231 Erwin Road

My experiences as a Northern transplant down in Chapel Hill, NC, 2005. And now my experiences back up in NYC.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It's official

It's official folks, I have moved! Both physically and virtually. 231 Erwin is NO MORE!!!

I started 231 Erwin Road less then a year ago. We've grown close though, I've been very attached to my blog. When I started 231 earlier this year, I was living down in North Carolina with P and R. It was fun times. I was participating in IBM's Extreme Blue program.

That's all changed, I resigned from IBM last month, I've interviewed in a few different cities around the U.S. and have decided to make a move out to semi-sunny San Francisco. It's also time for me to move on digitally...

I've brought back www.vinnie.net. Which if you've known me long enough, you remember that site as my 24x7 webcam. Maybe it'll come back, but in the meantime, check out my most excellent hybrid wiki/blog creation powered by Drupal.

So long and thanks for all the comments...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The IM epidemic

I just received my first IM virus. An IM from a friend on my buddy list came though with this item:
"should i put this pic on myspace? im mad drunk from last night http://photobucket.com/NewYearsPic/drunk.jpg"

The link actually points to "http://www.sp00kler.be/image3.pif." On my Ubuntu linux box that doesn't do much, but on a Windows system, who knows.

Using myspace to lure me in, you should be ashamed.

Happy MMVI!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Flickr, you make me so happy

I posted earlier how Flickr didn't have any means to allow me to use a Flickr user's photo easily in a blog post. That in order to point to the original author and use the photo as a citation, I was forced to steal it.

No more, Flickr has introduced a new feature, 'Blog This.' It's a little text icon you will see above the photo.

Thanks Flickr. I can now cite a photo source quickly, easily, and legally.

Product Placement? What's that?

Here's a really innovative idea at marketing. Check out the photo, That starbucks cup is viral, it's placed there as a marketing gimmick.

I love it. I think there's a right way to approach an audience with 'advertising' information. This is clever, much better then a 30sec interruption.

More info on this blog post.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Sprint PCS Roaming

My Treo 650 Sprint PCS phone will frequently go into Roaming onto Verizon's network. Then I get the message from Verizon: "I'm sorry, we can't authenticate your phone..."

Sprint PCS told me to dial *2 and say "PRL update" but that doesn't work, it just takes me to a customer service rep. They left out that you need to press 1 first for the english branch.

These little things are what frustrate me. One this should be automatic, 2 I shouldn't have to waste time doing this, 3 it didn't work and they told me to wait 15min to speak with a technician.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005



NYU Winter ITP Show

ITP is the Interactive Technology Program at NYU. They mash engineering, art, and computer science people together to come up with some great ideas, such as pacmanhattan and dodgeball. Last night I had the fortune to attend last night, my friend Andy started in the masters program this fall.

I got to see some cool projects such as Gumspots and FoundConnections in addition to Andy's Interactive Bag of Hammers.

Gumspots is a creative idea as a few kids have taken photos of nyc city sidewalks and have formed patterns out of the unique layout of gum spots all over the city. Simply snap a camera photo of the sidewalk below you and txt it to their site. Then they can tell you in the city where you are (and for biz purposes, what's around you.)


More photos here.

Have you found my personal identify information? Please call 212-555-1212.

I open up my mail today to find this letter:
"We are writing to let you know that a computer tape containing information about you and your mortgage account with ABN AMRO Mortgage Group, Inc. has been lost while being transported by DHL courier service to a credit reporting company.


The tape, which included the names, account information, payment history and Social Security numbers of our residential mortage customers, was shipped via DHL from our data center in Chicago to the credit reporting company, Experian. The tape was lost after DHL picked it up from the data center. We and other lenders routinely provide this information to credit reporting companies to ensure your credit report is up-to-date."

So it seems that my mortgage company, ABN Amro (mortgage.com) sends my credit information to Experian via DHL. There was no mention of encryption, so I'm assuming it was clear text.

As bad as that sounds, I will at least thank ABN Amro because they offered me free credit monitoring for 90 days.

I think there is a serious problem with identity and 'credit' information in this country (and maybe others.) We have this some what secret social security number that is supposed to uniquely identify us. However, I think we should have TWO identifiers, one super secret and one super public. I'd be happy to give out my public ID to companies because it wouldn't matter if it ends up in the wrong hands, because that seems to happen all the time these days. But it would allow companies to UNIQUELY identify me, something that they have been using social security numbers for. The super secret one could be used at the discretion of the individual. Maybe they only give it out in person or over the web on secure websites. And it should ALWAYS be stored in an ENCRYPTED format.

Which leads to my other confusion about access to OUR information in this country. Why do we have such limited access to our credit report where that is the one place we can track if any damage is being done? Shouldn't we have FULL and FREE access to this report 24x7? Most people don't even realize ID theft has occurred into a few weeks or few months in. This could be avoided much earlier if we had free access and alerts to our reports. It would save millions for the credit companies by reducing fraud.


UPDATE: This article claims that the tape has now been found. Well, at least I now get 90 free days to watch if anybody else looses my data. Shouldn't this service be FREE to EVERYONE ALL of the TIME?

For the love of wiki

Monday, December 19, 2005

Funny Music Video from Saturday Night Live

Very funny music video from Saturday Night Live about seeing the 'Chronic' - 'werd' - 'icals of Narnia' on a lazy sunday in nyc.

YouTube - Lazy Sunday - SNL Digital Short

Friday, December 16, 2005

Good-bye Howard

So I had some problems uploading photos from Howard's Good-bye party. Here are the better ones on my Flickr howardster stream.

The crowd:

A mad cow:

Howard's new logo:

XM Radio protesters, trying to promote Opie & Anthony:

Black Jesus:

I think his back says "Hybrid Tax Now" So I'm guessing he's stating to raise money for hybrid fuel research through some soft of tax system? I'm for ideas that require the use less oil.

Yahoo's blogger (Dan's sister), howardnation_fangirl:

Even the MTA changed their signs for Howard:

Howard Stern Live

I'm heading to check out Howard Stern's good-bye party, I'll try to post some live photos.

More info here: http://360.yahoo.com/howardnation_fangirl

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Weak connections

I just had this thought.

I had a website open that I recently learned about and discussed with a friend. I closed the tab and thought, 'Ohh wait, I should have tagged that.' (tag = given it a keyword on del.icio.us)

Then I thought, 'No I don't need to tag that, I've talked about it enough that I won't forget it.' Then it dawned on me, I only tag sites that will be hard for me to recall in the future. I don't tag amazon.com because I'll never forget it. But I would tag the site "You're the man now dog" because I can never remember the URL. I might use the tags "man funny seanconnery."

Then I thought, wow, this is what I do with people, I 'tag' my weak connections. I have an excel spreadsheet that has contact info for my 'weak' connections. Folks I probably won't remember in the future, but I would like to easily recall them by a keyword if I needed to in the future. Let's say I run into you at a party, and you're a cool person, we get along well and it turns out that you're a dog walker and ask me if I know anybody that needs a dog walker. You might give me you're card. Most folks throw this away at some point. I put it into an Excel spreadsheet and tag the person 'dogwalker.' Then in the future if I come across somebody asking for a 'cool' dogwalker, I can seach my 'weak' acquantances speadsheet and email out the info.

Yes this is a little extreme for most people. But what clicked in my mind was that tagging of websites and tagging of people is what allows a person to 'persit' or retain weak connections. If I didn't tag some sites, I would never be able to find them again. So if you ask me for a cool web2.0 calendar, I can search through my tags and see what sites I've taged. Or better yet, you can just search through my tags yourself!