Thursday, November 20, 2003

Caption contest

Since I won’t be posting for a few days, it seemed only fair to leave you with another of our not-quite-famous caption contests. (Past contests are here.)

AFP/File/Hector Mata

Rules: post your caption for the photo in the comments. And remember, no wagering.

Driving east

My family and I are hitting the road (again!) tomorrow, this time to head east to spend time with our extended families. Posting will be light for the next several days.

Anyone who wants guest posting privileges, drop me a line.

Driving east

We’re starting our Thanksgiving trip a bit early — we’ll start by spending a weekend with my in-laws who just recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. After that we’ll be with my folks, the first time my entire family has been together for Thanksgiving in probably 10 years.

Posting will be light for at least the next few days. Have a great holiday!

The Meatrix

This is a compelling use of parody to make a point. It’s not a political issue I’m particularly familiar with, but I think the factory farming issue will become a major issue in upcoming elections. What I do know is primarily related to the impact on communities: pollution, job loss, etc. I like the Matrix-like animation, and it tells its story well.

I’m seeing more and more of these viral-like flash animations for poliltical purposes. Modeled after Comedy Central’s the Daily Show, they aim to educate while prompting a laugh or two. When done well, they’re surprisingly effective.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Influential readership

John Robb: “It really doesn’t matter how many readers you have, it is who reads your work.”

Given some of the conversation from tonight’s dinner, this is an important point I didn’t want to miss.

Denise is on TV

Denise’s ears must have been burning tonight, as I recounted my story of meeting Denise with Jonas, Josh and Phil. In that night, half of my company wanted to learn how to blog.

If you don’t know why, you should know that the answer to Denise’s question is Denise.

Good luck in the final days, Denise!

Blogger dinner

Just got back from dinner with Phil Wolff, Jonas Luster and Josh Koenig. Proving that there’s always excitement whenever a few bloggers get together, there was actually an honest-to-goodness homicide just feet from where we ate our dinner. (It was outside the restaurant, not inside.)

Fortunately, our discussion — about blogs, XML, politics (among the four of us are Clark, Dean and Kerry supporters), music — was thoroughly engaging and enlightening (and far less likely to shorten your lifespan than a handgun killing).

Coupled with dinner last night with Mike Masnick, this has been a banner week for meeting people I’ve known for a year or more. Thanks to everyone who took time out to share a meal with me — these are often the highlight of my trips.

Investors Business Daily on Social Networking

Today’s issue of Investors Business Daily picks up on the social networking story, and — surprise, surprise — includes my company Interface Software in the mix.

We’re a different animal in the social networking space — we’re not a start-up raising lots of cash, but a long-term entity that’s over $20m in revenues with hundreds of thousands of users. (And we’re profitable to boot.) I think the press angle on social networking is shifting its focus to now look at how enterprises can realistically benefit from the technology. Adding a company with a proven track record and a broad install base rounds out the coverage so that the story’s not just about companies with deep VC-backed pockets and a handful of paying customers.

More later.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Dinner in San Francisco Tuesday night

Howdy — I’m in San Francisco on business right now, and am getting a group of folks to go to dinner Tuesday night. Nothing fancy — just a chance to meet others who I’ve come to know virtually over the past couple years of maintaining a weblog. So — if you’re in San Francisco and would like to join us, drop me a line at and I’ll send you the details.

Hope to meet a few more of you tomorrow night!

Attendance at the JJ

Daniel D takes me to task for claiming that Dean outnumbered Kerry 12 to 3. I stand by my count (I’m referring specifically to the balcony; there was no way from my vantage point to distinguish among supporters on the floor) though I’m willing to grant that there were more Kerry supporters; it’s entirely possible that from where I sat it appeared that what was one Kerry section may have been two.

Let me also state (again, as it was in the original post as well) how enthusiastic and supportive the Kerry supporters were. It was great to see another candidate with an organized and enthusiastic crowd.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Back from Iowa

I’m back from the Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Iowa, the annual fund-raiser for the Iowa Democratic Party. Over at my Dean campaign blog, I took some notes about how I thought it went. One of the pictures in particular will likely amuse those of you reading here.

Back from Iowa

I’m back from the Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Iowa, the annual fund-raiser for the Iowa Democratic Party. Over at my Dean campaign blog, I took some notes about how I thought it went. One of the pictures in particular will likely amuse those of you reading here.

Heading to San Francisco

I couldn’t resist flying to Kaleefornya for tomorrow’s inauguration. (Actually, it’s a press tour, I’m meeting with a number of tech pubs in the next couple days. But that doesn’t sound nearly as intriguing.)

Anyone out there want to join me for a dinner Tuesday night?

Clark campaign restructuring

Josh Marshall notes that Clark’s campaign appears to have had some restructuring of late. Interesting how Clark’s restructuring happened almost entirely below the radar this week, while Kerry’s continues to be front page news.

(Of course, Clark didn’t go on record as saying he’s better off without them, so I guess that counts for something.)

Thoughts on the JJ Dinner

We woke up this morning to a fat copy of the Des Moines Register in front of our hotel room. The front page declared that “Hillary Clinton was the star attraction at Saturday’s Jefferson Jackson Day dinner.” And in today’s New York Times, Adam Nagourney says that “it was clear that the dinner was largely about someone who is not even running for president, at least not this year. It was more about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York senator who was the dinner’s mistress of ceremonies, and who, in coming here, began a new phase in one of the most closely watched political careers in the nation.”

Uh, not so much.

This is the convenient angle. It’s newsworthy. But it’s just not an accurate representation of what happened last night.

First off, it was notable that everyone who had a role in starting the evening — from Gov. Tom Vilsack to Sen. Tom Harkin to Sen. Hillary Clinton — made a point of saying that the next president would be one of the candidates “with us here tonight.” To those who think Clark is the Clintons’ choice, that’s an odd statement for Hillary to make. The native Iowans were clearly tweaked that fully one third of the candidates (Clark, Lieberman and Sharpton) skipped the event. And Clinton explicitly stated her support for the candidates, and spoke in such warmed-over bromides about “moving forward” and “having hope” and “looking to the future” and “supporting the people” that it was hard to distinguish from a mayoral race. Bottom line — she did a good job of setting the stage, lending support to all the candidates and helping the party raise money. All of which she was supposed to do. What she didn’t do was dominate the evening.

Who did? Well, I’m certainly biased. But here are some observations:

  • Edwards had one semi-coordinated section. They spent the better part of the night trying to spell “John Edwards” with a collection of posters, but the closest they got was “Joan Enders” (or something that looked like it). On the positive side, in the gathering section for Edwards supporters, there was the following poster. I love it.

Bloggers for Edwards. Photo by Rick Klau.

  • Gephardt’s supporters were nowhere to be found. For a candidate with a supposed 7 point lead in Iowa and a superior organization in Iowa, it was a shocking absence.

  • Kerry’s supporters were excellent — well organized and loudly supportive. They even had cheer lines coordinated with his speech: when he asked what the country got when President Bush led us to war, they all yelled “A RAW DEAL” in unison. They were three sections in all, and did a great job of supporting their candidate. Too bad that Kerry himself appeared exhausted and going through the motions. He had a terrible week, and it appeared to have taken its toll on him.

  • Kucinich’s speech was notable for its exuberant support of the other candidates. The last two minutes was dedicated to yelling that “any of the candidates tonight could…” followed by numerous statements about how we’re better than Bush. Is he laying the groundwork for an exit? (Funny side note: Doug Henk, who is part of DuPage for Dean and traveled with us, met Kucinich in the hotel lobby this morning. Showing his sense of humor, Kucinich asked Doug: “Just one question. Do you think I got my point across that I want us out of Iraq?”)

And now on to Dean. The recent National Republic profile of Joe Trippi talks about Trippi’s long history with the JJ Dinner, and the fact that at his core, Joe is an organization guy. That skill was apparent last night, with Iowa staffers wearing matching yellow t-shirts (on the back? “How’s my organizing? Call 1-866-DEAN 4 US”) and walkie-talkies with headsets to give (and take) orders in unison. When our section was found to be missing cowbells, one staffer quickly radioed to another section and our cowbells showed up. The other half of DuPage for Dean was in another section entirely; they were missing signs and got them within minutes. No other campaign had this kind of distributed organization evident throughout the hall.

Some of you may have read the CNN report about the event, where they note that we needed 43 buses to get from the afternoon rally to the JJ Dinner. (Apparently the campaign needed a parade permit from the city in order to accommodate that kind of traffic.)

Buses for Dean. Photo by Rick Klau.

But the organization goes beyond acquiring permits ahead of time: it included staffers on every bus, handing out instructions for the evening, photocopies of the chants we’d be doing and giving directions for how to behave (“Respect all who respect us” was the mantra).

A master-stroke (again likely Trippi’s idea) was having Dean get introduced while walking amongst his supporters. Each of the other campaigns walked the path set out by the organizers, and shook the same sets of hands among those fortunate enough to have seats along the path on the floor. Dean, reinforcing his “People-Powered Howard” theme, showed up not among the $1,000/table floor attendees, but among the $40/ticket balcony attendees. The crowd went wild once they figured out where he was, and you could tell Dean fed off the energy.

Dean in the crowd. Photo by Ryan Witt, Dean for America.

The real impact of all this organization was the show of force by the Dean campaign. Where Gephardt and Edwards each had one section of support, and Kerry had three, we had twelve. Not only were the cheers deafening, the matching signs and ringing cowbells were impressive.

What Doug Henk called the “Sea of Dean”. Photo by Rick Klau.

The most awe-inspiring part of the night was the unraveling of the “WIN WITH DEAN” banners that unfurled simultaneously as Dean got the crowd going with his repeated “You have the power!” line. The banners were about 30 rows long. Though you could see something going on, but it wasn’t until the people jerked them open that all at once you could see the entire section covered with one simple message: WIN WITH DEAN.

Win with Dean. Photo by Rick Klau.

Building on top of the chant that the balcony had now taken on (“WE HAVE THE POWER! WE HAVE THE POWER! WE HAVE THE POWER!”), there was no doubt who the focus of this evening was, nor what our purpose was. It was Howard Dean, not Hillary Clinton.

Walking out, my wife and I grabbed a couple of the 8’ x 4’ “DEAN | A New Day for Democrats” signs to take home. As we walked the skyway back to our hotel, we passed a number of other supporters from other campaigns. One elderly couple wearing Kerry buttons complimented us: “Your candidate gave a fantastic speech,” she said. He turned to me. “I’m just sorry I went with Kerry. When I first saw Dean, I figured he didn’t have a chance in hell. So I went with the candidate who had the credentials. And Kerry’s a good man. But in 50 years I’ve never seen the enthusiasm for a campaign like Dean’s built. Keep up the good work!”

The bottom line: if last night was any indication of where the campaigns are at (and the campaigns’ own efforts reflect their belief that it was), then here’s my assessment: Gephardt’s support is thin. He may have a majority of people willing to say they support him, but those willing to travel on his behalf to show that support are much fewer in number. (Note: this is consistent with something Roger Simon commented on regarding Gephardt’s apparent seven point lead in Iowa. Interesting.)

Kerry’s looking much stronger than the polls would indicate. And Dean is the far-and-away front-runner, with motivated and passionate supporters who are willing to do whatever it takes to win. (Proof? Last night’s JJ Dinner was the first one in Iowa’s history in which a representative from each of Iowa’s 99 counties was present. Can you guess which campaign put that together?)

What a great weekend. It was worth the long drive (11 hours in the car with two little ones!) and a night that my wife and I won’t soon forget.

Back from the JJ Dinner

My family and I just returned from the JJ Dinner in Des Moines. We drove a total of 650 miles (our 18 month old is quite a trooper; the 3 1/2 year-old just liked watching Toy Story again and again) to attend this historic event.

I’ll post more observations tonight after we get the kids to bed; in the meantime, if you missed my dispatch from the floor of the event over at the campaign blog be sure to take a look over there.

