Monthly Archive for March, 2004

Dialup vs. Broadband

Douglas Bowman’s comparison of Dialup vs. Broadband is quite enlightening. It’s been about 5 years since I went broadband, and I have to agree… without it the web sucks. I really just don’t surf the net at all, if I’m forced to use dial-up… I find something else todo, which, makes Bush’s Broadband by 2007 comments sound pretty neat, but also wasteful as a way to spend tax-dollars.

state of the media

If you’re interested in ‘media’ as a business, then I’d suggest you read this:

State of the Media

I’ll post more on it later after I’ve had a chance to read it all…

Full RSS Feed commentary from Angie

Angie McKaig tackles the Full RSS Feed question. I subscribe to Angie’s full feed, and I think her site has a wonderful design.

I subscribe to her full feed because I’d like to read her site whenever it’s updated, and… I really don’t have the capacity or desire to remember to visit her site every day to see if it’s updated, and… I really like to read everything she writes… but often don’t have time to click-thru to her website from my RSS reader, and then go read her site, then return to my RSS reader to read the rest of the feeds I’m subscribed to…

So, I’m very thankful to Angie for offering her entire feed… and, if you need MT templates to offer your readers multiple feeds, you can steal my RSS templates.

I’d also make a plea that more traditional publishers start publishing RSS feeds, and, if they can include advertising in the feeds (to pay for them) go right ahead, just save me time and I’ll read their content more often.

Small Businesses Struggle

In Lessons Learned the Hardest Way, by Going Belly-Up, Laura Randall profiles the experiences of 4 small businesses that have closed recently and offers this snippet of information:

New small businesses start every day, and fail just as frequently. About 34 percent of businesses with 500 or fewer employees close within two years of opening, and 50 percent fold after four years, according to the Small Business Administration.

Yep, my first personal business venture closed after only 6 months of start-up time… luckily, none of the founders lost too much money on the deal. I’d agree with the idea that it’s tough to start your own business, and it’s even tougher to make money at it, if you’re not truly focused on every aspect of it.

The Statistician’s Blues

…overheard today on a mailing list I’m subscribed to, in response to a question about a particular statistic:

Sixty-four percent of all the world’s statistics are made up right there on the spot
Eighty-two-point-four percent of people believe them, whether they’re accurate statistics or not.

     — Todd Snider, The Statistician’s Blues [iTunes Link]

Too funny… I’ve seen that happen too much to know it’s absolutely true…

Google Blocks Evil

Did you know that Google blocks the devil and all of his henchmen:

google_blocks_evil.gif

Thanks Google!

Detect and Repair mode

About once a month, Outlook becomes a pain in the ass for me to use for about 2 hours.

Inevitably, it’ll hang on me while I’m doing something else, or some other process will hang while I’m using Outlook, and Outlook will refuse the shut down properly.

(I’m normally in the middle of about 15 things when this happens).

Detect and RepairfI’ll shut down the XP box that I use, and let it sit for 20 minutes or so (I guess I’m hoping it’ll get over whatever I did that made it mad at me).

After leaving it alone, I’ll start it back up, and then I’ll try to launch Outlook. It’ll tell me that it wants to start in “Safe Mode” (and I’m like … hmmm, does it normally run in ‘un-safe’ mode?). I’ll let it try, and every-time, it’ll faily to start up properly. I’ll again, leave the machine alone for 20-30 minutes… hoping Outlook will figure out what’s giving it problems, fix it, and then start up… about 90% of the time (or so it seems) it’ll fail to start properly, and will just sit there telling me that it’s “Not responding” (and I’m like “No Shit!”)

So, I’ll shut it down using the “End Process” command on the Windows Task Manager.

And then, I’ll start up Outlook, and it’ll tell me that something is horribly wrong, and that it needs to go into “Detect and Repair Mode”. I’ll click “ok” and then go away for another 20 minutes or so, while Outlook’s installer tries to do it’s thing.

About half of the time it works and Outlook continues to work (although it forgets some of my preferences).

The other half the time, I “rinse and repeat” this whole process.

This whole process happens about once a month, and it costs me around 2-3 hours each time it happens…

What a pain in the ass… total loss of productivity.

