September 30, 2004

I wish it weren’t so… Comments Off

but Bush is going to win. *sob*

September 29, 2004

Rasterbate – Turn photos into art. Comments Off


Rasterbate
Originally uploaded by kk+.

You have to check out this online tool called The Rasterbator. It’s a script that takes images of any size and turns them into user configurable HUGE multi-sheet works of printable art. The script samples the color from the image and creates resizable shapes that recreate the image.

I made a 90 sheet color poster for my office from this photograph I shot at the fashion show at MAGIC in Las Vegas last year.


(By the way, this photo and many more to come (via Flickr) are from my cool new Nokia 7610 cameraphone.)

Vancouver Shout-Outs and Name Dropping Comments Off

I’m just getting back into the swing of things after an extended weekend trip to Vancouver. It was great to see so many people and to catch-up on what everyone has been up to.

Boris pulled together a great little geeks night out at SteamWorks. Darren was hella hungry and thought my friends were odd. It was great to meet Richard, my personal PHP guru. Jan had the best card of the night and Ean was the best dressed. Dave had been munching on some seriously good drugs. Troy showed up and took on the role of host passing out beer, wings and onion rings. *Mmmm* Roland couldn’t make it but introduced me to the Templeton and caught me up on the plans for Bryght. J.Mac is busy in quasi-academic land and is going to take the city by storm with his words. Jones and I hit it off and it was great to chat about the bleeding-edge of RFID. Tom is alive and kickin’ and our kids are going to the same school. Rudiger is using the web and tech to make the world a better place. Jer and Adam are keeping it real and inspiring me to step it up. JSHDNFRD was out of town and missed. Healy was busy too busy like usual, and PJ is just anti-social I think.

Anyway, been a while since I’ve done shout-outs. Click all their links and give them some love.

September 21, 2004

Ofoto.com Changes Their Website Based on User Feedback Comments Off

I went to a party on Saturday in Marin with a few friends. One of them took a bunch of photos and apparently uploaded them to Ofoto.com and made an album to share. She emailed me with the link, but when went to check out the photos Ofoto wanted me to register and give all sorts of personal info to view my friends online photos. I was shocked… Maybe I’m spoiled having been using Flickr quite a bit lately, but anyway I wrote them an irate email.

It was probably a bit of an unwanted lecture as I rambled on about their website’s usability, better ways for them to acquire customers than these forced registrations, and I also took the time to point out plenty of things those guys in Vancouver are doing right with Flickr. The note I wrote them was a little harsh, but I was pissed that I couldn’t see the photos from the party without giving up a bunch of data.

Anyway, they wrote me back today and they’ve changed that policy. *cheer* They also offered me a discount on a future purchase. I doubt that will ever get used, but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless. Here’s the note I got.

—–

Hello Kris,

Thank you for contacting the Ofoto Customer Service Team.

Thanks to the constructive responses we have received from customers such as yourself, we have changed our policies concerning the viewing of shared images. Whoever shares an album has the option to make the “sign-in” portion optional, so that the people with whom the album are shared do not have to login to view the images.

If this is your preference, you can contact your friend and have them share the album with you again with the required sign-in box unchecked.

:)Smile-N-Save 15% – SMLNSV0915

Please use this coupon to receive 15% off prints, frames, albums, Archive CD’s, Photo Insert Cards, and personalized photo calendars when you spend $10 or more on these products. Just enter this code -
SMLNSV0915 – at checkout and remember to click “validate”! This coupon expires on 9/30/04.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your Ofoto account or the Ofoto service, please let us know.

Sincerely,
Kathy Roshan
Ofoto Customer Service Team
——————————
Ofoto – A Kodak Company
http://www.ofoto.com/
For Instant Answers, please visit http://help.ofoto.com
—————————————————————-
Get special savings and news from Ofoto! Just visit www.ofoto.com/Optin.jsp
—————————————————————-
Ofoto makes it easy to get Kodak prints of your digital photos from wallet-size to poster-size. Plus, you can also create Photo Books and custom cards, order frames (with our free framing service), make photo calendars, put your photos on CD and much more. To get started, visit the Ofoto Store at http://www.ofoto.com/StoreOverview.jsp

Thx Kathy.

