It’s not often my worlds intersect in this way. Here’s the NPR story covering the controversy around A Gronking to Remember:
Posts about 'Web'
In the late nineties, I subscribed to several weekly and monthly magazines. Business Week. Entertainment Weekly. The Economist. Red Herring. Upside. Harvard Business Review. And so on.
Fifteen years later, I subscribed to none.
That’s the way of the world, I suppose, and part of the ugly reality I lived through in the newspaper business.
This year, I decided to change it up, and see if I could atone for the web’s original sin. I took a look around and decided to see what was worth reading, what contributed more to my life than the Dunkin’ Big One or three I’d be sacrificing.
Here’s where I’m currently spending my cold, hard cash.
Disclaimer: I have a large vested interest in the long-term success of public media. That said, I want my local stations to stay viable, which is why I donate to WBUR and WGBH. I also added WXPN (in Philadelphia) to the list this year because Robert Drake’s Day Before Christmas brought my family a lot of joy on Christmas eve.
Plus, if you don’t contribute, Elmo knows where you live.
The New York Times still has an insanely confusing matrix of options; I have the basic online subscription. Lots of people in my Twitter feed link to the Times, so it’s useful to be able to click on those links without having to remember to clear cookies, etc.
The Economist has grown-up stories and reasonable subscription plans. The feature that pushed me over the top is the audio edition. I can listen to all the articles in the magazine (er, newspaper) through a podcast. This usually gets me through a couple of commutes and a walk.
I quickly scan The Wall Street Journal each morning. I think about canceling every month, but I usually find at least one or two articles that make it worth keeping.
Technology and “media” media
The Information is a relatively new tech-industry site. I’ve found their reporting to be worthwhile.
That’s where I am right now. What else should I be checking out? I’m especially interested in Stratechery and Baekdal-style sites, featuring the voice of one person.
I think my land-speed record is 37 seconds.
It took 37 seconds from thinking “Hey, OODAdo.com would be a pretty cool domain for tools around helping people more quickly design and navigate OODA loops” to going to Dreamhost to seeing if the domain was available to buying the domain.
It’s a sickness.
Not a huge sickness, as these things go, though. It’s $10/year for a domain, and I own maybe 40 or so of them across all my interests. I can justify that as career development. Plus, it’s a business expense.
But now, I’m cleaning out my closet, and am looking to sell many of these domains. Here’s what I have up for grabs.
These are all domains you could build a brand around.
Docfu.com is great for any type of knowledge management. I had this as the placeholder domain for the next generation of Serendeputy.
Grawgo.com was originally a rough acronym for “Green as we go”.
Oodado.com is a play on OODA loops.
Freenon.com and Paynon.com are complements for an idea I was exploring around forkable nuggets of knowledge.
Nooler.com had no specific idea beyond “New + Butler”.
Manalgo.com is an idea I had around exploring the combinations of human (Man) and computer (algo) intelligence.
BostonProd.com and BostCTO.com were both domains that I planned to use as sites supporting my consulting business. It turns out they weren’t necessary, but they could be useful to a consultant, publisher or thought leader in Boston.
Awesomier.com and Menschier.com were both working off a (now-abandoned) idea around improving my personal habits.
Tweetazon.com is a simple idea around compiling and organizing all the Amazon links coming through my Twitter feed. I have a rough version of this idea up on TweetDeputy.
IMIFT.com was for a parenting site called “In my infinite free time.”
UFAWS.com was for a content site that talked about tools that are “useful, friendly and wicked smart.”
If you’re interested in doing something useful with any of these domains, please drop me a line at jason@ this domain. Otherwise, I’m going to put them up on Sedo in January to see if they will sell at auction.
It's one of the happiest times of the year: NFL kickoff weekend. The Red Sox are having a tough year, and the Patriots are coming around at just the right time.
I’m a news geek (and a bit of an information junkie — of course, I eat my own dog food, so I’m a heavy user of Serendeputy’s New England Patriots page…)).
Beyond that, here’s how I’m keeping track of the Pats and the league this year. Have fun, and Go Pats!
Boston.com Patriots pulls together the Boston.com coverage. The Globe is paywalled.
The Patriots subreddit has a reasonably clueful set of commenters.
I listen to 2-3 hours of podcasts a day — in the car, on the trail or puttering around the house. These are my football favorites.
