Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ideas for Startups

Ideas for Startups:
How do you get good ideas for startups? That's probably the number one question people ask me. I'd like to reply with another question: why do people think it's hard to come up with ideas for startups? That might seem a stupid thing to ask. Why do they think it's hard? If people can't do it, then it is hard, at least for them. Right?
This is definatly something I want to do when I grow up. . . Have a startup of some kind. This Paul Graham guy is pretty damn cool. He pays students money to start their own company and then they quit school. Good times!

Social Darwinism

My friends Chris and Steve developed a theory called Social Darwinism. Just as in Darwin's Evolutionary survival of the fittest; the theory supposes that over time those people who are not strong enough friends will fall away and that the remainder will be a closely knit batch of true friends. Fallout can occur a number of ways: One is through transformation into a monster, (Screwing multiple friend's girlfriends or multiple friends (note the apostrophe) girlfriends, etc.). Actually, writing this down, it seems that Girls are a pretty quick tool for becoming a monster. Another, through less evil act of fallout is moving more than one hour away from your friends. (Michigan == 30 minutes away, Brookfield == 25 minutes away, Canada ~45 minutes away, Chicago == 3 hours away)

So what happens when an otherwise good friends leaves the state for greener career pastures? How can this person stay in close contact with his friends and how will he prevent himself from becoming a pariah? I think you can stay good friends with someone even if you don't see them every weekend or even every month. It takes effort and if you think your friendship is valuable, that effort becomes a non-issue.

Illusion

Sunday, October 16, 2005

For the hackers in all of us

http://makezine.com/blog/ - Great link blog from the makers of Make magazine "technology on your time."

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Google Reader

Google released its Feed reader publicly a few days ago and I'm amazed at how quickly it has improved since I first tried it out internally. It is a testiment to the Google Reader crew's speed and excellence. I have since migrated from bloglines to the reader allowing me to make some more solid observations than my passing usage previously.

  1. Editing tags for a feed does not update the subscription list immediatly, a page refresh is needed.
  2. FAST! I know a lot of people are saying that the reader is slow, but when Google is not having backend problems the UI is amazingly responsive.
  3. Does anyone know how to export feeds without having to log in, or via some programatic interface? I tried the gmail ATOM feed method of base64 encoding a username:password string and adding it as a basic authenticaiton header but it didn't work. Help please?
    authstring = base64.encodestring('username:password')[:-1]
    request = urllib2.Request('http://www.google.com/reader/subscriptions/export')
    request.add_header('Authorization', 'Basic %s' % authstring)
    feed = urllib2.urlopen(request).read(); print feed
    
  4. I would like to be able to prioritize my feeds so that when I only have a few minutes to look at my blogs, I can look at my friends automagically first then leave the less important blogs to the bottom of the list.
  5. Reader is fast! I would suggest trying it out.

username:password string and adding it as a basic authenticaiton header but it didn't work. Help please?

   authstring = base64.encodestring('username:password')[:-1]
   request = urllib2.Request('http://www.google.com/reader/subscriptions/export')
   request.add_header('Authorization', 'Basic %s' % authstring)
   feed = urllib2.urlopen(request).read(); print feed
   
4. I would like to be able to prioritize my feeds so that when I only have a few minutes to look at my blogs, I can look at my friends automagically first then leave the less important blogs to the bottom of the list. 5. Reader is fast! I would suggest trying it out.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

My Spaces Sucks Redux

From: http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2005-10-13-n73.html A worm for MySpace which automagically adds someone to your friends list and appends "but most of all, sammy is my hero" to the end of your user bio.

Why do you get 2,533 results when you enter [site:myspace.com “samy is my hero"] into MSN search? Well, someone by the name of Samy wrote a social network popularity worm... and made over a million new friends, all of whom now had the text “but most of all, samy is my hero” in their self-description. The worm source code can still be seen in the Google Cache (just search for Samy’s user id 11851658 to jump to the relevant part).

