I IPO’d—and I didn’t know it

I hadn’t paid much attention to BlogShares for a while since it went out of beta. But my curiosity got the better of me after I got some linkage from Doc Searls and others recently. When I checked today, I found that my blog had IPO’d with a valuation of $4500 on Tuesday. And that people had been trading it pretty actively, driving the price per share up to $224 before dropping it with a huge sell order down to $56 yesterday. Now it’s trading around $173, which yields it a P/E (according to the game) of 193.

Pretty funny considering how little it has to do with what has actually been happening on my blog. Actually, that’s my main criticism of BlogShares: other than the basic valuation model, which counts incoming links and values your blog according to the value of those links, very little in the game seems connected to what goes on on the individual’s blog. And very little of the trading seems connected to the fundamentals of the blog’s value. If I had paid attention to when my blog IPO’d, I could have bought a bunch of shares of Esta’s blog on the cheap, knowing she was going to jump in value after my IPO.

Ah well. Only a game, right? 🙂

Upside down on the left coast

It’s been an interesting week all around—stuck in rehearsals three nights out of the week, lots of stuff going on at work. But I’ve noticed a few things. For instance, the weather here on the east side has been hotter and drier than the weather on the east coast. And the air has been full of motes that I assumed were bugs, but on closer inspection turn out to be something like cottonwood spores.

What a tangled web…

Someone finally pulled together all the wonderful administration lines about the Weapons of Mass Destruction that were the reason we bombed hell out of Iraq, risked American and coalition lives, destroyed our international credibility and moral authority, and set the precedent that nations can invade each other on suspicions and flimsy pretexts.

Starting with: “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction” (Dick Cheney, August 2002), going through “I just don’t know whether it was all destroyed years ago—I mean, there’s no question that there were chemical weapons years ago—whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they’re still hidden” (Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne), and ending with “For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on” (Paul Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003). All sourced and hyperlinked.

Still any question about the contempt with which this “administration” holds its citizens, and the world?

Greg: The Green[e]house Reloaded

Congrats to Greg on taking the Green[e]house to a new level and a new home. He has some interesting discussion on what prompted his move:

Blogspot turned slow last week — if you think that posed a problem with reading it, imagine posting under those conditions. My RSS provider got testy around the same moment, interrupting hundreds of feeds with a tacit warning to pull the plug.

Between those issues, periodic trouble with Haloscan, and a burgeoning interest in Movable Type, I decided over the weekend to take the adage that “you get what you pay for” to heart…

Having discussed the joy of living on a free Manila server with a couple of other EditThisPage veterans, I’ll second that last thought. A hearty welcome to greenehouse.net.

Legends of the Mothman: Appalachian Trailblog

I’ve written before about my friend Jim’s hike of the Appalachian Trail this summer. What I didn’t realize when I got the first email was that he planned to keep a regular email “road journey.” We’ve been getting two to three email messages a month from Jim, or “Mothman” as he’s known on the trail for reasons yet unrevealed.

With Jim’s permission, I’ve reprinted his emails, unedited save a few personal details, in a new section of my site: The Mothman Chronicles. (As with all my new sections, you can subscribe to the updates via RSS). So far Jim’s hit three states and is “621 miles into the 2,172 mile journey.” He’s on track to hike into central Virginia in time for his ten-year reunion at the University of Virginia (oh, to be there…). I’ll keep the Mothman Chronicles updated as I get news from Jim.

Finding cheaper salmon

After complaining to a few people about the high price of Copper River salmon, a friend let us in on a secret: if you’re willing to buy a whole fish, and to take sockeye instead of king, Costco will sell Copper River salmon for somewhere around $4 a pound. We brought home a five pound sockeye (cleaned, in a plastic bag) last night; I filleted the thing and grilled both filets in a hurry (it was after eight). And it was delicious. And the whole meal cost us less than the king salmon entree Lisa had eaten the previous Friday. Whoo hoo.

Calling the bluff: why I won’t cry about iTunes 4.0.1

Heh. I’ll call your bluff, Craig.

