You can almost taste it

kushiyaki

Izumi’s junior high classmate is an accomplished photographer and worth checking out for his unique ability to capture the essence of Japan.

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Mother & Daughter

dsc02417.jpgJulia still wakes up pretty regularly at around 11pm wanting the quick reassurance of her mother. It’s now a routine. I go upstairs where she is crying in bed, scoop her out of the darkness of her bed, then I bring her down to the couch where Izumi and I are usually watching the evening news. Julia usually drifts off to sleep 10 or 15 minutes later but this evening there was something that was keeping her attention this evening and the picture to the left was just too perfect.

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Field Trip

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Today everyone in the office loaded up into a bus and headed up to San Francisco to see our new office into which we’re moving in January. Everyone was in high spirits, the offices in San Mateo are fine but the area has absolutely no character and the commute has been wearing thin for most of us who all live up in the city or East Bay.

We have all hands meetings every Friday but for today’s meeting we were in our new office and gathered around a conference table to hold our usual meeting, albiet, in our new space. After the normal status updates, we got a little giddy and our Mena hammed it up on the way back acting as a tour guide for us all, pointing out Candlestick Park, the It’s It factory, and other attractions.

Howard Stern on Blogs

Robin Quivers asks "What’s a blog?" and Howard Stern rails on. In typical New Yorker fashion, he cuts straight to the point and says:

"If you’re not making money as a writer or an artist, it’s not a career, it’s a hobby"

Dan Gillmor moving on

Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News writes in his blog that he is moving on to work full time on a "citizen-journalism project." All bets are that blogs will be the enabler and that many of the ideas outlined in his book will be part of it. We’re seeing more and more "hyper-local" news projects where the writers are leveraging weblog technology to break out of the costly infrastructure of big media companies to take back editorial control and experiment with new business models.

"Practice what you preach." says Joi Ito.

There are several sites out there including Pegasus News, and Metroblogging.com. There are many more on the way, I’m sure.

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December 2004 TiE SIG

I took notes at the inaugural meeting of the new TiE Special Interest Group focused on the internet. The event was titled, “Wikis, Blogs, and Other Four Letter Words” and put together by Manish Chandra who wants to create a program, “to educate and inspire people to innovate and enter the next dimension of the Internet.” If you have ideas for the future meetings (located in Santa Clara, CA), contact Manish at mchandra1@yahoo.com.

Panel members are:

What about the uploading of video files and audio files?

Andrew: it’s already happening with Podcasting where people are uploading audio files to blogs. It’s just a question of the bandwidth catching up.

Andrew: blogs are my filter. I let the interesting stories filter up through the blogosphere and use popularity rankings to point me to things I should read from the traditional media, I leverage the emergent intelligence of the blogging community. Bloglines, Feedster, Newsgator all help me filter the blogs. Better to leverage the collective intelligence of the 5 million blogs out there.

Scott Rafer invited up to show how Feedster works. As a “search engine for developers” so that less and less of their traffic will be from individuals running searches and more and more from machines that are coming to Feedster to getting information. Each search has an XML output that can feed into an application. Feedster will soon launch their job postings service that will run on the same model. The engine will be used to create streams of location-specific job postings that Feedster will sell to publications that want to re-purpose it.

How do you make money on all this?

Andrew: TypePad is integrated with the Amazon Associates program. They will also integrate an ad program with Kanoodle in Q1 2005. Six Apart’s job is to enable people to use our tools to make money for themselves.

Joe: JotSpot makes money on direct revenue. By also making tool development easy and accessible, we’ll enable all the small IT shops out there to quickly develop customized apps that solve specific problems. This enables them to charge for more billable hours.

With all these tools, is this reducing face-to-face interaction?

Many hands go up to say they use IM at work to communicate to people less than two feet away.

Stewart mentions the example of someone’s son talking to a computer screen expecting to talk with his grandfather in Estonia. The computer is less a box and more a window. More and more people are looking at the cell phone screens and not talking on them.

Will Flickr, TypePad, JotSpot merge? They’re all about sharing information.

Reid: it’s the next generation of Yahoo broken up into many different pieces.

Stewart – the average Yahoo user uses 2.1 of the 40 sites on Yahoo.

Andrew: they have already merged. You can have a Flickr sidebar on your TypePad blog. You can point to wiki post from within a blog. Integration is already there, it’s better to have things interchangeable as needed.

What challenges are there in “crossing the chasm?” Where are you on the scale of 1 to 10?

Andrew: the blog is on a “2” – Instapundit.com is now in the top ten in terms of pageviews next to all the big media sites. People are learning to read and in the process of reading, they begin to think, “I can do that too,” then, they will begin to blog. We’re still really in the “people learning to read” stage.

Joe: We’re still very early days. We believe in nerd power but we’re still way out of the mainstream. We’re maybe a “1” but other wiki tools are maybe a “0.3”

Stewart: We’re a “3” but our challenge is not to alienate the core users by taking the app to the mainstream. We’re getting close to the point where most everyone will either own or be related to someone that owns a digital camera – they will all want to share these pictures and that is when the market will really grow.

Reid: What will blogging look like three years from now?

Andrew, it will push into families just as email and IM has done so in the past. Blogs are really the third leg of communication. Blogs are used to document the “full record” of a conversation that’s going on.

Reid – What will be some of the cool apps on JotSpot?

Joe says people are now running call centers, project management, a number of other traditional apps on JotSpot. The best ones are the micro-solutions that solve specific problems for a small group of people really well. Picking up on the three years from now thread, he says that the Wiki will be just another app just like email and a shared network drive.

400,000 people make money on eBay. Joe would love to spawn a network of small time developers to create and make money off apps that they sell that run on JotSpot.

Reid – What of photo sharing in three years?

Stewart says that photo sharing will become a new notification method. Instead of a phone call to say that she arrived safely, someone might post a picture of their luggage arriving. Photostreams will act to document movements (he cites the example of him taking a picture at a Giants game and then someone in San Francisco giving him grief for not stopping by while he was in town).

He goes on to say that he likes the fact that whole communities are developing around specific tags. Vintage 50’s toys and these groups sharing their favorite toys via Flickr – people connecting.

Reid: Isn’t a blog just another way to publish a web page? Why is Six Apart charging?

Andrew answers by telling the story of how Ben and Mena were pulled into supporting Movable Type for enterprises by their customers that wanted an upgrade cycle and official support for the product.

Reid: What of Open Source? What do you tell developers? Why should they develop to your platform?

Joe says that you can do much more on JotSpot as far as integrating with enterprise systems than you can using open source tools. One attraction of open source is that it’s “hackable,” JotSpot has tried to retain this so that applications that are built on it are easily modified. They also have made JotSpot inexpensive so that it is easily accesible. They were inspired by Six Apart’s pricing for TypePad where you can get up and running for under $5.

Reid: Where does the money come from? Flickr doesn’t charge like other photo sharing sites such as Ofoto or Shutterfly, what’s the financial plan?

Stewart says we don’t really think of ourselves as a competitor of Ofoto, Snapfish, etc. because photo finishing is expensive. These finishing sites give away sharing as a way to sell finishing services. Flickr will sell better sharing tools as a way to differentiate. Many households have digital cameras so there is a market for the pro-sumer digital camera geeks that Flickr can address. 82% of the 2 million photos on Flickr are public – there is an opportunity to sell advertising around tags related to the public shared photos.

Reid is posing the questions. Are these new apps, (JotSpot, TypePad, Flickr) a platform?

Andrew is talking about the TypePad app as being an extensible platform off of which simple applications can be built. He talks about how Typelists that list books from Amazon tie into web APIs but via a simple, web-based front end.

Joe talks about two articles. The first is the Chris Anderson’s Long Tail piece in Wired. The second is Situated Software by Clay Shirky. He believes there is a long tail in the software business. A vast majority of business is run on the backs of simple Excel spreadsheets that are shared via email, not the large, bulky CRM or SFA apps. Joe feels that there is a need for a platform to share information quickly and easily.

Stewart talks about what happens when you release your API into the wild. Within a few days there was an iPhoto plug in that allowed Mac users to upload photos to Flickr. Leveraging the talents of the community has helped him support the larger community with better tools. In general, outside developers can do a better job that you can yourself.

Stewart is showing his Flickr page. 55% of their users came to Flickr via blogs that were pointing to Flickr pages.

He is showing how to search and add metadata. The process of adding metadata is “collaborative and social,” because Flickr can bring together commonality through your network of contacts or common metatags. He also is showing how you can add tags to photos of your contacts.

Stewart has 400 contacts.

The ability to tag needs to be social – the failure of current machine translation shows that automated tagging has a long way to go.

Now he’s showing the top tags on Flickr and then is drilling in on tags associated with India.

Andrew is now showing BoingBoing as an example of a blog that runs on Movable Type. He then shows Mighty Goods as an example of how a blog can be turned into a front end for an affiliate business.

As an example of a quick & easy extension of a developer network, he is showing the Pay Pal site that runs on TypePad. This shows how developers can quickly get the word out to their developer network without investing in an infrastructure to support it..

He then points to his own site where he’s moblogging this event from the perspective of a panelist.

The event is going to be back-to-back demos. Joe is currently demoing JotSpot.

He is showing how the JotSpot version of a wiki can easily transform itself into a platform for “rapidly building lightweight, customized application” that integrate data from your local hard drive, your network, and across the internet.

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Isn’t She Beautiful?

BusinessWeek on Blogs

Commenting on the nascent growth of ad supported weblogs, BusinessWeek says that Madison Ave. is beginning to notice:

Don’t expect a repeat of the dot-com rush that inflated the Web bubble of the late 1990s. "This is a long game, with lots of ebbs and flows," says Henry Copeland, founder of media-buying firm BlogAds. Blogging isn’t about to lead to vast wealth anytime soon, says Copeland, but he does expect "more money to [flow to] more authors as smart advertisers bypass publishers and pay authors directly for their audiences." 

Kids in a timeshifted world

Tivo – television on your own terms. What would the world be like for kids that grow up knowing nothing else? Alan Taylor writes about his 3 year old’s view of television:

First – she doesn’t watch much TV (an allotted hour per day), but when she does watch it, she gets a choice of a recent episode of any of her favorite pre-recorded shows (current favorites are Dora the Explorer and Caillou), and she can watch it at any time of day. We get to choose what shows we’d like to allow her to watch, set up a Season Pass, and we’re done.

Second – Commercials are an infrequent novelty to her. We always fast-forward through commercials, or watch non-commercial shows. When she does occasionally see a full commercial, she’s fascinated, and will often ask us to stop so she can see what’s going on. How can we demonstrate to her the evils of commercial interruption, when she has never had to experience it?

Third – Ignorance of Schedules/Programming – she has no idea when her favorite shows are on, never has. She gets quite confused when we are watching a non-TiVo TV, and she asks to watch “a kids show,” and we have to explain that this TV won’t do what ours at home does. We’ve sometimes shortened this explanation to “This TV is broken”, which she seems to accept, and will wait until we get home to watch our “fixed” TV.

Fourth – pausing taken for granted. She is now the master of paused TV – saying “Can you please stop this for a minute – I have to use the Potty”.

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Mr. & Mrs. Rudolph

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This photo will only mean something to a select few people in world. I am honored to carry on the tradition.