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Once in a Lifetime Encounter in Austin

posted by Jason Swihart on March 14  ·  Permalink

Today, on my last day in Austin, TX for SxSW, my friend Jennifer and I were exiting a hotel courtyard on South Congress to make our way back to the Convention Center. Just as we stepped into the misty air out in the sidewalk, a helmeted cyclist rode by on the street, his sharp features and lean physique instantly recognizable. Agog, we exclaimed in near unison:

“Holy crap, that was David Byrne!”

We stood gaping as he maneuvered his bicycle tentatively across the lanes of oncoming traffic and into the center turn lane of the five-lane street. He was evidently trying to get himself onto the other side of Congress in order to ride with traffic.

Watching him negotiate with a blue pickup truck for the center lane, aggressive traffic on all sides of him, one of us spoke the words we both were thinking: “I really hope David Byrne doesn’t get hit.”

Continued

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Brought to you by the Letter C

posted by DL Byron on February 27  ·  Permalink

Above the luggage carousel in LAX are curious cabinet signs with briefcases on them.

letter_c

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It never rains in California

posted by DL Byron on February 27  ·  Permalink

I’ve never seen it rain in LA, even when I lived here, and woke up to a damp city this morning. Like I told Brownrigg last night, I got no LA game. At least with the wetness, I feel more comfortable here, it’s more like Seattle, Portland, or San Fran, where I feel right at home.

la office

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Lola Lights

posted by DL Byron on January 14  ·  Permalink

The fiery lights above the bar at Lola. We were there for my 40th birthday.

city merge

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Michael Bolton and Blue Oyster Cult

posted by DL Byron on December 04  ·  Permalink

Talk about a mashup, Manis finds evidence that Michael Bolton opened for Blue Oyster Cult once. There’s that proof and more in Eric Bloom’s (lead singer and guitar player for BOC) galleries.

I remember seeing this shirt, maybe even live at the Benton County Fairgrounds, where I surely would’ve banged my head and yelled, “Zillagod!”

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Alpaca Sales

posted by DL Byron on November 30  ·  Permalink

Alpaca Sales (submitted by a reader) — that’s my arborist career change fall back plan. Bonus is the kid in the hippie doo rag (shown on the Alpaca sales site).









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The Arborist

posted by DL Byron on November 26  ·  Permalink

A postcard adverting an arbor service came in the mail months ago and it’s stuck with me since, like a dreamy scene from American Beauty, I’ve been thinking about that as a new career, a new beginning, when I turn 40. It’d be smarter than a sports car for a mid-life crisis. I think it’s the manliness of the photo, the contented look, power tools in trees, and the possibility of a green career mulching all the tree trimmings.

arborist

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City View Merged

posted by DL Byron on September 19  ·  Permalink

A photomerge of Christina Ricci on the cover of W magazine on LCD panels in an airport, the San Francisco Skyline, and Agent Provocateur girls from the Hard One issue of Knickers forever.

city merge

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Awoken by owls, not monkeys

posted by DL Byron on August 18  ·  Permalink

Mugato In my 1/2 awake dream at 4:30 am PDT, it was an alpine monkey/gorilla calling. Like that white, horned one with poison fangs from Star Trek (episode 45 to be exact) that bit Kirk. I’ve got monkey on the brain because we’ve just starting our sport utility bike project at Bike Hugger and that involves two components with monkey names: Stokemonkey and Karate Monkey.

About 10 minutes into the loud calling, I figured out it was an owl mating with another “hot, summer owl” in the nature reserve near our house. You wouldn’t believe how jarringly loud that is until it wakes you up.

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Email Erodes into Art

posted by DL Byron on August 06  ·  Permalink

Just when I was the most frustrated with email, an interesting art project arrives in my inbox. Erosion is a net-based performance project that generates a starch-based foam biodegradable sculpture from email subject lines. So, I sent it an email and here’s what it said

The Eroder is on a hiatus for the foreseeable future. Thank you for your interest!

Even art is overwhelmed by email.

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Baby Season

posted by DL Byron on May 06  ·  Permalink

Mie is expecting, looking beautiful and artistic. Harper Ford Reese is all shiny, new, and making the grandparents happy.

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Beer Bath -- heavenly

posted by DL Byron on May 02  ·  Permalink

For a beer drinker, a vacation to a resort that features beer baths is just, well, heavenly. Ya know, I have been feeling burned out and that maybe just what I need.

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Like Prince Said

posted by DL Byron on April 05  ·  Permalink

Man it’s great to have Prince back with a bumping album: “Everybody, grab a body, pump it like you want somebody.”

Best part is that the children dig it as well. I’ve been teaching them the musicology from Purple Rain to 3121 and Black Sweat. Shit, I used to roller skate to this music. I’ll spare them Under a Cherry Moon, but we’re listening and grooving - housequake.

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Here comes the sun

posted by DL Byron on April 04  ·  Permalink

The sun is finally here in Seattle and whilst we rejoice, I also hope it brings with it less allergies this year. Last year was a tough one and this year already seems to be better. The same convergence zone that gives us all the rain also traps pollutants in a haze around the Puget Sound. Daily sources for air quality and pollens include

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More urban coyotes

posted by DL Byron on March 22  ·  Permalink

And this time it’s New York!. Our neighborhood coyotes have been quieter these days and we haven’t seen one since they moved in a few months ago.

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An unpleasant and painful moment

posted by DL Byron on March 21  ·  Permalink

I was taking Ryan to the doctor for a follow-up appointment for an infection he had. He was going to have an ultrasound on his kidneys, I could tell he was nervous, and I told it was going to be “fun! and great!” Responding to my encouragement he says, “well, no, cause last time I went to the hospital it was an unpleasant and painful moment.” I couldn’t argue with him on that (they drew blood and he was not feeling well) and he totally cracked me up. I then changed the subject and tried to convince him that ultrasound was done by sharks with laser beams. I surmised that, “they lower you into a tank of water and these sharks swim around pointing the ultrasound laser at your belly.” He didn’t believe me for a second, but thought it sounded funny and asked the nurse where the sharks were when we got there.

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I get around at SXSW

posted by DL Byron on March 06  ·  Permalink

With the exceptions of

I’ll be on the no plan plan at SXSW this year, which means I just “flow,” sorta like hustle and flow minus the pimp part. I’m also bringing my bike and will ride the roads of the Texas panhandle and race The Primavera At Lago Vista

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Getting drowsy on the panel at NewCommForum

posted by DL Byron on March 02  ·  Permalink

Ok the Claritin drowsiness hits me, mid thought (I think it was a brilliant thought, not sure) and I lose what I was saying. Thankfully, the audience reminded me where I was and I was able to finish the thought.

Thanks audience!

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The Boogie that -b-

posted by DL Byron on March 02  ·  Permalink

I dropped off a set of wheels at my local UPS stop for shipment back to the factory and the UPS driver was delivering a set of wheels to another customer — a wheel coinicidence.

Concluding a call with a client, while walking through the D concourse at Seatac, I heard a familiar voice and it was Al Gore. I got a photo with my Beastie Boys Crappy Camera Phone (requires an RSS reader). Al Gore’s head is the bluest one, which is what I’d expect. You’d think that Al Gore’s head would show up as blue on a Beastie Boys filter.

Palo Alto was like a suburban dream driving in. We passed a school with kids riding bikes, squirrels eating nuts, and then I had the best quesadilla I’ve ever eated. It was a gourmet quesadilla. Damn it was good.

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More photos from beastie boys

posted by DL Byron on February 26  ·  Permalink

My crappy camera phone continues to take photos that look like stills from a Beastie Boys video and I’ve started a photocast just for them (note the photocast requires an RSS reader). The latest photos were taken on the way to LAX.

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Grotulated Camera Lens

posted by DL Byron on February 23  ·  Permalink

grotulated grossness The lens on my crappy camera phone got all grotulated from various bits of goo at the bottom of my messenger bag and resulted in a cool, saturated filter, which can be seen in this photo of Brownrigg. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but having all my shots look like they’re from the Beastie Boys’ So What’cha Want video is like the coolest thing ever.

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To Live and Ride in LA

posted by DL Byron on February 23  ·  Permalink

I survived a brief ride in LA yesterday afternoon. With few options, I just jumped into the stream of traffic on Olympic Blvd, hauled ass, turned around, and heading right back to the hotel. Today, I’ll try another route up into Beverly Hills.

While I was riding, an intriguing LA story about a shattered, million dollar ferrari, a millionaire passenger (?), gamers, and more.

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Avenue of the Stars Delivers

posted by DL Byron on February 23  ·  Permalink

Waiting for Brownrigg in the lobby in a hotel on the Avenue of the Stars, I overheard Estella Warren discuss her finances with a couple suits. I’m not much into celeb culture, but that was interesting and discussed until we met our robowaiter who looked remarably like Peter Weller and delivered our meal with robotic precision.

I last saw Estella play a psycho bitch whose lips are “filled with goose down” in Law & Order’s Flaw episode. She played opposite Linda Carter who was equally pyscho bitchy and still hot, over forty, even without that golden lasso. As I told Pam, as a boy, I was absolutely fascinated by Wonder Woman in the 70s.

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Batten down the hatches

posted by DL Byron on February 04  ·  Permalink

Growing up in the Tri-Cities (where the wind doesn’t blow, it sucks), I’ve experienced many wind storms. Difference here in Seattle is that wind drives the pouring rain. And that causes a mini squall affect, where the rain is whipped up, violently around, and thrown right into your face. For a few seconds, I thought I’d go out for a quick ride, checked outside, got a face full of stinging squall and that was it for me.

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Urban Coyotes Roam the Streets

posted by DL Byron on February 03  ·  Permalink

We’ve heard the Coyotes howling (that’ll wake you up!) and there’s been debate in the neighborhood as to whether it’s the coyotes or foxes in Schmitz Park. Well, it doesn’t take much more convincing that to see a coyote just saunter right up your street. Pam posts about it on her new iWeb blog. So, yes, I’m in my office, look out the window, and there’s a coyote.

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An Urban Ecosystem with Coyotes

posted by DL Byron on January 24  ·  Permalink

I heard the coyote yips and howls and yes, it’s confirmed, there are coyotes in Schmitz Park, the nature reserve in our neighborhood. According to PAWs, coyotes are very urban and adaptable and may take over the territory in the park now used by the foxes. Schmitz Park is an urban ecosystem, with owls, eagles, bats, raccoons, foxes, and now coyotes. The kids and I will never forget the time a barred owl flew over right our heads — they had just seen Harry Potter and believed it was magical. It was. Occasionally we’ll hear this call.

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On this day

posted by DL Byron on January 13  ·  Permalink

It’s my 39th birthday, my parents 44th anniversary, Friday the 13th (the day on which I was born), and the 25th day of rain.

Update

And it was also a big day for Shel and RobertNaked Conversations is now on sale.

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Consecutive days of measurable precipitation

posted by DL Byron on January 11  ·  Permalink

If I recall correctly, the last time it rained so hard and long, was about 12 years ago and the hills started sliding down. It was the year I moved here and I couldn’t believe how much it rained. Whenever I’d visited Seattle before moving here, it was sunny, spring-weather, and beautiful. Seattle is still beautiful and the summer makes up for the rainy season by far, but I’m feeling the 23 days of rain and the blustering storms that wake me up in the middle of the night. It’s definitely dreeping.

