Saturday, September 25, 2004

I had a product idea this morning... Not sure if you could make money off it, but I was amused.

Start an e-mail alias company (like except rather than just forwarding mail in the typical digital way, it forwards the mail through snail-mail. You pay a subscription fee and then whenever you send a mail to an address like "" the mail is printed, folded, stuffed in an envelope, and mailed along to your grandma. Obviously, that's labor intensive, and you'd have SPAM issues (these are probably preventable with a whitelist since it's only going to have a few allowable senders), but the fact of the matter is that I'd write to family members more often if I could do it through e-mail and some of my elderly family members are just not going to use a computer. I barely know what a stamp is anymore with online banking and what not.

I guess the main problem with this idea is that it's going to expire as eventually everyone will be online.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Oh yes! Joy is mine!

First a little thought about a great company. CodeTek rocks! I wanted to upgrade to the latest version of Virtual Desktop but I had lost my registration key. The app reports that it's registered it just doesn't tell you the key. Anyhow, I called the number on their site and on the first ring I had a real live human! 30 seconds later I had my old registration key. Two minutes later after completing the upgrade pipeline I got an e-mail with the new registration key for "free." Apparently, I was entitled to an upgrade.

Now let me rave about the CTVD product itself. It's just awesome! Fine grained control of hotkeys etc. You can lay out the desktops however you want. You can get control over how it looks (how big/small, how opaque/transparent). You can make certain apps always popup on a specific virtual desktop. But the real kicker is "Focus follows mouse!" Sweet goodness it is! Finally, I can jump between apps by just dragging overtop of the window (no pesky clicking on that tiny little strip of exposed real estate). Bonus... The focus follows mouse works for X11 apps too. Well done, and it's cheap (~$40 IIRC).

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


The good folks over at the Robot Co-op are doing interesting things and I expect success from them. However, I think they're going to succeed not just because they've got a cool idea and smart people, but because they've got a great way to work. Listen to Josh give a pitch about the company and he'll get to a "patterns" slide that talks about how they're going to go about tackling their problem. Listen closely throughout the presentation and you'll hear things like:

  • Work with people that you like
  • Work on problems that you love
  • The etymology of the word "amateur" which is tied to the latin root for love (in some way... I didn't pay that close attention ;)
  • Figure out how to build something that you'll want to work on if it succeeds.

I think the theme that ties this all together is love; love the people you work with (phileo) and love what you do.

I think that this "pattern" is so important that I'd bet that a team of amateurs that loves each other and their project will do a better job than a team of experts that love neither each other nor the work they're doing (modern culture loves these stories; see Miracle, I Am Sam, and Braveheart for a few examples).

One of the things that got me thinking about this was some of the biblical references about love that pop to mind specifically I Peter 4:8; "love covers over a multitude of sins." Clearly the context of that scripture is different than this post, but it got me wondering about this "pattern" Could it be that the best way to acheive "success" in life (both spiritual, and earthly) is love?

Adventures in Spelling

What do you get when you cross a label maker and male children learning how to spell? Answer: funny stuff! It's not clear if it was motivated by anger or just the mischeviousness of boys, but Shiree found a label stuck to our door this morning.


Seeing how it was male children (who have an insatiable desire to talk about bodily functions) that were likely responding to discipline, there is a HIGH probability that they intended a much less holy moniker. ;)

All we could do was laugh.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

DRM and iTunes

Dupped! iTunes, and the "Music Store" got a lot of stuff right. Hear a great song? Do a quick search, and (assuming you have an Apple account) you can buy the song in seconds and be listening to it. Just about as cool as Napster though not "free", but there's a catch and a big one at that.

You can only download the song once, and when copied around it has to be "authorized" to play. So if you buy and download the song on one machine and then want to play it on another machine you've got to copy the original from the one machine to the other. If you lose a disk and there's no backup, you have to buy everything again. It's treated very much like a physical product even though it's so ephemeral (bits on a disk). This sucks why shouldn't I be able to download it again. They're not going to prevent me from doing the copies myself (I can authorize multiple machines to play the track) would it be that hard to offer that as a service to me? I don't get it. Seems like an opportunity to me. I feel like I would be more inclined to buy more of these $.99 tracks if I could easily access them from all of the machines I work on.


I love "Seattle music" in Seattle in the Fallinter (it's all the same... dark early, grey, cool, drizzly from Sept - May)... I've been stuck on Pedro the Lion (Achilles Heel) all day. The sort of dark, heavy music is comforting. Makes you want to curl up with a cup of coffee in a papasan and your ipod all day.