Archives by Date: July 2005
July 28, 2005
Alpacas: The "World's Finest Livestock Investment"
Did you know the Alpaca is among the world's finest livestock investments, at least according to ILoveAlpacas.com? Neither did I.
Alpacas are not inexpensive, ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 for breeding females and $5,000 to $35,000 for high quality males. High quality proven males with exceptional offspring have sold in excess of $200,000. In many cases, financing your alpaca purchase can be done right on the farm as many alpaca breeders offer financing.
Good to know I can get financing for my alpaca.
By the way, in case you're wondering like I was... the Alpaca is:
...one of two domesticated breeds of South American camel-like ungulates, derived from the wild guanaco. It resembles a sheep in appearance, but is larger in size, and has a long erect neck with a handsome head.
Yup. Now you know.
July 27, 2005
I Knew the MTA Was Lazy...
...but couldn't they find something else to do with the Times Square Subway Marquee 9 circle besides black it out when it was shut down?
Apparently workers had to place "black vinyl patches over 904 signs on platforms and entrances at 45 stations: 37 along the line itself and 8 transfer stations."
I wonder what the white circle used to be...
A New York Times article about changing the 9 signage explains the 9 isn't the only line to ever disappear:
The No. 9, then, enters a graveyard of other route designations that have graced the subway map over the years. The No. 8, an elevated line, ran above Third Avenue in the Bronx until it was demolished in 1973. Double-letter designations -- like the AA, GG and QB -- were phased out in 1986. The JFK Express ran alongside the A train, from Midtown to Howard Beach, Queens, until 1990.
· On Its Last Wheels, No. 9 Line Is Vanishing on Signs [New York Times]
· Abandoned Stations List [NYCSubway.org]
July 26, 2005
World of Warcraft: The Real Cult Consumers
During lunch with a friend today, the topic of World of Warcraft came up. For those like me who aren't hardcore gamers, it's a very popular multiplayer online game. Wikipedia says it had 240,000 subscribers in its first 24 hours on the market.
When someone talks about customer evangelism, JetBlue comes up to the top of the list. A recent New York Times article quoted a "trendwatcher":
"Flying JetBlue isn't just about taking a trip," the trend watcher Faith Popcorn said. "It has actually become something fun to do."
Okay, so JetBlue is popular. Everybody knows that. But World of Warcraft, to me, is no less amazing. A Google search for World of Warcraft brings up 3,660,000 results (and almost 50,000 images!) while a Google search for JetBlue only brings up 796,000 results.
Apparently, it's not uncommon for WoW players to devote a suprising amount of their waking hours to this computer game. Plus, these 3.5 million people pay $15 each per month (even if they aren't playing). These sound like cult consumers to me.
· Wikipedia: World of Warcraft [Wikipedia]
· World of Warcraft Achieves New Miletsone with Two Million Paying Customers Worldwide [Blizzard Press Releases]
· A Discount Airline Creates Some Wealthy Admirers [New York Times]
July 25, 2005
A Different Online Ad
Surfing Gridskipper today, this leaderboard stuck out. It's rare I see something that actually seems different.
Though, it didn't make me click on it. Alas...
Why Google's $300+ Stock Price?
Catching up on my sky-high backlog of USA Today, I found an interesting article on Google's $300+ stock price. As of July 14, only nine stocks had share prices over $300.
Why hasn't Google split its stock? Why haven't the nine other companies? The article discusses those points.
One side effect of the high stock price that I've felt:
And while a stock price in itself is meaningless, Google is clearly sending a message to investors by not splitting. "If you go back to Google's prospectus, it says Google is not a conventional company and does not intend to become one," says Jay Ritter, professor of finance at the University of Florida.
July 24, 2005
Another Day, Another CollegeHumor Article
Another glowing profile of CollegeHumor/Connected Ventures appeared in this morning's New York Times.
In other (more important) Connected Ventures news, with my new camera, I can finally post videos on Vimeo! You have no idea how happy this makes me.
July 23, 2005
Much to my delight, my brand new Casio EX-Z750 7.2 Megapixel digital camera arrived a few days ago. I picked one up after reading Mike's review and doing a little bit of internet research. I picked it up for $325 after various discounts from Dell. I've only had it for a few days, but I love it.
It's so small I can easily take it anywhere. It takes fabulous video.
I can't wait to use this in Florence.
July 22, 2005
I'm More Popular Than You.
The programmers of AOL Instant Messenger have created AIMFight, a site that, in the words of its developers, "crawls through the depths of the Internet to answer the all-important question that plagues us all: How popular am I right this second?"
Using "a complicated algorithm," AIMFight compares two screen names to determine who appears more frequently on buddy lists. It's pretty cool.
And I've won almost every time. Ha!
