« November 2004 | Main | January 2005 »

December 31, 2004

Contribute to disaster in Sri Lanka

Phil Bogle, from one of our portfolio companies pointed me to this local charity in Sri Lanka: THE NATIONAL DISASTER RELIEF AND REHABILITATION FUND. I like to give as directly as possible with as little overhead as possible. This looks like a good one in this case. Here is what Phil said about it:

If anyone is interested in donating to a reputable grassroots charitable organization that allows online donations, I now have one. This is the by the Colombo Chamber of Commerce, which Manjari's (my wife's uncle) is involved with.

Their web site is http://www.sossrilanka.org/

A local organization like this is complementary to the efforts of big multinationals like the Red Cross and Unicef, donations to which I also encourage wholeheartedly.

They have lots of volunteers already in place who know the country well and they're in it for the long haul. A key problem is simply understanding what the needs are and how to efficiently meet those needs based on the resources available. A long term perspective and commitment is important. Both the lions club and the colombo chamber of commerce are thinking about the longer terms issues of housing and improved warning systems, as well as immediate aid and comfort. The outpouring of local volunteerism and contributions here has really been quite amazing.


Posted by Martin at 3:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 30, 2004

Ouch, a blow to Passport and .NET from eBay

Looks like eBay is getting smarter about their platform strategy. They dropped support for PassPort and .NET alerts. eBay to Drop Passport, .Net Support Let me ask you this. If eBay asked you to install some software so you could keep real-time track of your auctions, would you? I thought so. e-bay auction event notifications are some of the most valuable event messages traveling the internet. Sometimes more valuable than my e-mail. Does eBay have the chops to drive a messaging standard? Well they obviousy want more branding in their messaging since they are keeping their own phone alerts and their eBay Toolbar. I think this is just the beginning of eBay the platform company.

Posted by Martin at 2:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What happened in 2004 that was interesting?

Here is TRN mag's picks. TRN's Top Picks: Technology Research Advances of 2004
" Each year sees more researchers at work and more research papers published than the last -- the volume of scientific and technological research has doubled every decade for the past three centuries.

The profusion of technology research in 2004 includes notable advances in biotechnology, communications, computing, engineering, energy, security, nanotechnology, applied physics and the Internet." Most of the stuff is pretty obscure. And remember this is basic research that won't see productization for years. But this stuff is the wet dream of many a VC.

It gets me thinking about what I think was interesting about 2004. I will have to think on that some more.


Posted by Martin at 2:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2004

Trying Audacity

When my friend Eric says something doesn't suck, I stand up and take notice. Eric doesn't say this about many things. He recently pointed me to Audacity, an open source sound editing software project. I am downloading it now. It uses the LAME library for MP3 encoding and has all the basics, but the best part is IT IS FREE! Keep an eye here for a full review.

Posted by Martin at 11:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

ten things you should know about Can-Spam

Thanks Lockergnome for this handy short cut to the important things. 10 Things You Should Know About CAN-SPAM - Reported by Aunty Spam's Net Patrol What it doesn't say though is that the law totally doesn't work, hasn't worked, and won't work. I read today that in 2005 Spam is going to be over 90% of interent e-mail traffic. When the "legitimate" e-mail traffic is SINGLE DIGITS, you would think that people might get off their arses and install CloudMark.

Posted by Martin at 11:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One last Apprentice post

A reader sent me some background on the winner, Kelly. More grist for the mill. It doesn't surprise me that Kelly has some dotcom arrows in his back. Thanks Justin!

This Kelly Perdew guy is a dot-com veteran:

You start from here and you Google every name and you will get a good idea where he went/what he did/with whom/when besides his “official resume”.

http://www.kellyperdew.com/proreferences.htm

So he basically started as a West Point graduate. Gets his MBA and Law from UCLA, goes to Deloitte, joins a video conferencing equipment company and starts an event management company called K12.

