Archive for June, 2004

The wife acceptance factor

Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

This was a fun article from the Globe a couple of days ago, talking about the Wife Acceptance Factor, and how it determines what men can actually buy for themselves.

Men like toys, electronics, sports cars, golf memberships. Then they get married, and wives have a say, even veto power. Torn between their own desires and preserving their marriages, the men of the new millennium are learning about WAF.

I’m just getting used to this concept. “But honey, remember how we discussed how much better our lives would be if only we had a 30″ cinema display?”

Old Abuzzers never die

Tuesday, June 29th, 2004

They just create new spaces.

Whiskey Bar closes

Tuesday, June 29th, 2004

This is sad, but understandable. The proprietor at the Whiskey Bar, an excellent political blog and a daily read, has chosen to close down his comments section.

The original idea behind Whiskey Bar was to have a site where I could experiment with different types of content – straight reporting, opinion, comedy, media criticism, book reviews, graphics, etc. – while also providing a cozy spot for like-minded readers who wanted to offer their feedback, ask questions and/or talk about similar topics. I never really imagined it as a chat room or an on-line community like Daily Kos. I never thought it would become that popular.

In other words, I thought I was opening the kind of smoky little bar where the regulars outnumber the first-time customers, and, as the Cheers theme song had it, “everybody knows your name.” Instead, I’ve ended up with something that’s more like one of those huge franchise watering holes were you have to shout to be heard over the roar of the crowd.

It’s a sad, but almost inevitable outcome of any online social gathering space.


Monday, June 28th, 2004

Occasional colleague Jimmy Guterman is launching The Sandanista Project, a project to recreate The Clash’s Sandanista!, an experiment in open source music-making.

On December 12, 1980, The Clash released Sandinista!, one of the most ambitious records in the history of rock’n’roll. It wasn’t their best record, their best-selling record, or even their most enjoyable record, but it is an exciting, sprawling mess that I return to constantly. I rarely go more than a month or two without listening to a good chunk of it, even the Evil Side Six. …

I’m not a fan of tribute records. Nearly every one I’ve heard is a hit-or-miss set, usually with way more misses than hits. So I’m wary of that particular vehicle. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m convinced that a Sandinista! tribute collection could be a sprawling mess in the tradition of Sandinista! itself, especially if I populate it with people you wouldn’t expect on such a collection. The original was stuffed with surprises; so should any tribute. …

Despite a $0 budget and record-company rejections before Opening Day, I’m going to do this. On December 12, 2005, the 25th anniversary of its original release, I’m going to release The Sandinista Project.

I’m a diehard Clash fan; I can’t wait for this to come out.

More on how to combat spyware

Friday, June 25th, 2004

From Wired: An Arsenal to Combat Spyware

Other steps can protect against spyware. One simple way is to switch from Microsoft’s browsers, which have security holes for spyware programs to exploit. A good alternative is Mozilla Firefox. A not-so-simple step is switching to the Mac or Linux operating systems, which don’t have spyware problems.

Linky Goodness – 6/24/04

Thursday, June 24th, 2004

Ugly wedding dresses.

Hilton Hotels “privacy” policy.

Why writing your own search engine is hard.

“Hey, I got an idea: let’s turn away all traffic from Google News to our advertising-driven site.”

Slashdot reviews my current favorite book: Advanced PHP Programming. Yes, I am totally embracing the inner geek. Mmmm, caching strategies…

Business Week on the AdWare scourge. Have I told you lately how happy I am with my Mac? Stuff like this doesn’t happen to me. And, the new spyware-laden Beastie Boys CD didn’t leave behind any of its detritus on my machine.

Ok, guess which Linky Goodness item was contributed by the fabulous A.?

As if I needed another reason to boycott Wal-Mart

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004

A San Francisco judge certified a class action suit against Wal-Mart for its treatment of female employees.

The lawsuit, brought in 2001 by six women, accuses Wal-Mart of systematically paying women less than men and offering women fewer opportunities for promotion. The lawsuit stated that while 65 percent of Wal-Mart’s hourly employees are women, only 33 percent of Wal-Mart’s managers are. …

As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart has become the target of dozens of lawsuits regarding off-the-clock work and other employment practices. Indeed, because of its huge size, the company has become a lightning rod for criticism.

Nick Bradbury and people who want something for nothing

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004

Nick Bradbury, author of the fine FeedDemon RSS reader, posts about what happens when people who stole the software get upset when it breaks.

[P]eople who use a pirated version of FeedDemon are emailing me for support. It never ceases to amaze me when people not only steal from me, but also expect me to spend my time answering their questions.

Any PHP Gods out there?

Monday, June 21st, 2004

I’m starting high-level system design for the new project. Right now, I’m debating using Smarty as a templating system.

