November 30, 2007


I bought an iPhone.

But most of you reading this probably already know that via twitter, flickr, or *gasp* real life.

Happy birthday to me. I guess the iPhone was just an early present to myself!

Flickr's new "Places" section

Firenze on Flickr's Places
I don't know how "new" flickr's Places section is, but yesterday it was new to me.

The Places project is our way of saying thank you to all our members who’ve taken the time to put their gorgeous photos on a map. Browse the whole globe, from your hometown to your favorite place, or places you’ve never even heard of...

So go ahead, start exploring... Zambia, London, Jackson Hole, or even just Wyoming.

It's a pretty awesome little portal, and gets us one step closer to Tim O'Reilly's proposition:

Imagine wandering through the streets of Paris on a virtual site generated from thousands of images of Paris posted on the internet from different people! [Via]

IMAGINE! </sarcasm>

If you could mash this together with Google's Street View, I think we're almost there!

UPDATE: Turns out it's pretty new (flickr blog announcement, 11/20/2007).

September 4, 2007


Nerd, originally uploaded by bayat.

Figured this was a pretty good shot for my first blog post in a while. Been super busy -- and super nerdy.

August 15, 2007

getting closer to breaking down

originally uploaded by spcoon.

So, last night (or was it the night before...?) I dreamed that my mom bought my brother an iPhone. Initially, I was pissed (read, jealous) and then I found three more iPhone cases hidden in her secret present spot. I was sure that I was getting one, too. Can't remember if I woke up before I actually had an iPhone in my hot little hands, but I remember the feeling. And it was good.

I think I may be getting closer and closer to breaking down. Main factors still standing in my way:
1) price
2) it's a Mac -- I know, I know...blasphemous!
3) since I'm on a PC I'll have to use iTunes as my contact manager
4) haven't liked the keyboard
5) AT&T sucks in San Francisco and I've been on Sprint for nearly 10 years

Main factors for (possibly) succumbing:
1) it's beautiful, small, shiny, etc.
2) it takes decent photos
3) web browsing is very slick
4) think I could get used to the keyboard
5) iPhone Web Apps!!!!

Number 5 is THE main reason I'm even considering it. Steve Jobs has once again revolutionized an industry and is making people finally take the idea of mobile content seriously. Consider the following sites:

All the iPhone-only web development is driving me batty (again, read, jealous). I knew I was in trouble after iPhoneDevCamp was so well attended and received. It's really exciting to see people pushing the envelope of mobile development.

However, there is a bone to pick here... What about the rest of us? Mobile content development is awesome, but it would be great if these sites worked on "normal" smart phones -- Pocket PCs, other phones with a browser, etc. The blue flavor crew was adamant that Leaflets works on other mobile platforms. They're not really lying, but it's not exactly a true statement. I can sort of surf through the apps, but it involves a lot of guesswork.

Anyhoo... all that to say, if I can get the expense approved for the corporate card it will probably happen sooner than later. If not, well... we'll see how long I can hold out!

August 8, 2007

heading to kansas, and it's gonna be hot

gram and her new best friend (2)

going to kansas for the weekend to raise a glass to my 85-year-old gram. she's still peppy, driving herself around, and in pretty good health, all things considered. as she would tell you, she's still "shakin' her tambourine!"

should be a fun (and hot) few days around the pool with the whole fam (sans wife). i'm hoping to get a bit of reading done, and as little work as possible (we'll see how long that lasts).

here's the weekend forecast:
my weekend is gonna be H-O-T

see why i'm looking forward to the pool??

August 5, 2007

polyphonic spree

polyphonic spree
polyphonic spree, originally uploaded by flybutter.

still wishing i could see them again. have been listening to little else, besides tim's old band Tripping Daisy.

love this photo.

July 23, 2007

it's a good thing she's cute...

first time in the boat!
first time in the boat!, originally uploaded by hillary h.

it all started with me losing my bday ski goggles. then i left my northface liner gloves on the top of the wood burning stove. oops.

last month, i left my favorite, amazing, wonderful, blue cloudveil windbreaker in seattle. no idea where, and the hotels have never gotten back to me. then my oakley sunglasses fell out of my shirt pocket and into the grass at the park. i found them... but they are mangled up something awful. i'm hoping a skilled glasses guru might be able to fix them.

and now, with the help of my hyper dog who's been cooped up all day missing her moms, i drop my new nikon digital slr. the dog jumps up, it starts to fall from my hand, i watch it in slow motion, and yell her name much louder than anticipated.

i think it's just the autofocus... "just." no idea how much it will cost to fix it. what the hell?? it sounds weird to namedrop all those brands, but i feel the need to commemorate what a craptastic few months it's been for me and gear.

video killed the blogstar

Colin Devroe from Viddler took some video at WordCamp Day 2. Between some Digg traffic and the fact that started using Viddler for the streaming video, Viddler has had a bumpy day today. But as Colin said, these are good problems to have.

A client once told me that a product was a wonderful failure (not sure that's the exact quote, it was pretty poetic at the time... perhaps a "successful failure"? Ack, can't remember...). We did our jobs too well and couldn't keep up with the traffic. That one still stings, but he was right. It was a success, just not exactly when it needed to be... November 2, 2004. Election Day.

I Was There -- WordCamp 2007

I went to WordCamp 2007.Post WordCamp resolutions:

  1. possibly start using my account instead of my blogger account
  2. finally fill out
  3. blog more often - more than one blog?