September 20, 2004

Digital Rights Management Comments Off

Usage of Digital Rights Management (DRM) has been hotly debated since a college student threatened to put an entire industry out of business with a little application he built in his spare time, Napster. In this transcript of a speech he gave at Microsoft’s campus, Cory explains why DRM doesn’t work, why DRM is bad for society, bad for business, bad for artists, and a bad move for Microsoft. Using Sony and Apple as examples of companies that are using DRM to *punish* consumers, he suggests Microsoft use the opportunity to once again champion users’ rights. To follow our current path, Cory argues, is to stifle innovation and contradict the purpose of American copyright law: to promote the useful arts and sciences.

Read Cory’s entire manifesto on DRM at ChangeThis.com.

September 15, 2004

Interview with Mena Trott from Six Apart – Published in Digital Web Magazine Comments Off

Here’s an of a recent interview I did with Mena Trott from Six Apart that was published today. She talks about the latest developments at Six Apart, including the growing team, sticking to their roots, the future of TypePad and Moveable Type 3.1’s hot new features. Thx Mena, Ben, and Jane for the time. Check out the Digital Web Magazine for more.

Digital Web: How many people are using your products these days, and how many sites/blogs does that represent?

Mena Trott: It’s pretty hard to tell right now, especially with blogs. Nobody can even figure out exactly how many blogs are out there really—especially with something like Moveable Type, where for so many years people would just download without registering or having any way of seeing if they were actually installing it after registering.

Now that we have registration, we see that there are a number of people who are using it and coming back. I’m hesitant to give a number because I really don’t know. But I would say there are hundreds of thousands of users, at least. Our estimates were lower before the licensing changes, when people said “I do have X number” or “I have 20 people on my one install.” So, I would say it’s in the hundred of thousands, definitely, for Moveable Type.

And one of the other things is that a lot of the popular blogs you’ll see happen to be Moveable Type, so that always influences its penetration and perception.

DW: So, now that you’re keeping track and looking at stats and registrations, what is the pace like? Do you feel like it is still growing and people are starting new blogs and doing new installs, or have we reached critical mass?

MT: I definitely feel like it’s still speeding up. With Moveable Type, we’re still on the dev release. The 3.1 release is … the first release where we’ve said publicly, “Now it’s for everybody to download.” And we’ve been very happy with the results of that. We’ve already exceeded every set of goals for downloads and revenue. Between pricing and the friction of requiring registration, downloads have slowed down, of course, but people want the product and they got the product, and I don’t see that slowing down. Also, TypePad continues to grow. We’ve actually had an influx of users because blogging has become more popular in the mainstream.

DW: As it continues to grow and become more mainstream, do you see products like Moveable Type being offered by the AOLs and Microsofts of the world? In the end, who’s going to end up offering blogging tools to consumers and how are they all going to be packaged up?

MT: I think there is going to be a mix. I mean, Moveable Type is the base for that kind of group—the people who want to tinker, who know the companies’ businesses. TypePad is intended to be our consumer mainstream product. We have licensing deals in Japan that bring it to a large number of users via ISPs.

A hosted service is most likely where those mainstream users are going to go to. They’re not going to want to install server software. But there is still a need for that and that’s why we have these two products which segment to different audiences. Some people who start on TypePad then go to Moveable Type, but some people who will try Moveable Type will go to TypePad because there is a better fit.

It’s becoming easier to see who chooses what tool. And it’s good. I’m glad that we offer two. I was always frustrated by the limitations of Moveable Type. Many users find it hard to install and, therefore, aren’t able to use all the tools we have available. At least with TypePad, people are [able to use the tools].

DW: You bring up Japan. Why you have chosen to distribute Moveable Type through ISPs in Japan as opposed to distributing it directly to individual bloggers?

MT: In Japan, we actually have a 100%-owned subsidiary that runs the operations. The licensing is based on demand. The largest ISPs want blogging solutions that are integrated with other services they offer their customers. They already have portals set up that are co-branded, so that’s just one avenue. We actually have TypePad Japan which is run by our Japanese team and geared for individual users, and actually sells Moveable Type, as well. We also have distribution deals with a number of companies. So, we are actively pursuing a lot of different routes in Japan. The ISPs just happen to be the most visible.

DW: Are you not seeing the same demand from ISPs to offer this through portals as a bundled service to customers in the U.S. and Europe?

MT: In Europe we are, and that’s why we have our European team working on that. In the U.S., it’s just different. We have bigger players and it’s often a “make or buy” decision—and they choose “make.” But it takes them longer to get it out. We are working with ISPs to allow distribution of Moveable Type on a smaller scale in the U.S. In Japan, there are huge providers, such as NTT and Nifty. The equivalents in the U.S. are pretty large and we think there is more of an in-between solution for this market.

DW: Have the American ISPs that have chosen the “make” route launched their own products? If so, how are you guys matching up against those?

MT: AOL launched AOL Journals and it didn’t seem to take off. But I think one of the reasons has to do with the fact that it’s within AOL, so there is always that sort of “walled garden” mentality. And we’ve seen Microsoft launch its Japanese product and MSN Japan try to play around with blogs in that country, but they haven’t done anything here. We haven’t seen the big moves from the big companies, other than Google purchasing Blogger.

DW: How do you characterize the nature of the competition between you and Blogger and WordPress, and some of the other folks out there? Is it collaborative, with everyone wanting to grow the whole industry in an effort to get a piece of a bigger pie, or is it becoming more competitive?

MT: It’s hard. We and Blogger are both very focused on what we’re doing. In terms of knowing people, we talk to the Blogger team a lot and are on very good terms with them. We both have such different markets. When you have a free product and a subscription product in the same market, there is overlap, but it’s not cutthroat. In terms of collaboration, there can be more.

Unfortunately, we’re given a rap because we are so dominant, I guess, in terms of use. People see us as this big guy who they want to bring down, oddly, when we really aren’t—we’re still a small company. That’s frustrating. We’re more than willing to work with people. Being big and corporate completely goes against the things the company is all about.

DW: How do you respond to high-profile, vocal people like Molly Holzschlag, who say you’re moving away from community bloggers and toward enterprise software and professional-level dev tools geared toward big companies?

MT: I think that they kind of forget that we have TypePad. There is this impression from a lot of people who are bloggers and who are early adopters that using TypePad isn’t really blogging. But it’s a pretty powerful tool itself, and it’s not going away from the mainstream at all; we really want a tool for people to use.

I think that we have all of our bases covered because you can also use Moveable Type—and it’s still affordable and free if you have one author and three blogs, which a lot of people have. You know, most people aren’t using the products extremely to the max. I’m not sure where the criticism comes from. I think people don’t recognize our whole portfolio of products. We put a lot of work into both TypePad and Moveable Type and we’re really proud of what we’ve done; we’re a two-product company right now.

DW: How are your development resources allocated right now? Are you devoting more resources to TypePad or to Moveable Type?

MT: I think in terms of how we divide our time, we have a lot of stuff we’re juggling and we’re wearing a lot of hats but everything is being addressed.

We’re basically staffing for two teams. A lot of people overlap. You have people working on TypePad one week and Moveable Type another. Right now we’re focusing on basically having both of the products complement each other. We want to merge the back-end and the core software so that if one change is made in one product, it’s easily integrated into the other.

We’re ramping up in terms of staffing. We’ve got a lot of great hires. I’m going to be announcing that Brad Choate is joining us. This is really great because he’s been with us since almost day one and he’s moving from the East Coast with his family. It’s a really great feeling for us that he wants to take a chance with this company. And he obviously is focused on Moveable Type. (More…)

September 13, 2004

Tim Bray article on Digital Rights Management (DRM) Comments Off

Tim Bray is ‘da man. In addition to Bringing Search to the Internet and inventing XML he is an extremely insightful technologist, visionary and (Vancouver) blogger. Read the excerpt below from a piece on Digital Rights Management (DRM) and then go read the rest of the article. Really good stuff.