Then he ends up as a “Senior Vice President, Business Development” at eTeamz, that won the UCLA Business Plan competition and obtained $5 million VC funding (founder/CEO Brian Johnson, now 29). 2000/2001, the company got into trouble, hired Steve Wynne (Adidas USA president) http://www.telezoo.com/press/wsjpress.asp as CEO and sold the company to Active.com (apparently in the 10 digits). Kelly claims to be acting president at the time of sale, so Wynne probably left before the sale.

Kelly then founded LayoffLounge.com with Jeremy Gocke http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/sci_tech/2000/dot_life/1368739.stm in about 2001 offering “pink slip” networking events and franchising the concept around the US… some time between then and now, he starts MotorPride.com with Jon Kraft (Jon founded Stanford Technology Group (Hummer Winblad/Sequoia) and SavageBeast Technology (Garage, Labrador, Walden)). http://www.coreobjects.com/data/medent.htm

In March 03, Kelly and Jon joined CoreObjects as COO of US Operations and SVP of Sales and Marketing: http://www.socaltech.com/archive/030328.html .. CoreObjects is a software outsourcing house (to India) which developed some software for Stamps.com.

With Perdew on board, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump makes some major Internet “real estate investments” in 05 :-)


Posted by Martin at 10:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sunday afternoon fun

My daughter Finn just finished a book of 25 connect the dot activities that I bought for $9.95. She wanted to do more, so of course I went to Google. Here is a great site with lots of connect the dot activities for free printing... Connect the Dots

Posted by Martin at 4:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Installing a discussion board

Well I started another blog B100Fuel.com , just what I need, more work. But this one came with some fun! I decided to add a discussion board and installed InvisionBoard. Here it is: B100Fuel.com (Powered by Invision Power Board) I even figured out the template structure they were using and inserted google adsense in there. It was totally easy using CPanel at my ISP. It took some time to figure out that a Category was the Parent of a Forum, but that was cake compared to the bugs I was expecting. So far, a completely smooth install with no configuration bugs! Can't say that about too many software installs. Especially on a linux server in Huston by a Windows guy!

Posted by Martin at 3:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Performance electric car poll results

Here are the results of that poll:

How much would you pay for a luxury sports electric car you could charge in regular outlet, reached 100mph with 300mi range?
less than $15,000 15 %
(2 votes)
$15,000-$30,000 23 %
(3 votes)
$30,000-$45,000 38 %
(5 votes)
$45,000-$60,000 15 %
(2 votes)
$60,000 + 7 %
(1 votes)
Total votes 13

looks like most people only want to spend what they spend on average for an SUV, 30-45K. I personally would spend over 60K. I am looking forward to performance electric sports cars that are coming out this year.

This month's poll is about use of BioDiesel. Specifically how much B100 a month do you use? I guess most people will say zero. But I have the Touareg and want to start a discussion around what the world would look like if 100% of today's diesel cars and trucks ran on B100 instead of petroleum based diesel? Follow this discussion at www.B100Fuel.com.

Posted by Martin at 1:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2004

Now here is what Santa should put in my stocking

Fuel Cell Car Kit at uTOYpia

Posted by Martin at 11:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Apprentice 2: The last post

Since everyone on the planet (or at least reading this blog) already knows the results, I won't go into the gory details. Kelly won. And Jennifer was the runner up (as I had predicted from episode one). Lets do a quick review of how my predictions matched up with The Donald, then I would like to go into a much longer discussion about the Apprentice in general (hell why not?).

For the season I am 12 for 14 , batting .857. Not a bad season!
I predicted one of the two finalist from show #1 (Jennifer) and picked Kelly as a finalist half way through (after I saw him in action).

My finalist from Nov 14 (when I had to add some since Raj was fired):

Jennifer (hard core and straight up)
Kelly - solid organized, player.

My original finalists from the very start of the show were:

Raj - kookie but maybe smart behind it all (turned out to be just silly and not smart)
Jennifer - Steel eyes, very crafty.
Elizabeth - Very quiet and tight disposition that unfortunately fell to pieces as soon as she was put into leadership.

Overall, I have to agree with Trump on hiring Kelly. But Jennifer put up a very good fight. I truly believe that Trump was torn and did want to hear other people's comments in the boardroom (Kennedy Center). Trump likes people who perk up in the board room. Remember how Andy got "killed" by the two girls? Kelly didn't do a good job defending himself. All he could do was say "my record, by background". His teams were 10/4 where Jennifer was 8/6, but I don't think that really matters. The real difference was that Kelly was 100% as project leader. So was Jennifer, but she only was PM once to Kelly's three. Jennifer was good at staying out of the board room and good at taking credit for other people's work, but The Donald saw through that. One very REAL part of the show as when Trump's COO couldn't talk in front of a camera. Here, a big guy with a mustache. It can happen to anyone. I didn't give two shits what Omarosa had to say. That was pure theatre to bring her back. And that outfit? Please. Well, no cash offer's this time, but it was pretty funny that Ivana Ma was about to say she would drop her skirt again until The Donald convinced her otherwise. Kelly is right to have taken the NYC job. Stay close to the Donald.


As you know, The Apprentice 3 has a new twist. Highly educated MBA's against street smart people with highschool diploma's. Mark is obviously getting bored with the format and frankly so am I. I like this angle. This year had too many ivy league people and was pretty boring. I loved Troy last year! He totally outsmarted a couple of those smarty pants ivy types. Well the Donald made $750,000 for the Apprentice 1 and $3.2M for the Apprentice 2 (not including tie-ins), how much do you think he is getting paid for the Apprentice 3? I bet over $6M. And more product tie-ins.

But, oh fair reader, you won't get my commentary on The Apprentice 3. Yes, you see I have better things to do. Like watch Boston Legal. Maybe I should write about that. Actually I will probably watch less TV in the new year. This Venture Capital thing is really heating up (now that Ivana is out of it). Something else. I would NEVER want to work for The Donald. And moreover, I would NEVER hire anyone he thought was great. The Donald is an anachronism. His management style is straight out of the 50s. I mean the guy still wears suits every time you see him. Have you seen his penthouse? Did anyone bother to tell him that goldtone fixtures went out with the French Revolution? The Donald is straight from the "my way or the highway" management style. Which, by the way I like VERY MUCH in an early stage start-up CEO. In many ways I was like that at Loudeye. And he makes quick decisions and doesn't look back. That is all good in a fast changing environment where you get paid for hanging your balls out there (like a tech start-up). But I would never want to work for the guy. And his style would not work in a tech start-up because unlike the real-estate business, in tech the CEO has to hire people who are intellectually superior to himself (they are called developers). The CEO is usually not the most technically proficient person in a tech start=up. But he has to know how to recruit and motivate them. For all his bluster, Larry Ellison knows how to do this. So does Bill Gates. The both have very abrasive in your face management styles, but also have a culture of meritocracy. Challenge everyone and let the smartest win. The Donald may be like this, but I doubt it. He has too much of an ego. He was peeved when Jennifer didn't stick around and hold his hand. No Donald, she was doing this thing called WORKING. The Donald asks people for their opinion, but I don't really think he wants it. All of the truly smart people I know are innately curious. I don't get the feeling that the Donald is innately curious or interested in much other than what he thinks he already knows.

So he is off the list. I am done with the Donald. Thanks for reading.

Posted by Martin at 10:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Uninstalling more software

Uninstalled Optimal Desktop from Desktop Organization: Integrated Web Browser, RSS reader, File Manager : Get anywhere with 3 clicks or less. Never used it, never saw a reason for another UI other than Windows. It ain't broke, no reason to fix it.

and Sidepipe. The media player enhancement. Looks like their site is down too. Maybe they are in the ether with their bits.

the Wild Tangent web viewer. Dammit, that thing is like a bad penny! It just keeps coming back!

