Monthly Archives: June 2008

What do writers’ rooms look like? The Guardian shows you

This was my favourite: George Bernard Shaw’s room. But there are so many, with many similarities. See
the guardian for more, but be prepared to spend lots of time looking around.

(Thanks to for the tip)


Get Smart(er with Ted)

I’ve seen Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk and Sir Ken Robinson’s talk and they are both great. The other eight are likely to be as good. So go see, Top 10 TED Talks courtesy of Boing Boing

P.S. I like watching my on the subway using my Apple Touch. If you are going to load alot of these videos up, though, you will want a bigger one than mine (the low end 8 GB).

The Fail Whale Fan Club

You know you are loved as a company when the sign of your inability to stay up gets a FAN CLUB. Yes, this image

which all twitter users are TOO familiar with due to twitters frequent downs now have a fan club. See:
The Fail Whale Fan Club

(thanks to Andy Piper for pointing this out…on twitter, of course!)

Create your own widgets at

There’s been a number of sites created already that allow you to create widgets for facebooks, MySpace, blogs, etc. Of the few sites I have seen, most of the widgets that I created were rather simplistic. However, over at
iWidgets, they seem to have a more sophisticated approach. I just started playing with it, but it looks quite good.

If you want to create a widget, it’s worth your while to check it out.

Twitter gets a lift

Long time twitter users (sufferers?) are used to seeing the whale image being lifted by birds: it means twitter is down. Again. Well, if twitter is a whale, this time the two birds coming along to lift it up are Jeff Bezos and Boston’s Spark Capital, to name a few. According to, twitter will see an influx of cash, and as a result:

‘The new investments, from Bezos and Boston’s Spark Capital, will give the company “some runway and breathing room” as it invests in a big technology upgrade, says Biz Stone, a Twitter co-founder. He would not disclose the dollar or equity amounts of the investments. The goal, he says, is to rebuild the architecture “piece by piece.” The process is already underway and “will take months,” Stone adds. Existing Twitter backers Union Square Ventures in New York and Tokyo-based Digital Garage also participated in the most recent round.

Bijan Sabet, a partner at Spark who landed a Twitter board seat through the investment, says the “highest priority is providing rock-solid service.” He envisions Twitter becoming “a global communication utility system,” though he didn’t elaborate on what that will look like. Bezos didn’t respond to a phone call seeking comment.’

I am not sure if will become a global communication utility system, but something like it should.

For more details, see the article here: Twitter Gets Help from Bezos.

Always good advice…and if you want a reminder to post nearby….

…you can get it here: Etsy :: BluLima :: Keep Calm and Carry On Screen Print Poster in Classic Red

(tip to the lovely blog White and Wander)

Mr X

In the 80s I loved these comics, especially the “equal parts Metropolis and film noir” that they contained (as it says here Mr. X: The Definitive Collection, Vol. 1: Paul Rivoche, The Hernandez Brothers, Dean Motter: Books)

For those who love Metropolis, film noir, architecture, or just a good read, check out Mr. X.

This is SERIOUS Lego building! Of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, no less

This is impressive for Lego neophytes like me. Lots more cool photos here

(Found this via Geekdad).

Are these (Dove) women real?

There’s some controversy going on over whether or not the women above used in the Dove ad were real. While a recent New Yorker ad strongly implies the image above was heavily adjusted, the article here: Dove: We Didn’t Airbrush Our Lumpy Ladies – Media Blog – Jeff Bercovici – Mixed Media – points to a letter from Dove that strong states they weren’t.

Having read the material, I would be inclined to thing they weren’t retouched. And it somewhat — though not entirely — misses Dove’s point of arguing that beauty belongs to more than just thin women who walk down catwalks for a living. It’s the appreciation of everyone’s beauty that is the key point, not whether or not skin tones were tweaked.

Now it could be argued that there are better ways of arguing this than putting a group of women together with just their underwear on. I think this will be a step forward if the debate shifts towards that.

More reasons to love Amy Winehouse

Over at’s blog, The Moment, is a great vignette of Amy Winehouse. While I encourage you to read
the blog post, I think they get it right with two simple sentences:

“We love her. We really do.”

And looking at the photo, and listening to her singing, what’s not to love?

My Resume in Wordle

I produced this at by using my current resume as input.

Besides being undoubtedly cool :), I found a problem with an overuse of a term in my resume. (No doubt a problem of cutting and pasting). I fixed it as a result.

So Wordle: not just a pretty face!

Crowd Sourcing Shoe Design: Fluevog’s Open Source Footwear

Over at Fluevog Shoes they are using crowd sourcing to find and select new designs for their innovative style of footwear. They called it Fluevog’s Open Source Footwear

and what it means is that some of their new shoe designs are selected..

“…through a combination of peer voting, feasibility and if we just plain like the designs. Then, we cover all the costs & development process (it takes about a year to produce a shoe) and get your shoe onto the market, without having to put our prices up or go broke. Always a bonus. It’s worked beautifully and you’ve proven that Fluevogers have more to say than just, “Way rad, dude”. You do it; we love it. Bring it on.”

Other companies allow for the design of product to some degree. For example, Nike used the web to allow customers to customize an individual’s shoes. But Fluevog is a much more involved approach. Very Web 2.0!

So if you have always wanted to design shoes — or just see how others go about innovating — check out the site.

You can even follow the MarsPhoenix on Twitter!

Now you can easily follow the latest space mission with Twitter / MarsPhoenix

Here’s its pix

It’s bio is simple: I dig Mars! And if you want more than “tweets”, you can go here

One way to measure China’s explosive growth: cement use!

While I imagine most people would easily believe that China is growing fast, it is sometimes hard to appreciate HOW fast. To me, these numbers showing the amount of cement used illustrates that in a dramatic fashion. Even taking other factors into account, that’s stunning.

For more on the graph, see the blog The Oil Drum | A Pretty Stunning Graph of World Cement Production (and China is Certainly Using It)

(Found via

Amazon Uses Twitter to Promote Sales

Amazon has com up with an interesting approach to using twitter: they broadcast daily deals on music.

I think this is well done. They don’t abuse twitter or their followers because they are limiting it to one broadcast a day. And they are letting people in on good deals, making it more likely that people will want to follow them.

If you are interested in what they are doing, or want to find out more about the deals, see Twitter / amazonmp3

For old IT geezers: Mac OS 7 on a USB key

Do you sometimes feel nostalgic for the old Mac OS? Today I did after reading Kevin Kelly’s article about the start of Wired magazine, which he used to write for using a Mac interface like this. So serendipitiously I came across this little tool. If y you have some time and an old USB key (say 32 MB or better), here is the project for you. With a little effort you can create a Mac-on-a-stick using Mini vMac to end up with this!

What’s not to like? 🙂

Quote of the day from gapingvoid

This is a great quote (courtesy of gapingvoid):

What’s true in life is also true in marketing: If you want to be boring, talk about yourself. If you want to be interesting, talk about other people.

The haunting images of Alexey Titarenko

I’ve seen these mentioned at and other places. The photographs are striking, as this one shows.

You can see many more great photos at ALEXEY TITARENKO | PHOTOGRAPHY

My muxtape

I recently posted my first muxtape here.

Some asked me, why did you pick the songs you did? Did you think much about it? Well, I did!

For instance, the first song is one of my favourites. I love The Postal Service’s Such Great Heights. I have listened to and watched their great video many times. I think it is a rich song, even if it mostly synths (which I find can be boring). I love how it starts up with the simple beeps, and then it broadens with the bass notes, followed by the other electronic layers until the vocals appear, before it finally closes the way it starts. So well done. I also thought it was the best song to open.

The next song is very different. I saw Amy Winehouse sing this version of Valerie on YouTube and I was really impressed how she sat in this chair in a “green room” and belted this out. It’s worthwhile to compare this to Mark Ronson’s version. I think this version is superior to his in every way. It’s a great song too: it makes me think of the Great Gatsby for some reason.

Switching again from serious to funny is The Boys. I heard The Boys on I love this song: it’s great fun. It’s supposedly “indie”, but it has better pop smarts than most big names. The video is not so great…it IS very indie in a bad way. But the song is very smart.

If The Boys is a bit silly, Down on My Knees is very serious. I love the sound of Ayo’s voice. It is so muted. Beautiful. It’s a great song, too. And a great vibe.

I have always loved “The Israelites”. It’s one of the songs that just pops into my head every so often…I have no idea why. It is easy to denigrate pop music from the 1950s…I blame Happy Days! But so much of it was great. And this is one of those songs for me.

Taking a sonic leap forward I have Freedom 90. I like alot of George Michael, and I love the video — it makes me nostalgic for that time. The song is somewhat that way, too. I love this song: it’s complex but still very strong pop. And George is a great singer.

I like the message of Galvanize. It gets me pumped. Also a great video! But video or no, I like the music of the Chemical Brothers. Also a very smart group.

Now I slow it down a little. This Must Be the Place is a song I have loved since I have heard it. It is always on my mind too. It is smart, techno, R&B and romantic, in a geeky kinda way. My kinda song.

Picking up the pace again is Lovestoned. I like how Tiesto took the best of JT’s “Lovestoned/I think she knows” and remixed it into a superior dance numbers. He’s a smart guy, with this and other songs that he has done.

Dropping the tempo know is CBR’s Trouble Sleeping. It feels like something Ella Fitzgerald could have sung. It’s so lovely, just like CBR herself.

