Perhaps the hardest aspect of

Perhaps the hardest aspect of working in the "new economy" is explaing things to those that don't:

woman: "So what are you selling again?"
me: "Software. On the web. Instead of installing software on your computer you come to our website."
woman: "I don't understand."
me: "Sometimes you open a program on your computer. For our software, you come to our website."
woman: "And then download the software?"
me: "No, you just use it from our website."
woman: "So what do people pay for then?"
me: "The software."
woman: "But they're not downloading anything?"
me: "No. You just use the software on our site."
woman: "Well I still don't understand. You'll have to explain this in a letter."

I was rather surprised by

I was rather surprised by the poor design of the ballots as I voted yesterday. It took me a couple seconds to figure out what to do, and I actually had to read the instructions. I found the ballot overly-complicated, in part due to the number of languages that were squashed onto the same page. And to select a candidate, I had to draw a line connecting the head of an arrow with its tail, which was a manner of indicating a selection that I'd never seen before in any type of voting or test-taking. After seeing the controversial ballot in Palm Beach, I wonder: who designs these ballots? This is, perhaps, some of the most important information architecture work to be had. Do they perform user testing on the ballot designs before election day? I can't imagine that the Palm Beach design would have passed. It's hard to believe Gore could lose the election over some bad UI in Florida.

Back to work after two

Back to work after two days home sick and what do I find awaiting me? A "blog care package" from Steve! He sent all kinds of crazy sugar packets from all over the world, Canadian maple syrup (which I'm sure will be delicious and only slightly inferior to the stuff from Vermont), a box of Smarties (which are different from American Smarties, these look like M&Ms) and best of all: Phantom Power by the Tragically Hip! What a great way to start back into work, I feel 100% better already. Thanks so much Steve, you're the greatest!

I'm only going to mention

I'm only going to mention this once, right now: there's an article in this week's New Yorker (November 13, 2000, the cartoon edition), p.102. I'm in it.

Remember when things were crazy

Remember when things were crazy and people would invest in anything web-related? Well things are still crazy, but in the opposite direction it seems, and now no one will invest in anything. Irrational fear seems to have taken the place of irrational exhuberance and optomism. And the latest victim?

Certainly the market couldn't support three online pet stores, but can't it support one? Can't pet supplies be consolidated with some other online venture? Groceries, perhaps? It's hard to believe we're going back to the days of no online pet stores. It makes me a little sad, not because I like shopping for pet food on line or anything like that, but because it feels like a step backward. I'm getting used to my internet-enabled lifestyle (webvan, kozmo, etc.), and I don't want it to go away.

Working in a small company

Working in a small company is great: you know everybody, you can hang out with everyone, be friends outside of work, buddies, etc. etc. Of course, when one person gets sick, the whole team goes down. I don't know who got it first, me or pb or Matt Haughey, but we've all certainly got it. Guh. I'm too tired to even watch tv. I'm getting back in bed right now.

It's kind of fun to

It's kind of fun to get up early, to not be rushed to get stuff done and get out the door and get the day off to a start. It's kind of nice to sit and drink a cup of coffee, read on the web, and just think. Just reading and thinking and that's about it. I'm speaking on a panel today at WEB2000 on web applications at 10:30, so come on by if you're attending. Of course, if you're around, you're probably going to hear Clinton speak. The President is coming to Moscone South (exactly where the conference is!) to rally for Gore at 11am. I imagine it's going to be a zoo. I hope some people come to here us babble about the future of web apps, of course, if they don't, I imagine we can have quite an interesting conversation on our own.

WEB2000, day two. I'm beat,

WEB2000, day two. I'm beat, and we're just getting started. I don't know how much more I can talk to people about Blogger, but it sure is fun. Yesterday someone came up to me and said, "Oh my God! I just love your product. I *LOVE* Blogger. I tell everyone I know to use it. I just LOVE it!!"

Hearing that made me feel really really good.

I'm at WEB200 right now.

I'm at WEB200 right now.

Happy Halloween. If I weren't

Happy Halloween. If I weren't so lame and tired, I would have worn my spider hat to work today so you could see it. It's so cool, I made it several years ago for Halloween. Now I wish I'd worn it. Oh well.

So I'm not going to be able to update much in the next few days (surprise!) because I'm going to be over at WEB2000, I'll be around the Blogger booth (on the show floor, off in the back, to the left from where you enter) quite a bit, and I'm also speaking on Bryan's web apps panel on Friday morning, so if you're around, stop by. And hey, did you see this weblogging article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday? I'd write a longer response to it, but I'm swamped.

Have a safe and happy halloween, don't eat the candy with the razor blades in it. Nobody wants to see that now, do they?

Lament Everything is far and


Everything is far
and long gone by.
I think that the star
glittering above me
has been dead for a million years.
I think there were tears
in the car I heard pass
and something terrible was said.
A clock has stopped striking in the house
across the road...
When did it start?...
I would like to step out of my heart
and go walking beneath the enormous sky.
I would like to pray.
And surely of all the stars that perished
long ago,
one still exists.
I think that I know
which one it is—
which one, at the end of its beam in the sky,
stands like a white city...

