“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Archive for September, 2006

Entrepreneur advice from two who ought to know…

Posted by direwolff on September 29, 2006

It’s great to see blog posts from entrepreneurs in the trenches actively dealing with their situations and taking the time out to share these with us. In the past few days, a couple of them have been in an especially sharing mood regarding some of their real-time experiences. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with and spend time with many great entrepreneurs from which I have learned a lot, and so I thought it worthwhile to provide links to three posts that recently caught my attention and provided insights that seem very prudent for all aspiring entrepreneurs. These come from Seth Goldstein (Site Specific, Majestic Research, Root) and Andy Sack (Firefly, Abuzz, Judys Book).

Seth’s “Transparent Bundles” blog post titled “Some Rules for Entrepreneurs“, and Andy’s “A Sack of Seattle” blog posts titled “Making Board Meetings Constructive” and “Simple Suggestions for a Quality Board Meeting“.

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Posted in Entrepreneurship | Leave a Comment »

How badly does the Congressional majority despise what our country was founded on?

Posted by direwolff on September 28, 2006

This much…

House passes warrantless domestic spying measure

By Thomas Ferraro

Thursday, September 28, 2006; 11:14 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would provide congressional authorization for President George W. Bush’s warrantless domestic spying program but subject it to new rules.

With a court battle waging over the program’s legality, the House, controlled by Bush’s fellow Republicans, approved the measure on a largely party-line vote of 232-191, and sent it to the Senate for needed concurrence.

If you really believe that this will be acted on for the reasons stated, lookout ’cause you ain’t seen nothing yet. Another sad day in America as we have an elected government that is just subjugating our freedoms (and security mind you) to the rule of a despot. Argue with my position here if you must, or try to understand why these rights that are being gutted, were provided to our people in the first place. Lots of valuable historical lessons are being forgotten in all of this.

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“They’re baaa-aaack!”

Posted by direwolff on September 27, 2006

Tribe Networks, one of the early online social networks used to have the rockingest parties back in the day (ah, that would be 3 yrs ago). It then went through a couple of dark years, but they’ve brought the ol’ gang together and are ready to bring the ol’ Tribe back to its glory years with a great new attitude, and back to dishing out the appreciation for their members that they were so well known for. With that said, here are the upcoming party details, definitely worth checking it out:

Tribe 2.0 – REBOOT Party RSVP
When: 8:00 PM Tuesday, October 10th 2006
Where: 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission Street, San Francisco

RSVP by joining this tribe

Tribe 2.0 REBOOT PARTY! Donut drink too much, it’s only Tuesday!! is getting back to its true colors and we are celebrating at 12 Galaxies. Come out and re-connect with old friends and meet new ones. What else is there to do on a Tuesday? Come meet and mingle with Mark Pincus and the whole Tribe gang. Music will be provided by Tribe’s famous hoard of Polyamorous Firespinning Vegan DJ’s. A good time? I guarantee it!

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Posted in Just Fun, reviews | Leave a Comment »

She went second, how could she be the one to look like fried Rice

Posted by direwolff on September 26, 2006

You’d think that if you were going refute what former President Bill Clinton said, during what was an obvious provocation by Chris Wallace on his “Faux News” show (quick side note, did Chris not come across like the most snotty little kid that you ever saw?…made me wish Clinton just leaned over and smacked that smirk off his face), you’d make sure the facts were with you. Worse, Secretary of State Condi Rice had the gall to make the following condenscending comment:

But Rice also said the debate “is not a very fruitful discussion. We’ve been through it. The 9/11 commission has turned over every rock and we know exactly what they said.”
Well, it looks like Condi blew it as related here in Raw Story’s investigative piece into her comments. Here’s a short excerpt from the piece…

“We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda,” Rice told a reporter for the New York Post on Monday. “Big pieces were missing,” Rice added, “like an approach to Pakistan that might work, because without Pakistan you weren’t going to get Afghanistan.”

Rice made the comments in response to claims made Sunday by former President Bill Clinton, who argued that his administration had done more than the current one to address the al Qaeda problem before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She stopped short of calling the former president a liar.

However, RAW STORY has found that just five days after President George W. Bush was sworn into office, a memo from counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke to Rice included the 2000 document, “Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects.” This document devotes over 2 of its 13 pages of material to specifically addressing strategies for securing Pakistan’s cooperation in airstrikes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Can you say…DOH! Next thing she’ll say is that Billy-boy didn’t leave office with a budget surplus. How many more times does this Administration need to get busted for abusing the people’s trust before they’re appropriately punished by the law….but don’t get caught smokin’ a fatty out there lest you’ll join some hardened criminals in jail…”sure it’s helping your cancer you 58 year old hippie woman on chemotherapy”.

So how is it that this country is more secure with these insane politicians at the helm? I hope to live to see the answer to this question, but unfortunately I’m more likely to see the opposite.

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Posted in Public Policy, Security/Privacy | Leave a Comment »

If you can’t beat’em…ah…ah…ACAP’em

Posted by direwolff on September 25, 2006

Less than a week ago I wrote a post on the Belgian courts upholding a ridiculous copyright infringement claim against Google. Well, just when you thought that madness had reached it’s peak, this seems to have emboldened other staid news publishing companies in the European Union to help take publishing rights two steps back. Known as the Automated Control Access Protocol (ACAP), the news publishing industry is trying to lock down their content by the use of this protocol in ways similar to what the music industry has been trying to do with DRM (digital rights management technology). I don’t know about most people, but the reason I no longer start with the news sites for my news is that none of them on their own provides the breadth of perspectives and views that one finds on places like Google News. At no time do I feel like not going to the site to read the full story, and no time do I feel that Google News has provided sufficient content that I know the perspective that will be shared in the article. So why would these publications feel otherwise? More importantly, when was the last time they checked their logs to find out from where the traffic they’re getting is coming from?

As I said before, if there’s any one out there with aspiriations of providing a good news site, all of this couldn’t be better news for you given that you could effectively displace these complacent news providers and benefit from getting linked to by Google regularly.

Here are some of the other bandwagon riders:

Other groups involved with the ACAP program are the European Publishers Council, the International Publishers Association and the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association.

  • Quick side note, thought it was funny that when I did a Google search for “Automated Control Access Protocol” I got this. Looks like their wishes are being lived up to already. If I were Google & Yahoo!, I’d nip this in the bud and stop linking to any of these whining news publishers right now. Sure, this may reduce some of the content on their respective news services, but more likely this limited number of publishers will suffer immediately and will likely loose enough ad revenue from the reduced traffic referrals in the short term to either put them out of business online or for them come back to the search engines groveling for mercy. My lack of compassion for them lies in having watched so many publishers drag their feet and dismiss the Net over and over again, and once they saw the opportunities, they still moved slowly. Now, they want back what they believe is rightly theirs, but what they’ve missed is that it’s their readers that are the most important and from whom revenue is generated online and whom they need to be serving, rather than trying to leverage their copyright for only their self serving gains. That just pisses every one off.

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    Posted in Public Policy, search & categorization | Leave a Comment »

    Gotta love Christopher Walken

    Posted by direwolff on September 23, 2006

    Had dinner with a some good friends and some new friends tonight and my friend Kristin bet me $10 that the Saturday Night Live skit with a band being produced by Christopher Walken, who played the role of a music producer asking for more “cow bells” in a song, was doing a Blue Oyster Cult song. My recollection was that this was not a Blue Oyster Cult song, and while I can’t remember of the band they were covering, it definitely wasn’t Blue Oyster Cult. With that said, the bet was on! In arriving home I went to YouTube in hopes that somehow that SNL video would be up there but it doesn’t seem to be. But in searching for Christopher Walken I ran into the Fat Boy Slim video he was featured in for the song “Weapon of Choice” from the Half Way Between the Gutter and the Stars album. It’s one of my favorite videos, so I thought I’d post it here since it might be of interest to those who haven’t seen it, and for those who have, a fond remembrance. Gotta love those dance moves and the entire bizarre nature of the whole video.



