This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.



This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.



This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.


Ignite Seattle Pix

Ignite Seattle – Mission Control

Photo by by Randy Stewart.

I’ve posted my pix from last night’s Ignite Seattle event.

Ignite Seattle is a tech geek meetup held semi-irregularly that brings out some of the best and brightest in the Puget Sound region.

Had a great time and hope the next one isn’t so far off in the future. Wish my pix were better, but I’m still new at this whole photography thing.

Here is a link to the photos on Flickr –

Geek Fun General

Under construction

God, it was everything in my power not to put an animated gif up. Instead, I leave you with a relic of the late 1990s.


I’m working on a redesign of Stewtopia based on Dean J Robinson’s Redoable template. Good stuff, but it’s taking a while to get everything up and running.

I hope to have this finished by early next week… I hope to actually blog again before then.


It’s like riding a bike

187792490_f7ecfa8019_m.jpgI seem to keep falling off of my Stewtopia blog. I’ve been spending a lot of my time working on Boxbe’s blog, prettying up the UI and talking about recent improvements such as Gmail integration, I’ve been pretty busy.

I tend to build up a lot of pressure in my head about blogging. “Oooh, I really need to blog about SXSW” or “I need to give a shout out to all the folks I met last weekend,” are thoughts that go through my head, but often I feel like my drafts are never done.

I’m just getting back on the bike today folks. It might not be great, but here I am.

Photo by Flickr member Omar Junior

Community Next – this weekend

Sorry, faithful readers for my long departure. I’ve been buried under a few projects. Hopefully, I will be posting more regularly very soon.
In the mean time, I’ll be attending the Community Next conference this weekend at Stanford. If you are at the conference or in the Bay Area and would like to meet up, drop me a line at


Darfur Wall

There were a lot of good speakers and 5 minute presentations at last night’s Ignite Seattle, but one that stuck with me in particular was Jonah Burke’s Darfur Wall project.

darfur wall.jpg

From O’Reilly Radar:

Jonah Burke left Microsoft to found the The Darfur Wall with his father and brother a couple of weeks ago. If you’re not aware Darfur is in a crisis. The Burkes have created a novel website for collecting money. There are 400,000 subdued numbers on the site; each time a dollar is donated a new number is lit. All of the monies go to Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and others. In just 21 days, they have raised $5052 from 445 donors. Buying a number is fast and easy; consider it. (Blog).

When I look for donations to make during the holiday season, I always try to look for both local and global causes. In some ways, this accomplishes both. Helping someone locally who is trying to affect change globally seems like a perfect mix.

Jonah – I didn’t get to meet you last night, but I really appreciate the work you are doing to help this troubled region.



Farecast price prediction guarantees

I was talking this weekend at MindCamp about products needing to be remarkable to make headway in a crowded market. Remarkable in the literal sense of the word, like Seth Godin’s Purple Cow.


Farecast, the flight price prediction engine, announced today that they are testing a new insurance product called Fare Guard. The idea is that you lock in a price for a flight for one week (for a fee) and if the price goes up, Farecast pays you the difference.

Farecast is an interesting product. I love data and trends like the next guy. A lot of what Farecast is modeling is stuff that I’d read in Peter Greenburg’s Travel Detective book, although most of his advice was anecdotal. Farecast took that advice and backed it up with tons of data.

With Fare Guard, Farecast becomes a remarkable product. For Farecast to put their money where their mouth is adds a lot of validity behind their claim of prediction accuracy. Additionally, they are creating a new revenue streams by adding this insurance option.

Even if few people take them up on the offer of insurance, Farecast seems more reliable than ever. Now, if we could just talk Yahoo! Maps and Zillow into doing this, that would be truly remarkable.


[via TechCrunch]


Sneaking inside Apple

Photo by by OmegaStation.

Or at least their repair facility. Some clever person decided to write an Automator script to take pictures when the lid was opened next, which was deep into Apple’s repair facility.

I love the internet some days.

[via TUAW]

Apple General


A bit of digression-

Here are pix from a couple of events that I’ve gone to recently.



