Welcome Back, Domain Name

That was all I needed. Apparently either GoDaddy hasn’t been emailing notices about the expiration of my domain name or I haven’t been getting them because until I got an email from Garrick Van Buren over my lunch hour, I had no idea that evilgeniuschronicles.org had expired on 7/26. Yikes! When it hit that 5 day point, as the entry expired out of DNS caches people began getting the bad entry, I assume pointing to some parking page. Fear not, gentle readers, I’m still here. A few dollars later everything is back in business. I renewed for 3 years this time, so hopefully I won’t forget when it rolls around in 2010. That also makes realize that I missed my 5 year blog-iversary. I made my first post on July 27, 2002. Woo hoo! I either am disciplined and have longevity or am completely nuts. Interpretations might vary where you place me on that scale.

Party Like It’s 1989

Michelle Malone Band and Me
Originally uploaded by evilgenius

So the party has come and gone, and it was great. The food came at the right time, and I was amazed at how punctual the guests were. Usually, whatever the nominal start time is means people drift in about 30-90 minutes past that. The first guest showed up at 5:31 and probably half of them were here by 5:45. That’s both good and bad, because there was a huge density of arrivals that kind of overwhelmed our greeting and parking infrastructure, but it all worked out.

We had what seemed like a ridiculous amount of food brought by the caterer and yet, almost all of it was eaten. (Update: There is still a lot left. I didn’t realize we had multiple containers going.) The cake (chocolate iced and filled with chocolate mousse, you can get them at Costco) was delicious. I actually went in and did the festivities of blowing out the candles with my niece Emily but didn’t actually eat a piece until late in the party. Like always happens when you host, I actually had less food and beer than you might think.

I don’t know what the head count was, but the house and the porches were pretty full for the evening. A lot of great friends new and old came and just had a big old time. One of the things that made me happiest was the for the most part, even the shy people were striking up conversations with each other. I’d look out and see my current coworkers talking with my college friends, my mom talking to my neighbors, what have you. It didn’t require us to make all the connections and get people talking, so that warmed my heart.

I ended up making the set list that Michelle Malone and band played. We started talking about songs I wanted to hear, so I just kept adding and next thing you knew there was a whole shows worth. Everyone seemed to like the band and apparently she moved a lot of merchandise for a house party. I joked with her that I should have negotiated up front a cut of the merch, and she gave me a t-shirt so that worked out. I realized when they first showed up that Phil her bass player was the guy in Drag the River back when I helped them haul equipment up the steps for them to play Live at WREK back in 1988 or 1989. Old folks cluster together.

Thanks to a lot of people, but particularly Nancy Nelson and my sister-in-law Marilyn and my brother for keeping the details handled during the party. Once the party really got rolling, I never actually took out any trash or did any infrastructural stuff. Something needed handling, and someone handled it. In fact, Derek Coward suggested taking before and after parties to see the preparation and then the mess. There was no mess because as the party was winding down, people were cleaning up on the fly. I was sitting down having a quiet beer and chat with the last few people (including one of my WREK friends that I’ve known for 20 years) and my brother was running around bussing the tables and emptying all the trash. It was amazing and I can’t thank everyone enough.

We don’t throw parties often, but this occasion seemed like the one to do it before we are all too old for this kind of shenanigan. The fact that this isn’t my actual birthday worked out to my advantage because I could deflect all the “now you are 40” jokes with “Aha! Not till next week!”

I saw a lot of people taking pictures and hopefully some of them will get sent to me and/or flickr’d. This picture of me and the band is the only one on my camera from the whole party. Thanks to everyone for coming and for partying and helping me ease the pain of getting old. Misery loves company, and I had a lot of company.

Party Calm Before the Storm

For the most part, everything is done for the party and now is just that uncomfortable waiting point before things get rolling. This will either be fantastic or a train wreck. I still haven’t heard from the band or the caterers so there is some faith on our part that all that will come together. At the least, we have a keg of cold beer on the back porch so there is that. A few friends and all is well.

