bezos finds humility?

i was pretty impressed when i read that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos went to work in the company’s Kentucky distribution center for a week. i admire that an executive would want to get the perspective of the workers on the floor.

especially considering that not too long ago, he was quoted arguing that he could not adequately provide for his family if the town of Medina limited his house to 13,500 square feet.

YouTube Dog Ringtone

there comes a time in every man’s life when he must create a silly ringtone. oh wait, i’ve already done that.

well then, immediately after that time … there comes a time when he must create a MORE silly ringtone. and that time – is now.

i’m an avid fan of the E! program “The Soup.” while i actually watch very few of the programs that are remarked about on the show, i typically enjoy snarky comments wherever i can find them.

to that end, i’ve nearly laughed myself silly at a clip they feature frequently of “the YouTube Dog.” i thought, what better sound to alert you of a new caller to your mobile phone? i present to you, the greatest 24 seconds of audio i’ve heard in a long time: the YouTube Dog Ringtone.

use this link to download the YouTube Dog Ringtone mp3

wrangling my music, revisited

in an earlier post i bored you all with my strategy to wrangle my music library to fit onto my ipod. here i will share the preliminary results of that experiment.

the hot side is hot

the biggest surprise i found is that, i had music in my library on my desktop, that i liked, but i had never listened to in itunes. it just didn’t show up in the colossal shuffle before. what an awesome surprise to re-discover tracks you like, AND make sure they get included in your ipod sync.

the cool side is cool

a lot of dusty, crusty, and musty stuff that actually WAS getting synced to my ipod, i never listened to anymore. since playing my <1 play, <1 skip playlist until it was empty, i registered skips for the stuff i no longer care for.

when it comes together

the statistics for how this changed the portion of my library that gets synced to the ipod: i now have 2.71GB free on my 20GB ipod. (previously: ~35MB free).

what this means

who knows what this means? other than, i can now dig up old CDs, rip more, sort more, rip more.

it should be a little while longer now that i’ll require a bigger ipod. i hope.

Cereal Killer Ringtone

in my efforts to stay on the cutting edge of 1995 techno movies, i watched Hackers again the other day. (someone on Twitter made me reference it – i swear!).

during the movie i had an epiphany: wouldn’t you like your phone calls to be announced with the brilliance of Cereal Killer (played by Matthew Lillard)? behold: the Cereal Killer Ringtone.

use this link to download the Cereal Killer Ringtone mp3

wrangling my music library

i will freely admit: my ipod is old. not only, old, but old and small. it only has 20GB capacity, and the music in my computer exceeds that.

the problem: running out of space

for a while, i’ve been trying to figure out a clever way to sync only the music i do or would listen to (i keep the rest around on the computer for posterity, or in case i change my mind in the future.)

part of the solution: ‘smart’ playlists

i have a playlist called “big master playlist” that matches all rules:

  • less than 5 skip count
  • any rating at all

that’s worked pretty well, but i’m starting to run out of room again. i need to exclude more, but i don’t want to shun tracks that i perhaps haven’t listened to because they just don’t come around in the shuffle too often. so to those ends, another playlist.

you’re in, or you’re out

i have created another smart playlist to find all the stragglers. match all the criteria:

  • play count is less than 1
  • skip count is less than 1

therefore: i have never played this song before. and now i’m listening to that playlist, exclusively. when i make it through a song successfully, it drops off the list. when i skip a song i don’t care for, it drops off the list. i will listen to it until it’s empty. (if you want to be more forgiving, you can increase the numbers to 2 plays or 2 skips, etc.) this will allow me to improve my master playlist.

make the smart playlist smarter

then i can add a rule to my master list that requires a track to have a play count greater than zero. that means, sometime, somewhere, i listened to that song, so it can be considered (against the other rules in the set).

obsessive?

yeah this is way too much thought and worry. but thinking is cheaper than a new ipod. and if you had more than 16gb of music, and you purchased one of those snazzy new iphones, you might need a strategy like this, too.

twitter as prefix

the application “twitterrific” for the web/chat/thingie Twitter got me thinking. this is a not-yet-exploited meme of using “twitter-” as a prefix for product names.

so, allow me to make some suggestions:

twitterritory could represent your circle of followers and followees. just hope Blake doesn’t come to your twitterritory and fire your ass.

twitterrain well, we all know the twitterrain is a bit rocky.

twitterrible has been brought up. i like to apply it to people using obnoxious memes like REDACTED and unicode characters.

twitterracotta would give a nice spanish colonial look. it’s a hot style right now with people possessing absolutely no interior decorating taste whatsoever.

