Tuesday, May 31, 2005

What smart CEOs are doing

From Rafe Needleman:

I keep a small blog, rafeneedleman.com. By small, I mean it doesn’t get a lot of traffic. Yet nearly every time I mention a startup company in it, I quickly get an e-mail from the CEO regarding the post. How is it possible that such a small blog can be so widely read? It isn’t, of course – the stats I get from my blog host (Typepad) and my RSS feed host (Feedburner) tell me the harsh truth every day. But most smart tech CEOs, I believe, are using a service such as PubSub to track the Web and the blogosphere. When their own name or that of their company appears in my blog or anybody else’s, they know about it nearly instantly. [ Release 1.0 ]

Interesting that, one year ago today, I first blogged about giving FeedBurner a try. Less than a day later, I received an e-mail from one of the founders. We met for lunch, stayed in touch, and now here I am, working for him.

I’ve tried hard to be responsive to comments I read about in the blogs about FeedBurner, and it sure seems to work. As Rafe says, it’s not hard, and the tools are more than sufficient at helping you respond quickly.

Bloggity blog in Blogginois

Zorn asks, and I deliver.

The object of his blogging (and therefore indirectly my blogging), is Barabara’s blogging about Eric’s blogging:

[Reading Zorn] can suck away your time, though, so watch out if you are on the clock at work and start reading Zorn.

You mean I can’t get paid to blog about him blogging about her blogging him (who will hopefully be blogging me)?

That’s just not right.

Cue music: Blogs blogs blogs blogs blogs blogs, baked beans and blogs…

Deep Throat revealed

The #2 guy in the FBI at the time was Deep Throat. I never focused closely enough to play the guessing game, but this is obviously a big deal…

TPMCafe launches

It was great fun catching up with Josh Marshall a couple weeks back in NYC; we’ve known each other for nearly ten years and over the past five years or so it’s really been incredible to watch his career trajectory. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Anyway, one of the things we talked about was his upcoming project, TPMCafe. It’s an ambitious project, but one which Josh has (characteristically) given a lot of thought to, and one which seems destined for great success. He announced today that TPMCafe is live, and it looks pretty promising. There’s also a FAQ here for some more info, and a feed here.

Best of luck to Josh!

Naperville home for sale

Friends of mine are (unfortunately) moving from Naperville, and have just put their house on the market. If you’re looking for a home in Naperville, you ought to give their house a look. It’s a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with lots of recent work done, a great yard, and a very convenient location (just a few minutes from I-88, close to downtown).

Monday, May 30, 2005

I, Paris, take you, Paris...

Man, the jokes pretty much write themselves.

Backpack update

Happened upon a great deal downtown this weekend for the Victorinox backpack I mentioned a few days ago. I was also looking at the Tumi Bethune laptop which just wasn’t quite as roomy as the Victorinox. Best of all, Kaehler’s had the backpack on sale for almost $50 less than it’s selling for at Amazon, and $75 less than I’d seen it selling for locally.

I’m going to get my Roadwired Mega Media bag fixed up (couple zippers need some TLC) and then will sell it on eBay; it’s a great bag, just not ideal if you’re walking a couple miles a day with the thing on your back.

Upgrade funkiness

I upgraded the back-end of this weblog to Movable Type 3.16 — so far, nothing appears to be misbehaving. I have noticed one of their reported bug-fixes: no more cryptic error messages during site rebuilds! I’d long ago learned to ignore them, but it’s nice to know that they really were harmless (and equally nice not to see them anymore).

In the process, I realized that one of my favorite plugins, MT-Textile, was in version 2 and I’d never upgraded. I needed to follow the directions here to update the mySQL database that houses all the data for this blog (unfortunate side-effect: the RSS feed regenerated all items — sorry to all of you who are reading this in an aggregator).

In any event, things appear to be working fine… if you see anything that doesn’t appear to be working properly, leave a comment here or just send me an e-mail.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Diet Coke?

