Saturday, December 29, 2007

it's true, i love gmail

I even got the opportunity to tell Gmail creator, Paul Buchheit, how much Gmail owned my soul. So when Gmail asked for videos sharing "your Gmail story," I couldn't help but share one of mine. Really, I spend way too much time on Gmail (and now thanks to RescueTime, I have the pretty bar graphs to prove it).

Maybe they'll start running Apple-esque commercials and I can be the next Ellen Feiss!

Friday, December 28, 2007

"we should all buy and read" starbucked

OK, so I've taken P. J. O'Rourke's quote out of context. Nonetheless, it's indeed in his recent New York Times book review, Venti Capitalists. His critique of Starbucked takes a few unorthodox paternalistic turns, but you can't dispute his apparent fondness for the author, Taylor Clark.

Instead of giving an unabashedly positive review (I couldn't help myself) he starts out chiding Clark for some rather random things:

Clark makes much of Starbucks’s discovery that it could put one store close to another and both could thrive. But you can line a street with fire hydrants and dogs will use them all; that’s not necessarily a recipe for wealth, especially if you try to charge the dogs.
Should his analogy lead us to believe that going to Starbucks is like pissing in public? Maybe he's not far off. Nonetheless, the dogs keep paying -- a lot.

Now, Mr. O'Rourke may trivialize the success Starbucks has had with cannibalization, but as far as I know, it was a rather novel (and fruitful) strategy. The company may not have been the first to actively cannibalize its own stores, but it certainly did so with unprecedented success.

Another fun-fact from Clark's book was recounted in his recent Slate article "Don't Fear Starbucks: Why the franchise actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses." And it even made it onto the front page of reddit. Looks like you're about to get the reddit bump, Mr. Clark.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

kiwis in danger, but not going without a fight

There are a few key take-aways from this recent IHT article, "New Zealand trying to save the kiwi".

First, New Zealand is trying to save the kiwi. See, you didn't even have to read the article to learn that.

Second, the article doesn't expand on how this will affect Fogbugz -- FogCreek (maker of FogBugz) founder Joel Spolsky has yet to comment on the matter.Third, the kiwi may be the result of cruel dare some creator was taking, but it's not to be taken lightly. The article cites some pretty compelling evidence of the ill-tempered nature of the kiwi:

Some kiwis are more aggressive than others.

"Some of them will charge right up to you and kick you on the leg before rushing off into the undergrowth," McLennan said. "There's plenty of footage around of kiwis chasing possums and kicking them and beating them up."
Maybe they had it coming...

(thanks, Liz!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

reddit algorithim leaked!

OK, this is old, but I'd been meaning to post this entry for a few days now.

redditor vs. alien

A long time back, exhausted of all creativity, I called upon redditAll readers to submit plot ideas for the reddit logo.

Quite a few of them turned into an epic logo storyline that lasted a couple weeks.

The top story on reddit at the moment is titled "Predator vs Alien (pic)". It doesn't have anything to do with today's movie opening.

But this must have reminded one of our users, bobcat, of the plot suggestion I got that featured "redditor vs. alien" -- the reddit alien and a redditor (presumably in cartoon-form) would duel it out in the logo.

bobcat tried to get some submissions with this self post, but the anti-custom-reddit-logo-conspiracy must have all activated their auto down-voting scripts. So we're going to try again with this one now that it's "official"...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

searching for the bill of rights

I wanted to refresh my memory about my favorite amendment in the U.S. Bill of Rights (the 3rd -- you'll never see British troops being quartered in my home!). So I did what most people do, typed a simple Google query:

bill of rights US
Top search result?
USINFO - Error 404 - Page Not Found UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. ... USINFO delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture.... - 19k
U.S. Bill of Rights not found? I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised...

consumerist confirms the holiday cheer at starbucks is indeed a pr stunt

I was startled when I saw this ad campaign around New York, but I never bumped into any "Gingerbread Gentlemen".

Now Consumerist confirms that all that holiday cheer was in fact bought with the promise of a free drink. Clever public relations campaign? Or an extra serving of cynicism for Starbucks-haters?

Maybe I'm just bitter I didn't get bought a free drink. Guess I should start going to Starbucks now...

