Archive for January, 2007

Trips I want to take

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

We’re pretty much grounded for the foreseeable future (not mentioning any names … little baby). To make up for it, we’ve been watching a set of Reader’s Digest DVDs detailing trips around the world and made the list of where we want to go when we can leave our Holliston cocoon.

Where to? Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Alaska, Hawaii, Seattle, drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, Disney World, Park City, Nova Scotia, Montreal, Quebec City, Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tibet, Japan, Nepal, Angkor Wat, Australia, (back to) New Zealand, Kenya, Egypt, Israel, Iceland, England, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Patagonia, Costa Rica, Antartica.

Someday…

The “screamy child on the plane” conundrum

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

AirTran Airways asked a Worcester couple to strap in their screaming three-year-old child into her seat. They refused, and the family was taken off the flight, undoubtedly to the delight of the rest of the passengers. Consumerist adds some interesting commentary.

I think I’m with the majority of the Consumerist commenters in agreeing that AirTran did the right thing. Although I certainly sympathize with the beleaguered parents, I think if I couldn’t get Sadie in her seat and strapped in for a takeoff we’d already delayed for fifteen minutes, I would have slinked off the flight in shame. I don’t think the rest of the world has a duty to suffer along with my problems.

[tags]Parenting, AirTran[/tags]

Trips I have to take

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

It’s hard to travel for work with the little baby in my life — either bringing her with me or leaving her at home with A. causes problems. But now we’re entering conference season, and travel is inevitable.

I was able to get out of going to Las Vegas for NAA this weekend, but I must be off in San Diego in a couple of weeks for the FAST Forward ’07 conference, where I can learn more about my chosen search platform and then schmooze, schmooze, schmooze. I need to re-read Never Eat Alone so that I can remember how to properly work a conference.

With wind chills below -10 tomorrow, you may be tempted to envy me my San Diego trip. Don’t. I fly out Wednesday afternoon and fly back on the red eye Friday night. I be lucky to see the sun, let alone the beach.

[tags]NAA, FastForward07[/tags]

Linky Goodness – 1/21/2007

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Home of the week in Holliston
Downtown, next to St. Mary’s.

My husband is not the boss of me
Sometimes a woman can buy a truck on her own.

Harvard Law School nimrod
I cannot emphasize how much I enjoy reading the Boston Police Department’s blog. Karma can bite you in oh-so-many ways.

How to opt-out of various direct marketing lists
Article from the Times describing how to get off many of the lists. I’m especially excited about not getting any more pre-screened credit card offers. My shredder overheats from the weekly mass-shreddings.

Farewell Trot

Friday, January 19th, 2007

When I bought a Red Sox jersey to wear to the games in 2000, I didn’t even have a moment’s delay when deciding which one to wear: it was Trot Nixon’s #7. I’ve worn that jersey over a hundred times in the Fenway bleachers since then. And now, Trot has signed with the Indians. I can only wish him the best of luck.

Trot was my favorite because he plays baseball like a hockey player; he was the original Dirt Dog. I can’t wait to go to a Cleveland game this summer and give him a standing ovation.

Here’s Trot warming up in right field, taken from my seat in 2004:

Trot Nixon warming up

[tags]Red Sox, Trot Nixon[/tags]

Linky Goodness – 1/19/2007

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Buyers scarce, many condos are for rent
Saw this story coming a mile away. If you want a good deal on a downtown condo, take a look later this year or early 2008. This market won’t come back until 2010. John Keith disagrees.

Horrible intestinal bug going around Boston
The plague monkey hasn’t brought home anything vile for a couple of months. I hope she doesn’t find this beauty.

$225k in Homeland Security dollars coming to Holliston
(Sidenote: Items like this are why I like the way we’re starting to do some regional blogs. This item wouldn’t have made it into the paper, but it’s something people will care about so we still publish it online)

Productivity tricks
Some good ideas in here. At some point I’ll write up a little bit on my own systems.

Danny Sullivan interviews Techmeme’s Gabe Rivera
Techmeme is an incredible resource for anyone in the industry. In this interview, Rivera has some great insights into how he filters the sources and discovers what’s important. I’m always looking to balance the overwhelming flow of incoming information. Techmeme helps a lot.

iPhone Review
The Chicago Sun-Times thinks the iPhone is nearly perfect.

Google drives the standards up for everyone

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Here’s a pretty insightful argument for how even applications that aren’t trying to be best in the world — internal business applications, for example — are being compared to the interactive design of Google. Developers (and websites) who’ve sailed along might be in for a rude awakening; Internet users’ expectations are rising, and Google is driving it.

The “leading edge” interface and ideas employed by Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo! are suffusing our culture to become the standard user interface of web applications. And programming the standard user interface is a basic job requirement. Learn to love it.

Patriots or Colts: which team is less loathsome?

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Universal Hub points us over to Deadspin, where the masses are discussing how they will watch a game in which neither team — the Pats or the Colts — is liked outside of its hometown.