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The year of HD

posted by DL Byron on January 09  ·  Permalink

I agree with the press and bloggers calling 2006 the year of the mac, but it’s also going to be the year of HD. The NYTimes ran a great article today on making sure your TV is adjusted correctly to enjoy that HD signal. If you’re wondering what it looks like, you’ll know it when you see it. Also, another tip is that I’ve found the cable guys know little more about HD setup than you do. Research it a bit, turn to inHD or DiscoveryHD and boom, you’ll see it.

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Bill Clinton to take over Microsoft?

posted by on January 06  ·  Permalink

It’s a juicy little rumor Neville Hobson’s reported.

I love Bill Clinton. I think he was the bomb-diggity bombest President this country has seen since FDR, and the sexiest since Kennedy. But as I recall, under his administration - the Justice Department was pretty keen to nail Microsoft on a little thing called “anti-trust.” Hmm…could this mean all is forgiven?

I know this is a little off-topic for Switch2Mac - but if it’s true that Billy J (the J stands for Jefferson) is taking over Bill Gates’ empire - I might just have to reconsider Windows. Not to mention the fact that him making a move to Redmond (which is right around the bend from my house) would make me one happy little groupie.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Put on a pair of pants

posted by DL Byron on January 06  ·  Permalink

I was embarrassingly reminded of how it’s important to put on a pair of pants, if only occasionally, in the home office. I work from home and mostly wear sweats, shorts, and pajamas. Today, when the UPS man came to pick up an overnight package, I forgot that I was wearing a pair of happy-face pajamas and quickly lost all professional credibility with the driver. My office looks like a design studio and I think I’m very professional, but that doesn’t matter when you’re standing there holding a package for UPS in happy-face pajamas. So, after he left, I got dressed up as if I was going to a real office. When the family got home they asked, “Why you all dressed up?” “Well, today I had on those happy-face pajamas and … “

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14 Years of Debt

posted by DL Byron on January 05  ·  Permalink

SallieMae wrote to thank me for being a great customer, congratulate me on paying off my student loans, and wish me luck in the future. I looked over the mail and noticed the date of the first loan — 1992! 14 years of college debt finally paid off. During the lean times, back in the dotcom bust, SallieMae was always the last to get paid and at the 6.65 percentage rate, I probably could’ve gone another 6 years. I also then considered what it’s going to cost my children to go to college …

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Happy New Year Card

posted by DL Byron on January 02  ·  Permalink

Happy New Year For those of you that may have missed our Happy New Year card in email, here’s a pdf version.

The photos are from our Maui holiday. It’s been a good year for us here, tons of work and not without some tough days, but a good year. We hope for the best again and wish you all well. 2006 is going to even busier.

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No More Internet Explorer for Macintosh

posted by on December 21  ·  Permalink

According to NewTech, they’ll be ending support for Internet Explorer for Macintosh. The move has been coming for two years - and is entirely warranted, since IE for Macintosh is nowhere near the quality of Safari, Firefox, or Opera.

God bless standards compliance and good riddance to Internet Explorer!

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Allow Me to Introduce Myself

posted by on December 05  ·  Permalink

Hello Textura Design Readers. My name is Teresa Valdez Klein. Byron has buried himself in a book writing bunker and has asked me to take over posting on TDI for the next few weeks.

Like Byron, I am a hard core Mac addict. After all, once you go Mac, you never go back. So over the next month, I will be posting mostly about my mission to get my loved ones to make the switch.

I’m very happy to be here in my home away from home. Thanks to Byron for his warm welcome. Stay tuned!

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Snow Panic 2005

posted by DL Byron on December 01  ·  Permalink

The media hype and panic about the mere possiblity of snow is back again this year and it’s been racheted up a notch. Each year the snow panic gets more panicky and I sympathize with the intrepid news reporters that have to drive North or to the Highlands until they find a flake of snow to report or a car in a ditch. They’ve got to find something to support the anchor lead ins, alerting graphics, promises of nonstop flake coverage, and school closure reports.

Apparently big ratings are associated with snow, so the coverage is going to continue … at least in HD, it looks really good.

The PI has a snow watch to watch and the kids can’t wait for a snow day, each day they check outside for snow. I told them my knee hurts before it snows and that’s how I know. (I’ll admit that the knee is a bit sore today.)

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The Pee Tree

posted by DL Byron on November 28  ·  Permalink

Unfortunately our fake xmas tree smelled like pee when we took it out of the box this year. Mice, a cat, racoon, or something got into it and left behind a pungent order. After some deliberation, cleaning considerations and fumigation options, we threw it out and got ourselves a vintage 50s alumimum tree. Today when I was putting the rest of the trash out for the garbage truck, I noticed someone had stolen the pee tree. Now, I feel bad that they got the pee tree and probably won’t notice it until the plastic limbs heat up to room temperature. I remember when I was in college, the groundskeepers would spike trees with wolverine hormones, or some really nasty smell, to prevent drunkards from cutting down trees for their dorm rooms. That really wasn’t our intent, but someone is going to smell that smell, soon enough.

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And a Nuclear Submarine floats by

posted by DL Byron on November 22  ·  Permalink

It’s ominous to be in a call, talking about business blogging, look out my window, and see a nuclear submarine floating by. The subs are based at Bangor, Washington.

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Halloween Parade

posted by DL Byron on October 31  ·  Permalink

Our favorite holiday, here at Textura Design, is halloween and this year, like every year, the festivities started with a neighborhood parade. That same motley crew, including dead rock star, corpse bride, bride of Frankenstein, big-hand, tigger, skeletor, and cute bug will get their tricks and treats tonight.

For the past 3 years, I’ve handed out candy with the help of a slightly scary puppet named Hugo. This year, sadly, the neighborhood is getting older and Hugo was deemed to be “too babyish.” Ok, then, the big guns will come out with a seriously scary guy handing out candy.













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All about the Sexy in Montreal

posted by DL Byron on October 12  ·  Permalink

During a dinner cruise around the waters of Montreal, the table chatter eventually went into the gutter and one of the woman said, "the Montreal girls are all about the sexy . . . with the dark mascara and cleavage." The table agreed and I said, "yes and they are the best singers in the world," which was a reference to the Celine Dion parody on Saturday Night Live. Chuckle, chuckle and then we got drenched in a downpour I haven't seen since New York City. Yes it rains a lot in Seattle, but not the sudden, the skies have opened, type of rain.

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One nation under a groove

posted by DL Byron on October 08  ·  Permalink

In what turned out to be the first Internet ad I’ve ever intentionally clicked, I landed on the Parliament Funkadelic — One Nation Under A Groove film site on PBS.

Put a glide in your stride and a dip in your hip,
And come on up to the Mothership

I’ll tune into that and light the roof on fire.

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More on Montreal

posted by DL Byron on October 04  ·  Permalink

vegapipe I've been researching Montreal before our trip, checking out Cannabis Culture (on the when in Rome tip) and found this hilarious product review on the Vegapipe, including a rating sytem for the best vegetable pipe. Nice!






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Jackknifed Semi

posted by DL Byron on September 30  ·  Permalink

So man we're driving home from REI last night, and boom, right in front of us a semi abruptly tries to change lanes, jackknifes, slams into one retaining wall, then another, and skids to a stop blocking all lanes of southbound travel to I-90. It happened right as I was telling Pam how confusing the intersection is. The Seattle PI has reported on it in their Getting There column: Defying death at the exit to I-90. Luckily we continued on the exit and didn't t-bone the semi. Another car just squeaked by as the semi started to skid.

What happens is drivers end up on the Dearborn, Airport Way, Fourth Avenue South and the stadiums exit by mistake (not really, as the exit goes straight through to I-5 but you can't tell that from the signage) and then swerve back onto the freeway lanes.

Our daughter was stunned. At first, having never seen anything like that go down, she didn't think it was real and laughed nervously. She soon realized it was real and a big life lesson for her.

Of course, the crash happened in seconds, but all in slow-mo.

WSDOT has promised better signage. I hope that's soon.

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Cup of Love

posted by DL Byron on September 21  ·  Permalink

Cup Of Love Pam pulled this espresso cup out of the dishwasher and noticed the heart pattern. The cup was in the top rack, filled with water, coffee grinds and some love. There's something there, like reading tea leaves, or something.




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When Reality Crashes

posted by DL Byron on September 02  ·  Permalink

From the front page of CNN.com

  • Bush: “We’ll get on top of this situation”
  • Mayor blasts feds: “‘Get off your asses”

I remember reading an article in the NY Times during the presidential election that quoted a White House official who said something like, “we create reality,” and that couldn’t be more true. Be it on the news, in Iraq, the economy, or New Orleans. When a country is divided, as ours is, you push your version of everything. If you say something enough times, people will believe it, even if it’s not true. And the public will choose what to believe right down the middle: both sides of the aisle.

I watched the official version of reality crash, if only momentarily, during Anderson Cooper 360. Anderson lost it with Sen. Mary Landrieu who came on to reassure America that all was well and help was coming. He replied, …”there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours.”

Quotes from the transcript

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Anderson, tonight, I don’t know if you’ve heard — maybe you all have announced it — but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating.

COOPER: Excuse me, Senator, I’m sorry for interrupting. I haven’t heard that, because, for the last four days, I’ve been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated.

And when they hear politicians slap — you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there’s not enough facilities to take her up.

Do you get the anger that is out here?

The Senator struggled, got back on message, Anderson pushed again emotionally, then relented, and it took him another segment before he recovered.

It was intense. Like a scene from the Manchurian Candidate, where I expected to see the world fall apart behind the Senator and dissolve into a wall of suffering refugees rushing in to tackle her and steal her clothes, water, and whatever food she had. Here’s the video of the exchange.

For all the criticism the media has endured, from the bloggers and themselves, to finally see them go on the offensive and ask hard questions was one good thing to come from this tragedy.

I don’t doubt that everyone is working hard on this and understands the extent of the tragedy; however seeing reality crash like that showed that the public can’t be fooled all the time.

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When the Levees Break

posted by DL Byron on August 31  ·  Permalink

I’ve been sick most of the week, watched way more TV than normal, and was stunned by Katrina. The standard, newsman in the storm was replaced with disaster observers and a massive disaster it was. Much drama at play, the human costs, man against nature, oil industry, and more. I also remembered an art piece we did years ago called Floodgate 2.0 (QT, 7.5M).

A torrential rain poured down from the floodgates of the angy heavens … .

Floodgate is the source of our tag line, “dreeping in the rain.”

A Blog for Relief Day starts tomorrow.

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rather have a notepad

posted by DL Byron on August 21  ·  Permalink

IE 7 Pam picked up a couple of the Microsoft Ogio bags for the kids. Microsoft gave them out at the Blog Business Summit and included a copy of the IE 7 beta. Later at the airport, she says, “I need some paper, where’s that bag?” “What?” She thought the beta package was a nifty round notepad and disappointed that it wasn’t said, “I’d rather have a notepad, then a beta browser.”

Ha ha . . . me too.



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King of Bling

posted by DL Byron on August 17  ·  Permalink

We stopped to see the King of Bling on the way to San Diego. I remembered, faintly, seeing King Tut as a kid, in the 70s. It was less dramatic without the face mask, but impressive just the same. We also dug the tar pits nearby.

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Printtroll

posted by DL Byron on July 25  ·  Permalink

Printtroll is a book making and print collaborative with Robroy Chalmers and his former student, Brett Groves. Robroy goes way back with Textura Design, to the net.art of old, like still_motion (12M QT), a piece that was included in the Liverpool Biennial with words written by Zeldman. Robroy also publishes Sikwenshel, his personal site.