Update: the food is here, so only the band can fail now.

Busy Days

I’ve been too busy to blog lately, a bad way to be in general for me but especially after getting a bunch of traffic from mixing it up with the A-Listers. C’est la vie, c’est la morte. The party preparations continue and the house is looking great. Foodstuffs are filling up in our pantry, fridge and freezer. Things are getting generally cleaner and more organized. That’s an upside of throwing a shindig, it makes you do things that you should have done anyway but didn’t have a lot of urgency to ever get done.

In other stuff, I bit the bullet and just upgraded my old Windows 2000 box to XP so that it can be my podcast reciever/Creative Zen syncing box. That’s pretty much all it does now. My brother-in-laws computer was just too big of a pain in the ass to fight with anymore. The upgrade seemed to be relatively painless. It wasn’t actually strictly speaking an upgrade, it was a completely new install because it couldn’t upgrade from W2K Professional to Win XP Home. Since any Windows install craps its own pants over time, it’s not so bad to wipe them out every so often. Because the install disks I have are prior to service pack 2, so that I have seemingly endless cycles of updates and reboots. I’m on my 5th, I believe. It took several before it got to SP2 and the update after that had 38 ones in it. How many more are there? Probably a lot. I do have Juice on there and the Creative software and I got new podcasts on my Zen player. It’s about time, because since I hadn’t put new shows on there in several days I was reduced to listening to 8 consecutive SXSW sessions late yesterday (of which I finished 2 because most SXSW sessions are unlistenable.) All in all, things seem to be OK now with it.
I can’t wait until Saturday to have my soiree, to rock out with my friends and to eat and drink to excess. I’m also getting to the point where I’ll be a little relieved when it is over. Now I remember why we have parties so seldom.


Speaking of hype that doesn’t affect me…

I’ve never read a Harry Potter book and when I tried to watch one of the movies I thought it was perhaps the most boring thing I had ever seen and I didn’t finish it. On the one hand, as a bibliophile I love to see people so excited about a book to the point where every single town in America big enough for a bookstore freaks out and stays open past midnight on a Friday just so people can buy it. Americans don’t generally read to much nowadays, and I’d be happy to see a general enjoyment of reading creep back in on the back of Pottermania.

On the other hand, I’ve never quite understood why these books hit just right to become so freakishly popular. I don’t much like fantasy books as a rule and I’m not particularly interested in British schoolyard class politics. I’m not detracting from all the people who enjoy it, but I have no particular interest in partaking. As part of the living room renovations we have more room for books, and I’ve been loading up the shelves with stuff from my office. I must have 100 books in here now that I haven’t yet read and that I would read before a Harry Potter. That’s just this room. There are other rooms.

2500 PSI

Today has been early preparation for the party next weekend. The bulk of my day has been spent using the pressure washer we bought on sale in March but had yet to use. At this point, it’s been broken in. I think I used it long enough that I should already change the oil. Our patios and decks and front porch and shed all look a devil of a sight better though. What’s a few thousand pounds per square inch between friends?

This pressure washer we bought is a Troy-Bilt with a Honda engine. It is way better than the crappy rental model we got when we first moved in. I think this cost right at $200, which is about 4 rentals. Sometime after the party I think I’ll spend another day doing things I couldn’t get this go around. I like it. There is something peaceful about tearing through filth with a powerful jet of water.

Fallout from Shiny Things and Further Thoughts

My post about seceding from Scoble’s blog and the quest for the shiny seems to have caught a lot of traction. It’s crazy, you can never predict when or to which post it will happen. However, writing about Scoble increases the odds because if he links back it’s automatic for the people, baby.