Finally,and somewhat relatedly to Trouble Sleeping is the last song that is sung with great passion by Amy Winehouse. Have I said enough yet how great I think she is? One last time: she’s great. 🙂 Hence, she gets two songs on my muxtape.


Obama = LBJ

I predict that Barack Obama will win as big as LBJ did over Goldwater. Why is that? The answers can be found here:

I. Wallerstein, 235, “Obama’s Victory? How Big? How Far?”

Ubiquity: Fearless Hosting

I noticed that dapper uses Ubiquity Hosting Solutions for (part of?) their hosting. (I saw the URL flash by the bottom of my browser). I went to check out their site and found reason #7 on why chose ubiquity: We Fear no Amount of Traffic.

I love that! If you are interested in knowing more, go here

Why I like to blog

Over the last year, over 18000 people have read this blog. I think that is incredible. 18000 people.

All I can say is: wow! 🙂 And thanks for reading.

Barack Obama is in the vanguard of….Web 2.0 use

The has an excellent article on how Barack Obama uses the Internet and specifically social computing to be a highly effective candidate for the position of President of the United States. This article has many good examples of how he is going about things differently (i.e. in a Web 2.0 way) than his Web 1.0-based opponents. To me, this is a key quote:

‘ Yochai Benkler, a Harvard law professor whose book “The Wealth of Networks” is a manifesto for online collaboration, points out a crucial difference between Mr. Obama’s approach to attracting supporters and that of his chief rivals. “On the McCain and Clinton Web sites, there is a transactional screen,” Mr. Benkler said. “It is just about the money. Donate, then we can build the relationship. In Obama’s it’s inverted: build the relationship and then donate.” ‘

Enterprises could learn alot from his team’s approach, regardless of which candidate they support. See the article here:The Nation – The Wiki-Way to the Nomination –

Obama everywhere, indeed.

More uses of Tumblr – this time: muxtape

I talked before about how twitter is using tumblr to report on the status of It turns out another one of my favourite new sites, Muxtape, is also using tumblr for reporting. Cool!

Professionally speaking, I am interested in how companies are using new
technologies to define and support their products and services, because it’s likely our clients will be interested in this too. Gotta walk the talk. 🙂 So, fwiw

here’s my tumblelog site:
And here’s my muxtape site:

I need to get more original with my naming standards. 🙂

Incredible space photos

This is the second time this week I have seen some incredible photos on You must check these out, including this one:

The Sky, From Above – The Big Picture –

Vanity Fair nicely highlights the stars of the blogosphere

The VANITY FAIR Blogopticon has an accurate chart showing where various blogs sit in terms of earnestness and opinion. If you don’t know some of these blogs, here’s your chance to catch up.

What is awesome? Graphjam!

GraphJam has some hilarious graphs, like this one

song chart memes

The next time you have a presentation to make at work, try slipping one in. is a new web site that allows people to rate the company they work for with regards to salaries and other matters.

Things a man does NOT want for Father’s Day (or Ever)

For example, this thing-y:

You don’t even want to know. But if you can bear it, see The 10 Worst Products For Men Ever Created at The Art of Manliness.

Operation Lets Muslim Women Reclaim Virginity?

This article’s title is misleading, for as the article goes on to say:

.”.. the 30-minute procedure represented the key to a new life: the illusion of virginity.”

Why this is done, and whether or not this is a good idea, can be better understood by checking out the article.

The Power (and Danger) of Failure

Kevin Kelly has a short and eloquent blog posting on failure here: Conceptual Trends and Current Topics

The best presentations, the best speeches, the best advice are usually about what people learned from their failures. Steve Jobs’ legendary Stanford commencement address lifted so many hearts because he talked about his failures. A few days ago J.K. Rowling gave a commencement speech at Harvard that also emphasized the power of failure. It is a good read (watch or listen).

While I largely agree with this, what it doesn’t address is the mental and sometimes physical damage failure can bring. Failure is like fire: if used properly, it’s power is very beneficial. But like fire, the power of failure can be highly destructive, too.

Failure has not (visibly) damaged Jobs and Rowling. The same is not true of everyone.

Do you like chemistry? Hate chemistry? Either way, you will like this!

I think Madame Curie would not want to be associated with this, but alas, she is. I thought it was funny. Educational? Kinda….funny? Definitely!

Eat better or eat local? How what you eat has as much of an impact on the planet as where it comes from

For those interested in eating locally to help environmentally, you should consider this article: Do food miles matter?

Consider this quote:

“But it’s how food is produced, not how far it is transported, that matters most for global warming, according to new research published in ES&T (DOI: 10.1021/es702969f). In fact, eating less red meat and dairy can be a more effective way to lower an average U.S. household’s food-related climate footprint than buying local food, says lead author Christopher Weber of Carnegie Mellon University.”

It comes down to eating better and eating local are good for you and good for the planet too. But read the article: there are lots of good details in it.