Archive for February, 2006

googleIt might not be good news for Google people (and I’m sorry guys) but its good news for preventing Bubble 2.0.

The latest in a series of abrupt downturns in Google’s stock followed CFO George Reyes’ answer to a question
during an investor conference Tuesday hosted by Merrill Lynch in New York.

But I have to admit that I predicted this (at least somewhat).

The key points are:

After hailing the results of an 18-month effort to boost advertising revenue, Reyes predicted it will become increasingly difficult for Mountain View, California-based Google to maintain its rapid growth pace.

“Most of what’s left is just organic growth, which means you have to find ways to grow your traffic,” Reyes said. “Clearly, our growth rates are slowing, and you see that each and every quarter.”

Of course these are all fickle day traders. How the heck do you impress these people?

Gay iPod

Oh man. Apparently this iPod is faaaaaaaaaaabulous! Only in San Francisco…

BarCamp LA!

Alright all you H4x0r5 and ch1x0r5 its time for another entry in the BarCamp empire – this time in Los Angeles

I’d really love to go but LA != SF. Looks like this thing is going to be bumpin with ~50 people already signed up. How Flash Mob of you guys!


Anyone else notice a significant uptake in Typepad trackback spam?

I wish they’d implement a blacklist so that I can block trackbacks based on regexp. Of course this might take up a lot of CPU time. Of course spam prevention is a big issue so they might be able to charge more $ for it. Right now I’d certainly pay!!

Update: Forget what I just said. All I want is the option to block trackbacks and comments on stories older than say 2 weeks. That would solve 90% of my spam problem.

Turns out CNET backed out of sponsoring SF Tech Sessions (though they’re still hosting it).

CNET is no longer sponsoring food and drinks for tonight’s event. I don’t mind sponsoring soft drinks and water for 100 people (might cost $75-$100) but I cannot afford to feed the entire crowd on my own.

So Niall was cool enough to setup a paypal donation form so that the Internets can help fund the event.

What are the odds that Niall can rais $500 in less than 6 hours? Come on guys!!! Kick this in gear!

feedburnerMike Sansome has written up a great post on how to setup RSS Autodiscovery with FeedBurner.

If you’re using FeedBurner to track your feeds, are you sure that’s how readers are subscribing? Look again. Even Seth Godin may have some tweaks to make.

Before writing on FeedDemon 2.0, I decided to delete all feeds and start from scratch (I’ll explain why when I post about FeedDemon). I noticed an interesting trend that you may want to check before IE 7.0 fully launches. An auto-discovery doesn’t pick up FeedBurner feeds unless you make some simple changes.

The main problem is that a lot of people don’t realize that you need to make a few simple template updates in the head section of your blog. Without this then not many people will use your Feedburner feed and your stats will be way off.

Jackson West has a killer post about Wifi coffee shops being the new VC incubator and I like the term “Going Bedouin” which has me thinking.

Let’s organize a San Francisco Wifi Bedouin Flash Mob. With our collective dollars we can prove we’re serious about giving a ton of cash to the coffee shop that does what we want. Free wifi, decent up-sell services, and power.

I think we’d need to pay for this but it would be hella fun. I’m sure I’m not the only startup guy with a virtual organization working out of coffee shops in San Francisco.

The major problem is where to host it? We’d need a place which can handle the traffic. Most of the places I’m thinking of couldn’t handle 20 people showing up at once.

If you guys can make a suggestion about a coffee shop that has free wifi and space then I can pick a time and post it to There’s a place right down the street from Ritual that actually has a back room with space. Anyone know the name? Niall?

Coffee to the People might have the space but they’re often busy.

I have an interesting idea for a new A-List blog. I think it would allow you to seriously climb the blog rankings fast and actually make money being a full-time pro-blogger.

If you’re a blogger looking for an edge send me a private email. I’m not going to give this idea too just everyone so you’ll need to prove you’re worthy. :)

Looks like the latest build of Flock uses Yahoo search by default and not Google. Since FireFox ships with Google this took at least a bit of effort which means that:

1. Flock doesn’t like Google and thinks Yahoo is better.
2. Yahoo is paying Flock to ship their search engine.

I personally think it’s #2 since Google pays the Mozilla foundation to do the same thing. Let’s also be honest and admit that Google is doing really well in search and Yahoo needs to play a bit of catch up here.

Here’s a thumbnail of Flock search using Yahoo. Notice the Yahoo! favicon to the top right in the search pulldown.


Coffee to the People is a cool coffee shop in the Haight which seems really open minded about improving their service.

I’d really like them to increase number of tables and chairs as well as go 24/7. They also need to seriously fix their wifi.

In order for this to happen though we need to prove to them that this will make them a lot more money.

If you guys have any other suggestions about what would make a killer coffee shop I’d suggest adding a comment. If they take our advice this might be the best damn Internet-friendly coffee shop in meatspace.

Ritual Roaster seems trendier but Coffee to the People seems more liberal (which is fine by me).

This week has been crazy. I’m under the gun to deliver an updated version of TailRank for Under the Radar so if I’m a bit behind on blogging I apologize.

I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on TailRank this week and just wanted to spend the time and follow up.

What I find most interesting out of this whole process is how ideas I had just a few months ago are already hitting mainstream and being reified into topics like “post grazing”, “attention engines”, and “reading lists”. Innovation is accelerating. I can’t remember this much happening back when we started Rojo.

Joshua Porter talks about information grazing (and what I’m most excited about with ‘post grazing’):

I would say post grazing is getting nearer our end goal. It is grazing for the latest, most interesting posts, regardless of what feed they come from. Right now, there are a few services out there putting out feeds with which we can post-graze, such as tech.memeorandum, Tailrank, and Findory. As I was telling Kevin Burton of Tailrank the other day, I’m completely in awe of folks who create these services: Gabe, Kevin, and Greg, in this case.

