Saturday, February 10, 2007

Famous Princeton ESP Lab Closes

Amazing ths place was still around. Interesting history.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Web 2.0 Explained Through Video

This is a cool Web 2.0 video that's popping up everywhere from Lawrence Lessig's blog to Boing Boing. It's very cool and shows the evolution text and the Web. Very slick.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

That Would Be a Great Band Name

If you're like me, and pray God you're not, you occasionally realize something that just came out of your mouth would make a great name for a band. I think this happens to me at least once a day. You'll be talking to a coworker about stepping on a rancid peach outside the produce stand by your house and suddenly you stop and say "Rancid Peach would be a great name for a band!"

Well you can now save time in this ridiculous pursuit by using the
Band name generator.

Either enter a few words of your own to mix into the generator or just create utterly random band names like "Pungent Lager Wormlings" or "Crafty Hamburgers." I'm pretty sure I don't want to hear the next download from "Sphincter Bulbous Holidays," but who knows, maybe they're the next "Speedcake Protocol Cherries."

Jobs Votes to Give DRM the Heave-Ho

As sick I am of Steve Jobs and despite the fact that I consider him an arrogant, overrated shill, I am really heartened by his essay favoring the drop-kick of DRM. He makes some great points and I'm sure this essay will become the next big thing (probably it already is).

Especially well-written are the last few paragraphs where he points out that record companies have always sold DRM-free music in the form of easily-rippable CDs:

"In 2006, under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves."

Great point, Mr. Jobs. I still won't buy an iPod though.

Apple - Thoughts on Music

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Morning is Your Friend

In Tapping the Power of Your Morning Routine, Yahoo! Finance writer Jim Citrin collected responses from 20 business leaders about their morning routines. The main bullets:
  1. Start early.
  2. Get a jump on email.
  3. Exercise every morning.
  4. Be thoughtful about the source, form, and timing of your news.
  5. Problem-solve.
  6. Be creative with your morning routine.
These all sound fine except the exercise bit. I have a hard time exercising in the morning. Sure, I walk about two miles every morning during my commute, but to lift weights or run before 7am messes me up. Everything else sounds fine.

I've always said that any idiot can get to work early. However I've seen people who consider this the height of work ethic. Never mind they spend 7-10am reading CNN or shopping on Amazon, as long as they're at work before the boss, they're golden. However, if you can plan out your day, catch up on e-mail, and get a little research done before 9am, I'd say you've made the most of getting an early start. A tip If your boss is impressed by early risers: few days a week make sure to send your boss an e-mail early. Make sure it's relevant though, or you'll look like a brown nose. You might try holding off on response from the afternoon before and then sending it when you get in the next morning.

One thing the article doesn't mention directly is breakfast. I've started eating breakfast every morning and I can say from experience, it helps. For a good article on the subject check out "How to Feel Like Eating Breakfast First Thing in the Morning" on WikiHow.

The article didin't mention RSS either, which may be because many business leaders may not be geeky enough to use Feed Readers or other RSS tools (granted, some may be using it without realizing it on their My Yahoo pages and such). RSS can be a powerful way to catch up on industry and business news in your morning hours. Build a page of RSS feeds with Protopage, PageFlakes, Netvibes, etc. and make browsing headlines faster and more thorough.

The Bears Have Made Me Sad

The Bears looked awful last night in the Super Bowl and had it not been for copious amounts of Guinness I may have cried when the game ended. So this frigid Monday, which I wisely took off well in advance, will consist of moping, whining, and likely some punching of inanimate objects. Tuesday will be better. After all, it looks like the Bulls will be in the playoffs and Spring training (Go Sox!) is right around the corner.

MetaWeather: A Good Idea with Mixed Results

MetaWeather is a weather aggregation site that describes itself as "An automated weather data aggregator that takes the weather predictions from various forecasters and calculates the most likely outcome." Oddly enough I was just chatting with someone about how a "Metacritic for weather information" would be a good idea and it could be called "MetaWeather." So I checked the URL and sure enough, there are no new ideas under the sun.

Disappointed that I hadn't come up with the idea first, but excited that it existed, I checked it out. It's got a definite "side-project" look to it and has some rendering issues in the three browsers I tried it in (IE7, FF2, and Opera). For instance, it shows temperature ranges on a bar graph and if the range is small (for instance between -12 and -9 the two numbers are smashed on top of each other.)

The sources for Chicago listed are Homepage, weather for Chicago, BBC Homepage, BBC Weather for Chicago, Weather Underground Homepage, and Weather Underground weather for Chicago. I'm not sure why it lists all those weather site home pages, which don't list anything about specific cities. Also, I'd rather see Accuweather and The National Weather Service incorporated. However this may be an API issue.

Again, this looks like a side project and maybe that's all it is. Or an experiment. But I'd like to see a full-scale version of a meta-weather site at some point tricked out with more features and a little more polish. After a quick check of all the weather sites uses and the ones I mentioned, I'm amazed at the disparity. Averaging all this data in a slick way could be very helpful.

So while I really like the idea and initiative the Metaweather folks have shown, I look forward to its maturity even more.