Posts from August 2007


Here’s a cool Mac app that Andreas Lienemann tipped me off about yesterday in the comments to my Pownce Message post.

Moodblast (aka Moodswing) will send a status update to Twitter, Jaiku, and Facebook simultaneously. It will also update status on iChat and Skype as well. And it does some cool tricks with the music you are currently listening to and you can get weather updates as well. I haven’t tried anything other than Facebook and Twittter updating, which works perfectly.

Follow this link if you want to download Moodblast and please donate if you end up using it. I did.

Of course, this doesn’t really solve my problem of wanting to update Facebook status with Twitter. I do many of my Twitter updates via text on my blackberry and that won’t get to Facebook. But if the person who wrote Moodblast can figure out how to update Facebook status automatically surely it can be done by others.

#VC & Technology

Closing Out Comments On Older Posts?

I switched to a new comment system (more on that later today or tomorrow) on August 7th, two weeks ago.

Since then I’ve received 22 comments that are not comment spam on the old typepad system. I haven’t kept count of how many total comments I’ve received on the old typepad comment system in the past two weeks but the past 24 hours was typical. A dozen comments and only one that I kept.

Comment spam on typepad is a huge problem. I’ve tried captchas, I’ve tried blacklisting IP addresses, I’ve tried blacklisting certain words. Nothing seems to solve the problem. I guess when I was getting thirty to fifty comments per day I could live with ten of them being spam.

But now that I am getting only a dozen a day, I wonder if its even worth keeping the old comment system open. I’ll certainly keep the comments that are resident there. They are as important as the posts. But I am seriously thinking of closing comments on all my posts made prior to August 7, 2007.

If you have something to say on one of those old posts, do it now.

It also suggests that Six Apart, the company that provides the typepad service, should allow bloggers to close comments on old posts. The vast majority of comment spam comes on old posts. The vast majority of legit comments come on new posts. I think one small but important step in managing the comment spam problem is to allow bloggers to close comments out on older posts.

#VC & Technology

Received This Message On Pownce

From Jake:

Starting now, I’m collapsing every app I see on any Facebook profile.
Probably sounds ridiculous coming from an app developer but it has
become way too overwhelming to scroll through an average profile.
Facebook feels cleaner already.

This isn’t coming from a 46 year old person, it’s coming from a 15 year old. Something to think about.

I gotta figure out this "collapsing" thing so I can clean up my Facebook too.

Also, it sure would be great if I could get my pownce messages and Facebook status updates in Twitter. And I am sure there are Facebook and Pownce users who would like to get my Twitter updates in those services.

#VC & Technology

Rhapsody Hooks Up With MTV

The big news this morning (for me anyway) is that Rhapsody is hooking up with MTV. Real and Viacom are forming a joint venture to promote and market the Rhapsody music service. Regular readers know what a huge fan I am of Rhapsody so I figure you all want to know what I think about this move.

First, I am happy to see a company like Viacom with significant resources so excited about Rhapsody. Rhapsody has been around a long time, has lost money as far as I know since inception, and is still very much a niche service. So the fact that MTV is excited about Rhapsody is a good thing. I hope and expect that they will be investing cash and/or marketing dollars into Rhapsody as part of this joint venture.

I think Rhapsody (or a service like it) is the future of music. It won’t be long until we can connect to the Internet from anywhere and when we can, there will no longer be a need to have files stored locally on any device (ipod, computer, laptop, music server, etc). We’ll just log into whatever music service we use, decide what we want to listen to, and the music will start playing. That’s how it works in my home already.

But not many people seem to understand Rhapsody. The two negatives I always hear are:

1) people want to own their music (even though they don’t want to pay for it)
2) $9.99 per month is too high. people are tired of monthly fees and don’t want another one

I think marketing, real marketing, not the Microsoft style marketing that Real executes, will help with both issues. But the marketing cannot only be about awareness, it also needs to be about the value proposition. All the music, all the time, with the click of a button.

