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In The Crowd

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Goodbye, BlogSpot

Kids, I know this may come as a shock to you, but...I'm abandoning Blogger and shacking up with Wordpress.com. We've been growing apart for some time now, and I had to find a free hosted blog that can meet more of my needs. I hope you'll understand. Please update your bookmarks and feeds to http://alicia.wordpress.com/.

I'd hoped to wait to do this until domain mapping was available at wordpress.com, but the one-two punch of not being able to post most of the weekend and the disdain heaped upon Blogger in the past week has convinced me to go ahead with the move a little early. So yes, it's possible I'll be making a similar request later (though alicia.wordpress.com should still work even after the next change). It was beautifully simple to import everything, I think it took about two clicks and maybe one full minute. I'm feeling right at home over there already.

If you want to start your own wordpress.com blog, you can download Flock and all that wordpressy goodness is built right in. Mmmmm, goodness.


  • At 12:46 PM, Anonymous krzysiek said…

    In my opinion Blegger isn't very bad, but Wordpress is much better.

  • At 6:16 AM, Blogger Restaurante Iasi said…

    If you ever go to a city named Iasi don't eat at Restaurante Iasi. Take this as my advice. They have the worst services available.

  • At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Wong Online PoK√©r Hu said…

    It is sad that you are leaving blospot. However, I can't blame you for doing such. I think that wordpress is better because of its features, which include spam detection. On the other hand, this does not mean that we will not view your post.


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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Plasma car

The SFMoMA store catalog came in the mail today, and in amongst the jewelry and ceramics was this fascinating thing called a Plasma Car. Not only is it swoopy looking and super modern, but it operates without pedals or batteries. I don't have kids, so this was the first time I'd ever seen it and I was fascinated. How does it work?

As luck would have it, the very first link that comes up on a search of "plasma car" is the University of Toronto's Physics of the Plasma Car page. Man, when a search works like that it is such a joy. Not only does it have a fairly dry explanation on the main page, but links to a quicktime movie of the car in action, and best of all, a link to a Discovery Channel clip with an explanation in plain everyday language for those of us who may not remember high school physics. The video on the Discovery channel page didn't work for me but the audio came through just fine, if you get it to work on a pc let me know.

Now I just need them to make one in a slightly larger size...


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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Laid low

I've been fighting this verdammte illness for weeks now, which has really taken a toll. I've been tetchy and miserable, and I can't seem to get anything done. I even ditched out on the techcrunch party last night, which by all accounts was a great time. I'm kicking myself now of course, but I had trouble arranging transportation and then they closed registration so in my reduced state I just gave up. At least I didn't have to make small talk with a bunch of VIP CEO NPD VCs.

Oooh, that last sentence was vicious. Which is exactly how I've been acting lately. My apologies to anyone unfortunate enough to come into contact with me in the last couple of weeks, I hope to return to my usual sunny optimistic self soon.


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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Trolling for charity

Matt Haughey on what may be the finest fundraising idea ever conceived: paying to shut people up. Personally I have nothing against either of these guys, we gravitate towards different topics so I rarely see the sparks fly. But I think it's a fun and original idea and I'm all for it, as is most of the community.


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Monday, October 17, 2005


If you're reading this now then you probably also read my post about the Web 2.1 BrainJam event. As it turns out, I wasn't the only one interested in creating an ongoing series. Thanks to Chris, BrainJams has a new site, including the obligatory blog and wiki, and about ten of us met at his home on Friday to try to hammer out what exactly we're trying to accomplish here. It's early days yet, but at least initially we're focusing on trying to connect those without a technical bent with the tools and knowledgeable people to accomplish their goals.

