Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back from Belize!

My wife and I enjoyed a 10 day stay in Central America in the beautiful country of Belize.

The map on the left shows where we visited, which includes a couple of very cool Mayan ruins, and an amazing resort in the middle of the rain forest.

Click the map to see full size.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

AJAX driven password management

How many username/password combinations do you need to remember? Does having so many make you re-use the same password over and over? If you're like me, you have dozens of website logins to remember, and only a few different names and passwords for them.

Obviously, this is insecure. If someone were to get a hold of your common password, they could theoretically login to all your accounts that use it.

In comes Passlet, a web based, AJAX driven, client-side encrypting password manager.

The theory behind this is that all encryption is done in your local browser, and the Passlet server never sees your passwords in unencrypted form. Of course, you will have to make sure that the browser you are using is on a trusted computer.

Passlet does provide disclaimers that no one should use the site to store sensitive financial information, and that they are not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from the use of their service.

It's a good idea, but its security has yet to be really proven. It is in beta, and until more is done to verify the strength of their security, it should only be relegated to store the most mundane information (like other beta web sites you are testing, for example).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Zazzle now has over 250 t-shirt styles and colors!

Zazzle just added over 150 new t-shirt styles and colors, bringing the total number of t-shirt options to over 250!

There's no better time to customize your own Zazzle shirt!

Friday, November 17, 2006

My guitar on a tie :-)

Check out the tie I designed on Zazzle. It's a picture of my guitar :-)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Online file with Zamzar

Convert files from one format to another for free. Zamzar offers a web based service that supports file type conversions for hundreds of different file types, up to 100MB in size.

This is cool since you don't have to download conversion software, and it works on all platforms since it is web based.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bush does the Google

So we went from almost electing the inventor of the Internet, to electing someone who doesn't even use email. In a CNBC interview with Maria Bartiromo (as quoted in this article by the Washington Wire), George W. Bush was asked about his use of technology. That's like asking a 4 year old about his driving habits.

"One of the things I've used on the Google is to pull up maps."

Oh my. And when asked about his email habits, his answer (after translating from moron to English) is basically stating that he does not use email at all because he does not want a written record of what he says in emails. He's afraid of the media getting a hold of his email and having a field day. Heck, it's easier to deny something that is not written down.

Frankly, I'm embarrassed as an American to have "W" leading us. If he's supposed to represent Americans, then the world must think we're all a bunch of good ol' boys ready to drop a "nuke-u-lar" bomb and yell "yeee-hah!"

You know, democracy is great and all, but you have to question a system that allows someone like "W" to be elected. The electoral college seems to be the only college that our president has exceled in.

I propose to remove the electoral college system altogether and replace it with the "Let's-Make-Sure-We-Never-Elect-An-Idiot-Again" system. It will consist of secure voting of qualified candidates who know how to pronounce "nuclear" and know how to work a computer mouse. This, of course, will mean that we will never again have a president from Texas.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Welcome, IE7

With tabs, increased security, and better standards support, Microsoft Internet Explorer version 7 makes its debut. Yes, I am aware it was released on Wednesday, the 18th, but I've only just now had the time to write about it :-)

I've been using the betas and release candidate versions for a while, and I quite like it. It took a little getting used to the location of the home button, but I'm there now.

My favorite trick is CTRL-Q. If you have multiple tabs open to various web sites, hitting CTRL-Q shows real time thumbnails (see below)

Some sites display very minor visual glitches, but I suspect that may have to do with sites that have made CSS hacks for IE6 that they don't need anymore for IE7.

So far, all sites have been fully functional, better behaved, and faster with IE7. A huge step forward!

