More Home Movies:

“Stuff the pillow and put on the wig…. You got it, captian.”

“I used to do that, Brendon.”
“Oh, I didn’t know you played guitar.”
“No…. I just carried it around.”

“Ahhh…my job. Brendon, I know guys like Octovio. Lady-killers. Right? I’m like Octovio. I fake accents and try to pick up girls. I do that. It works.”

Johnny Meatworth:

It suddenly hit me like Terrance and Philip slapping Brooke Shields in South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut that Elvis must be pointing toward now-current events, and that Harum Scarum must actually be a cautionary tale against American encroachment in the Middle East! Could Elvis be the incarnation of Utu, the Sumerian Sun God, come to save the tiny fictional kingdom of Lunarkand from Sinan, Lord of the Assassins? Would Billy Barty then be Tony Blair to Elvis’ George Bush? And what of Col. Tom Parker’s suggestion to MGM that insert shots of a talking camel narrator be inserted into the film? Was Harum Scarum to be an even more hallucinatory and maddening descent into war in a strange land than Apocalypse Now? Elvis as Muad-Dab, once again a savior figure, the wanderer whose alien presence leads the natives to fight for their freedom?

Marc Andreessen Watch:

Q: Do you blog?

A: No. I have a day job. I don’t have the time or ego need

Q: FCC Chairman Michael Powell calls TiVo “God’s machine.” What’s your equivalent?

A: I have four Replay machines. Each has 360 hours of storage and they are plugged into my home LAN (local area network). I have 1,400 hours of video storage. What’s on it? All kinds of stuff, like the last 80 episodes of Charlie Rose.

More Borders vs. Austin:

The solution: Reject the incentives. It’s hard to believe Schlosser Development can’t complete a project on a prime piece of central city property without a couple million dollars in aid. More likely, the sour economy will be the single biggest factor determining whether the project is developed. Hasn’t the city learned anything from failed incentive deals? Isn’t “ugly unfinished building” the first thing people associate with “Intel”?

There’s a good summary of all the points in the arguments for and against, and some good even-handed discussion thereof. There’s also some good points about Austin’s own “big chain on that block,” Wholefoods:

Consider how similar the two chains are: Each started in a single, funky location in a college town (for Borders, Ann Arbor, Mich.). Each grew into a public company worth more than $1 billion. Each company has swatted aside attempts to unionize stores, and each alienates the locals with increasingly large stores.

Conquering My Lameness

Nancy is telling about her experiences as a group facilitator in Armenia, Azerbaijan and elsewhere. She’s saying that the online connections that had been made paved the way for stronger personal relationships once people met [face to face] (from JoHo).

I experienced a little bit of this Friday night at Josh’s party. The party itself was a totally different experience than I’m used to: Josh’s back-yard shindig was quite, calm, and had about 3 different spheres you could get involved in.

There were the IDM people (the so called “Unnamed Band of 3”) swishing knobs and buttons; there was the Japanese film being shown on a sheet (nails provided by yours truly); and there was the usual stand around talk and drink keg-beer bidness (of the Live Oak type, which seems to be Josh’s favorite).

Plenty of people watched the film, presumably listening to the music too (which had some nice Indian sounds floated through it), and plenty of other folks came and went through the keg-beer scene. But, best of all, it was mellow and quite and not overly obnoxious. Maybe all that had more to do with people being agreeable and nice instead of just wild and crazy.

On the dork-out note, I overheard people talking about web pages, web logs, and computer crap all night long. Many of the folks were somehow related to AMODA, so that explains the nerd-chatter; but still, it was cool to finally be at a party where I didn’t feel I had to curb my machine talk, and limit myself to the usual movies, music, and “such-and-such person/headline/event/thing is so crazy! Can you believe that? Crazy!”

Monopoly Money Sucks

This is just a terrible idea. Money should be green, not pink. And, on the counterfeiting point:

Dennis Forgue, a rare currency dealer and anti-counterfeiting expert, said many international counterfeiters bleach the surface of small American bills and digitally print the face of a larger bill over them, even though the watermark and security strip remain the same.

“Unless there’s some sort of penetrating ink, the new bills won’t fix that problem,” he said.

SOAP author says enough specs already:

“Specs are like bodily orifices: Everybody has them and they all have certain unique characteristics. But just writing a spec means nothing. If you write a spec that no one implements, did it ever really specify anything?”…. The software industry has become so fixated on new specifications that it has lost sight of the fundamental goal: using XML to link software applications together.

Econobonics Watch:

“Synergies can’t be manufactured,” he says. “In fact, in many cases synergies are more a myth than a reality. To the extent they exist, it is serendipity.”

That’s almost as good as Ari Fleischer or Rumsfeld. It’s also a good article about AOL/Time Warner, e.g.,

One of the expected synergies, he notes, was cross-selling – each company selling its services to the other’s customers. But Time Warner was already an enormous, diverse company with movie, music and publishing operations, and it had long failed to make cross selling really work.