twitterrycloth is nice and soft. very absorbent.

twitterraçe (said with spanish accent) might be a good name for a condo complex where single geeky men live (a la “the fiesta terrace“).

twitterrier find a backyard breeder and we can sell dozens of these dogs. warning: narcoleptic, and prone to biting.

this last one is a bit of a stretch, but:

twittyrannosaurus would probably make a more appropriate error page mascot than the failwhale.

decentralize twitter? look to the past, not the future

this morning techcruch decided to roundup folks waxing philosophical about the scalability problems with twitter, and decentralizing twitter by creating some new web site or service. and that’s entirely the problem with their thinking.

why their approaches will not work

people are thinking of this as a web problem. twitter is not a web problem. the trouble begins when they try to use web for something it was never really meant to do.

twitter is a one-to-many architecture trying to be a many-to-many distribution model. they are the hub of a really massive wheel that will eventually shear clean from the axle upon which it spins. what we really need is a tried and proven way of doing many-to-many distribution of real-time data.

real-time data

realtime data is not a web idea. the web is where data gets stored and presented; it piles up like old newspapers until we finally get around to bundling them up with string and hauling them out by the curb. the best the web can muster is near-real-time. how fast can you grab a feed, how often do you reload your browser.

realtime data is in a protocol, a network. if you want to store it, figure that out later. how you will present it, figure that out later. separate the distribution of data from its presentation and lifetime. deliver, then present. (then store).

distributed delivery? scaling? network: IRC

the model of the IRC network is as near as perfect for ephemeral data as one can find. and it’s been proven for decades. nearly infinitely scalable to users (add more servers). geodiversified locations for servers. short messages being sent to #channels on particular topics (sound familiar)?

the huge, glaring, and supremely important difference is this: the people responsible for the network absolutely and completely do not care about the lifetime, storage, or presentation of the data. they are only concerned with distribution.

people on individual channels consume the data and if they choose to store it, they do so (irc logs pile up like their homonymous wooden cousins). they read new information in real-time. they extract quotes and publish them to the web. they compile statistics and publish them to the web.

the model for scalable, many-to-many distribution of real-time information is IRC. now we need to think about the format. plain text is fine for console jockeys (myself included) but the web crowd is a bit more sophisticated.

universal, portable, adaptable information format? data: ATOM

we need a data format that is extensible beyond the author, title, and content. we need something that’s nationally agnostic, can be extended to support geo-location. what more needs to be said? it’s sophisticated enough for 140 character messages, that’s for sure. i know my twitter homepage looks like a graphical IRC client with the addition of user icons. mix in a bit of latitude and longitude and now we’re talking.

more about why their approaches will not work

i think the main reason why nobody thought about this yet is that they’re all too young, too new, and too enterprising. i’m probably guilty of that too. i’ve been sitting on this idea for several years now, trying to find a way to build a business around it.

everyone is thinking “what can we invent?” because invention nowadays equals entrepreneurship, venture capital, business success, cars, romance, glory, and all the spoils. (or some subset of the above).

nobody makes (legitimate) money from IRC. if you talk to an IRC operator (the administrators responsible for maintaining servers), you will find that their personal contributions, if calculated in billable hours, would be tremendous (enough to purchase some of the aforementioned entrepreneur’s bounty).

forget free lunch

we’re thinking: how can we get rich, or at the very least, eat lunch, by solving a problem. our “forefathers” in the internet world as it were, hadn’t concerned themselves with such things. they typically had corporate benefactors who paid the bills, but they were free to invent protocols that fixed a problem and met a need, without regard to how to patent, market, and monetize them.

bottom line: in order to “decentralize twitter” you need to separate the network for data from the presentation and storage of data.

Updates:

Scott Hanselman touches on this idea referencing Russell Beattie’s Peep using Jabber as a distribution model. i hadn’t read a lot about Jabber, but it’s interesting. i still think these guys are too web-focused, but keep an eye on where they run with this. they’re starting to see the light.

Information is the Sugar of the late 20th Century

watching this video of a meetup of the WELL from 1989. and a quote really struck me, from Flash Gordon, M.D.:

“one of the problems in the world is there are no more neighborhoods in the city and neighbors and things like that, but the feeling of the WELL is that you’ve got a lot of neighbors, and you don’t go to borrow a cup of sugar, but you get some information. and information is probably the sugar of the late 20th century.”

if Information is the Sugar of the late 20th Century, i think Information might be the Crack of the early 21st Century. originally we sought it to achieve something; to scratch an itch, to get high, or to get work done.

now we can’t quit it, even when it’s no longer productive, or even when it’s destructive.