We visited Robroy and family when we were in NYC earlier this year and saw the books his new site is about. They're fascinating.


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Pugatatat

posted by DL Byron on July 12  ·  Permalink

The Pug Blog Pugcast: Ratatat Remix Edition is out and it’s all:

“When you hear dat … bark, sniff, snort, snot bark
When you hear dat … snort, snuff, bark, honk, lick, bark
When you hear dat … ”

Capín barks, snorts, snots, and sniffs along to a Ratatat Remix Mixtape that features Buddha Monk and Brooklyn Zoo.


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Things on my neighbor's roof

posted by DL Byron on June 20  ·  Permalink

goo Various things appear on my neighbor's roof and I can see them whenever I'm in the kitchen. Today there is a jumping rope, sword, plushy toy, and a squishy toy that's melting in the summer sun. It's turned into a colorful blob of goo. I can only see the south side of the roof, but expect that the north side has just as many objects. The other day, I was going to throw my own object up there, but Pam stopped me.




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Barry Byron

posted by DL Byron on June 19  ·  Permalink

Barry Byron This old guy couldn't be happier when I told him about shipping Clip-n-Seals to NASA, the story in the PI, and that I was writing a book on blogging. During a visit a few weeks ago, he carried the Space Mondo around and would clip various things items to it. He was proud and happy and he deserves that. Thanks dad.








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Fun with Packaging

posted by DL Byron on June 10  ·  Permalink

Coudal's post and video on the airplus machine reminded me of how much fun you can have with packing materials and machines. Our kids use the heat sealer to make water ballons, seal up toys, and treasures. They we're absolutely fascinated with it, when it arrived a few years ago. Now, that fun tends wears off, when you're packing up a ton of shipments, but there's sure a buzz when a new machine arrives.


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Jedi Mind Trick

posted by DL Byron on May 23  ·  Permalink

Jedi Mind TrickScott is on vacation in Bishop CA, climbing, chilling, and sending videos from the road with a DV camera, Powerbook, and Free Wi-Fi. Today he sent a video of Jesse Bentz climbing (3M QT) the Jedi Mind Trick. The video plays like a commercial for beer, or a new cologne, or something. I don't know much about climbing, but the video is bad ass. The audio is from Ratatat Remixes.





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Revenge of the Stiff

posted by DL Byron on May 22  ·  Permalink

Lusty Lady The Lusty Lady is part of Seattle's culture. It's a downtown icon that has been featured in art galleries and there's even a book about it. I've always thought how poetic it was to have a peep show, with witty puns on its marquee, right across the street from the Seattle Art Museum. There's a tourist choice for you: strippers or paintings, high culture v. low.

True to form, with a Star Wars theme, the marquee for this week reads, "Revenge of the Stiff and Star Wars Peepisode III."

Photo credit to Nick Finck


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Rusty Doors

posted by DL Byron on May 16  ·  Permalink

Rusty Door 102 What's behind the door at number 102? I have no idea, but I was very curious. Thick welds on the door held various pieces together, including a hook, bars, and mismatched plates. The hook must've been for delivery drivers. One of the plates was hinged to open a door viewer and another for the dead-bolt. Rusty doors always capture my imagination.

During the worst of the dotcom bust, I worked for UPS as a driver helper during the holidays. I dropped off packages at a lot of doors. One day, the driver said, "check the castle door, when you drop off the next package." We were in a condo building, with 4 floors and one massive, gothic door. It was a door you'd expect Vlad the Impaler to open up and, well, impale you. The door was from Bulgaria, had columns, gargoyles, a huge knocker, and handle. The owner had invented boot-lace eyelets.

Later in the day, during our lunch, I told the driver that if Clip-n-Seal ever went big, like the eyelet guy, I was going to buy myself one big, rusty mother-of-all doors for my house. He chuckled and we started to deliver more packages.


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The Bunny Man

posted by DL Byron on May 05  ·  Permalink

Bunny ManEver since our trip to NYC, I've been haunted by the Bunny Man. It was Easter Sunday, we were walking around a lot, and we keep passing him. It was the creepiest bunny I'd ever seen. In fact, before then, I'd never thought of bunnies as creepy. I think it was the vacant eyes and the way he gripped the hand rail to steady himself, as if it the suit was just a shell covering a slithering monster inside.

This week, I googled Bunny Man and there's an urban legend, a psycho-bestiary graphical novel, and an even freakier, cabbage-patch-kids-like doll.







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Supermercato PAM

posted by DL Byron on April 26  ·  Permalink

Pam Store After travelling across Europe earlier this month, Pam finally found a store with her name on it! It's the Supermercato PAM, an Italian Supermarket.




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Go Shakespeare, it’s your Birthday

posted by DL Byron on April 23  ·  Permalink

To celebrate the Bard’s birthday, here’s Sonnet 55, one of my favorites, addressed to the beautiful young man, perhaps a lover, perhaps just the Bard’s patron — the debate goes on … The theme is the power of Shakespeare’s own art to outlast time and thereby make the beloved eternal. Sonnet 55 surges with some of the most powerful imagery ever breathed into a mere 14 lines of verse. What better quote to post on the Bard’s 441st birthday!

Sonnet LV
“Not marble, nor the gilded monuments”

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rime;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besemear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgement that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

Shakespeare in the news


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Hollow Sidewalks

posted by DL Byron on April 18  ·  Permalink

Hollow Whenever we visit NYC I hear the same, distinctive, hotel-room rattling sound. It sounds like a forklift crashing through a steel grate, falling two stories underground, landing on metal garbage cans and, scattering the cans in a 5 block blast-zone radius. We've stayed in different parts of the city and hear the same sound. I've come to expect it and I'm always on watch for the actual source of the sound.

On our way to the Apple Store, I saw these Hollow Sidewalk signs and wondered if that had something to do with it. Why would the sidewalks be hollow and what's under them? Do the metal traps covering the sidewalks periodically open and close, in a synchronized manner? That could be the sound source. That or the fabled mole people at work, turning the machinery that keeps the city working.


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Pugcast, a podcast for dogs

posted by DL Byron on April 18  ·  Permalink

Coudal's Fresh Signals asked today "what took so long?" when linking to the Pug Blog's first pugcast. Agreed! There has been definitely "something missing" in podcasting, and a pugcast can extend the technology into new dog demographics. You can subscribe to the pugcast and get the latest audio from Cap’n the Adventure Pug.


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Back in the day

posted by DL Byron on April 15  ·  Permalink

Neon DreamEric Rice, the rockstar podcaster, is determined to be a videoblog VJ to the world and has been posting on a variety of topics. Earlier in the week, we were discussing video projects and I showed him some old Textura Design net.art projects. He posted on one of the projects today and included it as an example of expressing yourself with video. Back in the day, before business blogging, Clip-n-Seal, and all that we do, it was just net.art and being creative. We brought some of that back with Pug Blog and the art continues on at Sikwenshel, Robroy's site.


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Make a Meme

posted by DL Byron on April 14  ·  Permalink

Show Down Eyebeam announces the first-ever Contagious Media Showdown, a contest to show you got the stuff to make a meme, like the old-school dancing baby, an accidental blogger, the Abba Video, or unfortunately the Star Wars Kid.

Eyebeam’s timing is right on, being it’s like 1997 again, we need more fun on the web and in blogs. That’s one of the reason we launched Pug Blog, as a creative outlet (recently updated with the new, PugFavCon PugFavIcon). People are working more and could use a laugh.


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Podcasting RAINS

posted by DL Byron on April 11  ·  Permalink

Eric Rice distributed a set of interviews over the weekend on behalf of The Regional Alliances for Infrastructure and Network Security (RAINS), which has developed a Realtime Tsunami Warning Service. RAINS Connect & Protect™ collects tsunami warnings when issued, and immediately sends localized alerts via computers, pagers and cell phones, to local citizens responsible for public safety — thus dramatically increasing the speed and reach of the warnings within a community. A great community service and a podcaster doing his civic duty. Tsunamis are a concern in Puget Sound and the West Coast. We had one in 1949 and experts predict another will happen.


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Pugs rule

posted by DL Byron on April 07  ·  Permalink

Pug BlogI'd been talking for months about launching a blog about Cap'n, our pug. This week we rolled and are proud to join fellow bloggers Merrylog, Bringing up Shelby, and Puggy Blog.

I spend a better part of my day with Cap'n. She's mostly near my feet, under the desk, next to the printer. Pug Blog is about her, living with pugs, and all things pugs. I also hope to find and blog about items like the Pug Foo Fu Dog Tea Lantern Sculpture, which only the true pug fan can appreciate (and even that's a stretch). Also, and mostly, Pug Blog is a good break from all the business blogging I evangelize.

Here's more on the .


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Stinging in the Rain

posted by DL Byron on April 06  ·  Permalink

NYC RainMuch of our trip to NYC was spent walking around in the rain. I’m good with the rain, living in Seattle with a blog appropriately called, “Dreeping in the Rain,” but the NYC rain was harder. It beat down upon us and stung our faces. The rain maybe harder because of the wind currents around the buildings or the sky is closer. I’m not sure, but I’ve never had to use an umbrella in Seattle.






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NYC 05

posted by DL Byron on March 25  ·  Permalink

Pam and I will fly to NYC for some vacation time, cultural infusion, and visits with friends and babies. On the agenda: writing during the flight, hanging out, walking around. Off the agenda: talk about blogs.


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St. Patrick Pug

posted by DL Byron on March 17  ·  Permalink

Green Pug The St. Patrick Pug cheered up my very busy day.










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Got my freak on @ SXSW

posted by DL Byron on March 16  ·  Permalink

imagesAustin and has an effect. I go there to meet people, work a panel, and network. I also always end up having a really good time. On Saturday night at a fire-themed club (can't remember the name), I was the party pooper. Tired from the flight, riding my bike and working a lot, I was yawning and ready to call it a night. That's until the DJ mixed groove after groove and I ended up on the dance floor, busting out some old-school moves. When it came to the dance off, I sucked, compared to Scott, Scrivs, and that guy that hung beer cans off his face. Damn that was fun.




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"No Plan" Plan

posted by DL Byron on March 11  ·  Permalink

Drunkard I was checking the SXSW Interactive Panel Schedule and damn that's a lot of panels and much to do. I've decided to use the Bumbershoot approach at South By, where I meander around and go to panels and parties randomly, just see what's happening and relax. There's much work going on here, blogs about to launch, and I can use a vacation. A "no plan" plan is a good plan for SXSW.




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Punctual Blunt Passers

posted by DL Byron on March 11  ·  Permalink

At first I thought the Who? 3/20 meme was an attempt by some dope smokers to one up other dope smokers that use 4/20 as a code for smoking dope. Like the 3/20s are on a tighter schedule, but after a chat with Eric Rice, I learned that it's a teaser for new podcasts from Endgadget, which hasn't casted a pod since December.

I think it would've been cooler if it was actually a punctual-blunt-passing, new dope smoking meme, but decode Who? 3/20 as,"On 3/20 Endgadget will post new podcasts from a new host."


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Izadora Duncan BlairChalmers

posted by DL Byron on February 05  ·  Permalink

Izzy was born to Rob the Roy and Zannestar on February 1, 2005 at 3:15AM. She weighed in at 8lbs 4oz and measured 21" long! Zanne wrote and said, "she is our sweetest dream come true." A few pictures are up, with more to follow.

