Friday, May 30, 2008

1 Million 1 Shot Anniversary – May 30, 2008

Dearest readers, people who came here through a Google search and are probably going to now leave, and those of you who have absolutely no clue as to how you’ve landed on this page, it’s my one year anniversary of founding and beginning to write on 1 Million 1 Shot.

268 posts and 297 profile views later, you’ve hung in there. Congrats! I’ve gone from a measly 1-4 visitors a day to 25-40 now, and it feels great that I can subject you all to my ponderings.

I initially started this blog to track the developments of my entrepreneurial nature, but topics have been noticeably the opposite. I’ve covered advertising developments, provided uncanny viewpoints on social media, publically dissed Twitter, highlighted some of YouTube’s best, reported on a plethora of trends, surreptitiously exposed my private life, and made my art susceptible to your tastes.

In return to your kind and faithful dedication to following my rants and raves, I’ll keep this post short.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

SF Technology Spotted - May 29, 2008

I noticed this sign on a parking meter off of Polk Street this past week. I was instantly intrigued and immediately called the number. Paying parking meters by cell phone is stuff that's only supposed to happen in Japan, why was this in my backyard?
My phone call was quickly answered by a robotic automated voice. It proceeded to ask me if I was a new user, and if so to press 1. Naturally, I went forward with caution, and onto the next step. Without pause, the android voice piped in, and requested that I enter my cell phone number, and then my credit card number. I'm assuming this was to create an account for me, so that the next time I chose to pay for a parking spot by cell phone I won't have to go through this process.

My biggest concern with this whole issue was whether or not it was legit. There were no official city stickers, nor did it remotely convey the sense that this was a legal and safe alternative to using coins from my pocket to pay for a parking spot. It seems like this might be a brilliant scheme to gleam credit card numbers from hundreds of people.

Needless to say, I did not intend to pay for a spot that I had no use for, and I needed to pursue the legitimacy of this offer before I give out my credit card number to Mr. Roboto. After arriving home, I popped open my laptop and went to work. After moments, I came across multiple articles that detailed San Francisco's parking meter pay by phone initiative. However, all the articles came from 2007, and I could find nothing from a reliable source from a more recent date. This is the only article that seems to validate the pay by phone sticker.

If this program is indeed a government supported effort, could they please figure out a way to make it seem more protected and safe? I know were not quite Japan yet, so we'll need some coaxing along the way Gavin.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mark and Patsy Tie the Knot - May 27, 2008

Shark of the Jo-Tel, and Patsy, resident of the Jo-Tel, officially tied the knot this past weekend. Congratulations! (and no the picture is not of them, but of Mini Shark and Kristin looking oh so "gyratingy")

It was a beautiful wedding, and everyone got properly drunk. By properly drunk I mean a glass was broken every 10-15 minutes, and my cane, a nice accoutrement to my Seersucker suit, was taken away from me and used as a tool to lift up various wedding attendees' skirts. Oh la la.

The ceremony itself was quick and sweet, almost too fast if you ask me. Patsy looked lovely, and Sosia continually remarked that she had never seen Shark look so happy. The guests in attendance held nothing back when it came to fashion taste. We had Rosie looking oh so smart and edgy, Ellen showing some serious boobage, and Shark's cousin going for the "I work at a fish hatchery" look.

The night concluded as the wedding party headed/stumbled to R Place off of Colorado Street, where we proceeded to "borrow" a bottle of whiskey, blare Bon Jovi on the jukebox, and ritualistically out dance another.
All in all this is the best wedding I have ever been to, even though I've only been to three in my whole life. Besides the sore throat I got, everything else was peachy perfect. I wish the newly weds well as they tan their bodies below the Fijian sun.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Candy Mountain - May 23, 2008

God I forgot about how awesome this video is. Sorry I've been lazy this week with posting, but work is slamming me. More to come next week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sweet Sweet Bay to Breakers - May 21, 2008

Oh, Bay to Breakers. It came, I drank, and I left with a 2-day headache.

This year was particularly perfect. Great decorative carts, nice positive vibe, and endless amounts of booze. I recall asking myself before I downed my first cup of suds around 7:50am, when would be the last time that I would recall pushing and/or seeing our Underage Drinking Society cart? When would my group start losing their clothes and wandering aimlessly around Golden Gate Park? Would a policeman issue me a ticket for public urination? Who would be the last person standing? How many naked dudes would I see? Where would the day's adventure end?

Alas, I don't recall any of the outcomes, but I have some pictures to prove it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blogging to the Bank? - May 19, 2008

Should companies be offering bloggers money to write about products or brands the company represents?

I recently checked out Social Spark, a company run by the same people who started Pay Per Post. Social Spark’s holding company is Izea.

Overall, I think that Izea has a really smart business concept, but in actuality I’m not sure it works. Essentially, in order to qualify as a blogger that can pick up stories from Social Spark, one must have at least 100 readers a day, at least 20 posts every three months, and the posts written about the topics must be neutral. I see three major problems with this.

First, any blog that has a solid readership and frequent activity (posts and comments) is less likely to write a paid post. It would alienate the readers, and cheapen their blog. There’s nothing worse than a sell out, right? However, if the author of the blog acknowledged somehow that they are going to occasionally write a couple of paid blog posts in order to offset the cost of hosting fees, it might be okay with the readers. It seems like this would be really hard to accomplish, since blogs gain new readers all the time, and having to reiterate the point of having to write paid posts to offset the cost of hosting would get old fast. For this reason, this is probably why Social Spark offers an “interstitial” like-ad instead of a paid post, which is more popular amongst the “a” list bloggers. If a blog has enough readers, it must have good content that gets people to come back again and again. If it has those two things, wouldn’t they just use a traditional online ad channel to make money?

Secondly, since the blogger has to write in a neutral voice, it takes away from the blog’s typical tone. I mean, the whole point of a blog is to get someone’s take on something, right? I think that by forcing bloggers to remain neutral, the product or brand’s post won’t appear to be more interesting than if one had just read a description of what the product or brand is all about.

Finally, the idea behind offering bloggers cash to write about products or brands that they might have anyway written about is a good idea. The way pay-to-post opportunities work is by providing the blogger with a variety of things to write about on their blog. The blogger then chooses things that they would have probably written about without the cash incentive. While in reality this seems perfect, many of the things that offer the most money (the primary driver for bloggers) have restrictions and requirements that prove too undesirable to take on. For instance, one might have to create a video, or include pictures, which adds to the complication of the post.

All in all I feel that the concept behind Social Spark sounds great, but executionally it is flawed. It seems like a big one-off. In the end when dealing blogs, it’s more beneficial for a company to approach social media content creators and build a relationship with them that they can utilize over time, rather than pay them to write about them once or twice. The latter is more likely to create and ignite evangelists.

Also, one quick point, does Social Spark have a plan for other social media? Video, Twitters, podcasts, etc? I think not.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SlowMo - May 17, 2008

Everyone loves slow-mo video right?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Roto Cast Machine - May 15, 2008

I have been powering away at full steam in my little workshop. Specifically, I chose to build a rotational casting machine so that I could use my urethane molds to make hollow objects.

The purpose of the machine is to rotate a mold in every direction possible. This is done so that a small amount of casting material within the mold coats the inside of the mold, leaving a thin layer, and making a hollow object.

The machine I built actually worked, so I made an Instructable for it, which is now featured on the homepage of Instructables. Here is the direct link for it too.

As noted in the Instructable, I will not be held responsible for any inadvertent pregnancies, rodent infestations, snow storms, or sightings of James Dean due to the machine's construction.

Here is a video of me using the machine to cast a hollow rhino head.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tasty Video Morsel - May 14, 2008

Tomorrow I will be posting my Instrucatble on how to make a rotational casting machine, but for now, you'll have to do with this incredible video.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Need a Tool? - May 12, 2008

Maybe you're making a deck for the summer, digging a hole for that stereotypical white picket fence, or you just want to assemble that IKEA bookshelf. These things take tools, some cheap, some expensive, but either way there's nothing worse than being limited to creating something because you don't have the tool you need. Sometimes cost can be a prohibiter, or maybe it's just not worth buying because you'll only use it once.

With this frustrations like this in mind, Berkeley, CA opened the first "tool library" in 1979. Library patrons could and can still borrow tools, equipment and "how-to" instructional materials, usually free of charge.

It's a brilliant idea, and thought locals should know about this. Here's the link to the Berekely tool library. As a result of this initiative, dozens of other tool libraries have opened across the U.S.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Vacuum Forming My Leatherman - May 9, 2008

Last night I had my good friends Marcelo and Ken over at my apartment, and we decided to try to put my vacuum forming machine to good use.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the right tools to make a perfect mold, but this was a fun first attempt to see what happens. Basically, I put a sheet of styrene on aluminum foil, and placed it in my oven for 5-6 minutes on 350 degrees.

Once it was done in the oven, I turned on the vacuum, pulled out the styrene, and threw it on top of the Leatherman with the aluminum foil facing up. I also poured water on top of the wood beforehand, so it would form more of an air tight seal.

The result was mediocore, as I really needed a frame to hold the styrene sheet. Also, I need rubber on the edge of the frame, so that it forms an airtight seal when I push down on the vacuum forming machine's platform. Here's the video link in case the video has trouble playing outside YouTube, and the video:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Set Information Free – May 8, 2008

The beauty of Web 2.0 is the idea that information on the web is now provided by everyone, and that the hope is if enough people participate, then the truth will come out.