Jake assures me that today’s Tribune has a picture accompanying this story about Joe Trippi’s new venture. In that picture is a curious sight: Joe Trippi holding a diet Coke. Say it ain’t so!

What next? He’s secretly working for the GOP?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Going to Gnomedex

I’m looking forward to going to Gnomedex this year; it’ll be my first time, looks like it’ll be a ton of fun. Fellow Naperville blogger Mike Marusin will be there… who else that swings by here from time to time will be in Seattle next month?

New backpack - looking for recommendations

OK gang, I need your help. The Shaun Jackson “Back Office” backpack was a bust. While it sported a unique design, I found it highly impractical on the airplane; in order to access any of the pockets (of which there are too few, by the way), you need to completely unfold the backpack — not an easy task when sitting in a narrow airplane seat with someone right next to you. I was also disappointed with the non-laptop storage; I was able to store one folio/notepad, a paperback book, and power cords. That’s it, at that point the entire bag was full. Not good.

So off it went to the return warehouse today; I should have my credit at Amazon by the weekend. Last week at Syndicate, Kos told me that he really likes his Victorinox Webpak 2.0 backpack — lots of pockets, comfortable on your back, rugged construction. That’s pretty much what I’m looking for… but before I commit, was wondering if any of you had any suggestions. Anyone have a good experience with theirs? Anything to stay away from?

Flagstone - sharing what they know

Picked up this nugget from David Allen’s Getting Things Done blog:

Interesting thing about Flagstone is that one of their silver bullets is a company blog that they use to post up-to-the-minute potentially relevant data from their research in that industry. It has supported their positioning as the go-to people in that niche, because it makes it obvious and out there what they know.

The blog that David’s referring to is here (it requires registration to access; there’s a public blog here, which isn’t updated in real-time). I can’t pretend to understand much of the data on these pages (cue Chevy Chase: “It was my understanding there’d be no math.”), but it’s obvious that these guys both know their stuff, and aren’t afraid of sharing it because they realize it’s know not what they know that’s valuable, it’s how they apply what they know to current situations that helps their clients make money.

There’s a lesson there somewhere, methinks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

For Mei

Scoble pointed to this tragic post from Michael Giagnocavo, who buried his daughter today. She was five days old when she died.

Like Scoble, I was not able to read Michael’s post without weeping. Sobbing, actually. I can’t begin to fathom the depth of Michael’s grief, nor can I pretend to empathize.

Rest in Peace, Mei. May your parents have the strength to remember the joy you brought them, and let’s hope they see it again soon.

Implemented MT-Keystrokes

Last night I installed MT-Keystrokes (hat tip to Erik for the pointer). It’s a simple, if clever, piece of anti-spam technology for Movable Type comments. MT-Blacklist does a good job of catching most of the comments submitted, but there are a ton of comments submitted that are queued for approval, and deleting them from the blog is a long, long process. (Last night? Had to delete almost 7,000 comments in 125 comment increments. Talk about tedious.) Stats for MT-Blacklist in the 9 months since I installed it: 62,000 comment spams intercepted, 19,000 comment spams moderated.

MT-Keystrokes adds a little piece of code that checks to see if the comment submitted actually involved a keystroke. If it’s an auto-submitted comment that had no human input, it’ll choke and the comment won’t get submitted. I’ll keep an eye on it to see if it works as advertised.

(Note to anyone who doesn’t know much about the plumbing of this weblog: “comment spam” refers to comments auto-submitted by computer programs that are trying to add links to this blog (and countless others) in an attempt to influence Google’s rankings. I have no interest in trying to block legitimate comments, just trying to keep the crud off the site.)

Update: We have a winner. Not a single spam comment since this got posted at 9am; ordinarily I was getting 30-50 per hour, sometimes as many as 100 per hour. I’d have to say this is a must-have. Cameron Marlow, I salute you.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tickle your e-mail in Outlook

Great post by Adrian Trenholm (link via Lifehacker). A snippet:

I wanted to take email which I didn’t want to deal with straight away, remove it from my inbox, then have it automatically reappear in my inbox when I was ready to work on it. Having read Merlin Mann’s email diet, I hit on the idea of flagging the email, but leaving it in the inbox. Of course, David Allen suggests that you operate from an empty inbox, so I use Outlook’s grouping, sorting and filtering to make my inbox appear empty, even while it holds flagged items.

Great idea. I’ve been on a deleting frenzy in my inbox lately, and have my work inbox down to under 100 messages and my personal mailbox down to 16. I’m getting there, and this little trick will be a great enhancement.

There ought to be a law

The other day, taking the train home from work, the guy behind me was ringtone shopping the entire trip. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard the hip-hop chart-toppers on a Motorola phone in an otherwise quiet train car.

Ironically, when his phone finally did ring, it was obvious that he hadn’t actually bought any of the ringtones, as the ringer was the default Cingular ringtone.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sony billboard in NYC

Sony billboard in NYC

Originally uploaded by rklau.

Originally seen at “HuffingtonPost”:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/jonah-peretti/sony-psp-powered-by-micro_1398.html.

A house hunter finds Naperville too far from Chicago

Cole Francis is house hunting and concluded that:

Our final synopsis is that there are many wonderful subdivisions in Naperville, including the thriving downtown area. We found both train stations in the city, including one in the heart of downtown Naperville and one farther out towards Aurora, which should give you an idea of Naperville’s size.

I think we are now convinced that Naperville has a great deal of charm, is quite expensive, and is much too far out of the city for our liking.

Too bad, the express trains for the commute are 30 minutes from Naperville to downtown Chicago, and the downtown is vibrant (to say the least). Houses are a bit pricey (for the mid-west, they feel like bargain basement prices compared to San Francisco, where we moved from), but I think as you get closer to Chicago they’ll likely go up.

In any event, sorry we won’t be getting another blogger to Naperville, but best of luck to Cole and family as they relocate to a great area…

Friday, May 20, 2005

Naperville gets slashdotted!

I haven’t looked into this enough to know all the details, but it’s interesting that the Naperville library system’s announcement that it will be taking biometric info to let patrons access the Internet is on the front page of Slashdot right now.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Ed Cone on dreaming

Ed Cone reports remorsefully: “This is depressing that … the blogger in my dream is Jarvis rather than “Wonkette”:http://www.wonkette.com/.”

Make original mistakes

This is a new one to me, and I like the suggestion:

“Make original mistakes.” 

Someone (Brad? Wendy? I can’t remember) said this in a board meeting about a month ago. I wrote it down on a piece of paper and have been carrying it around with me ever since. The concept is right on and meaningful no matter what you do.  … In short, don’t be afraid to make mistakes; just make sure they are original ones. [VC Adventure]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Marriott Marquis elevator redux

Marriott Marquis is the first to have this elevator…

Originally uploaded by rklau.

Too funny. Too freaking funny.

The joys of flying to O'Hare

The joys of flying to O’Hare

Originally uploaded by rklau.

You just gotta hate when you see comments like this on the departure board… Amazingly, we made it out only a few minutes delayed, and arrived at O’Hare without incident.

We were lucky.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

In New York at Syndicate

I’m in New York at the Syndicate Conference in New York today (and tomorrow), and have had a terrific time finally meeting so many people who I’ve “known” for years. (Finally got to meet Scoble!)

I’m too exhausted to post a full recap of the day’s events, other than to note that I hope I didn’t embarass myself or IDG in sitting in on the panel about the ‘04 Election, which originally was due to have Zack Exley from MoveOn (and the Kerry campaign); due to a death in the family Zack couldn’t make it and Nicco suggested that they put me on in Zack’s place. Zack’s contributions were missed, but we did what we could in his absence.