July 18, 2005
Helen Thomas Lays the Smack Down
I worked out earlier than usual today, so had the pleasure of watching long-time White House reporter Helen Thomas lay the smack down on Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan:
Q: What is his problem? Two years, and he can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he's got to do is call him in.
MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts.
MR. McCLELLAN: We want to know what the facts are. Because --
Q: Why doesn't he ask him?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll tell you why, because there's an investigation that is continuing at this point, and the appropriate people to handle these issues are the ones who are overseeing that investigation. There is a special prosecutor that has been appointed. And it's important that we let all the facts come out. And then at that point, we'll be glad to talk about it, but we shouldn't be getting into --
Q: You talked about it to reporters.
MR. McCLELLAN: We shouldn't be getting into prejudging the outcome.
A fair question.
· 7/18 Press Briefing Transcript [WhiteHouse.gov]
· Poll: Many Doubt White House Cooperation in CIA Leak Probe [ABC News]
· Biography of Helen Thomas
July 17, 2005
Is This Actually Gossip?
Unknown outside the dork-infested waters of the Blogosphere, her name is Jessica Coen, and she's the co-editor of Gawker.com, where she regurgitates newspaper and magazine stories and slathers them in supposedly witty sarcasm. Every time we bump into Coen, 25, who likes to accessorize with a stuffed dog poking out of her handbag, she smiles and showers us with sycophantic praise. But her every mention of PAGE SIX on her Web site is snide and snarky. Word to Coen: Next time you see us at a party, keep walking. Or slithering. You can't be a boot-licker and a back-stabber at the same time.
Where's the gossip here?
Jessica, of course, has an amusing response critiquing the Page Six item up on her personal weblog. For example, she suggests instead of constantly calling her snarky, saying instead she's "contemptous, irritable, cranky, cocky, insolent, sneering."
July 16, 2005
WeblogsInc Network Compromised?
It seems like a whole bunch of the WebLogsInc network sites have been compromised. Many sites, including Jason Calacanis' weblog, their corporate site, Luxist, HackADay, their very popular Autoblog, and a bunch more display the following message:
Fuxz Ownz You!
Click the screenshot above for a bigger version.
This seems to affect weblogs that appear to be running the "older" version of their custom-built BlogSmith software.
I've sent a whole bunch of emails to people over there, though I doubt they aren't aware of it by now. Hopefully they can take care of this soon.
Update: Brian Alvey, CTO and co-founder of WeblogsInc, responds:
Our oldest web server's FTP ports were not locked down in our firewalls. Not good. Someone ran cracking software, gained FTP access and defaced our sites. All of our other servers which run Engadget, Joystiq, TV Squad and any blog we've launched since January were untouched, but Hack A Day, Autoblog, Luxist, Gadling, Blogging Baby and several others were affected.
Not much left to say besides we got the holes on that old server closed and I can't wait to migrate everything off of it and decommission it. The new platform has no FTP. All files are managed via web form-based uploads. It's not the easiest way to get a large group of files to the server, but it isn't a hack waiting to happen like IIS's FTP server can be.
I'm not sure how practical it is to abandon FTP, but hey, whatever works.
Disclaimer: Yes, I work with Gawker Media, but it sucks when anyone's website gets hacked.
July 12, 2005
Countdown to Florence
In a little over a month, I will be moving to Florence, Italy for several months. I've never been out of the country, so I'm very excited. You can imagine how happy I was to see that new Gridskipper editor Chris Mohney has added a Florence category to Gawker's "urban travel guide."
I plan to eventually redesign this drab blog to better go with my soon-to-be new (temporary) home. I am awaiting delivery of my new digital camera and will be taking more pictures than you can shake a stick at... whatever that means.
July 10, 2005
Restaurant Months 2005?
One of the coolest times to be in New York is during Restaurant Week, when delicious and expensive restaurants offer three course prix-fixe meals for around $20 for lunch and around $35 for dinner. As its name implies, restaurant week usually lasts for... a week.
Apparently, however, it's been extended until Labor Day (September 5!), excluding weekends.
Maybe they should change the name?
July 09, 2005
7,500 Safe Deposit Boxes
If the weather were a bit better, I'd probably venture to the opening of the new Commerce Bank in Chinatown. A fun article in Friday's New York Times discusses how the branch is dealing with the special needs of a bank in Chinatown.
Personally, the most interesting part of the article discusses why the Chinese are drawn to safe deposit boxes. The new branch in Chinatown will have 7,500 safe deposit boxes, while the average branch has only 500:
"My parents are a good example," said Paul W. Ho, senior vice president for the Asian market domain at HSBC Bank U.S.A., a unit of HSBC Holdings Corporation. "Every time they get invited to a wedding, they go to the safe deposit box. They retrieve their jewelry, and go to the wedding. Then they put it back. That's my mom."
July 08, 2005
Terrorism in London
An important reminder that everything is relative.
(click here to see a larger image)