- Rainer Maria Rilke (from The Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke)

It turns out the game

It turns out the game was on TV afterall. Now I wish it wasn't. My Saturday's off to a sad start...

New York's, and World's, Finest.

New York's, and World's, Finest. Ick. I've refrained from talking at all about the World Series because I don't particularly care for either team, but I had hoped to see the Mets win. I guess I was secretly rooting for the Mets, just to see the Yankees lose. Alas, no. Stupid Yankees. I hate the Yankees.

And speaking of sports, the big game tomorrow isn't going to be broadcast here because stupid children's programming is on. Kids! How come kids get priority over #1 Nebraska vs. #3 Oklahoma? Huh? The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh? I want to see Crouch and the option crush Oklahoma, not the Mickey MouseWorks. And I don't want to go to a bar at 9 am to do it.

I'm still sick and I'm still cranky, and I want to watch football tomorrow. Waaaahhh!!!!!

I'm sick and it's raining

I'm sick and it's raining outside. Sucky suck suck. Would someone please bring me some soup for lunch?

Some days I'm amazed that

Some days I'm amazed that anything gets accomplished in this world at all. I went to the Department of Parking and Transportation this morning to get a residential parking permit. Since I have a garage, I hadn't bothered to get one until now. Luck was on my side this morning though, I found a parking space nearly out front, I walked in and there was no line, and I presented my credentials. I live in area J. For some reason the parking permits in different neighborhoods expire on different dates. So you could live in area M and your permit would expire next February. But in area J, the permit expires on November 1. (Why not the calendar year for everyone? one might ask.) Which means, it being October 25th and all, that I had two options. Come back in November for a permit that would be valid for one year (and cost $27), or pay $13.50 for a permit good through the end of November (at first I feared it would expire in five days, luckily they're not *that* stupid).

"Can't you just sell me the November one now?" I pleaded.
"No, I can't." said the woman, whose response time can only be compared with that of a three-toed sloth.

In the end, I settled for paying the $13.50 and getting the short-term permit. The reason? I can at least renew by mail, and avoid ever visiting the DPT office again. My hope? I won't have a car by the end of November anyway, and this whole experience will fade from memory quickly, never to be revived again.

I swear to God I

I swear to God I wrote about awhile back in here, but searching through Blogger, I can't seem to locate the post. Am I just imagining past posts? Am I losing my mind? Probably. Anyway, in this fictitious post (to which I would simply link if it existed), I wrote how I couldn't wait for this service to arrive in San Francisco. And now it seems it never will. Goodbye mylackey, RIP.

Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a little megnut speculation: maybe the term "lackey" lead to their downfall. Lackey doesn't sound very high-brow, and I hear they were charging rather high prices for their services. Maybe they needed something more upper-crust in their name? "" would have been good. You know in those old movies, people always had a "man." "I'll have my man bring the car around." (Of course, on second thought, this could be confused with some sort of web-based boyfriend delivery service, "Bring me my man!" or "A man to your door, in less than an hour!") ""? Hmmm....kind of taken, though if you ask me, I'd want to Ask Jeeves for more than just answers, I want action, results, "Jeeves, bring me my dry-cleaning!", etc.

What about ""? That could work. I think Americans secretly crave all the trappings of the upper class English manor lifestyle, what else explains the preponderance of Jane Austen film adaptations? If only MyLackey had been names MyButler...MyButler'd be getting my car's parking permit and picking up my laundry at this very moment.

Today's music: James Brown 40th

Today's music:
James Brown 40th Anniversary Collection (it's so boogieable, I can't sit still!)

Today's mood:
Hyper-expectant, like Christmas Eve when I was a kid. When I was little, I could barely fall asleep the night before Christmas. I'd go up to bed and just squirm, my heart would pound in my chest and it was impossible to keep my eyes closed for more than a minute or two. So I'd lay there, in the dark, in the quiet, desperately straining to hear the hooves of the reindeer setting down on the roof above my head. When you're listening that hard, every creak and groan of the house sounds like the distant jingle of Santa's approaching sleigh.

William posts some more scanned

William posts some more scanned images from another UK Blogger article, this one from The Independent. The UK sure likes us. I think it's because the word "Blogger" sounds like it could be British. Just say this sentance with an British accent and you'll see what I mean, "Nigel, you bloody blogger, where's me vinegar for me fish n' chips?! And turn on the telly, ya blogging bastard!"

How many jokes can you

How many jokes can you make with the word, crampon? Isn't it a funny word? It sounds like a disease, "Doctor, we've got another case of crampon in the ER!" It also sounds like a verb, "pb, have you cramponed the tent?" And of course, it works well with America's favorite jingle, "Cramp on! Cramp off!..."

Now the amazing flavor of

Now the amazing flavor of angels, from their two most popular products, united at last: Angel's Hair Food Pasta Cake. Yum yum!

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