It was a lot of fun, and was the second time I’ve sat on a panel with Markos (of Daily Kos fame). Nicco was, as always, a joy to catch up with — he’s built a great business at Echo Ditto and is in the middle of some incredible conversations. The audience was primarily corporate marketers who are trying to figure out how to apply lessons from the Dean campaign (among others) to their marketing efforts. I’d recommend attendees buy a copy of Joe Trippi’s book The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, which does a far better job than I laying out how the lessons of conversation, community and transparency apply equally to the corporate world.

On a separate note, let me also second J.D.‘s observation that the elevators at the Marriott Marquis would make Kafka spin in his grave. Truly they are a wonder of inefficiency, instilling terror and confusion into just about every poor schlub who needs to get up to the higher floors. I missed Alec Baldwin, but witnessed one poor woman near tears as she (again) missed her floor. Note to Syndicate attendees: take the escalators to five, you’ll save 15 minutes each way. You’re welcome.

More tomorrow, after I get some sleep. Send me your best wishes for a good night’s sleep, as it’s a bit tight in here.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Find Your Burglar... On eBay

I love this…

This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve heard stories like this, but it looks like a woman who was burgled of a few items, including a laptop and an iPod, quickly went on eBay and tracked down the stolen goods. The goods were traced back to a sports memorabilia dealer, who claimed he bought the goods from someone else. He apparently helped provide enough info that the police tracked down the crook. The police were apparently so thankful for the woman’s help in finding the guy that, along with her returned stuff, they’re sending her a $100 gift certificate to an electronics store. [Techdirt]

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Dave Chappelle not crazy, not on crack

Time Magazine breaks the story: Dave Chappelle is neither crazy nor on crack. Time subscribers (which I’m not) can access the full magazine article here.

If I were a cynic, I’d point out that this sure has created a lot of free publicity at almost precisely the same time that Season 2 of Chappelle’s show shows up in stores… and that his much talked about contract will create $50m only if sales of his DVDs remain strong.

But I’m not a cynic. Or at least not now. This sounds like it was a genuinely rough time for all involved, and I hope he emerges from this hiatus stronger, more confident in those around him, and funnier.

Gotta admit: this’ll make for some choice material for the show.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Naperville Library Bookmarklet

Man, this is just too cool. I remember when Jenny wrote about this years ago, but I’m only just getting to implementing it on my end for the Naperville library (best library in the country, six years running, thank you very much!). And guess what? It works!

This is a bookmarklet (a button in your browser’s toolbar) that will check your local library for a book you’re looking at in Amazon. So… while you’re browsing the catalog at Amazon.com, clicking this button in your toolbar will check your library’s catalog to see if it’s in stock. For me, not only does Naperville’s catalog tell me if it’s available, but I can put a hold on it and get an e-mail when the book is available.


For anyone in Naperville who wants to use this, the base URL for the form is “” (no quotes).

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Ross announced recently that Socialtext closed a B round of funding. In classic Ross fashion, he did the counter-intuitive (and brilliant, IMO) thing and chose not to trumpet the details, instead choosing to let bloggers hunt them down. A Socialtext starter package awaits the first person to connect all the dots: happy hunting!

In related news, now’s probably a good time to share the news that I’ve left Socialtext and joined FeedBurner. This is no way reflects a lack of confidence in Socialtext’s future – indeed, I knew about the the funding round ahead of its announced closing, and it will ensure that the team has the resources it needs to extend its lead in an exciting market.

It probably helps to explain a bit about what I was doing with Socialtext and what I’ll be doing at FeedBurner. For the majority of my time at Socialtext I was in a pure sales role. While that was what Socialtext, as an early-stage startup, needed – it wasn’t really a clean fit for my background or skillset. I’m pleased to say that I helped bring some Fortune 500 business Socialtext’s way, and built relationships with some large organizations who are experiencing tremendous success with the product. Nevertheless, sales wasn’t a clean fit for what I wanted to be doing. As Socialtext moves into its next stage of growth, they’ll need someone who’s a pure salesperson. (They’ll actually need several people — they’re hiring, drop them a line.)