Monday, December 17, 2007

xkcd and reddit team up to do a little more than just distract you from work

Got a non-profit you think needs a nice end-of-the-year bump from reddit? Perhaps, you've heard of reddit, it's the self-described strongest supporter of Mister Splashy Pants. And to get Greenpeace to name a whale Mister Splashy Pants is no simple task.

A couple weeks ago, some redditors voiced their desire to go a step further and do some more good. The community had also recently helped an elderly woman after she got ripped off my a cruise line, so feelings of generosity and goodwill were at an all-time high for the Internet. Like always, we just tried to facilitate our community's awesomeness and then get out of the way.

Oh, and did I mention that our friends at xkcd, Randall and Davean, are teaming up with us for this fundraiser? We'll have some worthwhile giveaways (see announcement) for a bunch of donors. With our geek powers combined...

Deadline for the non-profit voting is 10pm (Eastern GMT-5) Wednesday the 19th. Submit or vote now.

Donations will open up at noon (Eastern GMT-5) on Thursday the 20th. If you'd like some real-life karma, or just know a few geeks who'd appreciate some nerd-schwag, please pass this along. Thanks.

excellent news from los angeles: striking writers striking out to start startups

The LA Times reports:

Dozens of striking film and TV writers are negotiating with venture capitalists to set up companies that would bypass the Hollywood studio system and reach consumers with video entertainment on the Web.
About damn time, writers. You've always had the talent, now the barriers have fallen quite a bit between getting those great ideas out of your head and in front of people.

There's an entire generation passing around great video clips from sites like YouTube. We don't care who's made it, as long as it's entertaining. One of the best Will Ferrell clips I've seen all year was on -- the Criterion Edition is worth a look, too.

Obviously, there will be successes and failures, but we'll all be better off in the end.

Your brothers and sisters in journalism are working their way toward this as well, thanks to feasible online revenue *gasp* models and maybe even a few brand-agnostic news aggregators. It's about time content was king, and the creators of it started getting treated that way. Or at least close to it; that whole Divine Right thing is bullshit.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

pierre francois gets some great tips from a youtube commenter

It's well over a year old now, but Pierre keps getting some attention on YouTube.

From the department of unsolicited advice, a YouTube commenter named polytope13 recently laid the smack down on him:
Web 2.0 is just like the "Web 1.0" bubble except without the vast amounts of money being thrown at useless people like this here "consultant with 20 years of experience, an MBA and former used car salesman."

Here are a couple business tips to brush up with on that MBA: Don't use self-depreciating humor against your own product or services. And don't criticize Google's website when your Internet success does not come anywhere near Google's.
Oh yes, there's more. Let 'um have it, polytope13!
One more tip: If you're trying to do serious business, adhere to serious business attire. Aren't you supposed to be the "consultant" in these projects? Why then are you dressed like the freelance, LSD fueled graphics designer?
LSD-fueled graphics designer? It was the orange shirt, wasn't it?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

australia drankkit

As promised, there were no dingos.

We did get a bunch of Australian redditors to show up for our free beer, though (and a number of American and Canadian ones, too). It was at a charming pub called Hero of Waterloo (Duke of Wellington perhaps? Definitely not Napoleon, heh). We didn't have a clue where to host the event, so LonelyPlanet came through with a good recommendation.

By around 10, it was time for everyone to start impersonating everyone else's accent. I think the Australians do a pretty good "American," but it's usually a bit too Southern for my taste. Apparently all of our Australian accents just suck.

Oh well. It was great to meet real live Australian redditors (and even bought drinks for the founder of Kwoff, an Aussie Pligg-powered social news site. And by the end of the night there was the obligatory group photo for all the folks who'd stuck around long enough and wanted to end up as a couple pixels on today's reddit logo.Fun times.

Friday, December 14, 2007

non-stop humiliation

"Non-stop humiliation for hackers."

Really, McAfee? Really? Your company humiliates hackers non-stop? You expect me to believe that you can thwart -- let alone pwn -- these two?I think not.

And how about that tag-line: Killer security.


I'll still keep telling my dad if security is his concern, he's better off just buying a Mac.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

splashy pants now dances

Incredible. To quote krugerlive, "Those are the splashiest pants I have ever seen! And some of the best moves!"