Is it better than Firefox? Honestly, I can't say yet. It seems to render pages a lot like least a lot closer than IE6 ever did. Hopefully the days of CSS compromises and workarounds are nearing an end. Of course, we'll still have to support IE6 for some time to come, but with it being released through Windows Update, and Vista coming early next year, I believe IE7 will become the new dominant web browser in a matter of months.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Products galore...Zazzle's latest

It's 1:30AM Pacific Standard Time right now, and I'm at work at Zazzle, as are many others, overseeing the latest release of our website. We're really excited about this one! Why? See for yourself! You can now customize all these different products:

Zazzle Custom Stamps
Greeting Cards
Note Cards
Canvas Prints
Framed Prints
Photo Prints
Photo Enlargements
Travel Mugs
Photo Sculptures
Bumper Stickers
Round Stickers

Many other features have also been added (image categories, private album sharing, optimizations, etc)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

18 Startup Mistakes

Found this article by Paul Graham through Digg, and I thought it was interesting. It details 18 mistakes that cause a startup company to fail.

Here's a quick summary list. Read the article for details on each one.

  1. Single Founder
  2. Bad Location
  3. Marginal Niche
  4. Derivative Idea
  5. Obstinacy
  6. Hiring Bad Programmers
  7. Choosing the Wrong Platform
  8. Slowness in Launching
  9. Launching Too Early
  10. Having No Specific User in Mind
  11. Raising Too Little Money
  12. Spending Too Much
  13. Raising Too Much Money
  14. Poor Investor Management
  15. Sacrificing Users to (Supposed) Profit
  16. Not Wanting to Get Your Hands Dirty
  17. Fights Between Founders
  18. A Half-Hearted Effort

Although some of these are pretty obvious, you'd be amazed how many companies make these mistakes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bubble 2.0 - Now with more staying power! published an article comparing the late '90's dot-com bubble, to the current Web 2.0 boom. Some quotes of interest:
Startups now tend to sell themselves to bigger firms, rather than have an overly hyped initial public offering on the stock market.
I think that's good. The stock market is too volatile to build foundations on.
A new emphasis on social networking and connecting people, rather than e-commerce, which was foisted on consumers before they trusted the medium.
Very well said. Many people define "Web 2.0" as the social Internet. The new thinking is more about what you can DO on the 'net rather than what you can BUY. A good step forward.

However, there are warnings as well:
The big challenge remains figuring out how to wring money out of all the people using the Internet
Let's face it. A company has to make money to be viable.

This article is a good read.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Blogger beta issue

I just recently upgraded my blogger account to use the new beta software. Because of this, all my old posts have been marked as new again, and if you use an RSS reader to view this blog, you may have received a flood of new messages that are not really new.

Just sayin'.

AJAX parody t-shirt

This is my latest Zazzle creation! Get the t-shirt now!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 fiasco update

Well, it took a week and several emails and one PayPal complaint later, but I finally got a refund from In the interim, I ended up buying a nice 32" LCD HDTV from Costco. It's great!

Also, all the other stuff I needed (wall mount, HDMI DVD player, cables) I ended up ordering from various places online that take PayPal, and guess what...the payments made it through no problem!

So I will never use with PayPal again. They seem to have an issue with their PayPal integration and will cancel your order in 3 hours if they don't think they have the money. Sons of bitches.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 should be called TakeMyMoney&

First, let me just say DO NOT USE BUY.COM. In case you missed that, DO NOT USE BUY.COM! Ok, now let me explain what happened.

I've been in the market for a 32" LCD HDTV and found a nice one for a great price at I also needed an articulating wall-mount for it, and I figured I'd also throw in a new DVD player with HDMI capabilities. I was able to find all of that, plus an HDMI cable, for just over $1000 at

Great price for all that gear! I'm sold! And, they also take PayPal, where I keep the money I make from online ventures. This is what happened next:

  • Step 1, add all items to cart. Check.
  • Step 2, checkout using PayPal. Check.
  • Step 3, verify my PayPal payment on PayPal's site. Check.
  • Step 4, wait for products to arrive!

    I thought everything was Kosher and I would receive my merchandise in about a week. Sweet! But three hours later I get this in my email:

    Dear Customer,

    This is to notify you that you did not complete your order #xxxxxxxx in which you selected PayPal as your method of payment. To complete your purchase please:
    1. Log into your account
    2. Click on the order number for which you want to complete the payment transaction.
    3. Click on the "Change payment method or re-submit to Paypal" link.
    4. Select PayPal from the drop down and click on "Resubmit Information".

