Archive for the ‘Whatever’ Category

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Summer’s Ending

August 20, 2008

The last time I blogged here it was the start of 2008 and now we’re finishing up the summer. My kids are back in school Monday, so I consider “unofficial” summer to be done at that point, regardless of the solstice action or the temperature.

It’s been a productive year thus far, although I don’t think anyone ever gets as much done as they hoped they would when a year began. It can be a slog, especially if you’re trying to build something via bootstrapping, without the resources to do as much as fast as you’d like. In business, I’m talking about Bessed, but of course life in general is like that, too. You look back and see that the things you wanted to fix still haven’t gotten fixed because some things absolutely needed to get fixed. It’s the eternal struggle between getting things done and putting out fires all day.

This summer’s been a big one in our family, with kids learning to ride on two wheels, learning to read (and loving it as much as I did when I was a kid), and learning to do some other things for themselves so Mom and Dad aren’t in constant servitude. We also had a couple of big events, with back-to-back trips — a vacation to Kiawah Island, South Carolina and then a trip to Niagara Falls for someone’s big birthday (no numbers mentioned). There was much fun, but in some ways I’m looking forward to the structure that comes with school and cooler weather. (I’ve drank a lot this summer, too; scaling back on that wouldn’t be a bad thing.)

I’ll be 40 in about 16 months, and I’ve been spending a good amount of time trying to figure out where I want to be at that point, and what to do if I don’t get to where I want to be. Yes, 40 is just a number, but it doesn’t hurt to use it as a benchmark to take stock of where you are, where you’d like to be, how likely it is you’ll get there, what to do if you can’t get there, or even what you’ll do if you do get there. The “there” is different for everyone — for me, it’s to use this end of summer as the jumping off point for a concerted effort to fill a niche with Bessed and make it a worthwhile endeavor for myself and those who use it. Can I find the people, pay the people, and create the path that will make a somewhat amorphous blob into a useful, focused site, or will it be time to move on?

Well, summer’s not over yet. While I ponder, I think I’ll have a drink out in the sun.

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My Week as Michael Arrington

September 5, 2007

When you’re small and want attention, sometimes you do silly things.

After reading a post last week at TechCrunch called “Attack of the Fake Bloggers”, I got an idea. A wonderful, awful idea. How could it be that TechCrunch was chronicling Fake Steve Jobs and the like, yet no fake Michael Arrington (TechCrunch’s founder if you don’t know) existed?

So I started thinking about a day in the life of Michael Arrington and my first thought was Arrington sitting at breakfast analyzing a banana as if it was a Web 2.0 company. That thought turned into this post, and CrunchFood was born. Arrington himself was nice enough to mention the site, which spurred blog mentions from Fortune, Wired, WSJ’s All Things D, Valleywag and a number of other sites. Much traffic ensued, to my amazement and delight.

It was a lot of fun, but, alas, I have a day job, and I liked the eight or nine posts so much that anything more seemed as though it would ruin the fun. I could’ve come up with dozens of more titles like “Turkey, A Chicken Clone” and had a good time creating fake IMs in which Arrington gets annoyed at Jason Calacanis for saying Mahalo all the time, but, really, what was the point? As a reader, you got the joke; no need to belabor it.

If you happened upon CrunchFood last week, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If all my work was that much fun, I’d never feel like sticking a pencil in my eye.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.

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To All the TechCrunch Haters

April 5, 2007

My man Mike Arrington over at TechCrunch is asking me to bring the hate. He wants me to find the worst post on TechCrunch and say why it’s bad. But I can’t do it, man. That’s like asking who’s the ugliest Miss America, you know what I’m saying?

I mean, that TechCrunch is so useful. I went through some of the old posts and they were awesome, man. (Mike likes to use the words “awesome” and “cool” a lot and so I picked up on that, yeah?) Like there’s all this Web 20 stuff for your celly, right? And TC’s got it all, and I love it all. I downloaded all of those mofos today even if I didn’t know what Mike was talking about with his SMS and OpenID and Twitty and whatever. My phone’s goin’ crazy, dudes! It’s beepin and boopin and I got people I don’t know tellin’ me what they’re doing 24/7! One time the phone flew up and kissed me on the nose. I wouldn’t have had this experience without Mike and the TC crew, know what I’m saying? I digg it. (See what I did there? I’m gettin all Web 20 again.)

So I’m already loving the TC brigade, right? But then I latch on to this one old post I missed. I don’t know how I missed it, cause I’m on TC religious-like, right?

Anyway the post’s about this site KritX, which I’m loving cause it’s got the Web 20 name going on. It’s like “Critics” see? But they spelled it all wacky, right?

So in the post Mike says that KritX is “very raw, but they are on to something big – aggregation of reviews from blogs (the edge of the network).” I don’t know about that edge of the network— more stuff for my celly?—but I’m digging the aggregation of reviews from blogs, because, as Mike says, “I’d like to see someting like this be built.” If Mike wants it, you think I want it? Yuh-huh.

Mike says “kritX is combinging blog reviews and microformats with a vertical search engine to present these edge reviews to users” and even though he says it “has a long way to go” he knows it to be “a good idea that can grow into something incredible.” I’m on this baby!

I went to KritX today and it’s filled its potential, man. I admit I was confused at first because it had a message that said “This site is under construction” on top of the page. But it must’ve only been part under construction because right under the message I saw all these reviews about all my favorite stuff. I mean, KritX must have like ESPN, man, because it knew totally what I was into. Homes For Sale, Apartments, Dating Services, Chat Rooms—that’s all me, dudes. Weight Loss, Fitness, Plastic Surgery, Skin Care, Pregnancy—those fit my profile, too, right?

One of my pet peeps, though, is Web 20 sites that don’t deliver, right? Could KritX really aggregate and supplimate the best reviews on so many topics? That’s like a rhetorical question, man. Check it out:

I clicked on “Download Ringtones” and right off the bat I’m seeing a review that gets to the heart of matters. It says “Ringtone Jam Jam – Your One stop Destination For Cell Phone Ringtones We have a huge collection of the most popular ringtones for handsets on AT&T, Cingular, SprintPCS, T-Mobile, Alltel, Nextel, Verizon and more. As little as $5.99 per week”

That’s a review I can understand from a fellow blogger who’s tried this stuff out, right? Ringtone Jam Jam—that’s a name that inspires confidence and I wish I could thank the reviewer who was good enough to take the time to write about it.

Now check this. I clicked on “Debt Consolidation” and there were some great reviews that got straight to the point. First one up said “Consumer Debt Consolidation Family Credit Counseling offers free budget counseling, credit counseling and if you choose to enroll in a debt management plan, FCC charges no setup fees, nothing to lose but your debt.”

That reviewer’s got a way with words, right? “Nothing to lose but your debt.” I love it. That’s not something just any old hack could write. I bet even Mike would’ve had a hard time coming up with that line. But that’s why I love KritX so much. Anything you can think of, they got like 20-40 reviews on.

Mike was right, as usual. Kritx is incredible!

I feel happy right now. And I got TechCrunch to thank. You haters can just leave through the side door.

Your friend, Adam

P.S. Mike if you’re reading this I also want to thank you for the 411 on Mechanical Turk. Like you said, it’s “brilliant.” Like I got someone to pay me 98 cents to identify the color of cars in about 200 pictures. I love cars! I would’ve done that for free, right? Much love Mike.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.

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Giving Away Two Joost Invites

March 1, 2007

I’ve got two Joost invites to give away. Be one of the first two to comment on the Joost page on Bessed & I’ll give one of the Joost invitations to little old you, so you can check out the new interactive TV product while its still in private beta.

UPDATE: I just got one more, so although the first two were taken, there’s now one more.

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On Wikipedia, No One Knows You’re A Dog

February 28, 2007

Via the Freakonomics blog, a New Yorker story from last year on Wikipedia included a couple of paragraphs about an editor named Essjay who claimed to be “a tenured professor of religion at a private university” with “a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law.” Turns out Essjay is a 24-year-old guy with no advanced degrees and no teaching background. He now works for Jimmy Wales’ for-profit Wikia.

To me, things like this don’t really take away from Wikipedia—it’s still very useful for most bits of information you wat to know or for background on a subject. You just have to be sure you’re not taking anything there as complete fact, or that you cross-reference a fact if it’s something that’s really important—such as a statistic that you’d use in a report for example.

On the other hand, for a site that aims to be all about transparency, Wikipedia does allow its administrators to simply make up information about themselves, and, since they’re allowed to be anonymous, no one has the ability to edit their self-written biographies in the way they have the ability to edit everything else on Wikipedia. That’s weird, huh?

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.

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My TurboTax Rap

February 20, 2007

I read about this TurboTax contest on the Church of the Customer blog. It’s a contest where you make up a rap song about TurboTax and then make a video of yourself rapping it. Vanilla Ice is the spokesperson for the contest, and who doesn’t love Vanilla Ice?

I’m not planning on videotaping myself rapping, but I’ve decided to lay down a few rhymes to help out my homies who love to entertain but don’t have the mad skillz as writers. All y’all can feel free to use these ill rhymes to win you the dope prize & chill with my man ‘Nilla.

Here goes…

Awww, yeah….

You ain’t Turbotaxin’?

Maaaannnn, you’d be relaxin

down there poolside wif a drink in yo hand

instead a sittin inna office with a pasty white accountant

bitin yer nails while he’s goin through a mountain

of papers that show you ain’t got no dough

Conjunction junction

What’s a deduction?

My man TurboTax don’t miss a trick

Dependents? Yeah, I got ’em, what’s it to you?

You mean they givin’ me money back for sweet Sarah Sue?

Aw, TurboTax, you saved my ass

From the IRS tryin to take my pants

And my shirt and my shoes and my undies, too

TurboTax, my brotha, I owe it all to you.

Did I tell you I had it goin’ on? I’m cookin’ MCs like a pound of bacon.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.

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My Beta Test of Joost

January 17, 2007

After adding a results list for Joost today at Bessed, Ludovic from Joost was nice enough to let us know that more openings were available for beta testers, so I snagged one and gave it a whirl.

If you don’t know, Joost is the new TV-on-the-Internet product/service from the inventors of Skype and Kazaa. Until recently it was being referred to as The Venice Project.

My worry after reading some early comments about Joost was that it would cause my computer to go crazy from using too many system resources. My computer’s probably two or so years old and it’s not souped-up or anything, but Joost ran just fine. There were a couple of times the audio hiccupped, but nothing major. The computer didn’t crash, I didn’t have to cry.

That worry out of the way, Joost works sort of like regular TV is some ways. Turn it on (aka, double-click on its icon) and you get a channel that’s already running, so that feels familiar. You can then access a bunch of diferent channels with various content on them, from old TV shows to music videos to whatever else. I won’t go into what the current content is, because I don’t think that’s the point. The content is curently limited, and it obviously would need to be significantly beefed up, but the point of a beta is to see if the thing works, and it does.

As you move from channel to channel, you get a new “show” and you can skip through to other “shows” on that same channel. (I put “show” in quotes because some of these are fairly short pieces, not necessarily what you think of as neat little half-hour shows in the traditional sense.) The only trouble I had, or maybe I didn’t understand, was how to go directly to a show that I saw listed. It seemed I had to fast forward/skip to get to new content on a channel, instead of picking from a menu like you might on the menu of a DVD. When debuting the iPhone, Steve Jobs talked about seeing voice mails as a list and clicking on the one you wanted to listen to, even if it was out of order; I’d want the same idea out of Joost. Probably a short-term issue.

Joost also has some community features, so you can communicate with others while you’re watching. That’s not a big selling point for me, but I know younger people with more time on their hands might like it.

In short, my first impression of Joost is positive.

Looking at it brought up many questions. Do people want to watch TV on their computers? Is Joost online just the first step toward Joost on a regular home TV? And, if so, how does this threaten traditional TV or cable TV?

Personally I never think to myself that I wish I could watch TV on my computer (although people that often travel with laptops might think this sometimes). However, I do like the fact that some shows are now available online if I miss the show when it’s first aired. What if everything that aired in the last week on any channel was available for me to watch full-screen on my computer at any time I wanted, without paying but having a few ads thrown in, as Joost has? That would be cool, and that would make me watch on my computer.

Of course if there was a piece of equipment that combined the ability to watch broadcast TV with the ability to watch online channels that would be even better. Or, maybe even better, if all TV content was actually served via Joost-like channels on a regular-sized TV screen, giving me the opportunity to pick and choose what I wanted to watch any time of day, starting from the beginning of a show or content clip, that would be the ultimate. Any time I sat down and thought I wanted to watch something, I’d have not just hundreds of channels but also multiple choices within each channel. As a man who gets nervous at the video store over deciding what to choose, that might be a little much for me, but overall I’d rather have too many good choices than no good choices at all.

If/when this ultimate TV/Internet box is established, what does that mean for today’s broadcast and cable stations? Even worse, what does it mean for Tivo? Who needs Tivo if everything you might want to watch is constantly at your fingertips?

What the Joost beta showed me is that the technology is just about there. The missing piece of course is content. I won’t care about Joost if I can only watch curling matches and silent movies. But of course I don’t care about ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Bravo or anyone else if they don’t have anything I want to watch.

If Joost can get good content, especially if it can get good content not available elsewhere, and if the delivery of that content (i.e., the ability to pick shows randomly and/or social networking features) is appealing to many people, it puts more pressure on broadcast and cable to start delivering shows in a similar fashion. And, if broadcast or cable networks do go that route, they’re likely to partner with the most established TV-on-the-Internet company out there, which my beta test tells me is Joost. Which could mean that Joost is another home run for the inventors who already have Skype and Kazaa under their belts.

It will be interesting to watch it unfold.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.