Rob and Zanne are good friends from way back, back in the day when this site was about net.art. We'll see them soon, next month, in NYC. We'll also see Baby Ava and the Zeldmans.


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Questions and Answers

posted by DL Byron on February 02  ·  Permalink

I get asked a few questions frequently and created a Q/A section on our site to answer them. Wondering what the deal is with the one name, what those initials stand for, or what dreeping is? The Q/A should answer your questions. Still wondering something? Contact us and I'll respond.


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While traveling …

posted by DL Byron on January 13  ·  Permalink

While traveling, at the crack o' dawn, to the Macworld Expo for various meetings and to help Broback with his blogging presentation this went down

  • Code for guest pass airfare with airline was invalid, delay figuring that out with ticketing agent who was confused as to why my code would be invalid, as was I.
  • Paid full fare to try and make the flight, rushed to security.
  • “e-selected” because of last minute purchase and one-way (it wasn't supposed to be one way), which means full-on security check of baggage and body.
  • Missed flight.
  • Approached counter to inquire about next flight, overhear counter agent say, “standby passengers annoy me.” I say, “I’m one of those standby passengers and I’m about to annoy you further.” She shoos me away to customer service at another gate.
  • Said “serenity now” quietly and breathed deeply to calm myself.
  • Explained to customer service agent that I’m stressed, attempting to mellow out, and tell the story, noting the bitchy counter agent.
  • She inquires, is also confused about my ticket, checks several things, and offers another guest pass round trip - nice agent, very nice.
  • Relaxed a bit, give bitchy agent the stink eye when I walk past, coffee, a few emails, wake up a sleepy Broback with my status.
  • Board the plane.
  • Run from plane departure to taxi, jarring ride to meeting.

More on the meeting and Macworld in another post.


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The Attack of the Claymates

posted by DL Byron on January 10  ·  Permalink

Andy Kaufman In response to several different blogs/bloggers taking themselves way to seriously (A nice holiday “fuck you” from Winer was one of them), Eric Rice and I were chatting about how the blogosphere needs an Andy Kaufman blogger, like what Andy did with wrestling, as the world’s first Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion. By chance, in a completely unrelated conversation, Manis wrote me to tell me about the funniest example of comment flooding he’d ever seen. If Andy Kaufman were to blog, I think this would be it. And, what’s really interesting about this is that I’d never paid attention to Clay Aiken until the Wonkette post on how Clay hates children and is mean to them. Here’s the background from Manis:

Will Carroll is a baseball writer specializing in baseball statistical analysis. He applies statistical theory to performance stats to evaluate major league baseball players. A rather dry subject sometimes, but Will and his contributors are sharp, funny guys who liven up their posts with some well-placed wise cracks. When one blog contributor dropped a throwaway line about the size of singer Clay Aiken’s penis, he doomed the blog to an attack of “Claymate” comment flooding.

The first several comments are from humorously humorless “Claymates” (their own term) who accuse the author of coveting Clay’s (they almost always refer to him by his first name only) size and of invoking Clay’s name to drive hits to the author’s website. But then the Claymates start to fight amongst themselves like the Orcs of Isengard and the Orici of Mordor in The Two Towers

Nasty Isengard Orc guard: “He’s a Christian man! How dare you soil his name!”
Brutish Mordor Orici captain: “Man of God or not, he’s got a huge dick!”

It’s surreal. If not Sublime. The Attack of the Claymates or When Claymates Attack.


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Desperate Housewives Lingerie

posted by DL Byron on January 03  ·  Permalink

La Perla After a diligent Google search, Pam finally found the source of the lingerie on Desperate Housewives. It's Italy's La Perla fashion group. We thought it was Agent Provocateur. For the lingerie fan, two different styles, but both very hot. It's also a good way to break up all the dull business blogging posts.








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Vaca in Vegas, MT Screed

posted by DL Byron on December 18  ·  Permalink

From Vegas

Death Valley With Clip-n-Seal's office and order fulfillment center closed the week of December 20th, Pam and I are off to ride our bicycles and relax in Vegas.

I may write from Vegas, splurge for lap dances, eat too much, watch 15 seconds of hotel-room porn at a time before I have to pay for it, or do nothing at all. I'm not sure yet. Pam and I plan little when vacationing. We will ride Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon, and possibly Lake Mead.

MT screed

I do know that I will not think about comment spam or waste any more dev time on MT Blacklist.

Yesterday I updated MT Blacklist and it stopped working. No good reason for it to fail. It just stopped and now throws premature script errors. It can't find Storables (a perl module), but it's there. So, after hours of tweaking, I'm done with it. Whatever Movable Type has planned, I will say that suggesting that MT users update our sites to dynamic publishing is unworkable. You can't go back to clients and say, "hey, I need to redo the site to this php thingy, cause spam sucks and the solution I built for you is broken."

Sure, I could do that on my personal site, but why would I want to? I have 10 million other things things to get done. I don't know if MT has ignored the problem, has that team of 50 working hard on it, or what. I give props to Jay Allen for his efforts, his hard work, and I'm an MT evangelist, but if MT is to mature into a commercial app, they need to offer a solution ASAP. Expecting their customers to respond with development time to their failure to address spam is not acceptable. What's especially annoying is that when you ping tech support on it, they say they can't help because it's 3rd-party app, but Jay Allen works there now.

I don't know if the blogosphere has given MT a pass on this problem, I haven't poured over RSS feeds all month (side note on that, besides Scoble, I think few bloggers actually do read RSS), but do know I don't blame the spammers. That's like blaming sharks for hunting or hackers for hacking. The spammers found an exploit and are exploiting it. It's MT's job to fix it. Not mine.


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Chock full of Blog Goodnesss

posted by DL Byron on December 10  ·  Permalink

Angel The Blog Business Summit sessions are getting finalized, most are up now, and 37 Signals announced a Seattle Building of Basecamp workshop the same week as the summit. That’s going to be a week chock full of blog goodness.

So far, Robert Scoble is going to keynote and these sessions have been finalized

  • Building Traffic: Posting isn’t Enough — Molly Holzschlag
  • The Entreprenurial Blog: Monetizing Your Interests — Brian Alvey & Glenn Fleishmann
  • Picking a Platform: Blogging Engines Compared — Molly Holzschlag & DL Byron
  • Writing for Blogs, Robert Scoble
  • Good Blog Design: Speed, Accessability, Transparency, and Clarity — DL Byron & TBA
  • Corporate Blogging: Strategy and Policy — Lenn Pryor
  • Dealing with Bloggers: Partnering and Defense Strategies — Robert Scoble

The remaining sessions and speakers will be announced soon.

If you're plan on attending, and I hope you do, you can get all blogged up on Monday and Tuesday, chill on Wednesday, then roll right into the Basecamp workshop.

Tip: a few blocks from the event, atop a burned-out building, you'll find the Angel of the City pictured above.


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It's raining sideways - ha-ha dance

posted by DL Byron on December 08  ·  Permalink

It’s raining sideways here in Seattle and I’m doing a little ha-ha dance about IBM. That’d be computers as a commodity v. designing products people love. I thought of instant messaging all my PC-owning friends about it, but that’d wouldn’t be mindful. One of them is still trying to create a photo slideshow with his PC - he’s on week 3. Earlier this year, both Jobs and Ives noted that market share isn’t their concern, instead designing good products is.


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Tut is Back

posted by DL Byron on December 05  ·  Permalink

I downloaded King Tut from iTunes for the kids. They love it and laugh every time I play it. In an NYTimes editorial today, Steve Martin heralds the arrival of Tut and notes that, "it does strike me as ironic that the song has become the standard reference work on the subject of King Tut." Our daughter has been studying Tut in school, on Google, and World Book. I hope she includes the song in her report and maybe her and schoolmates will perform it at a school play. Of course, I'll be sure to note that Tut was not "born in Arizona," and he did not live in a "condo made of stone-a."


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Cap'n on Patrol

posted by DL Byron on December 04  ·  Permalink

Cappy A few books just fell off the book case in my office and Cap’n attacked them with “a quickness.” Landing on top of the books, she did a rapid sniffing, and then returned to her bed looking back once to be sure they weren’t coming at her from behind. Cap’n sleeps under my desk most of the day and it’s good to know she’s on guard — no books are gonna bust up on her.






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Thankful for Boxed Lunches

posted by DL Byron on November 25  ·  Permalink

Box LunchesI'm thankful for the box lunches Pam creates for the children each morning. The lunches are well balanced, nutritious, and have that special Mom touch.

Occasionally, when I work onsite for a Client, Pam will make me a box lunch.





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Never used Audion, but miss it just the same

posted by DL Byron on November 12  ·  Permalink

I never used Audion, had seen the icon on their site, but got totally sucked into the narrative from Panic's CEO about the software that nearly became iTunes and is now retired. A fascinating read. I read it twice. I used their Transmit FTP software and like it even more now.


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Messenger Race in NYC

posted by DL Byron on November 05  ·  Permalink

Messenger NYC Drank my morning coffee while watching a home movie of a messenger race through NYC (50M, but worth it). A sort of Road Warrior, meets American Flyer, meets Chariots of Fire, and it's most entertaining. I race my bike, like to go fast, but I'm too much of a wuss for traffic play like these guys.

Hat tip to Don Juan de Carcus, who periodically instant messages me topics to blog.





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Pam @ 40

posted by DL Byron on November 04  ·  Permalink

p+b in ak Pam's 40th Birthday is this weekend. We'll have a fancypants dinner downtown at Lola's and then a night in a suite at Hotel Andra. Pam's job is stressful decision making. So, the goal is to have her just relax, no plan other than dinner, and the room. The card she'll find in the room says,

My eyes never guess as to who I recognize as my love.
Pam @ 40.
Happy birthday.

The picture in this post is from our first trip to Alaska in 2001. Earlier this year, we returned to Alaska and rode our bikes on a honeymoon.


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Blog Business Summit

posted by DL Byron on October 30  ·  Permalink

BBS
05 Badge 1 The Blog Business Summit has launched. Publish and Prosper is the tag line and the theme for the sessions, panels, and speakers. Textura Design designed and built the site. We'll also participate in the sessions and blogging.

Release Notes

  • Blogs, subblogs, CMS - each page and subpage is published by the system (gallery excluded). The sub pages are sub blogs. We used Movable Type 3.11, with some customization. As the site progresses, we'll look at options like syndicating the sub blogs to the main blog, etc.
  • PHP includes, PHP gallery via QDig
  • Valid XHTML, CSS, and fully Accessible
  • Full cross-browser support, Netscape 4.7 deprecated. A series of crazy-whack hacks and workarounds incorporated into the stylesheet.

Design Notes

The point of the conference, is "to show you how your business can leverage current real-world blogging techniques, tools and platforms to promote and enhance your ventures." We want to appeal to bloggers and business people alike. During the comping process, Scott wrote, "My primary goal with the site design was to create something that felt like part of the blogoshpere, but was crisp and professional enough to inspire corporate customers to fork over their money. So I'm trying to straddle the line between cool blog and corporate focused conference site..."

I think Scott's design achieved that goal.

If you're interested in attending, and a business blogger, note that the organizer is offering discounts for bloggers that attend.


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A blast from the spooky past

posted by DL Byron on October 30  ·  Permalink

Skull Back in the day, before Clip-n-Seal, blogging, and all the evangelizing I do, Textura Design was a creative outlet, where a group of us published art projects. Earlier this week, Keith reminded me about Two Days Dark, a halloween site we did in 2001. I pulled the piece he worked on out of the archive and created a stand-alone page for it. A blast from the spooky past.