First, a couple of Friday’s ago, Steve Wozniak was interviewed on the UW campus by Robert Scoble (I say interviewed, but Scoble didn’t get a lot in edge wise). Woz is someone that I have always respected a lot because it has always seemed that he was a highly unlikely revolutionary. Money and fame hasn’t changed him as he seems to be as lovable a nerd as ever. Great stories from the man who brought computers to the rest of us.

Woz Trivia – apparently, Woz was once the highest scoring player of Gameboy Tetris so many times in Nintendo Power magazine that they asked him to stop submitting his scores.

Hopefully, Scoble puts his video up soon so you can watch this highly animated talk.

John Hodgman


Second, John Hodgman visited Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company to promote his book, Areas of My Expertise, going into paperback. Readers may be familiar with his Daily Show work or maybe his Apple ads as the lovable dufus, the PC. If you get a chance to see John on his book tour, I highly recommend it. His reading and routine are quite witty and his book is side-splittingly funny.

John is pictured with my friend, Suzi.


Back after these short messages….

fall in Vancouver, photo by jmv.

Just got back from a trip up to Vancouver with the family, so sorry for the lack of posts. Man, couldn’t have picked a better time weather-wise, it was absolutely gorgeous.

Posting will resume this afternoon. I’ll be finishing up my series about how to bring people back to your site using gaming mechanics later today.

Building Community General Links Social Media

Wednesday Links

How to be a Net video hit
SF Comical..err… Chronicle documents how to become a net star. Apparently, all you need is a cell phone.

Learning from your referrers
Pronet documents how to use web metrics to get to know your audience. Two words – Google Analytics. Seriously tho, stats are the name of the game if you are trying to build an audience.

Six Apart acquires Rojo
Six Apart adds to their arsenal an RSS aggregator and search engine. Haven’t used Rojo since an early beta and it seemed to only be designed for the uber-RSS geek, wonder if it changed?

Epinions General Social Media

Change of focus


Today I’m going to do something a little unusual and it may signify some changes to the blog and the sorts of things I write. I’m going to talk about me and my past work experience and what I’m planning for the future. No, the plan wasn’t to pontificate the finer points of gadgets, online media and general nerdery forever but figuring out what to talk about took some time and focus.

It’s been a really great month or so for me. I’ve taken some time away from being a full time dad (which is not so great for the family) and I’ve spent a lot of time immersing myself back in the world of social media and community generated content. Before my hiatus, I worked on a little site called Epinions which is one of the first and one of the largest, most active community generated content sites on the net.

With a trifecta of social media conferences, Gnomedex, WebVisions and WordCamp, my head is spinning a bit, but it made me realize that I really need to share some of the great stories from my time at Epinions and the lessons that I learned there. I had lunch with some old colleagues there and gave them a head’s up that I was going to do this.

What’s really great about Epinions is that in many ways, it is a microcosm of the world of social media. Many of the issues that companies are facing working with consumer generated media have already happened at Epinions. Some of the stuff that I’m going to talk about really hasn’t been discussed in any sort of public way, but I think that what I learned there is valuable to anyone who is trying to develop and grow online communities.

My intention isn’t to rock the boat, so I’m keeping my old pals at Epinions abreast of what I’m doing. I didn’t ask permission, but I’m not going to talk about things like revenue or internal stats in any specific way. I hope that anyone who wants to learn about working with and cultivating web communities joins in the discussion. I’d also be glad to answer any questions about Epinions that you might have.

One final word, I want to give a shout out to Garrett and Christal some ex co-workers of mine who taught me everything I know about Epinions and are two of the reasons that the Epinions community still prospers today.


Touch screen demo

Ok, that might be the worst headline ever, but sometimes you just gotta post. I mentioned the TEDTalks video feed a few weeks back, and I’ve seen quite a few really great presentations. If nothing else, most of these talks are worth taking notes on how they gave their presentation as much as the content of their presentations.

But last night while washing dishes, I stopped everything I was doing to watch this presentation and it absolutely blew my mind.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. It seems we’re getting much closer to getting rid of the WIMP interface.


TechMeme hacked?

We’re here at Gnomedex at Chris Pirillo just pointed out on his blog that it looks like TechMeme has been hacked?