March 10, 2006

Huge News!!!!

Google Buys Blogger!!!

oh. wait.


Never mind. Silly me. I guess that was some other web publishing tool used to process words.

Man, I sure wish Google would buy Blogger one day. Whoa--that would be so cool. They'd be able to invest in making Blogger great, not just easy. Add some new features. Infrastructure. Personalization stuff.

Man, if Google bought Blogger that would be SO COOL!

Here's hoping.

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Read Wally While I'm Gone

Let me know what happens down at the plant.

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Can you believe no one had bought Mom2.Org ?

Until me?

Ladies, it would be the perfect spot for the wired mom to connect = share, speak, grow, eh?

Has anyone done a first round of funding from a blog post before? Well, step up step up. I have a proven track record with women's team sites. ;-)

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Unworthy Traveler

Packing and traveling confound me. I don't get it. People who do it all the time are like a different species from my house-dweller variety.

It's a good thing I wasn't born during the pioneer days. 1) I'd be dead from my fibroids that nearly killed me 8 years ago. 2) I'd have never made it past the first blade of grass on the wagon train moving west because I'd completely fail the preparation thing and likely be beaten to death near the river bank by a hoard of pioneer women thinking it best to put me out of my misery, and theirs.

I think I need everything. I generally berate myself upon arrival learning that I brought things that -- once viewed in hotel room light -- are completely NOT what I needed to bring. My feet hurt. Moving hurts. Thinking hurts.

Aside from all of that and the cotton-for-brain-matter day I've had so far, I think we'll be ready to fly by tomorrow.

Austin here we come! Thanks, QUMANA!

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Jennifer's on the mommyblog train--ALL ABOARD!

Great blogging restart by a former corpo-friend (still friend, no longer corpo) who has some GREAT tips for taking baby for his first photo session -- basically don't expect much in the way of cute smiles, and don't bother dressing them, because mostly they stare a lot and get so hot you have to strip them down to a diaper.

With all that said, What a CUTIE!

I first met our heroine and new mom blogger when she was about 8 months pregnant. She was working for one of our clients-at-the-time while I was toiling away at my former-never-really-a-partnership-joke's-on-me gig. I liked her right away. Smart. Funny. Hard worker. Deadline meeter. No BS. A real person.

And to make it better--she'd read my blog! She confessed at our second meeting in an aside that she blogged too, but hadn't been keeping up with it for some time. I told her, "Blog! Blog!."

Something witty like that. My standard cheer for bloggers.

So anyway, to make a long story short, we whipped together a pretty intensive 70? 80? 90? -page web site for the company in record time -- me doing most of the writing she doing the design and content management stuff . The site launch went great... was it the week before Christmas? Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Launch a Site Today... It went live just in time to meet the required deadline, for a trade show if I remember right. All the copy was there. The design looked great! Everyone was pleased. We did it! High Fives--nice job said the emails of congratulations.

The next day, she was laid off.

I found out the afternoon it happened. I found out later that they tried to jerk her out of her full severance. How's two weeks sound when you're just about to deliver a baby?

Nice, right? Holidays. Pregnant. Pretty good chance if that's you YOU ARE NOT going to get hired until after you have the baby and go through a respectable period of continuous lactation and baby-love. You get lots of time to think, you get COBRAs, you get lots of special things during your (what quickly becomes an unpaid) maternity leave.

But that's business. Layoffs happen. Two-week severances happen. Illness happens. Births and deaths happen. The bottom line marches on.

We had another project scheduled to begin with that client the next week. A meeting had been scheduled to kick it off. I was supposed to attend. For me it meant hours = $.

I decided to resign the account and handed it back over to my at-the-time business partner. I couldn't walk in there agreeing to tell a story about a brand that couldn't even tell itself the truth.

What I did is not what everyone should, would or could do. Under different circumstances, I might not have given up the work. Although, my circumstances at the time were pretty dire. So yeah, turning it down did have an impact financially. More than that, for me, it sealed the deal for my unpartnering that followed from the company I helped build.

That's why it's extra special cool to see that sweet baby's face. And to know that my friend is blogging again.

All I can say is, "Blog! Blog!"

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March 09, 2006

Trains, Planes and Bloggingmobiles

Something about a fast-moving train, Jon Husband in Toronto, Brian Moffatt behind the camera? work getting done, CBC, tall buildings, large moose, Space Needle! pretty day, cold day, coats, blinds and fast-moving trains again.

Train Blogging: A holiday built for 2.

I LIKE IT! I want to hear somebody's voice next time though, kay?

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Laptop Sleeve

It occurred to me the other day when the strap broke on my book bag, in which rested my precious Acer laptop, which in turn tumbled down the stairs to my "O" shaped mouth and audible gasp, that what I need is a neoprene laptop sleeve to slide this puppy into when I go go go someplace. I don't want any more of those bulky big leather cases with room for the kitchen sink and an economy-sized rental car. I want to be able to put my laptop in whatever I want to put it in and have it at least somewhat cushioned. Do they make neoprene sleeves for laptops? Protective sheathes? Notebook condoms? I'm taking my Acer to sxsw in a backpack. Usually I wrap a t-shirt around it and pretend everything will be fine. That's really dumb. I'd rather dress it up right and safe.

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i just wrote a great post about jenna and i lost it

i dunno what i did. been so tired. if you see it, let me know. i'm missing my post. it talked about how much i love her and the cool stuff she is doing. you would have loved that post. what did i do? i have to get more sleep. honk if you're going to austin.

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late night ideas then better thoughts

i could pepper some serious alfredo pasta with the ideas I have at night these days. (hee hee--at night, these days). oh wait, i just got on here to tell you about one and my god it's gone just like that. right in the middle of tickling my own funny bone about "at night" "these days." what the hell. let me tell you about the coolest kid I've ever met. Mine. She is just so awesome i love her so much.

this week the school had an art show where they trick you into paying $30 for a framed deliverable which is your own child's artwork that your tax dollars already went to support the making of, sold back to you at 3,000 times what you already paid. And you're glad to do it because she painted this beautiful picture called "The Family Table" and it has me and jenna and her daddy all around a table, and it's just so right because on each plate, as she explains, is steak, mashed potatoes and peas--"Is that not the BEST dinner mama?" "OH YES, JENNA!" and I say to her, hey I'm not brown I'm peach why did you paint me brown, and she said "NO mama, you're that one," and damn she's right, I thought she was me and I was her. Nope. The other way. She used to always put herself in the middle of every picture between George and I. This time I was in the middle. I assumed I was her because of her placement, but couldn't figure out why she was peach and I was brown. Never occurred to me that she swapped us at the dinner table. i thought oh man this is a step on the journey to being separate from us which i know has to happen once I hit 110.

Her plate was biggest. Go Jenna. We are all smiling and she always has papa's locks sticking straight up, except for tonight in a card she drew, she made them finally lay down on his head and we all laughed--HAHA you finally drew papas locks laying down--they get to rest!

So I love "The Family Table," and THAT alone was cool, but to make it cooler, today we got to go to the Pulitzer Prize awards where one child from each grade and class - K, 2, and 4 today - was selected to read their writing at a special breakfast honoring their work. They were chosen because of the hard work and good job they do in writing.

HA! GUESS WHO? Yes bright and early george and i got to go to a donut and orange juice Pulitzer Prize breakfast (don't tell the trademark police) and hear that sweet voice that we made come out of my belly read her story about her tooth, all about pulp and roots and decay and gums and plaque. It was just amazing. She shone. She got right up there and said her stuff in a strong and steady voice like a baby luther vandross einstein and i was all teary eyed. and she got a certificate. we told her Jenna we are so proud of you every day every day, and these days are just extra special and you did so well!!!

she said, boy i was nervous and i said you sure didn't look nervous i could have never done that when I was in second grade and you did it.

and now she's signed up for the talent show where she wants to sing, but first she's thinking of selling her electric guitar for $70.