Be back soon.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Law firm marketing using weblogs

Ernie is brainstorming about how his firm can use a weblog to be more strategic in their marketing.

This is a great idea, one that I’m shocked more firms aren’t embracing today.

Changes to the weblog

FYI — I’ve taken advantage of the fact that I’m rebuilding this weblog from the ground up in moving webhosts to change the way some things operate behind the scenes. The biggest change is the way in which my archive URLs are built. As a result, old inbound links are broken. There was no easy way around this (as I saw it), so I’ve created a custom 404 page (which I will make a bit more presentable as soon as I get a free minute) allowing anyone who lands on a bad link to at least get to the blog’s home page. I will be adding in a search engine so they can jump right to what they were looking for shortly.

For those that are interested, I’m following a slightly-modified version of Mark Pilgrim’s instructions on making your URLs more intuitive and predictable. I was never quite happy with the …/tins/01184.html URL — since the number didn’t tell you anything about the file itself. Now archives are in the format of …/tins/archives/year/month/day/keyword.html. This is a far more desirable solution (to my mind).

Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions, or you notice that anything here is broken. Thanks!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Moving DNS

Just a heads up — I’m changing web hosts this weekend. If all goes well, DNS should propogate by Monday of next week and you won’t notice a thing. (Actually, that’s not entirely true: you should notice zippier performance on comments, trackbacks, etc.) — but the content should all be the same.

Many, many thanks to all of you who shared with me your experiences with various webhosts. I’m trying out TotalChoiceHosting right now — their prices are rock-bottom and I heard from several people who’ve had good experience. Since this is a personal site that I’m not generating any revenue from (except the occasional Amazon purchase), capping costs is attractive.

I’ll check back in at the beginning of the week. (And this ends up working out well — the family and I are heading to Iowa this weekend so blogging would be light anyway.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

It's official - SEIU and AFSCME on board

I’m watching the stream on MSNBC right now, and it’s an historic moment. SEIU and AFSCME have officially endorsed Howard Dean for President.

Governor Dean asked, “Don’t black and purple and green look great together?” (The respective colors of IUPAT, SEIU and AFSCME.)

Yeah, they sure do. This is a big, big day for the Dean campaign and for all of us who want to see Dean take the White House in 2004.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Web hosting suggestions?

I’ve been a Verio customer for seven years. I pay $25/month for 200 megs of disk space and 7.5 gigs of bandwidth. It includes CGI hosting, but nothing else — no PHP, no mySQL, etc. I have a total of 10 POP mailboxes on the domain, star aliasing for mail forwarding, and 20 unique e-mail aliases.

My biggest frustration with Verio right now is server performance — Movable Type takes forever to run on my server; I have access to two other MT installations which are blindingly fast in comparison. So goal #1 is zippy Perl processing. Goal #2 is to lower my monthly cost. Beyond that, I’d like to have abilities to grow — I don’t know PHP today, but given what I’ve seen some other sites do with it, I’m inclined to dabble one of these days. And mySQL is also on the “down the road” list.

So… who have you had good experiences with? What’s a reasonable cost?

Monday, November 10, 2003

What was President Bush for Halloween?

Annette Messina shows us that David Letterman knows the answer.

Aldon Hynes and the Declaration of Independence

For those that don’t know, that cutie on stage with Governor Dean from Saturday was Aldon Hynes’ daughter Fiona. Aldon’s wife wrote a terrific recap of what being on stage meant to her.

Aldon’s commitment to the campaign and his ability to get others involved is an inspiration. Do yourself a favor and read his account of what last week meant for his family. There was loss, a family reunion of sorts, car troubles, a letter to the editor to The New York Times, a surprise from the Burlington campaign staff, and oh yeah — an appearance on national TV to talk about what the Dean campaign means to him. Read the whole thing.

Aldon — I hope we’ll have a chance to share a beer at the convention in July. You’re doing a phenomenal job. The campaign’s lucky to have you, and we’re fortunate to be a part of something that will make a difference. Keep up the great work!

Dean about to see a "groundswell" of support...

