As some of you may know there is a blogger in Iraq, Where is Raed? is the name of the blog. Today he reports on his Blog*Spot blog that he can login and post via Blogger but can't view other blogs on Blog*Spot. This might be a more bleak situation than the Chinese blockage. I wonder if products like GhostSurf or any of the other browser anonymizers like iPrive can help out in this situation?

Call me crazy

...but it's my long held belief that when you double click on a folder it should open instead of showing the hourglass for minutes at a time. My main XP machine is making me nervous. I feel a really bad crash coming on.

What if I want to say 'Catch you later'?


The above excert is taken from page 10 of the VTech 9152 owners guide.

Pop Quiz: VTech thinks...

  1. their customers are idiots
  2. their customers are 4-years old
  3. they are bringing a cute phrase back into fashion
  4. that having their manuals translated at 'Discount Translation Outlet' was in retrospect a bad idea

Stick a needle in my eye

I saw an opthamologist this morning to take a look at my left eye. My lid is inexplicably swollen and staring at a monitor has been painful. It looks as if I were secretly punched. This is part of the reason I haven't been updating the site for the last week or so. The last time this happened about 4 years ago they ended up sticking a needle in my eyelid. It hurt so I wasn't looking forward to the appointment today. It turns out I just need to rest my eye (funny that I'm wearing a patch the weekend the Raiders are in the Superbowl) and use some ointment. The answer in medicine is almost always ointment. I'll be back soon, unless my eye falls out or I need to take it back to the shop and leave it for a tune-up.

Blog*Spot blocked update

First off, I want everyone to know that we take this situation very seriously at Pyra and are doing what we can to raise awareness of the situation and do what we can to technically circumvent any unintentional blockage. In the interest of raising some international awareness I spoke to a reporter at Reuters Beijing. The story ran this morning on a number of sites. It was carried by CNET, Yahoo, ABC, Forbes, Times of India, CNN Asia, ZD Net and the South China Morning Post. My favorite headline is 'China blocks access to 'dear diary' website' from The Straits Times out of Singapore. It's always interesting to see other cultural takes on 'what blogs are' in print. A more complete list of site carrying the story is available here. I'm not sure I was quoted accurately in some of the edited versions of the story but the gist is correct. We are working on the apparent block, it's not a technical issue on our side, we are looking to speak with those who have the power to reverse this and have begun that process. I feel bad for the citizens of China and visitors who were abruptly cut off from their favorite blogs but have been encouraged by a few email I have received such as the one below:
Subject: Thank you!

I just want to say thank you to you and other folks at Pyra for going all the way out to raise the blogspot blockade issue with the Chinese government.

It is really kind of your guys to spare the time and effort helping out when most chinese bloggers are not Blogger-pro users.

Blogger has been a great tool for us foreigners in China to share our experiences and to help us make sense of the new environment we are in. Lately, as more Chinese people who can write English viewing our blogs and making comments on it, blogs have become a forum for intercultural exchange.

(do not publish my name. thanks.)
What can you do to help? The first thing you can do is talk about it on your blog. If you know business people in China, in the technology industry is even better, email them a copy of the story, explain the current situation and ask them to complain about the blockage. The more support from inside China the better. Perhaps, point them to CNBlog.org as well. That's about it for now, I'll post an update tomorrow about our technical efforts. T-salon is doing a good job of tracking the situation as well.

First sharks, now coyotes?

I awoke at 4am to the sound of an honest to God pack of coyotes howling outside my window, amplified by our baby monitor no less. It's been a watch out for coyotes kind of day ever since.

Blog*Spot blocked in China?

Button writes in:
Jason: Just keeping you informed. There seems to be a problem with China. As I was surfing around I was pointed to this post. If there is a problem with China, I don't know that there is anything you or any other individual could do about it. It is well known that the ChiCom Govmt has issues with freedom of expression. But I think it is important that you be aware of anything like this that may be going on. Best regards.
Well that's disconcerting news if that is the case. Anyone out there with ties to the Chinese internet policy team?

[update 1/13/2003: I've received some great information via email from some knowledgable folks and we are working a workaround presently. I'll let you know how it goes.]

Yahootomi!

Phil points to a post by a former employee of Yahoo! Mikel Maron regarding the pending Inktomi acquisition by Yahoo!. I couldn't agree with the analysis more. It appears to be a defensive move although I not quite sure what needed defending at this point in time.