Thanks for the reminder Keith.


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Thanks for that perspective

posted by DL Byron on October 13  ·  Permalink

At times, when busy with various projects, launches, and all that work we do, I like to ground myself with another perspective; a dinner with my wife, a long bike ride, or a friend with a new baby. Today, I read the very candid Business Week interview with Steve Jobs and it reminded me how important it is to focus on what we're doing, not get distracted, too stressed, or to try to hard. Next month, on the 13th, we'll be at year 2 with Clip-n-Seal. We've accomplished a lot and have much more to do.


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Ongoing list of blog entry titles

posted by DL Byron on October 12  ·  Permalink

Here’s a list of blog entry titles I’ve saved as drafts to be posted on later. Realizing later may not come, here they are now with notations.

  • “Damn Ampersands” — regarding the ABCNews relaunch. Jason noted that was a cool name for a band. The Damn Persands
  • “RSS Radio” — podcasting, whatever, give me Boing Boing radio.
  • “Messing with perfection” — I cracked open the thin, new iMac to replace a noisy power suppy and man did that make me nervous. Not nervous about replacing the PSU, just that I was about to mess with perfection.
  • “That’s one dollar for each piece of comment spam I’ve deleted” — regarding the 10M in Venture Captial for MovableType.


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Lost in Translation

posted by DL Byron on September 25  ·  Permalink

PB BoatI’m working on a deal with a Central American company and needed to translate a term. I searched Google and used it to translate a page from Spanish to English and this phrase was returned.

“Two are kissed underneath writing desks,
Two are One near the seized rough draft and”

Wow. In a completely random way, that verse reminded me of Pam, how much I work, and a book deal. I paused for about 5 minutes reading that over and over again. Maybe Google and the universe is telling me something.


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Just in time for Halloween, a Creepy Wax Museum

posted by DL Byron on September 21  ·  Permalink

creepy wax A friend periodically sends me odd things he finds on the web and cincodemayomusuem.com is probably the creepiest thing I’ve seen in a while; no worries, it’s work-safe. The discovery of the very creepy Cinco de Waxo museum started here on eBay with a wax pope and that’s not the full extent of the creepiness. The figures are from a wax museum that was never completed and have been in storage for 30 years. It’s freaky on multiple levels. I’m getting a Vincent Price, Phantasm, with a bit of the The Shining thrown in vibe.



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Fremont Oktoberfest

posted by DL Byron on September 16  ·  Permalink

Pauli GirlIn the off season, when I’m not spending my weekend on my bike, Pam and I get out more, party a bit, and try to have a good time. A few weeks ago, we saw a fabulous burlesque show hosted by Miss Trixie Lane at the Pink Door, near Pike Place Market. This weekend, we’ll visit the Fremont Oktoberfest with some friends. We went last year and had a great time.

Drinking microbrew, under a big bridge, with a troll nearby, and tubas playing in the background is good fun.

Also, I totally dig the “Pauli” girl poster.


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AntiBumberShoot

posted by DL Byron on September 03  ·  Permalink

I instant messaged Pam, “cool, Public Enemy is playing Bumbershoot this year, let’s go.” “ok, cool, ” she replied. Then Marcus noted, “it’s $25.00 per day.” And we all said, “that sucks.”

It sucks because what was once an eclectic, vibrant event has been washed clean in the banners of corporate sponsorship. It’s the WalMart of Cultural Events. You pay to stand in oversold lines, wade through crowds, and wonder exactly what happended.

Just like film festivals that lead to antifilm festivals, maybe we need an antibumbershoot, have those Cirque de Flambe artists run it, and burn a bunch of corporate shit down. Or maybe that crew from Seattle that asked SXSW attendees what they could do to not suck so much could say something? Make it better?

Regardless, we’ll pass this year and hope to see that Circus of Flame sometime soon.

“If the roof’s on fire, let the mothafucker burn.”


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Rumble Strips and Urban Sprawl in Alaska

posted by DL Byron on August 31  ·  Permalink

rumble We rode to the right of the rumble strips, sometimes side by side, but mostly in a single line. We’d take long turns at the front and occasionally chat. Alaska doesn’t use chip seal on their roads and that was a relief for our hands and bodies. Chip seal is great for rural roads, but not great for cyclists riding long miles. The vibration goes right through your hands, feet, and body.

About 4 cars an hour passed us. All of the drivers were courteous, giving us plenty of room. We did have one close call with a semi, in the rain, climbing up a small hill. With a car coming in the opposite direction, he had nowhere to go, blew his horn, and we bailed into the gravel. We paused for a moment after that, looked both ways, and continued down the road.

Nearing the end of our tour, back towards Anchorage, we rode into the urban sprawl of big-box retailers, fast food, and other franchises. There in the land where the ice age never left is a civilization establishing itself. An hour earlier, we took photos of a moose eating grass by the side of the road.

Anchorage is the worst planned city I’ve ever visited. They’re addressing that with a plan to “thwart sprawl, ease traffic congestion and improve air quality.” But until then, when you visit, expect to see a town that doesn’t look like it was built there. It’s like it was shipped in from Dallas, when the town was flush with oil money, and it sprawled in every direction. Given that, it’s remarkable how cycling friendly the town is. There are bike paths everywhere. Now, the paths may take you right through a crack-fueled ghetto, but the paths are there for you to ride.

Alaskans spend 9 months a year inside. So when it’s summer, they’re out, friendly and happy to see you. We found them to be happy in general. Outside of the city, you’re with fellow travelers that look out for each other.

I’ll remember those rumble strips, the landscape, and the urban sprawl. And we’ll return for another ride. This time towards Denali.


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Hundreds of Miles in Alaska

posted by DL Byron on August 26  ·  Permalink

chugack After climbing for 6 hours, spinning into a steady headwind, on our way to Valdez, I finally understood how big Alaska is. I saw it when we turned a sharp corner, descending from Thompson pass, and looked straight into the striking peaks of the Chugach National Forest.

At that moment, I realized just how much terrain I had seen. Pam and I had been riding for 6 days, for hundreds of miles, and had seen all sorts of peaks, glaciers, trees, and wilderness. However, that was only a small percentage of Alaska, a 10th of the state. It was one of those, “I’m meaningless moments,” a speck in time, I was just dust floating by this grand landscape.

Before we started the bike tour, I attempted to read Michener’s Alaska, I fell asleep each time, but distinctively remembered how he described Alaska, how it had been formed by tectonic plates, in the ring of fire, over millions of years. Looking up at the peaks, I tried to visualize that process, how the peaks got so high, how the glaciers formed, and how the streams flowed.

Then Pam whizzed by me, grinning, rushing down the pass, challenging me to catch her and I snapped back to our ride. We had two hours to go and I needed to focus on getting us to Valdez.


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P and B Reception

posted by DL Byron on August 23  ·  Permalink

rick scotch Continuing the photographic coverage of our wedding, the reception gallery is now online. We enjoyed a mellow event, cruising around Lake Washington aboard The Accord, an 85 foot, Monk McQueen yacht.



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Cab Elvis Marriage Ceremony

posted by DL Byron on August 20  ·  Permalink

The Cab Elvis photos gallery has been posted. When looking for a wedding officiant, we thought, “who better than Cab Elvis!” Besides being a cab-driving Elvis impersonator, he’s also a Reverend of the Universal Life Church and married us in our backyard treehouse.

He read canned vows from a book provided by the church and the kids thought the first ceremony was too short, so he randomly picked another one and it was the Apache-blessing version. That was pretty cool. Something about trees and keeping the teepee warm at night.


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Travel Slideshow

posted by DL Byron on August 17  ·  Permalink

Pam put together a cheezy slideshow (click start slideshow) of our vacation/honeymoon/bike tour of Alaska. Coming up is the Cab Elvis photos and a travel log.


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Cab Elvis, Alaska, Nachos, Brown Bears, and Fudge Buttons

posted by DL Byron on August 05  ·  Permalink

Tonight Cab-Elvis will visit, marry us, drive us to dinner, then back, and then we leave for a bicycle tour of South Central Alaska:

  • Riding around Anchorage - 50 miles
  • Anchorage to Palmer - 50 miles
  • Palmer to Sheep Mountain - 80 miles
  • Sheep Mountain to Copper Valley - 50 miles
  • Copper Valley to Valdez - 100 miles
  • Valdez to Anchorage - 50 Miles
  • Anchorage - 50 miles

The Alaskan 511:

We’ll pack everything into Carradice SQR Bags and ride our Davidsons. While pedaling along, we’ll frequently think of Nachos and French Fries. We may file trip reports. We may get chased by an angry, big-ass brown bear. We expect to return to a blog full of spam and hope a big Clip-n-Seal deal closes.

We’ll also remember how we fell in love, while another couple fell in love, and ate fudge buttons.


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WebVisions recap

posted by DL Byron on July 19  ·  Permalink

I think WebVisions went well. Our presentation was in the “technology” track, but our talk had a lot about user experience and brand. So we tried to cover both angles a little bit and I fear it might have got a bit scattered.

The toughest thing is we never know the knowledge level of the audience, so I never know how basic/advanced to make things like this. So I fear some people were bored and some were confused. I talked about this with a couple people at the conference and the consensus seems to be that this is the way most conferences are. You just have to do your thing - hopefully by covering a range of things we had something for everyone.

Byron had some strangers come up to him after the presentation and say it was good. He also got an email from someone saying ours was “the most interesting of the day.” So that’s a good sign and great to hear.

I missed Byron’s panel, instead opting to listen to Keith’s presentation. I had heard there was slide featuring 50 cent and I couldn’t pass that up. I think Keith did a good job. Some of the ideas he talked about seemed to relate to some of the ideas we talked about, which I think is a good thing. And I found out about a Flash replacement thing that I hadn’t heard of. I actually had a very similar idea awhile ago, but never got around to doing anything about it - which is probably good because this one looks more robust and well thought out than anything I could’ve come up with.

If anyone out there saw our presentation and has any comments please let us know.


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Webvisions

posted by DL Byron on July 15  ·  Permalink

webvisions I was discussing the details of my presentation tomorrow at Webvisions with Kirsten Blair and she was kind enough to send me a schematic. I’ll be at the podium there with Scott discussing web design and technology. I’ll also be on a blogging panel later in the day.

The speech comes at a time when, “design is more prevalent than ever, the web is maturing, yet we’re at a Standards crossroads with entrenched positions on both sides.”






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Cafe Bustelo

posted by DL Byron on July 10  ·  Permalink

Our Director of Sales at Clip-n-Seal turned me onto Cafe Bustelo, a dark cuban espresso roast. I order online if from Java Cabana , a nice ecommerce site. The grind works well with my Brikka stovetop espresso maker and well, it’s a, “damn good cuppa joe!”

Coffee is part of cycling, a tradition, and drives much of the peloton.


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Tour de France

posted by DL Byron on July 02  ·  Permalink

The Tour de France has never been this hyped and starts tomorrow. 7 Americans in the race, Lance’s record breaking attempt, Sheryl Crow, strong competitors, live TV coverage, and much more. My prediction is for T-Mobile and Uhlrich or Tyler and Phonak, with Lance on the podium, but not winning. Here’s a set of Tour links:

There’s also a Tour Happy Hour, from 5-7, at the Summit Public House (206-324-7611) in Capital Hill.