About a year ago, I blogged that I was checking out FeedBurner, and one of the founders reached out to me to ask about my experience. After a few messages we realized we lived just a few miles apart – not a surprising development when you live in the Bay Area, but shocking out in the Chicago suburbs. We met, kept in touch, and shared updates periodically. A few months ago, Steve let me know that FeedBurner was about to close a round of funding and would be growing quickly. As Steve spelled out what they were up to, and what roles they would need to add to the team, I got intrigued. Certainly part of the excitement was the locale — I’d join a team that all met in the same office. Of course, that means that I’ve swapped out a two staircase commute for a 35 mile train ride and a 15 minute walk each way…

The face-to-face interaction and energy I get from being around co-workers, I’ve found, is important to me. That’s not to dismiss the advantages of a home office — for the past 18 months I’ve loved the flexible schedule and convenient ability to share parenting duties from time to time — but there is a trade-off. (I’ll share more about this transition later after I’ve had more time to get used to it — in the meantime, just send happy thoughts to my friend Chris Casey, who also just resumed a commute and is finding it a tad rough. Fortunately I have several express trains to pick from!)

As I said, I knew Socialtext’s funding was around the corner, and am thrilled that it’s now closed. That means good things all around — and, ironically, an office for those based in California (Ross just started looking here.). While Ross made it clear that there remained an opportunity for me — virtually or in California — my growing ties to the community and desire to develop strong roots in Illinois, coupled with my interest in the new opportunity, convinced me that the time was right to switch gears.

The hardest part of this decision was committing to leaving a team of people I’ve grown to admire and respect. Ross, Pete, Adina, Ed, Brian, Chris, Dave and Sunir have built a strong foundation — both in terms of the product as well as the company culture. And though I came to find that I needed the energy from face-to-face interactions more than I expected, the fact is that in spite of our distributed nature we were cohesive and collegial. I still think Socialtext provides the best solution for organizations looking to work more efficiently and effectively together, and have nothing but good things to say about the product and the people. Give them a call already!

I’m excited about my new digs, and will be sharing more details in the weeks to come.

Update: Wow. Ross (my old boss) has nice things to say about me leaving, and Steve (my new boss) has equally nice things to say about me joining FeedBurner. I’m incredibly fortunate to work with such remarkably smart and generous people.

ReedSmith launches ComplianSeek

Man, this news about ReedSmith’s work with DolphinSearch (where, oh where, did spaces in company names go?) is just so exciting on so many levels:

Byte and Switch has a story this morning on ComplianSeek with more about the genesis and particulars of the technology (Dolphins Aid Compliance): “DolphinSearch is the brainchild of a Berkeley PhD, Herbert L. Roitblat, who started the firm in 1999. Dr. Roitblat aimed to commercialize his patented technology (U.S. Patent No. 6,189,002), which is based in part on neural networking techniques derived from research on dolphins’ echo-based communication.” (Though I’m fairly certain you don’t need to hire Bud or Sandy to interpret the results.) The article also touches on my firm’s contributions: “ReedSmith helped DolphinSearch design ComplianSeek to look for the ‘right stuff’ in emails. This doesn’t mean keywords, but instead certain patterns, word associations, lingo, or subtler forms of reference to investment activity.” [Bag and Baggage]

I’ve written about the billable hour business model a number of times, most notably here back in 2002. One quote from that post in particular stands out in light of ReedSmith’s announcement:

If the finding of the information could be improved, then the lawyers could free up time to focus on the stuff that matters: synthesizing the information that they find and strategizing about how it applies to the client.

In the end, synthesis is impossible until you have all the information. Today’s practice ends up devoting an inordinate amount of time to the discovery of information – to the detriment of the real valuable role a lawyer brings. If I’m the client, I want the lawyer thinking, not looking.

This is a terrific step forward — kudos to the team at ReedSmith for making the leap.

Beep! Daily Herald launches community blog

Very cool development in the DuPage County blog world: the Daily Herald, in conjunction with Northwestern University, has launched a community blog site called Beep. Local bloggers can drop a line to beep@dailyherald.com to add their blog to the local blog list here.