This has actually been something I've been interested in for a long time, so it's especially gratifying to be involved with a group working towards that goal. It's exciting to see the light go on in someone's eyes when they first grasp what's possible. For example, just last night my roommate was saying that what she wanted instead of social networking sites like Friendster, MySpace or Tribe was something that focused exclusively on forming networks between independent, strong-willed women (especially those working in the non-profit sector). An informal community but not a random one, built on shared experiences and goals. So I showed her Ning, and she's in the process of building her own. She doesn't have any technical knowledge at all, but she doesn't need it. She just needed to know where to find the tools that exist to help her.

Right now, my first goal is to find people skilled in mediation, conflict resolution and moderating discussions to train the BrainJams team. An important component of what we hope to accomplish is small group discussions between people of different disciplines, and having a number of us with the skills to keep the discussions on track would help tremendously. If you have connections in this area or know those who do, please get in touch. I'll be working both online and offline (gasp!) to find people with the necessary skills who may be interested in helping out, but I'd appreciate any help you can offer.


  • At 10:59 PM, Blogger Jonathan said…

    The 2.1 BrainJam was, for me, the validation, the proof of concept, the realization, of what we've been saying the internet was all about since the beginning. I want to be part of this. I think I even have the skillset (or at least a damn comparable one) that you're talking about. Either way, I want to throw myself unabashedly in this corner. Visit me here

  • At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Jason C. said…

    My father has a side gig as a professional arbitrator and mediator and has worked for the NYSE and the American Arbitration Association in that capacity. He is rather inconveniently located 3000 miles away from you, but he might be able to point you in the right direction.

    Oh, and I'd like to help too. But my resume is less impressive than his, so I thought I'd lead with the big guns.

  • At 9:36 AM, Blogger Alicia said…

    Thanks, both of you. Jonathan, I'll make sure you get updated when we know when the next planning meeting will be (and make sure you add yourself to the wiki).

    Jason, is there any official capacity in which your father cannot serve? Pope maybe, but even then he could probably bluff it. Thanks for the tip.

  • At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Alicia,

    Please let me know if your roommate needs any help getting her social network set up on Ning. We founded Ning with exactly this type of thing in mind. We'll continue to make it easier and easier for non-developers to customize and configure their apps, but in the meantime, I'd love to do whatever we need to do to help.


  • At 8:19 PM, Anonymous shoshie said…

    Would you all just shut the fuck up and let me talk for a minute?!

    Sorry, that's the best I can do.


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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oh, Apple

Thank you for once again giving me what I've wanted.

Now how about older shows at a low, low bargain rate?


  • At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Ian said…

    It remains to be seen whether the DRM prevents playing of all my downloaded xvids. Also $1.99 per episode seems a bit steep, music you can listen to again and again but tv is usually a once only affair.

  • At 8:57 AM, Anonymous opowiadania said…

    Yes, you are right.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

BART does something right

The beast has finally crawled out of its cave. Metblogs reports that BART will offer 24 hour service starting October 14th - 16th. I predict much rejoicing amongst the single women of SF, since 70%* of straight boys live outside the city. Not to mention all the cool shows at the Paramount or the Greek we can go to now that our coach no longer turns into a pumpkin at midnight. Of course, this means an influx of bridge-and-tunnelers showing up in town as well, but $10 says they never make it out of North Beach.

*approximation based on observed statistics

ADDENDUM: Crap! In my excitement I failed to actually read the post. Looks like we have two days of beastly goodness before the door slams shut again. Cross your fingers and hope that bridge construction is delayed.


  • At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Ian said…

    I say we gather the hordes and invade Oakland to drink and pillage. Arrrr!

  • At 9:58 AM, Anonymous kristan said…

    it also means that when your friends are staying with their families in the East Bay, they can come visit you and not have to worry about their coach turning into a pumpkin! WOOOOOOO! so yeah, let's cross our fingers.

  • At 1:22 PM, Anonymous walentynki said…

    It's great! ;))


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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Time flies

Has it only been three days since I decided to rejoin civilization? My brain is stuffed, and it feels like I haven't been home in weeks.