That post has already gotten over 30 comments and trackbacks. I’m a little surprised that so few people call me an idiot. It seems like I really tapped into a nascent feeling that was waiting to be expressed by many people. My favorite negative comment is the guy who calls me too stupid to work Facebook and wonders how long until even this blog scares me. That takes a pretty strained mis-reading to get to that interpretation. I think it’s pretty clear that all I care about is not wasting my time in duplicate efforts, in following fads that ultimately will not pay back that investment.

People have asked if I am burned out on Web 2.0 in general, or merely SNS. It’s kind of the latter but trending towards the former. As the proprietor of a podcast directory, I’m very sensitive to this kind of issue. It’s not like such directories are not thick on the ground, so I knew from day one I’d have to do something different. I also tried to make it as easy as possible to get in (OPML import) and out (OMPL export) to minimize the duplicated efforts. If you have a subscription in a podcatcher that exports OPML (which is most of them) you can rate all those in AmigoFish very quickly. Two years ago I was worried about burnout and today it is worse.

I didn’t know about it at the time, but the same day as my original post, Jeremy Zawodny was also independently making a similar post. I think this has a lot to do with the traction. It wasn’t just me or Steve Rubel, it was a number of people in a perfect storm of getting sick of this all at the same time. The podcast I recorded Wednesday night discusses this issue some more as well. The more I think about this, the more I think my cry of frustration is a continuation of my recent thinking. The retirement thinking and money, sustainability of lifestyle and happiness, the living in a small town in South Carolina rather than Santa Clara and being happier because of it, it’s all of a piece. The idea is to achieve the maximal happiness with the minimal friction. I think I’m on pace for that.

In pretty much every way, I’m happier today than I have been in a long time. I like my job, I have as little money stress as I ever have, I love my house and neighborhood, I’m back in touch with old friends I haven’t talked to in 10 or 20 years. This is the good stuff of life, and makes me happy in a way that an increasing count of friends on a SNS cannot. I don’t want to be the cranky old man yelling at the kids to get off my lawn, or like the people who talk about how iPods destroy this mythical (fictional) pasts where everyone talked to their neighbors all the time. I also don’t want to say no one finds use in Facebook. My wife has been on it for years as a teacher, and she likes it. However, I already have so much infrastructure in the form of this blog/podcast and all the various things I have already joined, I just don’t have the emptiness I need Facebook to fill. I not only don’t want to use it, I don’t really want to hear a lot about it. If that’s your focus and you are excited about it, talk away by all means. Do what you love. However, it might well mean I’m not listening. That’s just the way it works.

EGC Clambake for July 18, 2007 – “What Is Shiny and What Matters”

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for July 18, 2007.

I discuss the upcoming party and old friends; I play a song from Michelle Malone; I discuss Scoble and our debate about the value of various SNS; I talk about friends and happiness and sustainability; I talk a little about the Creative Zen V Plus that is now the center of my podcast world; I play a song from Dead Moon and then it’s hasta manana, iguana.

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS.

To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Living Room Work

Living Room Before

Living Room After

This living room was almost the deal breaker in buying this house. The paneling was ugly, made the room dark and gave it a very 70’s vibe. That makes sense, considering that’s probably when it went in. Two weekends ago we painted the previously white walls in Behr “Lion”, a shade that is kind of like hazel eyes. It seems brown when green is nearby, green with brown. Last weekend we did the paneling in the same shade. Dramatic improvement!

I hate doing crap like this, but I have to admit that it is definitely making the house better.

Why I Dropped Scoble and Seceded from the Hunt for Newer Shinier Things

I have met Robert Scoble and I like him. He’s a good guy, and somewhere I have a photo and video of him with an AmigoFish sticker on his tripod, so that right there puts him close to my heart. I’ve followed him on and off for years, and am currently subscribed to his Scobleizer blog. However, I’m dropping him. The thing that sent me over the edge was an inoccuous enough post but something that is emblematic of my problem not just with his blog but with the whole Silicon Valley mindset.