Anyone have any experience with it, or other templating systems?


Scrapbooking = Blogging + Permanance?

Monday, June 21st, 2004

Here’s an interesting article tying together blogging and scrapbooking.

[Scrapbooking is] a social hobby, far less solitary than blogging. Mothers and daughters work on their scrapbooks together. And the subject matter is much more personal than most bloggers’ writings and photos (livejournal bloggers excepted). This is perhaps because the privacy of scrapbooks allows this intimacy — no fear of stalkers stumbling on your scrapbook the way they can on your blog. And scrapbookers are overwhelmingly female. They are also, photobloggers aside, of a more artistic bent than the vast majority of bloggers. The whole point of blogs was to make website composition simpler, so the writer could concentrate on the words. Scrapbooks are all about composition, and that composition is getting more sophisticated all the time. Some scrapbookers are even taking art classes so they can supplement their photos with portraits and other works of art. is awful

Sunday, June 20th, 2004

I went to look at an article on MSNBC this morning; it wouldn’t even load on Safari. I switched over to Mozilla; the page loaded, but the poll broke.

Nice job, guys. Not everyone is on a Windows machine.

Linky Goodness – 6/19/04

Saturday, June 19th, 2004

Air marshals are easy to spot.

How Microsoft lost the API war.

Writer’s block.

Critical thinking on the web.

LawMeme on the situation.

Why Digital Rights Management is bad.

Reason MCXII why I love the internet

Friday, June 18th, 2004

The infinite cat project. Click the first cat on the homepage, then keep clicking the “next cat” in the top right of the screen.

Mike’s blog

Thursday, June 17th, 2004

Don’t know how I missed this, but Michael Dupuis now has a blog.

His most recent piece about layering features into releases resonates with my current challenges. Good stuff.

Creating a logo

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

Does anyone know any good resources on the web for best practices in creating a logo? I need to pull together business cards, letterhead, etc. over the next couple of weeks.

I’ve got the name and my friendly copy of Photoshop; I’m ready to roll.

Take away the binky!

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

Dooce writes about the saga of taking the binky away from her 4-month old.

Part 1. The day the binky died.

Our little Robert Downey Jr. has cried more in the last four days than she has in the last four months of her life on earth. She has used up all the crying. There is no more crying left in the world. Your baby shouldn’t cry anymore because Leta “The Gawker Squawker” Armstrong has cried enough for all the babies ever in the history of mankind and the universe.

Part 2. The Internet gets angry, but it doesn’t matter.

Maybe I should mention the email someone sent me a couple weeks ago suggesting that the reason Leta screamed so much was because I DIDN’T LOVE HER ENOUGH. That’s right, I don’t love her enough or “pick her up and comfort her.” PICK HER UP? WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?? You’re supposed to pick these things up? Why don’t they tell you that at the hospital?

If you can’t tell already I’m a little grumpy. Okay, really grumpy. Monumentally grumpy, engaged in the redefinition of grumpy. I haven’t slept in almost seven days because of all the good times we’re having. But you know what? Do you want to guess what happened last night? Leta slept for 10 HOURS IN A ROW. TEN. T-E-N.

New media, old media

Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

Bruce Allen, over at Boston Sports Media Watch, is talking about how the “professional” media is still taking potshots at Internet-based media.

[Boston Herald sports writer] Tony Massarotti and many of the other traditional media types feel threatened and out of their comfort zone. They’re used to controlling the information that gets to the fans. Now, if players are directly communicating with the fans, the media loses that bit of control, and their bosses are questioning them as to why they’re not getting that information. Their ecosystem is being challenged and their instinct is to fight. First, they mock. They must try to discredit anything from the Internet. Refer to the people who use it as “geeks” and portray them as living in their parents basements. Then as the medium gets more established, they move onto attacks.

The journey begins

Monday, June 14th, 2004

I said on New Year’s Day that 2004 would be a momentous year. So far, it seems to be happening: not only am I marrying the woman of my dreams in August, on July 16th, I’m leaving the Boston Globe to start my own company.

Much more to come over the next few weeks 🙂

Linky Goodness – 6/14/04

Monday, June 14th, 2004

Life as an expat in Saudi Arabia.

Inc. Magazine’s special report on the art of sales.

Business Week on the future of computing.

Jeff Jarvis on Chinese censorship, and American.

Why is gambling more secure than electronic voting?

Jef Raskin’s summary of the humane interface.

Linky Goodness – 6/10/04

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

The lure of working for yourself instead of a corporation.

How to manage smart people.

Seth Godin on applying for a job.

The state of email.

Outstanding analysis of Bush’s torture memo.

Program managers at Microsoft.

Tracy’s Tivo trevails.