Not a penny less.

she rocks my world.

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March 08, 2006

The Passion Economy

I've been snooping around reading stuff about second life (see last post) while being careful not to fall into it. Because I could see it easily becoming my first life. It looks a lot more interesting than cleaning hamster cages, if you know what I mean.

When I read the stat that says "If Second Life had to pay programmers to replicate all of that content development it would cost $400 million a year," I thought about a chat Michael O'CC and I were having the other day/eve wherein I realized that I've created well over 32,000 separate pages on allied since 2001, and yes, some of them are short; however some of them are brilliant enough to be business models; and still other are works of art and poetry, so let's average it out to a by-the-page rate I might charge an average client for brochure copy, which winds up, almost always, being somewhere around $1,000 a page by the time all is said and done.

Extrapolate that out to my own First Life (i.e. blogging) statistic, and you could say, "If allied had to pay its author to write all that content from scratch, it would cost $3,200,000."

Ladies and gentleman, you are looking at a $3 million piece of virtual real estate right here, and most days the toilet doesn't stop running after you flush.

You have GOT to love the net.


I am bad at math.

Here's the thing, the 32,000 pages spidered that I talk about above MUST include pages linked to mine, so the Webbed Value of this blog is $3 million, according to my calculations. BUT I've only created 3,300 posts on this blog (according to over the last year, which, using my stated average per-page rate, means it would have cost $330,000 for me to have written all this stuff for a client. Which means, essentially, I should have made $66K per year for five years to write this blog at my freelance rate.

Not bad for a part-time job, but I think I'll hold out for the $3 million.... Links count. Some formula would have to combine the content creation value PLUS the link value.

Or we could just keep writing because we have to.

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March 07, 2006

Stats on Second Life

From the parallel universe of WTF, WTF?!

"Here are some stats I caught from one of the presentations today at ETech about the online game Second Life.  In the last 30 days the game has exhibited:

70,000 residents
240,000 items created
$6.5 million internal economy
75 million IMs
Players spend 25% of their time creating virtual objects

"If Second Life had to pay programmers to replicate all of that content development it would cost $400 million a year.  One thing created in the game is the Bingo-like game Tringo, which is now going to become an actual Game Boy title.  So what's virtual and what's real? And does it matter?"

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some people send me email that makes me cry

I got this in my inbox today, must have been someone who read me, must have known it's march, hard march, with no fluffy introduction, no saying "I'm so and so and your blog is great." No, I just open it and I read this only:

Jeannine, I dream of lilac-time
Your eyes, they beam in lilac-time,
Your winning smile, and cheeks blushing like the rose,
Yet all the while, You sigh when nobody knows,
Jeannine, my Queen of lilac time,
When I return, I'll make you mine,
For you and I, our love-dream can never die,
Jeannine, I dream of lilac-time.

lyric by: L. Wolfe Gilbert
music by: Nathaniel Shilkret

thank you.

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Danah Deconstructs MySpace

Holy Seminal Work, Batman. A great paper for someone like me who hasn't dabbled there but wants to know WTF the deal is about MySpace.

Thx to Scoble for pointerizing it out.

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This makes me unbelieveably sad.

For crying out loud. Literally.

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Acer Almost Erasure!

Acer makes the best laptop in the world. I knew that before today, because I LOVE my Acer, which Sheila Lennon hipped me to a couple of years ago.

That's why today, when I was standing at the top of the stairs ready to dash down the steps to a meeting, I was, well, uh, FUCKING HORRIFIED when the strap broke on my carry bag and I watched (should I say heard? smelled? are there enough senses to describe this?) my laptop tumble end to end down the wooden steps.

Me at the top.



Kaboom she went onto the landing. Inside the bag. With the strap attached at one end, and coiled loose at the other a long way from where it once HUNG ONTO MY FUCKING SHOULDER. I hate you dumb canvas bag. I should have never trusted you with her. She's better than you.