VCN Agent from IP Dynamics. A very interesting idea, private run DNS servers to allow virtual private networks with their client code. All encrypted, IP address independent. I like the idea. Didn't really use the software in my business. As an investment, a pretty crowded space to get into at this stage of the game.

Any@web viewer home edition 2.2. The best WIFI network sniffer I have found. But I only had the trial version and didn't feel like paying (not snooping coffee shops enough lately). I can buy whenever I want and I probably will. Ah, what the hell, they have a 2.7 version on their site. Downloading now... Out with the old, in with the new.

Posted by Martin at 8:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pluck Sucks (again)

I have posted about Pluck before (back in March). At that time I was casting about for an RSS Reader. The author of Pluck was quite Plucky at the time and sent me a comment.

So this time when I was looking for a simple to use RSS reader for my team to standardize on, I gave Pluck another try (this time version 1.095.005). Unfortunately it fell short in two key areas.

1. It only works in IE. Half our team uses Firefox (which has it's own very good RSS reader integrated with Bookmarks thankyou).
2. It can't read secure pages. For my team blog there are two levels of passwords. Pluck doesn't prompt you for the password the server is asking for, it only tells you it can't find the .RDF file (404 error).

So I recommended NewsGator which works in Outlook of course, but I spend more time there than the browser anyway and yes it handles secure pages just fine, asking for the log-on credentials.

Keep working at it Pluck.... It took Microsoft till 3.1 to get Windows usable!

Posted by Martin at 8:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

RSS bandwidth consumption becoming a real issue

I have posted about this before, now MSDN and other high traffic bloggers are tweaking their RSS to manage both the bandwidth consumption and the server load. RSS Comes with Bandwidth Price Tag. Typical solutions include banning overzealous news readers, truncating entries (to make the file smaller), or using header caching or the TTL spec. Of course, no-one is using any kind of standard. This particular article doesn't mention another option which is RSS offloading. This is something that FeedBurner is doing. I like that approach. By outsourcing your RSS feed there are a million ways that the outsourcer can add value to your feed in addition to freeing up your server. I think even small bloggers should do this.

Posted by Martin at 7:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MSDN gets hit with comment spam

Microsoft Bloggers Face Search Spam Pinch. Apparently Microsoft has over 1,200 bloggers on their own platform and have a spam problem. Their solution was typical Microsoft: disable comments across the board. I guess I better install the MT upgrade to give my server a break.

Posted by Martin at 7:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mobile spam outpaces desktop in Korea...

Coming to a phone near you. The Korea Times : Mobile Spam Outnumbers Desktop's. this is coming to America. I already get the stuff.

Posted by Martin at 7:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Judge throws out Guilty Plea in Spam case

This one is surprising: MercuryNews.com | 12/21/2004 | Guilty plea rejected in AOL spam case The AOL employee who stole those 92 million e-mail addresses from AOL last year tried to plead guilty and the judge wouldn't let him. The judge isn't sure the guy violated the Can-Spam act. Hey judge, didn't he violate anything?

Posted by Martin at 7:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

my foaf

Martin's Foaf

Posted by Martin at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The best 2004 lists

This guy has been doing a good job collecting all the "best of" lists he can find. 340 this year. I wonder if you can make a business re-distributing that stuff? I wonder what the rights are. It seems to me that there is a need for agregation of content like this and re-distribution on a micro basis. While I don't like the micro-publishing model of WeblogsInc and that ilk, I do believe there may be a business in micro-web services.

Posted by Martin at 10:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 20, 2004

Blog beats Wiki

So after alot of gnashing of teeth, I have choosen Movable Type Publishing Platform 3.1 over a Wiki for our Ignition Team group sharing tool. Basically wiki's require you to learn a new tag format and come with varying degree of WISYWIG tools for publishing. Wiki's are also an order of magnitude harder to use than Blogs by the simple fact that they have more features. I could see using a Wiki to manage a workflow in a highly technical team instead of Outlook/exchange.