Wikis are a great example of how the Internet's population is allowed to control the information provided on/about anything. This seemingly poses a problem, since it allows anyone the ability to lie or fabricate information, yet only factual evidence continues to surface to the top. Why?

This answer is crowd control. It's a beautiful thing! At the same time information is being created, it is also being read instantaneously by a subjective audience. Any information that is incorrect is likely to be altered within moments. Also, the individual who provided false information can be castigated by the readers, and be prevented from altering content in the future. Of course there is the occasional delinquent who alters the information temporarily, but it isn't a large enough problem that wikis fail.

Wikis are awesome because they can react faster than the Merriam Websters, Encyclopedia Britannicas, etc of the world, but at the same time retain topics about important people, places, events, movements, and almost anything important that ever happened. As a result, you can get information about popular cultural or ancient history with a few clicks of the mouse.

So, why the long flabbergasting about the incredible power of crowd sourced knowledge? I’ve started to come across thousands of YouTube videos that have now been “removed” or “no longer found”. Specifically, I wanted to watch videos that had surfaced of old racist Disney videos, not because I’m a racist, but because I wanted to see just how bigoted Disney was at the time. Unfortunately, YouTube had taken them down. I know the reason they took them down was due to copyright laws, but I think that the videos should not have been censored.

Americans and reporters have a right to access this type of information. Disney is clearly not making money off these older clips, nor are they gaining some sort of obscure royalties from them. The fact that Disney is asking that these videos be removed from YouTube is obvious recognition that they are ashamed of the videos. Disney, however, still does not have the guts to stand before America and apologize for the stereotypes they portrayed in their films.

The Disney example is just one of many. I ask YouTube and all the other companies to take lead from Digg’s founder Kevin Rose, and no longer sway to the demands of people trying to dictate the substance of their content.

We have a right to know, we have a right to information, both good and bad. Just because a technology platform exists that not one person can control, does not mean it should become the subject of criticism. Big media and old, slow moving corporations are forever afraid of socializing their content, and it’s time they get passed that. I’ve heard arguments on both sides of the equation (e.g. if NBC doesn’t make money on the shows they produce, than they can’t invest in future production OR people shouldn’t have to be restricted to when and where they view their content), and I feel that there is a happy medium. Maybe it’s a universal ad revenue sharing platform, or perhaps it’s a something else, but I know one thing for sure, things have to change.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's Official, I'm a Wantraprenuer - May 7, 2008

Wantrapreneur (n)

An individual that considers, ponders, talks about, or wants to run their own business, like an entrepreneur. Often times the wantrapreneur will frequently cite the many obstacles to doing so.

Many “wantrapreneurs” will waste months, years, and decades choosing and deciding upon a business concept before taking the first step.

Example of using it in a sentence: Silicon Valley in California is known for having many wantrapreneurs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ghostly Swim - May 6, 2008

For a nice little morning pick-me-up, try checking out Ghostly Swim. Adult Swim of the Cartoon Network partnered up with Ghostly International, a collection of musicians, to produce an album. It's pretty nice to listen to, and it's free!!! That's right free. Free music, free, free, free!!!! You can even download it! Do it now, stop what you're doing and download it now, go, do it now, faster!!!

Maker Recap - May 6, 2008

This past weekend was a blast at Maker Faire. I was inspired and in awe at various moments throughout the day. The passion and excitement in the air was tangible as I talked with various makers. From rocketry experts to knitting mavens, Maker had every type of imaginable hobbyist in attendance. I really would like to have spent more time learning about electronics, but to no alas.

Sosia and I wanted to attempt to build our own LED contraption, but the line to purchase the kit was far too long. Instead, I settled on buying a monster corn dog that completely destroyed my appetite for 2 whole days.

Here are two videos I took that I'm especially excited about. The first demonstrates the awesome power of two Tesla coils, and the second shows Richard Jacobsen demonstrating how to make a vacuum forming machine for under $300 (although I found I could do it for much much less).


Friday, May 2, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

NBC & Improv Everywhere

I’m sure many of you are well aware of the various flashmob events that have happened around the US recently (e.g. No Pants Mission or Grand Central Freeze) that have garnered tons of attention from news stations and police units. They’re spontaneous…so how does a company leverage them?

NBC put some serious thought into it, and decided that helping enable them is better than forcing the company into the flashmob in an unnatural way. In Improv Everywhere’s latest flashmob, NBC helped assist Improv Everywhere by lending them the equipment necessary to cover a little league game the same way a MLB game might have been covered, Goodyear blimp and all!

Why it’s important – This demonstrates that even the biggest and most corporate of companies can associate and integrate itself with popular grassroots movements in a noncontroversial manner. By being able to be apart of these widely watched and discussed communities, NBC elevates the significance and multifaceted attributes of their brand.