The party on Thursday was packed, which considering the open bar was not a surprise. A very friendly crowd, despite all the suits, and plenty of by-now-familiar faces. I left while it was still in full swing, but not before hearing from Irina about the Under The Radar conference she's organizing.

The Web 2.1 BrainJam was just what I'd hoped it would be: participatory, democratic, idea-focused, more like a salon than a conference. It was a dramatic contrast to everything I've heard about O'Reilly's Web2.0, summed up by Susan Mernit. Sure there were people there to promote their projects, but not so single-mindedly that they didn't join in when the conversation shifted away. My only regret is that it was too short, so that we just got past introductions and into the substance of the discussion. So I've nominated myself to help Chris coordinate more of these. If you're in the area and would like to come, let me know. I'm hoping that next time we can focus less on what is happening now with social software and more on what we're hoping to achieve in years to come. Too often we all get distracted by what is newly possible or fashionable or looks lucrative and I'd personally like to see more long-term vision come out of this. But that's just me and what I'm thinking now, the nice thing about the BrainJam is that there is room for us all to get something different out of it and be exposed to other points of view.

Last night I made another last-minute choice to head over to the geek dinner after seeing it mentioned on JD Lasica's blog. I had no idea how I'd recognize anyone, and the place was packed with sailors and tourists, so it was a relief to see Robert Scoble at the bar in his "Caution! A-List Blogger" shirt for easy ID. It was too noisy and crowded to talk to many people, and call me naive but I was hoping for some actual geeking out. Instead it was pretty evenly split between people catching up with old friends and internet acquaintances and those ferociously networking. Luckily I was surrounded by exceptions to the rule, so even though I didn't get up to any geekery at least I had a nice chat in amongst the chaos.

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  • At 6:18 PM, Blogger miss rogue said…

    You went?!

    I'm so jealous...I read about it this morning!

  • At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Nolen said…

    You are so working the net-work. Good for you! And you got Ian and Sheena to go, as I can tell from the pics. Double good.

  • At 6:39 PM, Blogger Alicia said…

    Networking as a byproduct of meeting cool new people is great, but the idea of working the network/room/crowd just creeps me out. I blame my parents, they're the ones who sent me to hippy school.

    I really do need cards though. Eyeliner on old receipts just isn't cutting it. ;)

  • At 9:35 AM, Blogger Kristie Wells said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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Thursday, October 06, 2005


I am missing Web 2.0 this week, which doesn't bother me like it should. Partly because its purpose seems to be clueing in the corporate world as to how they can take advantage of up-and-coming technologies, as opposed to an event like Webzine which is geared towards individuals. Partly too because my schmoozing muscles are atrophied after months of disuse, and I've always been more of a team player than a self promoter. And as Ted Rheingold points out, real innovation happens in bedrooms and garages, not $$$ conferences. But most of all, because at any large event all the good stuff happens on the fringes. Last night I unfortunately missed Merlin's undoubtedly great Web 1.0 Summit, which is what I get for taking a break from my obsessive reading of local blogs. Tonight I am inviting myself to the Colors Of Web 2.0 party, and tomorrow is Web 2.1. 10% better at 10% of the cost, so there you are. If you know of any other related events I'd be interested in, or have access to the Web 2.0 wiki you would like to share, please let me know. Otherwise my next web-related event will the Digital City panel on Monday.


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The final, actual, Webzine roundup

The thing about perfectionism is that it can really get in your way when not operating under a deadline. Also, finding inspiration tends to get me out of the house and not farting around on the internet all day. Luckily for me bloggers will blog, which means that by waiting a few days weeks I find most of my Webzine-roundup already done for me. As Willam Henry, Duke of Gloucester once said, "Scribble, scribble, scribble, eh Mr. Gibbon?"