In the case of our little VC team, all we needed was a central place where we could post thoughts about companies, upload documents, have threaded comments, and simple search. These requirements do not a wiki make. The sharing tool had to be totally light weight and simple to use. The only thing I that would make this blog easier would be if I could copy it on an e-mail so that many of the internal e-mails on companies could just automatically go into the blog and be searchable. I will work on that this week.

Bottom line. For simple collab, go Blog not Wiki. I installed and ran through the features with Kwiki, TikiWiki, SocialText hosted, PMWiki, Moin Moin, and tWiki. For ease of set-up and rich features go with SocialText hosted if you must have a collab solution.

Posted by Martin at 2:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MT comment spam

I see that MT has hired Jay Allen, the original comment anti-spam king as a product manager. Good job! His latest post about the subject, though Movable Type Publishing Platform: Comment spam load issue is totally lacking in practicality. He suggests that the solution to comment spam is dynamic templates. That is also the road to a low google page rank. Google can't index dynamically generated pages well. The whole purpose of a blog (search) is hosed. come on guys, find another solution.

Posted by Martin at 1:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Everything you wanted in a V10 tdi

look here for what VW is doing with their V10 TDI engine: VW Phaeton V10 TDI In Detail I LOVE the Touareg, I may have to get the Phaeton.

Posted by Martin at 6:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2004

The little country that could

Ross Mayfield's Weblog: Estonia: If It Works, You Can Break It. Ross makes a very insightful point in this post. Estonia has the "imigrant mentality". Remember when America had that? I like to see that in an entrepreneur. I have not been as impressed with third and fourth time entrepreneurs as I have with first timers. Just as four generations off the boat people are less hungry and more comfortable than when they first arrive. Maybe I should start taking some plane rides...

Posted by Martin at 9:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

FTC ruling in all the gory details

If you prefer reading the original FTC ruling in all it's federal government glory, the original source document is here.
would not recommend it without at least a double tall latte.

Posted by Martin at 9:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

FTC issues final definitions and guidelines of SPAM under Can-Spam

Nothing like an effecient government. Nearly a year after the law went into "effect", the FTC has finally gotten around to issuing guidelines and operational details with which some kind of real regulation may be implemented. I don't think this work will effectively reduce the flood of spam either. But here it is:

FTC Issues Final Rule Defining What Constitutes a “Commercial Electronic Mail Message”

Notice Includes Criteria For Determining the “Primary Purpose” of an E-Mail Message

The Federal Trade Commission today issued final regulations to facilitate the determination of whether an e-mail message has a commercial primary purpose and is subject to the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act. The CAN-SPAM Act, which took effect January 1, 2004, requires the Commission to issue regulations “defining the relevant criteria to facilitate the determination of the primary purpose of an electronic mail message.” The FTC published a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on August 13, 2004, seeking public comment on its proposed primary purpose criteria. The NPRM followed an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, issued on March 11, 2004, on this and other related issues raised by the CAN-SPAM Act.

As detailed in the Federal Register notice, which will be published shortly and can be found on the Commission’s Web site as a link to this press release, the final Rule is substantially similar to the proposal contained in the NPRM, but adds a criterion for determining the primary purpose of an e-mail message containing only “transactional or relationship” content, among other minor changes. The CAN-SPAM Act regulates both commercial messages and transactional or relationship messages. The notice makes clear that the Commission does not intend to regulate non-commercial speech through the Rule. The notice also addresses public comments received about the constitutionality of the CAN-SPAM Act, as well as of the FTC’s “primary purpose” criteria.

The final Rule sets forth criteria for determining the primary purpose of various kinds of e-mail messages. These include:


Finally, the final Rule incorporates the “Sexually Explicit Labeling Rule” as promulgated in April 2004. The Commission vote approving publication of the Federal Register notice was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Jon Leibowitz not participating.



Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.


Posted by Martin at 9:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ouch $1B has gotta hurt

Well it seems that the courts may be making progress against spammers Judge Awards $1 Billion in Spam Lawsuit. Of course there is no way that the plaintif will ever recover $1B from the spammers, but it is a good start. Yet the courts are a one step forward, one step back story. In the same week, a judge in MD declares that state's spam law unconstitutional on the rounds that it tries to regulate interstate commerce (which is solely a federal job).

Posted by Martin at 9:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A vote for MoinMoin

My friend Eric at Flowermatic recommends: FrontPage - MoinMoin

In his e-mail he says:

http://moinmoin.wikiwikiweb.de/

Gotta learn some simple "rules" about how to link the pages together, then it's very easy.

I wish there was an auto-alpha list (for keeping a phone list or customer list)

I am stil in review mode. Thanks Ross for the trial at hosted Socialtext!

Posted by Martin at 8:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2004

Want to do a background check on yourself for $10?

Here is the future.... WATCH - Washington Access to Criminal History who needs PIs?

Posted by Martin at 10:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 16, 2004

installing TikiWiki

After downloading Kwiki and realizing that I need Admin shell access to the server (which I don't have on shared hosting), and reading this page: Wiki Engines/Comparing Wikis - WikkiTikkiTavi and talking to Rich about his PHPWiki experiences, I have decided to install TikiWiki. Also since it is pre-configured with Fantastico, I just push a button and it is there. No worries. Gotta love that.

Posted by Martin at 4:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good overview of Wiki engines

ONLamp.com: Which Open Source Wiki Works For You?
Pretty good reveiw with recommendations. He trashes on Kwiki a little and recommends PHPWiki and TWiki instead. I am going to dig some more. PHPWiki is on my CPanel script auto install so I may in fact install that just because it is easy.

Posted by Martin at 3:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

thinking wiki

Thinking about installing a wiki for our team to collaborate on deals with. My server has PHPWiki and TikiWiki as default scripts. Of course, I could download anything. I have read a couple reviews and TikiWiki seems to come out on top.

Now found this small site with a bunch of "coedit" sites. coedit.net It runs on MoinMoin wiki software. Looks pretty geeky and German. But their WikiGuide gives a bunch of good links to other references and beginner concepts. There are thousands of Wiki engines written in hundreds of different languages.

Well, in deference to my friends over at Social Text, I am going to install Kwiki. Also Six Apart uses them.

Posted by Martin at 3:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid

As I sit here at 2:30 eating my (second) chocolate cookie and (third) coffee of the day, I am reading a post about the Food Pyramids: Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health. Harvard has improved on the USDA pyramid. Maybe tomorrow....

Posted by Martin at 2:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 15, 2004

good article on diesel cars vs other alternatives

Save the Earth -- buy a diesel? They're getting a new look. - Apr. 22, 2003

Posted by Martin at 3:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Got the Touareg TDI today

Finally got the Touareg TDI V10 today! All I can say is WOW! 310 hp and lighter than the Cayenne S. Much more low end torque. This thing is a bat out of hell! If you stomp on the gas (biodiesel) off the line you can spin all four tires (all wheel drive). The first ones to come in have all the options including heated everything (including steering wheel), nav system, air suspension, proxmity sensors, OnStar, soft leather, three position memory seats and much more. The coolest thing is the glow of the instruments, very stylish. We got Silver outside with black leather interior. After Alex drove it I asked if I could and she said "only once then never again!". "Don't even leave a scrap of paper in there". I may even have to get rid of the Avalanche for this one! 17 city, 23 highway. Will report how it does on biodiesel. I bet those numbers are not putting your foot into it though.

