The Top Button

I ran into Adam Metz on Monday while lobbycon’ing the SNAP conference. We had a really fascinating conversation spanning a broad spectrum of topics but one in particular is spurred him to write an introductory post.

"If I were able to define the solution, I’d have a bestselling book on my hands. My conversation with Jeff only defined the problem, and I hope this becomes the start of a larger conversation about RSS engagement. We temporarily labeled this problem The Loop. Maybe I called it that because I lived in Chicago for a few years. But this loop is a loop that stubbornly remains open. The question is this: how do you effectively put a metric on one’s engagement with an RSS feed?"

I say introductory post because we are both hoping that this topic rises to the level of being a broader conversation. The metaphor he used is the top button of the shirt, which is always the toughest to get buttoned. In the RSS world we can measure adoption in terms of subscribers, albeit not with great reliability, but we still struggle with measuring impact.

In other words, I can tell you how many people subscribe to a particular feed and I can even tell you what feeds have clusters of common subscribers, I can tell you what posts are clicked on, and what links are clicked through, but the thing we struggle with is measuring what you find meaningful and what impact that has for you.

Adam calls this an engagement metric and right now it’s something everyone is doing anecdotally if at all. Buzzlogic is an interesting company you should check out, but their solution is to measure influence and that’s not the same thing as measuring impact.

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Leopard Pricing Thoughts

But first, I learned more about Leopard from Siracusa’s awesome review than from anything Apple put out…

I had an interesting conversation with myself in the Apple store while pondering buying an indivdual license or a family pack for $75 more (we have 3 Macs). My first thought was whether or not Apple is enforcing the licensing, so I walked over to the other side of the store and googled on it, finding Gruber’s post on Daring Fireball where I learned that the licensing isn’t enforced by the hardware.

So there I am in the middle of the Apple store in SF with a single license in one hand and a family pack in the other. Even though Apple will surely would not miss the extra $75 from my wallet, I bought the family pack. The thing is that I basically feel like I get a lot from Apple’s software so the idea of paying $200 for 5 Leopard licenses seemed fair to me.

I would like to say that I bought the family pack for my 3 computers because I’m an honest person yada yada yada, but the truth is that I simply feel that $200 for 5 Leopard licenses is really fair, even if I’m only using 3 of them. I get alot out of my experience with Apple, their apps are good and I use them everyday (indeed, I shit-canned Entourage and went back to iCal, Apple Mail, and Address Book).

Counter that to my recent purchase of Windows XP where I was pissed off about forking over $200 for a single license of a 5 year old operating system that has crappy included applications that I wouldn’t use. If the decision were about Vista vs. Leopard, you bet I’d take the single license instead of the family pack upsell.

It’s actually a conflict for me because it reveals a selective application of morals that I’m not really comfortable with.

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I’m Done With Firefox

I’m really frustrated with Firefox on the Mac, it’s such a pig of an app and even after near universal experience with crashes and memory leakage, the developers just don’t seem interested in fixing it. Leopard doesn’t improve matters

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“Aas goes on to say that Mozilla has reports of other problems that it has yet to confirm, including crashes resulting from certain uncommon UI interactions. Mozilla plans to resolve all of these issues in Firefox 2.0.0.9, but in the mean time Firefox on Leopard could be less than ideal for some people.”

I’m done with Firefox. While the Camino browser is a lot better, in fact I really like it, I’m making a clean break and heading for Opera territory. Unlike the time I tried to give up Google for a month in favor of Ask (I made it about 10 days) this time it’s serious, I’m done with Firefox for good.

I’ll miss some some of the extensions a lot, like Foxmarks, Stylish, and Google Notebook, but I’m not looking back.

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Space Sweetness

"Astronauts swung open the door to their new space station addition Saturday and floated into the spacious and sparkling white room, formally christening it Harmony."

I’m tired of NASA being cotton candy all the time. Just once I’d like them to be a little edgy and name something the "Death Star".

Just what purpose does that International Space Station serve anyways? Maybe they should just call it the Black Hole?

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What’s Up With Segway

Segway… there’s a company you don’t hear much about anymore… in stark contrast to the early days. What’s up with them, obviously still in business? Looks like they are focusing on niche commercial markets and police/government.

I don’t see them on Amazon anymore, but I did find this book, although apparently it’s not much in demand anymore either.

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While searching for Segways on Amazon I did find this super cool “Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank“. Scrolling down the page reveals a beyond hilarious list of “customers who viewed this item also viewed”… uranium ore, whole rabbit, and an inflatable party sheep… sounds like one hell of a party.

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My Top 10 Movie Music List

And now for something completely different. The other day I was stuck in traffic and I got to thinking about the best adaptations of music to movies, in other words, soundtracks that rely on songs not originally scored for a movie. Last night I was watching television and compiled this list, but not in any order or preference:

- Green Onions by Booker T and the MG’s in American Graffiti. This song is immortalized in the scene featuring a single file row of hot rods driving out to Paradise Road for the climatic moment in the movie.

- The Ride of the Valkyries in Apocalypse Now. Quite possibly the only aspect that surpasses the brilliance of laying this classic over the helicopter battle scene is overlaying the helicopter pilot radio chatter on it. This is a movie filled with great music but this stands one scene stands out on so many levels.

- Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers in Notting Hill. Yeah, I’m comfortable enough with my masculinity to admit that I liked this movie. The scene featuring this song, which gets overused in modern movies, is really good not just because of the song but also the visual effect of Hugh Grant walking through the changing seasons. Well done.

- Stuck in the Middle With You by Stealers Wheel in Reservoir Dogs. Yeah the infamous “ear scene”… who could forget it.

- Layla by Derek and the Dominoes in Goodfellas. Robert DeNiro’s character pulls of the Air France heist and proceeds to kill almost everyone involved in the heist to this tune.

- Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie in Gross Pointe Blank. There are so many incredible Queen songs and I was tempted to highlight Bohemian Rhapsody in the movie Wayne’s World, but I think this the scene in Gross Pointe Blank featuring this song is more poignant whereas Wayne’s World is just about hamming it up to the song.

- Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith in Dazed and Confused. Anyone who grew up in the 1970′s will get the scene featuring the song because of the song, nuff said. Great cinematography in these scene in what is an otherwise weak movie.

- Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo?ole in Meet Joe Black. This song gets way too much use in commercials and movies but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s a beautiful rendition of a classic movie song and nicely applied to the scene in this movie. He has two songs in this movie, both are hypnotic.

- Your Song by Elton John in Moulin Rouge. The song is actually performed by Ewan McGregor so it probably doesn’t belong in this list, yet it’s still one of the most memorable scenes in a movie featuring a lot of really good music (who would of thought that Nirvana could be adapted to 19th century Parisian life).

- AC/DC in Maximum Overdrive. The entire soundtrack for the screen version of the Stephen King novel is AC/DC music and what makes it work is that each song is perfectly scripted to the scene that features it.

Public School Choice

"Right now he’s only guilty of the lesser sin of viewing real estate purchases as the natural vehicle through which one should excercise educational choice."
- Megan McCardle

And some wonder why real estate in some Bay Area neighborhoods is so much more costly than in adjacent zip codes. Schools. If I buy a much more expensive house in order to take advantage of a good public school I can use the tax code to write off the added mortgage expense, something I can’t do with private school tuition.

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