Blog Tag

The latest craze running through the blogosphere is blog tag, and Dave McClure tagged me. Thanks Dave.

  1. My parents owned a minor league baseball team for 8 years, the Sonoma County Crushers, in the 1990s. During the ONElist years, escaping up there to see a couple games on the weekends was a fantastic stress reliever. Also, among other things, I learned how to set professional fireworks (long story involving a mostly deaf and blind “professional” fireworks person who had arrived late). The one heirloom I want from my parents is the mascot costume from the team. Crusher the Abominable Sonoman was by far the best mascot on the face of the planet, and I’m not just saying that ’cause I’m biased. One day, he will be stuffed, mounted and placed in my home, ready to greet all visitors.
  2. My nickname is Pig. When I applied for a job at Diba, a startup building a WebTV-like box, I put a picture of a pig on my resume. I wanted to make sure my resume was noticed, and I had some Christmas lights in my cube in the shape of pigs. How I connected those two thing, I’ll never know. I really don’t recommend doing this, but it’s worked out ok. At ONElist, the marketing folks had a field day with this. Our first t-shirts had “A little pig goes a long way” on the back of them. A tradition developed where new employees would bring in a pig related item, usually a stuffed animal. After the acquisition by Yahoo, I ended up with the resulting ‘pig shrine’, which had gotten rather large by that point.
  3. I’m a big San Jose Sharks fan. I’ve been going to games for years, and this year I finally decided to get season tickets.
  4. I have a completely irrational and unjustifiable fear of jellyfish. Have I ever been stung by one? Of course not. Have I ever even gotten close to one? Nope, no way. And yet, I’m very reluctant to get into the ocean. For years, in San Diego, I lived at most 2 miles from the beach, but I never went. Crazy, I know.
  5. Vegetables and me don’t really get along. What’s the opposite of a vegetarian? Me.

And there you go. More than you ever wanted to know. I tag Jeremy Zawodny, Joshua Schachter, Nick Bradbury, Greg Linden, and Marc Hedlund.

Behind on Email

Apologies if you’ve sent me email over the past week or two and I haven’t responded. I’m way behind. I hope to catch up later this week.

Blog Migration

If you are reading this, then the DNS changes have propagated and you’re reading this blog from it’s new server. For the past 5 years, was hosted on a machine at my house, running off my DSL line. For various reasons, I decided it was time to move to a hosted solution. Based on a recommendation from a friend, I chose Pair Networks. At the same time, I upgraded to the latest version of Movable Type and changed the style of the blog. Because of this, unfortunately, the links to individual blog entries have changed. If you’re reading this in an aggregator, this means that you’ll see a bunch of old posts show up as new again. I apologize for this; it’s a one-time occurance.

We The Bloggers….

[Cross Posted to the Bloglines blog and the Ask Jeeves blog]:

Blogs have given individuals of any and every background the ability to freely speak their minds and share information with anyone who chooses to read it, at any time they wish to do so. Bloglines was created for people as a window to access this world of dynamic content and a way to participate in its creation. We believe blogs have helped enable an open exchange of information that has never before been possible. As some of you may have heard, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is reviewing its regulations concerning political speech on the Internet, including blog activity. Bloglines is committed to the continuation of open exchanges of information and opinions throughout the blogosphere and the Internet in general. Today, the Committee on House Administration is having a hearing on this issue. In the spirit of these beliefs, I have provided the Committee with the following statement. We encourage you to express your opinion on this matter in any forum you choose.
-Mark Fletcher and the Bloglines team

Statement by Mark Fletcher
Founder, Vice President and General Manager of Bloglines
Regulation of Political Speech on the Internet
Before the
Committee on House Administration
U.S. House of Representatives
September 22, 2005

Chairman Ney and Members of the Committee:

     On behalf of Bloglines and our users, I am pleased to provide the following statement concerning regulation of political speech on the Internet. Bloglines, founded in 2003, is a free online service for searching, subscribing, creating and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich web content. The company is a property of Ask Jeeves, Inc., a wholly-owned business of IAC/InterActiveCorp, and is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.

     We believe it’s critical for us to speak out on behalf of individual bloggers who, while empowered by the Internet, have a limited capacity to carry messages to Congress. We commend you and the Committee for convening this hearing and focusing needed attention on this issue.

     We urge Congress and the FEC to ensure that the Internet, particularly blog activity, remains free from campaign finance regulation. While regulation of campaign financing plays an important role in maintaining public confidence in our political system, we believe the significant public policy interests in encouraging the Internet as a forum for free or low-cost speech and open information exchange should stand paramount.

     Linking to campaign websites, quoting from or republishing campaign materials and even providing a link for donations to a candidate, if done without compensation, should not result in a blog being deemed to have made a contribution to a campaign or trigger reporting requirements.

     Blogs permit the expression of and access to a diversity of political opinions and other information on a scale never before seen. This speech must remain free and not be discouraged by burdensome regulation. As such, it should be explicit that the activities of bloggers are covered by the press exemption of Sections 100.73 and 100.132.

     Should the FEC fail to provide this critical protection to Internet activity, or if courts determine the Commission lacks statutory authority, we urge Congress to promptly move legislation to achieve the goal.
Thank you for this opportunity to share our comments on this important issue.

