Four new deleted scenes. Awesome.
Good lord, looks like someone found an old database lying around and thought "huh, is there any way we can make some money off this old thing?" Here's what I just got from Tellme, which I signed up for and used back in 2000 when it was cutting edge.
From: Tellme Studio email@example.com
To: Matt Haughey
Subject: Make money with Tellme & Skype
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 17:29:28 -0700 (PDT)
Dear Studio Developer,
Now you can start making money from the voice applications you create using Tellme Studio!
Starting today you can submit your voice application to Tellme. Selected applications will be deployed and publicized to the more than 55 million Skype users who can then pay to use the application.
Visit Tellme Studio now to build, test and debug your application. The first applications will be deployed soon, so start building!
-The Tellme Studio Team
I didn't even know they existed anymore. And look! They've even got a circa-2000 flash-powered splash page. You don't see those everyday.
Matt: I can't believe he got a new one when he had a year old one
David: heh, I know.
David: He's a reductionist, though.
David: he wants only the very best things.
Matt: a reductionist is like a minimalist
Matt: with a credit card bill
I love the Cassette Jam '05 page. So many memories of jammed cassettes in car radios that resulted in many yards of magnetic ribbon all over the inside and outside of my car.
I used about half a dozen of the tapes shown, but two hold special memories. I used these in the late 80s, back when the design and color combos were considered normal. My bread and butter tapes used most often were these TDKs. I recall wearing out one of these tapes thanks to a copy of the Smithereens' Especially for You.
A lot of web app developers not only turn off autocomplete for credit card input, but they disable autocomplete on many logins. I get kind of annoyed every time I need to login to my bank's site, since it doesn't let you save your username or password. Though I know it's a good security practice, I'd prefer to make the decision myself.
Today I finally started looking for a greasemonkey script to override this, but after finding nothing useful, I tried looking for extensions and it turns out there's at least one firefox extension to override these sorts of forms.
Suck it, Wells Fargo.
One thing I liked when I first started using Wordpress was that the RSS feeds had a comments entry, and in readers like Bloglines, it would render a nice "Comments" hotlink below each post. The downside was that (at least with the version of WP 1.5 I used) it would add the comments link to every post, whether they were enabled or not.
I've been meaning to do the same feature in my MT blog here, ever since I started enabling comments. Scott's recent redesign added the feature and today I noticed that I was getting feedback in email from a post that had comments enabled -- in other words, people are reading my stuff in an aggregator, and then emailing me a response instead of posting comments and adding to the entry's conversation. So I finally added it to my feeds, and it works in Bloglines nicely. Here's the code to add somewhere in between your item elements of your RSS 2.0 feed:
Just to reiterate a point I made early this year, there was a version of the blogger.com homepage that did exactly this, in early 2001, so I was extra pleased to finally see something like it in public today. I've replayed 2001 in my mind over and over again, wondering what the web developer world would be like today if KnowNow's stuff was unleashed on the blogosphere back then.
I just placed an order for my third Mac ever, this time a new iMac. I realized my 2.5 year old powerbook wasn't worth upgrading if they'll go to intel someday, and I was just using it as a desktop 99% of the time so I might as well get something designed to sit on my desk instead of my lap. Another odd tidbit is that four years ago, I used to build computers from whatever motherboard was on sale at Frys, and now I buy pre-built non-upgradeable computers. Funny how that works.
Anyway, my point is iTunes and the "renting" problem with their music. They went from allowing three machines to five after Cory at BoingBoing complained, but I think I have a better solution.
Now that I'm on my third bit of hardware, and I've had a hard drive crash on the first powerbook, and I've given my wife copies of some songs, I'm pretty sure I've exhausted five machines for some tracks. But when I get my new machine and I register it, Apple will know it's me. They own the hardware, software, and servers that both the new computer registrations and music store purchases go through. Why not connect the two? The solution to the number of machines problem is an easy one.