In it, he says that he gets too much email and that is ineffective for getting PR releases to him. He suggests that what you should do know is to leave him a message on his Facebook wall. Dear god and/or Bob. In the time I’ve followed Scoble, I must have seen something like this a dozen times from him. Don’t email, Twitter me. Don’t Twitter, Pwnce. Jaiku me. Leave a wall message, send an SMS, just call me, email me, don’t email me, don’t call me. Enough already. I’m not even trying to get in contact with him, and I find this constant migration from platform to platform to be a load of shit that just wearies me. I felt the same way when I dropped TechCrunch, well over a year ago. I got so tired of hearing about another slightly different way of doing what we were already doing and why that tiny difference was worth dropping everything and moving over.

I officially renounce the search for the newer and shinier.

Will this cost me cool points? Undoubtedly so, and I have few enough of those to spare. However, getting out of the ever escalating rat-race of keeping up with whatever the hot site/service/Web 2.0 gimcrack of the moment is carries a lot of benefit to me. It’s the opposite of an opportunity cost, it’s an opportunity profit – the gain I get from not spending all my time redoing my efforts in a new system. I suppose I could try to take whatever small notoriety I got from podcasting and then try to go get a following in Second Life, then try to get everyone to stampede over to my MySpace page, and then use it to suggest that everyone subscribe to my Twitter feed, then move to Pwnce because Twitter is too slow, then get those people to friend me on Facebook. Or, I could do none of that and instead do, oh, ANY FUCKING THING ELSE which would ultimately be more fun and less wasted busy work.

People invite me to services all the time. They want to connect to me on LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook. I appreciate that anyone cares and I get a little warmth from the sentiment. I’m not joining anything that I’m not already a part of though. People ask me why I’m not on FaceBook since that’s the cool, hot thing. That’s precisely why I am not. I’m not interested in coolness or hotness. I am interested in friends, true friends that matter to me and that miss me when they don’t see me for a long time. I’m uninterested in virtual friends that are trying to out-compete everyone else by being the first person on the SNS du jour to have 1.7 kajillion connections. I’m uninterested in duplicating work from siloed system to siloed system, to joining any network that encourages many shallow links instead of a few deep ones. I joined LinkedIn years ago, and I’m thinking about getting out of it or possibly just rejecting any future requests out of hand. It’s a bunch of busy work that has never done one thing for me and I wish I had never started.

Basta. Life is short and true friends that will go to the mat for you are scarce. The energy spent in chasing some sort of glorious future from service to service is friction in my life, not any sort of addition. If I had that kind of time, I’d be at the beach more often and reading more books or cuddling up on the couch with my wife and my dog for more of my day. Sometimes these services really add to our lives and allow us to build communities that we can’t get in our every day corporal lives. Other times, like now, they are just more bullshit in a world overflowing with bullshit. I don’t need them, I don’t want them and the burden on anyone inviting me to any service is to prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this will improve my life and make me happier. If you can’t do that, I’m out. I’ve had plenty of shiny for one lifetime, now I’m looking for the old and worn that will put a smile on my face.

Update: I forgot to cite this post from Steve Rubel on similar issues which helped drive my thinking. In comments, CJ says “I feel sorry for you man. Not wanting to join something great just because it’s new and popular. . . . is sad.” and questions why I want to avoid FaceBook precisely because it is new and hot. It’s because those correlate strongly with ephemeral. When it isn’t new and isn’t hot but still useful, that’s when you know it is going to last. I’m not making any more investments of my time in the SNS du jour and then seeing that one slowly get abandoned. Tribe.net, anyone?

More on Gadgets

On Friday, I had my first stint watching videos on the Creative Zen V Plus. I wasn’t completely sold, but I have to sat it was quite an agreeable experience. When I synced it up, I let it move and transcode every video I had downloaded on the XP box, so there are about 25 of them. Because they get bigger with the uncompressed AVI format, that almost completely filled up the 4 GB device. I watched 5 or 6 of them during lunchtime Friday and thought it was quite pleasant. Even though the screen is small, it was perfectly watchable. I’m looking forward to making this a normal part of my podcast workflow and being able to watch vlogs on the go.

