Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tom Tom


So.. just got a tom tom (although my evdo card may make it obsolete as soon as I get it! see last post)...

Very nice and extremely usable device. Touch screen, easy to read screen. Excellent maps. Put in an address on the touch screen and just go. Take a wrong turn, immediate recalc and voice prompts (in mulitple accents no less!) to get you back on track. Daytime view and nighttime view (softer muted colors). Many other features but overall, a wonderful device. I can even take it with me on foot (4hr built in rechargable battery included). Nice job Tom Tom!

EVDO Rocks!


Incredible. 75MHP on the highway with a laptop logged into Sprint's EVDO (3G) Service between Boulder and Denver and logged into Radio Paradise pullng a 64kbps stream.. solid and strong. Plug it into my 3mm jack, pipe it through the car audio system and you've got unlimited XM type digital radio. I pulled over in an office depot parking lot to write this (also on the EVDO) as I continue to listen to the music.

This changes everything. I wonder what guys with narrow and short range wireless pipes are going to do when WiMax starts to role out.

Verizon's got EVDO, as does what I'm using (Sprint). Card is free ($249 - $149 with a special 'additional' $99 off special FREE card). Service is $60 a month if you've got a sprint phone, $80 if you don't. (Unlimited throughput). Not quite as cheap as my cable modem, but one hell of alot more useful.

Bandwidth meters are giving me a consistant 350-500 speed. Not the 2MB that Sprint says 'is possible', but close enough to DSL to be the same thing. And TOTAL mobility.

Nice work. Awesome service. A new world of data and mobility.
AND A REAL SITH! Man.. what a night. (this is a completely unretouched photo). He was complaining about 'his damned contacts....' hmmm Posted by Picasa
Who say's there's no such thing as real vampires eh? Found this one at a party last night, tied to the wall so she couldn't KILL me and suck my blood. Didn't believe she was real until I got this shot of her teeth. These ain't no walmart toys. These are GROWING OUT OF HER HEAD. Spooky. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Good Night and Good Luck


Scene from the movie, "Good Night and Good Luck"



This is a movie you will love or hate. If you liked the recent video game movie "Doom", this isn't likely to turn your crank. Or, if you voted for George Bush, twice, and still think he's an oustanding president who makes no mistakes and always does the right thing, well, not so much.

But, if you think, and you do it not as a liberal or as a conservative, but as someone who asks 'what's the right thing', this one's for you. A little slow at times, even a little somber, and if you're offended by cigarettes, man, look out (did EVERYone smoke 24/7 back then?) but what a message.

Have you ever stopped yourself from writing an email or sending a note to a newspaper editor (or post a comment on a blog) because you didn't want to get 'marked' as a malcontent? A troublemaker? Someone the government might 'look at' based on your views? Ever do it, but use a fake name and email address? Come on... be honest. That's what it was like back in the early 50's during the 'red scare'. Ask yourself if that's how it feels now as well. Maybe not as much as a couple of years ago, true, but still, it's there.

Ever journalist in America should be required to see this movie. And every blogger and poster on the internet should give it a screening.

I've heard all the 'Mccarthy was right" and 'haven't you heard of the Veronica Project" (a code breaking effort that showed that, indeed, there were actually Russian spies where Mccarthy said there were). I even believe Mccarthy honestly believed what he was doing was right.

But the WAY he went about it was toxic. Using fear and intimidation with the threat of being hauled away or charged and found guilty without a fair hearing on something you've been accused of, that's not the way to celebrate a free and open society. Taking away rights we've fought for, as a nation, for two centuries, that's something to be examined very very closely.

In the end Mccarthy was censored and put 'in the back row' of the Senate. Edward R.Murrow, the leading newsman of his time, had his show taken away and was 'relegated' to Sunday afternoons by CBS. Both battled it out and, in the end, both paid a price.

Sadly, both believed. One believed in freedom, the right to face your accustoms and the belief in innocence until proven guilty. The other believe 'he was right and would prove it by any means necessary.. no backing down, never give up'.

Sound familiar? I think so. And I think a lesson can be learned here, if we only listen. History really does repeat, and, hopefully, it'll repeat all the way to the end this time as well.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

On being young


Man... looking back at old pictures.. I found some of myself in my teens and 20's the just made me think. Here's a few (scroll down past the current ones and you'll see a much younger version of the same guy):

http://www.scottconverse.com/personal_info.htm

Same here, but you'll have to scroll a little more:

http://www.scottconverse.com/family.htm

And as a teaser, here's one, above, of me at 21.

You know you're getting old when you look at a picture of yourself and think: "Was I EVER that young?"

Friday, October 07, 2005

What exactly IS this ClickCaster thing anyway?

What, exactly IS this company of ours anyway?ClickCaster: What Do You Have To Say Today?It’s about, really, two things. Creating a directory of user generated content, in this case, Podcasts (internet radio shows you can subscribe to and have automatically delivered to your computer or MP3 player when a new episode of a show is created).

This directory, what we call ‘Get’ (trying to keep it simple don’t ya know) is what draws people to the site. They can find podcasts from all over the internet. And, they can browse ClickCasts (Podcasts created on our site with our software) which brings us to the second function:Create. This is where someone can simply and easily create a Podcast (i.e. ClickCast). We have a built in recorder that’s easy to use and easy yet to publish with. You pick a license type (standard copyright or any of 10 Creative Common’s type licenses) and write up some show notes on what your show’s about that day/week/however often you create one and you hit the publish button.And that’s pretty much it right now. Very simple, Very powerful.

It gives anyone who wants a voice, the ability to have it. And to get their ideas, there music, their whatever they want out into the world in Audio (and eventually, in Video) format.

Call it, social networking, user generated content or even citizen journalism. It’s really about us, the people, creating the content and not being just consumers of content from some centralized content factory in New York or Hollywood. Not that those are bad, or even that they’ll go away (they won’t), but it’s an alternative.
Just like Radio didn’t die when TV came about, I doubt ‘professionally’ created content will go away under the swell of user generation content. But it WILL have to compete with it.

Notice how many recording studios there are today vs. 20 years ago? Maybe 1/10th. Why is that? Well, it’s mostly because the equipment required 20 years ago cost half a million dollars. Today, for under $1000, you can create a multitrack professional studio in your home. Something with 10 times the power of the recording studio’s used by The Beatles to do Sgt. Pepper, for instance.
And that puts the power directly into the hands of the musicians. They no longer need a recording contract and an expensive studio to create a CD. The software’s gotten so powerful, it acts as a sort of idiot savant recording engineer, handling much of the work required to make your music sound professionally produced.

And that’s what ClickCaster is all about, but on a broader scale. Although nascent, it’s similar. YOU can create your own radio show. As broadband becomes ubiquitous, you’ll see more video as well, and user created video shows will become reality.A lot of it will suck. Hell, most of it will, but 3,4 even 5% will be stellar. As good, or better, than some of what passes for content on TV today. And people will know. They’ll find it. And they’ll spend their time listening to, and watching that instead of the radio or TV. It’s happening now. And it’s just starting.. just at the very beginning edge.

We’re really an example of a complete Web 2.0 company. If AOL and Yahoo where Web 1.0, we’re the next generation. Us and hundreds like us. “Point’ solutions that do one thing very well.

These point solutions companies, like ClickCaster, eventually will get bought up by the Web 1.0 companies, or, in some cases, if the VC community get’s religion and figures out this really is real and starts investing in earnest, we’ll see more of these companies go public (something I’d like to do with ClickCaster, although I’m not adverse to being bought by a bigger company that’s smart and can really leverage what ClickCaster’s doing).

I think that’s really the next wave of innovation that you’ll see forming up. User generation content using tools from companies like ClickCaster to change the face of media, information and knowledge. A much more transparent world without the gatekeepers you see today monitoring and controlling what we see and hear and by extension, what we think and believe.

How will we pay for this? Well, Google’s got it pretty much nailed: Advertising. It’s the end all and be all of revenue sources. It paid for radio (and still does). It paid for TV (and for a large part of that world, still does). Advertising is the lifeblood of a free market society and it’s also not going away.
If it can be used to support the creation of things that are good, I say: go with it. Make it happen.

The nay sayers (like Business 2.0 which recently called Podcasting ‘a fad’) just don’t get it. These are the same guys that said ‘who’s going to spend good money on a box to listen to tinny music and stupid comedy shows and soap commercials’ back in the early part of the last century.

All what’s old is new. It doesn’t have to be a highly complex business model to work. Create a directory to draw people to your site.
Make it easy for them to find and subscribe to free content (podcasts)
Entice THEM to also make podcasts while they’re on the site
GROW the listener base AND the creator base into the millions
Sell advertising in the podcasts (to keep them free). People will listen to ads if it means: this is free

Radio’s a $25 billion dollar a year business in the US. And it’s free to listeners, because they agree to listen to the advertising between the content they want to hear.

If you do it right, and you do it well, it’ll work. And it’ll open the world up to an entirely new kind of media. Media created by you and by me. And some of it will be damned good and worth spending your time and your mind on.

It really is a form of revolution, and it’s coming fast.

S

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Comments are ON

A friend of mine sent me an email asking me why my 'allow comments' wasn't on for this blog. The reason was comment spam. Can't stand it. So I'm doing a little experiment here. I've turn on commenting, and the word verification that requires you put in the malformed 'prove you're a human' word to post. We'll see if it works.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

This bachelor thing...

You know, being a middle aged bachelor is in some ways just weird. I've been divorced for over 7 years now and, although still single, I wonder why. Well, maybe not all that much. I'm sure if I really wanted to be in a committed relationship or married again, I could be. And it's not like I haven't had girlfriends since being single again (even a serious one, or two). But it just never seems to jell.

I think the reasons some of us (well, me at least) stay single is one of three things.
First, I wonder, as we get older, if we just get used to the being alone. You know, get set in our ways. I like my space. I like being neat, but in a cluttery way. I like having a laptop on a little stand hooked to the internet via wifi in the john. I have a REALLY big cable running from the third floor of my house (and some equipment there) down the staircases to my basement where it's hooked into some more equipment, and that works for me. I like smoking my pipe. I like having a computer, mixer and big black (some would say 'phallic') studio monitors in the living room as my stereo/streaming audio station. I like fast cars. I like the little data center in my basement. (I could go on, but you get the idea). Hell, I'm a guy. It's a 'this is my cave and I like it that way' kind of thing. I eat at odd hours. I sleep when I'm tired and work when I'm awake (which can mean I'm up at 3am and it's, well, normal). You just can't do that if you're not alone. Call it 'the lifestyle' reason.

The second reason, I suspect, has to do with addiction. Or, in my case, the fear of addiction. Being a recovering alcoholic (I've been in AA for 24 years now) I'm REALLY careful about anything that feels like addiction. I have to be in major pain just to take an aspirin... anything that's mood altering is suspect. what sparked an understand of this is when I saw a study recently that compared someone's MRI scan's when they were shown a picture of the person they were 'madly in love with' to a heroin addicts MRI. Identical. The same areas of the brain become highly active when you're minds eye see's the love of your life, and when you shoot up. I often wonder if this is one of the reasons I'm still single. The feeling of being in love has alot of similarities to drug and alcohol addiction. My subconscious senses it and slows it down. Call this one "the remaining free of addiction for reasons that aren't very logical" reason.

This, by the way, is something of a bullshit reason. But it’s also a visceral reaction on my (or any recovering drunks) part. One I’ve only really begun to understand fairly recently. So, maybe, we can take that one out of the running as it becomes better understood and within the conscious mind instead of lurking down there deep in the subconscious.

The third reason, and I think this is the most common, has to do with The List. You know the list... 'the person I'm looking for has these traits... 1, 2, 3...' and down the list you go. This list get's REALLY long as you age. And it becomes more difficult as time passes to find 'the one' that fits that list (or even some of it). Women, I suspect, do this more than men (make a list) but we do it too. Women, also, I'd bet, compromise more than men do on that list. Maybe I'm way off base on that last comment, but there's no doubt women are the more balanced and reasonable (as a group, although I've known some individuals that wouldn't fit the bill) of the sexes. Call this the 'ever lengthening list of traits I’m looking for' reason.

When we’re younger, and our list is shorter, we find ourselves with someone that's close to fitting the list, or reasonably close. And even though we may not be 'happy' (whatever happy really means in a relationship), we stay. Even as, over time, they change, we change, the list gets longer and the differences become wide and deep. Sometimes we stay because of money and material comforts we'd lose if we didn't stay. Often it's because of children (a good reason). Many of my middle aged male friends get divorced 'once the kids are gone'. And it's not to run off and find some 25 year old blonde babe. It's more often their wifes divorcing them. They've given 20 years of their life to this man and these children and, damn it, it's their turn. But men do it too (and some do buy a motorcycle and hit the bar scene, but less then you’d suspect).

If you've remained friends over that time, it works. But if you've lost that friendship part of the relationship, I think it's doomed long term.

I have many friends, and many more acquaintances. Some are women, some are men. Some I've known for decades. Back before I was married, some of the women would, from time to time, become lovers, then not, but still friends I wonder why those never turned into more. Some almost did... but one of those three reasons (or sometimes two or all three) would kick in and keep me single. Sometimes it was them evoking one of the three reasons.

Ahh.. who the hell knows.

Someday it’ll happen, and it’ll be because I’m not worried about it or actively gearing my life toward looking for it, but beting open to it regardless.

I’m a day at a time guy. Yesterdays gone. Learn from it, but don’t dwell on it. Tomorrow’s not here. Plan for it, but don’t obsess about it. Today is here, and it’s pretty much the only real thing there is. So, whatever you have in that day, that moment, that’s life. That’s our real life.

I’ve got today, and I think I’ll take full advantage of it while it’s here.

We Need A New Kind Of Local Community Funded Newspaper- At The Public Library

Let's put unbiased local newsrooms into a place that's not obvious, but when you think of it, makes more sense than anywhere ...