« January 2009 | Main | March 2009 »

February 26, 2009

I love the new Clean Coal commercial

this is the truth

Posted by Martin at 8:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 25, 2009

The Coffee Cup that is causing so much comotion

over at Kashless.  I have SEVEN people who want it.  How to decide…

hummm

IMG00005-20090225-0943

Posted by Martin at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2009

Tour of California full Flickr stream

Tour of California

Posted by Martin at 9:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tour of California highlights

Was in San Diego and surrounding hills to ride some of the stages of the Tour of California and see the pros this last weekend. Here are some of the coolest pictures.

P2220444

Lance Armstrong’s Time Trial bike that was stolen and now returned.

P2220446

Stuart Ellman as BMOC with the Cannondale girls

P2220448

Stuart in the VIP tent waiting for the finish!

P2220457

Frank Schleck winning the Final Stage 8 sprint right in front of us!

P2220460

George Hincapie, third on the day

P2220462

The Peleton finishes

P2220466

Winners of Stage 8

P2220470

Levi gets his due from the podium girls for overall winner of the Tour of California!

P2220474

Astana wins overall team prize.  Lance Armstrong fourth from the right

yea!

Posted by Martin at 8:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A little lesson from history on how gun control actually INCREASES crime

from history and from RECENT experience in Australia.

A LITTLE GUN HISTORY 


In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
----------------------------
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
----------------------------
Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

----------------------------
China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
-----------------------------
Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
-----------------------------
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
-----------------------------
Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated' people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
-----------------------------
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
-----------------------------

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:

List of 7 items:
Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent
Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent
Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent!

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!

While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.

There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Take note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson:  With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.

Posted by Martin at 8:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trying an experiment this morning

I picked up a couple cool trade show freebies at the Tour of California this weekend.  A sidebag from Amgen/Breakaway from Cancer.  I am posting them in three places and going to post the results.

amgen tour of cali bag 2 amgen tour of cali bag

1.  For Free through Kashless.org

2.  For Sale for $10 each through Craig’s list

3. For Sale for $15 each through E-bay.

i will report progress here. 

Posted by Martin at 8:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2009

Felt curbside spotted at Tour of California

new fixie. free wheel with two brakes. Integrated wrench in the water bottle holder. Very cool city bike.

FeltCurbside

specs here

Posted by Martin at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2009

Stimulus bill meme going around

This has been going around.  Not sure of the source, but the sentiment and conclusion are shared by me.

 

How to understand the U.S. "Stimulus Bill".

After class, an economics student approaches his economics professor and says, "I don't understand this stimulus bill. Can you explain it to me?"  The professor replied, "I don't have any time to explain it at my office, but if you come over to my house on Saturday and help me with my weekend project, I'll be glad to explain it to you." The student agreed.
At the agreed-upon time, the student showed up at the professor's house. The professor stated that the weekend project involved his backyard pool.  They both went out back to the pool, and the professor handed the student a bucket. Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor said, "First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can." The student did as he was instructed.  The professor then continued, "Follow me over to the shallow end, and then dump all the water from your bucket into it." The student was naturally confused, but did as he was told.

The professor then explained they were going to do this many more times, and began walking back to the deep end of the pool. The confused student asked, "Excuse me, but why are we doing this?"  The professor matter-of-factly stated that he was trying to make the shallow end much deeper.  The student didn't think the economics professor was serious, but figured that he would find out the real story soon enough.  However, after the 6th trip between the shallow end and the deep end, the student began to become worried that his economics professor had gone mad. The student finally replied, "All we're doing is wasting valuable time and effort on unproductive pursuits. Even worse, when this process is all over, everything will be at the same level it was before, so all you'll really have accomplished is the destruction of what could have been truly productive action!"

The professor put down his bucket and replied with a smile,
"Congratulations. You now understand the stimulus bill."