The downside: the revived Win XP box which worked for a day and a half seems convinced to take a dump and now won’t even restart. I’m going to try to find the install disks from somewhere and just start this box over again. If nothing else, my brother-in-law has them and I can get them from him the next time I see him.

Also, we went ahead and got upgraded cell phones last week. We had served out our 2 year contract and were eligible for new ones, so I got the Nokia 6126. It seems nice enough. It takes fairly lousy video, better photos and generally seems like a decent device. I haven’t made a lot of phone calls yet to judge quality of the telephony. Nowadays it seems like call quality is at best a tangential issue in picking a model, since it is all the gee-whiz features that one uses to make a decision.

One nice thing is that I was able to transfer the numbers from my old phone to my new SIM card. I had always thought they were automatically there but that’s not the case apparently. I had to do delete a few to make my address book small enough to fit on it, but that saves me a huge amount of rekeying of data. I think I’ll miss the automatic syncing of the old cellphone with my iBook. I don’t think the new one will do it, at least with my un-upgraded 10.3.9 box.

So, for a guy who wants to stay off the eternal nerd treadmill of reaching for the newest and shiniest thing, I seem to have a lot of new stuff. Of course, none of it is that new and all of it was pretty cheap (or free.)

Painting Done

The painting of the paneling is done and it looks fantastic! I wanted to procrastinate and not do it, but I have to admit that it was a good idea and I’m glad that it is done. It cost another weekend, but so be it. We did manage to find a little time to take Koga to the dog park to frolic while we waited for the first coat to dry. Tomorrow comes my favorite part, the taking down of the tape and moving everything back. Photos of this project to come shortly.

R/C Jousting Knights

I got an email from Think Geek about these Radio Controlled Jousting Knights and for a second, I had that “I’ve got to have this” feeling. I don’t need them, but the concept is just so funny and cool that I wanted them. However, Think Geek got too clever for their own good.

They have a You Tube video of people playing with them, and it is pretty obvious from that they aren’t nearly as much fun as they seem like they’d be. Because of the lack of very fine control, rather than jousting the knights spend a lot of time trying to get close to each other and missing. The one bit of contact was a demolition derby style t-bone of one horse into the other, not really what you are signing up for. In the olden days, you might have had to drop the $40, get these shipped to you and fiddle with them for 10 minutes to realize they are a disappointment. Now you can get that without even making the purchase. Thanks, Web 2.0!

More Painting and It Still Sucks

This weekend has been round two of painting. Our living room has three different surfaces – sheet rock that we painted last week, brick and panelling. We’ve never much cared for the paneling as it gives a very 70’s rumpus room vibe. The panelling is also behind a built-in entertainment center so it is kind of complicated to deal with. We decided we wanted to paint it the same color as the other two walls. Yesterday we filled in holes, sanded, washed and primed. Today I caulked the edges between the panels and in a little bit we will begin the first coat of two.

We’re a little nervous on this one because painted paneling isn’t necessarily our first choice for what to have in a room, but we are playing the hand we have been dealt. We’ve agreed that even the primed wall looks better than the wood finish, so it can’t really be a step down. We just want the final result to look as good as the other walls. When this is done, that’s it for home improvement tasks for a while. Thank Bob, I don’t know how much more I could take in a short period. I’m a renovation wimp.

New Portable Player

My mobiBLU cube that has given me so much trouble over the last year and a half finally became too much trouble to keep using. When I mounted it and tried to move files to it from my iBook I’d get file errors. If I retried up to 10 times, eventually it would work. I tried resetting the device, newly formatting it and nothing made it difference. It’s always been a pain, so it is out.

To replace it, I bought a Creative Zen V Plus 4 GB Portable Media Player (Black/Blue). It was $109 at Best Buy. I was actually there to get the 2 GB at $79, but they were out of stock in that model so I said screw it and just got the 4 GB.