    Hmmm. Maybe there was a glitch. Ok, I'll re-submit. Of course, when I re-submit, PayPal gives me an error saying "You have already paid for that item." Ok, at least PayPal is smart about it.

    A few hours later I get an email from stating that my order was cancelled.

    So I send an email asking why they cancelled the order, and they respond with a form letter stating they never received payment from PayPal. Then, to my surprise, BUY.COM SENT A REFUND TO MY PAYPAL ACCOUNT! Ok, if they never received payment, how can they refund?

    In any case, I still gave them the benefit of the doubt and decided to place a new order, since I had my money back anyway. So I followed the steps once again. And of course, in a few hours, I get the same email as before, stating that I need to complete my order!

    Then a little while later, the order gets cancelled AGAIN, with the same explanation that they never received payment from PayPal. Except this time, I NEVER GOT MY MONEY BACK!

    I have PayPal records stating that got paid. And I have records from stating that the order was cancelled for non-payment. So where is my $1000?

    At this point, I called I explained the situation and they said that the case has been sent to their main office for investigation, and that I should have my refund shortly. Ok, when I get my money back, I'll just shop somewhere else.

    A day passed with no money. So I call again. I get the same explanation, so I asked to speak to someone in the main office. They said no. THEY SAID NO! They are not authorized to give out any information about their main office, and that I would have to wait 3-5 days for a resolution!

    So here I am, out $1000, waiting for a refund from for an order they cancelled on me, and PayPal saying the money was sent. Where is the money? It seems to be stuck somewhere in cyberspace, although I tend to believe has it at this point.

    So what did I learn from this fiasco? Don't shop ay, especially if you use PayPal. You know what? Forget that. Just DON'T SHOP AT BUY.COM PERIOD.

    Ok, rant mode temporarily off...for now.
  • Sunday, October 01, 2006

    More Zune news: Form vs. Function

    Jake Ludington's MediaBlab blog just published some pictures comparing a Zune device to an iPod. The iPod, of course, is sleeker and more stylish, having been built by the masters of form, Apple. The Zune is noticably blockier and bigger.

    This may come down to the age old form vs. function debate. The Zune specs out with more features than iPod (Wi-Fi, FM radio, etc.), but the iPod looks better and still has enough features for most people. So is Microsoft's Zune an iPod killer? Well, that all depends on whether you lean towards form (iPod) or function (Zune). My guess is that at first, early adopters and techies will buy the Zune for its cool features. It may even catch on beyond the tech arena to some degree. But Microsoft has an uphill battle against Apple to topple the iPod's dominance in the marketplace. They need to pretty it up, because, let's face it, humans are vain creatures who like to look cool.

    Zune matches iPod pricing

    Microsoft has announced Zune pricing and availability. 
    Gear Factor has more...

    Zune Pricing Announced

    Finally, Microsoft has disclosed the salient details about the Zune music player. It will be released Nov. 14 and will cost $249.99, matching the price of Apple's 30GB video iPod. Similarly, when Zune Marketplace goes live on the same day, it will charge $.99 per song, just like iTunes.

    Since a price war won't be waged as some expected, it seems Microsoft is relying on Zune's limited music-sharing capability, as well as the Zune Pass subscription -- which will let users listen to any of the Marketplace's approximately 2 million songs for $14.99 per month -- to drive people to the new music player. Users will also have the option of purchasing tracks with Microsoft Points, which lets them add money to an account, a system that's already used in the Xbox Live Marketplace.

    [Via Yahoo!


    News Feed Source
        Home Page:
        Feed Title: Gear Factor
        Feed URL:

        Title: Zune Pricing Announced
        Author: ~
        Publication Date:

    Brought to you by Attensa for Outlook (download it here)

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    iPod vs. Zune SMACKDOWN!

    Found this on Digg. I'm kinda rooting for the Zune :-)

    iPod vs. Zune SMACKDOWN!

