To Read Does Work

Things I learned while going through my “toreads”:

A year and a half’s worth of setting things aside under “toread” worked well for me.

The vast majority of things I saved were things that I really didn’t need to read right away, and in many cases, they just merited a quick skim. By not dealing with them right away, I saved some up-front time and attention. I was glad to have put them aside for later, even if it meant I had to spend some time today on the last day of the year going through it all.

Tolookat doesn’t work quite as well. Since videos are not skimmable, it was a pain to go through a batch of them today. Respectful request to all video blog publishers (including but not limited to Robert Scoble): when you publish a video on your blog, please consider taking more time to write out some of the key information contained therein in text. Forego the tease and provide me some real and useful notes. I think it’s worth the extra investment of your time to make the reader’s job easier. I skip videos often because you don’t tell me explicitly enough what’s going to be in them. Case in point on Scobleizer — what do you mean when you say “Newsgator is making moves into the enterprise”? This was in my toreads/tolookats and I can’t tell from any of your text whether watching the video is a good investment of my time or not. So I skipped it. Set up with some notes about what having a special RSS aggregator “in the enterprise” really means in this case, I would have probably given it a shot.

And when I came across web applications or new aggregation sites in my “tolookat”, I wasn’t really sure how to “to look at” them today. I need a new tag for things I want to check back on every now and then, or a way to trigger myself to do that.

Next year, I will use Readeroo(which I had and still have marked as a “toread”) to help with this whole “toread” process.

Note: for now, I have punted getting through my paper “toread” pile.

Item notes:

  • Around 8 of the 200 or so links I saved no longer worked, after only a year’s time. And most of them provided no helpful redirect information, just a 404 error page or a blank template page. I think in some cases, someone truncated the urls. I’m not usre if this was the site, my RSS reader, or some other intermediate link in the chain, but in some of these I can see an unfortunate ellipsis. For what it’s worth, problematic links included stories on SFGate’s blogs along with Mashable, Ice Cream For Everyone, Ubergizmo, Henry Jenkins’ blog, and Read/Write/Web.
  • Topps has overhauled Bazooka Joe, made him over to be more like Ashton Kutcher, and introduced several new characters.
  • Texas Monthly has ungracefully removed the very cool illustrations from the online version of this 2005 article about Wes Anderson and Eric Chase Anderson, apparently due to rights issues. It’s a shame; they are pretty central to the article’s content and now I will never see them.
  • The Anderson Boys Grew Up in Texas: Texas Monthly July 2005

  • Great insights from Chris at Voodoo Ventures on the the birth, life, and sale of Huckabuck.
  • US Magazine uses Drupal.
  • Twitterwhere lets you create a feed of all public twitters in a certain geographic area. I can tell this is going to be useful for me though not yet sure exactly how.
  • In August, Merlin Mann offered some very helpful presentation tips. If you haven’t watched his Inbox Zero talk yet, do.
  • In July, Brian Oberkirch opined on human bias and his piece has held up nicely, as do all of his thinkerly/writerly pieces.

And with the conclusion of that exercise, so long 2007 and happy 2008 to you.

Last Resolution Of 2007: Finish Up ToReads

I hereby resolve to go through and deal with all of my accumulated toread(usually articles), tolookat(usually applications and video), and the newly created tolistento(music) tags in del.icio.us. By 2008. I’d like to reduce my attention debt as much as possible, and start with a clean slate going in to the new year.

[Yes, I do realize that a resolution made with only 4 days left in the year is mostly just a big to-do item.]

If you’d like to read, look at, and listen to along with me, click the linked words above and see what I’ll be dealing with for the next few days. I’m pretty sure there are some gems in there. And if something you sent me is in there, you can feel all the more smug in knowing you’ve helped shape my last weekend of 2007.

I’m also going to do something about this pile:

Facebook Learns To Abbreviate

One of the most frequent criticisms of Facebook’s current interface has been the long list of application signup requests in the far right “Requests” column. This morning I noticed for the first time that they’ve changed the layout, revealing only the first request and adding a clickable “…and X other requests” below.


Before (uploaded by Cvander)

Facebook Learns To Abbreviate
After

Much easier on the brain. Not a bad idea. Maybe they tightened up the graphics elsewhere too today — I’ll be on the lookout for additional tweaks. Let me know if you see anything else.

Small Batch Heh

Revisit previous heh lists.

Flickr Stats – New Flickr Feature On The Way

Last night I used Migratr to move all of the photos on my old anearthling account over to extraface — how-to on that to come shortly. But because of that, I was looking closely at my Flickr account this morning and discovered this tasty treat:

New Feature On The Way - Flickr Stats

Which led to this exciting morsel:

More Info - Stats for your account

And finally, this:

Stats On The Way
Whole bunch of new stats, including referrers, coming to Flickr! Look for the stats link on your photos to get the ball rolling.

Update: Here’s what the stats view for a photo looks like. Nice work, Flickr!
Flickr Stats View

…and more on this from Heather Champ over on Flickr’s blog and in the FAQs.

Pimento Cheese Disappears From The Vortex

I’m not the only one who has noticed that The Vortex no longer offers Pimento Cheese. As of what I think is an 11/2007 menu printing, gone is any trace of the Pimento Cheese option as an appetizer, for burgers or for grilled cheeses. When I discovered this today, our server said something about a supply/demand problem where there weren’t enough people ordering it to go through the supply quick enough as far as restaurant economics go. She also said there seems to be a small and vocal fan base who has noticed its absence. Fill out a comment card if you’d like to see it return as much as I do. Note: also gone is the Choker Burger, but they’ll still honor a request to put artichoke spread atop your burger.