I’m guessing these are the technicalities of what happened (I don’t know for sure): the MySpace programmers did the error of allowing GET requests to change states (only POST requests ought to be doing that*). In other words, simply by going to an infected MySpace page, those MySpace users who are logged in would add Samy – and his worm – to their own MySpace page as well. Note there’s even some Ajax/ XMLHTTP running in the background of the long one-liner script... this worm is truly Web 2.0. But Samy’s not all happy now, saying:

“I haven’t been worried about anything in years, but today I was actually afraid of the unknown. Afraid of myspace? No, afraid of FOX’s legal department. If you’re not aware already, myspace was purchased by FOX only a few weeks back for 580 million dollars. Not online myspace dollars, but actual cash that can buy strippers. (...) I don’t want FOX after me.

I spend the rest of the day working, trying to get the ideas of what could happen out of my head. I have my girlfriend visit me for lunch to say our goodbyes. I’m going to the big house. I could hear it then, “mr samy, you are hereby sentenced to an $800,000 fine and 3 years in jail for getting way too many friends on myspace and causing psychological damage to girls who thought they were your friends until you cancelled your account.”

*Not too long ago, Google’s own community site Orkut also allowed changes to take place with GET requests. Back then, a simple Iframe could make people join groups they never saw. However, the growth rate of that wasn’t exponential...

[Via Digg.]

How to Make 1 Million Friends on MySpace by Philipp Lenssen | 0 comments | Chat

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Undergrads!

There was a show on MTV a long time ago called Undergrads. It was a great show, like so many of MTV's animated series. I think that Undergrads is a grown up version of the Nickelodeon show Doug. Doug was probably my favorite show as a kid, and next to Reboot was my favorite of all time.

Poor Doug, stupid Nitz. The ladies are there for yah. You just have to open your eyes and see that. The thing with Nitz though was that his obsession with his dream girl caused him to be among other things: calous, ignorant, mean, decietful, and cruel to his friends.

On one hand I can understand the agonies Nitz is going through, but what the fuck. Be considerate of your friends they care about you.

PS Don't think that this post is about you. It has nothing to do with you!

PPS Damnit, why does the Undergrads theme have to be by Good Charlote.

PPPS They play an Alkaline Trio song at the end of the fest episode.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

A Biography

We just saw a biograph about Chad called Waiting. Wow. I don't think I even ever need to go to Michigan again, I can just watch the film.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

I have started looking into using my laptop as the central control for navigation, music and all things geeky inside my car. I already have a GPS device for my computer. (I got it for $100 when I used to wardrive) and there is a wide variety of free software available for download too. My laptop also has an aux out so I can use the AuxIn accessory (will install myself) for piping sound to the car's sound system. Has anyone done something like this before and would like to share ideas/tips?

What I am planning on is this:

  • Idea:

    Instead of paying $1800 for an in Dash Nav, make something more useful but not as integrated using free software, a couple of gadgets, free software and ingenuity.

  • Navigation & GPS:

    In 2003 I purchased a RoyalTek RGM-2000 GPS Device for $100. I will use this to chart my GPS location with GpsDrive.

  • Connectivity:

    Verizon offers $60 a month EVDO plans and the pcmcia card for that service is ~ $300. Also, I have a wireless card built into my laptop that I can use to connect to open/unecrypted 802.11b/g networks. I plan on finding open networks with kismet. Kismet can also use festival to announce results (see User Interface and Control). Heck, if connectivity is reliable enough I can look in to VoIP solutions.

  • Music & Media:

    There are wide variety of softwares available and I will have to test a bunch out before I make a solid deciscion. Amarok looks promising. I also intend to use my network connectivity to stream my own server's stream as well as my favorite internet radio stations to my car. Who needs XM?

  • User Interface and Control:

    I have not found a solution for voice control but I also have not looked into it at all. To minimize looking at the screen as much as possible (I'm a terrible driver already, I need no more distractions) I intend on using Festival to talk to me whenever I would normally need to look at the screen. Directions, status of network connectivity or even announcing what songs are playing/coming up on my playlist.

  • Perminance and Accessibility:

    This is where I am facing the most trouble, I am far from mechanically inclined and am more or less at a loss as to how I would properly create a stand of some sort to sit my laptop while driving that would also be able to fold away when it wasn't in use. I would like it to be somewhat forgiving of a rough ride, I do have a hard drive spinning that I would like to keep in one piece.

  • Resources: