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October 2007 Archives

October 1, 2007

Happy Birthday Dozer

Whoo'da'wat?!, originally uploaded by soldierant.

Of all our dogs, Dozer is the only one that we've got any history for (papers, medical, or otherwise.) So we just happen to know that today, October 1st, is his birthday. He was born in 1999 which, of course, makes him 8 years old today.

I keep meaning to write something about Dozer on Soldier Ant, cause he's an amazingly special dog. I'm working my way up to it.

October 3, 2007

Chumby crafting

So the supercool little wi-fi enabled, fully-hackable Chumby is in limited "Insiders" release right now. I'm not sure when it'll be generally available, but it looks cool. I remember getting all excited a couple years back at the 'hack your Audrey' movement that grew out of 3Com's failed Internet appliance. (Yes, I'm a nerd. I had two of them.) But the Chumby looks so much more gratifying in the hackability department—designed from the ground up, in fact, to be hacked. I first heard about them at Yahoo!, where a couple of the early alphas were floating around our Hackday community.

This is extra-cool: they've even opened up the sewing patterns for the fabric side-panels to ease custom fabric hacks. Now how cool is that? I expect (indeed, hope for) a robust market in Chumby customizers to erupt soon on Etsy. I want some blue-camouflage panels to match my allysonhill car litter bag!

October 5, 2007

Yahoo! UK Message Boards, now with Reputation

As promised, I am in Pittsburgh on a Friday night, holed up in a classroom on 5th-floor Wean on the Carnegie-Mellon campus. We've had a pretty good ebb-and-flow of interested student hackers.. we're down to only the hardcore now (and my eyes are gonna force me back to the hotel soon for intensive drops-and-sleep therapy.) I kinda thought I would hack around on something... maybe a little ruby script or something with Yahoo! Pipes but it's only 8:30 and I find myself with juust enough energy left to.... blog. So...

Last week was a good week for me, and a whole buncha other folks (spread across 3 continents!) at Yahoo! We shipped a project that's been in the works since the early months of this year: the addition of persistent user reputations to our UK Sports Message Boards.

Within the context of a specific message board, contributors earn reputations based on the quality of their contributions to that board. "Quality", of course, is a slippery term, but think of it as a reflection of the community's response to a message: how many ratings it gets, how high the ratings are, and the like. (There's other stuff weighed in too.) So over time, users' reputations should come to be a pretty accurate representation of how highly the community values their contributions. Those who are valued highly enough earn medals (Gold, Silver & Bronze) that are displayed alongside their postings.

These medals have a practical benefit as well: all messages posted to the UK Boards will now feature an 'Initial Rating'—from 2 to 5 stars, it's a value assumption that the system makes about your message. It is, of course, directly tied to your reputation. We assume that past contributions are a pretty good indicator of present value, and reward your message accordingly. (What I really like is that it's just an initial assumption. The community can still, in short order mod a message up or down if that assumption is incorrect.)

I'm pretty excited that we've got this baby out the door (and very excited at early returns—though earned medals are currently few and far between, the boards have gone from being a Ratings graveyard to quite a bit of rating activity in just a couple short weeks.)

October 6, 2007


Heh. These are all good, but a couple really stood out:

Wait... First you wanted to clone Digg... Then you wanted to "add the social aspects of Facebook to it," and NOW you want it to be Wikipedia? Where the HELL did you spend your morning? In the "Web 2.0 Company Names to Memorize" symposium sponsored by the local Linux Enthusiasts club?
Okay, so wait - Now we're adding YouTube onto the Digg-a-book-apedia-r site you want to miraculously create in six months?
And, finally…
You want to rank and hide comments on your "Completely open and honest corporate communications blog," but only after an admin / editor has approved the comments that have been made? Do you not understand the concepts of "Completely open?" And for that matter, ranking and hiding?

October 8, 2007

Catch the Fever

Awesome! My friend Matt's new game Pandemic is coming in November. I've had the pleasure of seeing Pandemic at a couple stages of its life (I only got to play a very early version, however—it'll be great to see how much it's changed.)

So what's cool about Pandemic? Many things, but here're two: it's certainly a timely subject (tho' I wonder... had it hit the shelves when the Avian flu was making headlines, would it sell a couple thousand more copies?; it's a cooperative game, so stand together or fall apart.

Good job, Matt! And I think Z-Man did a great job on board art and cards. And to everyone else... Pre-order yours today!

October 11, 2007

Right vs. Left

Kottke points to this optical illusion today that should determine whether you're a right- or left-brain thinker, depending which direction you see the girl spinning in. (FWIW, she's going clockwise to me, although I spent more time on the issue of 'omg, is that her nipple?')

October 18, 2007

What Light*

Wilco at Wexner Center 10/16/07, Photo by Kim Rottmayer.

Them's got ears let them hear
Them's got eyes let them see ~ Airline to Heaven

A night later, this show is still playing in my head. LeeAnn and I left the butterbean with his grandparents last night and took in Wilco (w/Andrew Bird) at the Wexner show at Mershon Auditorium. It was a great show. Even by Wilco standards.

We'd seen pretty much the same lineup on their last go-round through Columbus (also at Mershon) but in the intervening year or two, they've really gelled: the discussion over at Donewaiting is full of 'Nels Cline is God'-type arguments and—I gotta say—you'll get no argument from me. What a lush, layered texture his frequent fills provide. And Glenn Kotche? Wow. Just... wow. That guy can't phone nuthin in. From the El-train clatter of Via Chicago to the simplest beats off of A.M (Too Far Apart was particularly fine.)

Aw hell... the whole damn band is just spot-on. Believe it when the Aquarium Drunkard calls them "one of the tightest acts working today (at arguably the peak of their live powers.)"

The first treat of the night, for me? Tweedy was, literally, wearing his heart on his sleeve when he took the stage in a cardinals-n-roses Nudie Suit. It doesn't make me particularly clever to note the Gram Parsons association, but I'll do it anyway. Whatever—it made me smile, and combined with Jeff's shaggy caveman look it was awesome.

If you were at the show, yes, we all saw Nels take a stumbling, bumbling tripping fall right as the band took the stage. If you were my observant wife, as he lay there head over heels, you got a good, laughing look at his black-and-white striped "Hamburglar Socks" as she called them.

Also wonderful: Andrew Bird played violin with the band for one song, which gave them the excuse to play Jesus, Etc. in its original, album arrangement. I've seen 'em do that song... 6 times at least, and always to a faux-disco, keyboardy beat. Was really nice to finally get to hear "the real version" live. (Bird's opening set was nice—I wasn't moved to tears like Gus but only because of my post-LASIK dry eyes.)

To be honest, I've been semi-luke-warm on the new album (it's growing on me) but I know from past experience that the real love always comes after seeing the show. And, sure enough, I walked away with a new appreciation for a couple numbers: "Side With the Seeds" was a revelation ~ Tweedy's vocals really.. um... swaggered, if that's even close to the right word. And "Hate it Here" is such a great song. Sunny at first, ends on a down-note. Just like I like 'em.

Speaking of down-notes: Tweedy's extended guitar wankery on Spiders (Kidsmoke.) Yes, I have a long history of complaining about Tweedy's soloing. And he has a longer history of earning my complaints. Nuff said about that.

* Contrary to this entry title, the band (sadly) did not play what is probably my favorite song off of Sky Blue Sky. And if you're curious, I chose that title, and the accompanying picture, because this is pretty close to how I visually experienced the show: thru a haze of blurry-vision. Which wasn't that bad, cause the sound more than compensated.

October 21, 2007

Cool in Columbus: Brunch with Mayor Coleman

Meet the Mayor, originally uploaded by soldierant.

Edison bumped into Columbus' Mayor yesterday at the North Star cafe—the one in the Short North—and it was a photo-op waiting to happen. The Mayor was extremely gracious, and handled our fidgety boy like a pro. Edison was more fascinated with whatever was going on behind them (the ladies at the register, I think—my boy's got an eye for the ladies) than looking at the camera. A quick whirl-and-a-clutch from Hizzoner brought the boy back into focus. «Click» Done.

October 23, 2007

Belatedly, Flickr User Model v3 in High-res

Wow. It's been 2 years (almost exactly to the day!) since I posted the original version of the Flickr User Model diagram. It quickly evolved through versions 2 and 3, where it stopped:

Flickr User Model, v0.3

Back then, I promised that I'd share a high-res printable and editable version so that folks could do as they pleased with it, and lately I've fielded about 4 different requests for just that. So... never let it be said that I'm not a man of my word. (Lazy yes, but honorable.) So with that...

Illustrator Format Flickr User Model, v3 in Illustrator CS3 formatPDF Format Flickr User Model, v3 in PDF format

Please note: I just changed the Creative Commons License for this piece to permit Remixing! (with proper attribution, and—of course—sharing back to the community.) To be honest, I thought that was permitted before, but I checked and realized that I'd had the stricter 'NoDerivs' clause in effect.

Also... the Illustrator version is in CS3 format, but will probably open in some earlier versions after barking at you about lost effects or something. And all of the type in the Illustrator versions has been converted to outlines which kills the edit-ability but preserves the appearance, since it was originally done in the Sun Sans typeface, which—I'm just guessing—is not all that common out amongst the English. (For you international readers, that was a lame Amish joke. Please disregard.)

October 26, 2007

800th post! (And, Coworking meetup)

Yes, this is the 800th post to Soldier Ant (tho' not the 800th published one. There're probably a dozen or so started-and-never-finished drafts lurking around in there, too.) I started this blog just over 5 years ago—I was on a 6 week sabbatical from Netscape at the time. Okay enough reminiscing. I'd love to do some summary stats, a list of links to my favorite entries, etc etc, but that sounds like a lot of work. Which is not why I started this blog.

But I do want to mention that new friend James Bentley and I are holding a meetup in mid-November to discuss coworking possibilities for Columbus. We know we're not the only ones interested in doing this: heck, we've corresponded with some of you. Some of you are space-sharing already, in various ad-hoc ways. And the Paneras around here sure seem crowded in the daytime..

So if you're local to Columbus, work from your home or a cafe, and are interested in changing your workday habits for the better, than please come meet us on November 14th at the Crimson Cup in Clintonville!

October 28, 2007

Dog Problems

No, for once, these aren't my dog problems. Rather it's a song that I like alot by a band that I've been listening to a lot this year, The Format.

The video is a hoot, and as lo-fi as it gets. Dig the little fedora (and hang in there—the joke may seem like it's getting old, but you've gotta at least see the Bohemian Rhapsody bit near the end…)

About October 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Soldier Ant in October 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2007 is the previous archive.

November 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


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