People outside Indianapolis dislike the Colts because of Peyton Manning’s ubiquity (4 separate commercials for different brands during the Pats/Chargers game!). People outside New England dislike the Pats because they just keep winning. After a while, no one roots for Goliath.

If the Pats and Saints win this weekend (as I think they will), no one outside 495 will be rooting for New England. And that’s ok. I can’t wait to see how Belichick will turn this into a motivator for the team. “Wait a second? Are we being disrespected? We’ll show them. We’ll shock the world!”

[tags]Patriots, Colts, Belichick[/tags]

Great Patriots win

Monday, January 15th, 2007

The one advantage of having all these late games (including next week) is that the baby is asleep and not subjected to the endless stream of screams, gasps, curses and shrieks that accompany playoff football.

Yesterday’s game was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Some of us in the room were worried, but I knew Brady would come through in the end (and that the Chargers would self-destruct).

(p.s. for LT: The easiest way to keep people from celebrating on your field is to win the game…)

Must stop drooling

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Apple announced the new iPhone today. Good-bye Treo!

June seems like so far away…

I need to hire a Search Producer at Boston.com

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

I need a search producer to work with me at Boston.com. It’ll be an interesting job, helping to build the best possible search engine for Bostonians. Here’s my job description; if you’re interested, apply online!

Search Producer at Boston.com

Are you a proud Bostonian?

We at Boston.com know Boston. We’re from here. We love it here.

And we want to build the best site for Bostonians. We want to build a site where our readers can find news and information for living a better life. We want to organize Boston’s information in useful ways. We need your help.

Do you have at least a year or two of experience in the working world? Maybe working as a journalist or as a web producer? Maybe working as a librarian? Maybe you’re just wicked smart and want a cool job?

We have the job for you: Boston.com Search Producer.

What you’ll do

So, what’s a search producer?

We’ve invested a lot of time and money this year in building out Boston.com’s local search engine, a piece of software that will make it easy for our readers to find whatever they’re looking for in Boston.

We will succeed against our national competitors by emphasizing our relentless local focus and our sharp editorial voice. We can focus solely on Boston because we don’t care about anything beyond Worcester. We don’t care how search works in Peoria, only how it works in Plymouth. (Or Plimoth, as you remember from your grade-school field trips).

Our “sharp editorial voice” is where you come in. You’ll work closely with our search editors and the Boston Globe newsroom to ensure that our readers are getting the best possible Boston search experience.

More specifically:

You will tune the search engine to make sure it returns the best results for given queries. You twirl the right knobs and the search engine does your bidding. Don’t forget, though, with great power comes great responsibility.

You’ll also work to help manage our external crawl. This is where we pick worthy local sites and add them to our index. You’ll prospect for new sites and revisit old sites. If some bloggers are especially insightful, you’ll give them a little extra juice in the rankings.

You’ll also engage your mind-reading skills each morning. You’ll get a list of what our readers are searching and adjust how the search engine responds. If breaking news happens, you’ll work with the newsroom to make sure we’re delivering quality search results.

We’re also building out some specialized Yellow Pages and Shopping products. You will help set them up and ensure the data is accurate and pretty.

And of course, we also have “special projects and tasks as needed”. We’re making some of this up as we go, so if you need all the processes nailed down before you can do anything, this may not be the right job for you.

Who you are

Still interested? Great!

Here’s what we’re looking for:

You should be nimble. We’re inventing stuff in a fast-paced environment. Mistakes are OK (encouraged, even); apathy is verboten.

You like thinking things through, finding good answers to tough questions. We’ve already solved all the simple problems; you’ll work on the tough ones. You’re not afraid to think, brainstorm, dream. We’re hiring you for your smarts – and your backbone.

You enjoy mind-reading, divining intent from cryptic words in a box. (You’ll be surprised what people will type into a search box.) It’s your job to deliver our readers to what they mean, despite what they actually type.

You can handle the tools of the web trade, including text editors, content management systems, and Photoshop.

You can handcode HTML. We won’t be doing anything too outrageous, but you need to be able to do the basics. It would be fabulous if you also know some SQL and PHP or Python — you’ll have the opportunity to build your own tools, if you’re so inclined.

You can write in complete sentences with proper capitalization. We’re part of the New York Times Company – we expect you to be able to string a few words together.

Who we are

Millions of people come to Boston.com each month looking for news, sports, things to do — and sometimes quick diversions from the drudgery of their own jobs. These millions of visitors view billions of pages each year. It’s one of the advantages joining us — people will actually see your work.

How we can get together

Apply online! We encourage minority candidates to apply and are an EEO.

Revisiting the Lord of the Rings

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Eleven hours. Six nights. Three movies.

We watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy over the past couple of weekends. It’s overwhelming, but you should try to watch them all as closely together as you can.

Also, an excellent use of the new TV…

Remembering Donald Murray

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

The Globe’s Donald Murray passed away last week. I’ve never met him, but his Writing to Deadline had a huge influence on my writing. His insights on framing a story and constructing a lede are timeless.

The web would be a better read if all bloggers read his book and applied his principles.