    BBSpot takes it to the streets, throwing Chuck Norris, a Ford Excursion, and promises of everlasting health against the reigning champion of MP3 players and its scrappy challenger from a small company known as Microsoft. Lets get rrrreeeaaaady toooooooooooo rrrrruuuummmmbbblllleee!

    News Feed Source
        Home Page:
        Feed Title: digg
        Feed URL:

        Title: iPod vs. Zune SMACKDOWN!
        Author: ~
        Publication Date:

    Brought to you by Attensa for Outlook (download it here)

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Attensa...RSS done right

    If you're like most tech geeks I know, you spend the better part of your morning reading your favorite blogs and RSS feeds (including, of course, this one). Until now, I've simply been going to my Google homepage to read my favorite feeds, then opening my Outlook to get my email.

    Well now, Attensa has converted me to using their wonderful FREE reader...because it integrates fully with Outlook, and includes an IE toolbar and Firefox plugin for easy feed management. And now I can get my news just like I get my email...all in the same client, with pictures and links all intact. Yay!

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    Need a job? Here's the top 10 programming languages you should know

    eWeek posted an article called 10 Programming Languages You Should Learn Right Now, based on "picking the brains of Web developers and IT recruiters". So if you're looking for a Web job, peruse this list and pick up some books.

    With the new buzzword being "Web 2.0", it's no surprise that AJAX and JavaScript are both on the list, even though the J in AJAX stands for JavaScript.

    At least I've dabbled in a handful of the languages listed (PHP, C#, AJAX, JavaScript, and VB.Net)

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Add this Zazzle gadget to Google!

    So I created my first Google Gadget today. It's a Flash Panel for the most popular Zazzle products. This is it below:

    Add to Google

    Click the button above to automatically add it to your Google homepage!

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Coming Zune...but I want it NOW!

    I want one. It's cool. It's hi-tech. It's coming Zune! Microsoft's new Zune specs out better than iPods (built in Wi-Fi, FM radio, social music sharing, supports MP3, AAC, h.264, and WMA). Engadget posted information about Microsoft's Zune announcement today. Is this an iPod killer?

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Zazzle vs. CafePress

    Let's vote, people! If you like Zazzle and have an eBay account, you know what to do!

    Of course, if you prefer CafePress, well, then, you don't really HAVE to vote if you don't want to ;-)

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    Six degrees of...well just about everything!

    WARNING: Time-waster Web site! So just how does Monty Python relate to Albert Einstein? Do bananas and network attached storage have anything in common? How can you link zits with airplanes?

    Omnipelagos can tell you! Just enter two search terms, and the site finds how they can be linked. Even the most obscure terms usually comes up with a connection.

    And yes, it can find links to Kevin Bacon, too.

    Firefox-like search for IE!

    Ever wish you could search web pages inline, like Firefox does, when using Internet Explorer? Well, with Inline Search, by Core-Services, you can! This nifty little add-on provides IE users with a much more useful search facility, and it works for IE5.5 and higher. Now I'm suddenly not so jealous of my Firefox colleagues :-)

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    How much is that Vista in the Window?

    C|NET News announced today that Microsoft has published its pricing for Windows Vista, and expands testing to over 5 million "tech enthusiasts".

    Pricing for full retail versions of the software will be Windows Vista Ultimate, $399; Windows Vista Business, $299; Windows Vista Home Premium, $239; and Windows Vista Home Basic, $199. Start saving up now!

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Wolfblood - My senior thesis short movie

    I just uploaded my senior thesis movie to Google Videos. It was made in 1992 at Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Public Communications, and is based on a short story by Angela Carter. This video is 11 minutes long.

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    Just force the browser on us, please!

    As a web developer, I understand the headaches of having to adjust code to properly function or display across several browsers. It's the nature of the beast. It's better now than it used to be, as standards compliance keeps getting better across the board. But when a new version of a browser comes out, why keep the old one around? Just force the browser on us, please!