But marketing alone won’t cure what’s wrong with Rhapsody. Here are the things I’d do if I were Real’s new partner MTV.

1) Offer a subscription plan that incorporates an eMusic style DRM free music download service. For those people who do want to continue to own music, Rhapsody should offer "sample and own’ plan. For say, $20/month, you get unlimited listening plus 30 downloads a month. And Rhapsody will know what you are listening to and can recommend what those 30 downloads should be.

2) Get on more connected devices. Sonos with Rhapsody is the killer product. It takes Rhapsody off the computer and into the living room and gives you a wireless controller so you can change the music without getting up. But there are many connected devices out there and more coming every day. Get Rhapsody on all of them. Make deals with the devices manufacturers to incent them to bundle with Rhapsody. I’d give a year free as an incentive to bundle. Once you’ve had Rhapsody for free for a year, you won’t be able to live without it.

3) Go mobile with a streaming service. I don’t want a cheap Sansa device that is basically an inferior iPod. I don’t want to have to synch a mobile device with Rhapsody to get my files on my mobile device. That’s copying the iPod/iTunes experience with an inferior offering. Blow right past iTunes. Offer me the ability to stream to my mobile device like I do with my laptop and Sonos. I am listening to Rhapsody right now in the back of a car taking me to JFK. We are going 60 mph down the Southern State Parkway and the reception is excellent. Why can’t I have a mobile device like an iPod that does that? That uses the iPod connectors so I can make it work in my car? Or better yet, just give it to me on my phone.

4) Build a social network around Rhapsody. Buy Yottamusic and incorporate all of its features into Build an API that lets any connected device that is running Rhapsody (Sonos, Squeezebox, Phone, Mobile Music Player, etc) report back to Rhapsody what I am listening to and share that with my social network on Rhapsody.

None of these are rocket science. Others have paved the way for all of these moves. There’s nothing new here. Just good product management and common sense. My hope is Real’s new partner, MTV, will force the management of the joint venture to do all of these things and do them asap.

Because Rhapsody is an awesome service. Music dial tone. It would be a shame if the company that invented the future of music didn’t profit from it.

#My Music#VC & Technology

My Birthday Present

The Gotham Gal and my kids got me what I couldn’t bring myself to buy.


Thankfully they ordered it from Apple and I can now choose how to activate it myself. Given that I don’t want to use it as a phone, just as a wifi enabled camera, music player, and browser, any advice on how best to do that?

#VC & Technology

A Birthday Gift To My Feed Readers

For some reason, I could never get a link to my typepad comments into my feed.

One of the reasons I moved to disqus is that they told me they could do it easily. And they did.

Today, I got a feed flare for my disqus comment system.

So if you are reading this post via a feed, you should see a link to comment.

Please click on that link and tell me what you think.

#VC & Technology

Forty Six Today

  Birthday Cake 
  Originally uploaded by PinkCakeBox.

Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States when he was 46 so I am feeling a little bit like a slacker this morning.

But seriously,I always use these milestones we call birthdays to take measure of my life. And so far so good.

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for to be honest. My wife, my kids, my family, the greatest job I could ever have, wonderful colleagues, terrific companies to work with, a vibrant community that I get to be the moderator of. 

So I’ll count my blessings today, work a bit, take advantage of being in long island with my family a bit, and generally celebrate mid life.

If you are in the mood for a bit of eye candy this morning, check out this flickr account. It’s by Pink Cake Box and they also have a blog with recipes. Wow.

#Random Posts

Kite Boarding

I rode out to Lazy Point this morning and the wind was up, gusting to 30 mph and a constant 15-20 mph. It made for a tough bike ride but when I got out there, I got a show. The kite boarders were out in mass, taking turns riding the stiff breeze in Napeague Harbor.


Even though there aren’t any waves in Napeague Harbor, the kite boarders were getting serious air.


It sure looks like fun, but I’ve been told that it takes at least 10 lessons to get good enough to have fun. Not sure that’s in the cards for me.

#VC & Technology