Challenges Expected to Grow for Dean Rivals

Read the whole article from yesterday’s L.A. Times, but the concluding quote is just too much:

A top advisor to one of his rivals said that given the financial and organizational resources flowing to Dean, “The truth is you are looking at a situation where if Dean wins Iowa and New Hampshire, everyone else is toast.”

What are you waiting for? Go write a letter. Make a difference. Take back our country!

Dean in a Super Bowl ad?

Aziz over at the Dean blog wants to get Dean to buy an ad in the Super Bowl. He shrewdly notes that the Super Bowl is just four weeks before Super Tuesday.


Naperville Sun covers our Iowa road trips

Here’s a great article in the Naperville Sun (Naperville is a town of about 130,000) about our efforts to shuttle volunteers to Iowa:

Local Dean supporters begin road trips to Iowa

By Katie Foutz

Naperville resident Rick Klau will pack his bags with glossy brochures bearing Howard Dean’s name and head west to Des Moines nextweekend with his wife and kids.

Because Iowa’s Jan. 19 presidential primaries are the earliest in the country, the state is a political destination for everyone hoping to woo undecided voters.

One of those groups is DuPage for Dean, a 400-member organization of Naperville, Wheaton and other area residents supporting Vermont Gov. Dean’s Democratic bid for U.S. president. More than 20 members are making weekend road trips this month to stay with Iowa families and distribute fliers about the campaign in their neighborhoods. … more

Sunday, November 9, 2003

Bloomba - e-mail client update

After a couple heavy days of Bloomba use, here’s some feedback:

  • The spam filter is quite good. No false positives yet. Bloomba doesn’t actually do the spam filtering, the proxy server (SA Proxy) that’s bundled with Bloomba does. And there’s a nice integration point between the two: if you get a message in your inbox that’s spam, click the “delete as spam” button — this will train the Bayesian filter over time to make SA Proxy smarter.

  • The searching mechanism is crazy fast. And here’s the scary part: it searches attachments. Now that I’ve figured that out, I can’t for the life of me figure out why Outlook doesn’t work this way. I’m actually starting to think about moving away from Outlook for e-mail and to use Bloomba as my primary e-mail client for all communication.

  • Automatic threading by subject is nice — so multiple replies on the same subject are automatically nested. This makes the organization in your inbox much simpler.

  • One nice feature in Outlook 2003 is its three-pane view; in just the last month, I’ve become quite reliant on this presentation of information. And since our screens are wider than they are tall, it really makes you wonder why they haven’t done this before? Turns out Bloomba can do this as well.

More to come.

While on the subject of Kerry... / Hard to pull for Kerry

As long as we’re discussing the Kerry campaign strategy, it will be awfully interesting to see him explain away his own behavior in 1996. From this September column in the Boston Globe:

Kerry didn’t just violate the deal [with opponent Bill Weld to limit campaign spending to $5 million], he pulverized it. Running out of money in the waning days of October, Kerry mortgaged and remortgaged the Louisburg Square house, ultimately pouring $1.7 million in personal funds into his campaign. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s $1.2 million more than the agreement allowed.

As he made a mockery of the pact, he did something else distinctly distasteful. He accused Weld of violating the agreement, a charge that seemed specious at best, an outright lie at worst.

As Kerry makes noise about opting out of public financing this week and calls on Dean to honor a gentleman’s agreement to limit his spending in the primaries to $45m, I would strongly urge Governor Dean to do what Bill Weld should have done 7 years ago: ignore him. Dean shakes up Democratic Race

Dean shakes up Democratic race

“The more liberals find out about his record as governor of Vermont, the more they’re going to be uncomfortable with him,” said Jim Jordan, campaign manager for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.).

Assume for a moment this is true. Jordan doesn’t actually think that after acquainting themselves with Dean’s record in Vermont, Dean supporters would turn to Kerry, does he?

The anybody-but-Dean strategy being trotted out by Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards and Lieberman is getting tiresome. As this article points out, it’s not working.

If Kerry could articulate his own agenda as clearly as he can articulate his frustration with Dean, he wouldn’t be trailing by 15 points in New Hampshire.

Slashdot on The Matrix (Resolutions)

Slashdot | The Matrix: Resolutions

Slappy White writes “For six months, Matrix message boards were aflame with speculation, theories, predictions and outright psychotic guessing about Revolutions. Now the film is here, and this article has a humorous roundup of some of the popular theories, both those that were close and others that were, shall we say, a little off the mark.” I still haven’t seen this film, so I’ll refrain from passing judgment, but I’m ever so happy the matrix-within-a-matrix theories were unfounded.

I haven’t seen it either. Ernie is eager for closure and I can’t say I disagree with him; I was more positive on Reloaded than he was, but ultimately I’m eager to put the whole thing to bed.

Ironic, in a way… this site, after all, owes its name to the original film. (tins is an acronym for the pivotal line from Neo’s introduction to the Oracle: “There is no spoon.”)

Maybe I’ll just watch the first one again tonight…

Saturday, November 8, 2003

85% - 15%: Decline matching funds

CNN just carried the speech; more details will be coming from the Campaign Blog.

Congrats to all who voted.

Vermont Papers author new book about Howard Dean

Several contributors from Vermont newspapers have collaborated on a new book about Howard Dean, Howard Dean: A Citizen’s Guide to the Man Who Would be President. From the book description at Amazon:

Howard Dean’s startling rise from a virtual unknown on the national stage to a serious, and lately front-runner candidate for president has made everyone want to know more about him. This book, written by a group of insiders familiar with Dean the man and the politician, offers a comprehensive pr cis of his core beliefs, his record as governor of Vermont, and his likely policies on a wide range of concerns from the economy and the environment to hot-button social issues and foreign policy. Graphically organized around key themes, with each chapter written by a different expert, the book explores the Dean campaign’s revolutionary use of the Internet for organizing and fundraising, and his singular success as a passionate critic of the Bush administration on controversial issues like Iraq. Based on archival material and the public record, this “citizen’s guide” also features substantial new reporting and exclusive interviews with Dean.

Worth a look.

Friday, November 7, 2003

Bloomba - search-based e-mail client

Thanks to Mike Curreri (yeah, Paul’s dad) who turned me on to Bloomba the other day. In the past seven years, I’ve been an on-again, off-again Eudora user for personal e-mail, and finally switched to Outlook Express about 18 months ago. (If only I still had all seven years of mail.)

In any event, I’m drowning in e-mail (even if SpamCop is back up): between personal e-mail and e-mail related to the Dean campaign I’m getting well over 100 personal e-mails a day (that doesn’t take into account the equal number of corporate e-mails I’m getting a day).

Enter Bloomba. I can’t even begin to explain how it works (I’m sure I’ll stare at it long enough to figure it out, but right now I don’t really care): it just works. The idea is that instead of using folders to sort your e-mail, it indexes everything. Want to find a message? Just type in the words that describe the e-mail. Searches I’ve done have taken less than a second. This is the first time I’ve felt like I can Google my e-mail. (Yes, this contradicts what I said the other day. Maybe this is an answer?) You can still use folders if you want to, but after just a few hours of use I can see how folders become far less important.

It can automatically import your Outlook and/or Outlook Express e-mail and contacts (importing over 10,000 messages from Outlook Express took less than 10 minutes), and the UI is quite elegant — you definitely won’t feel like you’ve traded down if you’re a regular OE user.

Oh — it also includes a spam filter called SA Proxy, a Bayesian filter that learns what’s spam and what isn’t, allows you to explicitly identify which languages you’ll accept e-mail in, etc. It works with any POP3 mail client, but paired with Bloomba it’s more powerful.

One other thing — it appears to have a built-in RSS reader, though I haven’t explored it at all.

I’ll follow up with more info, but if you’re looking for a solution to managing the chaos that has become your inbox, Bloomba seems to be a great fit. There’s a 30 day trial; $60 to buy.

DuPage for Dean blog!

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Mike Kisler and Annette Messina, the DuPage for Dean blog is now a very active site with several posts per day.

Stop on over and say hi!

The Note on Dean

Today’s Note is a must-read on what this week means to Dean. (Side note — lowercase n — to the Note — uppercase n: just admit already that you’re a blog and get flippin’ permalinks to your posts!)

