Well that was a fun week. Cross Country Camp was a blast. We flew every day except one (thunderstorms). One of the pilots I was mentoring dropped out of the camp after battling a few episodes of air sickness. The other did an excellent job. On Wednesday we set a 50km task so that she could get her first distance badge. In the end, we flew over 200km. Photos coming soonish... ;-)
After sufficient harassment from fellow campers, I gave up reading email on Tuesday and haven't looked at it since arriving back home on Saturday night. Damn, that's a good feeling--one that's certain to reverse itself tomorrow morning when I download the hundreds of messages waiting for me.
A few weekends ago I flew in a 2-32 and got checked out to fly rides. That means I get to fly for free once in a while and introduce random tourists, locals, and other folks to the sport of soaring. So if you've wanted to fly in a glider, drop by the Hollister Gliding Club to see what's available. Who knows, maybe I'll end up as your ride pilot.
Today I flew my first passengers as a commercial glider pilot. Of course, during my first flight I was asked the question that I knew someone would ask sooner or later: How many rides have you given? (or "How long have you been doing this?")
While I was tempted to say "congratulations! You're my first!" I fought that urge and pretended they wanted to know how long I'd been flying.
All told, I flew six rides today. It was a lot of fun flying.
I'm at a flying camp for the week (and have been since Sunday). Expect no updates here. :-)
I haven't taken very many pics yet and have posted even fewer (sleep deprivation). But so far I'm impressed with this city.
London feels modern and very old-world at the same time. And the folks at the BBC I've met so far are very clued in and in many ways far ahead of the broadcast establishments in the US--including NPR.
More later. It's just after midnight here and I've only slept about 2 hours in the last day. Big day tomorrow.
I hear we got one of Boeing's top test pilots. I wish I got his name, but the crew was saying that he's the only one who loves getting close to mountains. Not too risky. I hear even at the closest point we were a mile or two away from the mountain, but when you're next to a 14,500 foot high mountain that seems really close. The only way to get closer would be to climb it.
I've got news for you, Robert. You need to go for a glider ride in the mountains. Instead of being a mile away, you can be flying just off the peak at 100 miles per hour with no engine noise at all. You'll never go back to the noisy way. ;-)
I'd be glad to take you up next time you're near Lake Tahoe.
As previously noted, I'm heading to London today and arriving tomorrow morning. Of course, I woke up to news of the second round of bombings--much less destructive than last time but still jarring. I'll say off the subway.
I'm looking forward to visiting the BBC, the Geek Dinner on Friday (a whole bar?!), and OpenTech on Saturday. See you there. I'll be the one giving out Flickr stickers. Get 'em while they last!
Maybe I'll get a chance to try out my new iPass account in the airport.
While I don't claim to know or predict the future, I do feel like this whole blogging thing is gonna peak sooner or later. After that it may die off or continue along just fine. But either way I suspect blogging as a "hot thing" can only last so long.
How long? That's the question.
It seems to me that the advertising bits are falling into place, the tools are beginning to mature, the marketplace of platform and service vendors will be consolidating soon, and well... everything seems to be falling into place.
What's still missing?
Blogging now feels like on-line shopping around the year 2000 or 2001. Most of us no longer think it's a miracle that it works, a new thing, scary, difficult, hard to understand, etc.
So I'm starting to wonder what the timeline might look like. Roughly when do you expect blogging to go from being "the new thing" or "the thing that changes/reinvents X" to just another part of daily life for a bunch of people? ...just like on-line shopping.
On Wednesday evening, I'll be participating in a Corporate Blogging panel hosted by the folks at Cooley Godward and Voce Communications. For full details on the evening, see what Mike Manuel (aka, Media Guerrilla) wrote about it.
The initial blurb from the oragnizers says:
As corporate America continues to examine the impact of social media on business, particularly blogging, it’s clear that some significant challenges remain, not least among them are legal and communication issues involving fair disclosure, corporate policy and to a greater extent, freedom of speech. While a growing number of companies recognize the need for transparency in their communication with customers, partners, investors, and the media -- and see social media as a means for helping with this important goal -- transparency must be balanced with purpose and responsibility.
With this in mind, Voce’s teaming up with Cooley Godward and co-hosting a roundtable discussion on corporate blogging next Wednesday evening, July 20th in Palo Alto. The purpose of the discussion is to examine and hear first-hand how some of today’s leading corporations and decision makers are approaching the new opportunities and challenges of business blogging.
Charlene Li of Forrester Research will be moderating.
It should be an interesting evening...
(Disclaimer: Yahoo is a Voce client. I have no idea if we've ever done business with Cooley.)
Okay, the "Can't Park" pictures and story got picked up by Boing Boing, CNet, and others. I was a little surprised, which means my understanding of where "the line" is must be off by quite a bit.
So next time I'm going to post pictures in an effort to shame those who don't bother to flush. (Yes, that happens too!) Aside from RateMyPoo and PoopReport, I wonder where those will get posted and linked to...
The mind boggles.
This is the funniest thing I've seen today, aside from CNet blogging about parking at Yahoo. The folks at SatireWire decided to interview Ask Jeeves and ended up with amusing results.
It seems that we've haven't come that far since Eliza, have we? ;-)
Does anyone know of a published list of Public Relations companies--or at least those involved in Technology PR?
I get so damned much spam (I mean "pitches") that I'm starting to think that life would be better if I just blocked email from all the big names in Tech PR.
Have you seen such a beast? I'd be glad to host it if others are willing to contribute. It could even form the basis of a nice set of add-on rules for SpamAssassin. :-)
Given both company names and e-mail domains, it'd be easy to come up with something.
(Amusingly, I got this idea from someone in Tech PR who understands the pain.)
In Make Your Backup Singers Your Stars, Steve Rubel mentions me and Robert Scoble and then says:
And unlike the rock stars, these performers love to leave the stage and mingle with their audience. So as you think about creating PR programs, use the technologies to transform your backup singers into stars.
I have two responses to this:
Oh, and thanks for the vote of confidence. I really enjoy my job and the fact that The Company is tolerant of my public presence--even encouraging it in many cases.
I'm heading to London at the end of the week to spend some time at the BBC and attend the Open Tech 2005 Conference, thanks largely to Ben Metcalfe of Backstage fame (among other things). In fact, I see that he just wrote about it too.
In some of the email we've exchanged, I tossed out the idea of a Geek Dinner on Friday night. I don't know what the venue would be and would rather rely on local recommendations--preferably near the Open Tech conference.
According to the site:
OpenTech 2005 will take place on July 23rd at Imperial College's Reynolds Building, part of the Charing Cross hospital campus in Hammersmith, London.
If you're interested in attending, please leave a comment with your e-mail address or mail me. And if you've got a suggestion for somewhere to eat--all the better!
As a bonus, it looks like Chis DiBona will be in London too. I wonder if he'll be anywhere near the same place?
Update: Check out the official Geek Dinner site where Lee is helpig to coordinate things. Excellent!
David Beach asks why it's so hard to find the right time to go on vacation:
Why is it that there's never a good time to go on vacation? There's always something important going on at work. I don't know how many times I've gone on vacation and had to fly home in the middle of it for an important meeting, then fly back. This time isn't much of an exception. I'm working on some great stuff that is just getting off the ground. It's not easy to leave. Plus I really dig what we're doing. So that makes it tough. I'm leaving things in good hands. But I'm going to check email and be available just in case. I don't have to. But I want to.
I feel the same way, though I've never gone as far as flying back for a meeting. I guess he has more important meetings than I do! :-)
Bitching about parking is all the rage at Yahoo this week. And with good reason. We're well over capacity for our alloted parking spaces and it's just getting worse.
A few years ago, we had an internal web site that featured photos of cars the exhibited parking problems (taking two spots, parking nearly sideways, etc). But in the age of Flickr and cameras on every phone, the idea has re-apppeared in the form of a shared Flickr account.
So, if you're terribly bored and want to see how a few Yahoo employees manage to piss off the rest of us, visit the cantpark photostream.
Who knows, maybe you'll recognize one of them and can help us "educate" our co-workers.