Posted by Martin at 4:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2009

Alpha 2.1 ships on Kashless.org

 

The Krew has been busy this past week and a half.  We love that Ruby and Agile development lets us rapidly respond to user requirements and provide continuous updates.  Alpha 2 is all about posting your own gently used items for giving through Kashless and other markets. 2.0 supported Kashless and Seattle FreeCycle.  2.1 adds:

- Posting to all Washington Craig’s list Free categories.

- Search highlighting

- Improved account management pages

- Bug fixes that delayed saved searches being sent. You now get immediate SMS messages when we find a match!

 

Oh, and Martin is multi tasking so much, he must take conference calls while eating Indian food.

IMG00184

and Martin is even installing Jen’s new video card to support two monitors (but John had to actually get it to work)

IMG00472

Posted by Martin at 2:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Shark attacks down

I think it is recession.

 

photo

Posted by Martin at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2009

My first charge offs at Prosper

Took money out of Prosper today.  I hadn’t been there in a couple months when all loans were current.    In the last three months I have had three loans go into default and charged off $436.49 of principal.  That is against all time interest of $570.25.  So my average 11.90% interest rate, risk/charge off, adjusted is down around 2-3%.  One more charge off and I am negative on principal. 

And Prosper is shut down for new lenders and new loans due to some SEC litigation.  Bummer, that market place had such promise. 

Posted by Martin at 2:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2009

New tagline for Kashless.org

“Because You’re broke…” from here

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

February 12, 2009

Get a tax deduction for donating through Kashless.org

We have implemented a 0.5 version of this feature.  Under certain conditions, you will be able to claim a tax deduction for Recycling stuff through Kashless.  Check out the FAQ on how to now

Posted by Martin at 1:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2009

Posting of your stuff is here at Kashless!

Last night we pushed to production the next major feature set enabling
you to post your own stuff to give away. Highlights include, 

1.  New "Give Away" link to post your extra stuff.

2.  The Kashless system will now automatically repost to FreeCycle and Twitter.

3.  The password has been removed so anyone can browse!

4.  Improved offer management.

5.  A few A3 related upgrades (donuts for those of you who find them).

A special shout out to those of you who helped with our last user survey,
you probably notice changes on the site that reflect the feedback. At Kashless.org, the community makes the site.
As we get ready to launch in the wild, we would like your help choosing a tagline that communicates
to the world what Kashless.org is all about. We have been brainstorming for the last three months,
and our finalists have been put in a quick 20 second ballot. Click HERE to place your votes, or fill it out below.

As always e-mail at support@kashless.org or see you on the site!

Thanks!

Martin and the Krew

Posted by Martin at 2:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 9, 2009

Bicycle envy

my pal chad just got a new Lynskey single speed mountain machine. Ceramic bearings all around, Ti, wow.  Envy.

100_1258

100_1259

100_1260

Posted by Martin at 9:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 7, 2009

Everything is awesome and nobody is happy

Louis CK tells it like it is to Conan.

Posted by Martin at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 5, 2009

why is congress trying to CRAM the “stimulus” through quickly?

because when anyone reads it and the longer people have to consider it, the more are opposed. This week support fell to 37% with more people actually OPPOSING it. 

Posted by Martin at 2:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

more fun charts

Lets see.  the “stimulus” bill is urgent, must get passed without reading and IMMEDIATELY to help Americans right?  Well then, why does only 25% of the money get spent in 2009?  This is the CBO talking not some right with nutjob.

Posted by Martin at 1:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Anyone who actually READS the “STIMULUS” bill will oppose it

go here to read the whole text and the analysis behind it.  Your lawmakers are trying to pull off the greatest single expansion of government and greatest single indebtedness of our children in modern history.  They are lining up to steal our children’s future to pay back the campaign supporters in this most recent election.  These are not just the ranting of a conservative who lost the election.  READ THE SPREADSHEET.  outlined in detail, straight from the bill are where the money is going.  It is straight up pouring more money into existing government agencies.  ALL of THEM.  There are a few new programs but no real attempt at actual job creation, remaking of government, or restarting the private sector.  This is RESTARTING THE FEDERAL bureaucrats, repaying the lawyers, doctors, and auto workers to brought the Democrats to three branch control of the government. 