    Ok, I know that forced upgrades can also cause support problems, especially when it causes more bugs than it fixes, or breaks functionality which could potentially break an entire web site.

    But, by doing so, developers would be more apt to stick to well known standards, which leads to more solid code, and less chance of breakage.

    I'm ranting because IEBlog says IE7 will be optional and IE6 will continue to be supported and patched until the lifetime of the OS it runs on is over. A quote:
    Everywhere that IE6SP1 is supported today, IE6SP1 will continue to be supported until the OS it ships with expires. Are you running IE6SP1 on Windows 2000 SP4? You will continue to get support for IE6SP1 until Windows 2000 expires (slated expiration: 2010).

    2010? I hope people are not still running Windows 2000 in 2010. So the days where one standard codebase renders exactly the same on all browsers and platforms is still a way away. Although today's most modern browsers are converging, it's the old ones that are still around that hurt us the most.

    Let the public adjust their habits to forced upgrades. It won't take long before most people get used to the idea that the browser they are currently running is always the latest and greatest. Other software does this, why not browsers?

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Blu-ray or HD DVD? Choose your side.

    The high definition DVD format war rages on. Choose your side and show your true colors! Partial to Blu-ray? Or would you rather throw your hat in for HD DVD?

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Zazzle Adds Third Party API

    Zazzle has added a new API that allows software developers to connect into their customization services and products. Check out current implementations, such as, as well as my very own Hello My Name Is... t-shirt site!

    read more | digg story

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    IE7 fix list

    IEBlog lists all the changes, bug fixes, CSS fixes/additions in Internet Explorer 7. This looks to be a new era for Microsoft when it comes to standards compliance. Well, at least a stepping stone in the right direction.

    I have been using beta 3 of IE7 on my laptop, and yes, it is way better than IE6, although there are still some minor quirks and the occasional crash. But when it comes to CSS (and transparent PNG support) it is leaps ahead.

    Monday, August 21, 2006

    Perpetual motion machine challenge...hoax?

    A company by the name of Steorn claims it thinks it may have stumbled upon "free energy", a.k.a. perpetual motion. Of course, this has been claimed by many in the past, only to be proven hoaxes, scams, or just plain bad math.

    The difference here is that Steorn is challenging all scientists to try to prove, one way or the other, whether their device works. And they say they won't take moeny until AFTER the scientific community has released their findings.

    According to the company, they stumbled upon this accidentally, and now want the scientific community to verify what they believe to be a perpetual motion machine. And if scientists find that it is not the case, so be it.

    At face value, this seems very legitimate...why would a hoaxer go through this kind of scrutiny? But since a perpetual motion machine is widely regarded as impossible according to the first law of thermodynamics, one must think what else could this be?

    My thoughts? It could be one of three things:

    1. Legitimate claim, bad math. Steorn thinks they did it, but miscalculated energy input/output.
    2. A big social experiment. Let's see how many scientists are suckered into throwing away the basis of their beliefs on the remote chance this cold be real. Or what is the current public reaction to claims of this nature when money is removed from the equation.
    3. Someone finally reverse engineered alien technology and got it to work. Everyone knows that flying saucers are powered by magnetic forces.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    agámi Systems receives $11 Million in funding from Hercules!

    A press release has been released today announcing agámi's latest round of funding by Hercules Technology Growth Capital for a tidy $11 Million. This is great news for the NAS company known for it's...well...kick butt user interface :-)

    Ok, I am biased since I used to work there and built their user interface, but now it is in the trusted hands of a fellow colleague who does great work (also known as the co-founder of

    Congratulations agámi! Well done!

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Second Life forums closing...

    Yes, it looks like Linden Labs is phasing out the community forums in favor of blogs and in-world forms of communication. This has, of course, started an outcry from some residents, while others are praising the decision.

    Personally, I think this could be a good thing if newer forms of communication make it easier for residents. Discussion boards are one of the first community driven communications mediums used widely on the Web. With Web 2.0 sites pushing the envelope on social networking and communication, I think it may be time to update and move into the new century for many sites.