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Work less. Bicycle More

posted by DL Byron on June 29  ·  Permalink

I’ve been working less and riding my bike more. And that’s a good thing. Consulting, blogging, speaking, and Clip-n-Sealing, all leads to much time in front of a computer. In August, Pam and I will ride our bikes around the SouthCentral Alaska, from Anchorage to Valdez (DOT map, check the cameras) on the Glenn Highway. Our trip isn’t nearly as ambitious as those that Cycle Around the world, but we’ll ride hundreds of miles just the same.

When I’m in Alaska, I can truly disconnect. Not just electronically, without a computer, but mentally. Instead of work, I’ll be worrying about the next climb (images from the Glenn Highway), if we have enough water, food, and bear spray.

tdf Next month, the Tour de France starts and it’s more hyped than ever with seven Americans starting. Locally, TDF posters are showing up on telephone poles.

Work less. Cycle more.






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About to Jump The Shark

posted by DL Byron on June 25  ·  Permalink

I put a ton of research into the how/why of blogging presentation and found all the marketing, business blogs, PR blogs, blogs on blogs, media discovering blogs, a Time story, NPR, NYTimes articles, the whole crescendo of blogging exhausting. I’ve been updating the presentation with links as they come in and thought, “any day now, something will happen — like a Hamburgler blog that posts directly to your adult happy meal pedometer via RSS for mobile brandwashing.” Or a Billg Blog!

It’s Definitely not a diss to Billg, I’d read his blog, and MS has done a remarkable job blogging, but I expect that many bloggers are watching a medium they created pass right by them. As blogging gets sucked up into business, PR, and media, having a blog is like “having a home page” ten years ago. Jonathan Hardwick emailed on this topic earlier today and wrote, "if blogging does Jump the Shark, Billg will be the Fonz." Agreed and maybe that’s a new term: “fonzblog.”


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Bloomsday and What does Dreeping in the Rain Mean?

posted by DL Byron on June 16  ·  Permalink

Today is the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, a day when all the action in James Joyce's classic work Ulysses takes place. There's a Bloomsday blog (of course) to follow and this morning a well-timed, Joyce-related email exchange.

feeling the dreep "BTW, what the hell does ‘dreeping in the rain’ mean? I've been meaning to ask. Hell of a company slogan, using nonsense words."
Rick Bruner

That was the tag line from the site when it was more personal, artsy, when we were producing net.art projects. Because the tag line is still cached on google and linked all over the place, I decided to keep it in the title when we redesigned the site and shifted the focus. I also added it to our Q/A:

"Dreeping is a Joycean word found in Chapter 18 of Ulysses and Book 3, Chapter 2 of Finnegan's Wake. It's a fusion of dripping and creeping and if you live in Seattle long enough, under gray skies, you'll feel the dreep."

Explaining our nonsense slogan, with a Joycean response is a perfect way to celebrate Bloomsday. And today, I'll note, it's not dreeping at all. Sunny and bright.


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Best Week Ever Blog

posted by DL Byron on June 09  ·  Permalink

I just saw a TV ad for the VH1 Best Week Ever blog. A media company running a blog is nothing new, but that’s the first TV ad for a blog I’ve ever seen.


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WaSP Survey

posted by DL Byron on June 09  ·  Permalink

The Web Standards Project wants to hear from you and has posted a survey. Speaking of standards, yesterday an alert reader noticed that the images in posts were not rendering in IE 6. Well, after a, “WTF,” it was determined that we had a peek-a-bo bug. Fixed now.


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Portfolios and Site Traffic

posted by DL Byron on June 03  ·  Permalink

I responded to a mailing list post about online portfolios this week and wrote:

“I’ve been recruited for jobs as a result of my blog. MS has a recruiter blog and I’d expect that they read a recruit’s blog to get to know a candidate. So, when you put that portfolio together, be sure to consider blogging about yourself and what you do. Think of it as a conversation with your market and that market is your clients or a hiring manager”

Previously, a colleague of mine asked how to drive traffic to his site and I said pretty much the same thing and sent him a link to the How and Why of blogging. To see a proficient blogger at work, visit DKR’s Asterisk. And click through the hundreds of Seattle Blogs.

Syndicate Yourself

If you’re an author or journalist, the same statement applies, with the addition of a link to RSS and a link to a google search on blog journalism. Part of the reason Asterisk is so successful is because DKR writes well and posts a lot. His posts get picked up by other bloggers and online magazines via RSS. He even syndicates the comments on his posts, which extend into lengthy conversations. For another example, see Zeldman who turned his site into successful books.

Sure this is redudandt to those already down with blogging, but to many blogging is new and they have many questions.


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Sex Sells, but who is buying?

posted by DL Byron on May 27  ·  Permalink

Preparing resources for blogging panels and lectures is relatively bland when compared to the media coverage of blogging this week. There are sex scandals, Nick Denton saying he’s not making money, while Jason Calacanis says he is, and more articles from the NYTimes and Wired. Last month, I posted about blogging overload and I still don’t see a business in blogging — neither does Nick. He posts that it’s “Media about media about media” and business journalists’ sad, “wish fulfillment.”

Markets are conversation

While the media hype continues, more businesses are communicating with blogs. See TechEd Bloggers for an example. A business blog isn’t a revenue generator, it’s a market conversation. Last month, I was talking with Lenn Pryor about Clip-n-Seal and he said, “you’re riding the cluetrain.” I hadn’t really thought about it that way and googled the Cluetrain Manfesto.

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Digital Design World & Webvisions

posted by DL Byron on May 20  ·  Permalink

Scott and I will be speaking about Flash Accessiblity at Digital Design World in Seattle, July 21-23. I’ll also speak about blogging with Steve Broback. It’s going to be a great event.

While in Town

Seattle Public Library Not only is DDW in my hometown, but there’s a fantastic lineup. If you’re going to be in town, be sure to schedule time to see the new Seattle Public Library. Designed by Rem Koolhaas, it’s been described as the “The Library That Puts on Fishnets and Hits the Disco.” The superlatives continue once you see it and it exemplifies Koolhass’s, “organization of space according to use and function.” I haven’t been inside it yet, but have seen it’s faceted corners as I ride around downtown.

Before that in Portland

The week before I’ll be at Webvisions with Scott in Portland. There’s another conference in the works for Fall and I’ll post on that as soon as it’s confirmed.

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Unidentified Casual Hall

posted by DL Byron on May 16  ·  Permalink

I ride my bike through the industrial areas of Seattle and pause occasionally to take photos of things I find interesting. The Unidentified Casual Hall sign was always beyond the reach of my shitty camera phone. I thought the sign was poetic, without intending to be. Not only is the hall casual, but also unidentified. It would seem to be an interesting place to go. Today, I noticed another sign had been added to a fence near the entrance to the port and took the photo in today’s post. Googling the term returns a document from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union that indicates "Unidentified Casuals" are on-call, new employees that hang out in a hall.


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Do no harm blogging Updated

posted by DL Byron on May 15  ·  Permalink

As a small business owner, I understand the struggle is to develop a pricing strategy, get your product out, try to make money and pay the bills. Watching the Movable Type (MT) aka “MT-Gate” controversy unfold has really taken me aback. I don’t know their business case, nor do I want to speculate, and I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt until I decide otherwise.

What I will say is that others should follow the “do no harm” blogging tenet. I don’t think that’s written down anywhere, but it should be. Scoble first told me about it.

Why spit so much venom at a company that has done so much good? If you don’t like what they offer, choose something else, and let the market decide. Maybe they’ve made a terrible business mistake, or not, but they certainly don’t deserve this attack.

Update

For those that criticized MT so strongly, see their clarification. As I stated above, I decided to give MT the benefit of the doubt. They made a PR, or community, mistake. They should've be transparent and had a discussion about their new pricing. To their credit, they got on it, and clarified.

You can also observe MT-gate as blogging for business in action. I guess this all took place without any PR people or spin meisters.


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Mac Props Updated

posted by DL Byron on April 30  ·  Permalink

At each conference I’ve attended recently, silver Powerbooks outnumber drab PCs. At SXSW, Brian Alvey noted he could make a killing selling Apple stickers for PCs, so PC users didn’t feel left out of the cool Powerbook club. I don’t blame them, they’ve got a few years to wait for Longhorn, but I’d never expect a PC user to attempt to transform his PC to a MAC. Most of us Mac users go the other way, with VirtualPC and find that XP looks way better on a Mac.

Wired picked up the Fake Mac story and reports on Mac users at MS.

In a day where Thurott once again exclaims that Mac is near death, it’s refreshing to read that some PC users don’t envy, hate, or diss Mac, but give it props where due.

Updated: MacdailyNews picks up the Wired story and adds even more resources.


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Blogging Overload

posted by DL Byron on April 19  ·  Permalink

With back-to-back NYTimes stories on bloggers, exhaustive Bloggercon resources, the Register and Dan Gilmore, I don't think I've ever seen so much blogging press in one day - there was even a few headlines that I just skimmed over.

Additionally, Rick Bruner launched Business Blog Consulting. The site features business that blog and includes Clip-n-Seal and Blogstakes among others.


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Short-lived Meme

posted by DL Byron on April 14  ·  Permalink

I got a link to Baby Jessica, "all grown up" photo yesterday and thought, "hmmm." I don't know. I'd expect she'd just be another typical, chunky, middle-western teenager by now, not a mens' magazine hottie. Today, in a series of related IM convos, the following sites were found

If only Jessica Simpson could be as short-lived?


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Heidi FAQ

posted by DL Byron on April 08  ·  Permalink

I checked in on the Heidi FAQ today and then asked,

"Did Heidi Watch Condi testify?"

"Nope. No tv. Not really for any good reason, I just don't get reception and can't get cable and don't want a satellite dish on my roof. It unfortunately renders me entirely out of touch with news."

Then I wondered, what does Heidi do all day in those cordurouy slacks.


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Just a blogger

posted by DL Byron on April 06  ·  Permalink

Months ago when the first journalists died in Iraq, I thought that blogging doesn't really matter much. These professionals are losing their lives. 36 of them died in 2003. What are we doing? Blogging about blogging? We tend to think we're more important and big then we really are. Even with all the press some sites get, the blogosphere is still a small sphere. Ask anyone that doesn't blog or use RSS. I bet most of them don't know what that is, what we do, or care. While Boing Boing's fascination with goatse is entertaining to it's 3.5M visitors, is it valuable to the rest of the world? Blogs deserve their place and everyday I'm out there evangelizing them, but we need to check ourselves, keep it in perspective.

Today, Dan Gilmour posts on the 2004 Pulitzer Prizes and asks if bloggers could ever produce that quality of work. A threaded debate is ongoing with strong opinions on both sides. While I've written about amateurs, citing Tom Coates, there's still much need for professionals and I give them their due props.

I'm certainly not a journalist. Just a blogger

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An astounding descent

posted by DL Byron on April 02  ·  Permalink

With a full-on presidential race, I asked a pundit friend where the mainstream independent journalism was? For every accusation on either side, there’s a counter accusation and facts to support it. The automotive industry is a good example. At the height of the outsourcing debate last week, the jobs created by foreign automotive companies were touted as examples of how free trade works. Well, a little-heard report also noted that those factories were put here because of quotas, not for free-trade good will.

Today, an article in the Seattle PI, quotes world-traveller Rick Steves

  • ”We had the world with us after 9/11: Everybody was an American. In two years, however, America has become a rogue nation. It has been an astounding descent.”
  • “I don’t think people like being told, ‘You’re with us or against us’.”
  • “They want to like Americans.”