Initial thoughts: Not now. Not in the middle of an annual report. Not right before SXSW. Not NOW. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I clomped down the stairs in my heels (which I don't wear enough to actually walk like a human being in) and picked it up, flew to the counter, opened the bag--okay, cd drive sticking out--OH MY look at all of these crumbs. CRUMBS. Years of snacks shook loose by the blow. I brushed them off. Hugged her. Held my breath.

I pressed the power button.

She booted right up.


As far as I can tell, the only casualty is the CD drive--it won't stay shut anymore. Man, I hope that's all. It did something weird when I started it up an hour ago... looking for a hardware device. Maybe that's something to do with the CD drive being hosed.

I dunno.

All's well that ends with a post.


Sort of.

We'll see.

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March 05, 2006

if i were smoking and sxsw

If I hadn't blogged about it when I quit smoking 1 year and 8 months ago I wouldn't believe it has been that long. Someone go check my dates -- it can't be. Seems like only yesterday. Literally. Guess it's that one day at a time thing. It always seems like yesterday.

Or that one pound a day thing. There's THAT too. Damn.

I was thinking about smoking, or not smoking, and getting ready to go to SXSW and how much better (okay, in some ways) it would be if I were smoking because I'd have more energy, more creative, spunky, ideas would be flowing; I'd look better, have those extra nicotine-charged wits about me, and my nerves would be smoke-calmed. I'd be able to hang out with the comfort of my smokes once I got there, find the right conversation, and hit it off with all the other smokers--some of the best hang-out talks take place among the smoker cast-aways. How many cigarettes have I smoked over the phone with folks I'll finally get to meet? Hundreds. Now I meet them and I can't hang.

The thing is, the habit is too long gone to bother picking it back up for a special occasion. It wouldn't make sense. And I guess THIS IS THE POINT where I think I know I've beat it. When suddenly, out of nowhere, even though you would LIKE to, not smoking makes more sense than smoking.

It's a first for me.

So I suppose I should go with this little positive development and think about the GOOD parts of not being a smoker during this trip to Austin... Like:

No need to go buy a carton 'just in case,' and have three cigarettes before getting in the car for the long haul to the Atlanta airport. No need to huff two down on the walk to the terminal entrance knowing they're the last until landing time unless the gate happens to be on one of the couple concourses that have the Evil Smoking Lounges. No having to enter the Evil Smoking Lounge Leper Zone with all of the yellow people and furniture. No looking at the circle-with-the-line-through-it no-smoking sign onboard during takeoff and thinking, THANKS FOR REMINDING ME, ASSHOLE. No wishing the oxygen mask would drop so that there would be SOMETHING to inhale. No rushing to baggage claim when we land to hasten the trip outside where fresh air awaits the flick of my lighter. No standing outside of the car with Jenna bored inside while we do the smoking deed in front of her closed window. No ONLY reserving hotel rooms with balconies or motels with outside doors that make for easy smoking outside. No more runs to the gas station in strange towns wondering if they carry American Spirits. No smoke stink and yellow nails.

No more. I guess just plain no more.

July 4th will be 2 years gang. You were here when I stopped. Can you believe it?

I can't.

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Gone Batty for SXSW?

Okay Austin Dwellers, have the bats arrived yet?

Jenna is counting on this in a big way for SXSW. That's why we're staying on Congress Ave. Right near the bridge. They're supposed to fly in mid-march. Can't get much more mid-march than SXSW.

So tell me, Have You Seen 'Em?

Congress Avenue Bridge

Located about a mile south of the state capitol in Austin, this bridge offers one of the most picturesque spots in the world to view bat flights, especially during late summer. With a peak population of 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats, the Congress Avenue Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America.

For best viewing, bring a blanket and watch the bats from the Austin American-Statesman newspaper's Bat Observation Center, located on the south bank of Town Lake, east of the bridge; or watch from the lake on a boat tour by Capital Cruises or Lone Star River Boats. Additionally, the Shoreline Bar & Grill restaurant, Hyatt-Regency Austin hotel, and T.G.I. Friday's restaurant in the Radisson hotel on Town Lake all have outside decks for bat viewing. Bat flights can be witnessed from March to November. For emergence times, call the Bat Conservation International (BCI) Bat Hotline at (512) 416-5700, category 3636, for emergence times, or call BCI for more information at (512) 327-9721. BCI has "bat interpreters" available to answer questions Thursday through Sunday, 7:00 to 9:00pm, from June to August, at the Observation Center.

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Yo Mama

There is a comments' discussion at the great Anne Zelenka's debating whether it's okay to talk about Yo Mama wanting the path of least resistance when it comes to tech, or whether that's somehow ageist and/or sexist. Or something else.

If you're presenting at a conference and you want to say that you built something that your mom likes to use for x, y, and z reasons, then I say that's BULLY GOOD ON YOU. If you say, it's so easy even a mom could do it, well then you're stupid because you're implying that mom = the lowest common denominator, when in fact, it doesn't.

But I'm not okay being smacked down for talking bout mamas and what YOUR mama wants in technology. That's bullshit. There may not be a single TAG that describes all mothers, but there IS a tag CLOUD for motherhood. It has lots of words in it whose definitions are all over the map. BUT, many of these words and phrases have things in common. For example: really fucking busy.

If a woman says she was inspired to build a product because it makes life more comfortable for her dad who's up all night peeing because of his bad prostate, then I think she should talk about that too.

Personal experience of the honest variety enlivens boring conferences.

Bring it on and don't be afraid.

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T.0 - And, What I love about Canada

I love Canada.

There, I've said it. And I have good reason. 1) It's not the U.S.  2) I am working directly and indirectly with more Canadian companies now than I am U.S. companies, and for that honor, I am learning all the words to the Canadian National Anthem, one Jenna started singing six months ago for reasons I still do not understand. She only knows the first two lines, but when she gets excited, for some reason, she belts them out, wrongly. O Canada! The land that is my home!

I love her.

The truth is, I have a long history with Canada--at least the parts that are directly across from the great lakes of Ontario and Erie. Before the age of 15, I'd been to the Ex! (never expo) and been stopped by Canadian customs grateful that I'd buried my tampons in the deep recesses of my suitcase. I've done the wax museums, been up the needle, and George and I honeymooned in Toronto. My step-father has dual citizenship. I've been across the Rainbow Bridge more than a dozen times.

When I was a kid, you can ask my family if you don't believe me, there was one place I wanted to live beyond all others. Every time we went there I would beg--can't we buy a house here? It never occurred to me that there weren't many houses right across the border on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls where the glare from the neon signs of the wax museums and tourist shops NEVER dulled.

Talk about the city that never sleeps, I thought! The parking lots near the falls boasted license plates from around the country. They lit the falls up at night in the summer with blue, purple, yellow--a rainbow of lights. I believed this was the coolest place on earth.

Although I never got my wish of moving across the border, I'm still pretty sure I'd be happy working at the wax museums, staying up late and buying spoon rests and key chains from the tourist shops. Do we need much more than that in life?

Today, I look at Canada in a new way. First of all, I realize that it's Frigging Huge, a lot bigger than I thought when I'd try to glimpse an outline as I searched for a horizon across Lake Ontario.

Second, I realize that Canada boasts LOTS of pockets that are hotbeds for technology innovation -- west side and east side. Heck, they should start calling it Web 2.O Canada! Let Jenna make up the words.

Why? You'll have to ask the Canadians.

Having come from the land of a similar winter climate, I'll just say that one is challenged to come up with lots of new things and means of not going insane when you're stuck inside for 11 months out of the year with temperatures of 20-below. (I never did learn Celsius--sorry.) Makes for lots of computer time too.

For one Canadian's take on what's going on from a tech perspective, check out Albert's take on Toronto vs. the Valley, and what he says T.0, the Valley of the North, needs to do to take it up a notch.

P.S. Is the Frog Pond restaurant still there?

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