    Second Life has a huge social aspect to it, and using a dated out-of-game discussion platform feels a bit odd to me. Let's hope newer and more interactive forms of discussion are in the works!

    P.S. I think there is still a place for discussion forums, but more along the 3rd party route. Fan sites, help sites, group sites, etc, are the perfect place for niche discussions. Just sayin'.

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    How Evil Are You?

    Surprisingly, I found this link in one of the Internet Explorer team member blogs :-) Just ask yourself, how evil are you?

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    AOL: Another Obtuse Lapse

    I don't know what the people at America Online are smoking, but maybe they should start selling whatever it is, because they may need to look for a new business model soon. These people released massive amounts of user search data to the public, tied to individual users!

    Ok, so the user names are not used. Instead, they use randomized numbers, but you can track a user's searches and navigation by this number, and pretty easily find out who they are by analyzing their search terms. Ego searching is very common.

    So imagine seeing that user "1297734" seached for his name, for example "Ted Samplename", then this same user later searches for "Seattle prostitutes". Well, suddenly we can start assuming that Mr. Ted Samplename, of Seattle, is looking for a little on-the-side action. Talk about invasion of privacy!

    AOL has since removed the data, but the damaqge is done. It's being mirrored all over the place. I'm just glad I'm not an AOL user, and I feel bad for anyone who is.

    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Meet the Zazzlers and join the BBQ!

    Lunch 2.0 is an interesting concept...Web 2.0 companies sponsor a BBQ at their offices open to the public! And this coming Wednesday, August 9th at noon, it's Zazzle's turn to host!

    Come meet the Zazzle team (including yours truly) and enjoy food, food, and more food! Simply RSVP by clicking here and entering a comment! See ya there!

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Be a star with SingShot!

    SingShot is a new site for karaoke lovers. Sign up, choose a song, plug in your mic, and sing. Not only is that fun, but you can record your renditions for all to hear.

    Now here is where the real fun begins. It's like a train can't stop looking, no matter how bad the scene. I'm amazed at how truly bad some people's recordings are! As Simon Cowell would say, "Appalling". There are some truly talented people on there, however.

    So in general, I like the site. It's fun. But to record songs and actually be a star, you have to pay (after your 2 week free trial ends). Subscription plans are $9.95/month (billed monthly), $7.95/month ($23.85 billed every three months), or $4.95/month ($59.40 billed once a year).

    Free members can only play member recordings, create a profile page, and rate and comment on other member performances. If you don't want to be the American Idol, but rather play Randy, Paula, or Simon, then the free membership is perfect. But if you want to be the next Clay Aiken (and who doesn't?) be ready to pony up some cash.

    Friday, July 28, 2006

    Quick mention: Family Guy collection!

    One of my all time favorite TV shows is Family Guy. And now you can get customized Family Guy merchandise on Zazzle! YAY!

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    IE7 to be distributed via Windows Update!

    This was announced on the Internet Explorer Blog today! So this is both good and bad. It's good because the adoption of IE7 will be much faster than if it was left to users to download proactively. It's bad because us web developers will now have to support IE7, as well as IE6, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, etc. It's just one more browser to think about.

    Of course, it SHOULD be more standards compliant, and therefore more cross browser friendly. Let's hope for a solid launch!

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Hybrid HOV stickers!

    I finally got my Hybrid HOV Stickers! It was a painful ride getting these. First, I had to renew my license since it was expired and I had moved. Next, I had to renew my registration for the same reasons. Then, I had to sign up for FasTrak. Of course, I end up signing up for the non-hybrid FasTrak, so then I had to contact them to get the right one. And like an idiot, I fax them my application and everything except for a copy of my registration. I had to wait almost 2 weeks to get a letter in the mail saying they needed a copy of my registration.

    Well, bottom line is, I got 'em.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    New license plate designs

    Since joining, I've been busy creating designs for shirts, mugs, stamps, etc. For all of you who dig Web 2.0 topics, here's one of my California License Plate designs for shirts.
    In association with
    Many more available in my gallery!

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    My new digs...

    Today was my first day at my new job. After almost three years, I left agámi Systems to go work at Build your own custom t-shirts, mugs, cards, stamps, and prints on!This was a tough choice to make, since agámi has been great for me. But in looking at where my career is headed, I decided I needed to be surrounded by more artistic and creative types that I can learn from, and work in a more consumer-centric company.

    Zazzle fits me...and I fit Zazzle. After only one day, I already feel very comfortable with my coworkers, and I can tell this is going to be great fun! Have a look at the site and you'll see why I'm excited :-)

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Make your own South Park avatar with South Park Studio

    This is just cool. If you like South Park, make your own South Park style avatar using this nifty little Flash program.

    You can add all sorts of clothing, body parts, and accessories.
    Check me out!

    Web 2.0 Watch: Connected Innovators - The Supernova 12

    According to the Supernova Conference web site, "the Connected Innovators program brings together the creators of exciting emerging technologies with the industry's top technology and business influencers."

    Below is the list of the Supernova 12 - twelve Web 2.0 companies chosen as "connected innovators" for the conference.




    This is scaring me a bit. I'm getting that old "dot-bomb" feeling again. How many of these companies will make it? Most likely, not many if history is a guage. What is more troubling to me, though, is that out of all the new Web 2.0 companies out there, these 12 don't all strike me as revolutionary in any real way.

    Some have very interesting ideas, but is it enough to build a company on? Well, apparently, this time around, most companies are not really out to be independently profitable...they are looking to get bought out by one of the big boys.

    The big boys (Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc) are scared to miss the next big thing, and it is easier for them to buy out one of these startups and integrate their offerings than to build it all from scratch.

    So this may be a new dot-com bubble, but this time, at least their is an exit strategy. There will be many deaths along the way, but hopefully not a huge nuclear explosion that takes them all out at once.

    Let's hear it for progress.

    Friday, June 30, 2006

    IE7 Beta 3 available for download!

    Microsoft just announced the availability of Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3. Here's what you can expect in this release:

    • Tab Reordering!

    • New Icons

    • Authenticated FTP

    • Email button added back to toolbar

    • Magnify images with a simple magnifying glass icon

    • Refresh all feeds

    • Mark feeds as read

    • Keyboard shortcuts

    • Security fixes

    • Improved printing

    Microsoft reccomends uninstalling any previous beta release of IE7 before installing this version.

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    Web 2.0 Watch: Create your own Social Web Apps with Ning

    For many, Web 2.0 is based on community and sharing online. Ning provides a platform to create your own social Web application in minutes. Ning promises that you can create:

    • Your own photo or video sharing website (like Flickr, Shutterfly or YouTube)
    • Your own group or social network (for your friends or school)
    • Your own reviews site for anything (like Citysearch or IGN )
    • Your own ratings or voting site (like Hot-or-Not™)
    • Your own marketplace (like Craigslist for your own group)

    All this can be achieved by cloning and modifying existing Ning apps, or, for the developers out there, delving deeper into writing some code.

    I browsed around some apps on Ning, and although very compelling, they all looked virtually identical. Sure, the tools may be there to modify to your liking, but it doesn't seem to be the norm right now.

    With maturity, Ning could become a great launching pad for some good social Web ideas, but they must first make it even more accessible for non-developers and provide easy to use customization tools to allow each app to stand on its own. This is one to keep an eye on.

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Second Life's creator answers protesters

    Philip Rosedale, Linden Lab CEO and creator of online virtual world Second Life, writes in his blog about SL's third birthday, the protesters, and the future. He makes some interesting points, which make me think he's either a true visionary, or a little bit on the crazy side. Probably a bit of both.

    Second Life turns 3 today...amidst protests from residents

    The online virtual world of Second Life turns 3 years old today. Unfortunately, in-world protesters promise to bring the festivities down a notch.

    Recently, Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, changed their policy of requiring a credit card as age verification to sign up. Many residents are concerned that this is going to let in a rash of griefers and script kiddies that frequently cause problems by scamming people and causing grid crashes.

