Times Square

Went into NYC yesterday to check out the Search Engine Strategies show at the Hilton. The show was a little over the top, kind of like the ad sales posse of Madison Ave. had discovered a new channel and wanted to show how hip they were. Tried in vain to find someone who could tell me the nuts and bolts of how paid search ad networks really worked but all I got was big blinking mascara eyes, “uh, that’s beyond my realm.” You betcha. I did learn a new term though – “organic listings” – that is the term given to the lists of results that come back from a search on a search engine and are opposed to the “paid listings” which are essentially paid advertisements. For a humorous look at how paid advertisements are clogging our search engine experience, have a look at the results for a search on cars on Yahoo! It’s a whole page of ads except for a listing for peeking out at the very bottom of my 1024 x 768 screen. The web is becoming more and more like the Yellow Pages.

Just outside of Penn Station – saw this huge poster of Muhammad Ali with this great quote. Seems fitting for a someone coming up out of the station from the suburbs.

Ali Quote
Impossible Is Nothing

Train Station Melodies

Update (Aug. 2012): replaced link.

A charming site that plays back a collection of Japanese Station Melodies.

In Japan, special melodies play when trains pull into or pull out of train stations. These melodies are unique, depending on the station. This website is devoted to these sounds, giving samples of them. Please look through this website for more detailed explanations.

Click the link below for a sample. Brings back memories!

Osaki Station Melody


This is pretty rich. Remember the old AI program Eliza?

AOLiza Using a publicly available Perl version of ELIZA, a Mac with nothing better to do than play psychoanalyst, a few applescripts, and an AOL Instant Messenger account that has a high rate of ‘random’ people trying to start conversations, I put ELIZA in touch with the real world. Every few days I’ll put up the latest ‘patients.’ Names have been changed to protect the… well, everyone.

Call it a honeypot for the bored and loney.

Happy Kid

Today we had a chat with Tyler’s teacher and she reports that he is a good listener with improving motor skills (he’s doing better at coloring between the lines) and is “exuberant, one of the happiest kids in the class.” He is ready for Kindergarden next year.

Tyler’s Paper Airplane

Tyler tries out his latest paper airplane design, the “triple-decker shooter.”

Solar System

I taught Tyler a little bit about the solar system and I could tell he was taking it in and trying to apply it to the world around him. A few days later, when I told him that I’m going on a long plane ride for a business trip (I’m in San Francisco for a few days) he asked, “Which planet are you going to?”


Next time you need to come up with an interesting cast of characters for a short story, try the Kleimo Random Name Generator. Taking publicly available data from the US Census, this little script pulls together first and last names with wonderful consequences. Modesto Loofbourrow?