    UPDATE: You heard it here first, but I just lost the $10 bet because it was indeed a Blue Oyster Cult spoof. The proof is in the pudding and I managed to find the video here. It’s obvious that I didn’t catch this skit from the beginning given the direct reference to Blue Oyster Cult, and the fact that I was such a big fan of that band has me baffled why I wouldn’t remember all of this, but none of this changes the fact that, “Kristin, you were right and I was wrong”. I’ve been humbled…again :-)

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    Posted in Just Fun | 1 Comment »

    “A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine”

    Posted by direwolff on September 22, 2006

    For some reason, all the hubbub about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s comments at the United Nations conjured up a line from the lyrics to the Grateful Dead song “Friend of the Devil”. I’m not acutally sure of why besides the mention of the Devil, but it did get me to thinking how little credence I give this term, but how powerful it can be taken by others. As I read through the article above and others on this topic, what struck me most is not what Chavez was bringing attention to, since much of it seems legitimate, but that his message was obscured by the personalized attack language he chose to use. Afterall, his mention that President Bush stole the election, at least the first one, is certainly not out of the question and by some accounts is indeed what occurred (“what’s up Justice Scalia not recusing himself with his son working for Bush at the time, doesn’t he know the law?”). That our Administration has behaved like imperialists as it relates to Iraq and is now beginning to do so with Iran, is certainly another legitimate perspective. That Bush became President of the United States on the back of his dad, is not preposterous given how little he knew about world politics when he first embarked on his campaign for office. Finally, that Bush was an alcoholic is also not a point in question, he was and that’s been settled as well.

    Perhaps, when put together with images of the Anti-Christ, it’s more than some people want to hear. Perhaps this association, given that as citizens of this country we’ve been party to the insanity of a war without merit, a government out of control, business interests superceding human interests, and managing become a highly isolationist and disliked (I’m trying to be politic here, “hated” would be the less politic term) nation over these past 6 years even in the wake of 9/11 drawing much international sympathy our way, is too much for us to handle.

    Well, in case anyone thinks that Chavez was out of line, perhaps they should review how government is respecting international law in our country. Perhaps reading this review (titled “Senators Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory: U.S. to be First Nation to Authorize Violations of Geneva”) of the situation with our obviously morally corrupt government will help more easily sympathise with Chavez’s words. His tone and vocabulary may have much to be desired, but he is saying what an aweful lot of people are thinking but afraid to talk about. Being from a small country that could easily make its way as the next target of our government’s “Hawks” makes Chavez pretty brave. Given that he is President of Venezuela I’ll say that like any politician or political leader I’m inclined to see him as just as dishonest as the next guy, with probably lots of skeletons in his closet, and for this his day of reckoning will come, but for now he’s certainly “calling it like it is”, so there’s no use bitching about it.

    9/23/06 UPDATE #1: While I dare not put myself in the same class as Noam Chomsky, it’s good to see that we have similar perspectives on Chavez’s speech:

    Mr. Chomsky said that he would not choose to use the same harsh oratory, but added that the Venezuelan leader was simply expressing the views of many in the world. And he said Mr. Chávez’s anger was understandable.

    9/23/06 UPDATE #2: In the first paragraph above I mentioned that Bush’s stealing of the first election was a much discussed topic, but I had forgotten that the second election, with the Ohio debacle was also very much in contention. Well, this expose by Robert Kennedy, Jr. in Rolling Stone Magazine goes into this subject much more thoroughly…oy-vey!