*                   *                  *

Insert Rant Here

Things have been quiet around here, and I apologize. In no particular order:

  • I was on two panels at the SES San Jose conference last week, which was fun. If you ever have the chance to test Gary Price’s knowledge of obscure ’80’s pop-culture trivia, I highly recommend it. The man is an encyclopedia both of amazing breadth and depth.
  • I did in fact go flying in a Stearman, and I have the pictures to prove it. Except, umm, they’re still on my phone. But they do exist. Flying an open cockpit bi-plane that’s almost twice as old as I am is one of the more fun things you can do without going to jail.
  • I work with really smart people. The Bloglines team is really great and I don’t say that often enough.
  • I was going to blog something about how tags are bad, evil horrible bad, and highlight the failure of existing search technology, but I couldn’t muster the energy. High level message: tags suck and are unnecessary except in cases where no other textual data exists (like photos, audio or video). Discuss amongst yourselves.

Quiet… A little too quiet.

Apologies for the lack of posting. In no particular order, things that I have done recently or will be doing in the not too distant future:

  • I was part of the Recent Innovations in Search and Other Ways of Finding Information panel presented by BayCHI. I appreciated the opportunity to participate.
  • I’ll be in Tokyo next week, participating in a couple of Ask Jeeves Japan events. I’ve never been to Asia, so I’m very excited. I’ll be making a second trip to Tokyo in late June as well, right before I head off to Gnomedex 5.0. This is my first Gnomedex, so please be gentle.
  • Right after I return from my first trip to Tokyo, I’ll be off to NYC for the Syndicate Conference, where I’ll be moderating the Looking at the User Experience: The New Faces of Interface panel.
  • Bloglines continues to do well and I’m really excited with what we’re working on. We’ve made some great hires recently, and we still have a couple of job openings. Benefits of working with us include: a close-knit group, fast paced/startup-like atmosphere where everyone has a lot of responsibility, good medical/dental, (and upcoming) access to dangerous medieval weaponry.
  • I publicly admit my addiction to Texas Hold’em Poker at Ultimate Bet. Don’t worry Mom, I only play with the funny money.
  • I’ve even managed to get in a little bit of flying, but not as much as I would like.

Wired Rave Awards

Last night I was awarded the Tech Innovator award as part of the 6th Annual Wired Rave Awards. This is a tremendous honor and I want to thank everyone from Wired, especially Chris Anderson for his kind words.
The awards ceremony consisted of a dinner for the winners at the Plumpjack Cafe in San Francisco, and then a party at The Fillmore. Both events were top notch. I met several of the other nominees and winners, and everyone was very nice, even the famous people.
The photoshoot for the magazine was done at my house in early December. It was a surreal experience having a professional photographer, with his assistants and equipment, taking my picture. But again, everyone was great, and it was an enjoyable experience.
btw, while I think my interview in the magazine is good, I don’t remember saying “Bring it on” in response to the question about Microsoft entering the market. That certainly doesn’t represent my attitude. Other than that minor quibble, I think the spread is great.
For another, funnier, take on things, check out Jim Lanzone’s post on the Ask Jeeves blog.
While I will do my best, I cannot guarantee that this award will not go to my head. Consider yourself warned.

Cat Blogging!

I recently purchased a Canon Powershot G6 digital camera. I’m really happy with it and it takes great pictures. So now, without further ado, pictures of my cats!

First up is Babe, who was named after Babe Ruth, because she was found at Crusher Stadium:

Another picture of Babe:

And here’s Einstein. The name is ironic; he’s not the brightest bulb in the bunch, but he’s a good guy:

Next, if you ask really nicely, I’ll post pictures of some of my favorite socks.

this week, in bad haiku

conference season,
invited to two panels —
headshot pic steals soul!
discussion of share,
many interesting data points —
growth accelerates
sent out newsletter,
first one for bloglines users —
had no bad haiku
i flew an airplane
for the first time this new year —
not enough time for fun
unplanned machine crash,
system designed to handle —
cheap hardware is good
bloglines expansion,
adding 10 terabytes more —
progress amazes
busy week, bad poems,
lack of sleep, much goofiness —
people unsubscribe

The Hidden Danger of Pinball

This has been a great week. Several amazing things have happened and I unfortunately can’t talk about several of them yet (don’t you hate it when people say that?). Bloglines continues to get great press and grow like crazy. We’ve added several servers recently to keep up with demand, including a couple more web servers this past week. It’s a good problem to have. The current issue of Business Week has an article on RSS that mentions us, Your Online Paperboy.
But really what I want to talk about is a danger, a hidden danger. Of pinball machines. I’ve wanted a pinball machine for several years, and I finally got one, a Simpsons Pinball Party machine. It’s great. I’ve had it for about 30 hours now, and I’ve played it a lot. So much so that my forearms are now sore from hitting the flippers. Not sore in a ‘he’s a weak little girly man’ kind of sore, although that’s certainly true. Sore in the ‘hey, that feels like the onset of carpal tunnel’ kind of sore. I’ve been typing pretty much every day for over 20 years now, and have always taken steps (successfully) to ensure that I don’t get carpal tunnel. Yet, all of that effort was wiped away in just a few short hours.
For those who don’t know me, the above paragraph was written mostly tongue in cheek. Mostly.