January 2009

2008: The Year In Review, in photos

Last year I thought that I’d do a recap of the previous year, since a hell of a lot of shit went down in ’07. I decided the best way to do that was by scanning my flickr stream and picking a few photos from each month to try to sum the whole thing up. By the time I finished seeing 2007 in photos myself I had a whole new perspective on the year. It was pretty fantastic actually. So I decided I should do the same for this year, and I’ve been meaning to all month. Sorry it’s taken so long, but here it is. And it’s long, so I’m putting it after the jump. Keep reading if you wanna check out what went down for me in ’08, visually anyway.

A quick thought on retweeting

Earlier today a friend posted a link on twitter that I wanted to pass on. If I was in front of a laptop I would have simply retweeted it, however I was out and about and reading twitter on my iphone via tweetie. I didn’t see a retweet option like I have on tweetdeck, and since there’s no cut and paste on the iphone passing on the link was next to impossible. So I posted a feature request asking for retweet on and iphone app, and it was quickly pointed out to me that tweetie already had it. Well, sort of.

Instead of using the standard convention that everyone already uses for retweets which is:
RT @username: original message

Tweetie has their own take on it which is:
original message (via @username)

This is kind of annoying, but whatever, it serves the same purpose so cool deal. I echoed the requests of some others that tweetie change this to the standard convention at which point Jay pointed me to this post – “RT vs Via: Round 2.” In this post the folks that make tweetie argue that while it’s very clear that most people use RT, and that everyone keeps asking them for RT, they aren’t going change via to RT, or even add an RT option at this point simply because they don’t like it. That’s fine, it’s their software so they can decide what features they want to include or ignore but I think making a post about how you know everyone is using something a certain way and they are begging you to get on board with it and you simply won’t do it shows a huge amount of disregard for your users. If tweetie was just some random free app that would be one thing, but it’s not, everyone using it threw down hard earned cash to get it. It’s no secret that ignoring how users want to use a service in favor of how you think they should be using it is a bad call. That’s arguably the magic bullet that killed friendster and textamerica and made way for myspace and flickr. There’s nothing saying you have to like how customers are using something, or even that you have to use it that way yourself, but limiting their ability to do it or making them jump through extra hoops to do it out of spite is kinda, well, ill advised.

That said, there’s a few places things can go from here. Someone else can see the need for this feature and copy what tweetie is doing exactly and simply add this one new thing and I promise tons of users will jump ship for that. If there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that iPhone users are very loyal to the apps they love until something comes along that makes things easier and then they are as fickle as it gets. I’ve lost count how many twitter clients I’ve had and dropped for something better. I think tweetie is hands down the best twitter client for the iphone out there right now, but tweetie with RT would be better and I’d switch in a heartbeat if someone built that.

That’s one option. The other option is the folks behind tweetie (or folk, I’m not clear on that) stop being stubborn, realize that people want to use something a certain way and make that easier for them to do. If they are so hell bent on “via” being better, they should keep it as well, but adding the RT option should be at the top of their todo list.

The thing is, I get what they are saying about “via” allowing you to add something original and unique to the tweet while still giving credit where it’s due but I’d argue that if that is the case “via” and “RT” aren’t the same animal and shouldn’t be competing for the same space. When I post a RT, frequently it’s because I want to point people to someone elses idea. I think they said something interesting and I want to pass that on. Editing that idea to make it my own is counterproductive and actually kind of lame. Sure if you are just passing on a link (as I wanted to do this morning) then adding your own context can be good, but with only 140 characters to play with, often the non-link part of the tweet is a simple description and there’s not much room for customization. Sure in a perfect world everything everyone ever wrote would be interesting and unique, but the fact is a lot of people don’t have the time or ability to do that, and just want a quick easy way to share one persons ideas with another group of people and RT makes that painfully easy to do. I’d love for tweetie to add this feature, but if they don’t I’m pretty confident someone else will. The fact that the discussion has progressed to round 2 I think makes that pretty clear on it’s own.

UPDATE: Looks like RT will be added to the next update. Awesome! Thanks so much tweetie!!

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me

The rules:

1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

I was tagged by Joi Ito.

Quick preface here, anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows I’ve done a few of these from time to time. In 2003 I listed 8 things I didn’t think anyone knew about me, and in 2007 wrote another 100 that people may or may not have known. So coming up with 7 more is going to be a challenge, but should be fun. I used to think these things were lame and self important, maybe they are, but I also find them therapeutic since I really have to dig around my own head to try to think of things long forgotten or buried. Also it would So here goes…

1. When I lived in Dallas (around 87 I think) there was a LaserTag arena not too far from my house and I used to play from time to time. They had one of those black felt boards on the wall with those push in white plastic letters that listed of the top ranked teams at that arena. I desperately wanted to be a LaserTag all star. I came up with the plans for a team named Helter Skelter. I drew up a logo and uniform design for the team and picked out the kids in my school who I thought would be the best assets and wrote dossiers on each of them. I had everything perfectly planned out right up until the part where I had to tell anyone else about. It kind of fell apart at that stage since I didn’t actually know a few of the kids I’d included. It’s a shame, we could have been legendary!

2. Before I was old enough to actually get them, the first three things that I 100% for sure no question about it decided I wanted to get as tattoos were all logos – the Red Hot Chili Pepper astrix, some Ray Barbie stakeboard graphic, and the Powell Peralta rat bones. Luckily I didn’t end up getting any of them, and I think about those ideas anytime I decide to get a new one as a way of asking myself if this is something I really want on my body forever or not and I’ve talked myself out of a few things because of that. OK, the rat bones would still have been cool.

3. When I lived in Gainesville some friends owned a bar and from time to time I’d DJ there. And by “DJ” I mean I’d bring in a stack of records and play them all night. It was a blast and I loved seeing what weird things I could dig up and throw out that people would be into. I was able to do this since they had their own equipment that I used, but most of the real DJ’s in town had their own stuff and played parties and clubs to get their name out. I think the only reason I didn’t pursue that more was because I couldn’t afford the super cool Techniques 1210 turntables (the black ones).

4. In the summer of 86 I moved back to Florida from Dallas. I had a pair of green pants, riddled with safety pins and rips that I’d written then names bands like “Youth of Today” and “BOLD” and slogans like “Drug Free Youth” and “Skate Tough or Go Home” in giant black marker all over them. I think I worth them every day for months. I stopped wearing them when I ran out of room to write new things on them, which luckily was a good year before I realized how atrocious they were.

5. I worked for a few years at Publix, which is a grocery store in Florida (and perhaps elsewhere now too). After a few months of being a bagger I realized that was the lamest job ever and the stockers (dudes who kept the shelves stocked) got all the props and decided that was what I needed to be doing. I asked one of my mangers about switching and was kinda brushed off, so I decided to promote myself. I “found” a box cutter (standard issue for the cool stockers) in the back room and made myself a holster for it like I’d seen the other guys wearing. Then I went to one of the stockers and told him I was supposed to help him and what should I do. He happily gave me a list of tasks and showed me what to do. For the next two weeks I reported to him anytime I was scheduled to work. Eventually someone asked why I was stocking and not bagging and I immediately said that one of the managers who wasn’t there told me to. That seemed to be good enough and I wasn’t questioned about it again. Pretty soon the people who made the schedules started changing mine to those of a stocker (more when the store was closed) and eventually they gave me my own section.

6. I’ve been getting massive sinus infections more and more frequently. My ENT says I have a deviated septum and probably need surgery to correct it or it’s just going to get worse. This is only aggravated by doing things like bike riding where I’m inhaling tons of crap through my nose. The worst part of this, is that the air in LA seems to be especially bad for this. When I travel elsewhere the sinus stuff seems to clear up relatively quickly and I have no problems as long as I’m gone, but as soon as I get back to LA it hits me. I’ve been back in LA since Friday afternoon and am already congested and coughing. The worst part about this, is that of all the places I’ve ever lived in my life LA is my favorite by a long shot and the only place I’ve ever been that feels like home. So my home is killing me. Awesome.

7. Another Texas story – I must have been around 8 years old. I was being driven somewhere by my mom and I saw a kid on the street with a shaved head. As we drove past him I yelled out of the car window “what’s up Buzz?!” and my mom asked if I knew him. When I said no she slammed on the brakes and asked why I called him Buzz then? I noted that he had a buzzed haircut and thought I was being exceptionally clever. She didn’t agree and threw the car in reverse and made me apologize to the kid. He seemed more shocked then relieved by the whole thing. As we were driving away my mom said “I hope you learned your lesson” and in fact I had, though not the one I think she wanted to teach me. I didn’t learn not to make fun of people, rather to make sure if you are going to make fun of them you are comfortable doing it to their face.

And, there you have it. Who I’m tagging: Tara Brown, Patrick Hughes, Wil Wheaton, Rudy Jahchan, Colleen Wainwright, Matt Alt, and Will Campbell.