Posts from January 2007

CYHSY – Some Loud Thunder

Cyhsy
Andrew had heard that the new Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (CYHSY for short) record Some Loud Thunder isn’t as strong as their debut record. Fortunately, I don’t read enough mp3 blogs to pick up that kind of chatter. I got an advance copy of the new record (you can too by purchasing it via their website) and I listened to it for the first time this morning.

It’s pretty good. I’ll have to give it a few more listens to know for sure. I agree with Pitchfork that the single, Love Song #7 is a strange choice. It’s my least favorite track on the record.

Here’s my favorite track (give this track time, its takes a while to get going).

Mama Won’t You Keep Those Castles In The Air Burning – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Wanted – A Presidential Candidate That Blogs

I picked up the NY Post the other day (yes I read The Post sometimes) and saw an article that talked about Hillary’s "conversation with america" the other night. It was a live chat that featured responses from filtered questions that were emailed in. That’s 1995 Hillary. 2007 is a one to one relationship with the voters. You can’t do that sitting behind a computer and answering filtered emails.

I just checked the exploratory committee websites of Hillary, Obama, Edwards, McCain, and Romney. A few have blogs (or so they call them). Not one of them actually write any posts.

Why? Because they are too busy? Probably. But I can tell you that it doesn’t take that long to bang out a post. I did this one in two minutes.

I want to see a candidate really blog this election cycle. Maybe there is one already. If so, let me know who it is. I want to read it. I don’t care what political party they are in. That will get my attention.

Placeblogging With Flare

Frequent readers of this blog may have noticed a new flare underneath my posts over the past week.

Outside

The flare I am talking about is the one on the right, the outside.in flare. I took this screenshot from the bottom of my Wincing The Night Away post. The show was at the Virgin Records store in Union Square, so I tagged the post with 10003, the zipcode of that location. Now when you click on the outside.in flare you’ll see that post and other posts that have been geotagged with that location.

If you look at the bottom of this post, you’ll see that the flare looks differently.

Outside_no_tag_2

That’s because this post has not been geotagged in outside.in. It’s not a "placepost". If you want, you can click on that outside.in flare and geotag it, but I wouldn’t suggest it. The purpose of outside.in is to collect geo-relevant posts (placeposts).

So if you are a placeblogger like Curbed or Eater or Gothamist, you should absolutely add the outside.in flare so your posts can get tagged and entered into outside.in. And when they do get tagged, you’ll be doing your readers a favor by giving them a quick link out to more posts about the same neighborhood. Even if you only do a few placeposts now and then (like me), I think the outside.in flare is a great addition to a blog. I hope you agree.

The outside.in flare is one of the "official" flares at FeedBurner, so if you have a flare set up, its a snap to add it. Even if you don’t have a flare, setting one up is simple and I talked about how to do that in this post.

So start placeblogging with flare. Everyone benefits when you do that.

I’ll Bet He’s Wrong About That (continued)

Last September I wrote a post with the same title as this one in which I said:

David’s (David Card) a smart guy and generally right about stuff, but I’ll bet him a years worth of music on eMusic
that within 24 months at least one of the four majors will do a deal
with some service that sells music in non DRM’d mp3 format.

Well David didn’t take me up on that bet and it appears that he was smart to leave it alone. The New York Times is reporting from the Midem music trade fair that at least one major is close to releasing all of its music digitally in unprotected mp3 format.

That’s terrific news and I am so happy to hear it.

The Shins – Wincing The Night Away


  IMG_4493 
  Originally uploaded by Ed Yuen.

I winced the night away last night with a couple of friends. We went over to the Virgin Records store in Union Square last night to see The Shins give a free midnight performance. Anyone who bought a copy of Wincing The Night Away got in.

I didn’t take this photo, but the person who did (Ed Yuen) was right in front of me. I didn’t meet him at the show but I found his photos of the event on Flickr.

The Shins played a bunch of songs off the new record and also threw in a few oldies for good measure. The entire show lasted for 45 minutes and there was no encore.

They signed CDs for everyone who wanted that afterwards, but we didn’t stay for that.

I’ve had an advance copy of Wincing The Night Away for a couple months and it’s terrific. Since the advance copy came gratis, I bought the actual record last night. If you liked Chutes Too Narrow, you should do the same.

Red Rabbits – The Shins – Wincing The Night Away

Split Needles – The Shins – Wincing The Night Away

Why I’d Make Every E-Merchant Become A Blogger


  99 cent experiment 
  Originally uploaded by smalldogs.

Brandon asked in the comments to my Adding Some Flare post:

Thanks for bringing my attention to "flare". Do you believe that it is applicable to a e-Commerce website?

Hell yes.

Everything that works for bloggers will work even better for e-commerce merchants.

That’s why I would make anyone who is an e-merchant maintain a blog where they’d learn about search optimization, link tracking, social media optimization, word of mouth marketing, buzz tracking, feeds, flares, mybloglog, and a host of other important stuff that doesn’t cost a dime to do and brings traffic.

The sad thing (but also a fact of life on the Internet) is that the spammers have all figured this stuff out and the services like Google, FeedBurner, Technorati, Delicious, Digg, MyBlogLog, and others now spend a good deal of time thinking about how to keep the spammers out (or at least minimize their impact).

The web is a vast network that is driven by links. You can buy traffic for sure. And most merchants do that. But the free links you can get by participating in the social web can be just as powerful and they cost nothing other than time and energy. And they sustain themselves without additional investment and their power grows without additional effort.

So the next time you hire an e-merchant, the first thing you should do is tell them to start blogging. It will pay off I am sure.

Widget Removal – Which Ones Made The Cut?

Thanks for all the comments/votes on my Widget Removal post.

At 54 comments, it may be the most commented on post in the history of this blog.

As many of you commented, the widgets that run on this blog should be my choice and nobody else’s.

I agree, but I also realize that many of them have been running for a while and may have gotten stale.

What I really need to do is put in a widget service that will cache, serve, and rotate all my widgets. I know that Sniperoo does something like that. I am sure there are others. Please leave a comment to this post if you have a service that does this. I may someday get around to implementing that.

But at this point, I am still doing all of this manually. And this morning I manually removed a bunch of widgets and moved some around too.

I am not going to list all the widgets that got cut. I don’t want to offend anyone.

I will list the ones that made the cut and why.

First, here is the "off limits" list that I provided in my initial widget removal post.

1) In Heavy Rotation – Sonos sponsors this widget which generates money to charity. It stays.
2) Ads – They aren’t technically widgets, but they generate money to charity. They stay.
3)
Portfolio company widgets; Sitepal, Etsy, Indeed, and Delicious (for
old times sake). My portfolio companies are how I make money. They stay.

There were two widgets that are extremely popular and got mentioned by a bunch of commenters.

4) MyBlogLog – my personal favorite widget. Sure wish it was a USV portfolio company but that’s a story for another day.
5) Flickr – the audience’s favorite. and the grandaddy of widgets. and still one of the best.

And these got enough votes to keep them:

6) Wallstrip – Howard and crew are working on a better Wallstrip widget and it’s needed according to some of the comments.
7) The Music Widgets – I kept only last.fm and Streampad. More on this later.

And I kept the House Ads. They are my ads. They stay.

Everything else either became a link or is gone. Honestly I don’t notice the difference. The blog page is still butt ugly (or shabby chic depending on your taste). And I don’t think it loads any faster.

The only widgets I really miss are the music widgets. But I don’t want to have ten music widgets. What I want is one music widget that I can program to go fetch data on the various music services I use and present it in one place. When is someone going to build that?

I hope you all found this useful. I certainly did. There are a few big takeaways for me. First, widgets are loved and hated. Purists like Nick think that they violate the purity of the page. And Nick is clearly not alone in that camp. Others think they provide needed social/emotional/informational context. That’s the camp I am in.

Also, there are problems with the way widgets have been implemented to date. We need infrastructure to manage them. That starts with caching, serving, rotating, etc. And I am sure there is a lot more that can and will be done to improve widgets.

But one thing is for sure. Widgets are here to stay. This blog is proof of that. There’s no way I would remove all of my widgets. And more are on the way.

A Return To Royalty?

It’s not that I am against Hillary. I think she’s smart and I generally agree with her politics.

But if she’s elected President, the past four presidents will be from two families, the Bushes and the Clintons.

What does that say about our country and our democracy?

Our Generation

Typewriter
My friend Tom Watson asked me to contribute to his new culture blog called Newcritics. I don’t know if this will be a regular thing. I’ve got this blog to keep up and the Union Square Ventures weblog requires weekly attention too. But I like the idea of occasionally contributing to other group blogs.

So I kicked off my new life as a culture critic with a post about the classic Who song My Generation and what it means for me today. I hope you like it.

Debaser

The Pixies obsession continues: