Archive for September 2003

Time travel to SF 2000

Holy cow! Back in August 2000, I linked to three videos that a nice guy named Beto made when he came to visit us at Pyra HQ in San Francisco (in March 2000). Sadly, the links stopped working after some time, the site was gone, and Beto seemed to have disappeared from the web. I kicked myself for not having saved copies of the videos.

But all is not lost, because Beto converted his old analog tape to DV and used iMovie3 to create In the Beginning: A Video on Weblogs History! It's a little hard to hear what we're saying, and we're not really saying anything worth hearing anyway (I sound like an idiot. Is that really my voice? Oh my God, I'm never speaking again! Also, this is when I had blonde hair.) Ego aside, it was magical to watch this and brought back a flood of memories, especially the walk down to our basement offices and the arrival of our first real, rack-mount server.

Watch the video [14 MB, Quicktime 6] and travel back to a time when Blogger had ~50,000 registered users, when the whole application ran on a Dell desktop machine beneath Ev's desk, before Blog*Spot existed, before warblogs, or celebrity bloggers, or MovableType. Travel back to a time when Ev, pb and I dreamt of changing the world with a little app called Blogger.

Me and 99 other people

Today, MIT's Technology Review magazine announced the TR100/2003, their, "third class of 100 innovators 35 or younger whose technologies are poised to make a dramatic impact on our world," and I'm honored to be included in the list for my work with Blogger and weblogs. Here's my profile and here's a list of all winners. An account is required to see the pages (lamely) so use the one I set up, username:, password: tr100.

And it burns...the ring of fire

If you're anywhere near New York City this evening, I don't think you'll want to miss pyrotechnic artist Cai Guo-Qiang's Light Cycle. Beginning at 7:45 PM and set to last nearly five minutes, it's a three stage firework extravaganza with the highlight, "consist[ing] of several halos hovering above the Park with the final halo lingering vertically, 1,000 feet above the Reservoir." So cool, and at the same time, it can be the City's tribute to Johnny Cash. You don't want to miss this.

Java as an SUV

There's a great (and by great I mean "made me laugh a lot while I was waiting for something to compile") Slashdot discussion of a Phillip Greenspun article comparing Java to SUVs. Two excellent insights from /. posters. First a funny one:

Java's not an SUV: SUV's start up instantly! Hahahaha!

And then a very sensible one that no one ever seems to consider when they throw themselves into these irrational fervid discussions of programming languages:

Bad programmers write bad programs regardless of the language.

NYC Jeans Police

I'm taking a new job, starting a new organization of which I'll be president and CEO and also first lieutenant, until I can hire others to join my campaign. The mission's goal? Rid the streets of New Yorkers (and tourists) wearing horrible mis-fitting jeans. First offender spotted Saturday afternoon on Bleecker St., where a woman was squeezed into a too-tight pair of pale blue Lee (?) jeans. I let her off with a warning. Shortly thereafter, I spotted another offender: a woman with large hips wearing low-rise dark denim bootcuts. Since the dept. is new, again I issued only a warning. Saturday's third incident: the horrific thong-above-low-rise. Citation and fine were issued, there's simply no warning for that one.

Part of the department's mandate will be education (since I know how hard it is to find a good pair of jeans). We'll produce a "NYC Jean Guide" that's attached to every pair sold in the 5 boroughs, explaining that if you have a middle that hangs over the low rise (front or sides), low rise is not for you! And if you're hippy (and that's pretty much everyone except models and teenage girls), you don't want to wear a cut that accentuates that fact, even if it's the style right now. Eventually we'll grow so powerful, we'll exert our pressure on the fashion industry itself, demanding styles for women of all shapes and sizes, no matter the season or trends. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all women are not shaped equal, and each is entitled to a great pair of jeans!

Update: someone sent in a .pdf citation for the police to use. [.922 KB]

An exchange about fashion

Walking back from lunch in TriBeCa.

Meg: I don't understand, when did dressing like a prostitute become fashionable?

Mark: I think she *is* a prostitute. Either way, it's not right.

A favorite shape

Today at work I found out that some people have favorite shapes. One person annouced "hexagon" as his favorite, while another offered, "triangle!" Feeling left out, I've decided "rhombus" will assume the throne of my favorite shapehood.

At MIT conference

I'm at MIT today for the Emerging Technologies Conference and a reception for the TR100 award. Afternoon panels are kicking off, I skipped the morning to enjoy breakfast and coffee with my mom. Audience is 85% male, if not more. This panel is on wireless technology, and is all male, but I'm not surprised. Hopefully it will be interesting. Also, it's FREEZING in this auditorium. Why oh why do HVAC systems get set at 60? My nails are turning blue!

Ask and ye shall get

Ok, for all you wanna-be NYC Jeans Police officers out there, the wait is over. Here is the official NYC Jeans Police Citation [.pdf, 922 KB]. You will see that it's appropriate for any infraction you may witness: bad acid wash, over-sized jeans, low-rise disasters, you name it. Simply print them out and issue as you see fit. And remember, if you get punched in the face after citing someone, it's not our fault. Special shout out to Michael E. who designed the super-excellent citations. Michael, you rock!

Teen girl bloggers

I'm looking for some great example sites of teenage girl bloggers for an article I'm writing. I'd like to highlight a mix of styles and topics, both diary-like sites and linky sites. Know of any? Please add suggestions to the comments. And feel free to mention your own, but only if you happen to be a teenage girl blogger. Thanks for you help.

Stuffed Seabiscuit!

Seabiscuit stuffed animalSeabiscuit stuffed animal!
I've added it to my wish list, as it's currently out of stock. But for some reason, it seems like just the thing for my desk, and it can replace this penguin that's sitting atop my monitor right now (not that I don't love Penguin Computing, but I'd prefer a less-branded stuffed animal to watch over me). I also find it funny that the stuffed War Admiral is not out of stock. No one wants a stupid War Admiral! Ha ha.

Geeks vs. Suits

Maciej closed out the month of August with two great posts about NASA and the loss of Columbia: Physics 2, Business Administration 0 and Things I Have Learned About Foam From the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report. From the former (which leads off with a must-read quote from the Columbia Accident Investigation Report),

Engineers are trained to ask "what could possibly go wrong?". Managers are, too, but they use the phrase with a completely different intonation.

It made me chuckle when I read it, and then I realized the horror of such a flippant question when lives are at stake. Go read Maciej, and not just for this, but because everything he writes is really very good, and his linguistical flourishes impress me to no end.

Handy advice for life

Lunch discussion, summarized: don't befriend/work with/love/etc. anyone who is incapable of saying, "I was wrong" and "I don't know."


I finally got around to seeing the documentary Spellbound, about eight contestants in the 1999 National Spelling Bee over the weekend, and what a film! If you haven't seen this yet, I highly recommend it, especially if you're any sort of language nerd and enjoy weird words. It also provides insight into all kinds of American families, from various geographic regions, ethnic backgrounds, financial strata, etc. and demonstrates an intriguing combination of hard work and luck. It was also emotionally uplifting and funny. What more could you ask for in a film? Check it out if you haven't had a chance.

No one inspires like Frank

I'm struggling on this rainy afternoon, feeling glum, getting an obscure run-time error on a chunk of code that worked fine until I refactored it. I've gone from loving Java to hating it, cursing it as the droplets fall and the gray hangs heavily all around. All of a sudden, I become aware of the music coming out of my iPod on the office speakers. It's Frank Sinatra, singing Here's to the Losers. It doesn't help.

Shopping for a new Mac?

Here's an incredible deal from CompUSA reported on dealmac: buy a Mac for $999 or more and have no payments or interest until 2005! Available only at retail stores, according to the link, and arranged through a CompUSA credit card. Still, if you can be responsible about your money and pay the thing off before payments start in March 2005, not only do you get it interest-free, you don't even have to pay for it for more than a year! Baby needs a new pair of 12" PowerBook G4! Well, just one will do. If the 12" came with the 1GHz processor like the 15", I wouldn't even be able to type this post because I'd be on the train uptown to CompUSA this second!

An exciting intern opportunity in NYC

From my friend David at MediaRights comes a great part-time internship opportunity in Manhattan. I was a judge for their Media That Matters film festival and had the privilege of interacting with the great group that is MediaRights. If you apply, tell 'em megnut sent you. Description follows: is looking for two good technology interns. We can offer a desk, great co-workers, and lots of strong networking opportunities. helps filmmakers, activists, librarians and educators create and use social issue documentaries for social change. We also produce a yearly film festival ( that streams on-line, is screened across the country and is available on DVD for free ( At the end of the month, we're launching a new Web site dedicated to youth media distribution (

Better late than never

Five or so months ago, Darin from emailed asking if I'd do a little "11 Questions" interview with him. I said, "sure" and then let the message sink to the bottom of my inbox (and by "bottom" I mean it was about 1500 emails above the darkest depths of my inbox, where those scary fish -- with horrible teeth and hangy things in front of their eyes -- live and use bioluminescence to highlight messages that have been there since 9/13/01). Over the weekend, I finally responded and Darin, who inhabits a higher karmic email plane than I, promptly posted my inane replies.

Beautiful photos

Amazing photos of Antelope Valley, a slot canyon on LeChee Navajo land near Page, Arizona and some others of the American southwest by John Isaac: The American Southwest.

Ashcroft at Federal Hall today

From, there's a demonstration today. I can't seem to find a link to it on their site, so here's the detail from the email they sent. See you there?

WHAT: Demonstration to demand the protection of our basic civil
liberties, and counter Attorney General John Ashcroft, speaking in the
latest installment of his stealth Patriot Act road show.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 9 at 12 noon

WHERE: Federal Hall, 26 Wall Street at Broad Street (next to NYSE)
2/3 or 4/5 to Wall Street or J/Z to Broad Street

WHO: New York ACLU (, New York City Bill of Rights
Defense Campaign (, United for Peace and Justice
(, and 60 other civil liberties organizations.

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