If you've been keeping up with the Mister Splashy Pants saga, you'll be happy to know that the name won. And now redditors are joining the petition to save Mr. Pants (AKA, Splashy).

But this holiday e-card makes my baleen quiver with excitement.

g'day australia, your money is so pretty and your weather is so lovely, too

Apologies if you already read this on drankkit, but...

Steve and I are going to be in Australia for a really random reason and thought it'd be cool to host our own little drankkit down under. A few people had scoffed at this "world tour" (hey, we went to Canada) so we figured going as far as possible from home would be the only appropriate recourse.

This one is not an official Wired-sponsored event. All that means is there's not going to be anyone supervising the havoc we wreak on our credit cards. Don't let us down, Australia!
Really, the Australian bills are so pretty you feel guilty spending them. I was totally unprepared for this.

We didn't think we had that many redditors here in Sydney, but we've already got a few signups on the facebook invite. Should be a fun night. So if you know any Aussies (or are one yourself) tell them to come on down to Hero of Waterloo (81 Lower Fort St., The Rocks, Sydney) this Saturday night (Dec. 15th).

We'll be the two Americans in reddit shirts and wearing white socks. Heh.

There's an ad running on reddit, too. Just in case. I got some great feedback on the kangaroo: "The Alien looks safe, but with those eyes on the the kangaroo I'm very intimidated." Good point, cbs; I don't have much practice drawing kangaroos, I'm much better at wallabies.

lolcats and lolsquids

(Thanks, Diana!)

It should be a cuddlefish in this picture, but this will do. But that would probably ruin the joke, since no one could possibly have a problem with a cuddlefish. Squids are notorious for their flatulence and poor tipping habits. No one wants to associate with that kind of company.

funny pictures
From i can has cheezburger?, of course.

unholiday cards

This started out as a joke, but I went ahead and created a bunch of unholiday greeting cards. Well, it's really only one design, but there's a big stack of them waiting to be sent to your friends and family. If you're curious, these Darwin Claus greeting cards are for sale at

You'll have to visit the link to see inside.

And since I'm so full of the (un?)holiday spirit, half the profits are going to a charity I've become quite fond of.

It's never too late to send an unholiday card ;-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

since the dailyshow is still on strike, here's a festive treat from the onion

(Thanks, Liz!)

The ONN (Onion News Network) reports: Nation's Wealthy Cruelly Deprived Of True Meaning Of Christmas. Oh yeah, I submitted it to reddit, too.

shirts are shipped!

And I learned something new: reddit isn't a shipping company.

We sold a bunch of shirts over the last two weeks (no doubt thanks to this ad):

But our shipping department (me) was traveling around doing drankkit duty, so I wasn't able to ship them out until Monday when I got back to SF.

So first thing Monday morning, our shipping department was greeted with a bunch of orders to fill. Jeremy -- either out of pity or stamp affinity -- helped out as the end of the workday neared and we managed to get every one of them in the outbox for Tuesday's morning pickup.

Like the photo of the giant fish, here's the proof of what Jeremy and I conquered this past Monday.Thanks to all of you who bought reddit shirts. If I screwed anything up, I trust I'll be hearing from you soon :)

In the event that you're still reading this, maybe you'll be interested in knowing that the furthest we mailed a reddit shirt this time around was Australia. An interesting coincidence...

Friday, December 07, 2007

back when i had subversion access...

Jeremy recently breezed through the svn commit logs and noticed a few atypical comments:

[1997]: must... stop.. obsessing..
By alexis — 01/15/07 13:51:45

[2069]: updated superbowl trophy to look less like a penis
By alexis — 02/06/07 21:06:33

[2099]: cuz im a dumbass
By alexis — 02/21/07 08:15:25
Oh, those were the good old days, back when I had Subversion access...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

review of starbucked: one of the best books i've read this year (and a bonus mp3!)

Finally, a business-themed book that doesn't suck. And for someone who loves coffee (and generally scorns business books) as much as I do, it was a pleasure to read. It's remarkably even-handed -- as though author Taylor Clark cares more about getting across facts than an agenda. How novel!

Oh, it's also quite an easy read and Taylor's wit enhances the whole experience. Don't expect any hackneyed business adages, Starbucked is a sober look at a company that has a significant impact on not just the United States, but the entire world. What starts with a history of the company, continues into a debunking (or verifying) of a number of Starbucks myths. My favorite was the truth behind "fair trade" coffee. Spoiler: It's not actually saving the world as well as you might hope.