WordCamp was great. Thanks to everyone at WP and Automattic for making it such a great (and cheap!) event.

Day One

Even though I thought day one dragged a bit, it was still absolutely worth my time and money to attend. I would've liked a little more "meat" from a few presentations; but truly enjoyed hearing more about podPress (trackback), Robert Hoekman, Jr.'s thoughts on designing the obvious (trackback), and Matt Cutt's tips for Google keyword optimization (trackback). Om Malik and John C. Dvorak were also very insightful and entertaining. They basically sat and had a conversation about blogging vs. journalism -- though the consensus seemed to be that there is no "versus," it is journalism (trackback).

Stephanie Booth live-blogged several of the sessions if you're curious.

Day Two

Since they extended the conference to a full weekend this year, they decided to break up the schedule a bit:

We’ve tried to mix it up a little this year, with the first day focusing primarily on user topics and the second day primarily on developer topics, but we also think there’s a lot of overlap.

I'm not a developer, even if I can create WP themes, but I enjoyed the overall content of day two a bit more. The presentations were simply a bit more up my alley -- I'm not a hard-core blogger, nor do I aspire to be.

The highlights of day two:

Rashmi Sinha of on designing "massively multi-player social networks" -- i.e. how to balance the design concerns of the individual and the crowd when building a social app like flickr, slideshare, youtube, etc. Her background is in social psychology, and I really enjoyed her approach to and thought process about designing these massive systems (trackback).

Liz Danzico of Happy Cog NY presented some of their findings from a recent usability analysis of the WordPress admin pages (trackback). I love this stuff! And let's just say that a lot of excellent changes are coming to WordPress in version 2.4. Since WP has grown organically, some elements have taken on lives of their own. So glad that Matt and his team engaged Happy Cog -- it can only make their product better.

And last but not least, it was a real treat to see Dave Winer speak (trackback). He got really jazzed about the idea of an identity system -- possibly leveraging what he called "the beauty in" twitter's API. I was hoping he'd talk a little about OpenID, but instead the conversation revolved around whether facebook is the best thing since sliced bread, or whether it sucks. Dave thinks it sucks (my words, not an actual quote) because it's too restrictive. He wants "the whole toolbox," not just a few tools to build some cool stuff. Personally, I think Facebook is about to blow up. Those guys are smart -- Harvard grads, afterall -- and I think they'll realize it's in their interest to open up "the whole toolbox."

Thanks again to the WP and Automattic folks for organizing. Howdy to all the folks I met over the past two days. Give a shout! Hope to connect with you all in meatspace again soon. Until then, I'll be twittering. :)

July 18, 2007

OMG. The Polyphonic Spree.

The Polyphonic Spree @ the Great American Music Hall
Tuesday July 17

i don't have the setlist yet, but they played for more than two hours and did a six- (or seven- ?) song encore. tim told the crowd -- after the best live Nirvana cover EVER (Lithium) -- he wasn't "ready to bring it home just yet," and asked the crowed if they should play Soldier Girl, Hold Me Now, or Light & Day. the crowd screamed loudly for each one and he pondered a moment and then said, "let's do all three!"

i didn't think anyone would top The Arcade Fire this summer, but The Spree did just that. an amazing night i will not forget. this is a band now firmly planted in my "see them anywhere, anytime" list. fun, fun, fun!

for anyone interested, their recent show at the 9:30 Club in D.C. was recorded by Bob Boilen for NPR's All Songs Considered. get a little taste of the live spree experience: @ NPR, @ iTunes

i just found a great recap of their recent show in Brooklyn -- sounds very much like last night's show. tim was very emotional and thankful to the sold out SF crowd, saying over and over, "Thank you so much. We needed this." as patrick says in his review, i can't wait to see them again.

more glowing reviews (with photos): minneapolis, seattle (two nights ago)

July 6, 2007

today's LOLtwitter

You could be a lesbian...

priceless. (hat tip to Lisa McMillan)

June 27, 2007

48 HFP on flickr

the first wave of my 48 Hour Film Project photos are on flickr. these are very high-res shots, so you can do just about anything with them. if you want to just flick through all the photos, check out my picasa web albums.

slideshow courtesy of picnik.

June 19, 2007

daft hands on youtube

fast-forward through the 1st minute, then prepare to be amazed.

June 17, 2007

dog365: 17 june 1007

dog365: 17 june 1007
dog365: 17 june 1007, originally uploaded by hillary h.

Lola was in a movie this weekend! More details and a YouTube link coming soon.

Background is that we participated in the 48 Hour Film Project over the weekend with 14 of our (now) closest friends. It's amazing that 16 people can agree on anything, much less actually write, shoot, edit and produce a film in 48 hours. But that's what we did.

I got some awesome photographs over the two days and will be posting them to flickr. Stay tuned!

June 14, 2007

dog365: 14 june 2007

dog365: 14 june 2007
dog365: 14 june 2007, originally uploaded by hillary h.

day 1 of dog365. high 80s here, and lola is definitely not used to the heat.

i've been doing a somewhat inconsistent version of 365 days at flickr, and josh & madison just started their version: dog365. so, here we go! i may actually try to blog these -- since lola is much cuter than me. y'all will just have to visit flickr to look at my mug.

June 6, 2007

LOLcat + Twitter = some serious humor

LOL Feeds (by Ian McKellar) is some inspired RSS mashery! Now you can have your "cat macros for every occasion!"

