will be a travelogue up on the site by the end of the month 🙂

Philadelphia Freedom

I spent last weekend down in Philadelphia with Josh and Mary Kay. Josh’s birthday was yesterday, so we wallowed in our loss of youth together. And we got to go to the zoo!

We didn’t get to go in the zoo balloon, but I did get some fun pictures (all links are to ~100k pictures): Kangaroos, Tortoise, Hippo, Rhino, Lion, Tiger, Meerkat, Peafowl family, Bearded Pig, Flamingoes, Giraffe, Red Panda, Cheetah.

An Artist’s Perspective on File Sharing

Janis Ian sounds off on how free file sharing helps artists.

The Circle of Life

A few weeks ago, I read a piece on Stating the Obvious about After Dinner, which is a site for writers and readers. At After Dinner, I read a really cute story and then a fairly random, but still entertaining one. I then Googled the author and saw that the second link was to the {fray} which is a storytelling site I adore (and whose creator also wrote Design for Community, the best book on web community I’ve read). Anyway, I read his stories in the Fray and then clicked into his personal site and read the article there which was very analogous to where I am right now with this site (except for the part about the apathy).

I love the web.

Random footnote: I think that Stating the Obvious may have been one of the very first “weblogs”. When I first started at PlanetAll in 1997, I found his site and found my way around the web using the daily pointers he would provide.

Thursday, June 27, 2002



Welcome to the Working Week

Ok, I have now finally, and officially, sold out to the man. I’m on full-time at the Globe running product development for BostonWorks. I’m still going to Guatemala next week, though. Dammit.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Bu Hao

Beijing is using the deadly fire as an excuse to crack down on Internet cafes.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Happy Father’s Day!

Fire Bad, Tree Pretty

This is very sad – a wong ba in Beijing caught fire today, killing 24. I hope it’s not one of the ones I was in last summer�

Amazon can still take them

Another shocking, *shocking * tale from the dotcom era. EBay’s famous Pez story is found to be a hoax thought up by a PR flack.

Speaking of slimy business types

This is why I hate people sometimes. Amazon has to take off a feature because of abuse by lowlifes. (See “Amazon scam” below).

What does “Home Sweet Home” smell like, anyway?

I’m a big fan of Yankee Candle store, but I’m not sure they can pull off their plan to become a lifestyle brand.

Hao, so very, very hao

Beijing newspaper reprints article from The Onion, not realizing that it’s satirical.

Note: Syracuse does not qualify

This article has notes on some of the reasons why I love Boston and loved Seattle. The Rise of the Creative Class, or, “Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race.

Power-hungry fiends

Having worked on various sundry community sites over the past few years, I still keep tabs on the latest and greatest thinking on how to best organize and run these organizations.

Today, Gaming the System: How Moderation Tools Can Backfire from DesignForCommunity.com.

Saturday, June 1, 2002

Hope Springs Eternal

Welcome to the world, Adam D. Pearl.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Roid Rage

Sports Illustrated has an extensive expose on the proliferation of steroids in major league baseball. Exhibit number one is former MVP Ken Caminiti, who admits using while playing and claims that more than 50% of the current players are on the juice.

This comes on the heels of Jose Canseco irking Barry Bonds by making similar allegations last week. Caminiti has a lot more credibility than Canseco, though.

Don’t forget what happened to poor Lyle Alzado. Also, isn’t using steroids a felony?


Ok, so I was looking for a good link for the Lyle Alzado part of the steroids piece, so I went to Google and looked for “lyle alzado steroids death”.

As it turns out, many of the links were to prewritten essays from places like “FreeEssay“, “Essaymill” and “ChuckIII“.

I am shocked, *shocked*, to find out that college students are using the web to avoid writing their own papers.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

How Cool

It looks like Amazon has started to add restaurants to their catalog. Now, using the regular Amazon interface, you should be able to review restaurants, and even individual dishes. Everything’s searchable too – let’s see which restaurants within 10 miles of my apartment have my personal favorite: bread pudding. Neat!

After clicking around, it looks like they’ve added tons of new stores using this model.

And people wonder why Amazon is still my favorite Internet company…

Corporate Blogging

Here’s an article from the Seattle Times about the growth of “corporate” blogging and the inherent conflicts of interest. If I end up sticking with the Globe, I’m thinking of doing this within BostonWorks. I would personally do a blog talking about the site, upgrades and technology things of note. More importantly, though, I’d like to be able to get people from Boston’s prominent industries to write their own blogs talking about their industries and what it’s like to do their jobs. I think that would be really interesting content for our people. I worry, however, that it may be tough to get people the trust and openness required for this to succeed. Dave Winer weighs in.

Fandango Has Stupid Ads Before Movies

The Times has an article this morning about the rise of the buying movie tickets online. This isn’t really a shocking story for me; I don’t think I’ve bought movie tickets *offline* in at least a year. The experience online is too good – you find the site (often the hardest part), and enter your information. When you go to the theater, you bypass the lines and just swipe your credit card through the machine, which will then spit out your tickets. It’s actually a very good experience.

Monday, May 27, 2002

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day here in the United States. It is our day of national mourning and remembrance. Why Remember? The VFW says:

Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. America’s collective consciousness demands that all citizens be aware of and recall on special occasions the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime.

Last year, I was teaching English in China (if I ever actually finish that travelogue, you’ll get to read all about it) and the children would ask interesting questions. One of the toughest ones I got was “Are you in the Army?”

“Well, um, No. But, my father was in the Air Force, my brother was in the Navy, my brother-in-law was a Marine, etc.”

“Why aren’t you?”

“Well, I went to college instead. You only join the army if you want to.”

“Do you not want to be in the army?”

“Ok, time for Hangman�”

Damn little kids.

A couple of weeks ago, my keys fell out of my khakis in my sister’s house. When I was about halfway home (on Route 16 in Wellesley), I got a call from my brother-in-law Dave telling me that he had my keys and to “meet me at the VFW, it’s about halfway between us.”

So I drove my fancy little foreign car onto the dirt parking lot across from the Holliston Middle School, got out, clicked the remote to lock the doors and walked in.

I was so out of place it wasn’t even funny.

Luckily, Dave was like Norm there, everyone knew him. And, as it turns out, everyone basically knows me. I can put on this Cambridge veneer, but at essence, I’m still a wicked townie.

I told the bartender that I’m meeting Dave, and he says “Oh yeah, I thought you looked like Karen”. The guy at the end of the bar turned out to be one of the Donovan kids, who lived across the street from us on Wilkins Road. He told me that the last time he saw me I was “like two feet tall”. Since we moved from Wilkins Road to Washington Street when I was three, that makes sense. God, these Olde New England towns have long memories.

Sorry, ok – topic. You see the plaques on the wall, you see the old guys wearing the high-riding hats which have the names of their ships or airborne units surrounded by stars. You see the flags and the stickers on the mirrors referencing Osama and his predilection for goats. I don’t deserve to be here.

What do I do for a living? I turn ones into zeroes and zeroes into ones. It’s really very exciting. To be fair, as corporate jobs go, the current gig isn’t bad – helping people find jobs is a good. But, I’ve been wondering if there are other ways to use the talents with which I’ve been blessed.

It doesn’t make sense for me to be a cop or a fireman; there are many out there who are stronger and swifter. I could join the FBI, but I’m too old. Ditto Americorps, although that would let me emulate one of my favorite ex-abuzzers, Maria Echaniz.

Maybe Peace Corps. I have the application done. It’s sitting on my desk in front of me. Josh, John and Harriett have graciously agreed to serve as references. I’m economically stable enough to be able to disappear for two years without screwing the rest of my life here.

The question is whether I can better serve by helping people find jobs here or by potentially having a greater impact on disadvantaged people overseas.

I honestly don’t know at this moment which way my life will go. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out.

For now, I guess I’ll work on optimizing the jobs browse tree and preparing for the Guatemala trip. The cinder blocks, rebar and mortar aren’t going to magically transform into a home by themselves, right?

And, I’ll take this day to honor those who do what I cannot and to reaffirm my commitment to do that which I can.

Amazon Scam

This group of lowlifes has decided to take advantage of a new feature at Amazon.com which allows customers to cross-reference books (i.e., if you liked this book, you should try this other one.) In their bitter little minds, they said “Hmm, boy, if I can get my crappy self-help book cross-listed with the latest Tom Clancy book, then all sorts of people will want to buy it.”

As the Internet devolves, I find myself getting more and more cranky with those who feel compelled to scam.

Crouching Yoda, Hidden Dragon

Now that Tracy is back from Europe, we finally saw the new Star Wars movie last night. It was much better than Episode I. There were parts that were sloooooow, and the dialogue was laughably bad in a couple of spots, but Obi-Wan is a cool guy, the fight scenes were exhilarating and Natalie Portman is still awful pretty.

I think that kids from 6-15 (the real target audience) will really like it. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t have really high expectations. As it turns out, it’s much easier to enjoy movies when you go in with that mindset…

The only real downside is that I saw it at Fresh Pond, better know as the worst theater on the planet. If we hadn’t been so lazy (and had a big white dog anxiously awaiting our return) we would have driven out to Framingham to see it in its full digital glory. Back in 1999, I saw Episode I with Jon and the Catalog gang at the (then) newly refurbished Cinerama theater in downtown Seattle. Seeing an epic movie in a magnificent theater makes all the difference.

Sunday, May 26, 2002


I just got my Guatemala tickets. The trip is only six weeks away…

An Excellent Summer Job

Sorry to pimp the current gig, but you can work for the Red Sox as a Fenway Ambassador. It looks like a lot of fun.

More Joy With Spam

And the spammers shall rule the world. It’s getting worse and worse. Here is an interesting K5 discussion on this topic last week. I love the Earthlink commercials where they make fun of AOL by having tennis balls constantly fired at the person at the computer.

Of course, Earthlink isn’t any better. I was debugging my mother’s email system yesterday and had to go into her account to clean out the spam.

On a more humorous note, AT&T Broadband filtered out their own spam. Hee.

My New Favorite Node in the Google Directory

Allegedly Unethical Firms.

Mapping troubles

An interesting article on the trouble with mapping commands to results.

Sunday, May 5, 2002

Like a New Car Every Semester

The Globe Magazine had a nice piece today on why college costs so much. The author spends some time with students at Tufts to see what they’re getting for their money. I remember being sick when Syracuse crossed the $20,000 per year mark. That was only ten years ago, now all the schools are north of $35,000.

I’ll have to ask my mother how much Grandpa Rich paid when he was a student at Tufts back in the 30’s.

Thursday, May 2, 2002

A Riddle, Wrapped in an Enigma, Smothered in Secret Sauce

We saw Enigma at the Kendall Square Theater last night. It dragged in places, but I always give the benefit of the doubt to movies about math. 3.5 stars.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Rolling with my peeps…

I always have a soft-spot for my fellow late-90’s Amazon acquisitions. Alexa is trying something interesting. They have their website metadata available through a Google-powered search in an Amazon look and feel. For each of the sites, they have related sites as well as a place for Amazon-style reviews.

And hey, it looks like I have the 3,685,600th most popular site on the web.

And I usually keep track of the contracts I sign…

Moronic Quote from Turner Exec Jamie Kellner in regards to Tivo and other Personal Video Recorders (PVRs):

JK: How would that destabilize it? We’d be running the exact same spots. It would all be incremental viewership. That’s just one idea. I’m a big believer we have to make television more convenient or we will drive the penetration of PVRs and things like that, which I’m not sure is good for the cable industry or the broadcast industry or the networks.

CW: Why not?

JK: Because of the ad skips…. It’s theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you’re going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn’t get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you’re actually stealing the programming.

CW: What if you have to go to the bathroom or get up to get a Coke?

JK: I guess there’s a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom. But if you formalize it and you create a device that skips certain second increments, you’ve got that only for one reason, unless you go to the bathroom for 30 seconds. They’ve done that just to make it easy for someone to skip a commercial.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

D-Lo! D-Lo!

Congratulations to Derek Lowe for pitching a no-hitter at Fenway yesterday. This is the year that the Sox will finally win the World Series, I can just feel it.

Hmmm, where have I seen this before?

Google launches a question-answering service. Well, Abuzz gave (and still gives, to some extent) these answers away for free. It will be interesting to see if Google can pull this off. You can become a professional Google Researcher, if you like.

In other community news, Design for Community has an interesting article on what types of advertising work in community spaces.


Ok, I’ve always been a Bledsoe guy. While I loved the Super Bowl season, I was sad that Drew wasn’t part of it. That’s why I was so happy when he came in to win the AFC Championship Game.

Well, now he’s been traded to Buffalo. The Boston writers have written nice things about him. The Buffalo fans are ecstatic. Finally, Drew showed what a class act he is by purchasing an ad in my paper thanking the fans for all their support over the years.

Dorothy Parker was wrong

Men *do* make passes at girls who wear glasses.

Mmmm, Red Kitchen

Red Kitchen is a recipe weblog. I’ve been watching it for a couple of weeks and have seen quite a few interesting things pass through.

I am so trendy

You can track the popularity of your name over the years at the Name-o-Meter. Jason was #3 in the 1970s, but has sharply dropped off since then.

Dawn breaks over Marblehead

AOL finally realizes that “Gee, people might not like all this intrusive advertising, after all.”

Other Remembrances of Youth

I just tripped over the Davey and Goliath website. Also, in case you were wondering, the Smurf Village was a Marxist Utopia.

Get those stories ready

Fray Day 6 is September 14th.

Thursday, April 18, 2002


Tracy and I went to see Kilimanjaro at the Omni Theater last night. It was really good, and I recommend that you see it if you can, but it’s always disconcerting to be looking at a five story screen when they are doing a slow pan. Very Queasy.

Damn you, Axl Rose

Apparently the former Guns ‘n’ Roses singer is blocking a proposed reunion tour for my beloved Replacements.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I spent last weekend with Marc and Heather celebrating Marc’s thirtieth birthday.
We also did a little planning for their wedding in September. As part of my duties, I get to plan the bachelor party. Vegas baby Vegas.

Tough Job

This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. The Deadly Follies of Stick-Figure-Warning Man and Family.

The Rise of the “Nobody” Memoir

The Washington Monthly has an article on the recent spate of memoirs written by non-famous people. I found this interesting in relation to my own China writing.

One of the items it covers is the fact that memoirs are required, to some extent, to “tell all.” This causes problems when the others about whom you’re writing are people you know, people you care about and people who are likely to read what you say. I think that they final China draft will go back to a simple, light and airy travelogue and I’ll save the serious stuff for the next work of fiction.

Why the Europeans and Arabs, each in their own way, hate America and Israel

The Weekly Standard spends some time among the bourgeoisophobes. This is long, but interesting.


Google sued in Germany. Telling quote:

“Deutsche Bahn will file suit in Germany, where all three search engine companies have subsidiaries, because it feels it would not stand a chance in a U.S. court because of freedom of speech allowed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“There is no chance to sue them in the U.S. You are really allowed to put anything on the Internet there,” Schreyer said.

Woo Hoo

Fun Flash soundboards for Homer Simpson and Samuel L. Jackson (warning: salty language).

Used Books Controversy

There has been a controversy over the past few weeks about Amazon selling used books and new books at the same time. Here is an enlightening essay on that topic.


I love it when my interests intersect. David Weinberger, co-author of the fine book The Cluetrain Manifesto and the entertaining JOHO the blog, is keeping a weblog on Boston.com about his adventures in China.

Here We Are Now…

I was a sophomore at Syracuse when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came out. Salon has an article on its significance.

It’s my life and it’s my wife

I know a bunch of people who spend a lot of time on the crack, better known as Everquest. C|Net has an article on the Everquest phenomenon.

Sunday, April 7, 2002

Baseball Season is Here!

The Sox just swept the weekend series in Baltimore and Pedro looked like the Pedro of old today. Ok, so it’s the first week of the season and the Orioles are the worst team in the league, but it’s still something.

This is our year – I just know it.

Samantha’s Gymnastics

The best athlete in my family, my niece Samantha, has her state championships meet in two weeks. We just got some pictures back from her last competition. Here she is leaping and doing a split on the balance beam. I hope to be able to get some good pictures from the states meet. Stay tuned…

My New Favorite Hangout

Bathroom Break, Boss? has some very funny stories about the working world.

Library of Congress? Detroit? Beyond the Sun?

Bachelor Party was one of my “formative” movies, coming out when I a) was turning 13 and b) was getting cable. Tawny Kitaen was a goddess. Now, she beats up baseball players and she has not aged well.

Alternate Gnus is Good Gnus

Excellent writeup on the history of the Independent Media Center. I was in Seattle when they formed, so I’ve been following their progress for quite a while. They even have a chapter in Boston.

In the Year 2525…

The Globe has a feature today about which recent rock songs will become standards.

As I am going to someday quit the software biz and go become a dustbowl folkie, this is a topic to which I’ve given much thought. “Blister in the Sun” was mentioned in the article. Here are a few more from my list:

  • 99 Luft Balloons by Nena

    Can’t get enough of that German singing. Plus, bouncy!

  • Hand in My Pocket by Alanis Morissette

    It’s easy to sing, and everyone has the album.

  • Ask by The Smiths

    Wonderful lyrics and a good melody.

  • Beautiful Day by U2

    It is inextricably linked with 9/11 and (for people around here) with the Patriots’ Super Bowl win. I always thought “With or Without You” would be the U2 song on this list, but this one is better.

  • 32 Flavors by Ani DiFranco

    Another beautiful, yet easy to sing song.

  • Criminal by Fiona Apple

    For all the ladies who want to sound sultry…

    and finally…

  • Can’t Hardly Wait by The Replacements

    Maybe not be a “standard”, but definitely something I’d sing.

What’s on your list?

Misc — Misc — Misc

C|Net on the perfect email client. The Smithsonian gets the squeegee which saved six lives on September 11th. My man has a “working mockup” for a time machine.

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