On the Edge

Mar 14

“Are we in a bubble? Yes, this is a bubble. All the frenzied startup activity and still the VCs raise more money to invest. … it’s also like the housing boom where everyone could be a home owner. In 2011 every young person can be an entrepreneur, esp if he or she knows how to code. That’s the bubble, right there.” — Scripting News: The limits of Twitter and Facebook, the bubble

Dec 16

cheeryobservations:

Our living Christmas ornament

cheeryobservations:

Our living Christmas ornament

(Source: cheeryobservations)

Dec 03

cheeryobservations:

An unexpected (and completely unstaged) cuddle w/Dwight Schrute.  As we continue to unpack, this is how these figures were stacked on the shelf.  Or did they pull a Toy Story on me?

This makes my Friday.

cheeryobservations:

An unexpected (and completely unstaged) cuddle w/Dwight Schrute. As we continue to unpack, this is how these figures were stacked on the shelf. Or did they pull a Toy Story on me?

This makes my Friday.

(Source: cheeryobservations)

Dec 02

Gowalla 3.0 Adds Foursquare, Facebook Places Integration -

Gowalla 3 is gorgeous! Even though I’m still on-the-fence in terms of my personal checking-in habits, Cameron Moll’s thoughts here are spot on:

Founder Josh Williams:

Gowalla is now the easiest and best way to keep up with your friends across services with a combined activity tab that merges the whereabouts of your Gowalla, Facebook and Foursquare friends. Additionally, Gowalla now supports checking in on both Facebook Places and Foursquare in addition to sharing with both Twitter and Tumblr.

I’d say this was a gutsy move by the Gowalla team, but that wouldn’t be true — rest assured this was a very calculated move.

From what I can tell, none of the three leading services (Gowalla, Foursquare, Facebook Places) have hit critical mass yet, so they’re all vying for attention from — and leadership among — users. It’s not unlike the early days of Twitter when Pownce was a solid competitor. It didn’t take long for Twitter to hit critical mass, and Pownce didn’t last long after that. But I don’t think we’ll see the same happen (at least not as swiftly) with location check-ins, which means Gowalla, Foursquare, and Facebook Places will probably co-exist for the foreseeable future.

Nice move, Gowalla.

Pretty, but sadly lacking in flavor punch. I’d like to try it again with the tweaks discussed below…
cheeryobservations:

Creamy Carrot Soup with Scallions & Poppy Seeds via Food & Wine

This recipe could have been a knock out of the park, but the ratio of water and broth was completely off.  If you do make this soup, completely eliminate the ‘add water’ step.  The result should be as the recipe was designed:  creamy, instead of watery!

Pretty, but sadly lacking in flavor punch. I’d like to try it again with the tweaks discussed below…

cheeryobservations:

Creamy Carrot Soup with Scallions & Poppy Seeds via Food & Wine

This recipe could have been a knock out of the park, but the ratio of water and broth was completely off. If you do make this soup, completely eliminate the ‘add water’ step. The result should be as the recipe was designed: creamy, instead of watery!

(Source: cheeryobservations)

Nov 29

“A story of the perils of urban farming, this is also a story of the careful two-step of gentrification. Red Hook embodies so much of Brooklyn culture — an infatuation with the borough’s old ways, just so long as those do not actually impinge on the modish design and values. The maraschino cherries that emerge from Dell’s factory have probably graced thousands of retro-chic cocktails and sundaes in Red Hook itself, or at least in Williamsburg. Finding some solution to the maraschino juice bee crisis — to all urban clashes of culture — is part of the project of New York, a wildly creative endeavor in and of itself.” — An unexpectedly lyrical passage from a fascinating read:Bees in Brooklyn Hives Mysteriously Turn Red - NYTimes.com

Thanksgiving Dinner was pretty legendary.

Thanksgiving Dinner was pretty legendary.

Nov 23

Loving Coffee Without Being a Drip - NYTimes.com -

The inimitable Frank Bruni, food writer for the New York Times, on the wonders of a less artisanal way of brewing coffee:

let’s pause and imagine something just as magical.

You stumble out of bed, struggling toward consciousness, in urgent need of caffeine. You drag yourself into the kitchen. And there, ready and waiting, are 10 cups of coffee, brewed automatically, just five minutes earlier, as a consequence of a few simple steps and some alarm clock-style programming the night before.

This isn’t cutting-edge technology. This is Mr. Coffee, many decades ago. The current generation of automatic drip machines preserves the tradition while improving, I’m told, on the product. Gastronomic guilt be damned, I just may put one on my Christmas list.

How would Mr. Bruni respond to a similar paragraph:

Let’s pause and imagine something magical: You stumble out of bed, struggling towards consciousness, and feel a growl in your stomach. You remember that you went to bed hungry, and now feel as if you may fairly collapse right back into bed. But then - a dinging noise! Grasping on walls for support, you make your way to the kitchen, where your microwave reveals a steaming Hot Pocket! The wonders of technology!

I genuinely love Mr. Bruni’s writing, and I think it’s important to continually evaluate whether a love for the artisanal veers toward the vane or pedantic. But let’s give coffee its due: it’s the result of long effort and hard working from a country much poorer than ours, roasted and delivered to our cup. Let’s not waste it!

Think about the best restaurant meal you’ve ever eaten. Who should you thank for producing that experience? The master chef who perfected the recipe, the production chef who prepared your meal, the waiter/waitress who took care of you, the farmers who raised the ingredients, and even (though you probably never think about this) the cleaning staff. You might also thank the owner, who in a small restaurant was probably one or more of the people I’ve already listed.

But none of those people — probably not even the owner, the “small businessman” that conservative rhetoric idolizes — is making much money. None of them approach the wealth of Open Table’s founders, or even of the investment banker who managed Open Table’s IPO, or the speculators who have run up its stock price.

” —

Doug Muder, The Weekly Sift (via kevin)

Interesting post. In my previous life in the DC area, I used OpenTable quite frequently; since moving to Brooklyn, I don’t think I’ve used the service once. Most of the restaurants I frequent in New York either don’t use OpenTable, or don’t even take reservations. Even when I did use OpenTable, I found that when I couldn’t get reservations via OpenTable’s app, I could frequently sneak a reservation in by calling the restaurant directly and speaking politely with the host. Two points for genuine human interaction!

The most interesting point in the article, however, is the charge that network effects drive the creation of pseudo-monopolies. We’ve certainly seen this trend in the last decade or so: Facebook, iTunes, Gmail, Google search; while there’s certainly a long tail for almost any service, it’s hard to find one that’s not dominated by a single player. (It will be interesting to see how geolocation services pan out: Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places haven’t found a winner yet.) But while network effects may drive users to a single service, the potential for open technologies can work wonders at federalizing the supply chain. The future of small business lies in enabling increased efficiency in supply chain management, rivaling that of large chains, using point-to-point services enabled by the internet.

Restaurants and diners use OpenTable for the same reason: it’s easy. It’s up to web designers and developers to drive the creation of interoperable, open data standards to prevent the “ownership” of any area of customer experience.

(via kevin)

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