September 27, 2002

A Brief Introduction to Writing a Brief Introduction About Some Activity No One Cares About on K5

Sometimes the folks at K5 really come up with an excellent post:

You're passionate about something. It doesn't matter what you're passionate about. It could be basketweaving, jai lai, or how to make a convincing escargot out of common slugs. Whatever it is, it's something no one else could ever, ever, possibly give a damn about. But that won't stop you, no sir! You're going to tell the world about it and write...


Posted by jzawodn at 12:26 PM

September 26, 2002

26-hour days...

It seems that my body runs on a 25-26 hour clock, usually tending closer to 26 hours. This really drives me nuts sometimes. Scheduling is a real pain in the ass at times. Like when I'm not even close to falling asleep until 3am but I know I have to be somewhere at 10am. Because I've also noticed that I need a minimum of 6.5 hours of sleep each night. Otherwise the next day really sucks. I'm just dragging all day long.


Maybe if I lived REALLY FAR NORTH (think Arctic Circle), I'd be better equipped to deal with the odd light/dark times.

Or not.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:32 PM

Y! Finance RSS Feeds Off

As many of you have noticed, the feeds are off now. Will they be back on? I hope so. Soon? I'm not sure.

What I will (and can) say is that the experience was very valuable for us.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:06 PM

Google, News, and Making Money

There's been a lot of talk in various weblogs about Google News recently. But it has been around for a while. Apparently people didn't notice it until Google made the links more prominent. Here's a hint, keep an eye on Google Labs to see what they're playing with.

Anyway, a lot of folk are speculating on if and how Google will make money from their news service. Over at Loosely Coupled, you get a sampling of it.

This shouldn't surprise anyone, but there has been a lot of talk at Yahoo about Google recently. In fact, some of us were looking at Google News a few months back--and starting to worry a bit.

Rest assured that Google will money off their news service. And it will get better. Just watch.

Remember when Microsoft and AOL were the only competition we talked about? Yeah. Those days are gone now.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:22 AM

September 25, 2002

gnuPod 0.1

From Freshmeat:

gnuPod is a collection of tools which allow you to use your iPod under Linux and other UNIX- like operating systems. HFS+ and FAT32 formatted iPods are supported.

Cool. It was only a matter of time. Now how do I convince Apple to give me an iPod? :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 11:18 PM

"I read that yesterday..."

Matt describes something I've been experiencing a lot recently:

You know you read too many primary sources when you read an article on slashdot and think, "I read that yesterday."

Yeah, ever since I got into weblogs. I don't rely on Slashdot, LinuxToday, and other sites for my information (notice that I didn't say "news") anymore.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:56 PM

Y! Finance RSS Feeds Update

First of all, thanks for all the great feedback. I see that a lot of folks are pulling it now. I'm working on some stats. It'll be interesting to see which stocks bloggers tend to watch, which aggregators they use, and so on.

I've seen a few folks make use of them in the weblogs already. postneo Matt picked up an Apple release, for example.

This is very cool. It's not often that I get such personal and quick feedback about something I worked on at Yahoo. Most of our stuff is so big that the feedback always gets filtered thru customer care and producers and so on. The upshot is that we engineers and hackers almost never see/hear/read it.

Keep it coming. :-)

A lot of you have requested features. The most popular request is to get the latest price of the stock as the first entry in the feed--linked to a quote page for more information. I like that idea a lot. I hope to implement that (and a few other things) in the next week.

The feedback is great. I can't stress that enough. We really don't get this for most of our "product launches".

If you mailed me personally or posted feedback and I haven't replied, don't worry. I've read it. I will reply. Thanks.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:51 PM

On Dave's Radar...

I think I'm on Dave's radar--at least for the moment. He not only picked up my announcement of the RSS feeds we're testing in Yahoo! Finance, he picked up on my rant from yesterday.

As I said in e-mail to Jon Udell the other day, Dave is the Slashdot of the blog community. Sort of. :-) You get linked from his site and you get lots of traffic. At least you'll never see some idiots posting "First Post!" and "Natalie Portman!" on Scripting News.

Dave, if you're reading this: Hi. Hope to meet you in person someday.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:41 PM

New Blog Category: Yahoo

I've added a new blog category: Yahoo. Why? Because occasionally I post stuff about work, so I might as well categorize. Plus, some private e-mail has convinced me that it might be a good idea. (You know who you are. I think.)

Now let's see if I can not be stupid about what I use it for.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:31 PM

I have the power!

So, I called the power company promptly at 8am to find out what they were smoking. The allowed me to pay by credit card so that I could get reactivated today (and pay a $40 "reconnection fee" for the privilege).