    The protests today are designed to get Linden Lab to rethink their new "no credit card" policy to minimize the influx of teen sign ons. Linden Lab also runs a teen only grid for Second Life, and that's where the teens belong, according to the protesters.

    To me, this is a case of art imitating real life. When large groups of people get together, there are always conflicts, and the vocal protest. In this case, they may just have a point, but I will not support the protests during SL's birthday. It's supposed to be a celebration. Let's make it one and save the whales another day.

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    10,000 Miles!

    My 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid just reached 10,000 miles! My average MPG since I bought the car is just under 50. Not bad!

    Now I have to do something about that "maintenance required" light that came on. I'm thinking duct tape.

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Low usability = high annoyance. Duh!

    Sandra Rossi of Computerworld Today (Australia) mentions in her article, What Users Hate Most About Web Sites, that a web site that is hard to use causes people to get annoyed and leave the site.

    So what do users hate? Ads, complexity, confusion, distractions, know, the things that everyone hates about anything. What I find interesting is that articles like this make good design principles seem like a revelation. It's not brain surgery, people. It's common sense. If you don't like a wordy, ad-filled web site, there's a good chance many others feel the same way.

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Flock browser beta launches...raises more dough

    Flock is a Mozilla based browser with additional features, including photo integration with Flickr or photobucket, social bookmarking integration with or Shadows, a blogging tool, enhanced search and an RSS reader.

    As a matter of fact, I am using the beta right now to write this post. Check it out

    Blogged with Flock

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    My new design/usability web site

    I figured it was about time to create a site dedicated to my work and professional life. Let's face it, if we don't promote ourselves, don't expect anyone else to!

    With the launch of, I have managed to put together my philosophy of good design, which I call the R.A.I.D. Philosophy of Good Design. Visit the site to read what R.A.I.D. is all about.

    The site is still very much under construction, so don't expect too much...yet.

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    Get your Windows Vista today!

    Windows Vista, Microsoft's next operating system, is still in beta. But Microsoft just announced that it has opened the beta to the public with its Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP). Are you brave enough to try it?

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    Stream of photo-consciousness...

    A friend at work just sent around this link, and I have to say this is one of the coolest things I've seen.

    Imagine a imagine every pixel in that picture being another picture. Now imagine being able to zoom in and see those smaller pictures, and as they get closer you see that they are made up of more pictures...and now prepare to spend quite a while clicking and clicking and clicking.

    Simply cool. Try it yourself (NOTE: Macromedia Shockwave plugin required)

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Linux still not ready for desktop primetime

    Many people in Silicon Valley tout the benefits of using Linux instead of Windows as their desktop operating system of choice. It's faster, more secure, and way cheaper. So why hasn't it overtaken Microsoft in the desktop OS war?

    Mark Golden of The Wall Street Journal
    puts several Linux distributions through their paces and tells us why. What does it boil down to? Compatibility...specifically with multimedia hardware and software. Have an iPod? You will have to work extra hard to get it to work on Linux. Want to see online streaming video? Not just a click away.

    Something not mentioned in this article is how Linux works with the latest PC games. The short answer: It doesn't. The latest hot games are built for Windows and use DirectX technology, something not easily or successfully emulated. Being a gamer, this immediately negates the option of using Linux for me.

    Now don't get me wrong...Linux is a wonderful OS that has its place. That place is in the background, running servers. It wins hands down.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    Web 2.0 Watch: Logos galore

    While browsing Zimbio portals (see my previous post), I came across this large image of Web 2.0 company logos, which was housed on Flickr.

    The discussion around it pointed me to, a site that simply posts linked logos to hundreds of Web 2.0 companies.

    In the current climate, like a smarter, more mature version of the '90's dot-com growth period, a living visual map of the growing landscape is a welcome addition.

    Plus, the fact that I found this site via the Zimbio : Flickr : trail, proves that information sharing and self-publishing can lead one down paths of discovery only available to humanity relatively recently.

    The Wild West was fun, but it got better when they invented plumbing.