The “18 things everyone should know about Dean” is a keeper.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

SEIU to endorse, but delays announcement

The AP is reporting that the SEIU will be endorsing Dean but is holding off.

Why the delay? I can think of only one explanation: that the AFSCME wants to be in on the game, and they don’t like the possibility that the SEIU would be seen as steering the election Dean’s way without having some sway. So next Wednesday we’ll see a mutual announcement, in which both the SEIU and the AFSCME announce their support of Dean.

The practical effect? SEIU thinks it can raise $20m for its candidate, and visit 10 million homes in the election. AFSCME can likely deliver a fair chunk of that. Conservatively, this means that the recipient of their endorsements can count on $30m by election time, and countless hours of “feet on the street” mobilizing against Bush.

One thing is certain: if Dean gets both unions next week, Gephardt loses 5 points in Iowa just on the press that results. At some point the press will start attaching words like “desperation” to the other campaigns; if they can’t unite against Dean and have any impact, then what can any of them do on their own?

Winning Back America now available is now listing Winning Back America, Howard Dean’s book about his campaign, for pre-order. It will ship next month.

Get your copy today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Saletan on Dean's latest flap

I think Will Saletan gets it right when he suggests that the flap over Dean’s confederate flag comment is much ado about nothing.

Comments policy

The purpose of this site is to foster discussion about the candidacy of Howard Dean. I am all for debate for or against Dean’s candidacy — to the extent that Republicans and supporters of other candidates wish to air their views here, they are more than welcome.

That said, I reserve the right to delete comments that are deliberately inflammatory, without substance or are otherwise contrary to the focus of this site. An individual going by the name of Doc Martian has taken to posting rambling, semi-coherent rants on this site that are of no value to the discussion here. Furthermore, he has his own blog (which I see no reason to link to) where he is more than welcome to post his own comments.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Desktop Dean - get it early!

Michael Muegel has just told me by e-mail that Desktop Dean is now available. For the techies among you, you’ll recognize this as an RSS aggregator that is configured to download RSS feeds of the official campaign blog, as well as several other blogs (including this site).

For the non-techies, this is a program that you download, and instead of having to remember to visit all the blogs you read on a regular basis, Desktop Dean automatically downloads the new posts for you, and alerts you when there’s new content. You decide which sites to monitor, and it grabs the content for you. From the application, you can forward items to friends, leave comments, etc. See the features page for a complete list of features and functions.

Michael hasn’t officially “launched” this yet, and asked me to announce it here so he could get a few more people to test it out and make sure it’s ready for prime time. What are you waiting for? Download it now!

Update Please note this is a PC-only application.

The joy of discovering phenomenal talent

My taste in music runs to the eclectic, a hold-over from being a DJ while in college and law school. And though my collection of folk/acoustic music isn’t that large, I can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with Paul Curreri. I’ll grant that I’m a bit biased — I used to work with Paul’s Dad, and had the pleasure of hearing Paul play for an hour in his family’s living room while he was still in high school.

But don’t take my word for it — read some of the reviews of Paul and you’ll see repeated references to Bob Dylan, talk of a talent without peer. I’m no pro, but I know good music when I hear it. And Songs for Devon Sproule will stay with you long, long after you first hear it.

If you are fortunate enough to live in the Charlottesville, Virginia area, make an effort to see him play. (He’s at Randolph Macon University tonight; he’ll be in Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois in the next few weeks. See here for specifics.)

And if that wasn’t enough to get you interested to buy Paul’s new CD, let me tell you that buying from CD Baby is one of the goofiest and most enjoyable online buying experiences I’ve ever had. From my order confirmation e-mail:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Tuesday, October 28th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as ‘Customer of the Year’. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,

Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby

I love it. Go buy Songs for Devon Sproule from CD Baby and you too can be their customer of the year.

Monday, November 3, 2003

Buzzness Week

Just when you thought Buzz couldn’t be any more pervasive, he turns up in Business Week.

Congrats to Buzz for the exposure. Every vendor should be so lucky to have such passionate advocates as Handspring Palm has in Buzz.

Larry Sabato Updates the Crystal Ball

Larry Sabato has updated his crystal ball for Q3, and here’s his conclusion of where the race stands:

  • Dean (18 points)

  • Kerry (10 points)

  • Gephardt (9 points)

  • Clark (7 points)

  • Edwards (6 points)

  • Lieberman (4 points)

See the site for an explanation of the methodology (which looks at fundraising, people power, polling information and other details) to arrive at a ranking for who’s in what tier of the race at this point.

Getting teeth pulled

I don’t know that I’d given it that much thought, but I always assumed “getting your teeth pulled” was a euphemism. Turns out it’s not: it means exactly what it says.

I had two wisdom teeth pulled today. But the fun’s just starting — in a couple weeks, I get braces.

And I didn’t even get the benefit of being under while they yanked on my teeth… but at least I had my iPod with my noise canceling earbuds so that I didn’t have to listen while they did their thing.

One-Car Caravan

Howard Shapiro has just written a new book called One-Car Caravan, and it’s Shapiro’s account of the presidential race a year before the primaries begin. I haven’t read it yet, but plan to buy my copy shortly and will report back once I do so.

The USA Today ran excerpts from the book last week, so you can get a taste of what’s in there.

K-Collector for Movable Type

Many thanks to Matt Mower for letting me play with a soon-to-be-released copy of K-Collector for Movable Type. For those that don’t know, K-Collector is a tool that lets you add topic-specific information to your posts. The first step is giving you a way of visually representing the who/what/where of your weblog by showing others what you’ve written about in a way other than the calendar (whose value always seemed limited to me).

Beyond that, K-Collector gives you an ability to aggregate these topic feeds, so that others can see what members of their “community” are writing about.

Read more about it at the evectors site.

I’ll be posting some feedback about K-Collector over the next few days.

Saturday, November 1, 2003

Scratch that, spam sucks

That didn’t take very long. In twelve hours, I’ve received 136 pieces of spam. Averaged out over a month, that factors to over 8,000 pieces of spam a month.

(Two more since I started writing this.)

Unreal. Ross is right, e-mail is dying.

Please, make it stop hurting.

I'd forgotten how much fun spam was

For a little more than a year, I’ve been a SpamCop subscriber, and in those 13 months, SpamCop has intercepted more than 27,000 spam messages. One of the advantages to SpamCop is that it’s server-based, so I don’t have to download the e-mail before seeing if it’s spam or not. (This is a huge advantage whenever I’m using my Treo.) All I need to do is forward my e-mail directly to SpamCop where it decides whether to hold it (spam) or release it (not spam). It’s not 100% effective (there are some false positives, and it doesn’t catch all spam) but I’d say it’s at around 98-99% effective.

But I think the SpamCop proprietors learned a valuable lesson this week: never, ever register your domain with a registrar named “Joker”. No, I’m not making this up. For reasons that are still not obvious, Joker cancelled SpamCop’s DNS entries, rendering SpamCop’s domains invisible to the rest of the net. Result? I have to turn off mail forwarding to SpamCop until they get their DNS fixed.

Does anyone ever read this stuff?

The mixed message of standardized testing

Jennifer Klyse has some poignant observations about the challenge of measuring school performance through standardized tests.

No child left behind? I’m not so sure.

Updated RSS template to include MTMacro

Just a tech note for anyone interested in such things: I just modified my RSS template in Movable Type to include macros from MTMacro. Here’s what I did:

  • Created a Movable Type module that contains all MTMacros (currently using a Google macro and an Amazon macro that invokes the MT-Amazon plugin). I can now reference these macros from any other MT template by using the following line: <$MTInclude module=“MTMacros”$>. I added this line to the RSS template.

  • Added the string apply_macros=“1” to the <MTEntries> tag so that the RSS template now executes any MTMacros.

Pretty straightforward. End result is that anyone who reads this site primarily through their aggregator will still see the benefit of MTMacros (otherwise, the RSS feed just ignored the macro mark-up, and the reader is left without hyperlinks).