“For example, while I was originally impressed by AppleÂ’s iTunes Music Store, itÂ’s become obvious that buying old-fashioned CDs from old-fashioned music stores is a better deal. The sound quality is higher, and what I get is just a bunch of digital files that are mine and I can store on any computer I want to and play on any device I want to and nobodyÂ’s getting in the way. (More…)”

Are Cell Phone Users the New Smokers? Comments Off

I think Rushkoff is on to a great point here… read an excerpt from his recent article in TheFeature.

If the newest etiquette surveys are any indication, mobile phones may be going the way of the cigarette.

Just to prove how good smokers used to have it, a recent Seattle Times article cited the 1941 treatise on manners, “New American Etiquette.” The book, with all the compassion that a high-school football coach bestows upon his third-stringers, admonishes nonsmokers not merely to accept but to accommodate their smoking peers. If unwilling, the author suggests, non-smokers would do best to “retire from social activities” altogether. With bludgeoning certitude, the book proclaims “Smokers far outnumber nonsmokers in every type of community, in every class of society and in both sexes… The young man or young woman who does not smoke is a rarity… If (a hostess) will not let her guest smoke in whatever part of the house they happen to be in, she will not have many guests…”

Now, six decades later, smokers have become the social pariahs: excluded, if not frowned upon, by contemporary behavioral codes and even municipal law. You almost have to admire them at this point for their pure strength of determination.

Yet, while smoking may have hit its sunset years, another handheld is most definitely on the up and up. According to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, there are now roughly 160 million cellular phone subscribers in the United States alone. A November Gallup poll confirmed this finding, telling us that roughly two-thirds of all American adults now own cell phones, compared with just half in 2000. Clearly, non-users have earned a minority status. But are they, like the nonsmokers of 1941, simply to surrender themselves to the tyranny of ubiquitous din? To the insufferable “cell yell” of their mobile-equipped brethren? (More…)

Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town Comments Off

(from Cory @ BoingBoing)

“It’s a kind of “Little, Big”-meets-“Crypotonomicon” story, a contemporary fantasy about free, unlicensed wireless networking, set in Toronto’s bohemian Kensington Market.”

Amazon’s put up their sell-page for my next novel, “Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town,” offering a 32% discount off the cover-price of $24.95 ($16.97 in total). The book’s out in Februrary, and coincidentally, I just a couple hours ago overnighted the final version of the manuscript to my editor in NYC.

Someone Comes to Town is longest thing I’ve ever written — longer than Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Eastern Standard Tribe put together. It’s a kind of “Little, Big”-meets-“Crypotonomicon” story, a contemporary fantasy about free, unlicensed wireless networking, set in Toronto’s bohemian Kensington Market.

I’m going to be posting the full text of this one under a Creative Commons license again when the time comes, and I’ve got some beautiful supplementary artwork to go with the gorgeous Dave McKean cover; McKean provided five digital paintings to Irene Gallo, Tor’s brilliant, award-winning art director, and he’s kindly granted me permission to use them all on the book’s website when I ship it.

In the meantime, there’s an excerpt or two online already. Enjoy! – Cory Doctorow

September 12, 2004

Dennis Kucinich at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


Dennis Kucinich at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Anti-war art display at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


Anti-war art display at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Hula Hooper lady at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


Hula Hooper lady at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Stilts guys at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


Stilts guys at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

The Pink Slip lady at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


The Pink Slip lady at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Medea Benjamin – Former Green Party Candidate for U.S. Senate from California, Co-Founder of Code Pink, also Founding Director of Global Exchange Comments Off


The pink slip lady at the Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Medea Benjamin, former Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate from California, co-founder of Code Pink, also Founding Director of Global Exchange

The huge crowd at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


The huge crowd at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

String Cheese Incident at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


String Cheese Incident at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Michael Franti at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


Michael Franti at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Michael Franti at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004 Comments Off


Michael Franti at Power to the People Festival – Golden Gate Park 2004
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Here comes a series of poor quality but plenty of fun from the Power to the Peaceful 9/11 Memorial in Golden Gate Park yesterday.

