Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Close a bag of chips without a clip

Someone sent this to me -- this would have saved a lot of black binder clips over the years (and a lot of stale chips, for that matter):

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Om Malik comments on Verizon opening it's network


Go read Om's post -- he's got some unique insights into the way that he sees things.  Opening up their network makes Verizon look a little bit more like companies that use the GSM standard, though they've taken it a step further by providing a testing bed to certify non-traditional equipment to run on their network.

I would think this move would be pretty easy to emulate; I assume that most of the carriers have testing facilities similar to Verizon's and could open them up to test all kinds of devices.

The first thing I thought about when I heard this news was the Amazon Kindle -- everything you download direct on the Kindle downloads over Sprint's EVDO network and Amazon presumably has some sort of per bit pricing on network usage.  What will be interesting is if Verizon introduces different pricing plans to allow people to really leverage their creativity to use the network.

Now I"m waiting for Shawn Conahan to blog about this: he always has interesting insights based on his relationship with the wireless market. 


30 interview questions you can't ask

. . . and different ways to pose the questions to get the answer without violating the law.

Good stuff.


AmEx My Wishlist went live today


I post about this every time it happens, but I still think it's just a cool promotion.

Follow the link below:


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Sportbrain makes pedometers -- not very interesting.  However, Sportbrain makes pedometers that link to their website to allow you to track the number of steps you make and do other cool things like join groups and participate in challenges to win prizes -- more interesting. 

virgin life care

Enter Virgin Life Care that has rebranded the Sportbrain web portal and put their branding on the pedometers.  Virgin Life Care re-packages the product for large companies that can start a wellness program that encourages employees to get active and provides rewards for staying active.  I have to imagine, though I don't know for sure, that there are tangible benefits in the way of discounts from health insurance carriers for opting in (and paying in) to a wellness program for all of your employees.  Even if there aren't active discounts, healthier employees generally have lower health care costs than those that are not active and healthy, so I would assume that there is some quantifying that can be done.

spectrumI contacted Virgin Life Care to provide some information to the company that I work for a couple of months ago, but have yet to hear back from them, so I can't really quote any of their projected savings figures back to you -- if I ever get contacted, I'll be happy to share.  One way to get involved with Virgin Life Care without being part of an affiliated company is to be a member of Spectrum Athletic Clubs -- they've re-branded the Virgin Life Care product (I think that's 3rd degree branding) as an up-sell to their membership program, which is unique in the health club world, though pretty easily duplicated if someone were to set their mind to it.

Due to the lack of response from Virgin, I decided to try out the Sportbrain myself.  One of the things that initially attracted me to the Virgin program and therefore the Sportbrain was the form factor of the pedometer itself.


What's nice about this pedometer as opposed to others is that it is designed to be worn on the belt/waistband and has a large display that is easy to read without detaching the pedometer.  Further, the pedometer can be comfortably worn inside the edge of a shoe and the display is big enough to view by looking down at the shoe.

While Sportbrain provides some social features on its site in the form of discussion boards, groups, etc. it would be nice to see them work on something like a Facebook widget; granted that wouldn't directly generate revenue for Sportbrain, but would likely result in additional hardware sales as friends wanted to engage in social competition with the number of steps.  For that matter, Sportbrain could even create a Facebook edition of the pedometer that automatically enables the widget data.  Just a thought.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Buy Leopard at MicroCenter before 11/11/07 and save $40


Single computer version after rebate is $89.99 and the family version is $159.99 after rebate -- best deal in town.

Link -- Family version 

Link -- Single version 

Link -- rebate form 

Leopard blue-screened my PowerBook G4

Shit! I ran the installer and the machine hung on a blue screen for hours. Although some sites said to wait for 2-3 hours for it to resolve itself, I tried that and it totally didn't work.

I finally had to dig out the original install discs for the PowerBook and reinstall Panther. Doing some more searching, I found a command line hack that is supposed to resolve this issue, so I guess I'll try it tonight and see if that makes it work or not. I've held off on upgrading my G4 Mini as I'm a little gun-shy about upgrading the non-Core chipsets.

Stay tuned -- I'll update with full instructions if this works tonight.

leopard<-- I can see them on my MacBook Pro, but not yet on my Powerbook.