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    Posted in Public Policy | Leave a Comment »

    When they make a rap video about it…

    Posted by direwolff on September 21, 2006

    …you know the people are starting to awaken. Maybe all of this is still considered a conspiracy theory to some, but it would be interesting to see a Wisdom of Crowds exercise on what people are now thinking about all of this…


    Posted in Just Fun, Politics | Leave a Comment »

    Feel the love from the oil industry executives…

    Posted by direwolff on September 21, 2006

    …as they rip off the American people in innumerable ways, and with the complicity of our current Administration. Don’t believe me, read about it in this New York Times article. Fortunately, some auditors decided to fight the good fight. Even if they do get to share in the bounties, it’s better than letting the oil companies get away with it, and it’s worth seeing the Interior Department get exposed. In the long run, whatever amount the auditors may be dwarfed by the amounts we save in the future (if the oil companies realize they can’t get a way with this continued fraud) or by the amounts we make in the future (if the Interior Department realizes that they have to uphold the LAW) from these actions.

    Here’s an interesting quote worth highlighting given that there are very likely a heck of a lot more skeletons in the closet that hid these:

    Interior officials did not say how much money they had recovered from companies named by the auditors. But the agency’s own statistics indicate that revenue from auditing and enforcement plunged after President Bush took office.

    Gee, I wonder how revenue from audits went down. Hmmm…

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    Posted in Public Policy | Leave a Comment »

    The Belgian Newspapers and Agence France-Presse just don’t get it

    Posted by direwolff on September 20, 2006

    We’ve seen the future and it will be…guess some news paper executives haven’t seen it yet.

    According to this New York Times article, the Belgian courts have found that Google is violating the copyrights of several Belgian newspapers that have banded together to form a consortium. There are further comments from a representative of the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the French equivalent to the Associated Press, agreeing with the ruling. So here are a few points about this.

    First off, any one who has ever bothered to use Google News knows that it’s a practical way of seeing news headlines and perhaps an incomplete sentence which is just enough to tease you into clicking and going to the full story. Next, there’s this little issue called “fair use”, which I don’t know how it’s handled in the European Union, but to think that you couldn’t reprint the headline and the first sentence or less of a news story from a specific news paper seems ludicrous by even the most stern standards. Finally, what are these people missing? Who else can drive the kind of traffic that Google can (well perhaps Baidu in China) at no cost. Why would these newspapers even consider the idea of walling themselves off or hope that end-users start coming to them directly? This walling off concept works to counter the popularity of a publication. Over time, that publication becomes irrelevant because it’s so much easier to get to the news of those who offer it online easily through channels we already use for many purposes.

    Right now I’d be licking my chops if I was an entrepreneur in Belgium wanting to enter the news reporting business since it’s clear that opportunity is knocking at the door with this narrow minded court ruling. Imagine, all of a sudden, you could be the only news site that Google News links to on the Web. Wow!!! What’s that worth to an entrepreneur? It’s better than cash, that’s for sure.

    Of course, the French arrogance did come shining through with the AFP representative’s response to Google’s comments:

    “Google has a clear policy of respecting the wishes of content owners,” he said. “If a newspaper does not want to be part of Google News we remove their content from our index; all they have to do is ask. There is no need for legal action and all the associated costs.”

    Mr. Louette of Agence France-Presse said that stance missed the point. “Effectively,’’ he said, “they are offering us an opt-out from appearing on Google, but this doesn’t address the real problem, which is that they attach no value to the headlines, pictures and text from around the world that we spend a lot of money producing.”

    You can tell the irony of his comment is lost on him. He claims that Google attaches no value to their content, which is precisely why people that see a story on Google News click directly to it knowing that the value they will get from the news site is superior to the headline and the one line cryptic excerpt they see on Google News. What’s even more telling however and really shows what this is all about is his comments that Google needs to ask for permission rather than the publishers needing to opt-out. It’s this sort of attitude that has done damage to copyright holders in this country and obviously about to do the same to those in the E.U.

    Haven’t these guys been watching what’s happening with YouTube and why Warner Music just did a deal with them allowing Warner’s music to be included in people’s videos? Haven’t they been following the Google Books initiatives and their negotiations with book publishers on these matters. It’s about being found. Oh well, “you can walk a mule to water but you can’t make it drink” ;-)

    News providing entrepreneurs, REJOICE!…the future is yours if this ruling holds up after Google’s appeals.

    Posted in Intellectual Property, Public Policy, search & categorization | Leave a Comment »