Archive for October 2006

Two Week Code Pushes: Fast or Slow?

I just finished reading a TechCrunch interview with Andrew Anker of Six Apart about their excellent new service, Vox. It’s a nicely conducted interview about a well-designed product that I think will be very successful, but this line struck me as a bit odd:

“Very early on in Vox’s development, we created a two week rapid iteration cycle where we made sure to push code religiously every two weeks. By doing that, we made sure that we were building a design cycle that was always two weeks away from fixing any problem.”

Do bi-weekly code pushes qualify as “rapid” these days? Even at Disney, we generally didn’t take much longer than that, and at Newsvine we push every single day. Multiple times even. We like the rapid pushes so much, in fact, that we even set up a machine to triumphantly speak out the filepath whenever someone pushes out code: click for a sample.

Maybe it’s because I’m impatient about site improvement and problem solving, but Andrew’s statement — if it were applied to me — would advocate a deliberate slowing down of the push cycle (perhaps for the better).

Does anyone else agree? With web technologies the way they are today, do you consider religious code pushes every two weeks a fast thing or a slow thing? Are scheduled infrequent pushes (meaning, much less than once a day) preferable to your development habits?

WURFL: Mobile device profiling

A good open-source database of mobile device capabilities… useful in detection

Buying in a Softening Real Estate Market

That’s a lot of “For Sale” signs! This condo conversion near the Newsvine Global Headquarters has been on the market for about six months now.

Up until last month, I had been happily renting a great condo in the Lower Queen Anne area of Seattle. I had owned another condo until 2003 but sold it because of an extremely loud construction project breaking ground next door (another condo building). Rent was extremely reasonable at about $1300 a month, and when compared to the payments on a presumed purchase price of about $360,000, it was a comfortable living situation for someone who had just taken a 50% paycut to start their own company. A couple of months ago, however, the owner of the condo decided to move back to Seattle from North Dakota and hence, back into the condo. I was given plenty of notice and looked feverishly for a place to buy during the following two months, but the Seattle real estate market just didn’t produce anything I wanted for under a half million bucks.

During the last couple of weeks of my tenancy, I found an extremely nice place to purchase. It was a condo in the newly converted Queen Anne High School building. It’s a historical building like no other in Seattle and the unit I put a deposit down on had a great view of the Space Needle and was well situated in the building. Truly a one of a kind if you place great importance on historical significance in your living quarters. There were two problems with the unit, however, which caused me to bail out only a few days before my 20-day contract-binding window: it was just over $400k for 655 square feet and it wasn’t going to be ready until January or February. So even if I was able to rationalize living in such a small place, I’d have to move into an apartment for a few months while I waited for the unit to be done. Moving once sucks. Moving twice really sucks.

It was a tough decision to bail out, but since that day several weeks ago, I’ve noticed some things in the Seattle real estate market which have convinced me I made the right decision:
→ Read the rest of this entry

Inman's 9th Incarnation

The Wolf has been acting out again.

Steve Bryant's New Reel Pop Blog

A great new blog about online video from one of the smartest reporters around.

Most Expensive Google Adwords

Mental note: Start School Loan Consolidation site

Moda Condos: How To Piss Off 1086 People With 1 Click

Mike Industries Poll

Given the situation in this blog post, would you ever sell the list?


So I woke up yesterday morning to an e-mail in my inbox from “Moda Condominiums”, an upcoming condo project in Seattle. I had filled out a form several weeks ago at the Moda website indicating I was interested in some information about the place.

To my shock, THE CC: FIELD IN THE MESSAGE EXPOSED ALL 1086 NAMES AND E-MAIL ADDRESSES FROM THE LIST.

I replied to the sender and asked how they could possibly make the mistake of taking private information and publishing it publicly like that. If I had received a response or apology, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog post, but there’s been nothing but radio silence so far.

It’s bad enough when a friend forwards you a joke e-mail and there are 50 people CC’d, but this list has some serious value attached to it. 1086 qualified real estate leads looking to purchase a condo in Seattle? What’s that worth? $25 per lead? $100 per lead? $25,000-$100,000? Real estate and mortgage leads are extremely expensive/lucrative and everyone on the exposed list can only hope one out of the 1086 people doesn’t find a buyer. In fact, it’s likely that some people on the list are real estate and mortgage people.

This is going to sound unethical (and it almost certainly is), but if someone offered me $100,000 to simply forward them that e-mail, I can’t say with 100% certainty that I wouldn’t do it. And I can say with 100% certainty that at least one person on the list would. I’m just being real here.

Note: Until I hear otherwise, I’m going to assume the responsible party is Moda’s sales and marketing firm “Urban Pacific Real Estate”. If this is not the case and someone comes forward indicating otherwise, I will gladly post a retraction.

UPDATE: According to Jared, a list like this is worth at least $20,000… or $20 per lead. Good info Jared!
UPDATE #2: Well, it looks like Geoff George (geoffg@axisfinancial.net and geoffgeorge2@comcast.net) is the first Mortgage spammer to commandeer the list for his own personal gain. He just sent an e-mail pitching his firm to all 1086 recipients. He *also* put everyone in the CC field (unbelievable) and included his phone number as well.
UPDATE #3: Iolanthe Chan-McCarthy of Urban Pacific Real Estate has just sent out a public apology to everyone on the list and to me personally as well. Apology accepted. You’re not off the hook, but at least you’re honest and you’re owning up. No apology from Geoff George yet, but Iolanthe has reportedly contacted him as well.

The High-Def Holy Grail

Oh happy day. Happy, happy day. Tonight, I dropped $799 on the new Series 3 Tivo and I couldn’t be happier. See scientific diagram below:

Yes, there are similar products like Media Center PCs, cable company PVRs, and Myth TV, but if you’re willing to spend the extra cash, nothing beats a Tivo. This thing is spectacular and after only a few hours with it, I couldn’t imagine going back. If ever there was an interface worth $800 a pop, this is it. For more info/motivation, check out the New York Times’ David Pogue’s text or video review.

UPDATE: Oh this is just too great:
  1. Wake up this morning.
  2. Read Kottke’s “don’t you dare miss this” review of Eyes on the Prize.
  3. Search for Eyes on the Prize on Tivo Central’s web site.
  4. Hit record.

And we’re done. Didn’t even touch the TV. Now all I need is a contextual menu plug-in with “Find this item on Tivo”.

Shared
Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away:

A great essay about how toxic everyday distractions can be.

Humanity's deep future:

A group of researchers at the Future of Humanity Institute talk about where our race may be going and how artificial intelligence could save or kill us all.

Steve Jobs speaks about the future at the International Design Conference in 1983:

31 years later, it’s safe to say this is one of the most prescient speeches about technology ever delivered. Jobs covers wireless networking, tablets, Google StreetView, Siri, and the App Store (among other things) many years before their proliferation. A fantastic listen.

How to travel around the world for a year:

Great advice for when you finally find the time.

LiveSurface:

A fantastic app for prototyping your design work onto real world objects like billboards, book covers, and coffee cups. This seems like just as great of a tool for people learning design as it does for experts.

50 problems in 50 days:

One man’s attempt to solve 50 problems in 50 days using only great design. Some good startup ideas in here…

How to Do Philosophy:

If you’ve ever suspected that most classical philosophy is a colossal waste of time, Paul Graham tells you why you’re probably right.

TIME: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us:

Stephen Brill follows the money to uncover the pinnacle of corruption that is the U.S. Health Care system. A must-read article if there ever was one.

DIY Dot Org:

A beautifully designed site full of fun and challenging DIY projects. I could spend months on here.

The Steve Jobs Video Archive:

A collection of over 250 Steve Jobs videos in biographical order

Self-portraits from an artist under the influence of 48 different psychoactive drug combos.

Water Wigs are pretty amazing.

David Pogue proposes to his girlfriend by creating a fake movie trailer about them and then getting a theater to play it before a real movie. Beautiful and totally awesome.

Jonah Peretti's letter to BuzzFeed’s employees:

If you’re wondering what a excellent blueprint for a modern media company looks like, look no further than Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s latest email to his employees. In it, Peretti explains a lot of his company’s virtues, the most important being a relentless focus on always providing what’s best for the user. Vox Media (operators of The Verge) is the only other company I can think of which approaches this level of reform and execution.

The Covers Project:

I love this so much: a cross-referenceable database of cover songs, searchable by song or artist. Slowed down, acoustic covers — no matter the song — are so enjoyable to me that I wish it was a requirement to play one at every show. If you like them as much as I do, make sure to check out M. Ward’s Let’s Dance or Sun Kil Moon’s entire album of Modest Mouse covers.

Overshared
@pandemona You have 16 unread coffees.
@schradog I will be there! Not sure on pre game plans yet though. I will DM you when plans come together.
A great animated explainer about how San Francisco's fog actually works: http://t.co/8KsniaCTXN #fogsplained
@isaach No. It's that you have a Photos group, containing Vine, which isn't about photos. Then you have Photos & Flickr OUTSIDE the group!
@isaach So many peculiarities and contradictions in there. I feel like I don't even know you, Isaac.
@benjaminlistwon What's going on?
@aaron Aha. I figured it out. Works on all browsers logged out. Works on zero browsers logged in. cc:@motherfuton @BenPiersall @gavinpurcell
@gavinpurcell @aaron Yeah. Tried it in Safari… same thing.
Anybody have problems with http://t.co/LdLXaKk83Y videos not playing over the last couple of weeks. Sadly, the ads always work. :( cc:@aaron
@benjaminlistwon I'm told cranberry juice is the natural way to clear this up.
I love @SlackHQ's and @Mailbox's "minimal viable badging" approach. Just show a 1 or a dot no matter how many new items you have.
@gwb @mkruz If Sausalito had a neighborhood blog, it should be called Awesome Saus. #makeithappen
@ntakayama Ha. So far there is a massively negative retention effect as well as a irrecoverable dip in NPS.
@ntakayama Ha. Problem is it's *their* iteration, not mine. Also, repacking it each time is a pain in the ass.
Anyone had a good experience w/ @DotandBo? 4 months to ship a chair, 1st is ripped, 2nd is wrong color. Total pain. http://t.co/vbBuOIZKgU