PFW in Progress is the podcast from Patriots Football Weekly, which is affiliated with the Patriots themselves. This is the closest of any of these podcasts to having the “hanging out with your (occasionally idiot) buddies at the bar.” feel.
Am I missing anything? Please leave a comment or tweet me @jpbutler with more suggestions.
I’m making good progress on this (increasingly) large project.
The production environment is sketched and spiked, using Amazon Web Services. I think I’ve solved the SSL issues with a combination of CloudFlare and elastic load balancer.
The crawler is up and running — I’d even say reasonably solid. It’s well-behaved, working with robots.txt files and following all the crawler best practices. Once it’s running on the AWS servers, I’ll get a better idea for how many sites just block traffic from the Amazon IPs on general principles. I have a feeling that I’ll be paying for other people’s sins.
The personalization math is done and the code is prototyped. As I’m using it, I’m tweaking the coefficients for the gestures to balance how much they can influence the profiles.
The front end is not egregiously ugly! No one would ever claim that I’m a designer, but I’m going to have that alpha in front of people to get feedback, and then bring in a real design person/team/agency for the beta version.
March is going to be an insane month in pretty much every corner of my life, but I’m still hoping to have an alpha version that I (and maybe you!) can use in the beginning of April.
I’m still working diligently towards my rock-solid deadline of “Launch this thing at some point in the indeterminate future.”
I finished the gesture engine this week. Now that that’s solid, I’m spending most of my time over the next month working on the profile balancer and its complement, the homepage builder.
I’m looking at these like a chef composing a recipe: how can I balance the flavors just right? I’m working to strike the balance among recency, relevance (how it maps to your interest profile), and reputation (how important the page is on the worldwide Internet).
My AWS infrastructure is set up, and I’m running parts of the application on it right now. Making progress.
I should be able to get into alpha Real. Soon. Now. (I’m shooting for by Opening Day, but we’ll see…)
Thanks for staying tuned.
I am, in fact, still alive — not that you'd know it from my writing here. I've been heads-down on the next version of my news engine, which is scheduled to launch at some point Real. Soon. Now.
My "linky goodness" posts that used to live here are now mostly going through my account on Twitter. You can follow them (in nicely consolidated form) here on TweetDeputy. It's a quick way to keep up with what I'm finding interesting on the web.
The children go back to school tomorrow, and the transition from Dad-mode to launch-mode begins.
After I took a week or two off to adjust to an abrupt transition, this has been an insanely productive summer. (Obviously not the “writing the blog” front, though.) I’m in the middle of rewriting Serendeputy, my personal news application, from the ground up, and I’m pretty excited by the direction it’s taken. A lot has changed since I wrote the first version in 2008-2009, and it’s been so much fun to be able to update it to match the world we’re in now.
It’s currently in private “pre-alpha”
i.e., running on my laptop. I should have a thrill-seeker version available for early testing by the end of September. If you’re interested in playing with it, please drop me a line.
Tech notes for those who are interested in that sort of stuff:
- It’s still a Rails (4.0) front end, but that’s almost entirely a thin wrapper over a series of services.
- I’m playing with Clojure for the personalization engine. I’ve written the original logic in Ruby to make sure it works; I’m going to see if I can port it over to Clojure to get a performance and memory boost.
- Redis is awesome. I’m doing some of the personalization calculations natively using its sorted sets. I’m also insanely happy that Amazon just added Redis to the ElastiCache service. That is going to save me from configuring everything manually.
- I’m pretty much all in on AWS. Serendeputy currently runs on a few Rackspace (formerly Slicehost) servers; the new version is entirely AWS-based.
- I’m about to fire up RubyMotion to write the iOS client. I’d really rather have a native client, and I’m hoping that my using a Ruby-based environment can make that happen. If it works, then I should be able to contract out an Android version. If not, then I’ll fall back to the mobile-optimized site through the browser.
Happy new year!
I started a few weeks ago as the VP of Product and Technology at a startup called Compass Aging. And today, we just pushed live the first public beta of the product!
We’re building a tool that will help adult children of aging parents take control of all the challenges and opportunities that come along with that stage of life. The vision is big, and this first public beta represents about 20% of the functionality. (So, yes, things are likely to be pretty dark in these parts over the next few months…)
What’s most interesting in this first version:
- The Care Plan tool. What we’ve done here is to build out the first version of a tool that takes the concerns you have for your loved one and builds a plan customized to those concerns, with additional information and suggestions on how to take control.
