I have a “Did you mean”!

Doc Searls points to some common misspellings of his name through Google. So I tried it out, and was thrilled to note that, like for Doc, Google tries to help out. The most common misspelling of my name, omitting one of the two ending ts, turns up a “Did you mean “tim jarrett“”? So does searching on tim jarett.

Dig it. Now if everyone were hardwired to Google, I would never have to spell my name over and over again.

Better weblogs.com usage data?

I noted that I had let a new high water mark go by last week; the weblogs.com data watch has been updated and you can download the new data set here. The new high water mark is amazing, too: out of nowhere, it jumped from under 3000 to above 4000 weblogs in a three-hour period. Anyone know what was happening on Friday to drive that much traffic???

Anyway, this was the kick in the butt I needed to look at my cron script that I set up to download the Weblogs.com changes file. I had set cron to run a custom AppleScript (source to be shared shortly) to download changes.xml every two hours and gzip it, or so I thought. Looking at it today, the first day I left the machine on overnight since adding the cron setting, I realized I had asked it to download the file once a minute during the 2 am hour instead. Oops. Sorry about the bandwidth, Userland.

So why is this important? As I’ve been saying for a bit, I want to understand the dynamics of a day and a week in terms of blog posting frequency. Which are the high traffic days? What percentage of blog users post more than once a day? More than once every few days? Just how many unique blogs ping Weblogs.com in a two week period?

Starting today, I’ll be working on finding out. My cron script is now working (it’s amazing the difference between * 2 * * and * /2 * *). My machine won’t be sleeping or shut down for the next two weeks. I’ll make my summary data available at the end of the experiment and see if I can draw some conclusions about the meaning of the high water marks we’ve been seeing. Hopefully, if I’m successful with the project, this can be a longer term study. But for that to be true, I’ll have to automate the process of importing the data file and aggregating the statistics, and that may be too much to get done right now.

Is anyone else engaging with the changes data in this way? Are there any questions about the weblog population that two weeks of granular update data would provide?

Cooking on all burners

And for once I don’t mean that literally. After a somewhat frustrating day at the office, I got home and got the following done:

  1. Conducted our first two way video chat with my in laws and Lisa (who airlifted a new iSight camera out to them).
  2. Talked Lisa through using the DVD player on their computer to watch the DVD I made from last year’s Italy trip footage—my first iDVD project, and done in about four hours start to finish, including screening over an hour of footage to pick the least motion inducing clips; building the DVD menu including chapter headings; and burning the disc.
  3. Figured out how to use our MiracleGro dispenser to allow me to feed and water 30 tomato plants in less than ten minutes
  4. Figured out why my cron script to download changes.xml from Weblogs.com wasn’t working—see next post for details.

Plus a variety of things around the house. And I’ve only been home an hour and a half.

I know this won’t last and by Thursday I’ll be moping around again, but it’s nice to be up to speed for a change.

Hating your customer, part N+++: BMW vs. Mini Cooper Online

Another addition to the Hating Your Customer files: BMW is going after a Mini enthusiasts site for using MINI in the domain name and demanding that the owner surrender the domain name to them (thanks to Doc for the pointer).

I’m sympathetic to the club—after all, there have been BMW people on the forums for over a year, as the slogan below points out. And these are the guys that have been keeping the flame alive for the MINI all these years. On the other hand, the potential for trademark dilution is pretty clear, and MCO does sell merchandise and accept advertising.

let's shoot ourselves in the foot. let's litigate.

Sleepless again in Seattle

I just saw Lisa off to the airport for another week of business on the East Coast. If past trips are any indication, this will be another low sleep week for me. Expect insane raving by Thursday.

Just kidding. It is going to be a monster week at the office, though.


Or mini vacation, anyway. Lisa and I both took today off from work to get a few things done around the house before she leaves for the east coast for the rest of the week tomorrow, and I took off from the blog this weekend. We drove out to the Olympic Peninsula yesterday; spent some time at Lake Crescent. Good time, really. Not a lot else to say.


My officemate reminded me that college football season approaches (quote, “I can’t believe the Vols’ first game is the end of this month!”), and I decided to check out VirginiaSports to see the game schedule. What should appear when I load the page, though, but an interstitial ad promoting Virginia’s Great Hope, Matt Schaub, as the nation’s “No. 1 Returning Quarterback” and offering a link to the site for his Heisman bid, Schaub4Heisman.com. Nice photos on the home page. I am glad, at least, that Schaub appears to be a true student athlete, working on his five-year bachelors/masters in economics and education.