As luck has it, I happened to be sitting next to a Yahoo! engineer on a plane about two days after the announcement. When I asked about the merger the engineer replied, 'Yeah, we are pretty scared of Google. That's why we bought them.' Now I'll be the first to admit that engineers aren't the primary decision makers at Yahoo. I'm sure Terry Semel might say something a bit more erudite when asked the same question but it was interesting to have a perspective from the rank and file. I wonder what the pitch from Inktomi was like? I'm willing to bet it was along the lines of 'we can do the same thing that Google does'. I'm betting they can't though. Vivé la Google!

Macworld bloggers lunch revisited


Pictured left to right: The second annual Macworld bloggers lunch was a success. Old friends caught up with one another, I met some folks that I've only read online, and we enjoyed a break from the crazy show floor at the Yerba Buena Gardens. We apologize for anyone that we left back at the convention center shortly after 1PM. We were a hungry bunch. We will have to catch you next year.

Noel (remix)


Grant did a little house sitting for us while we were in Hawaii. He used some artistic license with our stocking hangers. He's a funny guy.

Mele Kalikimaka!


December 27, 2002 - View of sunset over the island Lanai from Kanapali, Maui.

Well I guess by the picture you can tell that Allison, Drew and I spent the better part of the holidays in Maui. 80 degree plus weather was a nice change from the rain and wind of the Bay Area. Since I couldn't possibly cover everything seen or done over our 10 days I'll break it down list style:

  • Drew is quite the ladies man. Poor kids cheeks can't take the pinching much longer. At 8 1/2 months old he is flirting at a 2 year old level. We are so proud. Lots of Hawaiian ladies wanted to buy him drinks but he had to decline until he can hold a glass.
  • New Years Eve in Hawaii = Fourth of July on the mainland. Fireworks are sold in grocery stores. I saw a yellow sulpher cloud above a neighboring apartment building on New Year's Eve. It was fun to listen too at least.
  • One day while surfing with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law we spotted what looked like a reef shark about 10 yards away. We decided to head in early and grab lunch before we became lunch.
  • I walked to Java Jazz, the best coffee shop on Maui, every morning of vacation. I miss walking to coffee now that I'm home. Plus my local Starbucks doesn't have naked Barbies in a cage like Java Jazz (I think it's some sort of art project).
  • The last time Allison and I were in Maui it was for our honeymoon 4 1/2 years ago. Back then, we discovered something interesting and it's still going on. The Gap and Banana Republic stores in Lahaina, Maui still receive shipments of long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and winter shoes despite the fact that the residents of Maui don't need such items due to the nice weather. To move them off the shelves they sell them at crazy insane prices to tourists such as myself. I obliged and am fixed for winter clothes through 2005.
  • American Airlines served a meal at 1:00 am and started showing a movie at 2:00 am on our midnight red-eye flight home. Is this necessary? Everyone was trying to sleep. Can't they make a 'No thanks, I'd rather sleep section.'?
  • I read 'The Fist of God' by Frederick Forsythe. I highly recommend it. Hawks and doves alike will find it interesting. It's spy fiction mixed in with a lot of actual events that led to the Gulf War in 1991. It gave me a better picture of what went wrong, what should have been done, and what we could do to avoid this sort of thing in the future. Unfortunately, we haven't learned much and I fully expect a duplicate war to be underway by the end of this month.

Macworld SF 2003 - bloggers lunch

Last year, Mr.Barrett played host for a Macworld SF bloggers lunch. We ate Specialty's sandwiches, an alien showed up and then a talent agent acting on Microsoft's behalf asked if we wanted to be in a Microsoft commercial and took photos of a few of us (the Microsoft thing was weirder than the alien). A good time was had by all.

Since I haven't seen anything about another Macworld bloggers lunch this year I thought I would be so bold as to suggest meeting at 1pm on Wednesday the 8th at the top of the South Hall stairs at Moscone Center. Everyone is welcome (you don't even need a Macworld pass). Are you game?

Happy New Y... where is that post

I just realized my New Years post had the wrong date and went in the future-post hold pattern. My bad.

Happy New Year!

I had a great and eventful 2002. I started working for Pyra full time, Allison and I welcomed our first child into the world, I went to Brazil (twice), and gained a new nephew (Luke!). Things have been exciting the past few weeks and I hope to be able to share more info in a few days. Meanwhile, I'm resolving to give up resolutions for 2003. Who's with me?