- The Care Safe. This might be my favorite piece. We’ve built out the first version of a centralized place where you (and your siblings and other concerned folks) can keep track of everything that’s happening with your parents, including to-dos, notes, important documents, etc. Just keeping everyone on the same page and bought in to the plan is going to be a major win for folks.
- Housing Search. Choosing a senior-living option is one of the most important (and expensive) decisions you’re going to have to make. We want to be best in the world at helping you make that decision.
We’ve started in Newton, Needham and Wellesley. As we figure out what information is most useful for the consumers, we’re going to build this out nationwide. The IA geek in me is very excited about this project.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
p.s., Big visions require great teams. I’m hiring for about a dozen positions right now. Check them out here: Jobs at Compass Aging.
So, it’s been a little dark around these parts lately. Sorry ’bout that.
I’m in launch mode.
I’ll be back up for air in early January.
Wow, Twitter is (in my humble opinion) committing a massive strategic blunder. If you want a thriving ecosystem, let your partners feel confident and make money.
Today. Literally, today. I’m sitting down and writing the product plan for a suite of new products. They’re knowledge products, but not specifically communications products. Twitter integration was a given. Now it’s unlikely.
Classic mistakes are classic for a reason — they’re highly seductive. Still, it’s sad to see.
I spend a lot of time working with machine learning — exciting, I know. That said, this is a really interesting use of it to determine “what makes Paris look like Paris”?
Take four minutes to watch this. It’s really interesting.
Randall Munroe, author of our favorite web comic, xkcd, is writing a weekly series exploring the scientific underpinnings of interesting questions. This week? How long would humanity last in a robot apocalypse?
The good news: probably a lot longer than we’d expect.
What people don’t appreciate, when they picture Terminator-style automatons striding triumphantly across a mountain of human skulls, is how hard it is to keep your footing on something as unstable as a mountain of human skulls.
This is geeky, but supremely interesting if you’re into that sort of thing: the Cambrian explosion of everything.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past few months about personal APIs, personal deputies and Freenon’s forkable nuggets of knowledge. Within a few years (maybe sooner), everything will have an API, and most of your personal interactions with the world will be API-mediated. I’m thinking through how Serendeputy fits into this model. Right now, it’s your personal intermediary for news, and your profile is its API. How does this extend beyond this one use case?
Mostly, I want to see what I can do to make sure that this future bends towards open, with individuals controlling their data and their life. (See the previous post on dystopian futures…)
Anyway, this is the type of stuff I’m thinking about. I want this to exist; now it’s just the small matter of implementation, distribution and paying the bills in the meantime
At this point, I’ve launched a dozen or more sites to the world. (including one for female sports fans yesterday.) It’s old hat at this point, but it’s still always stressful.
I think I’ve come up with my favorite comparison for it:
Launching a site is like driving in the snow. Even if you have your snowtires and a full tank of gas, even if you totally know what you’re doing, random things can happen. You need to be continually monitoring the conditions and you probably have a death grip on the steering wheel. Several hours later, you can probably breathe again.
I’ve been working on a site called She’s Game Sports for the past few months and it just went live this morning. You should check it out and let me know what you think!
It’s inside baseball, but a really interesting read.
With any luck, this will save people my hours of aggravation.
I’m using .rbenv to manage the Ruby processes. When I run everything manually and through the tests, it all works great. Unfortunately, when I put it into cron, it fails.
Step One: Find the rbenv binary:
jason:~$ which ruby
Step Two: Update the cronfile:
In my cronfile, I changed from:
* * * * * cd /home/jason/program-dir ; ruby program.rb
* * * * * cd /home/jason/program-dir ; /home/jason/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p194/bin/ruby program.rb
There’s probably a more Linux-fu method, but this worked. If you have a more elegant solution, please drop me a line so that I can update this post.
How many people still watch TV live? Fewer and fewer I’ll guess. Certainly not us. Other than Red Sox and Patriots games, we don’t watch anything live.
Even if we’re in front of the TV tonight to watch the hour-long How I Met Your Mother finale, we’re going to spend the first fifteen minutes of it watching something else. At 8:15, I’ll turn on the recording that started at 8:00, and we’ll fast-forward through the commercials and end up finishing it at the same time as the live show.
I can’t imagine this bodes well for the companies buying those commercials or the ones selling them.