Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Gever

3 posts in 3 days? Don't get used to it. Anyway, an old co-worker of mine (Gever Tulley) who liked to draw during meetings has recently flickr'ed a sketch of me, I had to post it :)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gevertulley/285092937

He was one of my all time favorite people to work with and I just found out he is going on to build the Tinkering School. Cool stuff:
http://www.tinkeringschool.com/blog/

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Smiling Googlist

Yup, I did not have bad timing! Google just acquired JotSpot (that's where I work)! You might be thinking "Um, didn't you just change jobs like 2 months ago?" and indeed I did. I also said I wasn't gonna change jobs for a while, and technically the job sort of changed under me :) I must admit that it was a shock to learn after a few weeks that the tiny startup I just joined was going to be acquired by a Big Company. That shock quickly turned into curiosity after I met the folks over there (and, um, had a free lunch). It seems like a fascinating place and one where there will be much opportunity to explore technology. And the best part, I will be working somewhere that everyone has actually heard of! In celebration of that, let me present:

My Work History: A retrospective told as party conversations
  • 1996
    • Drunken Party-Goer: "What do you do?"
    • Long Haired Hippi Me: "I build torpedo simulators for the undersea warfare center!"
    • Drunker Party-Goer: "Um, is that punch over there..."
  • 1998
    • Wine-Drinking 30-something: "May I ask how you spend your time?"
    • Frazzled Overworked Me: "I work for a small startup called Spectra Science building software for laser-tracking systems"
    • Wine-Drinking 30-something: "Oh how fascinating! You work."
  • 2000
    • Silicon Valley Someone: "So, what is going to make you 20 Billion Dollars?"
    • California Me: "I work for a company making process streamlining and automation software"
    • Silicon Valley Someone: "..."
  • 2002
    • San Francisco-ite: "You have a job????"
    • Climber Me: "I work for Nimblefish!"
    • San Francisco-ite: "Don't they store my photos?"
  • 2004
    • New Yorker: "Get the hell out of my way."
    • Nomadic Me: "I do best practice management for an IT Governance Company"
    • New Yorker: "Where did that guy go, he was just standing here..."
  • 2006
    • Random Street Person: "And you do?"
    • Me: "I work for Google"
    • Random Street Person: "Really? Can you tell me where I can find restaurants in El Paso"
So, when do we get a chip in our head that hooks us up to their search engine??? I look forward to kicking ass at Scrabble.

Google, here I come!

:)

Monday, October 30, 2006

New news reader?

I often ponder how the oddest things push me over the cliff of effort that actually gets me to post to a blog that I can't imagine anyone reads anymore. But there ya go. So, I used NewsGator as my news reader for ages (thanks for the recommendation Josh!) but I've now moved over to Google Reader. To give you insight into my quirks, when I've found a solution to a problem that really works for me (which is incredibly rare, I typically am slightly dissatisfied with most solutions), I am usually loathe to actually change, but I've been convinced for the following reasons:
- Web based: Works across pc/mac and home/office
- Mobile: The mobile version works incredibly well on my Treo and since it is web based (see above) I don't have to figure out what I have and have not read.
- Shared Items: this is the best part and what I actually wanted to post about.

See, the way the reader works, you can tag any article as a "Shared Item" which means that it gets added to my personal feed of articles that I think are worth sharing. Now although I'm usually too lazy to write a whole 200 words in a blog post I am not too lazy to hit ctrl-S and share an interesting article. So, if you are interested in seeing articles that I find interesting (understanding that covers gadgets, oddities, and politics - in that order) you can check it out at:

http://www.google.com/reader/shared/06787200080425578803

If your doing the same, post your reader feed for pete's sake!

:)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sometimes people do good things...

My sister forwarded me this article today:
As the Nazis marched across Europe in 1939 and 1940, a Unitarian minister from Massachusetts and his wife rushed into the coming Holocaust to save Jews and other refugees, including dozens of children.

For their heroism, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will dedicate plaques today in memory of Waitstill and Martha Sharp. They are only the second and third U.S. citizens named to an honor roll of 21,000 "righteous" gentiles, non-Jews who risked their lives to rescue Jews.

I know many of you know my aunt Martha as an archeology teacher from Brown. When I was much younger I heard some vague stories about what her parents had done during WW II to help refugees across the border. I found as a child I would hear these sort of stories and they wouldn't completely make sense. I knew there was a War at some point. I sort of knew what a refugee was. I had an image of people taking a hike in the woods across some imaginary "border". Now being older and having a (slightly) better understanding of World War II and what it was about, I read this story in a whole new light. It was damn impressive of them.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I apparently think like a 67 year-old woman

I need to stay more up to date on world news. I found out that some potential terrorists were captured because someone in a gadget blog talked about being annoyed that they couldn't bring laptops on airplanes in the UK (and for the record, you can't bring laptops on airplanes?!?!?!?!?!? Holy Crap! It doesn't even register with me, what do you do? Not travel?) Anyway, in reading an article about it my favorite quote was:
Margaret Gavin, 67, waiting to board a train, said she wasn't scared. "Why should I change my life because some idiots want to blow something up?" she said.
My sentiments exactly! There was a paper published recently (introed by the ever interesting boing boing) that talks about how statistically terrorism doesn't kill many people but everyone's reaction to it is what causes all the issues (yea, I know, duh, but it was a good article).

