231 Erwin Road

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

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!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Why will you know more the 150 people?

Robin Dunar's rule of most humans having a capcity to maintain nomore then 150 relationships due to physical limitiation of the neocortex has been talked about a number of times in the social networking field.

I've always said that this was tied to technology as well. That if there is technology to help faciliate and persit relationships, humans can go well beyond that number and still maintain stable relationships. I belive in the realtivly near future, we'll each have hundreds if not thousands well mainted relationships.

Christopher Alacrity has an excellent write up that all of these social networking services "are making the problem worse, not solving it." I agree, the bombardment of these networks is creating massive unstructed networks. I would make the analogy of trying to keep up with the internet by reading everypage that comes online each morning. Not only is it impossible, but it is unconstructive as well. That's why we have portals such as Google and the BBC. Google acts to filter all information on demand, BBC acts to aggregate information around perspectives. Social Networking tools should act in the same way. I'm fine with having 1000+ contacts in Friendster, LinkedIn, or my IM Buddylist, however I need some way to oranize, search, and filter these connections based on metadata about the relationship. Right now in Friendster, everybody is a 'friend.' There is no differenation between college buddies and work colleagues. There is no temporal data about how often I contact them or when the last time I made contact with them. This data needs to be captured in order to use a overabunding social network in a useable way.

Maybe this happened to my fish

After stumbling onto this Rubik's Cube prank with the 'Alamo' or the black cube at Astor Place, I stumbled upon their flat fish prank.
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Make a Spash and the problem with Flickr

I was originally gonna post about 'making a splash.' I'm currently reading 'The Tipping Point' and he talks about stickyness factors. Today I walked by that big black cube @ Astor Place also known as 'Alamo.'
Photo credit to webseitz.

I gave it a good spin, and it caught the attention of most folks that had no Idea it was spinnable. It cause a few ppl to stop and others to open their mouths. After 10-20 seconds, I watched from a block away and noticed another person came to spin it as it slowed down, after that spin, it came to a stop. There was something viral in this. I wanted to talk more about it, but I'll have to come back to the viral topic in another post.

So I'm changing the topic of this post for one reason, the commons. I searched flickr for a photo of that cube so I could put it on my website. I wanted to respect the author who took the photo, so I looked for a photo that had a Creative Commons license. Somebody that wouldn't mind if I used there photo for non-commercial use as long as I gave them credit. There was the problem, there was no way for me to filter the search on that attribute. How could I find a photo to reuse in a pool of photos if I can't filter out by CC licenses?

So I opted for the 'unethical' route and had to 'steal' the photo to display it on my blog. But that's wasn't my intent, my intent was to use somebody a photo for the purpose of a visual display. If anything, that's good for the photographer, I can give them credit and create a link to their work so that more people can see their photos. But Flickr doesn't make that easy. Because the default 'all rights reserved' license won't allow me to embed a photo in my blog and create a link to the author. So I'm forced to create a 'copy' of it on my Flickr account.

Then I ran into another problem, how do I quickly and easily copy a flickr photo into my flickr account? Let's say the author is cool with it. Flickr should allow you to copy it into your account, so that if the author takes the photo down, you still have access to it. The reason I bring this up is for this photo.
Photo credit to Brianvan

I think it's an amazing photo, the color is beautiful. I'm even a little out of focus, just like real life. However, 'all rights are reserved' on this photo as well, so I stole it (I'm in the photo, shouldn't I have some right to display it as well?) Again there was no way for me to embed this pic into my blog. Brianvan has a website, 485i.com, go check out his work. I don't know him personal, he snapped that photo at a party.

But the problem exists on how to copy that photo into my blog? Flickr restricts it from being linkable, so I'm forced to copy it to my flickr account so I can display it in my blog.
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business card feedback

I'd like to purchase one of those snaggy blogging business cards/cartoons by hugh macleod of gapingvoid.

What is the feedback on this design?

That reads:
Vincent Lauria
- innovator -

New York / San Francisco


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

All your River Game Belong to Us

Fun puzzle that will kill 10 minutes of your day. It is a variant on the famous puzzle, "Everybody has to cross the river." It's in non-english, so click on the BIG BLUE CIRCLE.


The following rules apply:
  1. Only 2 people on the raft at a time.
  2. The father can not stay with any of the daughters, without their mother's presence.
  3. The mother can not stay with any of the sons, without their father's presence.
  4. The thief (striped shirt) can not stay with any family member, if the Policeman is not there.
  5. Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft

  1. To start click on the big blue circle on the right.
  2. To move the people click on them.
  3. To move the raft click on the pole on the opposite side of the river.

All your River Game Belong to Us

Fun puzzle that will kill 10 minutes of your day. It is a variant on the famous puzzle, "Everybody has to cross the river." It's in non-english, so click on the BIG BLUE CIRCLE.


The following rules apply:
  1. Only 2 people on the raft at a time.
  2. The father can not stay with any of the daughters, without their mother's
  3. The mother can not stay with any of the sons, without their father's
  4. The thief (striped shirt) can not stay with any family member, if the
    Policeman is not there.
  5. Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the
  1. To start click on the big blue circle on the right.
  2. To move the people click on them.
  3. To move the raft click on the pole on the opposite side of the river.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Spammers are so smart

I got a new flavor of Spam today. Gmail caught it, but it's a pretty intelligent fishing technique. Lately everybody has been getting, Your account info is out of date, please update... and it's just a link to a non-paypal site to grab your email address. Today I got an email that is similar, except it says, 'futifresh@yahoo.com' has been added to your account, if you didn't authorize, please click here....

I think that will play on the ambitions of many folks.
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Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm watching you!!! (even closer now)


Come'on Google catch up to Micrsoft's Local Live. I don't like the GUI or interfaces as much as Google's maps (it lacks hotness) but the bird's eye view blows away google maps or google earth because it's much closer and you can rotate it.

Local Live link to my apartment.

Thanks Lon.
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Want to add tags to your blogger posts?

There's a nice little Greasemonkey script written by Johan Sundstram. This post will walk you through the steps on how to get it up and running in Firefox.

What are tags you ask? Tags are basically 'keywords' or 'categories' you would use to clasify anything from a website, to a flickr photo, to your blog posts, to your friends.

What's Greasemonkey you ask? It's a software app that works with the Firefox webbrowser that allows the webbrowser to alter and manipulate the page you're looking at. What that means is you could be looking at an Amazon.com book page and have a Greasemonkey script insert the price from Barnes & Noble's right along side the Amazon price so that you can compare.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Friends and Family Plans

Are you tired of your Cell Phone Friends and Family Plan only work for 2 legged creatures that tend to walk upright (ignoring your 98 year old Aunt Maye).

Well, don't despair, you can now get a cell phone for all your lovable 4 legged creatures, such as your dog or your neighbor's bitch (female canine folks!)


Categories: Funny
Tags: technology funny cellphones pets dogs