I asked if they'd keep the information on file and use it from now on so that I didn't have to depend on the the postal system. No, they won't. I can call them every month and tell them my CC number and they'll gladly bill it. But they won't keep my information and save me the hassle.

I get the feeling that they were put on this plant to ensure that I have hassles to deal with.

My power was on 1 hour later.

So now I can be pissed at them with the lights on, at least. I have to find the time to bitch to the PUC about them. And remember to fill out the form that lets them take money directly from my checking account. In the meantime, I need to figure out why the payment never arrived. Luckily, I know the folks behind the scenes at Yahoo! BillPay.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:21 PM

September 24, 2002

SourceForge selling out?

Ask thinks so. More than a few times, I've heard both speculation and suggestions that someone should just buy what's left of VA Linux^H^H^H^H^HSoftware. "Someone" generally means IBM or Sun.

VA might make sense as part of a larger organization, but as it stands now things are very shaky. I remember a month or two ago, hearing that they just had another round of layoffs. That was something like the 5th or 6th.

Heck, VA is worth about $44 million today. They have at least that much in assets, So the real cost of buying that company would be very low--virtually nothing for a company like IBM, HPaq, or Sun.

The real question, of course, is what does buying VA really do? What the real product or knowledge that's left? Most of the folks who were VA are long gone.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:12 PM

Fuck Silicon Valley Power and Santa Clara Municipal Utilities

No, that's not a typo. Just to make sure you read it the first time, I'll repeat it here.

Fuck Silicon Valley Power and Santa Clara Municipal Utilities

Yes, fuck them. Hard. No lubricant.

(Can you tell? I'm a little pissed right now.)

I came home tonight to find that my power was off and my UPSes were beeping at me. Puzzled, I checked my neighbors. They all had power. So I figured my breakers had tripped for some reason. I grabbed a flashlight and went to investigate. They were fine.

I sat down and ate my dinner (Chinese to go) by candle light. Of course, I had to find the candles first. Then I grabbed the phone book to call my local power monopoly. I explained the problem and the conversation went something like this.

Me: Hi. I just came home and found that my power is off.

Moron: Did you pay your bill?

Me: Yes, I'm pretty sure I did. But I can't tell you for sure. I use an on-line bill payment service and have for about a year and a half. And, well, my power is off--as you know. (I've since confirmed with BillPay that the payment went out as normal.)

Moron: What's your address.

(I tell him my address and he puts me on hold.)

Moron: Your service was turned off for non-payment.

Me: (Quite surprised.) What?! Well, can you turn it back on? I certainly have the money to pay whatever it is you think that I owe.

Moron: No, you'll need to take this up with billing in the morning.

Me: I called for emergency service and you're refusing to re-activate my power? Would you like to pay for the $100 of food that's going to spoil in my refrigerator?

Moron: Sir, you'll need to talk to billing at 8am tomorrow. (It was 7:30pm when I called.)

Me: Can you at least tell me when my power was shut off? I want to know if I should risk opening the refrigerator.

Moron: I have no idea.

Needless to say, I'm very pissed off. According to my records, they got their payment on-time. Did I get a threatening letter in the mail?


Did I get a threatening phone call?


Where do these assholes get off doing this?

I ended up driving up to Fry's to buy a 50 foot extension cord. I plugged it into the shared laundry room and used to power my refrigerator, one light, my DSL modem, and a laptop.



I'm really starting to wonder why I bother living here at all. I pay $1,400 a month (twice the monthly payments on my old house) and for what? To deal with really bad traffic, moronic utility companies, and countless other bullshit.

Oh, that's right. I came out here to work at a company that has since forgotten how to innovate and take risks. Yippie.

Maybe I should start looking for a job somewhere that I can actually afford to live. It's not like I get paid enough to make up for the fact that a house here would cost me at least $500,000. Not even close.

At least somewhere else I'd have some room and maybe more of a life outside of work.


Posted by jzawodn at 09:31 PM

September 23, 2002

Yahoo Finance RSS Beta

Got a stock ticker for which you'd like to have an RSS news feed? Help test the beta RSS feeds we've put up o Yahoo Finance. Take your favorite ticker, say YHOO, and put this URL in your news aggregator:

The pattern is pretty simple.

This hasn't been tested much yet, so I'd appreciate some feedback. There will likely be some outages as I tweak and adjust things. Also, if it works (or not) for you, it'd be good to know which aggregator you use. So far I know that NetNewsWire and AmphetaDesk like it.

UPDATE: I've fixed the missing language tag. Can a Radio user confirm that it's working now?

Posted by jzawodn at 11:47 AM