Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from January 2004

Sticky e-commerce? Seize it! Scale it! Own it!

January 31st, 2004 · 2 Comments

Are you worn down by competitors who claim to:

  • e-enable plug-and-play e-commerce
  • optimize killer interfaces
  • seize intuitive synergies
  • revolutionize bleeding-edge channels
  • scale sticky networks

Hah! Now you can make all these claims and more, just by clicking a button at the Web Bullshit Generator

I’m glad W-BS-G is not on the list of Bloggies finalists up against Feedster. (Subtle hint there.)

Don’t forget, people who vote for Feedster are displaying the kind of good taste and general loveableness that cause the world’s karma engines to shower them with admiring fans of both sexes, charismatic smiles, a parking place right where you want it, and all those other things you’ve only seen hinted at by high-priced TV commercials.

Take that, W-BS-G!

(Thanks to Steve Pomeroy of StaticFree for the link to the Bullshit button.)

Tags: Feedster

Guess whose daughter….

January 29th, 2004 · 1 Comment

MadMix: Giant ghost cane toad attacks visitor to Australia

….is headed off to nature-guide around Australia for the next 3 weeks?

Watch out for those giant ghost cane toads, Micks! We’ll miss you.

Tags: Pilgrimages

Just got back from NH…

January 27th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Today, I drove two NH college kids home to Northwood, NH to cast their first votes in a presidential primary.

We stopped for lunch on the way–Shorty’s Mexican Grill on Manchester’s Daniel Webster Highway just off I-93 Exit 9-S. We ate in the bar to watch the huuuuge TV playing Fox News. (Over the bar was a set tuned to CNN, playing almost identical stories with slight time-shifting.)

Dean was no longer a story on either station. Fox showed lots of footage of Clark, a long interview with Kerry’s campaign mgr, and an interview with Dem Nat Ctee Chair Terry McAuliffe (he was good!) that the interviewer cut off fast when McAuliffe said, “Bush is going down in the polls, he is toast in November.”

But the story on Fox News was not what we saw in NH with our own eyes. The big highway, I-93, had been bare of signs. But once we got on Route 28 and Route 4 we saw lots of them, set up near houses and businesses. We saw signs for Dennis Kucinich, Lyndon LaRouche–and most of the rest.

Considering the number of candidates, it was striking that so many signs were for Dean–about half of all we saw! Great Dean team up in NH.

In tiny Northwood, about 7 people stood outside polling place with signs. Every single one of them for Dean. These Deaners were middle-aged, local-looking people.

Inside the polling place, tons of flags, friendly people, familiar faces from the town. “Don’t you have an Uncle Bill who worked at the dairy bar?” Yes, he did, about 30 years ago. Zoe and Chace took their thick-paper ballots into canvas-curtained booths to vote. Zoe said the man just after them showed them his ballot–he’d also voted for Dean.

Then to Concord (NH state capital) to say hi at Dean HQ. We drove the length of Concord’s Main St. Near the State House, more Dean people with signs. Also a very few others–one Clark, one Kerry sign. One sign said “Honk for Dean”, which we did! Concord HQ busy and full of workers.

(I posted a lot of this as a comment to the unofficial Dean blog, and I’m too tired from driving to re-draft it now.)

The support and enthusiasm we saw were incredible–and the tiny bits of NH primary coverage on Fox and CNN we saw at lunch gave no hint of what we saw.

No wonder Dean says “I want my country back.” I say, good luck to the good doctor and his supporters.

Tags: Invisible primary

Not with a bang but a whuffie

January 26th, 2004 · 4 Comments

Orkut debuted Thursday and decamped Sunday. Oh well….

They got lots of whuffie in between.

As Susan Mernit points out, more than 1,000 hits for Orkut in a Feedster search.

In related news, David Weinberger claims that “orkut” is the Finnish word for “orgasm.”

People who invested a lot of time in making themselves a nice home page over at Orkut are hoping this one will turn out to be multiple.

Tags: Feedster

Smoking pornography, reading cigars

January 25th, 2004 · Comments Off on Smoking pornography, reading cigars

Hmmm–maybe I have that backward, but it’s late. Late, yet I am determined to blog just a couple of great things that caught my eye recently.

  • Lisa Williams blogs Orkut, and reminds me of the most awful days of my life–those early teen years where an imaginary audience was *noticing* if I sat alone in the cafeteria.
  • After a year of world travels, Dervala (soon to be Meetup-ing in Manhattan) blogs her native scenery:

    “In winter it has the most dramatic of lighting designers, and the scene changes by the moment. Ireland will not be fixed: you cannot say you’ve seen it unless you live there, and even so the claim is shaky. Ireland is theatre, not painting, and you have only seen a production.”

  • The funniest 3.2 Megs you’ll download today: mp3 of Sinister Ducks (blogged by Neil Gaiman, downloaded for me by my children.)

And in conclusion, I’d like to quote the March of the Sinister Ducks:

What are they doing at night in the park?
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Think of them waddling about in the dark.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Sneering and whispering and stealing your cars,
Reading pornography, smoking cigars.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

The good, the bad, the brown-sugar hard sauce

January 23rd, 2004 · 4 Comments

The good: life full of adventures and surprises.

The bad: life too full–feels as if the last time I blogged was Christmas eve blogging the reasons for brown-sugar hard sauce.

The most dramatic event in my life this past week occured Wednesday morning just after I woke up–my little white Westie dog Marianne took one look at me and started moaning and yipping. I don’t need a Dog Decoder to know what this means:

“Something is wrong–so fix it, right now–waaaaa, I’m so unhappy!”

