Friday, March 30, 2007

take my design ideas. please.

About a year ago, I started working on a bunch of design templates for the ill-fated infogami project. Aaron unfortunately stopped development before he could do anything with my html and they've just sat on my harddrive ever since. He recently reminded me of them, so I've cobbled them all together and uploaded them under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. My HTML and CSS is pretty rough, but this license means you can use them for anything (commercial or not) and only need to attribute them to me. It'd be cool if you emailed me, too, but I like surprises.

So have fun with them, I've been told enough times that I don't have any taste ;-) but maybe some of these can be a springboard for some great designs. Here are just a few of them, along with their hip, one-word titles [link to all of them].




wii? wee! bored in line and armed with a blackberry

Waited in line (why, oh why do New Yorkers say "on line") for a little over 2 hours to get one, but it gave me time to run a few Google BlogSearches on reddit. I came across this fantastically thorough (and aptly titled) review, "Reddit - Everything you ever wanted to know about it".

Maki did a splendid job with this -- so splendid in fact, that I was feeling guilty for how our own documentation pales in comparison. But before I sit down to overhaul it, I really ought to demolish Steve in a few rounds of WiiTennis...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

star-crossed websites

We've been partnering with the Gawker empire (is it a capital "E"?) for quite some time and been quite pleased with everything. In exchange for some advertising we got to place on their blogs (more on this in a future post), we built some plug-in reddits so their readers could submit and vote on t-shirt slogans. These are basically stripped down reddits -- only submissions and votes -- along with all the nifty sorting options. It turns out this works out pretty well, as the shirts seem to be selling well. We certainly never would have come up with this, but Scott over at Gawker had the idea, which appears to be a great success.

Now, we're a part of the Conde Nast "family" (hold on, this is going somewhere) which I've learned has a sort of Montague & Capulet thing (sorry, that wasn't worth it) going on with Gawker. I wonder which one that makes us?

Nevertheless, the acquisition fortunately hasn't affected our relationship with that snarky blog network. And as a result, more folks are walking around with shirts letting onlookers know that "Yes, I'm Quietly Judging You". I'm deciding between "Wouldn't it be ironic if you went the fuck back to Williamsburg" and "I adopted a third-world baby and all I got was this lousy third-world baby".

Either one is going to be a great Mother's Day gift.

Still doubting the wisdom of crowds?

Monday, March 26, 2007

uva homecoming and a trip to startup school

Thanks to Sam Odio and Alpha Kappa Psi, Steve and I were invited back to UVA last Monday to speak to a room full of hungry potential startup founders. We know they were hungry because they were lured -- like any good college student -- by the advertisement of free pizza.

I suspect our presentation was a bit unorthodox in a place like the McIntire Business School (where it was held) but it seemed a number of folks stuck around even after it was evident the pizza was gone.

This past weekend was Y Combinator's third Startup School, which was broadcast for the first time live -- via Justin's head. (It wasn't really his head doing the broadcasting, it's a camera mounted onto his cap)

Good times.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

i don't even have to doodle the logo anymore

The best feedback emails we get usually start with "I hate reddit..." (they also end with something along the lines of "...because now I can never get any work done.")

We take great pride in maintaining a site that makes a few folks just that little bit less productive. But alas, we can't take much more credit than that, since it's not like we're creating all that time-consuming content. Here is someone who did create something cool:

One redditor, Matthew Inman, wanted to procrastinate. In doing so, he created illustrations to represent the major social media websites. Steve IMed me the link and it got me giggling.

Impressed, I mailed Matt to ask if I could adapt his sketch for the logo doodle. He didn't mind, so here it is.

(Thanks again, Matt)

*Hmm, this has got me thinking... I wonder if the xkcd guy would do some doodles...

Monday, March 12, 2007

whimsy fax cover sheet

Corporate taxes are due at the end of the week (this was definitely quite a surprise the first time around) but don't worry fellow startup founders, they don't take very long to do when you don't have any revenue.

But we've got professional help now, so all I had to was fax over some signatures. I figured it'd be polite to include a cover sheet, since our accountant is undoubtedly quite busy this time of year. Certainly my copy of Microsoft Word 2004 for the Mac would have a suitable coversheet...

That's when I found "Whimsy". Really, they were all pretty ugly, but this one was something special (they even remembered Comic Sans and Curlz!).

It's one thing to just use a fax cover sheet to tell the recipient "This fax is for you, from me, and about X" -- this one screams "HI!!!!11!! Fax here!!!! It's me, look at me! Weeeeeee!"

I'm an only child after all, so naturally I used it.

Our accountant is going to be so pleased.

*edit: had originally mistyped Word 2005 instead of 2004. Word 2005 is know for having a robust, yet stylish collection of fax cover sheet templates.

Friday, March 09, 2007

impeachment woes on reddit? xkcd to the rescue!

Some of you may have noticed a rather homogeneous reddit front page a couple days ago. Nearly all the top stories were for a good chunk of the day somehow related to the impeachment of the President and VP of the United States. Fortunately, thanks to the nifty "hotness" algorithm Chris and Steve developed, the links cooled and fell off the front page (they won't tell me how it works, partly because they know I'd quickly divulge it under torture [authorized here in the States] and partly because I just wouldn't understand).

What I do know is that over the course of the day, links actually rise and fall on the front page. So the older a story is, the more up votes it takes to keep it "hot". It just happened to take a little while for the front page to cool off.

Anyway, Randall over at xkcd had an idea (I don't even know why I bothered to hyperlink that, since it's on the reddit front page every MWF). He setup a wiki for folks to continue the reddit activism.

His comic also happens to be why in today's logo, our SuperSoaker™-wielding mascot is petting a velociraptor covered in grape juice while standing in a pile of pure Colombian blow.

Don't fret, mom, some things are best not understood.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

new orleans, 18 months later

It was just a weekend getaway; I'd wanted to see New Orleans again ever since Katrina. And not in some voyeuristic way, although it certainly felt like that first, but like every American should want to see what progress has been made and help out as best as a tourist could -- with money. (Tourism was the city's #2 industry, not sure what it's ranked now). Then there was the guilt for only going as tourist, not as a volunteer. Fortunately, it's not that long of a flight from NY, so by the time we landed, I was ready.

What I wasn't ready for was the destruction that flanked the highway into the city. "Eighteen months later?" was the refrain in my head. It was never too muted, even during nice dinners in the French Quarter or smothered under fabulous beignets. Those sorts of indulgences can make you forget the whole thing ever happened. The downtown is just as it was five years ago when my parents took me. Except this time I'm allowed to go into the bars on Bourbon.

But I thought some of you might want to see the photos I took from my journey outside of downtown and maybe it'll motivate a trip down to N.O. Everyone we met wanted us to go home and tell our friends to come visit; the city, the people, they needed tourists to return and spend away (and if there's one thing we Americans do well...).

But folks were divided on the story we should tell. Yes, you could spend a weekend downtown, down a few Hurricanes (it's a potent drink) and maybe earn a few beads, just like always -- tell that story: things are great!

Or, tell them to get out and see the devastation for themselves, entire derelict neighborhoods -- even middle class neighborhoods -- with no power, no one coming home from work or going to school anymore. They ought to see that part, too, so they don't forget that eighteen months later hospitals are still closed and so many families are still living in doublewides. The scandal that this could be happening in this country, that part will never be on the postcards, but Americans need to know -- tell that story: things aren't so great.

So I thought I'd tell both. You can take my word on all the vices and delights of the downtown (they're all still there, I just wasn't foolish enough to upload any photos of me indulging in them). Here are some photos if you want to see proof of the rest.