Being American Is...

The unexpected pleasure you get when the UPS guy delivers something you don't even remember ordering. (Amazon Prime is dangerous, folks. Be warned.)
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This post is illegal

This weekend I did... nothing. Well, I went to Matt's Frigid Bitch on Friday. And then I went home, and left the house only twice for the rest of the weekend, both times venturing less than a block to pick up food. Dunno, I've just been feeling really antisocial and energyless recently. I think I've been working too hard. To spice things up a bit: 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0. That number, which appears roughly 1.9 million times on the web at the moment, is illegal, at least according to the MPAA, who are currently issuing takedown notices right and left across the Internet, trying to suppress it. My reaction to such an obvious case of censorship is pretty predictable, and I'm by no means alone. In particular, over on the Web 2.0 version of Slashdot, Digg, there was an open revolt as the owners of Digg attempted to take down every reference to the number in response to a cease-and-desist letter from the MPAA. The users of the site responded by submitting nothing but articles...
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Hey, look what I did!

(No, not the Widget itself. The badge maker that produced this badge)
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City by the Bay

It was a few weeks ago now that I was walking home from a fun night out, and I glanced up as I walked home along Valencia, and saw something completely unexpected: Orion, framed perfectly by the buildings on each side of the street. It inspired me in the deep, profound and ultimately embarrassing way that leads me to write bad poetry. Orion is something I associate strongly with being at home -- by which, this time, I mean Trinidad -- simply because nowhere else I've lived have I been able to see it. London is far too bright to see any stars at all, and at Warwick the lay of the land was such that I was always looking the wrong way even when it was dark enough to see the stars. And I've not lived anywhere else, which seems sort of odd in retrospect: one little island, one slightly bigger island? That's all of the world I was content to explore? Something about seeing that constellation crystallized some thoughts that have been buzzing around in my brain for the last few months about another one of...
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A small price to pay

So Saturday night I was out at Bootie with G and a gaggle of straight girls (one of whom works at Apple and demoed the iPhone for me... it's sweet, folks). Bootie is an all-mashup dance club, and it's pretty sweet, but the venue is really the attraction. DNA lounge is owned and run by Jamie Zawinkski, one of the original programmers of Netscape Navigator (and several notable open-source projects). Jamie made so much money off of Netscape stock options back in the day that he retired and just runs the nightclub for fun -- and I figure that's key, because my favourite club in the world, Popstarz, is also in the same odd situation of being run for the love of the club rather than the money. So there's a big dance floor, the all-important stage and podiums, a nice balcony, some quiet rooms off to the side... all the right ingredients, and a world away from all the frankly rubbish clubs I've been to in SF so far. And wonder of wonders, it turns out DNA lounge is also the host of Pop Roxx, the NYC...
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This is kind of an odd question, I know...

But does anybody feel like going on vacation to Hawaii with me this summer?
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Twitter

Today Twitter passed from being a website that I use to a service that I can't imagine living without. I'm just noting it for the record, so I can look back on this point. If you feel like you'd be interested in multiple 140-character messages from me every day about the minutae of I'm up to, frequently totally out of context or directed in response to people you've never met, then feel free to add me. A look at my current stream does give a remarkably accurate picture of my day-to-day life in a way that this blog does only hazily. Other than that, I'm not gonna do a hard sell; you'll either get it now, or you'll get it later, but eventually you're going to end up using it. Just like blogging (shut up, non-bloggers!).
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@media

At long last, a conference!
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My own personal rant room

Tech job site Dice has a heavily-promoted new advertising campaign featuring fake "tech rants" from poor actors who obviously don't work in actual technology companies. The videos are "seeds" for a competition in which actual tech workers are supposed to submit their video rants and the best rant wins. Like an actual tech worker has that kind of time. This is a great example of how not to use user-generated content. Instead of serving your users, you're patronizing them, and at the same time making it look like Dice doesn't really know anything about IT workers. If they were really IT workers and they had a rant, (a) they would host it on their own site, or at least YouTube, a site that people actually use, and (b) they would know that showing their actual faces on a heavily-publicized website slagging off their co-workers and/or company is a sure-fire way to get your ass fired. (We'll carefully ignore that the video hosting is being handled by JumpCut, a recent Y! acquisition, and so technically...
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Desperation move

Microsoft has just spent a crazy-sounding 6 billion dollars on aQuantive, a company most people haven't even heard of, in a desperate attempt to keep up with Google and Yahoo! in the current frenzy of acquisitions in the online advertising space. Yahoo! acquired Right Media, WPP (a relatively low-profile* advertising services company) bought 24/7 Real Media, and of course Google started it all when it bought DoubleClick. The last remaining online advertising biggie, ValueClick, is like to be next, though it's uncertain who's still hanging around with enough money to afford the pricetag, which might be somewhere around $4billion (News Corp?). Amongst other things, this ends any speculation that Microsoft might attempt to buy Yahoo!, since MS needed an online advertising arm and now they have one. And the price, while pretty steep -- close to twice aQuantive's market value prior to the announcement -- it's not completely crazy, since even at twice the acquisition price, aQuantive is earning something...
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Internet killed the Video Star

Want a model for what television is going to look like 10 years from now? Look at your radio. Or rather, don't look at your radio. Do you even have a radio in your house? You probably have one in your car, where it's background noise on your commute. There might even be a couple of radio programs you regularly listen to -- though you tend to download them as podcasts, and you're not broken up if you miss them. However, just the sheer volume of people backgrounding it and occasionally listening to the radio means radio still has a solid audience and market share: it's just not where the advertising money really goes. It's not exciting, it's just there. Instead of getting your audio fed to you by radio stations, you dig it out for yourself. Through friend recommendations, from advertising campaigns in other media, through social networking websites like last.fm, you discover the audio you like and listen to it when you feel like. And that's the destiny of TV. People will get their video content...
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My Amazon.Com is NSFW

Update: This is, like so many things I say, bullshit. See correction at the bottom. As many of you will be aware, I have a lot of t-shirts. The reason is simple: I don't wear anything else. I hate button-up shirts for the same reasons that lace-up shoes annoy me: we've been doing this for 500 years, could we not come up with a less inconvenient way of attaching clothing to ourselves? It's 2007! We should all be wearing form-fitting singletons that reconfigure themselves automatically in response to ambient temperature and are colour-programmable. And while we're not, we're not wearing corsets either (usually), so at least progress is going in the right direction and I can pre-abandon buttons along with corsets. As a result of this prediliction -- and a weakness for Threadless that borders on addiction -- I have a very large number of t-shirts, greater than triple digits. This means that, theoretically, I could wear a new t-shirt every day for 3 months without having to do laundry (apart from...
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So what happened today, you ask?

Oh, not much. Just a giant group of zombies colliding with 5000 anarchists on bicycles. Your typical SF weekend, really.
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Bubble 2.0

I regard the new tech bubble with a mixture of joy, trepidation, and exasperation. First let's be clear: it's definitely a bubble. The signs built up slowly: Google paid $900 million to advertise on MySpace in August 2006. MySpace had been bought for "just" $580 million a year before, a pretty awesome ROI for News Corp., and a definite early warning sign (Note that the SiliconBeat article, from July 2005, speculates whether the MySpace acquisition is the "peak of the ... web 2.0 wave"). However, both these deals actually made a lot of business sense: the bubbliness was the speed at which the valuation of MySpace had increased. When you build up that kind of momentum, it's hard to stop when you reach the top. The next sign that too much momentum had been built up was when Facebook turned down $750MM (allegedly from Yahoo!, but I have no insider knowledge either way). The way advertising-supported web startups work is: you get the idea, you build the site, you get tons of users, and then...
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BubbleWatch Alert: #001

Probably part of an ongoing series. This just in via Mochaholic (via his twitter, actually). CBS buys Last.fm for $250M, after Yahoo! refused to pay more than $30M for it 11 months ago (according to ValleyWag -- again, I have no inside information about Y! acquisitions). That's an 8-fold increase in value in a year. This is a pretty stupid deal, but it's easy to see the motivations. CBS is absolutely nowhere with new media, so they needed an acquisition to keep up with News Corp et al. Last.fm have hit the wall of all single-purpose, advertising-supported websites, and needed to become part of a larger network with deeper pockets in order to gain more exposure and continue to grow. That doesn't mean it makes sense though. CBS is not a music company, and has no experience in growing web properties or leveraging new media. Last.fm could have found a much more suitable buyer if they'd swallowed their pride and accepted a lower price. Stupid and, if CBS fucks things up on the site as seems likely,...
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