I’m really bummed about the XML problem. I complained vocally when Radiohead and Sigur Ros disappeared from the store. But I won’t be crying about the shutting down of sharing beyond local subnets in iTunes 4.0.1. Why? Because the reality is that despite all the Brave New World stuff, Apple is piloting a brand new channel in the face of what I’ve repeatedly called out as one of the most consumer-hostile industries the US has ever seen. And I want them to succeed. And, as someone pointed out on Slashdot,

there are so many ways to legally share your music… heck, just setup a live365 station if you want to share your music. Why insist on doing it illegally, and ruining it for everybody?

Sorry, flame off. I am pissed off about the XML stuff—that’s one really good AppleScript that will never see the light of day.

Dave: Who will pay?

Over the weekend, Dave wrote an amazing pair of essays around the topic of who will pay for software:

I pay $1 to ride the subway downtown. It costs $300 to fly to NY and back (two hours in the air). A cab ride to the airport — $40. My monthly rent is in the thousands. Medical insurance about $10,000 per year. Everything costs money. So does software. Don’t fool yourself.

There’s an interesting strawman here: are people really not paying for software? I don’t know the statistics. I do think that a lot of what’s going on in the OS world is shifting the pay point to where the value happens. If you’re sitting on a commoditized operating system stack, in this model, the way to make money is to provide increasingly specialized and valuable services that ride the top of the stack.

That may be why I have yet to see anything that positions Windows Server 2003 as a file-and-print server, the most commoditized of any server implementation. Instead, the server sim-shipped with Visual Studio.NET 2003, the new edition of Microsoft’s development environment, and the scenarios tout the OS’s integrated application platform.

But back to Dave’s point: what happens when all the independents are squeezed out of the market because no one buys their stuff? Do we end up with a market with a bunch of journeymen developing shareware and freeware and then a few large software companies taking all the money? But if people aren’t buying the independents’ stuff, how long before they want to get the large companies’ stuff for free too? Scary thought if your skill set is software development…

Weekend draws reluctantly to an end

That’s me, in the headline, committing the pathetic fallacy. But it was such a good weekend. Friday: day officially shortened by four hours (thanks, David!), blissfully spent wandering around downtown, complete with both lunch and dinner with my lovely wife. —Note to restaurateurs: I don’t care how rare Copper River King Salmon is; spending north of three Hamiltons for a quarter of a salmon filet is too much in anyone’s book.

Saturday we weeded, mowed the lawn, cleared out underbrush, and purchased some more stone for a hastily planned and executed landscape addition. We were preparing for our first outdoor barbecue party on Sunday, which was preceded by a grueling four hour stone-laying session. We created a sparsely paved patio north of the grape arbor overlooking the garden beds. We will plant creeping thyme among the stones to fill things in, thus banishing another outpost of weed-harboring bark mulch (there’s that fallacy again) from the garden. The party was great. Burgers and fantastic grilled vegetables, lots of great conversation.

Today a late start, a leisurely trim and feeding for all the roses, and Chinese for a late lunch. Then naps in the living room. Now off to rehearsal. One of these days I’ll post some garden photos…

“No rock-and-roll fun”

Getting some traffic from a new site (as in it’s new to me), No Rock and Roll Fun, who pointed to my February bit about the Charlatans UK. (Permalink on their site broken, I don’t know why I even bother since Blogspot never gets archives right, but it’s still on their front page.) The rest of the articles appear to be a mix of music links and scandalous gossip—excellent late Friday afternoon reading if things at the office get a bit slow. Which they won’t for me, as I get the afternoon off to do an early start on Memorial Day weekend.

Greg: War on war

Greg points to a BBC report that a Canadian scientist has found “astonishing” levels of uranium in the urine of two samples of 17 and 25 Afghan civilians. The conclusion the scientist, Dr. Asaf Durakovic of the Canadian Uranium Medical Research Center, reaches is that a new kind of uranium weapon was used during the war in Afghanistan.

I’m not saying Dr. Durakovic is wrong. Levels of uranium 100-500 times higher than those found in veterans suffering Gulf War Syndrome, after all, are awfully suggestive (the mean concentration was 315.5 nanograms per liter, while the US allowable is a mere 12). But I would like some information about the general background levels of uranium found in the Afghan population. Two samples is a seriously alarming indicator, but it’s not a smoking gun yet.

And I want a smoking gun. This administration has built such a wall of secrecy around itself and its policies that it’s been impossible to make any of the charges about inhumane and unAmerican conduct during wartime, let alone infringements of civil, legal, and Constitutional rights at home, stick. If this is real evidence, it needs to be bulletproof.

OK, a more coherent Blog Meetup followup

I seem to be on track to make one blog meetup per season, and last night was spring’s. We started at Aurafice, a little internet café on Capitol Hill, which between the bloggers and the Goths (apparently Wednesday nights are Goth get-togethers at Aurafice) started to get a little crowded. After gathering a small crowd, which in addition to the folks in the previous post also included Jerry and Adam, and after extracting Michael from the Goths, we headed down the hill to Bauhaus.

Part way there, Jerry scared the crap out of all of us by severely injuring his ankle. We offered to get him ice or Advil, but after he could stand, he opted to try to get back up the hill to his car with Matt’s help. I hope he’s ok.

On the way down, I talked a bit with Adam, aka Flangy, with whom I had briefly corresponded when I was interning in Seattle two years ago, shortly before he struck out on his own. Obligatory Userland reference: Jeremy: “Adam has one of the longest URLs around.” Me: “Yeah, I’m surprised you haven’t moved off EditThisPage yet.” Adam: “Well, at this point there are only about two people left on the server…”

Anyway, lots of good conversation (and some scary questions, including the one reported by tyd on her blog, in the context of the Atkins diet). I’ll definitely have to do the meetups more often.

Update: forgot Manuel, didn’t meet Clark.

Seattle Blog Meetup pass the machine

We’re here at Bauhaus at the Seattle meetup. Passing the machine around:

  • Tara: I didn’t kill the people at Best Buy. They are still alive. That’s all you need to know.
  • Matt: Jerry’s okay, we think. As far as any other injuries that might happen, I can only claim ignorance or at least innocence. Have you ever noticed that in most movies, Apple computers are by far the most prevalent?
  • dayment: I’m just here for the espresso. Who are these people?!??
  • tyd: I hear that voice again. By day, a professional Bill Gates impersonator, by night, usually asleep.
  • Jeff: What’s espresso?
  • Michael: I’m clearly the last person on the planet without a laptop with a wireless connection. … Actually, all I have is two sticks and a rock.
  • Cat: Can’t believe I got out of work in time for this! Hmmm… anyone find me a roomie yet? Please?
  • Jeremy: Meetups are like a bunch of large wooden blocks tumbling off a cliff. They come to rest in a jumbled pile, with no form or order. Yet you mustn’t touch, because they can, and will collapse even further until they can collapse no more. Woah, what’s in the coffee here?

Okay, more fun than the regular meetup summary but a lot less coherent. Which is probably preferable.

Au revoir, Buffy, and thanks for the hits

On my way home from work, I received a phone call from my sister (who is three time zones to the east of me). She said, “Are you still getting a lot of referrals from Google for people looking for Trogdor?”

“A few,” I said, “but mostly it’s trailed off.”

“Well, you’re about to get a lot more,” she said. “They just mentioned him in the final Buffy episode.”

“Huh,” I replied.

Sure enough, a few hours later, in a D&D like game, one character tells the others they’re under attack … by Trogdor the Burninator. A few minutes later, the searchers start coming to my site, looking for trogdor buffy and buffy trogdor. Cool. Thanks, Joss. (Google finds this version of the final script for that search too.)

In addition to delivering some traffic to my site on its way out the door, I thought the last episode of the show made good on its series long message of female empowerment in a really big dramatic way. But then I’ve always liked the idea of teenage vampire slaying girls.