Favorite new local blog so far? Rays of Light, where Ray Trygstad posted a hilarious recap of Don King trying to fix a fight in the 70s. At the Naval Academy. With Howard Cosell (avec and sans toupee) in attendance.

Priceless. Welcome to the blogosphere, DH.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Getting things done

A while back I read Getting Things Done by David Allen, and was very impressed with the concepts. Nothing earth-shattering, but a good combination of discipline and common sense that helped you manage your day-to-day to-dos. Like many who’ve read it, I found a few keys in the system (especially the Brother P-Touch + manila folders) that worked well for me; others were harder to maintain and failed to stick.

Now that I have a Treo, I again have found Bonsai to be a wonderful tool. It’s an outlining program that has a desktop companion — I’m juggling a number of fast-moving projects, and I keep a master outline that lists each project, a list of steps required to complete that project, and a status field (for completed/not completed). Each node of the outline can be categorized, which allows me to flag an item in the “waiting on” category, a key element of David Allen’s system: make sure you know not only what you need to do, but what you’re waiting on that’s keeping you from getting things done.

This is by no means a full implementation of Getting Things Done — more of an adapted model that fits closely with how I think. I need to get better at managing my inbox so that it’s empty… that’ll be the next hurdle to overcome. See the screenshots for more examples of how you can use Bonsai as a far more powerful task management system.

Bonus? The makers of Bonsai, Natara Software, are located in Naperville. Sweet!

Happiness is...

… A new Emily Lord CD, “Brand New Day”. Emily just recently chaired Mamapalooza in San Francisco, and she’ll be in New York in a few weeks at the NY Mamapalooza event.

Emily graduated from Notre Dame with my brother, then served active duty in the military for a number of years before committing to music full time. This is her third album, which follows an 8 month sabbatical in which she had her first child (a daughter). It’s produced by Mark Hallman, who’s produced some other women singer/songwriters you might have heard of — Carole King, Ani DiFranco, Shawn Colvin… It’s so nice to have Emily back.

I’m listening to it now (side note, testing the new Yahoo! Music Engine). The new version of “Can’t Kiss me Casually” will take some getting used to (the original version on 1995’s Beginnings is much more acoustic, this has a full band behind her with back-up vocals!), but it’s an absolute joy to hear Emily’s singing again. Update: She also re-records “Hey Joe”, also from Beginnings. Subtly different, but this version is far superior to the version on Beginnings. Guess it’s all a matter of personal taste… Her cover of Supertramp’s “Give a little bit” is wonderful, clearly sung to her daughter. Pictures from the recording session are here.

The music is relaxed, emotional and powerful. As Emily says, the album “provides a window into the life of a modern woman balancing career, relationships, and motherhood. Not a story of a modern day June Cleaver, but a voice to a generation of professional women who seek self-fulfillment in a complex world.” More here. Pick up a copy, you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, May 9, 2005

The Huffington Post

Arianna Huffington’s new group blog launched today. Looks like it’s worth subscribing (feed options here.)

Sunday, May 8, 2005

James Berardinelli likes Revenge of the Sith

My favorite movie reviewer since 1993 (when I read his reviews on rec.arts.movie-reviews), James Berardinelli, really liked Revenge of the Sith.

I got almost nothing out of the last two — it’d be fun to have this one be better. Eleven days and counting…

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Great weather picture

Remember that weather I wrote about back in March? For whatever reason, the Technorati watch list I have running on the word “Naperville” just turned up a great picture of the storm as it rolled into town.

Google Web Accelerator: Not so fast...

I gave the new Google Web Accelerator a try the other day without really stopping to think about it. Of my many complaints about computing, slow loading web pages is not at the top of the list. In 1996? Sure, you bet. That 56kbps dial-up connection to Earthlink seemed fast for about an hour, then you got used to watching images dither to your screen, wondering when (if?) you’d ever see the full page load.