Perhaps best of all, Clark reveals a special Starbucks cover of "We Built This City" ("We Built This Starbucks") that I was able to track down online. Brace yourself.

Default-tiny We Built this Starbucks... uploaded by 1451-tiny kn0thing

Someone needs to make a techno remix of this.

All in all, it's a well reported analysis of how the mermaid has managed to so quickly turn us into a nation of $4 coffee drinkers -- while still charging us mostly for milk. Oh, Mr. Schultz, you are a sly one...

Speaking of which, I saw this ad yesterday and a real 'wtf' moment. Really, Starbucks, you think this "latte stranger" campaign is going to help?*And no, I didn't get paid to write this, but if you'd like to pay me to review your book, it's going to cost a lot. And a pony.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

proof the internet is a very special place:

As far as I know, Kitty Wigs! has no connection to Bee Dogs (the premier online repository for pictures of dogs in bee costumes). Those two would have some great synergy. Take a closer look at this fine wig:

Pink Passion Kitty Wig
Think 50 bucks is a bit steep for a pink cat wig? This product description will change your mind:
Pink is the color of fantasy. Our model, Chicken, looks like her mind is elsewhere when she wears this wig -- somewhere in a land of cotton candy and pinwheels where the air smells like sugar kisses.
Don't you wish your cat lived in a land of cotton candy and pinwheels where the air smells like sugar kisses. I've never smelled a sugar kiss, but I reckon it smells mighty good. At least better than a two week old litter box. But it goes on...
Pink makes your kitty feel elegant, modern and quintessentially feline.
I like the word "quintessentially" as much as the next guy (look, 5 syllables!) but how is a cat-sized pink quintessentially feline? It's not even quintessentially human.

Unless you're her:But that's just redundant.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

facebook comes ever closer to myspace-hell as i do the unthinkable -- unfriend someone

I know I'm friends with a couple facebook spammers. It's not that I'm masochistic, they just provide me with a steady source of blogging material. Until now. Well, until after this blog entry.

Lydia Palmer did the unthinkable this morning, she posted this to My Wall:For those of you who don't use facebook (how's that Friendster account treating you?) I should explain that The Wall is a place to exchange thoughtful messages about recent drunkenness, sporting events, and interpretations of Dickensian themes through the lens of the 21st century.

I also use it to show off animated .gifs I make of my friends dancing:

I really should make a YTMND out of this.

But you get the point, there is clearly a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable Wall postings. Lydia, I'm sorry I had to do this, but you've been unfriended (with a bum-wagging Pikachu saying an appropriate farewell).As word spreads across the Internet, you'll not doubt be left friendless by the end of the day. You only have yourself to blame.

Oh, and I'm also putting you on notice.

Monday, December 03, 2007

email spammers getting creative, but still clearly not trying

With such a savvy subject line, this one almost fooled me. Almost.

from: Neil Little (
subject: photon eagerly

abstention seldom frustrating purple
"Photon eagerly"? I get non-spam emails with that subject line all the time. I keep telling Chris he's only confusing me with all that physics mumbo jumbo.

When it comes to the email's content, I think there's a beautiful poetry to it. Let's step back on ponder the meaning of those 4 words and their placement, each thoughtful and meaningful. A closer reading of the text reveals a frustration with the ennui of a materialistic lifestyle. It's quite moving.

But here's the best part, there was an attachment (bottle of beer.jpg)

reddit and startupschwag

Roddy over at Startup Schwag contacted me a little while back about including reddit shirts in their upcoming subscription package. He also mentioned something about a modeling shoot. Little did we know, it'd be Amanda Ferri, the charming lip-syncing girl from the start of Vimeo's Flagpole Sitta video. OMG, Internet celebs wearing reddit shirts!!!

Anyway, a bunch of blue reddit shirts were sent out this month to Startup Schwag subscribers -- including one in Hong Kong who wore the alien out go-kart racing. Fact: reddit shirts are more useful than a red turtle shell.

Rumor has it, my Mr. Chuck stickers (3.4x more effective than Mr. Yuck at keeping your kids away) will be included in next months schwag package! You'd better subscribe now.