It’s refreshing to read good news/bad news opinions from someone with experience abroad and no political agenda.


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Wonderfalls Appeal

posted by DL Byron on March 31  ·  Permalink

“It’s like Joan of Arcadia except the girl is a cranky slacker who works at Niagra Falls gift shop. The toy animals start talking to her and telling her to help people. It’s not clear what force is driving the critters to talk to her. It’s very possible that the girl is actually crazy.”

Manis covers the appeal in more detail. He knows one of the writers and they’re hoping Wonderfalls doesn’t get cancelled. So do I.


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inspiration innovation influence

posted by DL Byron on March 30  ·  Permalink

The sessions at i3forum are filler for the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, where you drink and connect with your peers. There’s a real creative vibe here and a sense that business is getting done. I talked about blogging, blogging for business, and using blogging tools for content management. Most of the people I talked to had a general idea, or no idea, what a blog was. Hopefully we’ll see a few new blogs because there’s plenty that the people I met can write about and a creative professional blog conference may result from some of the discussions we had.

We tend to think that blogs are mainstream, and that tipping point tipped a while ago, but there’s much work to do and many creative people that want to do it.

Quotes from an inspired session with photographer Jerry Uelsmann

  • “I’d be old if I wasn’t so immature.”
  • “Once we fall asleep and begin dreaming, we create mythic figures.”
  • “Self doubt is part of the creative process.”
  • “It’s not the role of the artist to resolves mysteries, but to generate more of them.”
  • “What happens when you cross a post-modernists with a used car salesman? An offer you can’t understand.”


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Shitty little pictures

posted by DL Byron on March 29  ·  Permalink

The very unofficial moblog for the i3forum is up at textamerica. I'm in the day-one sessions, listening to a talk on the social impact of camera phones. The audience here is mostly photographers, with a mix of companies, and web designers/developers.

A lively debate about shitty photos is ongoing and I offered a rebuttal with Tom Coate's The Mass Amateurisation of (Nearly) Everything post. Textamerica argues that moblogs are the photography for the rest of us and shitty photos are good. Reuters picked up textamerica moblog photos of the NYC Blackout when no other information was coming through. They've enabled the citizen photojournalist and that's another example of mass amateurisation. I wrote about amateur intranets last week and the point is that anyone can publish, be a journalist, or a photographer. Textamerica offers community and their members could care less about the quality of the photos.

zonezero, an international photo site, demonstrated their community and how it's a network that interchanges ideas with photos. They don't moblog, but members upload their galleries.

04.01.04 Update: Cnet covers moblogs and textamerica.

In other news

  • I'm feeling relaxed in the creative enviroment here
  • The weather is sunny in the 70-80s
  • Ocean waves pound the beach outside my window
  • My xfn friendly list o' links has been updated with people I've met
  • No one has called me the Clip-n-Seal guy yet . . . .

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i3Forum

posted by DL Byron on March 28  ·  Permalink

I’m at the i3Forum.com, an invitation-only gathering of digital artists and photographers in Laguna Beach, CA. The weather is beautiful and I logged on briefly at a nearby Internet Cafe. There’s no net access in the room or wifi in the resort, but it’ll be good to disengage for a few days.

Update: The geeks prevail and now there’s a wifi network setup in the lobby.


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Austin City Limits

posted by DL Byron on March 16  ·  Permalink

On Friday, Pam and I flew into DFW and drove to SXSW. Neither of us had ever seen a city quite like Dallas. Its strip-mall architecture and audacious, neon-lit skyscrapers punctuate decaying infrastructure and it smells like fuel. Thick, hanging fuel. Skinny roads and two-lane bridges result in daily gridlock and we drove out of the rental car center right into rush hour. Inching along for an hour or so, I called out an HOV lane and Pam quickly exited onto it. Up a slight rise, back down, hard left, and the lane suddenly narrowed to a foot, sometimes less, on either side of us. It was like a white knuckle, Jersey-barrier flume ride. We determined that the city planners must have been faced with losing federal money because that HOV lane was either built out of spite, in a hurry, or by commuter haters. For 5 miles, we banked left, right, avoided a few big cracks, yelled at each other, down, up, and finally shot back into the regular lanes.

Later, while Pam slept, we approached Waco and Terry Gross was interviewing novelist Tim LaHaye about his Left Behind series of books. While LaHaye evangelized the end of days, I noticed hundreds of churches lining the frontage roads. I was beginning to freak out a bit as the sun set and LaHaye’s voiced assured Terry that only the believers will be delivered into paradise.

Pam woke up as we reached the Austin City limits, I told her all about the end of days, wondered where Koresh’s church was, and then switched to a comedy station on XM radio. We both stated that we could use a drink at the hotel bar.

On Saturday, I got badged, and we tried to find the Austin downtown core. Well, there isn’t one. We figured out that after walking miles in each direction. No one lives downtown. They work, party, and attend SXSW.

Speaking of partying, we attended Frog Design’s handshake party. Didn’t shake any hands, but did enjoy Les Messieurs Du Rock’s unique set that included an angry french guy, suicide girls, go-go dancers (moblog photo above), geisha girls, and an accordion. Daily experience has a brief video of their performance.

Google is returning hits for SXSW blogs. Also check metagrrrl, Jason Calacanis, blog.sxsw.com, mezzoblue, and Wanderlost.

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Keep Austin Weird

posted by DL Byron on March 13  ·  Permalink

Pam’s shopping while I get online at Book People with free wi-fi access from lessnetworks. We’ve seen the “keep Austin Weird” slogan everywhere and we support that. With an interactive crew in town, there should be no problem meeting the weird quota. Across the table from me (moblog photo above), a self-absorbed couple is loudly discussing abusive pasts, sexual histories, anorexia, and I wonder what else there is to do in Austin and SXSW. It’s been pretty good so far. Later today, I’ll check a few panels before speaking tomorrow about Blogging for Business.


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Blogs, Sweat & Tears

posted by DL Byron on March 07  ·  Permalink

I finally clicked through most of the Weblogs Inc. Network (WIN) site and their effort to “make blogs into a business.” Alvey, WIN’s CEO, and I worked together on a Blogstakes contest and he coded WIN from scratch. As noted in my More than Shilling Product entry, we use our blog to connect with our customers and it’s been a remarkable branding success (Blogstakes contributed to that success). I also noted that I’m not sure where blogs are going, but it’s “definitely more than just people loving their pets, shilling product, politics, instant pundits, or wardrobe malfunctions.” WIN is one place where successful blogs are going. Blogs are part of our brand and it’s WIN’s business. Cheers to their success and making money.

Preparing for the Blogging for Business Panel next week, I updated the speaking page with more related links.


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Benish Updates

posted by DL Byron on March 02  ·  Permalink

Benish finally updates his site and I respond to a question about RFID privacy:

“I wonder where the value to the consumer is. A grocery club card tracks your purchases and reports demographics and in return you get a discount. If I participate in a retailer’s or event’s RFID, what’s the value to me? I expect personal RFID blockers to become available from enterprising companies - maybe as a device on a keychain that jams the frequency.”


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Flash MX Panic Guide

posted by DL Byron on February 25  ·  Permalink

Digital Design World went well and I’ve updated the Flash MX Panic Guide with a few tips. The panic guide is provided for a quick reference and should help if you need to understand how Flash accessibility works.

Up next is SXSW and the i3Forum.


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Marco Pantani

posted by DL Byron on February 18  ·  Permalink

I was shaken up over the weekend when I read that Pantani, a pro cyclist, had died. When I first started seriously watching cycling and racing locally, he won the Giro and Tour. He was a tragic hero and was buried today.

Here’s a funeral gallery and a report from cyclingnews.


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size 4?

posted by DL Byron on February 02  ·  Permalink

I knew some of the cheaper american clothiers were sizing their clothes big to make us feel smaller. But I didn’t realize everyone was doing it until I tried on suitpants at Nordstrom yesterday. What’s the incentive for our nation to slim down when the manufacturers play to our vanity and customer demographics?


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One up

posted by DL Byron on February 02  ·  Permalink

Apparently the way to one-up Madonna kissing Britney is to expose a breast with studded, pierced nipple jewelry.

I eventually just tuned out after watching the show to see the commercials and have something cultural to talk to my designer friends about. Pam and I thought it’d be a good time to shop and apparently thousands of other couples thought the same thing. The stores were packed with people who were not watching. Interestingly, the TV section was not crowded with people watching it either. I haven’t seen the ratings, but from my informal poll, many tuned out as well.


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More on the Current Topic

posted by DL Byron on January 31  ·  Permalink

Following up the Current Topic post, another friend is considering a G5 for his studio, and the Seattle PI published an article on the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft. One of the reason the Mac works so well is MS software. In their zealotry, some forget that Apple and MS have a long history together and that MS software works very well on the Mac.


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Current Topic

posted by DL Byron on January 28  ·  Permalink

A recent email, one of several on the same topic …

You’re the third guy this month that’s talking to me about buying a Mac for the same reason: exhausted by PC viruses and crashes. I use both, PCs and Macs, side-by-side, all day long and to me XP is a very good operating system but it’s broken and why would I want to use a broken OS if I didn’t have to (see Tales from the Dark Side)? A Mac will do everything you need to do at home very well. Work is a different matter, so you just use the work machine they provide you. Mac just updated their lifestyle software they bundle and it’s even better. Sometimes, I even pause at how easy it is to use. Even the OS X mail application is competent.

For bargains, you could always buy last year’s model from a Mac catalog, but I’d recommend you go to your local Apple Store and check the eMac or entry-level iMac (PC mag review). The eMac is their last CRT model. I think they’re $799.00. I’ve found that my Macs retain their worth longer than PCs. For example, I’m running OX 10.1.3 (latest version) on an old iMac and it works great. That machine is 5 years old. It’s because the OS is efficient, as well as the PowerPC chipset.

I think Longhorn will be a huge advance for Windows and these current problems will be a thing of the past, but until 2008, why wait and suffer patches, crashes, and viruses for your personal use? I chose not to.

While I joke about the Mac Zealot Freak Boys, it’s important to repeat that both platforms have their advantages and I use both. At this point, OS X is a winner. It’s never been more stable, compatible with Windows environments, easy to use, or just plain good looking. As a friend and I discussed earlier this week, looking at a Mac then a PC is like comparing HDTV to regular TV. It’s really striking. Finally, the Megahertz Myth is a myth. You don’t need that 2.4GHZ. You do need an efficient and stable OS. My old iMac proves that.


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Non-Sequiturs

posted by DL Byron on January 27  ·  Permalink

Beavis meets a briar patch and Hillbilly covers of AC/DC (iTunes link).


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Raining sideways - redux

posted by DL Byron on January 24  ·  Permalink

It’s raining sideways. Big wet gusts blow down the street and by my window. Living in Seattle, I welcome the rain and miss it when it’s gone. It softly cleans the air, turns me inward, and I ride my bike straight into it. The tires split the rainwater rivulets, as I climb up steep hills and rush down the other side. Head down, dreeping in the rain, I continue, and pedal.

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Change, Change, Change

posted by DL Byron on January 23  ·  Permalink

The site navigation has been updated and some pages archived. The site is now more focused on this lil’ business we run here in Seattle. Up next is a discussion and case study of our business blog.