The lineup included Michael Franti and Spearhead, String Cheese Incident, Gift of Gab (Blackalicious), and lots more.

September 5, 2004

Change This! Comments Off

Bloggers are special.

A jumble of slanted, shouting voices have overcome our airwaves, infiltrated our newspapers, filled every corner of our waking lives, and they aren’t going to stop. It’s affecting all of us. You may have noticed that every argument seems just a little more heated than the last–is it any surprise, when each one of has been listening just a little bit less? It’s a sign of more to come.

But now, people are listening to bloggers instead. Blogging is the populist response to the media hegemony: a sea of independent voices.

ChangeThis is aiming to disrupt the media pattern with powerful, rational arguments from leading thinkers. Seth Godin and a bunch of less known proprietors have a launched a site decidicated the spread of new ideas, good ideas, revolutionary ideas! Check out a few of my favorite manifestos from their site.

The Corporate Weblog ManifestoRobert Scoble
Before you post to the company blog again, read this manifesto. To blog guru Robert Scoble, business bloggers should have a few things in common. Among them, they should steer clear of PR-cleansed jargon, they should have a thick skin, and they should avoid writing during times of emotional turmoil. Scoble, a Microsoft strategist, knows his stuff–he’s one of the best-known blogging personalities on the Web.

Do LessSeth Godin
Marketing guru and agent of change Seth Godin writes that for your company to do more, sometimes you need to do less! Stop trying to be all things to all people (or customers), and focus (in your life and in your work) on your core strengths. Your business (and probably your sanity) are likely to improve.

This I Believe!Tom Peters
Tom Peters is back with more Big Ideas for your job, your company, and your life. The marketing and strategy guru holds forth on why audacity matters, why women are the future of leadership, and why diversity is crucial to business success. Those who have never read Tom will find an excellent primer here; those well-versed in Peters’ ideas can get up to speed on his latest thoughts.

UPDATE: ChangeThis.com releases new manifestos to bloggers before they are released to the general public. I think this is a cool idea and will create a viral buzz about their site… at least that’s what they are counting on. Here’s the manifestos coming out next week that I read and enjoyed.

Why Diversity Rules – Jerry Colonna
Diversity, that of personality and style, is critically undervalued by even the most egalitarian of organizations. JERRY COLONNA, one of Forbes’ Best VCs in the Country and one of the 25 most generous young Americans according to Worth, shares a personal story about the value of misfits.

Guru Red Manifesto – Mike Smock
Mike’s rules may just spark a business revolution. Keep secrets! Don’t tout your achievements! Stay under the radar. Don’t take money from strangers. Be ruthless! MIKE SMOCK offers his collection of practical truths on honest American entrepreneurship. Build meaningful, profitable organizations that strive to attract customers, not investors, and build loyalty, not headcount.

Unbalance of Power – Al Gore
“What would Benjamin Franklin think of President Bush’s assertion that he has the inherent power…to launch an invasion?” The U.S. is now in a permanent state of war, says Al Gore, former vice-president of the United States. Read his biting assessment of the Bush administration’s trespass of our trust and our liberty.

LESS – Bruce Kasanoff
Your customers don’t want more, they want LESS! Kasanoff uses examples to point out the mind-twistingly frustrating customer experiences that have become commonplace in today’s corporations. Improve your customers’ lives: Clone your best people! Anticipate your customers’ needs! Make a don’t-do list! (Item #1, don’t ask for your customers’ account number three times in one call!) Be flexible! Fix your customers’ problems before your customers even know they have them! And above all, simplify, simplify, simplify!

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