My Twitter feed, LOLcat-style.


eMusic - Memory Almost Full

what a coup for eMusic! Sir Paul's latest is available for download, and as always it's entirely DRM-free.

it's the first album from the starbucks music label, Hear Music, available on eMusic. hopefully this will open the door to more albums. (although the sub-label Concord has put several of their jazz releases on eMusic, including the wonderful Ray Charles compilation, Genius Loves Company.

by the way, if you ever want to sign up for emusic, let me invite you. then we'll both get free downloads! :)

June 5, 2007 continues to rock

despite recently being purchased by CBS, has been firing on all cylinders.

along with a recent redesign, has been cranking out "community" features left and right. they've improved their badges, event calendars, rss feeds, and have created a widgets site that can help even the newbest newb embed their song history in a blog, myspace, web page, or facebook. (more on facebook after the jump...)

i've embedded the "quilt" widget below -- a slick flash widget that displays a rotating array of album covers.

and speaking of facebook -- could their launch of f8 be any huger? (at least with all us web nerds -- the twitterverse has been all, well, er, a-twitter.) Newsweek has dubbed 2007 as the "Year of the Widget," which puts facebook in a pretty good position to take over where friendster and myspace have lacked. Redeye VC has some great thoughts on the potential dinosaur that is MySpace:

While the concept of a “widget” might seem trivial to many outside of Silicon Valley, the ability to automatically embed a rich flash application inside another site is very powerful. It has become a new vehicle for massively gaining viral distribution.
And this new opportunity has not gone unnoticed by the VC community. I'd estimate that over $250 million dollars has been invested in widget companies during the last 18 months. And just as every consumer-facing Internet company has developed a strategy to leverage Google (via organic or paid search), they have also developed strategies to “widgitize” a portion of their application for distribution via Myspace. While there are other sites which allow widget embedding, the vast majority of the growth has been on Myspace. In fact, I would argue that until last week, the term “widget” has been synonymous with “embedded Myspace application.”
Myspace’s lack of a clear “widget roadmap” created a big opportunity for their #1 competitor, Facebook.

Just last week, Facebook took advantage of that opportunity in a huge way. Specifically, Facebook announced their new development platform, F8. I won’t spend a lot of time describing their announcement (I'll leave that to others), but I agree with Paul Allen’s summary of the three key points:
  • Applications can be deeply integrated with Facebook
  • Distribution of the applications will occur through the network, and
  • The business opportunity Facebook is providing will give 100% of advertising revenue (for third party applications) and 100% of transaction revenue to the application developers.
By providing a clear roadmap – and business opportunity – for the widget makers, Facebook has just increased its virtual R&D budget by over $250 million dollars. By welcoming third-party innovation, Facebook will reap the benefit of hundreds of millions of dollars of venture investment – and the Facebook user will have a much richer experience. I'd wager that every widget maker who has previously relied on Myspace for traffic is hard at work this holiday weekend on migrating their application to support the Facebook API.
Facebook has recognized (and embraced) something that Myspace has not – that there is more value in owning a web platform then a web property. (my emphasis)

if you're a fan of 30 boxes,, twitter,, iLike, picnik, and literally hundreds of other fun and successful web2.0 sites that have cropped up over the last year or two, then get on over to facebook and play around. chances are, you'll never have to visit any other site! ;)

Dems debate the gays

YouTube video with the audience's real-time response.

This is interesting not because of all the spin (they each have their own unique take), but in the way the audience clearly reacted to who was the best speaker (not really what they had to say).

Richardson flatlined. Edwards flatlined. They were both boring. Hillary got a bit fired up. Biden got a little more fired up. And the audience reacted positively to them both, even though they were both spinning more than debating.

June 4, 2007

judd apatow: this generation's woody allen?

Knocked Up movie posterdid anyone else notice that knocked up has a 92% over at i liked the 40-year-old virgin, and confess to getting sucked into watching it over and over again on cable, but the overwhelmingly positive reviews surprised even me. looks like i know what i'm doing this weekend. after i get back from portland, that is.

also... more michael cera!!!!!! hoorah!

Variety is reporting that Apatow will produce a comedy called Year One, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera. The article has no details about the movie's plot, but does mention that some of the script's writers also worked on "The Office," and Owen Wilson will be an executive producer.


June 1, 2007

National Doughnut Day

National Doughnut DayAs the title suggests, head off to your local Krispy Kreme and pickup your FREE DONUT!

In celebration of National Doughnut Day on Friday, June 1, participating Krispy Kreme stores throughout the U.S. will offer customers a free doughnut of their choice. This annual event invites Krispy Kreme fans to enjoy a free doughnut as a thank you for their continued support.

First off -- why am I surprised there's a press release? Second -- this is an annual event? Super sweet! It's going into 30boxes right now.

May 29, 2007

Ten years gone...

Jeff Buckley would have been 40 today...

Another reason I love NPR:

Ten years ago Tuesday, singer/guitarist Jeff Buckley took an ill-fated swim in a Memphis harbor. At the time, he was a rising star, but in the years since, he's become something of an icon.

The posthumous success of Jeff and Elliott Smith are a testament to indie music culture. Rest in peace, guys.