It came with a full tank of regular diesel, so after about a 1/4 tank, I took it down to Dr. Dan's for a biodiesel fill-up. He said going immediately to 100% would be fine. Everyone came out and wanted to look under the hood and inside as it is the first one in Seattle. The engine is totally covered with plastic so you can't see anything except the oil stick hanging out. Well I pre-paid my 40 gallons for $3.47 a gallon and got a key to the pump. Honor system down there you know. He has plans to build a real gas station for CNG and Biodiesel, but needs to sell a couple more gallons. Now I gotta teach Alex how to fill up down there.

Posted by Martin at 3:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 12, 2004

more links on the HDT

found some more links with good articles on the HDT diesel motorcycle and how it works.
Diesel bike
The technical specs.

Posted by Martin at 7:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 9, 2004

Wow, a Biodiesel Motorcycle!

I gotta get one. HDT - Hayes Diversified Technologies The Seattle motorcycle show is this weekend. Hope one is there. I gotta have it!

Posted by Martin at 4:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Here is the official Segway Concept Centaur video and specs page

Segway | Concept Centaur. They are calling it a concept which means it won't be in production any time soon. More importantly, I am waiting for the LiOn batteries next year.


Posted by Martin at 3:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 8, 2004

Pennsylvania promoting Biodiesel

The state just signed into law a comprehensive alternative energy bill that focused on requiring a 10% of the electricity in the state to come from renewables. They also passed a bill to encourage fleet use of alternative fuel vehicles, primarilly biodiesel. Good facts in all the releases and the bill. I sure wish Washington would pass a similar bill.

Governor Rendell also signed Senate Bill 255, the Alternative Fuels Incentive Act, which establishes a fund to help people and organizations buy alternative-fuel vehicles and convert existing vehicles to allow them to use alternative fuels. A one-time transfer of funds this fiscal year will support research and installation of alternative energy systems that produce power. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) hailed the bill. See the governor's press release, the full text of Senate Bill 255, and the NBB press release (PDF 27 KB).

Posted by Martin at 12:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 6, 2004

new Honda diesel commercial in Europe

Thanks Rob for the pointer to: the new Honda commercial for their new cleaner and quieter diesel engine. This is not your father's diesel. Especially with the new 2007 standards coming, the new diesel engines are an order of magnitude quieter and less poluting. Especially if you run Biodiesel!

My Touareg TDI is MIA. Should have been here friday. Still waiting.

Posted by Martin at 5:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PopFile spam survey

The guys over at PopFile have been fighting the good fight with opensource for some time. Just took their little survey today Spam Filtering Survey - Page 1. It takes about 15 minutes and helps them improve their product. You even get to be a spam filter yourself and sort mail. Only if you are really bored though...

Posted by Martin at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

HTML Help!

OK, I give up. I can't get the large space between the text and the table in this entry gone. Deep Green Crystals: Amazon beats E-Bay on price!. I have spent too much time on it. Any ideas? I don't see any code that says make three pages of spaces before the table. I exported the table from Excel as HTML and already took all the junk out that Excel put in. I have edited it in Frontpage and it previews ok there, but shows up wrong here. When I take the code from "< table >" to "< /table >" out, the spaces go away and the text shows up in correct order.

I am stymied...

Posted by Martin at 10:13 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 5, 2004

The real winner of the book price/service wars...

Again Amazon. But Amazon direct from their warehouse. If you buy enough to get the free shipping, you only pay tax and only then if you live in Washington (like I do unfortunately. If you don't live in Washington, you only pay .$.30 more than Overstock.com and you get all the speed and convenience of Amazon. Jeff, you are doing it right!

Amazon New No Ship Amazon 0 11.53 1.03 0 12.56 8.90%

Posted by Martin at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Amazon beats E-Bay on price!

In my recent comparative price shopping, EBay has always come out on top. But today I was shown up! I am shopping for the book Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics for my wife for christmas. I checked e-bay, Amazon and a couple retailers (thansk PriceGrabber) just for jollies. The funny result is that a third party seller on Amazon is in fact cheaper than all other sellers! (with the notable exception of OverStock.com which is not in every market). I was surprised that a third party beat Amazon and was expecting to find the cheapest reseller on eBay. I wonder if this is only true for books. The other interesting stat is the % of total price that is taxes and shipping! On an item around $10 bucks it can be as much as 50%!
Keep an eye on those fees!

Here are the results:


Book: The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics              
Date 12/5/2004           tax+ship
    Feedback price taxes shipping total % of price
Overstock.com Overstock 0 9.83 0 1.4 11.23 14.24%
Any Book Amazon 86329 10.76 0 3.49 14.25 32.43%
All Direct Amazon 171315 11.19 0 3.49 14.68 31.19%
A1 Books ebay 18405 11.17 0 3.99 15.16 35.72%
BestPrices.com Best prices 0 11.8 0 3.49 15.29 29.58%
BigRockMedia ebay 7163 14.42 0 1 15.42 6.93%
eCampus ebay 23882 12.01 0 3.49 15.5 29.06%
Total Campus Books ebay 103450 12.15 0 3.49 15.64 28.72%
Amazon new ship Amazon 0 11.53 1.03 3.49 16.05 39.17%
Mega Media Depot ebay 6521 11.18 0 4.99 16.17 44.63%
MediaCrazy ebay 1698 16.31 0 0 16.31 0.00%
Amazon instore Amazon 0 15.26 1.36 0 16.62 8.90%
Page 1 books Page 1 0 11.52 0 5.75 17.27 49.91%
OddBananna Books ebay 1195 13.32 0 4.5 17.82 33.78%

Posted by Martin at 9:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Marketplace poll results

Well the results are in

Everyone loves Ebay and Amazon equally. To be expected. My favorite is Ebay for price, AMazon for service and convenience.

Posted by Martin at 2:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Got my PDR today

PDR.net: The Leader in Interactive Healthcare for Medical and Drug Information

Now I know what the doctors are saying and can read all the studies of contraindications. It comes with a CDROM version. Searchable. A great christmas gift!

Posted by Martin at 1:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 4, 2004

SPIT?

Think VOIP is safe? Wait till you get SPIT. Spam over Internet Telephony. Spam, DoS Headed VoIP's Way. And with VOIP you are also vulnerable to DoS attacks. You really want your phone system vulnerable? I am going to only have VOIP in my new house. I will tell you how it goes.

Posted by Martin at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 3, 2004

Anti-spammers turn into DOS spammers themselves

It has always been tempting to fight fire with fire in the spam wars. Now Lycos UK has a screensaver that makes it easy. Digital Media Europe: News - Lycos UK turns anti-spam vigilante. Basically it uses spare cycles to spam the blacklist sites. I don't think it will matter as there are many ways to counter such an attack. I also worry that many blacklists are corrupt and i may be sending spam to valid domains. But I am going to try it anyway. The site Make Love Not Spam is down now because a cleaver spammer redirected the attack back to the site.

Posted by Martin at 1:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SnoCap is NoCap

Shawn Fanning's Snocap touts vision of P2P heaven | The Register is the latest attempt to extract $$ from the P2P network traffic. I think this one is DOA as well.

Posted by Martin at 12:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Another site with IE lock-in against FireFox

Many financial institutions are using higher levels of security. Today I found out that my bank, CSFB requires IE. CSFB Private Client Services - Login. Firefox doesn't have the right Java implementation (the Msft extended one). OOps.

Posted by Martin at 9:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Technology that actually helps my life

Now here is something useful from Virgin Wireless in Australia. Cell phone hangs up on drunken dialers | CNET News.com Especially useful during this holiday season. Now how do you do the reverse? Prevent the drunks from calling me? I recently got a new cell phone and before my number moved over, i received many late night calls to the former owner (who I suspect was in the Pharmaceutical business).


Posted by Martin at 8:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack