I do know that you can't do it if all you get is negative reinforcement telling you the task is cosmically fated to never reach completion. So go, team, go, that's what I have to say.

In the meantime, do me a favor and try to avoid killing each other, okay?

Jeff Dorchen

 

This is how much of a web geek I am: when I read the headline Atom Breaks Rules, Beats Friction, I assumed it was regarding RFC4287. Turns out it's just about an actual atom breaking the rules of physics.

 

I've removed the PayPal donation link from fastr and replaced it with an AdBrite "zone," which is what they call their ads, I'm guessing because "Adbrite ad" sounds redundant. So if you want to give a donation for fastr, you have to buy an ad now.

If it works out, I'll probably remove the Google ads also. The thing I've liked about Google ads is their ability to add value to web content. I don't like ads that distract from content, but I do like ads that contribute something useful to the content.

The problem is that Google ads don't fulfill their promise consistantly. For the first day of fastr, Google was advertising spyware removal. Google uses its own search algorithms to figure out what a page is about and serve relevant ads, but that search algorithm can easily fall short. Google eventually figured out that fastr is a game, and now serves game ads mostly, but it could still be better.

AdBrite seems to be better. It doesn't wait for a computer to figure out what my site's about — it lets me describe my site. Would-be advertisers can search descriptions, find a relevant site on which to advertise within a budget, and buy ads. As a publisher, I can reject ads at my whimsy. And I will; I won't run ads on fastr that I don't expect will be of any interest to people playing the game. I don't know a lot about those people, but I know they are interested in games and flickr.

Someone already bought an ad through AdBrite, and it seems to confirm my high expectations for the service. It's a game related to flickr, TagMan. It's just like hangman, only it pulls words from tags on sites like flickr, and then points back to the sites' tag page after each round. So I think moving to AdBrite is a win-win-win. Players will get more interesting ads, advertisers will get an audience of people interested in what they're selling, and I think I'll make more money.

 

Feed Rinse appears to do what my RSS filter has done for about two years, only better, prettier, and for money. This seems to be a recurring theme with my projects. I continue to be surprised by what people will pay for. But maybe that's a good thing.

 

The thing is, even though I know how much more difficult Jason's routine is and how skilled he is, the very ease of his delivery makes it less likely an audience would give him that same ovation. Interesting how important effort seems to be.

Seth Godin

In university, I was involved in "Jugglers Against Homophobia" (which I gather has since become the less interesting "Jugglers Against Oppression"). I taught a lot of people how to juggle. I learned to give different advice to people learning how to juggle and people learning how to perform juggling. I would tell jugglers how to avoid dropping a ball (throw the next ball when the ball in the air is at maximum height, giving yourself the most time to react to the falling ball).

I would tell juggling performers the same thing, but then I would also tell them to start any segment of a juggling routine by dropping something. This establishes the difficulty of the activity and makes success more impressive. It seems a bit deceptive at first glance, but juggling really is hard.

 

It's often difficult to convince someone that meaningful URLs are important. "No one will be typing it anyway. They'll just be clicking on a link." is a common response to suggestions that http://somewebsite.com/avenue/pennsylvania/number/1600/ is a better address than http://somewebsite.com/?id=21376

Today I was looking at some PHP code snippets at http://www.bigbold.com/snippets/tag/php and I decided to subscribe to the feed. So I clicked on the feed button (because there are no autodiscovery tags), and was taken to http://www.bigbold.com/snippets/rss/tags, which isn't an actual feed. The link is broken. (I already sent an email.) I noticed that the URL doesn't describe the content of the feed I was looking for.

So I typed in what I thought would be a descriptive URL for a feed of items tagged with 'php': http://www.bigbold.com/snippets/rss/tag/php. And sure enough, that's where the feed was. In a world full of perfect people and perfect markup with no links to the wrong URLs, meaningful URLs don't matter as much. In the real world, they can make the difference between someone using your website and not.

 

The bad part about being diabetic is, like any terminal illness, the constant increased risk of death. But the bright side is the constant increased awareness of death. Everyone is going to die at some point, but few of us are actively aware of it. At times I've forgotten, but in general, since I was five years old, I've had an active awareness of death.

Earlier today I decided to take advantage of the nice weather to take my bike down to the gas station on the corner and use the free compressed air to fill up the tires. As soon as I got outside I realized the weather wasn't quite as nice as it looked, but by then I'd already committed to the project, so I foolishly continued. The gas station is about four blocks away, down a hill.

The front tire on my bike was too deflated to ride on, so I walked down the hill. I ran the pump three times as I struggled to position the nozzle in such a way that it would actually pump the air into the tire and marveled at how complicated such a seemingly simple task could be. Then I started to ride back home, at which point I realized my chain and front brakes were both detached. So I fixed those and realized the front tire was still too deflated. So I ran the pump yet again, and then started riding back home.

What I could have reasonably determined was too cold to ride became much too cold with the wind chill as I rode. My breathing became strained as I went back up the hill. After a four block ride, I arrived back home exhausted. I sat down on the couch and rested for a while. I was more tired than I should have been, I figured because I've long been less active than I should have been. I thought I might take a nap, but then I thought I should probably check my blood sugar first.

29

Oops. Jessica's at work today, so I could have easily gone to sleep for a nap and never woken up. I don't mean to be melodramatic here — much the opposite. The first time something like that happens, it's scary. I'm sure it still scares people who know me. But after it happens a couple dozen times, you get used to it. Death isn't so scary after a while.

You can see this in people who live in areas of poverty and/or war. They see death all the time, and they get used to it. Their friends and family die, and they go on living. For those of us who don't see death all the time, this is a familiarity we'd rather not have. We want to live forever and have everyone we know live forever also.

But it doesn't work that way. Reality refuses to cooperate with our illusions. Death happens. We don't need to celebrate it, but I think we need to get over it. We need to stop pretending that death is an aberration from the norm and realize that death is the norm. Death is a vital part of life.

Last year Steve Jobs gave the commencement speech at Stanford. In his speech, he said:

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important thing I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life, because almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

That's the nice part about being diabetic. I don't have to try so hard to remember what's important because I have a little machine that tells me three times a day how close I am to death. I just need to act on what's important. They haven't made a machine for that yet.

 

If you're an angry driver, you'll flip someone the bird or ride their bumper or cause an accident. You can tell yourself that those other drivers are assholes, but it's just fear. If you're a multi-millionaire, you'll hire a lawyer to intimidate someone to give you what you want when you want it, so they won't do something that you can't control. You'll tell yourself it's just business, but it's really just fear. If you're a country with an anxiety problem, you'll attack another country. You'll tell yourself it's a matter of national security, but it's just fear. None of which ever solves the problem. All of which create bigger problems of their own.

Dave Rogers, Getting Back to Normal

 

Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves.

Caring for Your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch.

 

I gather from this weblog post that Amy Jo Kim made a presentation at ETech and used fastr to demonstrate that games should have points. That reminded me to make a page of daily high scores for fastr (English only currently). It's only counting the top five scores for each round (because that's all I'm saving) and adding them up by player name (which are not necessarily unique). If you're into points, enjoy. If you're not, ignore.

In other game news, I've spent too long playing matchr. It looks easier than it is, which makes it addictive (despite the lack of points).