But today, I have a DSL connection with T-1 speeds (1.5mbps) at home, and FireFox helps pages load pretty quickly. But like many, I gave the accelerator a whirl. And in the first week, it saved me a whopping 45 seconds.

Then I saw this article from the guys at 37signals, who ran into some issues with users of their new product Backpack. Turns out that (not surprisingly), the accelerator was following links on pages — even if those links were actually commands to the web server.

Read the comments on the 37signals blog — there’s a good back/forth about whether this is really Google’s fault or that of the web designers who make applications with URLs as commands. Think of all those sites you use — like webmail, wikis, blog software, etc. — that have a “sign out” or “logout” link. As it stands today, applications like GWA will pre-fetch those links, which can force the server to log you out, which leave you unable to click any of rest of the links on the page because now, as far as the webserver is concerned, you’ve logged out.

I’ve uninstalled it for now — as I said, I don’t really see slow-loading webpages as high on my list of problems to solve. And nothing beats ActiveWords for saving real time each week, instead of a fraction of a second on a few web pages.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

First del.icio.us community link

Thanks to peacenik (the nickname at del.icio.us for this person), we have our first “community” links in the sidebar back at the website. What are community links? Instead of managing a blogroll, I have two different lists of links on my homepage — one is managed by Technorati and includes the last 25 sites who’ve linked to me (on the theory that you might be interested in who’s linking to me), and the other is managed by del.icio.us and includes the last 20 links to sites that I (and others) find interesting.

If you want to add to the community links section, just bookmark a site using del.icio.us and tag the site with the word “tins-links” (no quotes).

Monday, May 2, 2005

Expecting Internet Companies to Click

Interesting: a tech growth fund managed by a family in Naperville, IL:

Calamos Growth  is the largest fund run by Calamos Asset Management Inc., based in Naperville, Ill. Tech Dose Information View Technorati Cosmos [Technorati] naperville
“Assets have swelled 64 percent from $8.5 billion a year ago and have more than tripled during the past two years. Calamos Asset has also benefited, as total assets under management as of March 31 climbed 32 percent from a year earlier, to $38.2 billion.”

Helen Peoples

Woke up last night to a call from my in-laws; my wife’s 96 year-old grandmother died at the age of 96. The woman was a force to be reckoned with who lived life on her terms and ensured we all knew where we belonged.

I first met her at the family “camp” in Maine nearly ten years ago. Hard to imagine she was 86 at the time. I’m thrilled she had an opportunity to meet her two most recent great-grandchildren (my sons) — she had a total of seven great-grandchildren and they’ll all remember her.

Her secret to long life? Whiskey sours. The Maine air. And I’m sure that hearty Canadian stock played a part (she was from Quebec).

She will be missed, but never forgotten.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Reginald Robinson - Ragtime piano

Just finished reading Ragtime Blues in today’s Chicago Tribune. What a powerful article: Reginald Robinson, a drop-out from inner-city Chicago holed up in his bedroom and taught himself to play ragtime piano, and emerged just a few years later as a genius piano player who could evoke the ghost of Scott Joplin while composing original melodies that many consider Joplin’s equal.

Last fall, Robinson won the MacArthur Genius Award, which grants each winner a $100,000 annual stipend for five years. He heard he’d won while shivering in his Chicago apartment — the heat had been turned off and he was penniless.

A snippet from the article:

That a young man whose childhood was punctuated with shootings and other inner-city horrors—a kid who failed 7th grade before eventually bailing on the Chicago public schools-should emerge as the leading hope of a long-lost art form would seem remarkable enough. But that he taught himself practically everything he knows about music, spending years decoding notes and chords, only underscores the magnitude of his achievement.

Yet on this day, as on most others, his focus is not on his arduous journey but on its goal, the music. “A lot of people think ragtime is hokey,” concedes Robinson, who stands about 5 feet 8 inches but produces the colossal sound of a much larger man. “But in my mind, it’s deeper than that… . You can hear every emotion; all of life is in it.”

Check out the article, and look for re-releases of his CDs coming out soon. What little I’ve heard so far is spellbinding.