Mitch Hedberg has died. The news is just now percolating across the web and details are tough to find, but this is extremely sad news to all who have ever listened to or met Mitch. Mitch was only 37 years old and the cause of death appears to be a heart attack.
Rather than write an unsolicited eulogy or anything like that, I’ll just say that Mitch was and is my favorite comedian ever, and I’ll leave you with these two clips from his two albums:
I want to give away some iPod Shuffles. I’d like to give away at least one a month and possibly one every two weeks for the rest of 2005 if that’s okay with everybody. This isn’t some freeipods.com network marketing dealio… I just really want to give some Shuffles away.
The only problem is, I can’t think of a really inventive way to give them away right now. Earlier this year, I gave Isaac Lin and Jay Robinson an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and a Wireless Mouse in a haiku contest that turned out great, so I may go that route again, but I’m thinking there might be a better way.
In light of my lack of creativity at the moment, I’ve decided that the very first iPod Shuffle will go to the person who comes up with the best way for me to give the rest of them away. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when coming up with your pitch:
UPDATE: Version 2.0 is now available. See article here.
Alright, sIFR 2.0 is finally ready for release! Before Mark and I release it, however, we’d like sIFR developers to run through a short set of testcases over on the sIFR Wiki.
The testcases represent some of the more complicated things that are happening under the hood of sIFR and can be found here.
Since we’ve only added two small things (a tiny Opera tweak and the ability to show browser text while the sIFR text is loading), we don’t anticipate any problems, but these testcases are meant to insure nothing was overlooked.
If you have a free minute, please run through the tests and let Mark or I know if you experience anything out of the ordinary. The whole suite should only take a minute. If every seems to work ok, please also feel free to post a comment on this page saying something like “Win XP/Flash 7 — Firefox 1.0, IE 6, all tests passed.”
Many thanks, and sIFR 2.0 will follow within days.
Since yesterday’s launch of OurMedia.org, a number of interviews and articles are beginning to surface which give us a better idea as to what this thing is all about. I found the podcast with J.D. Lasica and Marc Canter to be particularly educational.
Two things are now clear to me above all else:
In my first admittedly terse post on the subject, I said that if OurMedia is financially sustainable, it is a development unlike any other we’ve seen. But that, unfortunately, doesn’t answer if it actually is financially sustainable. To get a better idea whether it is or not, let’s look at what may be on the roadmap for the next year or two:
This changes everything. And I mean everything. Time to completely rethink the internet now.
If this is financially sustainable, it’s the single biggest development in the history of the medium as far as I’m concerned. If it’s not financially sustainable, it’s still going to disrupt the hell out of the industry for the next several years… in a very good way.
While on business at our New York offices a couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to a peculiar competition known as “The Saltine Challenge”. Apparently this has been around for quite awhile but I’d never heard of it. In a nutshell, one must ingest 6 Saltine crackers in 60 seconds without the help of water or any other digestive lubricants. The crackers must also be of the salted variety. Seems quite easy… that’s what I thought.
With a small crowd of onlookers, I tried and failed badly on the first attempt. The second attempt was a failure as well. Not even close. I managed to get all 6 decently chewed, but there were still two full crackers worth of dough when the minute mark passed.
So I went back to Seattle thinking, as I was told, that less than 1 in 10 people can accomplish this. Not wanting to give up, however, I sent out an all-office e-mail summoning Saltines from all corners of the building for use in further testing. I administered the Challenge to four more people, and sure enough, everyone failed. Before giving up, I decided to give it one more try using a special chunking strategy that
my co-worker in New York had mentioned in passing, and lo and behold, I did it! Six down the hatch!
Just to see if this feat was repeatable, I tried three more times over the next three days and lowered my time in each trial. Could seven be next? Absolutely. After all, if six Saltines was a great bar trick in itself, seven would bring the house down. Sure enough, I did seven on my first try yesterday.
And now a day later, I’ve officially reached the addiction stage.
I’ve already tried eight twice today and although I failed both times, 70 seconds was all it took to get everything down. It’s definitely within reach and I’m not stopping until I achieve this dietary milestone.
Has anybody else tried this? Care to post your results?
UPDATE: Chunking strategy revealed!
UPDATE #2: 8 Saltines accomplished!
I followed a link from PhotoMatt this morning over to Tribe.net and noticed a very cool feature they have over there: Upon visiting the front page, the site immediately redirected me to “seattle.tribe.net” and showed me information local to the Seattle area (where I live) even though I had never been there before and never entered any geographic information.
A quick glance at the address bar told me exactly what what going on. The complete url is listed below:
“Guess=true”. Very nice. So what’s happening is that Tribe is looking up my IP address in a table and mapping it to the Seattle area. We use IP lookup tables at Disney all the time for targeted advertising purposes, but I’d never seen someone actually use them to redirect you to a localized version of their site. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I’d just never seen it.
One of the hardest things to do in the web business is to get users to actually use personalization options (as counterintuitive as that sounds), and by performing this first personalization step implicitly and automatically, Tribe provides users better information without forcing them to ask for it. Smart.
I just got back from the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin and here is what I learned:
I’m sure this will be all over the net tomorrow, but Google News just launched customization about 5 minutes ago. I saw it flicker on about an hour ago and then disappear so it’s possible there was a quick bug that cropped up, but it’s back on now.
Very very interesting. I like Google News quite a bit, but the one thing that’s always been severely missing is customization. With the launch of this new feature today, you can add, remove, rearrange, or even create your own topic for inclusion as a standard news module on the front page. Go ahead, add yourself as a topic. See what happens. The system doesn’t seem to support phrases yet, but my article from Monday on expired domain snatching showed up number one in the “Mike Davidson” section.
The ability to create and track your own news topics isn’t anything Google invented, as you can do the same with customized RSS feeds on PubSub and Technorati but the way Google presents it is a bit novel. By giving user-generated topics equal treatment on the front page as most of the mainstream news, Google News is fully appreciating the individuality of its users. Most news sites, if they offer customization at all, will program at least 80% of the page themselves while offering a tiny customized module somewhere off to the side, but Google knows it’s not in the business of editorializing content, so it merely steps aside and lets you do the producing. I like that.
I don’t think this new feature makes Google News anywhere close to the perfect news site yet, but it’s a step in the right direction, and perhaps a good way to get people who don’t use newsreaders to better appreciate the power of customization.
On an unrelated note: I didn’t want to dedicate an entire post to this but I’m going to be down in Austin this Friday through Tuesday for SXSW. If anyone is interested in typography, Joshua Darden, The Wolf, and I will be speaking on the “Typography for the Screen” panel at 10am on Tuesday morning. If you’re not still passed out from the night before, come on down. The first 100 people in the door get a free copy of Arial (includes Arial Bold).
I recently found myself in the position of wanting to register a domain which was owned by someone else. The domain was set to expire in a week, and I figured there was a decent chance that the person who owned it wouldn’t be renewing it. Upon consulting the WhoIs registry on the current owner, I discovered the guy was a bit of a domain shark and didn’t seem to be around anymore.
So I placed a backorder through GoDaddy for $18.95 thinking that was all I needed to do. During the week that followed, I learned a lot about the domain expiration process. Two and a half months and $369 later, I am the proud owner of a shiny new domain. A really really good one.
This article will explain the domain expiration process and what you need to do in order to use it to your advantage.