Speaking of Seattle, see this Guide to Seattle’s Free Wireless Coffee Shops and this previous discussion about free v. paid wifi access. While we’re finally getting unwired here, we still don’t have an wifi business district like they do in NYC and other cities.

Interested in wardriving to discover hotspots? Here’s the famous Pringles can report and do it yourself cantenna instructions. On that, we’ve got to give some props to cantenna.com for making a business out of the wifi subculture.


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Pace Vito - Yaaaaaaaah!

posted by DL Byron on January 21  ·  Permalink

This weeks banner photo comes courtesy of Pace Vito who always has something interesting going on. We can only hope Vito et al does something with the Dean Scream. I heard that live and thought, “whoa.” Then heard it played to AC/DC on Howard Stern the next morning. A Vito-inspired euromix, sort of kraftwerky thing would work or maybe deconstruct each note and mix it to a Tears for Fears ringtone? Yaaaaaaaaah!

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Godsmack-meets-Pantera-meets-Priest

posted by DL Byron on January 19  ·  Permalink

This article about Tim “Ripper” Owen is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. It reads much like that Rocket magazine review scene in Singles. I found it by way of Google when I was explaining to a friend that the Rock Star movie with Marky Mark was based on a true story.

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Two things

posted by DL Byron on January 12  ·  Permalink

I’d been trying to add a WinXP pc to my Airport network for two days. Trying various things, rebooting this, installing that, tech support calls, and finally after nearly giving up, I found these two threads

Make sure that Wireless Zero Config is installed and running

Make sure that Shared Authentication is on.

and this site

Wireless Starter Kit

Once I did those two things, I was on at 54mbps with a linksys WPC54G. Later in a conversation with my daughter, I said, "Check this out. I can work on the computer in bed." And she said, "can you get pollypocket.com on that?" "Yes." "Cool."


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5 minutes for one and death for another

posted by DL Byron on January 10  ·  Permalink

It’s tough not to be a Mac zealot freakboy when you spend 5 minutes setting up an Airport Network and all the macs work great. Then your PC dies a black death while rebooting after hundreds of driver updates that were supposed to get the wi-fi card to work. I use Macs and PCs side-by-side all day long and WinXP has certainly matured into a good OS, but why should I even have to deal with a driver update? I really hope Longhorn is what MS promises (more mac like) so the rest of the computer-using world can be more peaceful and productive.

Speaking of Mac zealot freak boys, Manisfam has offered to blog his switch to a Mac in the enterprise. That’s coming in two weeks. My switch went down months ago and is archived here.


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Curious object

posted by DL Byron on December 22  ·  Permalink

curious_shape.gif A friend sent a cheery photo of her daughter making cookies. Very nice. Looking closely at the photo, I noticed a curious object in the background and pointed that out to her in a reply-all response. She wrote back and said, "That is a butternut squash we grew ourselves—totally organic! We have decided that it is our God, and worship it in orgiastic ceremonies on nights of a full moon. You are invited to join our religion, since you are the only person on our extensive mailing list who has noticed it’s throbbing presence in the background.

By the way, the other people on this mailing list are my sweet, doddery old aunts and uncles, who may have thrombosis when they see your little arrow pointing to our big phallus."

I wished her well for the holidays and sent her the Santa Pole link.


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Burn on through to the other side

posted by DL Byron on December 22  ·  Permalink

For all the positive economic indicators, including our own, the layoffs keep coming. Check the PI’s layoff tracker. Some on the entries, like onename are fascinating encapsulations of the dotcom era. Just imagine all that burned through capital.

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To be Wed

posted by DL Byron on December 17  ·  Permalink

Some of you noticed the one-liner I slipped into the Santa Pole invite about our engagement. Thanks for the congratulations. It took us 5 years to get to a ring and the date hasn’t been set for the wedding. It will be in the late summer of 2004.

We may steal away in the middle of the night, drive across the country in a Winnebago, and exchange vows at the Grand Canyon. Or rent a limo and get married by Elvis in Vegas. Maybe New York and then there’s the beaches in Costa Rica or a bike tour of Italy. Whichever event we choose, it’ll be small with a large reception. Pam will look stunningly beautiful and I’ll be grateful to have met someone like her.


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The Santa Pole

posted by DL Byron on December 16  ·  Permalink

The Santa Pole tradition continues this year with a design competition. Two years ago, we started the Santa Pole tradition by accident when decorating for a fun, impromptu, winter solstice party. We found an old plastic Santa head in an antique store and attached it to a pole wrapped with Christmas paper and lights.

Now our children understand that by waving the Santa Pole about, Santa knows we’re accepting presents. It’s how we signal the North Pole that we’re “open” and to make sure Santa stops at our house. I made that story up when the children kept asking me what I was doing outside with a pole, lights, and wrapping paper. Now it’s a tradition. This year, as in years past, on Christmas Eve, we’ll wave the Santa Poles about and the children will hop around all excited. Later over drinks with the parents, a design winner will be decided. We hear that everyone loves the tradition (or at least the say they do) and we have an open house on Christmas Eve for our friends to stop by with their Santa Poles.


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Random thought on a very busy day

posted by DL Byron on December 12  ·  Permalink

If I was ever given the opportunity to cover a old tune and become a fleeting, drug-addicted, one-hit wonder rock star, it would be freedom of choice (iTunes link) by Devo.


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More on wireless

posted by DL Byron on December 05  ·  Permalink

Reports continue in the press about ATT Wireless and the wireless industry. What has always incensed me, is that you had to tie the phone to the service. I know what phone I want and want to shop services. Can't do it. And that's contributing to these ongoing problems. Your phone is tied to your service and contract. In Europe you can just go buy a phone.


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Long in the BlueTooth

posted by DL Byron on November 28  ·  Permalink

It’s refreshing when technology works and you don’t spend a day tweaking, configuring, or reparing an OS update, data sync, or whatever. This week, I upgrading my cellphone to a Sony Erikcsson T616. And, so far, using bluetooth, I’ve synced my address book from my laptop to the phone and used the phone as a modem to connect my laptop to the internet. I didn’t want a pda phone, but would like my contacts to sync on the phone and laptop. Done. I travel occassionally and just want to check email. If I can’t find a free wifi hotspot, I don’t want to pay to join a network for a day. Done. I just connect through my cell phone.

That was the easy part. Buying the phone and the service through AT&T Wireless was not. I suspect that they spent more time fighting the new cell phone rules than preparing for the churn and their systems have been crashing for weeks. If other providers in my area would have offered the T616, I would’ve gone to them. Finally, an experienced customer sevice rep helped me, but I still wondered how a company could perform so poorly.


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Dance Moves

posted by DL Byron on November 26  ·  Permalink

We’ve been bumped by the latest google dance. For years, you could search Google for Texturadesign and this site would be returned as the top hit. Now, an rss feed and other sites that link to us are the top hits. There’s no direct link to Texturadesign.com. Apparently Google has changed their Page Rank system to block Search Engine Optimization techniques. This topic has been slashdotted. We’ve got some tweaks to the page we’ll try and see what happens with the next dance.


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Blue Ribbon Man

posted by DL Byron on October 28  ·  Permalink

Scott sent me the "Pabst Blue Ribbon" photo. He met Blue Ribbon on a recent climbing trip. Blue Ribbon ran the trailer park near a sweet climbing spot, snorted when he laughed, and knocked back a serious amount of lager. He kept the park in good shape and said that he liked to shoot at city limit signs whenever he went on road trips. He also had no use for hip-hop, bling bling, or Al Franken. He didn't mind being called Blue Ribbon.


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Chillin with the Lizard

posted by DL Byron on October 16  ·  Permalink

Yesterday I was booked to lecture at Thunderlizard's next Web Design World in San Francisco, February 18, 19, 20 2004. I'll present an updated version of Stephen Hawking and me.


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The Griswolds

posted by DL Byron on October 16  ·  Permalink

We're off on a Griswold-style family vacation to Disneyland. The kids are thrilled and I agreed to go, if I didn't have to ride it's a small world. It traumatized me as a child and I vowed never to do it again. Now, I'm sure our kids will love it. Check theme park insider for good information on planning your trip.

I google searched for other victims of it's a small world and found none, but did click to this nice little site about a boy and his mom.


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Less than hot and gross

posted by DL Byron on October 10  ·  Permalink

Pam was pleased to learn that Cameron's Diaz face is pockmarked and full of acne. She never liked her no-bra wearing attitude and suspected she may not be "all that hot." Phillip Swann lists who looks better on HDTV and who doesn't. Cameron does not, Halle Berry does.

As if that wasn't enough, Big Belch offers the belches of all the stars. Cameron Diaz is not offered, but Sarah Michele Gellar is.


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The crew

posted by DL Byron on October 06  ·  Permalink

I dig how I set up this new Movable Type blog system for the crew and Pam posts an entry simple titled, "toe." Very good. On that, I can say an ingrown toe nail is a very big deal.


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Man in a box

posted by DL Byron on October 03  ·  Permalink

I'm fascinated by the surreal news reports of Londoner's reaction to David Blaine's latest stunt. Highlights include:

  • One magazine has taunted him with a hamburger suspended beneath a model helicopter. A Sunday tabloid tried to tease him with a barbecue.
  • "Actually, I came here because my husband and I wanted to make love in front of David Blaine but my husband chickened out, so I just went it alone," Mrs Staff explains
  • Adam Ant made a 1:30am visit to the site of Blaine's meaningless stunt and vowed to keep the universally-mocked illusionist awake and end his tawdry stunt through "the power of punk."

This is London summarizes the reaction, including a steady stream of missles from the crowd, flashing breasts, and laser pointers. Blaine-baiting has become a new national sport in the UK and keepblaineawake.com has written an anti-Blaine manifesto.


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Home Theater

posted by DL Byron on September 29  ·  Permalink

I spent my summer vacation setting up a home theater. It was a good distraction from work because I soon learned that DVD, HDTV, a 5.1 audio system, and setting up the theater setup is not exactly consumer friendly or easy. Given that, if you spend the time and research it, you can get into a system for a reasonable budget. My system:

  • Philips 30 inch, widescreen HDTV - $799.00 (Costco)
  • Sony DVD - $100.00
  • Pioneer Receiver - $199.00 (Costco)
  • Boston Acoustics, MicroSystem 9000 II - $699.00 (Magnolia, special)
  • Ikea Speaker Stands - $40.00
  • Connections - $63.00
  • Total = $1,900.00

Some very helpful sites:

Continued


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The Reverend Carrion Crow

posted by DL Byron on July 16  ·  Permalink

We learned from a friendly City of Seattle employee that this time of year hundreds of crows die in transformers. They city has frequently studied the problem and they have no idea why they do it. As we watched the City employee pull a dead crow from the transformer that connects our neighborhood, we agreed that older crows dare younger crows to peck the transformer and it's a game to see how close they can get to the "transformer of death." After the City employee left in his big, rumbling truck, I used a shovel to launch the dead crow into the gulley behind our house. I offered it a salute, but secretly thought, "stupid crow."

Crows play chicken in the road. This morning, a crow flew up from the middle of the road into the front of our car. It's buddy crow circled and cawed and we were like, "whoa. what the?" How many gazillion times have you driven by a crow and today one flies into our car.

Then, Pam noted that earlier in the week, a crow threw a big stick at her from the roof of an office building.

I remembered that the UW did a study and determined that crows commute into the city for a day of garbage eating, then back to the suburbs at night

In Japan, crows place rocks on railroad tracks and in Caledonia, they make tools.

Damn crows.


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