The offical website once again is here, and it looks like the podcasts have been added now if you're interested. The schedule is here, and all the photos you could want (and then some) are here. Talks and workshops I actually made it to, in order were: 1. Jacob Appelbaum's talk, 2. Rich Media Tools Workshop, 3. Intro to Digital Photography and Photoblogging, 4. Blog Warez Dance Off, 5. Hacking Gadgets And Electronics, 6. The Saturday Afterparty, 7. Video Blogging Panel, 8. You Are The Media: Videoblogging 101, 9. Around The Corner: Neighborhood Blogging, 10. Jonas Luster's talk, and 11. Selling Out: Making Money Doing What You Love. Whew!

General thoughts from Sean Bonner.

Justin Watt liveblogged the whole thing, hitting many of the same workshops I did. It's a great overview, as is Tara Hunt's. Tara and I spent some time hanging out together at Saturday's afterparty, and I'd like to nominate her for Coolest Canuck. As I suspected, the afterparty was really where it was at. I met more people in the four hours at that party than the whole rest of the weekend put together. I even posed with Ms. Webzine and got hit by the kissing bandit.

Brian Shields on Jacob Appelbaum, which was the first talk I caught Saturday. It was very interesting and a good way to kick off the weekend with its focus on creating alternative media, but also very sad and touching. Brian also blogged about the rich media workshop, and both these write ups are unusually thorough. I attended all the rich media talks and workshops I could after being inspired by this workshop that I really just stumbled onto, so it really set the tone of the weekend for me. I felt that fireANT, the video aggregator and Our Media, the Internet Archive front-end, were the stars of the show.

Jay Allen from sixapart, Matt Mullenweg of Wordpress, and Jason Goldman from Blogger showed off their stuff at the Blog Warez Dance Off, which was interesting but too short and crammed into a tiny space. I sat on the floor behind the presenters, so I apologize to any of them if they felt their ass was being scrutinized (and I have nothing but good things to say about the asses in question). I use Blogger now but I managed to score a Wordpress.com account too, which I'll be playing with (thanks Matt!).

The gadget hacking presentation by Phillip Torrone was too short to do much more than skim over some of cool stuff in Make, but fun nevertheless. Plus he brought a bunch of free copies, so I can flip through them at my leisure.

On Sunday I was pretty tired after the party, but the videoblogging panel was interesting if only to see how the technology is being used in practice. Markus Sandy's workshop on actually making a videoblog likewise helped a great deal in putting the pieces into place. If you'd like to do this at home, check out Freevlog for a great tutorial.

I never expected the Selling Out panel to be as great as it was, but it was actually really interesting. The founders of LiveJournal, Hot or Not, CafePress, StickerNation and Fucked Company all talked about how they started their companies and what it took to make a living off them. To sum up, not much. Every single one of them found that the money came as a result of the idea, and almost by accident. Even the most capitalistic of the sites, CafePress, was started more as a curiosity than a business. As Maheesh Jain explained, he and his partner saw the mugs, mouse pads and t-shirts that were offered at photo processing places and decided to see if there was demand for that on the web. They put up a very basic site with no idea how to actually make any of the stuff or access to any equipment. Within a week the orders were coming in and he actually headed to the mall to ask the guys at the photo processors how they did it, bought identical equipment and stuck it in his partner's garage. In a month it was popular enough they had to rent office space. There were similar stories all across the panel, and all the panelists warned everyone away from throwing money at your site (your own or VC) in an attempt to grow fast and get rich quick. All these sites grew along with their user base, and all on the basis of a single good idea.

So if anyone comes up with that One Good Idea, let me know.


  • At 12:50 PM, Anonymous justin said…

    Yey! SF blog interested in the same dorky stuff as me. Did you make it to SWIG on Thurs? It was a time.

  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger Alicia said…

    Just barely, I've been hibernating since Webzine but I'm baaaack. I'm sure we'll run into each other soon enough, it's a pretty small pond. Say hi if you recognize me!

    I haven't even blogged about Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, which took up an entire weekend for me. Too much good stuff, as the ad goes.

  • At 6:16 PM, Blogger miss rogue said…

    Hanging out?

    Let's do more of it! I love hanging out with fellow wild women of the web!


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