UPDATE: Ok, so I fixed this and here's how:

  • Inserted the Leopard DVD

  • Chose the customized install option and chose the option to archive the previous system

  • Ran the install

  • Went to the blue screen

  • Hit cmd+opt+esc a bunch of times, which finally brought up the force quite dialog

  • System was hung on the registration application (strange)

  • Once the force quite dialog came up, then the registration application started running, so I simply canceled the force quite dialog and everything worked fine

  • Got to the desktop, tested some stuff, and deleted the prior system

  • Ran software update and downloaded and updated everything

  • Restarted and checked stability

  • Trashed the old system

Good luck!

The Mini gets upgraded this evening.

Not listening to voicemail any more

I realized today that I've been using CallWave as a visual voicemail service for the past few months and haven't even looked back to switching to normal cellphone voicemail; the reason I relaized this was I observed one of my colleagues attempting to check his voicemail int he traditional manner of hitting a speed dial, entering his password, and navigating the voicemail tree.


You can liken the use of visual/e-mail-based voicemail to the paradigm change that people experience when they first use TiV: it entirely changes how you interact with a traditional service.  CallWave's voicemail translation service isn't great, but for the most part I can get the gist of the message without ever having to listen to it.  In addition, I like the fact that the caller ID data included with the e-mail from CallWave is more detailed; I only have a few people that actually block their caller ID when they call me, so it's nice to see the caller location (i.e., my dad in San Francisco blocks the caller ID on his cell phone, but CallWave tells me that "An Unknown Caller in San Francisco, CA" called, so I know it is him).

The OSX visual voicemail widget is pretty useful, though I try to be away from my computer enough that I really use the e-mail functionality a lot more than the widget.  I have CallWave send the e-mail with the WAV attachment to my Gmail account, which immediately gets pushed via IMAP to my Blackberry; the internal audio player on my Pearl handles the WAV file attachments with no problems.

CallWave is free during beta and I think that the visual voicemail and e-mail portion will remain free as I can only really see them trying to charge for the voicemail to text translation service (if they can make it much more accurate).  I recommend any sort of visual voicemail solution to anyone that uses an e-mail enabled cell phone with the capability to play WAV files.


Could Britney Spears look any more like handmade shit?

Look at this:


She used to be a brand by showing up in advertising and pictures -- you saw Britney and you bought into the Britney brand and way of life; it was worth a fortune.  Now she looks horrendous and she's just launched a new album, which I hope does not feature this picture on the cover.

Picture from The Superficial

Saturday, November 03, 2007

OpenSocial: revolution or evolution?


Facebook is number 1 in the social market, at least for now, and is the glaring missing social networking service from those that have joined Google's OpenSocial network.  Here's what I wonder: do all of the folks combined that now support OpenSocial, MySpace, Plaxo, etc. combined come close to being as big as Facebook?  My guess is that all of the OpenSocial participants combined still wind up being a very far second to number 1 -- this isn't based on anything except for my general experience about competition.  I would state that OpenSocial is evolutionary and reactionary based on competing with number 1 rather than being fully revolutionary; after all, isn't this exactly what Facebook did that was considered so revolutionary when they did it and no one else had?

Maybe I'm wrong, but then, why are you still interacting with me on Facebook in their walled garden?


The Gracenote for DVDs is . . .

. . . well, Gracenote.

In January, I was wondering who the Gracenote of video/DVDs would be and it turns out that Gracenote will be powering what will be called "VideoID-DVD."  This service will not only be available on the software side (ala iTunes), but also will be integrated into DVD and video players to provide comprehensive DVD video information.

This new system, built on the existing Gracenote platform should roll out some time in 2008.


The net/net on daylight savings time


So I was born in June during the "Spring Forward" portion of daylight savings time, which means that I do actually gain an hour of my "life time" every time the clocks get set back.  Strange to think about, I suppose, and perhaps balanced out by various moves along timezones that I've made throughout my life that may actually have a net effect of reducing my "life time".  Of course, this only makes sense if you actually keep track of your life by the time on the closest clock to you and not by the total number of hours (or minutes or seconds) that you are alive.

Not sure where I'm going with this, but if you take nothing else away: be sure to set your clocks back this evening so that you're well-prepared tomorrow (assuming that you live somewhere that this applies to you, of course)

Sundial picture from MaestroBen