Blogger’s Dinner and House Cooling Party

I was deep in debugging doodoo yesterday and almost didn't make it to the Blogger's Dinner in San Francisco.  When the final problem cleared at 4:30pm, I headed North.  It was a small gathering than last time, but we still managed to have a good time.  Dave Winer, Jake Savin, Scoble and his family, Gnome-girl, Steve Gillmor was there to liven things up.

Afterward, most of us headed to Chris and Gretchen Pirillo's pad near Castro.  They are moving to LA.  Yikes.  I hate cities like LA and San Jose, flat endless sprawling cities.  Chris wasn't there, but we had a good party.

More pictures from the dinner and the party.

Pictures taken by Dave are here.

David Sifry on Subsidized Wi-Fi Business

David Sifry, CTO of Sputnik and creator of Technorati, contributes the Point-Man perspective to the Subsidized Wi-Fi AP idea.  It turns out that Sputnik's original business model had subsidization element to it!

"It's like a blast of deja vu to 2001, back when Sputnik was getting started, and our original business model.  […] But we decided that we were pursuing the wrong business model, and changed our plans." – David Sifry

He then identifies and explains in detail the four factors that forced them to change their business model.

  1. Revenue split
  2. Legal issues
  3. Customer Service headaches
  4. The rise of "free" networks

Please read my original post, Tim Oren's post, my response, and then David Sifry's post so you can:

get high on fume,  cool under a tree, get tickled by a breeze, and then finally taste the earth.

PS: This sort of interaction across blogs is what I had in mind in my Linking Blogs and Wikis post.  I could have created a Wiki page somewhere with original post as a composite category to which Tim and David could have contributed their perspectives via their blogs.

Trial by Combat

I like reading historical novels set in the medieval Europe.  In those novels, trial by combat is a common event.  As barbaric as the dueling for truth might seem, I believe that online world is rife with trial by combat.

Regardless of communication medium and topic of dicussion, the truth belongs to the strongest and most persistent debater.  It doesn't matter if the opponent is terrible at debating (swordsmanship), not fluent with the language (weapon of choice), indisposed to confrontations, too busy, or simply dumb.

Is what I wrote above the truth?  Nay.  It's just me swinging my sword.  You may charge in and comment your sword against mine but what is the point?  If I fail to block your counter-attack, that only proves that I couldn't, not that nobody can.  See what I am getting at?

The difference between the medieval Europe and online world is that combat never really ends online.  After the original debaters have moved on, others step in and keep the arguments going.  Language and cultural boundaries also matter like the way weather and landscape might affect the outcome of a battle.

So truth online is defined by not only who, but also when and where.

This is just a passing shower of morose mood.  I am expecting sunshine tommorrow.

Linking Blogs and Wikis

Imagine posts and comments flowing from blogs to wikis like the way streams feed into lakes.  Got the picture yet?  Now think of a blog category as a wiki page.  The picture changes so that the blog becomes a mountain and categories become the streams running down the side of the mountain in all directions toward wikis into which streams from other mountains also feed into.

The resulting picture you have in your mind is the 10,000 feet view of how I think blogs and wikis should be connected.

Update #1: Here are some decorations to complete above picture:

  • rain is the news that bombard us daily
  • rocks that form the mountains are our experiences
  • volcanic eruptions are our rants
  • flash floods are sudden spikes of activitiy
  • clouds are news generators like North Korea or Saddam Hussein

Silly, but I like to garnish mental images.

See page for RDF Seepage

Today, IE reported that my main blog page had script errors so I looked at the HTML and found that RDF fragments were causing the problem.  What the hell is RDF doing in my blog web page?  Each blog post item had this RDF fragment preceding it.

<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf=""
 dc:title="Tim Oren on Subsidized Wi-Fi Business"
 dc:creator="Don Park"
 dc:description="Tim Oren adds a VC perspective to my Subsidized Wi-Fi AP
idea.&amp;nbsp; He wrote: [...] the average usage per Starbucks site is
three sessions per day."
 dc:date="2003-08-28T17:18:24-07:00" />


p dir=”ltr”>Unless I am mistaken, RDF fragments are being inserted automatically by Radio Trackback script.  Yikes.

Tim Oren on Subsidized Wi-Fi Business

Tim Oren adds a VC perspective to my Subsidized Wi-Fi AP idea.  He wrote:

[…] the average usage per Starbucks site is three sessions per day. […] No one in any of those models is yet profitable, meaning that a subsidy is just a way of going further into the red.

The AP price is a factor in the initial setup of a public hotspot, but labor costs of the install likely equal or exceed it, unless the location owner is technically sophisticated. On an ongoing basis, the costs will be dominated by maintenance (truck rolls), but even more by backhaul costs.

His conclusion is:

subsidies are a weapon for carriers to buy market share in a period of fast growth. Lacking this growth, and a confidence that new sites will be profitable, a subsidy model isn't likely.

I agree that profitability is a problem.  While reading Tim's post, I thought of the vending machine business.  Where and how a vending machine is placed is similar to the problem of where and how a W-Fi AP gets installed.  No single business model will work in all situations.  Some store owners run their own vending machines, some even pay out of pocket to have them installed, some shares profit.

Thinking of the vending machine business leads naturally to the idea of vending-machines with built-in Wi-Fi AP.  Vending machines are placed where people are.  Power is needed so AP has power.  Connectivity is desirable for real-time inventory, so some aggressive players might opt for pulling DSL lines to vending machines instead of using radios.  It's a stretch, of course.

Enriching Blog Calendar

Most blogs have a calendar for navigation but not for much else.  I was thinking how nice it would be to enrich it automatically with other information like birthdays of people on blogroll, anniversaries, schedule of conferences I am planning to attend, etc.

Size of the calendar will have to get a little bigger, but mouse-over sensitive date specific details can be displayed in an area immediately below the calendar.  FOAF and iCal/vCal formats can be useful here.  Calendars are also amazing yet under-utilized advertising medium IMHO.

JDK 1.4.2_1

Sun released JDK 1.4.2_1 today.  Aside from the usual bug fixes, JavaUpdate is enabled again by default.  You can turn it off from the Update section of Java Plug-In Control Panel.  Note that you might not be able to turn it off if you don't have administrator rights.  At least that restriction was among the list of bug fixes.