A couple of other news items around Atlanta:

  • Annie at Metroblogging Atlanta wrote about The Happenstance, which sounds like a neat event — “Musicians sign up and then are randomly distributed into bands, who then rehearse and come up with 20 minute sets to be played that night.” It’s coming up on Saturday night, December 15th. And it also benefits several charities.
  • Jason and Erin’s Hushpuppy Gallery is new to me and I am anxious to check it out.
  • James challenged us all to use MARTA just a little bit more.
  • And I appreciated Shelly’s coverage of the continuing Atlanta water shortage, with lots of conservation tips and useful information.

Notes From Inside Super Deluxe

I’ve been having a great time working with the folks at Super Deluxe for the past few weeks. I’ve collected some snippets from my travels here and there on Flickr:
Default Profile Page
Default user profile page

Ben loves his fruit snacks
Ben and his love of Welch’s fruit snacks


Um…(photo uploaded by Senatorturer)

Much of my time has been spent noodling around with Ben, Matt, et al on the Super Deluxe Blog, thinking through new forms of content, discussing what has worked best and where possible new directions might make sense, and suggesting some features that would make it that much easier to love. We should be making some incremental feature enhancements soon including a much-needed WordPress version upgrade.

It struck me this morning that the string of stuff on the blog’s main page right now is a pretty good mix. The current story is an excellent interview SD Creative Director Jeremy Brady did with Toby Radloff, who you might know from the world of Harvey Pekar and the movie American Splendor. It’s exclusive content, it’s about a personality lots of people want to know more about, it’s well executed and it also ties back to a Super Deluxe show, The Ted Zone. Here are a few of Toby’s insights from the interview:

“How many times have you seen Revenge of the Nerds?
Toby: I’ve seen it 40 times. I just bought the Atomic Wedgy package that includes all four movies.

What makes a true nerd, Toby?
Toby: Someone who is different. Whose ideas are different. Voice is different. I stand up for my beliefs and that’s what makes me proud to be a nerd.

Who has made fun of you for being a nerd?
Toby: More of the druggy types. And the long hair guys. They would make fun of me for wearing a leisure suit to school. I was so vocal about not doing drugs. I went to my high school reunion and someone apologized to me and that meant a lot to me. People honor me now. Some of the people who picked on me honor me…”

Then there’s a poll asking you to share what annoys you most about Super Deluxe, with space available for you to write in your own answer. I especially like this because it manages to be both self-effacing in the spirit of the blog’s brand, and open to sincere discussion and feedback at the same time. It’s funny but leaves room for some real, honest suggestions as well. FYI, “The White People” is the answer currently in the lead. If you have a horse in this race, please add your thoughts to the pile.

Third on the page is a brief show note about last night’s Tim and Eric Nite Live’s performance. I like this both for its straightforward utility and for the fact that based on what we saw in traffic and comments, Tim and Eric viewers sought out the blog for more information on apparent technical difficulties. The SD blog would be a great place to share some of the gory details when things take a turn for the unexpected. Or did they? Update: A little more on the technical glitch here

And fourth is a nice brag about a Brad Neely write-up in the New York Post, with pointers to more about Neely’s shows.

Thanks to everyone for showing me the ropes so far, freely sharing your opinions and concerns and being open to new ideas, and generally making me feel welcome. I look forward to continuing to lend a hand.

Heh

Previous Extraface heh lists.

Know Your Extraface Side Projects

Here are a few of the side projects I’ve started, thought about starting, or am in the middle of, all in various stages of animation from just born to undead zombie. If this looks like a foolishly large number of balls in the air, mental clutter, or a team of horses pulling in 5 different directions, take a listen to the podcast of Jim Coudal and Brendan Dawes’ presentation at SXSW last year, Making Your Short Attention Span Pay Big Dividends. Credit or fault that talk with giving me the courage to start a whole lot of things since last March, and getting over my crippling distaste for littering the world with ambitious half-completed or stagnant personal projects. Hopefully what will happen is that in working on many of them for some period of time, I’ll learn some things and get a sense along the way of which have the most promise for one reason or another, and then see those few through to completion:

  • 43 Showers – I try to get a photo of every shower handle I come across in my travels. I also take submissions from others. The idea is to notice how unstandardized shower controls are, and how difficult it can be to figure them out in a strange place at an odd hour. The project needs a design overhaul and an import of some old content I started to stockpile in other places.
    Status on a scale from Infant to Undead Zombie: pre-teen.
  • Explainist.com – This is a blog that Tom and I started to point out the best and worst explanations we come across both online and off. It needs both design help and far more frequent content updates.
    Status on a scale from Infant to Undead Zombie: Although I just updated it yesterday, because of the aforementioned needs I’m still classifying it as a zombie until it proves otherwise.
  • Serial Audio Project: Some of you know about this already. In collaboration with Creevus, I’m reworking a masterpiece frmo the 80’s. More details when we’re further along.
    Status: just born
  • Live Music-related Project: I’m working with Tessa on something that involves live musical performance, the internets, and chewing gum.
    Status: pre-natal
  • Vlog Project X2471: I’ve had a few conversations with Alan and Andy and a few other people about developing a half-game show/half-informative video series in one of Andy’s areas of expertise. Once I have the first shot at a structure for the show, we’ll whip up a pilot and see what you all think.
    Status: due
  • Oh, and there’s also the Hipster Domain Holding Page, where your feedback and participation is always welcome.
    Status: tweener