A trip outdoors–and rarely have I been so un-toothbrushed, uncombed, and generally half-asleep for our morning walk–did not make her feel better. My vet recommended me to an emergency vet who could see Marianne exactly at 9. (So I tried to set Feedster’s Feed of the Day before leaving–and that’s another crazy story…)

Cut to $200 of vet consultation and dog-tummy x-rays later. Marianne’s tummy contains a big bubble of gas and a large, smooth-edged mass that puzzles the vet. On the other hand, she is clearly feeling much better after throwing up, peeing, and pooping all over the floor.

Still with me? I drove her home, worried about the mysterious “mass” in her little fur tummy. Then I noticed–her dish full of breakfast dogfood was still in the fridge. Then I realized–my kindly husband had not forgotten to feed her. No, letting me sleep, he had given the dog a full bowl of….


Marianne had wolfed down an exciting breakfast of butter (mostly) plus brown sugar and brandy. So the large smooth-edged mass in her tummy was:


Well, as my husband explained, it looks just like dog food….

Heh–well, my dog feels fine now.

And, in other good news from the real life that keeps me from blogging, at this Thursday’s Dave Winer mtg:

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

Dean is back, says big Dave

January 23rd, 2004 · Comments Off on Dean is back, says big Dave

I asked Jim Moore what that was about, he said it’s an Indian war yell or something like that, they used to do it in United Farm Workers rallies, and they adopted it at Dean For America. A few minutes later Dean let out the famous scream, it was the same scream I heard in the conference room.

They’re probably not saying this publicly because it wouldn’t seem contrite to do it, and they probably know they’d get roasted for saying the scream and ranting you heard was part of the motivational culture at DFA. Some have compared the Dean speech to a similar rant by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer that made the rounds of the Net. So Dean gets a bit whacky, but after seeing it so many times, the shock value is fading. Taken at face value it wasn’t anger, it was a steam-letting, and an attempt to rally the troops, and totally understandable. The press, as usual, is making a big deal of catching a candidate being a human being.

Tags: Invisible primary

Woo hoo! Happy January 22!

January 21st, 2004 · 6 Comments

Wow, January 22 is my first bloggiversary! (Blog backstory here, if you want it.)

A year ago I had a boring blog with zero readers, and now I have (at least) a more varied blog and a whole lot of blogfriends to show for the year just past.

Not to mention the conferences–thank you, Dave and Alex! — lunches and my bright yellow business cards with my blog address–or my new job working for Feedster–perhaps to keep me from putting Scott Johnson into any more amateur graphics….

Tags: Metablogging

Betsy’s first year of blogging

January 21st, 2004 · 1 Comment

January 22, 2004 is my first bloggiversary!

OK, I was posting some links and comments in my Slashdot journal a bit before that.

What happened a year ago was that I wanted my links to start getting counted by Blogdex. The Republican Astroturf scandal was big in the blogworld, but hadn’t yet been picked up by dead tree newspapers. Paul Boutin of Wired and Slate was blogging the story, but I pictured Blogdex as our ticket to feature treatment from CNN.

I wanted to add one more to the Blogdex-count of people who linked to any Astroturf story, helping to keep it on the front burner until the New York Times woke up and got into the act.

So a year ago, I signed up for weblogger (because that’s where Paul Boutin’s blog was), got a template as much like Paul Boutin’s template as I thought was decent (I changed the color), put up my first post, and registered my blog to be counted by Blogdex…..

At first, my blog was all politics, all the time. In fact, it was all Astroturf stories all the time. But before all my hypothetical readers dropped dead of boredom, I went to Dave Winer’s first Harvard blogging meeting and discovered there was more fun in blogging than getting your links enumerated by Blogdex.

Other big inspirations:

  • Jeneane and Kalilily and Blogsisters.
  • Getting a sudden boatload of traffic from Russell Crowe fansites after I blogged a gladiator sound effects striptease.
  • Halley’s May 10 Boston Blogger Beach party where I met Feedster’s Scott Johnson and we all got sandy after eating fried clams.
  • Bloggercon, where I met so many great people, and I want to thank Dave Winer and Harvard for comping me to the first day!
  • Getting invited by Scott to start working for Feedster, which I have been loving doing.
  • Learning how to use IRC for my new job, and meeting all the wonderful people in #joiito as a result–thanks, Joi!
  • Reading a million new blogs and news feeds to pick out Feedster’s Feed of the Day.
  • Having Feedster picked as a finalist for the Bloggies! (“Best web application for weblogs”)

Now, if you read my Fable of Three Bloggerconners, you know I don’t make blogging some kind of religion. But I surely wish, for myself and also for anyone who read this far, that next year will be as much fun for all of us as this year’s been for me.

Tags: Stories

Iowa–What just happened?

January 20th, 2004 · Comments Off on Iowa–What just happened?

First, the good news.

Dave Winer himself headed up to Burlington to start re-working the Dean team’s web technology. The first fruit of his effort is Channel Dean, also available in RSS.

If I didn’t already respect the good will and idealism of the Dean team–and of Dave Winer himself–this would make me do it.

First of all, Dave is not working “for” Dean. He’s expending this effort just for the sake of improved technology for democracy. And the Dean team is welcoming this outsider into their headquarters because, to quote the Channel Dean FAQ, “We believe that a more informed electorate is more likely to support our candidate.”

Think about the negative things Dave has said about Dean and his web effort. And if you really think about it, it makes their collaboration more impressive.

Now the bad news–the invisible primary got very visible last night.

What happened? I got some interesting insight from the blog of Iowa caucus member Eclectic Enigma. Before breakfast on January 19, she was undecided. By midnight, she had voted for Kerry.

Tags: Invisible primary