I don’t think Apple Mail has ever ‘ceased to function’ on me, and I know that Mailsmith hasn’t ever broken. Come to think of it, OS X has never crashed on me either…

Had to get that off my chest… Thanks for listening

Neighborhood Politics

scary, and terribly voyeuristic:

Fundrace 2004’s Neighbor Search

[via This is not your practice blog]

Changing media landscape

Here’s a perfect example of how and why personal blogs will change the media landscape of the future:

Mark Cuban has a weblog.

You see, before Mark Cuban had a weblog, he had enjoyed being a media whore, and he had to be to get the press coverage he adores. He had to create attention in the media to get his message out. He no longer has to do that but he still can because of who he is. He’s already publishing corrections to stories written about him, and pointing out bad writers (in his opinion).

I’d argue that before Mark started his blog, blogs were still relatively small in the world of readership on the web, but… by starting a blog, Mark will introduce the concept to millions of sports fans in a casual manner. Basketball followers will, in droves, be able to follow Mark’s own words without the filter of journalists…

Pretty damn powerful, in my opinion.

Mark Cuban may just be the guy that changes the face of blog publishing. I know I’ll read his weblog, just because I like to keep up with weblogs, but I also know that my brother will read it, just because he likes to keep up with the Mavs…

How long does anyone wanna say it’ll take the major sports news organizations out there to start their own blogs for their writers? How long until we see some more major business people blogging for the PR value of it alone? [via Scoble and links via A Penny For…]

Quote – Successful People

“The only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very very hard.”

Helen Gurley Brown (1922 – )
Editor and writer, Cosmopolitan magazine

Reluctant vs. Reticent

Note to self:

“Reticent” denotes only reluctance to speak; do not use it for any other form of reluctance.

[via Common Errors in English]

Leadership Lessons from JetBlue

Norm Brodsky wrote a wonderful article today:

Street Smarts: Learning From JetBlue

One day flying JetBlue, I found myself being served by David Neeleman, the airline’s founder. When was the last time you met your customers and asked how you could better serve them?

Truly a fantastic lesson on how to stay in touch with your customers… and not just the really big ones… all of them…

I’ve worked in environments before where the big guys (or gals) said they wanted to get in touch with the customers more often so they were going to do something like a) ride along with sales people randomly, or b) go cold-call on customers on their own, or c) go visit with the troops when they weren’t ready, or d) spend some time on the production line, or e) the list goes on. But…

I’ve never worked somewhere where the big guys and gals actually followed through on their promises to do so… At JetBlue, it’s nice to know the big guy follows through.

Cheap Airfare to the Caribbean

American Airlines is offering some really cheap flights to the Caribbean. A couple of good deals for Texas travelers:

Some of the flights out of Miami, Tampa, D.C., Newark, and New York are really cheap too.

Make sure you check the restrictions on these flights, if you’re booking one:

  • Fares are round-trip for Economy Class travel and are nonrefundable.
  • Tickets must be purchased at least 7 days prior to departure or 1 day after reservation is made, which ever comes first, but no later than 11:59 pm (CT), March 24, 2004.
  • Fares are valid for departure April 1 through June 12, 2004. (Other travel dates may be available at different fares.)
  • Off-peak fares shown are valid for travel outbound Monday through Thursday and return Tuesday through Friday except for Central America.
  • A 3 day minimum stay is required.
  • For all travel, up to $18 USD per round-trip in local airport charges may be collected in addition to the advertised price.
  • Fares do not include a federal excise tax of up to $3.10 USD per each U.S. domestic flight segment of your itinerary. A flight segment is defined as one takeoff and landing.
  • Fares do not include September 11th Security Fee of $2.50 for each enplanement that originates at a U.S. airport, up to a maximum of $5 per one way or $10 per round trip.
  • Government taxes and fees of up to $125 USD, varying by destination, are not included, and may vary slightly depending on currency exchange rates at the time of purchase.

Thanks to Megnut for pointing this airfare sale out.

Hire Steve

Austin Apple Store Opening Date

According to Andy, Apple will be opening their Austin store on June 12th at Barton Creek Mall. That’s a Saturday, so I’ll be there… and I’ll likely drag my wife along, and my best friend Josh, who’s been saving up for a Mac… what better place to buy one than a Grand Opening of the first Apple Store in Austin?

I don’t know Andy’s source, but figure he’s got a good one… I hope that’s the right date, or that it’ll open sooner.

Ed from Barenaked Ladies S&L Experience

Ed just posted a horrible story (fun to read though) about last night’s show and his experience with the Savings and Loan industry in Rochester… Gotta love BNL. Too bad the show next Wednesday in Austin is already sold out.

SCO lawsuits funded by Microsoft?

Wow: this one from Damien Barret:

“Color me not surprised. It appears that Microsoft is paying SCO to file all those ridiculous lawsuits against the users of Linux. I’ve seen low before, but this is pretty damn low. Scumsucking low.”

I have no idea if any of that is true, but, it’s truly sad that I could easily believe it’s true… that’s how much I trust the Microsoft corporate brand.

What Brand Are You?

Pretty cool.

What Brand Are You?   I am Luxus

What brand are you?

Lookout for Outlook

Lookout looks really cool. It’s a plugin for Outlook that lets people search super fast on Windows machines and in Outlook files…

But I’ve got a problem with reading these comments by a Longhorn evangelist about how this product gives us a glimpes of what WinFS will bring to the Windows Operating System, not because it doesn’t sound cool, but because it’s sooo far away… When is Longhorn going to get released again?

I don’t mean to be rude or too inciting here, and I welcome the introduction of Longhorn, but doesn’t Mac OS X’s Finder already have the equivalent of WinFS, or at least ‘fast find’? I know it finds files on my computer at Googlespeed straight from the Finder. I didn’t have to fork out the cash for Outlook, and I don’t get viruses on OS X… I also have pretty damned fast finding features using Apple’s Mail (which is free) and the email client I paid for (Mailsmith) has super-fast and truly featured search options. Outlook and Windows have both always sucked at searching…

I’ll download and install Lookout tomorrow on the Dell… because I really could use a good way to search inside Outlook. Anything that makes Outlook useful (like Inbox Budddy) is good news to me.

And, yes, if I had my druthers, I’d use a Mac at work, but I don’t get to have my druthers.

(And, I spotted a reference to X1 in the comments of the post from Jeff Maurone… I just might check that out too)

Niche Publishing – Engadget

Niche publishing really isn’t just for Nick Denton anymore… Peter Rojas, the original blogger behind Gizmodo has broken out of that gig to start Engadget… a competitor to Gizmodo.

Denton still has a leg up (first mover advantage we used to call it) on individuals launching one or two focused sites on their own, as he can aggregate his entire Gawker media property audiences if he wants to for an advertiser, or he can sell the advertising piecemeal… but, folks like Rojas can probably make enough money off their sites short-term to support themselves, and long term to build a living that they enjoy.

Best of luck Peter…

wage growth?

Saw this on John Robb’s weblog… couldn’t help but post it here also, it’s an interesting look at the current ‘recovery’:

This is an amazing chart (via Barry Ritholz).

non_farm_payrolls_feb_2004.gif

Funny thing is, I live in a state that’ll vote for Bush, no matter who I vote for, and I’m also not educated enough (about politics) to know if the president can actually do anything about that graph or not…

update: and then I go and read this article and get all confused: WSJ: Manufacturers Say They’re Hiring, But Jobs Picture Remains Murky [sub. req.] — and that’s why I don’t pay that much attention to politics…

One Month with SpamSieve

This is a follow up on my experience with SpamSieve installed as a part of MailSmith from Bare Bones Software:

First off, let me say that Mailsmith is truly a wonderful email client. It fits my needs perfectly, and fits my style or reading, writing and archiving email.

SpamSieve is truly an outstanding addition to MailSmith. After a week of use, it had learned how to handle spam for me quite well. After a month, I’m nothing short of stupified at how well it does its job.

Statistics since 2/1 (the day I installed it):

Filtered Mail
3239 Good Messages
2943 Spam Messages (48%)

SpamSieve Accuracy
42 False Positives
68 False Negatives (62%)
98.2% Correct

Showing Statistics Since
2/1/04 12:00 PM

Statistics since 2/14 (mid-point of the past month):

Filtered Mail
1749 Good Messages
1615 Spam Messages (48%)

SpamSieve Accuracy
5 False Positives
14 False Negatives (74%)
99.4% Correct

Showing Statistics Since
2/14/04 12:00 PM

Statistics since 2/25 (the past week):

Filtered Mail
595 Good Messages
568 Spam Messages (49%)

SpamSieve Accuracy
0 False Positives
2 False Negatives
99.8% Correct

Showing Statistics Since
2/25/04 12:00 PM

Notice how it has gotten progressively better at detecting what I consider spam? SpamSieve plus MailSmith is an amazing combination!