Instead of allowing three machines or five machines to unlock a iTunes song DRM, make it n+1 where n equals the number of Macs you have purchased and registered. It does two things for you that are both good for Apple and good for customers. One, it lets people know their iTunes music has a future. If I buy a song today, and I buy a new mac each year or two, I'll know that ten years down the line the file will still play (and this isn't a total stretch -- I have mp3s from 1997 saved somewhere). The other thing it will do is remove any hesitation to buy a new Mac on the part of your customers. Imagine if I had purchased hundreds of songs (I'm probably somewhere close to that). If you could ensure that my purchased music collection can follow me from mac to mac to mac, I'd be a happier customer of both your hardware and music services.
Think about it, (n+1) is all I'm asking for here.
When you run a large community, you invariably get some members rising to the top in terms of participation and reaction from others. It's a natural part of any community and as fast as you can dream up ways to temper their contributions or wait for them to leave out of boredom, someone quickly fills their place and the cycle starts again. Eventually their personalities grow large and everywhere they move in a community they are treated with equal parts love and hate from the rest of the group.
Over the past few months, a couple members have kind of been in the spotlight due to their strong viewpoints and strong ways of expressing it and today Jessamyn had a brilliant idea.
"You should do a fundraiser. 'how much would you pay for a week without user x/user y'"
Then it hit me that yeah, it would be pretty easy to do thanks to dropcash and the money could go to a non-profit charity, like Creative Commons. I emailed two members that seem to polarize the community and much to their credit they were both in. Not every member of a community -- especially the strong personalities -- has a sense of humor about themselves and their online persona so I commend the guys that participated in this.
A few keystrokes later and the fundraiser was launched. It's essentially a charity dunk tank, with the people you love to hate raising $5 for every softball lobbed at their perch. What's great is that after just a couple hours one side is over 30% towards the goal and the rest of the community is congratulating them for being good sports about the whole thing. With any luck, when this is all over both members will likely be seen in a different light for having gone through this.
Blogger Buzz: On Spam describes Google/Blogger's ongoing fight with spamblogs I wrote about a few days ago. They've even published a blacklist of spamblogs to help indexing services weed them out.
I forgot to mention it in my earlier post, but the big white elephant in the room is Wordpress and the affinity spam bloggers have for the WP platform. This is no slag on Matt or the community he's built, it's just the tool they like to use after Blogger. Blogspot is an easy punching bag because it's one giant source host and Google's behind it and has the resources to stop it, but what can we do about the thousands and thousands of wordpress spam blogs republishing RSS feeds from others, loading them up with Adsense banners, and being hosted all over the web? WP is released under GPL and any spamblogging plugin, extension, or tweak of WP code can't really be stopped (this isn't an argument against GPL, but I'm just saying the problem can't be stopped at the point of software being used for bad things).
Do you go after their webhosts? Is the act of gaming search engines with spam blog linkfarms and creating empty content (with others' RSS feed excerpts) adsense sites the same as anti-spam rules in webhosting terms of service agreements?
In other words, when the (single-webhost) blogspot problem gets licked, how on earth do we combat the (many hundreds of webhosts) powered-by-Wordpress spamblog problem?
Don't forget like I almost did: The Colbert Report starts tonight, so you might as well set that season pass to grab it after the Daily Show when you get home.
Apropos of nothing, one of the best pieces of advice Meg ever gave me was to impart a big lesson she learned as an english major writing fiction: show, don't tell. When writing a story, don't talk about how bad a character is, write a scene where they do terrible things and the reader will come away with the point you were trying to make.
Now, me not being an english major and not having to write much fiction, I didn't think the advice would help. Over the years though, I've noticed it comes up in a lot of things aside from writing fiction. I think about it when working on my resume or portfolio, when I wrote the realtor description for our last house, and whenever I met someone for the first time. I'm highly dubious of people that tell me a lot of amazing things they have done but have little to actually show for it.
Show, don't tell. It crops up time and time again and is some of the best advice I've been given.
I have an ego feed I check every few days for my last name (fairly rare) from technorati. On a normal day there might be one or two mentions of my last name and it's not always about me, but it's useful for finding blogs that mentioned me or are talking about a post I made.
This morning, I had 67 matches for the term which is really unusual. Looking at the results painted quite a picture. It looks like one monster spam blogger has unleashed a boatload of new blogspot blogs, always in the form of keyword-(random number).blogspot.com (like lottery-123123.blogspot.com). They suck in RSS feeds from blogs like mine and boingboing and others, then insert random phrases into the copy, with a link to their own sites using phrases they want to game google with (screenshot of one).
This has been going on for a while, commonly known as "blog and ping" tools that automate google gaming by sucking down any RSS feed and reposting to a spammer's blog. But I've never seen someone unleash possibly hundreds (at least 67, probably many more) of blogs in such a short time. I suppose there are scripts that work a level above tools that merely suck down a RSS feed and repost it to a spam blog, unleasing hundreds of rss feeds on hundreds of spam blogs. I don't envy the work Google and Blogspot have to do to curb this kind of behavior but at the same time it's lame to see weblogs become another tool in the search engine spam toolbelt.
update: oh bonus -- looking at a few of them reveals that every spam blog seems to have been created by a different blogger user account. So not only is the sucking down of RSS feeds and reposting to a blog filled with spam links automated, not only is doing this reposting to hundreds of sites automated, but it appears publishing all these hundreds of posts to hundreds of blogs with different blogger login credentials is also automated, making it more difficult for Google/Blogger to weed out the single person behind it all. Search spammer/spam bloggers sure are resourceful little bastards.
This is a test of the Flock blogging component in the new version. So far, so good and the browser is starting to look and feel like a great finished product. I kinda miss the old digg-style community links system, but I'm sure it'll crop up in another format soon.
I must admit I feel a second wave of excitement long after web nerd friends announce their intent to marry -- it's when the invitation arrives and there's a new URL to signify their love.
You go to this intensely personal site meant only for a handful of family and friends and you get to see photos you've never seen before and often see a new blog with comments from your friends' brothers and sisters -- and you didn't even know they had brothers or sisters.
It's a great little easter egg and I love when I get to see sides of my longtime friends I've never seen before.
me: Hey, it looks like Holly had her baby!
k: Genesis, that's a nice name
me: Is that a girl's name or a boy's name?
me: Genesis? A girl's name?
k: I think they're religious. She'd probably go by Genny
k: Like Jennifer... but you know... Jenny
me: "I'm Genny from around the Ark"
Today at Creative Commons, Lawrence Lessig kicked off our first annual fundraiser with a the story of how CC got started. Lessig will be sending out a new message each week covering the history of CC, where we are currently, and what we have planned for the future. We're shooting for $225,000 from the public by December 31st and you get a cool shirt if you kick in $75 or more. Every little bit helps, so please kick in a few bucks today. Thanks.
Salon's new redesign looked like they came up with the deadline first (their ten year anniversary), and fit the work to match. The way it stands, the site appears as if it was taken from the design and developer team's hands last night, while they were still working on the second draft and probably weeks away from having it fully baked.
My experience with Apple products is pretty good, though not perfect. I've had a powerbook break latches before, hard drives die, and an iPod freak out. But after setting up a multi-location Airport Express network, I'm impressed.
After going through several Linksys and D-link wireless routers that lacked stability and features, I decided to go with an Apple AirPort Express, mostly due to positive reviews and the capability of sharing music and printer connections. After using it for a week I decided to get another one, so that I could stream music to my living room stereo.
The part that impressed me the most is the airport setup program. Using a wizard involving four or five steps, I set up a pretty sophisticated network that involves security across a mesh network of the base and extender, with music and printer sharing to boot. A few simple steps and now any computer running iTunes in the house can send audio to my living room stereo and any computer can print photos or documents on my inkjet printer via rendezvous. It all just worked and it's working flawlessly. These days, it's rare when products just plain work like they should.
Paypal's phone support system uses voice recognition to solve problems instead of humans in a call center. At the last step in a security process, I was to state my first and last name listed on my account. I don't think there's a powerful enough computer in the world that would hear me saying "howie" and think that maps to "Haughey". I got stuck in an infinite loop trying to state my name and couldn't complete the process. This is a stupid way to do security.
While trying to buy a gift for a friend's birthday, I visited his Amazon wishlist page, then one-clicked him a book I own and love. A few days later his book arrived at my doorstep. Apparently if you actually want to send someone something off their wishlist, you can't use the big orange "Buy with 1-Click" button even though the option is there, and you have to go the step-by-step route. Totally broken, and I now have a second copy of a book I already own.
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