This is why I created TailRank. I want to tell the engine that I’m interested in a few topics and blogs and have it filter out most of the spam and just show me the “ham”. I think our initial release of personalized rankings became too confusing for most people but we’ve had great feedback. The next revision will be complete here shortly and I think a it will be a big win for everyone.

Alex Barnett thinks this will become a full blown attention race:

Your OPML file (specifically your list of RSS subcriptions) is one example of this Attention data set. It says alot about you: the topics your interested in and the people you listen to, and much more. There is plenty more Attention data that can be leveraged though. My tags, my wishlist, the books I own, etc.

We’re just at the beginning of the Attention Engine race.

Yes. I couldn’t agree more. It should be pretty exciting. We’re pushing hard and fast to get to the top of the pack and then clearly differentiate and provide better relevance (and gain a lap or two). Stay tuned… Good stuff is coming fast.

If personalization is where it’s at then it needs to scale (fortunately Danny (correctly) disagrees).

Not necessarily. Clustering and similarity algorithms are generally very computationally expensive, but the size of the source corpus is the same whether there’s 1 client or 100,000. Nik says “different indexes each time” – why not use the same indexes? Ok, I wouldn’t for a moment say it’s an easy problem, but like most it can almost certainly be broken down into manageable units.

There are ways to solve this problem. You just have to think out of the box.

Some of my competitors feel it’s too hard:

“I agree with Nik that there’s a huge technical chasm to cross before a “personalized meme tracker” gets really useful. I think progress I make on the memeorandum engine is approaching that, but it’s still far off enough that I’ll pass on hyping it for now.”

Fortunately I’ve already solved this problem. I have an extensive background in building scalable clustering technology (I spent most of my time doing this at Rojo) and our ranking algorithms scale linearly in large compute clusters. Scalability is a hard problem. There aren’t that many people who have ever run a Friendster, MySpace or Technorati.

Of course this isn’t just talk. We already have 90% of the functionality complete. You can go ahead and import your OPML into TailRank right now and build a personalized feed. You can even add this back into your aggregator if you want with a custom feed. We’re going to deploy additional functionality over the next week or two to really take it to the next level.

Because let’s face it, Personalization + Clustering is the next big step in RSS. If 2005 was about Aggregation, then 2006 is all about Filtering.

I totally agree Richard. I think this is one major issue that’s holding RSS back. RSS lead to an explosion of information (which is good) but its almost too good. There’s just too much to track. Which is why we need memetrackers.

imagesAny killer FireFox developers out there looking for a job? I have three amazing companies right now looking for FireFox developers for different positions. If you love FireFox and love working on cool projects for killer companies please send me a private email and I’ll put you guys in touch.

Six Apart Raises $12M

According to Om Malik and Silicon Beat, Six Apart has raised a Series C round of financing for another $12M.

What’s really frightening is that Six Apart is now at 90 employees. I would have had no idea. Where do they fit all these people?

logo-newAccording to Steve Rubel. I’m not going to argue with the man!

So can you tell me why all the attention is focused on memeorandum when TailRank is obviously better? I get far more traffic from memeorandum than I do from TailRank and I am an early big fan of Gabe Rivera, but I think they’re losing the memetracking battle and it’s a matter of time before people switch. If TailRank builds out ways to track verticals and speeds up a bit then I think the blogging crowd will soon flow TailRank’s way.

Its really nice to have people starting to pay attention to all our hard work. Stay tuned. More to come!

The Daily Om

Om Malik just launched a new blog. The Daily Om:

On the web, especially in the no-longer-so-new medium of blogs, I found myself wrestling with the same dilemma. The short links (aka Gigalinks) while did the job, they really ended up diluting the value of the feed that flows with my blog. The longer high-impact posts, that fostered a lot of conversation did not get enough time on the front page. In the end, that was very important for me: to tap into the collective intelligence of the community.

Om is a great and brilliant guy and has forgot more about wireless, mobile, and broadband than I’ll ever know. I’d love to have a beowolf cluster of Om Malik’s!


Blogger – RIP?

What’s up with Blogger? No innovation. Too many splogs. Google botched this acquisition. Google buying Blogger was the best thing to ever happen to Six Apart.

Either innovate or take this old friend out back and put it out of its misery.

Turn off GTalk in GMail?

Is it possible to turn off gtalk while in gmail? I hate it. It’s very annoying to have their chat GUI popup when I mouseover a mailto: link. I’m also sick of my IMs coming up while I’m in gmail.

This was just a dumb idea. Either remove the feature or allow people to people to disable it.

Right now though this is the only gripe I have against gmail. For the most part its fast and has a simple interface.

Am I alone here?

In honor of Jeremy teasing me about stealing using Flickr’s offline message (“TailRank is getting a massage”) – we’ve selected a new one.

The new message will be (drumroll please):

TailRank is Taking a Gliding Lesson

TailRank will be offline a little bit while we learn to fly. We’re in the process of adding a new engine and after that she should be ready to soar!

(if you don’t get the joke Jeremy has an addiction to flying)

From this weeks State of the Blogosphere comes this graph:


By my calculations this means the entire universe will become a blog sometime in 2007.

Kurzweil was right!

Niall Leaves Technorati

Wow. Niall leave Technorati.

I am leaving Technorati to pursue new opportunities. I submitted my resignation letter this morning and I will be a free agent on March 1. I joined Technorati in February 2005 excited about changing the world of weblogs and introducing people to a new kind of search. Almost a year later my passions at work have eroded and it’s time to find new horizons. Valentines Day is the perfect time to rekindle lost flames.

Seems like Niall has lost his Technorati Mojo.