Posts about 'Web'

Launch mode

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

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.

Kickstarter in the real world

Friday, October 12th, 2012

So, this is really interesting. First Root Farm, our CSA here in Concord, is doing a Kickstarter project to buy a fancy new tractor.

This is the first time I’ve seen Kickstarter used in the world outside of media and technology products. Outstanding data point.

Here’s their Kickstarter video:

And this is how you kill an ecosystem

Friday, August 17th, 2012

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.

Fun with machine learning

Monday, August 13th, 2012

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.

How long would humanity last in a robot apocalypse?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

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.

Your personal API

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

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 🙂

Launching a site is like driving in a snowstorm

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

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.

Sports site for women

Monday, July 16th, 2012

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!

Building things does not require moving to California

Monday, June 18th, 2012

CNET has an excellent writeup of the Boston technology scene.

It’s inside baseball, but a really interesting read.

How to get cron to use the rbenv ruby

Friday, June 1st, 2012

With any luck, this will save people my hours of aggravation.

My problem:

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.

My solution:

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.

What is live TV?

Monday, May 14th, 2012

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.

The risks of being a small investor in a private company

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

I’m all in favor of the recently-passed JOBS act, which loosens restrictions and regulations on investing in small companies. But, the downsides are obvious.

Human nature dictates that a lot of people are going to get conned. Some of my older readers may remember grifts from the sixties, seventies and eighties — the details change, but the story doesn’t.

Entrepreneur and investor Chris Dixon gives a good run-down of some of the risks. It’s worth a read.

The story is a sad one, told many times

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

I guess this is the inevitable path of any well-respected company, as described by a former executive.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

A much better direction

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

This is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time, from a New York Magazine cover story on the New Wall Street:

“If you’re a smart Ph.D. from MIT, you’d never go to Wall Street now,” says a hedge-fund executive. “You’d go to Silicon Valley. There’s at least a prospect for a huge gain. You’d have the potential to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. It looks like he has a lot more fun.”

Hallelujah. If we can get the best and the brightest building stuff instead of pushing money around, I think we’ll all be better off.

Tracking my recipes

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

One of my other projects for 2012 is to get all my recipes digitized. My goal is to code up two recipes a day, so that by the end of the year, I should have them fully digitized and cross-referenced.

You can follow along if you like, by going to Jason Butler’s recipes. I have six up now, and I’ll add a dozen or so a week.

Of course, being a geek, I ended up writing my own custom recipe publishing engine. Of course!

Dylan’s Amnesty International Album

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Awesome. I’m listening to it on Spotify right now. It’s also available on Amazon or iTunes if that’s the way you roll.

Best tracks:

Ziggy Marley: Blowin’ in the Wind.
My Chemical Romance: Desolation Row
Miley Cyrus: You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.

Seriously, the Miley Cyrus track is really much better than you’d expect.

My Going Green Opus

Friday, January 13th, 2012

My newest piece is up at 39Essays. This week: Going green is not that frickin’ hard.

This is one of the longest single pieces I’ve ever written. I’m working on improving at this whole writer thing.

Let me know what you think!

39 Essays launches

Friday, January 6th, 2012

I just launched my first site of the year, one that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while: 39 Essays. It’s going to be a series of essays where I try to figure out the meaning of life. It’s like your very own mid-life crisis, in handy digital form!

Read all about it in my first post, Introduction and Throat Clearing.

Couple of tweaks to

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

My little site has gotten dusty. Time to fix that. So, I just did a morning’s worth of spring cleaning.

I’ve finally updated my WordPress installation from 2.2 up to 3.3. I’m recommending WordPress to several clients, so I might as well make sure that I’m up to date on all the different ways it’s useful. I plan on experimenting with more of the plugins to test out different ideas. Should be interesting!

It’s been a lot less fun around here dealing with the continual onslaught of comment spammers. So, I’ve turned off WordPress commenting entirely, and I’m going to solely have commenting through Facebook’s plugin. While it’s powered by Facebook, you can still comment using your Facebook, Hotmail or Yahoo credentials, so I hope it’s not too much of a burden. I’ll watch this for a while and see if it ends up making life better for everyone.

And, hey, I’ve caught up to 2008. You can now like, share, tweet, fold, spindle and mutilate these posts however you like. Woo Hoo! You can start by liking itself, by pressing the button right above my picture over in the sidebar. Thanks!

So, those were the quick tweaks. I’m going to do some work around design over the next couple of weeks, and I hope to be writing far more often than I have been. Though, we’ve all seen that promise before.

And wow, is my PHP rusty…

A quick update

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I just saw that my last post is dated November 10th. Yikes. Bad Jason.

I’m still thinking about topics for the blog, but I’m having less and less time to actually write them (or cut photographs, or find useful links, etc.).

Practically Green is going very strong, and running product and tech for a company inside the tornado takes some attention. Serendeputy is still (shockingly, given how I’ve ignored it for a while) gaining users; though the joy of a web application is that it just runs itself. Sadie and Lucy occasionally request my time. Plus, I’m out shoveling the goddam driveway every three hours. Need more hours. I’ve haven’t been this continually stretched for this long since Seattle.

Alas. I look forward to returning to this soon. My ten-year blogging anniversary is coming up in a couple of months. I’d like to do something nice for it. We’ll see how it all turns out.