May 15, 2007

30boxes Buddy Card web badges

30boxes has made a major upgrade to their sharing badges. i'm not sure how i'll use it, but it's nice to know the functionality exists.

for now, i'm including it on my tumblr. we'll see how things progress.

i wish... it was resizeable; the creation of customized views (sharing by tag) was easier; it was a bit more customizable (font folors, faces, etc.). they are really pushing integration with myspace, embedding in blogs, etc. but the dissemination of this info remains a bit ad hoc. people who are very familiar with the app probably have no problems, and know that most settings can (and really should) be set via the "Settings" pages. the options presented in the popups that are linked within the main calendar screen are really only the basics. they are trying to push the functionality out to the most people, but really they should reorganize the Settings -> Sharing page and drive all traffic there.

here's hoping they keep improving! i have yet to be disappointed.

May 14, 2007

listening to bjork on

listening to bjork on

omfg, what a freak!

but, i love her.

May 9, 2007

Which File Extension Are You?

Another quiz (and an OLD one at that), but oh-so-very geeky and fun!

You are a JPG.
Which File Extension are You?

Let's see... "colorful" (like the rainbow!), "forgetful" (definitely!), "truth distorter" (maybe...), "pretty pictures over messy words" (yes, indeed!).

Update (OK, so I'm procrastinating): Apparently, I am also the Amiga OS -- ahead of my time!

You are Amiga OS.
Which OS are You?

why google's still cool
(despite being just a little evil)

i just called my neighborhood tully's from google maps!

Calling Tully's from Google Maps! (1) Calling Tully's from Google Maps! (2)
Calling Tully's from Google Maps! (3) Calling Tully's from Google Maps! (4)
Calling Tully's from Google Maps! (5)
if the images aren't clear enough, feel free to click through them on flickr.

this is exactly where web2.0 or web3.x needs to go. i don't know how long has been available, but it's one of my favorite features of searching Google on my phone. other sites like Yelp mobile have also jumped on the bandwagon. i love being able to get an address, see a map, read a few reviews, and then hit "call" to get a reservation. or, in this case, to find out how late my local tully's is open. the answer is: 30 more minutes! so, i'm off to get a decaf latte to fuel my full night of work.

May 3, 2007

google finally getting serious about a redesign?

i haven't searched around the blogosphere yet, but there have been a number of blogs reporting a google search results page redesign over the last year. screenshots show up here and there, but nothing comes of it.

well, two times in as many days i've been served up a fresh, clean, redesigned results page:

google redesign - 2 May 2007
click through to flickr for a larger version.

web designers borrow, not steal

old news, first discovered via TechCrunch, but it's stuck in my craw. anyone see the recent AOL redesign?

AOL's recent redesign

looks shockingly similar to another high-profile redesign that was launched a few months ago...

Yahoo's recent redesign

decided to post these at a relatively high resolution, so that even at a glance you can see how strikingly similar the designs are (almost pixel for pixel).

some web designers borrow. hell, i've probably never had an original thought. but for a company like AOL to not only approve this design, but launch it, is shameful.

April 18, 2007

eminem is funny

working at the office... listening to the 'pod... and just laughed out loud at this:

Daddy's gonna buy you a mocking bird
I'ma give you the world,
I'ma buy a diamond ring for you, I'ma sing for you,
I'll do anything for you to see you smile
And if that mockingbird don't sing and that ring don't shine
I'ma break that birdies neck **
I'll go back to the jeweler who sold it to ya
And make him eat every karat, don't fuck with dad
** = when i giggled

not sure why i never heard that before. probably skip through the song before getting to the end. gotta love you some marshall mathers.

April 3, 2007

Cute Overload, Otter Edition

I ♥ otters, too. Stick around for (or fast forward to) 1:20. Cute overload!

And that's all for tonight.

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Kisses from Squaw
Kisses from Squaw, originally uploaded by hillary h.

Life List #52 -- shave my head

OK, not really. I don't really have a numbered list. But I have always wanted to have the cajones to take the ol' razor to the ol' head. Turns out all I needed was a little peer pressure -- or at least a little brother pressure. Not that he pressured me. It was just too fun to shave his head and I was jealous!

April 2, 2007

HowStuffWorks is getting ready for the Sopranos, too!

HowStuffWorks logo

HowStuffWorks is a fabulous web site with almost too much information. It's easy to get sucked in, especially for a geek like me. How Batteries Work links to How MP3 Players Work links to How Podcasting Works links to How Blogs Work ... you get the picture.

Their homepage features a rotating section called "TODAY on HowStuffWorks." TODAY (Monday, April 2nd, 2007) on HowStuffWorks?? They start with How Phishing Works, move on to How 9-1-1 Works, and round it out with How the Mafia Works. You read that right.

The mafia has controlled everything from the corner drug dealer to high-level politicians. Learn all about how the Mafia is structured, how it operates and which law-enforcement methods have been effective against this type of organized crime.

So, who is Ed Grabianowski? And how does he know so much about the mafia? I've seen every episode of the Sopranos (which starts up again on Sunday!!!), but this 13-part article on La Cosa Nostra will get you in the mood for more. Personally, I'll be re-watching Goodfellas, The Godfather(s), Donnie Brasco, A Bronx Tale, Casino, maybe a little Reservoir Dogs, Heat, Pulp Fiction, The Departed (yay Marty!).

A little googling led me here. I've seen most of these (16 of 22) but have realized that I need to brush up on my Brian De Palma flicks. Oooh, IMDB says there will be a sequel to The Untouchables -- The Untouchables: Capone Rising.

Unrelated -- I'm watching The Late Late Show (as you'll remember, I ♥ TV's Craig Ferguson) and he's wishing everyone a happy passover. Says he just came from a seder at Mel Gibson's house and it was fantastic! "Say what you like, that man can break bread."

Happy passover. Here's hoping Elijah made it to your house. Had he made it to our's he could've enjoyed Anna's homemade buffalo wings! She's been talking about these for weeks -- it's been our own kind of March Madness. They were supposed to help celebrate KU's return to the NCAA final, but alas... At least we got to see them in action in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in San Jose. Holy crap, that was fun! (Even if they lost and the UCLA fans were annoying and amazingly loud. At least now I know how to spell U-C-L-A. Fight, fight, fight!) I'll post pictures to flickr soon.

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March 20, 2007

skywalk open to VIPs today

grand canyon skywalk

more on the grand canyon skywalk -- open today to VIPs like former astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.
"I felt wonderful, not exactly floating on air ... but a vision of hope for the future," [Aldrin] said afterwards, quoted by Reuters news agency.

The BBC's Andy Gallacher, who also went on the Skywalk, says the glass beneath his feet was so clear it was like walking on a cloud.

March 19, 2007

War Room

If Tim Grieve or anyone at Salon happens upon this and wants me to take it down, just let me know. I'm ripping this straight from Salon's War Room. I feel the need to (a) take note of the anniversary that just passed, (b) document it for myself (since that's really all this blog is for), and (c) put it out there for anyone who might stop by.

Four years, five speeches

George W. Bush has delivered four Iraq war anniversary speeches now -- five if you count the one he gave as war began on March 19, 2003 -- and looking back through them gives a pretty good indication of how far we've come. More than $400 billion and 3,200 dead American soldiers later, we've traded a relatively nonexistent threat from a "tyrant" for a nightmare scenario in which terrorists control the Middle East and use Iraq as a "safe haven" for another 9/11-style attack on the United States.

But don't take our word for it. Here's George W. Bush over the years, annotated with a few relevant reports from today's news:

Bush, March 19, 2003: "My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger ... The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities. Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory."

Today's news: "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday staunchly defended going to war in Iraq, but acknowledged the Bush administration likely erred by failing initially to send enough troops to quell the civil strife that followed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein."

March 19, 2004: "One year ago, military forces of a strong coalition entered Iraq to enforce United Nations demands, to defend our security, and to liberate that country from the rule of a tyrant ... There have been disagreements in this matter, among old and valued friends. Those differences belong to the past. All of us can now agree that the fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression, and instability in the Middle East ... There are still violent thugs and murderers in Iraq, and we're dealing with them. But no one can argue that the Iraqi people would be better off with the thugs and murderers back in the palaces. Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open? Who would wish that more mass graves were still being filled? Who would begrudge the Iraqi people their long-awaited liberation?"

Today's news: "Fewer than half [of Iraqis], 42 percent, said that life in Iraq now is better than it was under Saddam Hussein, the late dictator accused of murdering tens of thousands during a brutal regime."

Bush, March 19, 2005: "On this day two years ago, we launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to ... Today the Iraqi people are taking charge of their own destiny ... Free governments reflect the culture of the citizens they serve, and that is happening in Iraq. Today, Iraqis can take pride in building a government that answers to its people and honors their country's unique heritage."

Today's news: "The United Nations estimates that about two million Iraqis have been displaced since the invasion. Many have gone to Syria or Jordan. Among those fleeing are Iraq's intellectual and professional elite ... There is frustration with the slow pace of reconstruction, which has been paralyzed by the lack of security, leaving electricity, water, fuel and other basic services in short supply."

Bush, March 19, 2006: "Today ... marks the third anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Iraq. And it's a time to reflect. And this morning, our reflections were upon the sacrifices of the men and women who wear our uniform. ... We are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq. And a victory in Iraq will make this country more secure, and will help lay the foundation of peace for generations to come."

Today's news: "Bush noted that his so-called surge of additional troops to Baghdad and the troubled Anwar province is 'still in its early stages,' and acknowledged that 'success will take months, not days or weeks.'"

Bush, March 19, 2007: "Four years ago today, coalition forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove Saddam Hussein from power. They did so to eliminate the threat his regime posed to the Middle East and to the world ... It can be tempting to look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude our best option is to pack up and go home. That may be satisfying in the short run, but I believe the consequences for American security would be devastating. If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf the region. The terrorists could emerge from the chaos with a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they had in Afghanistan, which they used to plan the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. For the safety of the American people, we cannot allow this to happen."

Tim Grieve
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The President has asked for our "patience," but I'm not sure how much more I have.
3,200+ US soldiers dead.
24,000+ US soldiers wounded.
60,000+ Iraqis dead.

March 16, 2007

Time-suck of the day: monkey kick off

a few fun time-wasters at i've only tried Monkey Kick Off, but boy-oh-boy is it addictive. so far, my personal best is 4,918 meters.

consider yourself challenged!

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engineering marvel or collasal eyesore?

Must go back to the Grand Canyon! Open to the public on March 28.

Not everyone is thrilled with the development.

Personally, this sounds like my cup of tea!
Skywalk compared to the largest skyscrapers in the world.

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Like Basecamp? Here comes Highrise!

Highrise contact management

I am really really really looking forward to Highrise. (all those links are to the 37signals blog where they preview the upcoming release.)

As others have noted, 37signals really has a great thing going. They pump out great products that make their lives easier, and then they get to sell them to their rabid fans. Very smart.

I wonder if they'll provide a way to integrate with Basecamp (and their other products)?

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March 14, 2007

blogging with flock

this is just a test, so don't be surprised if it goes missing soon.

just downloaded the latest version of flock, and decided to try out its integrated blogging feature. so far, so good, and incredibly easy. let's see if i can truly just drag a photo from flickr in here...

hmm, that was easy. and it even linked to the photo page at flickr. cool.
ain't she cute?  :)

technorati tags:

March 8, 2007

Help Tha Police

From a BBC3 show called Rush Hour... this dad plays his young son Fuck Tha Police with some creative live censorship.

Having lots of fun cuz I'm a teenager
with a little bit of gold and a pager.

Searching my car, looking for the biscuits
thinking every chap is selling bits of chocolate.

fun geography quizzes

name the united nations in 10 minutes (there are 192, and god help you if you're a poor speller)

name the countries of the world in 10 minutes (same deal... 245 total)

name the 50 states in 15 minutes. no link, i just used excel. i've seen this blogged a few times and figured i'd try it. got all 50 in just under 10 minutes, but spent 2-3 minutes trying to remember the one i was leaving out... i'll give you a hint, it starts with a C and ends with an O.

good luck!

go "social exploring" in nyc & la

shamelessly stolen from, the must-see link of the day is Social Explorer.

An old proverb says that "a picture is worth a thousand words." In the case of data maps this is literally true. Data maps are made of thousands of numbers presented as a picture.
it's fun to see these cities grow and change, but the really interesting bit is creating slideshows. they've created a few to get you started:

New York City:
% White 1910-2000
% Black 1910-2000

Los Angeles:
% White 1940-2000
% Black 1940-2000
% Hispanic 1940-2000

hit the play button and watch the african-american community start as a little speck otherwise known as harlem and spread into brooklyn and queens. also of note, specific data on asians, hispanics, and native americans starts in 1980. pre-1980 you only get black, white, and "other".

it depends on what your definition of "is" is...

favorite headline of the day:

Gingrich Had Affair During Clinton Probe

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

[twitter] where have all the @ messages gone?

i just sent this to the twitter help email. i wonder if anyone else has noticed... damn you, scoble!

i like the new functionality of including the "in reply to" links. however, i use an @-prefix for info directed at a specific person but that i want to share with *all* my friends, not just that one user.

i realize that with users like scoble who have almost a thousand contacts that this gets out of hand. but what about those of us with less than 50??

i liked that there was a difference between using "D" for direct message and simply calling attention to someone with "@".

please bring @ posts back to the main stream, or make it an option we can choose per user. i will gladly skip the endless stream of scoble's @messages, but i want to be able to follow the conversations between my closer friends on twitter.

hillary / quepol

March 2, 2007

In-N-Out burgers are delicious!

Helen Mirren chowing on a burger
And Helen Mirren agrees.

I had never eaten In-N-Out until I moved to SF. But holy smokes their burgers are yummy. Not to mention the fact that the closest one to our house is right next door to a Krispy Kreme.

Hot Now!!!!!

February 27, 2007

street art in nyc

in january, i became a five-year resident of san francisco. i absolutely love it... the hills, the ocean, the neighborhoods, the food, the people, the proximity to the mountains, and on and on. i don't pine away for nyc too often, but every once in a while something comes along to remind me why i loved living there for those crucial years in my 20s.

the latest "something" is the Wooster Collective.

woo·ster (noun)
A street in the Soho section of New York City

col·lec·tive (adj.)
Of, relating to, characteristic of, or made by a number of people acting as a group: a collective decision.

The Wooster Collective was founded in 2001. This site is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating ephemeral art placed on streets in cities around the world.

i didn't explore the art world nearly as much as one can in manhattan, but i actually saw quite a bit -- between living in the east village and lower east side and working in chelsea when it was just taking over the gallery hot spot from soho. however, i really haven't explored this world at all in san francisco. i love the murals scattered around the city, and i've tried to capture some of the graffiti, but i wouldn't even know where to start in terms of galleries.

perhaps that's why i got so sucked into the WC site this evening. the focus on underground, or guerilla, or street art is really fascinating. i loved seeing bits of my old hometown, along with a gentle reminder that there's incredibly cool shit happening in my current hometown.

some highlights:
printable cold sores [link to original]
wk interact's murals on lafayette street
the STUMP project [link to original]
lister hits the lower east side
nick georgiou's urban sculptures [link to original]

February 26, 2007

Krispy Kreme: now with 40% less guilt!

Copy of 070226_wwkrispy_vlrg_7a.widecKrispy Kreme launches "lower-calorie" whole wheat doughnut aimed at diet-conscious consumers.

“The Krispy Kreme Whole Wheat Glazed doughnut delivers the delicious taste that our customers have come to expect from us,” said Stan Parker, the company’s senior vice president of marketing.
Too bad it's caramel-flavored...

February 25, 2007

gay woman in a suit, on tv tonight!

the oscars are always fun, and predicting the winners is even more fun. however, this year our girl Ellen is hosting and if nothing else america will get to see that women can look hot in designer tuxedos.

at first i thought i was reading FOX News, but it turns out CNN is quoting her performance hosting the Emmys after 9/11.

She famously opened that show joking that terrorists "can't take away our creativity, our striving for excellence, our joy. Only network executives can do that."

She went on to say she was an ideal host because: "What would bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?"

February 22, 2007


after too many weeks of temps in the high 40s and 50s, tahoe is finally getting some snow! restorts are reporting a foot of fresh pow so far. not only that, but the temps are supposed to stay in the 30s. should be a great (read: busy) weekend on the hill.

February 21, 2007

OpenID Signup Verification

OpenID Signup Verification
Originally uploaded by quepol.

shout out to my wee sis. i confess to giggling a little when i had to type this in to the signup form.

dirty monkeys and lying archaeologists

a bit of redemption for my home state (and hometown).

The Kansas Board of Education just this week adopted the fifth change in state science standards related to evolution in eight years, restoring mainstream scientific views and removing criticism of it that the previous board added.
it's just too bad that article isn't as funny as this li'l satirical gem.
Reacting furiously to the vote, Rev. Kyle Hingerman, pastor of The Fire and Sword Church of Jesus, in Topeka, lashed out at the State School Board.

"They say we're descended from a bunch of dirty monkeys!" he fumed. "How can they deny the unerring, factual, word of God? Don't they read the bible? Everyone knows that God made a beautiful Caucasian Eve and a handsome Adam, with convenient leaves, things!"

"Those lying archeologists," he roared, "...making and hiding fossils to prove their fake case!"
shout out to mum for the links.

February 20, 2007

Hacking Twitter with Stylish

You can read about the evolution of this hack here, here and here.

Twitter contacts tweak

I've taken Chris Messina's Stylish CSS and tweaked it a bit. To apply this style to Twitter in Firefox install the Stylish extension, create a Blank Style, and paste in the following code:

@namespace url(;

@-moz-document domain("") {

#friends a[rel=contact] { display:block; text-decoration:none!important; margin:0 0 8px 0!important; }
#friends a[rel=contact] img { margin:0 4px -8px 0!important; text-decoration:none!important; border:1px solid #999!important; opacity: .7; }
#friends a[rel=contact]:after { content: attr(title); font-family:Verdana; font-size:.9em; }
#friends a[rel=contact]:hover img { opacity: 1; }

if you're curious i've also got some stylish hacks for, 30boxes, and isoHunt.

February 14, 2007

google goof

oops! happy valentine's day everyone.

update: the "L" in the stem and a bit of chocolate? or an obscure literary reference?

February 1, 2007

Time-suck of the day:

my meez
create your own 3-D avatar at

we've all gotten sucked in before... how many times have i created my own south park character? created my own cartoon avatar? well, fair warning... may suck you in and keep you there for a while.

these people have thought of almost every type of fashion, every t-shirt slogan (gay pride, "jesus loves me," "kosher fo'sher," FSM, 1337, space invaders, "flock star," and other various geek chic, etc.), and every tattoo/piercing. yes, if you have a common tattoo (bluebirds, stars, dragons, tribal stuff) you will probably be embarrassed that you're now so "generic." i confess to being a little miffed that my tribal star is almost exactly the one on the site -- although they have it around the belly button instead of on the back. whew!

is it without faults? no. as you can see, i clearly went with the male gender. the female fashion choices just didn't accurately represent my... ummmm... androgynous (read: slacker) style. so, forgive the semi-chiseled face and lack of boobs.

not only is it kind of fun to poke around and put items in your "closet" so you can "wear" them later...i am fascinated by the marketing side of all this. it's clearly directed at the MySpace youth cohort, and they've included "apparel" with the logos of various youth organizations. i'm sporting the 826 Valencia tee, and there are several others -- Summer Search (who ab's old friend Eden works for) and Outward Bound, to name a couple. there's also a money-making side, as expected, since you can purchase apparel to wear. for example, stylish jeans cost 10 "coinz," a san francisco giants ball cap or jersey costs 25 "coinz" (10 cents a coin).

fascinating, really. not sure if they're making any money, but at $5 a pop i bet the kiddies think it's basically free.

i stumbled onto meez via youtube via meebo. a bunch of web2.0 startups got together and made their own homemade superbowl commercials -- the idea being that during the last "bubble" web startups actually had the cash to get a slot during the big game. not so much this time around, but some of the "New Wave Dot-Com Ads" are pretty funny.
Priced out of the big game, internet startups meebo, Meez, Multiply, Plaxo, and Technorati opted this year for a more frugal and fun approach. Having watched our dot-com bubble predecessors spend millions on ads that ran once, we charged up our handheld video cameras and started shooting. As you'll see, the results are zany and full of laughs. If you like what you see, please pass the word.
enjoy... and if you do get sucked in and actually sign up at meez, my username is quepol -- and we'll both get coinz! :)

for more time-suckage, go check out grow cube.

moblog: Travel Tips

how to guarantee yourself a full row on a trans-continental southwest flight

1) hope you're in group A or B
2) buy some food to chow

all aboard!
1) head to the back of the plane
2) put some stuff in the middle seat -- a hoodie, your food bag, etc.
3) chow on your whopper, but don't put the tray down (too obvious) and be sure to get some mayonnaise on your chin
4) pick out the onions, lick your fingers, and take your sweet time
5) watch everyone approach your aisle, take a look at your mess, and walk on by

after takeoff:
stretch out and enjoy!

[this has been sitting among my drafts since my flight to manchester. figured i might as well hit the ol' publish button.]

Late night in the Castro

Went for a little photowalk in the Castro last night. It was fun shooting the neon at night. I'll post the hightlights at flickr and zooomr once I've had a chance to process them.

I was walking along fairly late at night, and even though SF is decidedly not the city that never sleeps, I was amazed at all the people out and about. Of course, Wednesday is the new Thursday... and the queens were getting ready for the weekend.