I had a moment early on where I thought maybe this was a bad decision. If you pause a track and then the device shuts itself off from the “idle timeout”, when you start it back up it will be on your track but at the beginning. If you had been 90 minutes into a 2 hour podcast, that tends to fry one’s ass a little. There is a bookmark function, but when you return to a bookmark you are going to a single track. I had setup a playlist of all the shows I wanted to listen to, and it was a little irksome first remembering to bookmark the track and then having to navigate off the single show back to the playlist every time I used a bookmark.

However, after some exploring on the Creative Zen forums I found out that although pausing and auto-shutdown loses your place, doing a hard power down with the switch does not. That’s almost exactly backwards from what you might expect, but that is what it is. I also found the setting to up the idle timeout from the default 5 minutes to 30 minutes. The combination of these two things makes it good again. If I really don’t want to lose my spot, shut it down before I walk away from it. Most times, I’m back to it in 30 minutes anyway during my workday. It has a setting to shut it off entirely, but I suspect that’s a fast track to a dead battery.

There are a lot of positives about this device. It has a nice screen, reasonable controls and a very good small form factor. With its rounded edges it feels a little like an overgrown Chiclet. It does play video, although not any format that anyone would actually be using. It only plays uncompressed AVI files, no codecs whatsoever. The Sync Manager program has the ability to transcode on the fly, and I’m testing it out for the first time this morning. A bunch of the vlogs I’m subscribed to are moving over as I type and I’ll try them out today. The downside of all this is that the Creative programs to manage the device are Windows XP only. There are workarounds that work on Mac and Linux via this XJNB program but they are bare bones compared to the official program. They will let you move files and create playlists but won’t transcode, for example. I bit the bullet and revived my brother-in-law’s dead XP box that has been sitting in my office since XMas and have made it my podcast-reciever and syncing box. The upside of that is that I won’t be filling the hard drive of my laptop most nights. If you already use Windows XP or Vista, this wouldn’t be much of an impediment but for me it was.

So the summary from the first few days is that it seems like a nice device with a fair number of hoops to jump through to use it. I probably wouldn’t suggest it for someone with only Macs in their house, but for Windows users I probably would. I’ll report back if my experience changes over the next few days and with the results of the video experiment. Overall though it seems like a nice little device and a very good value for the price.

It’s got to be better than the mobiBLU cube, which I bought from a recommendation of Dick Debartolo on the Daily Giz Wiz and almost immediately regretted. It was the last time I paid attention to Dick and not that long after I unsubscribed from the show. Dick doesn’t recommend these things because he integrates them with his life like I’m after, he fiddles for a day and then puts it on a shelf. I’m in it for the long haul in a way he is not, so I decided he’s not a good source of reviews for me.

Podcast Circle Jerk Season Begins

I just got my first email from someone begging for votes in this year’s Podcast Circle Jerk. Sorry chochachos. I’ve never voted for myself, so there is no chance I’m going to vote for you. I truly hate the sheer ridiculousness of the claim that these couple nominees are the best podcasts out of 100,000 of them as if anyone could possibly know that fact.

The only thing worse is the way otherwise sensible people turn into weird vote whores. Anyone who thinks about it for a few seconds knows that what is being measured is not quality of the show but willingness to shill for votes. It doesn’t matter who take the award, the only winner is Podcast Connect Inc, who gets to make you their sales rep for driving traffic to them. Sorry Todd, but I find any award process that involves multiple voting per day to be completely corrupt. It makes it obvious that the primary goal is driving traffic and repeat visits. The awards are just a framework to hang that off of.

I could care less if anyone votes for me in these awards, or on Podcast Alley or anything. If you do rate me on AmigoFish I like that (obviously), but you are doing that for yourself not me. I’m definitely not voting for you in the awards, no matter how much I like your show. Sorry to be the hardass, but that’s the way we play the game here.

Bittorrent Plugin for iTunes

The author dropped me a note letting me know about this plugin to Bittorrent support to iTunes podcasts. This allows you to not only download torrented podcasts but to seed them as well. It is currently Windows only, but OS X support is in the plan. If you are a developer who wants to help move that along, you might should jump aboard. I’ve kept my support for Bittorrent mainly for political reasons. In spring of 2005, over 90% of my downloads came via the torrents. Nowadays, it’s more like 5%. iTunes killed it, so it would be nice to see people be able to breathe a little life back into it.

I’m Incognito, Baby

There was a point where the only crimes Louis Pearlman was guilty of were the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync. Now he has upgraded that to swiping $500 million from various investors. He was caught in Guam while on the run for his crimes. The best part of this story is the name he was using when he was apprehended – “Incognito Jones”. I can’t even think that name without laughing. That is officially my band name from now on. I can’t play an instrument, don’t have any songs or bandmates but that is my band. Maybe one day they’ll reunite, and then Incognito Jones can open for Luscious Jackson. That’s a bill with name value.

Update: I screwed up a detail. He was nabbed in Bali, but stopped in Guam on his way back to custody in Florida. I’m sure the Indonesian cops sent him away by singing “Bye Bye Bye.”

Weird Day

Yesterday we went out for lunch from work at the River City Cafe, and I happened to leave my cellphone there. Dumb Dave! I suspected it was there and I was planning on swinging by anyway. They had the sense to open it up, look at the address book for a “Home” entry and call it to say they had the phone. Thanks, River City!

While over here, I decided to get a cup of coffee and hang out at the Starbucks, the same one from this post. I’ve been bringing my personal laptop to work and when possible, trying to answer email and get caught up on things over lunch. As it turns out this Starbucks has free wifi! Holy cow, I didn’t know that even existed in one of these damn joints. This is an atypical one of them, though, because there is no requirement on shoes and shirts. Dudes and chicks still in their swimsuits have come through while I’ve been sitting here.

20 emails down since I’ve been sitting here. I did have the inbox down to 0 at one point, and I had crept back up into 3 digits. My GTD implementation is in shambles and I’m not Getting Things Done very well at the moment. Never say die, where there’s a will there’s a way, etc.

I was going to walk on the beach on my way out of here, but I think I’ll have to skip it. I’m running out of time, but I am sure making a little progress. Life is tradeoffs.

Abandoning my SXSW Listening Project

So I did have this thing going where I was recording my responses to every single SXSW session podcast. I have dropped that. It just got too boring to write either “I skipped it after 5 minutes” or “I listened to the end but it was pretty forgettable” over and over. I get the strong feeling that SXSW is much like the Podcast Expo in that just listening to the sessions doesn’t begin to give you the experience of being there. The value is not in the panels and talks, it’s in the halls and around the event.

There are two sessions of particular note though. A while ago I heard the From Blog to Book and just yesterday listened to the Lonelygirl15 case study. My experience of both of these sessions was very similar. In it, people who produce something I’ve never seen talk about their raving success at it and how popular it is. The difference in the two is that I at least knew the name Lonelygirl15. In the Tucker Max case, as he goes on (and on and on) about how popular his blog is and his best-selling book, I was scratching my head because I had never even heard of the guy. In both sessions, there was something vaguely creepy about the whole deal and nothing about the proceedings gave me any reason to want to go and explore more. In fact, it was kind of the opposite. They were good sales pitches that neither these blogs nor the Lonelygirl15 videos are for me. Obviously they are for someone or they wouldn’t get the traffic, but not me.

I guess is there was a take home lesson in these sessions, it is that the new media sphere is not free from cynicism and calculation. Tucker Max described a number of shady things he did to get his traffic up and generally seemed icky about the whole thing, and he’s apparently quite successful. I got a real scumbag vibe from him, which seems to be what he is shooting for. I guess plain old-fashioned weasel tactics and opportunism work just as well online as they do in the real world.