I am really not looking forward to the stupid policies that the US will put in place in reaction to this. No water on planes any longer?? No more iPods?? No more PSPs?!?!?!?! Will I need to resort to, um, books??!?!?!? The future does not look bright. Ack!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Neophiliac

Finally, I know who and what I am. I was happily reading through gizmodo rather than doing work this morning and came accross an article that finally articulates what I am. I'm a Neophiliac in all things! Think about it, constantly moving, taking new jobs, and buying new gadgets. When playing a video game it is all about getting the new guns or powers or whatever the hell they always dangle in front of you in video games. The great part is that this is apparently an affliction!

Now, in all seriousness, the question is whether there is a NEW drug to treat it. Heh heh.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Telluride Bluegrass(?) Festival!!!

Check it out, a StoryBlog. I just got back from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last weekend. I know, the first thing you are probably thinking is "Holy Crap, a whole weekend of Bluegrass, seriously??? Um, what does Bluegrass even sound like???" The good news is that was my thought as well, so you'll get an appropriate eval of it :) My friend Karen decided to join because, well, mostly because she had nothing better to do. And I am psyched she did, she was a blast all weekend, from when we got in the car to when she tripped on the stairs and dumped 2 glasses of water on herself (heh, heh, I needed to point it out). I would not have had nearly as much fun without her! So, to set the stage, our first rule was that as soon as either of us uttered the phrase "I fuckin' hate Bluegrass" we would leave immediately.

There are pretty much 3 things to discuss about this:
- The music
- The locale
- The festival

Let's start at the top. The music was AWESOME. As it turns out, there was not a ton of Bluegrass but rather an interesting mix of styles. Yea, I know, I kept wondering why the hell they would keep so many people away by touting this as a Bluegrass festival.
- The obvious highlight of the show was Bela Fleck. Damn, that dude kicks ass. If you haven't seen the Flecktones live, you are missing out on something that could change your life.
- The next best act was an Aussie chick named Missy Higgins that had a fantastic voice, more folk than bluegrass but she was great.
- I apparently am not up with current music, so I hadn't heard the Decembrists before but loved 'em. Bought the CD. Great and quirky lyrics. DEFINITELY not Bluegrass.
- As far as actual Bluegrass, the best band was the Yonder Mountain String Band. Funky and contemporary Bluegrass. And yea, I tapped my foot (although there was no leg slapping).
- The absolute worst band there was the Drive-By Truckers. A southern rock band that offended the ears. Even worse, they played right after Bela. Ack! Bad, bad, bad idea. I left after 2 songs and couldn't get away fast enough :)

So, the Music was great but my favorite part of the weekend was the Gondola!!! Telluride is on the flip side of a mountain from a town called Mountain Village. Yea, don't be fooled "Village" has no place in it's name for this shi-shi exclusive ski resort. The good news was that we stayed at my friend Julie's house (that had mountain views and a huge hot-tub). For the record, Julie is one of the coolest people that you will ever meet. She lived in Telluride for 5 years and so had many friends there. She welcomed us into the fold and gave us a seat on a tarp (more on the "tarp" below). She kicks ass, if you met her, I guarantee you'd agree :) Anyway, I digress, the Gondola. The way we got around during the weekend was call a free car service that drove us to the free Gondola that we rode up and over the mountain (did I mention shi-shi?). There was something completely peaceful about it, especially at night. Even better, we stopped at the top of the mountain one of the nights and saw the stars at 11,000 ft. Ah. Lastly was Telluride itself. It is in an enormous box canyon. So, picture this: huge cliff walls, red sunset touching cotton ball clouds, Bela Fleck gettin' down, and a crowd that couldn't get enough. It was glorious.

Finally, there was the festival. The craziest part about this whole deal is trying to get a seat. The concert was in a big field. The way you got a seat was laying out a tarp. Now, this sounds easy, but, um, there were a LOT of tarps. So, they devised a vaguely sadistic system to allow people to claim a spot. Each morning at 10 everyone lines up to get a number for their running groups (yea, you heard me, running). They set up in groups of 50. Line up against a rope. The rope is dropped and everyone sprints with their tarp and when they find a free space close to the stage they throw out the tarp and jump on it to claim a spot. Even better, people sleep out all night next to the river to get the best spots. Now, taking this to its logical conclusion, people then just set up schedules of people to immediately go back to waiting in line after they get a spot and wait throughout the day into the next morning to get the next spot. Yea, very entertaining, who knew hippies could be competitive. The bizarre tarp flinging system aside, the festival was done incredibly well. They cleaned the field every day. There was tons of port-a-johns that were cleaned and supplied twice a day. Lots of food booths. Free mountain water. And lots of clif bar samples. Whoever organized this festival deserves an award.

To sum it up, I can't wait to go back next year!

:)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Losing sight of the goal


So, I'm in a really boring meeting right now and I got a piece of really incomprehensible spam. Don't worry, I won't forward it to you, but I did take a screenshot. This is really actually pretty interesting. Now, I understand that direct mail is a valid (albeit occasionally annoying) form of marketing, but what is this? Frankly, I'm not sure I even understand what it is telling me (maybe I need to learn more about erectile dysfunction medication). So, am I not smart enough to understand crappy spam? I don't think it is foeign language. So, why are they sending this to me? I understand that they are not expecting a 100% response rate but does ANYONE respond to this??? Why would they? What does it actually mean? Did some marketing "exec" look at this copy and say "Wow, this is gonna be one of our best marketing campaigns ever, I can't wait to get a lot of new customers from this!!!"

It really sort of begs the question of why would you try to circumvent spam filters? If someone has a filter in place, doesn't that mean they don't want an email and then in turn they don't want your product? In which case, why bother them? I'd be fascinated to see their response rates from these sort of emails. At this point though, it almost seems like a compulsion. It is as if they have lost sight of why they were trying to do it in the first place. It makes me wonder if I've lost sight of goals. Am I just running on compulsion even if it seems as incomprehensible to the outside world as this email seems to me. Probably not. Water anyone?

In light of the recent destruction of Blue Security. It actually makes me wonder if this is really just a war. We've all seen Underworld (or Fox News). Wars go on and the warriors often don't even know why, they just fight because at some point someone told them to fight. Spam was useful at some point but it really seems to have outlived its usefullness. Someone paid for it at one point. The big difference is that I think the spammers now do it as a matter of pride. They aren't expecting anyone to respond, they just want to see if the email can get through. They are a type of Ronin (masterless Spamurai who were told to fight and now do it for pride, ego, and lack of anything better to do).

All of that aside, the real question is what the hell is up with that poem at the bottom?!?!?!? Here's my theory: Gwyneth is an aspiring poet stuck in the dead end job of spamming. One day she realizes that no one reads the spam anyway so she can include her poetry and BAM, she is "published" :)

Meeting's over, I can get back to work now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Holy Crap! They paid me!!!

Ya know what's funny. If you look over the course of my blog and the significant gaps in "coverage" it will look like my roof came off, then I saw some elephants, and then they compensated me for the whole thing. As it turns out, it was much less exciting than that. Imagine long periods of hotel stays with short spurts of vaguely frustrating conversations. Yea, now you got the picture. Anyway, I am indeed rejoicing because they actually gave me a check for a boatload of cash today! Of course, I'm gonna go spend half of it on electronics and save the other half for opening the chocolate shop but that is neither here nor there ;)

The other interesting development is that my friend Amber is moving in! Yea, don't worry, I ain't living in sin, she's contemplating living in Boulder and wanted to try it out. I have a big house that I rarely occupy so why not? I think she will add some much needed spice to the GregD Show whose rating have slipped substantially in recent months.

Alright, other updates:
- Still flying to New York for work every week. You'd think that would get old and you'd be right.
- I'm going camping in Colorado! Finally gonna get out and see this awesome state's parks!
- I'm going to France/Switzerland in July with Faktor and JB to trek the Alps and Climb Mont Blanc and yea, it might just be an excuse to buy more gear.

As more news happens... well, you know the story...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Elephants on Parade!

Ok, so far I've been pretty lucky flying out of Colorado every week. You'd think it being a mountainous and somewhat snowy area that there would be lots of airport delays, etc. Stangely there haven't been except for Sunday. I was irritated with United anyway because they have just the right combo of being a service that you absolutely need and no interest in actually serving you. As a side note, their website was broken, I was getting a DNS error, I called their support line to report it (because I'm that sort of dork) and they told me it was my problem. I rechecked a few things, made sure I didn't have some wacky DNS entries, etc and said that I had checked and was quite sure it was problem with their website. The support guy said that DNS stood for Detect Network Service and that meant it was my problem. I, ahem, quite sponteously called him an idiot and asked to speak to his manager. I know, I know, I shouldn't abuse support people but he was asking for it!!!!

Anyway, back to the story, so I was many hours delayed wouldn't get into New York until about 1 AM. Kind of sucked but what can you do? Well, it I hadn't had been dealyed I wouldn't have seen a line of ele[phants going through a tollbooth (made the requisite jokes) and into the midtown tunnel. It was one of those moments you just have to sit back and say, "heh, strange."

Odd Tests...


Yea, I know, I haven't posted anything in ages and this is all I come up with??? Oh well, anyway my family has been sending around these online tests and I thought they were sort of interesting:

What kind of car are you? http://www.tomorrowland.us/sportscar/

As much as I desperately wanted to be a Honda Element I turned out to be a Lamborghini Murcielago. The description was "You're not subtle, but you don't want to be. Fast, loud, and dramatic, you want people to notice you, and then get out of the way. In a world full of sheep, you're a raging bull." Fairly accurate if you ask me ;)

Are you a nerd? http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take

This one came from my father (who, ahem, was). I turned out to be a "Modern, Cool Nerd" described as the sort of person who is fun to hang with but useful when trying to figure out how your computer works or when you need help in a trivia game :) All in all I think quite complementary!