Smart Mobs, Truman, and Nut Cuttin'

I finished reading Smart Mobs, an actually pretty good book for having the eye-rolling sub-title, “The Next Social Revolution.” It’s really a kind of collection of essays on cellphones wireless, wi-fi wireless, distributed computing, ubiquitous computing, and reputation systems all tied together with some good chatter on day-to-day society and theorizing thereof. All in all, it was a good overview of one view of the future of computers for people (as opposed to corporate and operations type stuff).

While driving up the Ft. Worth this weekend, I listened to Truman, by David McCullough. Man, it wasn’t that good. The book might be better, as this CDs were abridged, but there was nowhere near the fascinating detail of Master of the Senate. That one was just fantastic. Ever since I finished it, I go around muttering to myself in that deep LBJ drawl, “well…we’re down to the nut cuttin’.”

Maybe LBJ was just a much more interesting person than “Given ’em hell Harry,” the man from MO, but I have a feeling that Robert Caro is just a much more detailed author than McCullough, famous as the second is now-a-days.

"After a prize-fight, the guy dancing around the ring is the winner."

Damn, Josh is like the young Josh Lyman of our little blog world. E.g., “No sane person would call ‘waiting for the oil to run out’ an acceptable solution.” ZzzzzZZZ-ZING!

It goes without saying — though some may give me a sound clunk on the head for doing as much– that it’s nice having a good handful of differing Truths, so to speak, to read while I wait for stuff to compile, beg off sleeping for another 30 minutes, or slog through good old Joe Biden wrapping it up so I can hear Harmid Karzai.

Lord knows I sure as shit don’t post enough now-a-days myself.

Airport Dinner

I took my grandmother to the airport tonight. ‘Cause of the ice-fear, I got there way too damn early. I had time enough to read all of today’s Statesman, and once I found a wide enough swath of whitespace, I thought I’d do a little paper and ink gonzo blog’ing. Here’s the complete scan, and here’s some excerpts:

West Wing Remarks:

“I’ll see you on the airplane tonight. And I’ll look forward to continuing the discussion with, you know, what’s wrong with me.”

“Every time we come to southern California we become the Clampits!”

“…and things are looking up! My campaign director just posted bail!”

“Why the CIA wet-team? We’re not near water.”
“No sir…they call it a wet-team because it’s bloddy.”

"I'm so messed up, man, I just need to get my life together, brother."

I realize that Josh has already pointed out this article about introversion from The Atlantic, but it sure is good, and funny,

We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts’ Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say “I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”


Speakin’ of the ice, it looks like I-35 between Waco and Austin is, as the NBC affiliate graphic says “Closed.” That’s just crazy, closing down an interstate.

Radio-sphere Now, Blogosphere Later

There’s always much talk of how weblogs/the web are creating a sort of “citizens news network” or “we media”. It certainly seem like something that’d be possible once browsing the web is as easy as making a cell-phone call. This morning’s “coverage” of the Austin ice-out on 590 was a good example of what this “we media” might be capable of and what it’d do best. As Josh said, city-wide sheet of ice shut down Austin. So driving in from Houston this morning I tuned into 590, trying to get as much info as possible. My otherwise trust worth news source, KUT, was playing music inspired by the cold, or something along those lines.

“And then it does seem that…maybe, then, Iraq will invade itself!”

Usually, 590 broadcasts yappin’ mouth drool during most of the day, but this morning they opened up the broadcast to people just calling in and saying things like, “south bound I-35 is at a standstill,” or, “as you approach the airport, 71 gets dangerous.” The DJ/hosts would interject with information about closings and recaps of these “we media” contributions, but the majority of the sound coming from 590 were amateur news gatherers. Overall it was a rare instance of “the media” serving the public good in a way only they (or their infrastructure) can. I can imagine that as the web becomes more accessible throughout my daily life, it’ll be useful and satisfying in a similar way.

One other interesting aspect of the broadcast was that — along the lines of one web-concept Weinberger frequently emphasizes — was that the KLBJ DJ/hosts didn’t speak in controlled, corporate voices. To cite one example, they gave out advice that could easily be used in lawsuits against the station: people would call up and ask for what roads seemed safe and even ask for driving advice. Rather than begging off the question because of tort-fritting, they responded like you’d expect a normal person to by giving advice.

“‘Skaterboy’…or in my case, ‘skaterboy2’. Clearly someone on AOL is more quick to the punch than I…”

Along these same lines, it’s interesting to note that the actual paid professional staff of 590 was doing the least amount of news gathering. 590 did have an incredible amount of correspondents in the field, and no doubt had to spend quite a bit of money to support those folks. However, much of the value of 590’s broadcast came from individuals, without which 590 wouldn’t have had the coverage to make “their” reporting as useful as it was: there would have simply been 5-8 sources of information instead of the countless folks who called in.

It seems like this general idea of using people as low cost, “low power” reporters (individuals will likely never replace the quality and credibility of hard-core journalists) could greatly improve the over all quality of the currently highly centralized and information weak news-world. Of course, this is one my favorite dead horses: quality news requires spending money to send correspondents into and support them in the field. Instead we have all those cheaply produced talking head shows that dominate broadcast news; and when the news actually send someone out to do investigative journalism it’s the tragic chair-head Geraldo.

“However, whatever thawed today, will re-freeze tonight.”

Of course, there’s really no way I could browse the web while driving. Something along the lines of an audio web — were thousands of people’s contributions can be search by voice-command — would probably be the ideal “we media” conduit in such situations. Then again, even having text access to the ‘net would have been good enough for all those times I pulled to the side of the road, or took refuge in a gas station.


I started playing around with Xindice tonight — a “native XML database.” It’s pretty cool. I don’t think there’s any security for it, but it’s pretty easy to just cram XML into it, and then query it with XPath.

That is all. Please drive through.

Remember This Guy?

“Whoops. There it is! Upsize. THAT’s what I’m talking about, baby. Bring it on! Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha.”

What’s best is the biographical parts,

When Wendy’s managers asked him to try the UT location he was intimidated by the college crowds. He thought, “Oh my God. This is too much. I’m going to die in here.”

He headed straight to the Cactus Cafe, the union’s bar, and ordered two shots of Hennessy cognac. “Do I really want to be here?” he asked himself. “I’ll give it a shot for a week.”

Be sure to check out the movie.

Anti-Popup JavaScript Widget

Here’s a nice little piece of JavaScript that’d be nice: something you could wrap around a link that would prevent popups from occurring. For example, many newspapers load up their articles with popups. At the same time, it’s often nice to link to articles. But, I always have a little voice in that back of my head (you know, along with all the others) that says, “you don’t want to foist a popup on your readers.”

That is, I want to be able to link to sites without forcing you, dear readers, to get popups sent to you. This Reuters article about Fox is a good example: it has two popups.

Maybe JavaScript’s security model precludes this from working, but it sure would be nice.

Saturday Morning Distractions

I woke up this morning thinking I’d finish off a large chunk of Smart Mobs, but half way through the first chapter, I made the mistake of checking my email, and then, of course, that led to the endless task of “keeping up with the web,” which ferreted out these interesting pages:

  • “We Media” – “We Media augments traditional methods with new and yet-to-be invented collaboration tools ranging from e-mail to Web logs to digital video to peer-to-peer systems. But it boils down to something simple: our readers collectively know more than we do, and they don’t have to settle for half-baked coverage when they can come into the kitchen themselves.”
  • Sarah Lai Stirland Weblog – “This Weblog is meant to be an accompaniment to my work as a journalist. It’s also meant as a discussion forum between myself and people whom Dan Gillmor calls [in the above link] the ‘former audience.'” That is, an attempt to use a weblog (more broadly, the web) to augment print journalisim and, no doubt, the vice-versa. Beware though, her posts seem even longer than Zane’s ;>
  • Jan. 9, 2002 Rumsfeld Interview with the Washington Post tramscript
  • Weblog about “on-line expierence” – this looks like some interesting writing on using webpages, with interviews of industry folks, etc. Basically, just more interesting yammer about the web.

Normally, I’d stick crap like this over on links weblog, but what the hell?

A Vague Coding Tip: Never Expect Data to be Ordered Correctly

If you’re processing data, try to do all you can to avoid depending on the order of the incoming data. This gets a little tricky if your incoming data is flat, and you’re building it up into a tree or graph, and you get children before parents. But, trust me, you’ll thank yourself when you don’t have to figure out that the only reason you’re getting a NullPointerException if because your data is no longer ordered as you expect it.

More Devloper Grist for the Mill:

Endeavor Real Estate Group plans to transform part of the former IBM Corp. campus known as the Domain into a 670,000-square-foot retail project that would include upscale fashion and specialty stores, restaurants and 300 to 600 apartments.

(It’s from those web fuck-nuts at the Statesman, so the link won’t work after a week.)

News Flash: Title for Zane Rockenbaugh's Unofficaial Biography Finally Discovered

Failure was Not an Option: How to Succeed: the Zane Rockenbaugh Story,
Out-performing the Wealthy, Chimps and Otherwise: the Zane Rockenbaugh Story

Bonus epigraph:

Thus, by the bar set by our feces flinging simian friend, the claims of the wealthy to exceptional business prowess are shown to be just so much shit.

Publisher’s Weekly predicts first week sales to sky-rocket to over 300,000; international sales “limitless.” Movie rights may sell for over $500 million US, says gonzo-global-media-conglomerate Coté Industries.


. . .

P.S.: let us hope that whatever snazzy new content system Zane gets has permalinks that work all the time.