I also went down to the Embarcadero for the last 20-30 snaps on my SD card. Much less busy, but still a lot of people walking around, waiting for the bus, etc. I discovered that One Market's kitchen is right on the street and it was very well lit. Next time I'm down there at night I hope to take a few more pix. Got a couple, but am excited to revisit it.

January 31, 2007

found chairs, part five

ChairChair by Thomas Hawk Hosted on Zooomr

January 29, 2007


cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker.
Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

January 25, 2007

30Boxes Supermail

30Boxes Supermail Inbox
30Boxes Supermail Inbox, originally uploaded by narendra.

30Boxes continues to get better and slicker. I've been using Supermail for most of my day-to-day link sharing, and as they've said, it's "fun, reliable, and lightening fast."

I am continually amazed at the openness and responsiveness of the 30B team. There's only three of them, and really only two developers. They have a great vision for their product, but more importantly, they realize they can't possibly think of everything. They continue to rely on feedback from users, and most of the time bugs and useful changes are made almost immediately.

I can't pimp this product enough, so you'll probably continue to have to read about the greatness that is 30Boxes...

January 24, 2007

Parsing the State of the Union

Since I missed the State of the Union speech, I've been avoiding the talking heads on TV and heading instead to the Internet. I plan to at least skim the text of the speech, but there are so many other fun ways to get the highlights.

First up,'s State of the Union Parsing Tool. I remembered a site that visualized word usage and compared the 2004 debates, so I went googling to see if they did the same thing for the SoTU (get it, posh? :). I still haven't found that site (hit me up in the comments if you know it), but I stumbled upon the extra-cool Parsing Tool.

As one friend put it: “Since it’s so obvious that the speech is ruthlessly curated before presentation, it’s interesting to note how often and where certain features appear.”

Rather than discuss the style or presentation of the Address, I’d like to take a comparative graphic look at two easily-measured features: sentence length and word incidence. (my emphasis)

The above link is to an outdated article/explanation of the tool; however, they do have last night's speech already entered into the database. Search for words or phrases, or compare the occurrence of two words. A good place to start is "September" and "terrorist".

Next up, the US Presidential Speeches Tag Cloud. Be sure to use the slider to browse through hundreds of Presidential speeches. Notably, but not surprisingly, the top word in every Bush speech since 9/11 is "terrorist," followed closely by "Iraq." The top two words in every Clinton State of the Union address were "families" and "economy." Interestingly enough, those were top in Bush's first address (pre-9/11).

Last but certainly not least is the State of the Union Heatmap. Pluggd’s HearHere™ technology allows you to jump to the exact position in an audio or video file where there is something you want to hear. Say what?

Pluggd is pitting President Bush's State of the Union Address against the Democratic response in a feature called State of the Union SMACKDOWN! Pluggd lets you search through both speeches simultaneously using HearHere™, allowing you to compare how both parties address issues such as the war in Iraq, health care, national security, and education.

Here’s how it works. Instead of listening to the whole speech, I only want to hear the President talk about families. I enter the search term (or click one of their pre-defined search link), and Pluggd then searches for instances of that term and related terms within the audio file. Relevance to your keyword is displayed on the audio timeline with a heat map -- sections of the audio most related to your keyword are red (hot), unrelated are blue (cold). Hover over any colored point on the timeline to see the terms that Pluggd determined were related to your keyword.

HearHere™ could revolutionize pod- and video-casting. Search their podcast directory and take control of your multimedia content!

January 23, 2007

the ultra-new iPhone Shuffle


Doggy No Likey Snow

found this while looking for clips of tonight's state of the union address (which i missed... d'oh.)

If you've been smoking marijuana tonight... You're welcome.

I ♥ TV's Craig Ferguson. I really do.


Perfume: movie posterAB just read Patrick Süskind's Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and upon finishing it said, "Someone should make this a movie." Well, someone did.

From the director of Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run) and Dreamworks studios comes a movie that will hopefully be as gripping as the book (as reported by AB...haven't yet had time to read it). Great poster, and the web site is pretty -- typical movie fare... flash, hi-res imagery, music, etc. The best part is the soundtrack playing in the background.

From the web site:

Director Tom Tykwer, along with long-time colleagues Reinhold Heil (ex founding member of Nina Hagen's band) and Johnny Klimek (The Other Ones), also composed the score and based the entire pace of the film on the music. As there is no way to convey smell in the medium of film, Tykwer replaced this sense with music, evoking the moods and sensations that are created by the smells, making the music the key element of the movie.

Intent on providing the best musical support, Tykwer turned to Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic to record the soundtrack. It is highly unusual that the Berlin Philharmonic, one of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras, to record an original film score. Simon Rattle conducted Patrick Doyle’s rousing score for Henry V with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1989.

Evidently the film has been in limited release since December 27, 2006, opening first in theatres like NYC's Angelika. It's now playing at the Metreon in SF. Will have to go, but must read the book first. Evidently the ending is...interesting -- AB wasn't sure how they'd deal with it in a film.

A story about the genesis of the film appeared in the Sunday, November 26 edition of the New York Times: “Capturing a Whiff of a Repellant Hero”. The reviews are all over the place, as evidenced by Rotten Tomatoes. If nothing else, it looks like it will be beautiful. Check out the image gallery at the web site...gorgeous locations.

Perhaps I'll be inclined to write a review if I ever get around to actually reading the book and seeing the movie. Or perhaps I'll invite a guest blogger for that task. :)