Meanwhile, I'll try to work from home more often. But given my upcoming travel schedule, even that might be hard to arrange.
One of the most mind-blowing presentations I've seen in the last year was in a medium sized conference room, less than a 2 minute walk from my desk at work. Marc Davis of the UC Berkeley School of Information Management and System had come to tell a group of about 25 Yahoos about the research that he and his students have been doing as part of Garage Cinema Research.
As the Garage Cinema site says:
Garage Cinema is doing cutting edge research in media metadata, context-aware mobile media applications, automated media capture, automatic media editing, and the social uses of personal media.
During the two and half hours in that room our minds were exposed to some very interesting research, prototypes, and most importantly big ideas. They had been doing some seriously cool work. It was so good that we asked Marc to come back a few more times.
As Bradley Horowitz writes on the Yahoo! Search blog:
Marc’s research has that "it" factor -- inevitably, it leaves me wondering "Why didn’t I think of that?" His work lives at the nexus of the field’s most exciting areas: social computing, context-aware computing, mobile and media.
Marc and his team have joined Yahoo to form the basis of Yahoo! Research Labs -- Berkeley. This is most excellent news. I can't wait to visit them.
Speaking of excellent news... As of a few days ago, I'm part of the newly formed "Technology Development" group in Yahoo! Search. That means I'll work closely with Bradley and some other amazing folks that I've come to know in last... wow, has it been almost a year since I re-joined Yahoo! Search?
We are, of course, looking for bright folks with a variety of interests and skills as the team grows. Feel free to shoot me a resume or e-mail if you're interested. Among other things, we'll be working with Marc's team and many others to investigate, evangelize, prototype, hack, and generally encourage the development and use of new technology and ideas.
This is painful. I read Nick's announcement of FeedDemon 1.6 Beta 1 and was eager to give it a try. Lots of great new features and fixes.
I installed it, ran thru the setup (opting to to subscribe to any of the built-in feeds), and was presented with an empty aggregator.
All my subscriptions are gone. Does anyone know where FeedDemon 1.5 stored 'em? I hope to go into my laptop backups (I hope) and pull in the necessary files.
If not, this is gonna royally suck. I so want to play with the new FeedDemon...
Update: Found the old subs. See the comments for the answer. Whew! :-)
Update #2: All old feeds imported. Newsgator 1.6 rocks! Much faster, improved UI, lots of other goodies.
After a bit of searching, I've discovered that MovableType has language packs which make it possible to localize MT in various languages.
As of version 2.5, Movable Type supports localization through the use of language packs.
But then I read this:
You can download language packs from our resources page.
And it seems promising. But the link goes to a page on which I don't find the any of the following words: language, international, localization, translation. And my web search attempts are all failing me. This page is close, but not quite. (The "pimps and hos" spam in the comments is funny, though...)
What do the Germans and French do? Deal with english UI elements because that's just the way it is? Or am I missing the obvious link to these language packs?
The MT Manual explains how to install a language pack, but not where to find 'em.
Or do I need to download something like the German version to get the german bits?
What am I doing wrong?
Here I am, being a good Yahoo, checking up to see what people are saying about our new Desktop Search with Thunderbird support. And I run across this story on SearchEngineJournal.
Do you see what I see? They quote more than 50% of Duke's post on the Yahoo! Search blog, yet they never provide a link to it. And this on a site that's pimping an SEO Book?
Here's a hint. I expected a link in this text:
Duke Fan, Sr Product Manager, Search Client Team, posted about the update on the Yahoo! Search Blog
I'd suggest linking the phrase "posted about the update" or maybe "on the Yahoo! Search Blog". But being in the Search business, you know all about choosing good anchor text, right?
WTF?! Is there not enough room for a little link with that massive AdSense unit smashing their content into a small space above the "fold"?
No, that can't be it. Links don't really take up visual space. So what is it? I know they understand links--their page is full of links to their own content. Just scroll down on that page.
Techdirt is reporting that:
11% of people say they've bought from spam, while 9% said they were scammed by spam. It certainly sounds like your chances aren't very good if you're buying from spam. At the same time, 39% admit to clicking on spammed URLs, most of whom now admit that they get more spam because of it
Wow, people are more lame than I had previously imagined. Given how cheap it is to spam, maybe I should get started. There are a lot of personal enhancement products to be sold!
A while back, in Hello GDS, Goodbye YDS I wrote praising Google Desktop Search (GDS) over Yahoo! Desktop Search (YDS) because it didn't work with Thunderbird mailboxes. As you might imagine, I caught a fair amount of shit for this at work.
You can just imagine the arguments, right?
Them: It's coming in the next version.
Me: That doesn't help me now.
Them: Most poeople use Outlook.
Me: I'm not most people.
In other words, my less than popular response was generally along the lines of: "fix your damn product and then we can talk."
Well, it's time to talk! :-)
A week ago I got a beta build of the latest release of YDS. In my testing so far, I've been quite impressed. It indexed all my Thunderbird mail and I set off about searching for stuff that I'd previously used GDS for.
YDS consistently got me the answer faster than GDS. The type-ahead search (where results change as you type) is excellent. Being able to sort by any column I want (date, size, sender, whatever) speeds things up even more. And the message preview made for fewer clicks ("is this the right message or is it a response to the one I want?")
This made me realize that one of the glaring holes in GDS for me is the assumption that I always want to search my "desktop". The reality is that 95% of the time I simply want to search my email. YDS gets that.
I haven't looked at it yet, but I wonder what it'd take to embed a YDS search box directly in the Thunderbird interface.
YDS has many preferences, but it's missing the one I most want: don't index when I'm on battery power. GDS doesn't have that either. As time goes on, I hope more and more vendors make their software laptop aware (that means both power and network connectivity).
I can stop complaining! I have something more than the search built-in Thunderbird for searching my e-mail very quickly. It'll be intersting to see if there are cases where I fall back to using GDS. I can't think of any off the top of my head.
I've managed to upload most of my pictures from my recent trip to Utath. There's a photo set I created for Cedar Breaks which shows off some of the red rocks near Parowan.
Also, on one of the first days of the 2005 Parowan trip, Harry and I took a ride with Charlie Hayes in his Cessna 182. We visited several small airports that are along the common XC routes in the area. Those photos, not yet annotated, are in my Parowan Air Tour set.
I'm listening to the audio stream from the Governator's talk at Yahoo today. I'll try to note bits and pieces here while still getting a bit of work done.
Terry introduced him and now Arnold is talking about how the movie business has treated him well. He's talking a bit about his movie career and how he got started.
Land of opportunity, America is great. Blah blah. Does he say this in all of his speeches?
Now he's giving back to this country as a public servant.
He's proud of his balanced budget. Inherited $22 billion in debt. Rough times.
"Nobody can buy me."
"I created 350,000 new jobs.
Still spending too much: $1.10 for every $1.00 we get.
First year: stop the bleeding. Second year: reforms.
Lots of education problems. $50 billion and needs reform. Teachers need to be rewarded for performance. Already gave 'em $3 billion more. Too much of the money goes into benefits, not into the classroom.
Public pension expenses are out of control. Redistricting needs work too. (Wow, he's rambling a lot about redistricting.)
The prepared talk is over. That was fast. I guess it's time for Q&A now.
Four questions, Terry's got 'em.
Q1: What can we do to maintain technological leadership?
Q2: You made promises about cleaning up California politics. How have you done?
A2: A lot of work yet to be done. The economy is improving. It's easier as a outsider. He's talking about driver's licenses for immigrants now. Hmm. Not sure why.
(Terry makes a joke about married life.)
Q3: California as a gateway to other countries (asia, india, etc)... what are you doing to maximize our role?
A3: We need infrastructure in our ports. Follow up question from Terry about what we have done. Arnold talks about becoming a more business friendly state.
Q4: How has being an immigrant affected your views on immigration? What advice do you have for those of us who are immigrants?
A4: Advice: no free handouts. Stay legal.
Terry asks him what is favorite movie was. Arnold says Termintor and True Lies. Hard work but lots of fun.
Of course, he ended with "I'll be back!"
Update: Pictures are on Flickr. See the yahoo tag.
Call me slow, but I just now got around to playing with del.icio.us direc.tor.
What is it? According to the site:
del.icio.us direc.tor is a prototype for an alternative web-based rich UI for del.icio.us. It leverages the XML and XSL services of modern browsers to deliver a responsive interface for managing user accounts with a large number of records.
This gives me a whole new (and very fast) way of re-discovering stuff I've bookmarked. That's a good thing, since I have 1,090 bookmarks in del.icio.us as of now.
There's a lot of potential here.
What surprised me was how aggressively Mr Hirshberg was pitching Technorati's expensive blog tracking services to this audience of agency and corporate communications professionals. Mr Whitmore barely mentioned his company, and I didn't pitch anything, maybe I should have :-)
But I did get an interesting peak into the world of "selling the blogosphere" and how there is a large and growing number of companies, such as Technorati, that would like to make a lot of money from the work of millions of bloggers.
But here's a question nobody is asking so far: Will Technorati offer bloggers a cut of the cash too?
From today's New York Times:
Either way, the central message is that most of us are too busy with life to spend a lot of time on every decision we face. When others give us a chance to avoid a choice, we often take them up on it.
Heh. Try to contain your shock.
I'm not sure why, but I've faced an above average number of serious cleaning challenges in the past few weeks--at least for a single guy without kids. Rather than simply be annoyed by these events, I'm taking the time to share my problems with the rest of the world.
Don't you feel lucky?
A couple weeks ago I visited New Orleans for the 2005 Webmaster World Conference (pictures). I gone less than 2 days so didn't bother to ask the folks at Home Alone Pet and Plant Care (highly recommended, btw) to drop in on my cats.
You see, my cleaning service visits every two weeks on Tuesdays. I left fort the airport on Tuesday morning and they hadn't arrived yet (they usually come during the early afternoon).
While cleaning, they apparently put the litterbox scoop (a little plastic shovel) into the litterbox and forgot to remove it. This wouldn't normally matter, except that I don't have an ordinary litterbox. No, I have the LitterMaid Mega Self-Cleaning Litterbox. And it kicks much ass.
But the scoop was left in such a way that it caused the mechanism to jam up. That shouldn't have been a bit deal, since the mechanism simple goes into reverse when it senses a jam. The trouble is that it was lodged in really well and jammed in both directions.
As a result, the litterbox ran for the next day and a half. This had the effect of, quite literally, scaring the shit out of my cats. Instead of using the litterbox that was then spooking them, they opted for the next best thing: my bedroom carpet. And the hallway carpet. And a little bit downstairs too.
I was most unhappy to discover this. Luckily, my cleaning service took responsibility for the problem and arranged to have the carpet steam cleaned. It's a good thing, too. I was headed to Parowan, Utah the following day.
Oh, and the litterbox doesn't work anymore either. I need a new one.
Today I was getting some ice out of the freezer when several cans of Diet Root Beer decided to roll off the top of the fridge and hit the floor. I saw this happening in slow motion--well, all except the part where two of them explode. The exploding cans managed to spray my legs, shoes, the kitchen floor, walls, cat food, inside the freezer, and numerous other places. And, of course, I was attempting to cook when this happened.
One roll of paper towels and quite a bit of mopping later, the damage was mostly contained. After that was over, I stopped to think about the last time I had an major cleanup to contend with and realized that it'd been quite a while. I guess this was overdue.
Perhaps I shouldn't store cans that way.
If, like me, you upgraded your Powerbook to Mac OS X "Tiger" only to find it crashing every time you plugged in your Maxtor OneTouch firewire disk, fear not. The solution turns out to be quite simple.
If you have the following kernel extensions in your /System/Library/Extensions/ folder, then move them out to the desktop and reboot:
If you had never bothered to install the shitty Maxtor software that was bundled with the drive in the first place, you'd be better off.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is coming to Yahoo! on Monday to speak. I know this because an all-company e-mail message came out a few days ago to let us know. After his talk, he'll be doing a bit of Q&A, so it also asked us to submit questions to an anonymous e-mail address. But the message didn't say who is screening the questions or offer any guidance at all.
It also says that the event is not open to the public and not for the media. I wonder if I can blog it or take pictures and post 'em on Flickr. I suspect the answer is yes, since the governator is a pretty public figure. But it seems odd to even mention the media at all.
Anyway, I doubt I'll even go, since I'll probably have something more important to do. I have very little patience for politicians. But I look forward to all the jokes and pictures that will likely result from the event.
I wonder if we could get Al Gore. He invented the Internet.
I'm so sick of getting "link exchange" email. Even funnier is when it comes to the admin address for the Yahoo! Search blog, like this one:
My name is Maria Foster, and I run the web site Web Development & Software Solutions:
I recently found your site http://www.ysearchblog.com and am very interested in exchanging links. I've gone ahead and posted a link to your site, on this page:
Of course, a nearly identical message typically comes in via my blog and a few other email addresses I have within minutes.
Fucking spammers. Get a life.
Things have really been going downhill since I upgraded to Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) a few weeks back. Aside from the fact that I use the notebook less and less every week, two new annoyances have surfaced:
Given how little I use the Powerbook anymore, I'm really tempted to put it on eBay or sell it at work. I might as well just cut my losses. Spending a lot more time messing with it is difficult to justify at this point. I simply don't use it often enough to make it worthwhile.
Any ideas? Are these common problems for anyone else?
Update: The disk problem is solve. The correct answer showed up in my comemnts. The instructions are over on this page.
If you have the following kernel extensions in your /System/Library/Extensions/ folder, then move them out to the desktop and reboot:IOFireWireMxBt.kext
Yeay for the LazyWeb!
Damn. It looks like Danny Sullivan, Niall Kennedy, and Steve Rubel got in on the action.
It's the story of my life. Always a bit too late for a scoop. I feel so left out. :-(
If you find yourself on Google occasionally and would like "add to my web" links on the search results, I have a Greasemonkey script for you!
First, you need to be using Firefox. Second, you need to install Greasemonkey. Third, you need to install the google add to my web script. Then you should see "add to my web" links on every result listed in Google search results. That's all there is to it.
Inspired by Annotate Google, I hacked that little script together during the development and testing of My Web 2.0 (more: 1, 2, 3) but had forgotten about it until this morning. (Vacations tend to have that effect.)
A full screen shot is here. Oh, in case you're wondering, the boxed numbers in my results are a result of having the SearchKeys extension installed. I highly recommend that as well.
Kevin Fox, who's sporting a new look on his blog, isn't happy about some trash talking on Jeffrey McManus' blog. Kevin notes that there's always been a form of "benign competition" at work between our respective companies (Google and Yahoo).
the kind of thing when you work at a company which is in competition with other companies over who can make users lives better faster. It's more sport than cut-throat competition; it's the kind of thing where after the game is done and everyone's taken showers you're cool going out for beers with the other team.
Kevin, I should buy you a beer one of these days. Tied House is near both companies and has good beers. What do ya say?
Anyway, he thinks Jeffrey has crossed the line:
It's always good to remember that just because a guy will get drunk with you after the game doesn't mean he won't clock you across the jaw when the ref isn't looking.
Part of the problem here it that people who know McManus will read his post very differently from those who do not. They'll hear his voice and his sense of humor. But it's like that problem some people have with e-mail: you can't tell when someone is joking or laughing when they leave out a smiley. This feels the same way to me, unfortunately. Sometimes there's no substitute for face to face interaction.
It's funny... Being away for about 9 days. I read only the bare minimum of e-mail, never browsed the web, used a search engine, or once looked at my RSS aggregator.
I think the first thing that I'll do Tuesday morning is fire up my aggregator and mark everything as read. I like the idea of starting with a clean slate.
But there's this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I'll miss something Really Important doing that. And then I realized that there's a good chance someone else (or a lot of people, really) has seen the Really Important Stuff (RIS) that I will not see.
So, I ask you all... What'd I miss?
And I have lots to catch up on, tons of pictures to upload, and so on. For now, here's one shot from a Cessna 182 on Tuesday morning...
At least it's only a 4 day week, right? :-)