I know even my most liberal friends didn’t vote for this kind of stealing.  Maybe that is why Obama’s popularity is down 16% in the last two weeks. 

Do not take my word for it.  Read the bill. Read where the money is actually going, not where the sound bites say it should go.  This so called stimulus is short term government works. Japan has been trying to restart it’s economy for 13 years with government spending and zero interest rates and has failed.  Why?  Because private industry got us into this and ONLY private job creation will get us out of it.  Building new navy facilities will not.  Building new roads will not.  Even building new “broadband” infrastructure will not.  Only innovation from entrepreneurs and structural change in our industrial/service base will.  Nothing in this bill address that.

Posted by Martin at 1:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 4, 2009

friendfeed weirdness

So I am publishing lots of stuff on lots of platforms.  My blog posts have actually gone down in Frequency and my microblog posts across Twitter, FF, Facebook, Flickr and so on have gone up.  So I like FriendFeed because it aggregates everything in one place.  But i am not sure I want everyone to see all my friendfeed everywhere.  It would be nice to have some management like Twitter does, or even some stats on who is following etc.  But FF gives me nothing.  I am happy having my FF javascript include on my blog, but maybe I don’t want the public seeing my profile through the FF home page. So I go to FF and uncheck “make my profile public”.  and my javascript include on the blog goes dead.  That is not what I expected.  I expected it to turn off the public landing page \friendfeed.com\martintobias, but leave on the java script.  Weird.  And I get no stats on who is following, watching etc.  I may be forced to ditch it if they don’t upgrade.

Posted by Martin at 6:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 3, 2009

Another old streaming media friend goes green

I worked with Gavin while he was at Virgin and I was at Loudeye.  He is now doing carbon footprinting of the whole world.  Good stuff.  From a recent profile in the UK

Gavin Starks wants to track the Earth's carbon footprint—every single step. But he insists his ambitious vision is not hot air. Building a complete picture of CO2 emissions, the pioneering scientist says, benefits companies, governments and individuals alike

Posted by Martin at 8:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 2, 2009

Free is a very good price

clip_image001

looking forward to Chris Anderson’s new book

 

The Economics of Giving It Away

In a battered economy, free goods and services online are more attractive than ever. So how can the suppliers make a business model out of nothing?

By CHRIS ANDERSON

Over the past decade, we have built a country-sized economy online where the default price is zero -- nothing, nada, zip. Digital goods -- from music and video to Wikipedia -- can be produced and distributed at virtually no marginal cost, and so, by the laws of economics, price has gone the same way, to $0.00. For the Google Generation, the Internet is the land of the free.

Which is not to say companies can't make money from nothing. Gratis can be a good business. How? Pretty simple: The minority of customers who pay subsidize the majority who do not. Sometimes that's two different sets of customers, as in the traditional media model: A few advertisers pay for content so lots of consumers can get it cheap or free. The concept isn't new, but now that same model is powering everything from photo sharing to online bingo. The last decade has seen the extension of this "two-sided market" model far beyond media, and today it is the revenue engine for all of the biggest Web companies, from Facebook and MySpace to Google itself.

View Full Image

John Kuczala

In other cases, the same digital economics have spurred entirely new business models, such as "Freemium," a free version supported by a paid premium version. This model uses free as a form of marketing to put the product in the hands of the maximum number of people, converting just a small fraction to paying customers. It's an inversion of the old free sample promotion: Rather than giving away one brownie to sell 99 others, you give away 99 virtual penguins to sell one virtual igloo. (Confused? Ask a child: This is the business model for the phenomenally successful Club Penguin.)

With physical stuff, samples must be doled out sparingly -- there are real costs to be paid. With bits, the free versions are too cheap to meter and can be spread far and wide. That's why so many people businesses (expensive!) are turning into software businesses (cheap!), which is why your cranky tax accountant has morphed into free TurboTax online, your stockbroker is now a trading Web site and your travel agent is more likely a glorified search engine.

All this worked well in a rising economy, where non-monetary riches such as attention (Web traffic) and reputation (Google PageRank, which determines how high your site will appear in a search) could be turned into cash with the wave of a venture capitalist's wand or a well-timed acquisition. But this year, for the first time since 2001, the overall tide of investment and advertising won't rise. Indeed, it will almost certainly fall. Venture capital has dried up, Google is killing products rather than buying them, and Yahoo can barely support itself, much less look for others to fund. What does that do to Free as an economic model?

Sergio Capursi

Something for Nothing

hypem.com

The Hype Machine monitors hundreds of music-related blogs, and lets users listen to songs posted on those blogs for free -- just type in the name of a band or track. (It's also a good place to find out what's new and popular in the music blogosphere.) Songs can't be downloaded, but Amazon and iTunes links appear next to most tracks.

kayak.com

Compare fares from multiple vendors, including airlines and online travel agencies, on this fare-search site. Kayak breaks down itineraries by airline, time of day, number of stops and length of layovers. It also lets users exclude turboprop aircraft or regional jets from searches. You have to go directly to the vendor to buy the ticket though (a link is provided).

picnik.com

A free photo-editing site that doesn't require registration or software downloads. Users crop and adjust photos within their browser window -- special effects and frames are available, too -- and can post images to sites like Flickr or Facebook without leaving Picnik. A premium account ($24.95 a year) offers features including batch photo uploading, advanced editing tools and no ads.

pogo.com

Play free online or downloadable games -- including card, puzzle, word and board varieties -- at this ad-supported site from Electronic Arts. More than 100 games are available including Scrabble, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit. A paid account ($5.99 per month, or $39.99 per year) gets rid of ads and provides access to more games.

shopittome.com

Billed as the online alternative to a personal shopper, this service emails members when retailers mark down their favorite designers. Users specify their preferred sizes and brands, and choose how frequently they want to be alerted. Tracked brands include Prada and Theory; the site searches a limited number of retailers including Saks, Nordstrom and shopbop.

-- Juliet Chung

From a consumer perspective, it should only help. After all, when you have no money, $0.00 is a very good price. Expect the shift toward open source software (which is free) and Web-based productivity tools such as Google Docs (also free) to accelerate. The cheapest and coolest computers today are "netbooks," which sell for as little as $250 and either ship with free versions of Linux or super-cheap old versions of Windows. The people who buy them don't load Office and pay Microsoft hundreds of dollars for the privilege. Instead, they use online equivalents, as the netbook name implies, and those tend to be free.

These same consumers are saving their money and playing free online games, listening to free music on Pandora, canceling basic cable and watching free video on Hulu, and killing their landlines in favor of Skype. It's a consumer's paradise: The Web has become the biggest store in history and everything is 100% off.

What about those companies trying to build a business on the Web? In the old days (that would be until September of last year) the model was pretty simple. 1. Have a great idea. 2. Raise money to bring it to market, ideally free to reach the largest possible market. 3. If it proves popular, raise more money to scale it up. 4. Repeat until you're bought by a bigger company.

Now steps 2 through 4 are no longer available. So Web startups are having to do the unthinkable: come up with a business model that brings in real money while they're still young.

This is, of course, nothing new in the world of business. But it is a bit of a shock in the Web world, where "attention" and "reputation" are the currencies most in demand, with the expectation that a sufficient amount of either would turn into money someday, somehow.

The standard business model for Web companies that don't actually have a business model is advertising. A popular service will have lots of users, and a few ads on the side will pay the bills. Two problems have emerged with that model: the price of online ads and click-through rates. Facebook is an amazingly popular service, but it also an amazingly ineffective advertising platform. Even if you could figure out what the right ad to serve next to a high-school girl's party pictures might be, she and her friends probably won't click on it. No wonder Facebook applications get less than $1 per 1,000 views (compared to around $20 on big media Web sites).

Google has built an enviable economic engine on the back of its targeted text ads, but the sites on which they run rarely feel as flush. Running Google's Adsense ads on the side of your blog, no matter how popular it may be, will not pay you even minimum wage for the time you spend writing it. On a good month it might cover your hosting fees. I speak from experience.

What about the oldest trick in the book: actually charging people for your goods and services? This is where the real innovation will flourish in a down economy. It's now time for entrepreneurs to innovate, not just with new products, but new business models.

Take Tapulous, the creator of Tap Tap Revenge, a popular music game program for the iPhone. As in Guitar Hero or Rock Band, notes stream down the screen and you have to hit them on the beat. Millions of people have tried the free version, and a sizable fraction of them were ready and willing to pay when Tapulous offered paid versions built around specific bands, such as Weezer and Nine Inch Nails, along with add-on songs. (The Wall Street Journal is pursuing a strategy of blending free and paid content on its Web site.)

At the other end of the business spectrum there's Microsoft, which now has to compete with the free word processors and spreadsheets of online competitors such as Google. Rather than complain about the unfair competition (which would be ironic), Microsoft created Web versions of its business software and offered them free to small and young companies. If your firm is less than three years old and under $1 million in revenues, you can use Microsoft's software without charge under its BizSpark program. When those companies get bigger, Microsoft is betting that they'll keep using its software as paying customers. In the meantime, the program costs it almost nothing.

But extracting a business model from free is not always easy, especially when your users have come to expect gratis. Take Twitter, the fantastically popular (and free, of course) 140-character messaging service where people update the world on what they're doing, one haiku-like snippet at a time. After taking over the world, or at least the geeky side of it, it now finds itself having to actually make enough money to cover its bandwidth bills. Last year it hired a revenue guru to try to find a business model and has announced that it intends to reveal its strategy early this year. Speculation as to what that will be ranges from charging companies to have their "tweets" recommended to consumers (which is a bit like "friending" the Burger King on Facebook) to certifying identity to avoid impersonation. The revenue officer has his work cut out for him.

View Full Image

Mirko Ilic

Meanwhile YouTube is still struggling to match its popularity with revenues and Facebook is selling commodity ads for pennies after its effort to charge for intrusive advertising led to a user backlash. And news-sharing site Digg, for all its millions of users, still doesn't make a dime. A year ago, that hardly mattered: The business model was "build to a lucrative exit, preferably in cash." But now the exit doors are closed and cash flow is king.

Does this mean that Free will retreat in a down economy? Probably not. The psychological and economic case for it remains as good as ever -- the marginal cost of anything digital falls by 50% every year, making pricing a race to the bottom, and "Free" has as much power over the consumer psyche as ever. But it does mean that Free is not enough. It also has to be matched with Paid. Just as King Gillette's free razors only made business sense paired with expensive blades, so will today's Web entrepreneurs have to not just invent products that people love, but also those that they will pay for. Not all of the people or even most of them -- free is still great marketing and bits are still too cheap to meter -- but enough to pay the bills. Free may be the best price, but it can't be the only one.

Chris Anderson is the editor in chief of Wired magazine, and the author of "The Long Tail" and "Free," which will be published in July.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page W1

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit

www.djreprints.com

Posted by Martin at 9:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 1, 2009

finally some tools to catch Comcast bastards

thanks Dan for the pointer to Measurement Labs. They are backed by Google and have a couple academic focused tools for measuring your internet connection performance and catching your ISP if they are throttling specific traffic like bittorrent or others.  The UI’s are pretty rough and some tools are Linux only, but it is a start.  Glasnost found Comcast is throttling BitTorrent on my connection.  I wonder if enough of us used these tools there would be enough data for a class action suit against the bastards. 

Posted by Martin at 8:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack