For a couple years now (2010 and 2012) I have made a resolution to only listen to music released in that year. That is, I only listened to music that was new and had been released in that year. This does not include re-masters or re-releases. I even avoided compilations.

The first year I stuck to the rule pretty closely. But my wife, annoyed at having to YET AGAIN listen to Four Tet for the 100th time in 2010, asked that on the weekends and when I was at home to play something we both liked on the speakers. So in 2012 I did that a few times.

But every Tuesday when new music is released, I would make a giant playlist of albums and burn through them. My week was spent filtering out the best from that week and then adding them on Rdio (or outright buying them).

The project does exactly what I want it to do, it keeps me from wallowing in the old standbys (Bad Brains, Pixies, Ramones, Pavement, The Misfits, The Thermals, Jawbreaker, 70’s Reggae…) and get put a little off-balance by new music. I still find myself gravitating towards the heavier punk-like guitar driven stuff, but I try to listen to most genres (I did go through phases of top 40, rap and hip-hop, ska, and alternative/indie in the 80’s and 90’s after all, so I have a bit of knowledge there).

This year I want to do something different. This year I want to pick a year from the last 30 years of music and only listen to music from that year.

And I thought it’d be fun if you picked it for me. As usual you can follow along on my profile:

So please help me choose the year I should restrict my music listening to.


About 13 years ago I wrote an application called XuMouse.

This is what it looked like on Windows 98.


And here is what it looks like now.


Damn thing still works. Looks the same. Still doing what it does. FOR THIRTEEN YEARS. (Thank you, Microsoft Windows backward compatibility team.)

Every couple of months I get an email or phone call asking for a new copy. It seems that a lot of people run applications from their desktop or from the original archived file rather than installing it, so I point them to the correct URL or mail them the file. I keep meaning to make a new landing page for it but even when I did have one the email and calls still arrived.

Most, if not all, of the people who contact me are elderly. I believe many of them use the application to play games like online slot machines. It’s why I originally wrote the thing, there was a web site that gave you credits for pulling a slot machine lever and I thought it’d be funny to get a million credits. (I did. They were useless.)

The zip file, which you can download here, contained a README that asked for an email to tell me you were using it and say thank you. Many of the emails I receive are just to say thanks.

The app was free. I never considered charging for it because it literally took one night and maybe 10 lines of code. The zipped file is 7k and relied heavily on Microsoft’s MFC framework.

Something I barely remember doing 13 years ago for free still manages to cheer me up when I someone comes asking about it. That’s sort of all I really wanted out of that project.


I don’t know what happened this week but suddenly I am really into Kickstarter. I’ve supported a few things in the past, but never really got into it until now.

I discovered I could not be followed on Kickstarter because they rely on Facebook accounts, so I thought I’d list my recently backed projects here for fun. (

Jack Cheng 'These Days'

Jack Cheng’s book “These Days” sounds so good to me. For some reason backing books is an easy decision. I love books and I love the story of self-publishing. So whether it’s fiction or a book someone thinks needs to be written I want to help them. Plus when I was a kid I wanted to design computer interfaces for movies.

Glenn Fleishman 'Crowdfunding: a Guide to What Works and Why'

Crowdfunding: a Guide to What Works and Why”. Glenn Fleishman’s writing a book about crowd funding. Duh.

blink(1), the USB RGB LED

blink(1), the USB RGB LED” Simple. Obvious. Affordable little project I can hack with. It’s so obvious yet nobody I know of has done this. I love it. I can’t wait.

Celebrated Summer

Celebrated Summer” is a book by Chris Ernest Hall. Here is his bio: “Chris Ernest Hall has written a lot, but never been published. He’s worked on a lot of failed software products. He lives with his mother and three cats. THE END.” Straight off the cover and title are a tribute to Hüsker Dü, so if I was browsing in a book store this would already be in my stack for buying. But something about that synopsis (and bio)…I can’t put my finger on it. But I want to read this EXACTLY as much as I want to help Chris publish it.


Maggie Mason learns how to roll a kayak. If you haven't been following this Intel has been sponsoring to run through her life list (a list of things she's always wanted to do in life).

Anyway, the first few seconds of that video on the kayak are why "rolling a kayak" is going on my "never in my life list".

NOTE: Federated Media (my employer and a company I co-founded 275 years ago) is the company that brokered this campaign. So in fairness, I should point out that I am linking to something that is in some part beneficial to me and my family.

Intel makes you taller.


Anil has launched a new site/idea that I am very much excited about. It's called Last Year's Model and it's all about recognizing you don't need to get on the newest gadget treadmill that some gadget blogs and manufacturers would like you to believe.

Design is by Mule, it's super fancy.


Not a whole lot of feature changes, but a definite jump in style, I've re-launched Listable with a design provided by Mule Design.

Some lists I like:

  1. Most Commonly Used Passwords — Stick that in a local database and clean against your users logging into your site.
  2. Airport Code Country Airport
  3. HTML Tag List — Nice if you're building some kind of HTML parsing script and need a list.
  4. Chinese Zodiac — Again, what I built this site for. If someone needs a list, here it is in a myriad of formats.
  5. Words Containing The Letter X — So good.
  6. Common XSS Vectors — Eep.


I first became aware of Buster Mcleod from his All Consuming project. He has a lot of projects that seem to spiral off from what he was doing with All Consuming. Projects that track a particular time of day on Flickr. Projects that display what is in season for your location. His Morale-O-Meter used to track his mood and other statuses throughout the week. He sums it up in his post "History of my self-tracking":

The reason I am obsessed with self-tracking is because I think there is a way to track yourself in such a way that it leads to epiphanies about yourself, about the cause and effect of things, in such a way that these numbers would eventually be able to tell you things about yourself that you didn’t already know. This is the only reason to self-track, in my opinion.

You can now watch him go in a new weblog called Enjoymentland.


I just remembered, it's Gothtober time again, and the official site is back with a Christmas-like advent calendar to take us to Halloween.

The first video has a sample from a classic video that always kills me.



Two friends at work have started a unique podcast called White Noise Lounge.

From the about page:
We went back and forth like this for a while, cracking each other up with ideas like “white noise radio,” that played nothing but a continuous low hum, all—day—long. The next morning she was still giggling to herself about it.

I've been listening to them all morning. It's interesting how the different background noises can affect your mood. The idling Vespa made me anxious, the bridge joints were calming, and the sound of tinkling dishes and silverware was pleasant.

Sometimes life is too quiet, instead of turning on a TV or a distracting radio, why not invite some dishwashers into your house?


Amber and I ended up at Needles and Pens this weekend and I turned the corner into the art gallery wall to find ZINES. And not just zines, but SKATE ZINES. I actually recognized Tod Swank's zine, of course, and a few other names seemed to be familiar.

I must scan and upload my zine (MEGA zine) before our next move. At least the issue with my friend Justin on the cover, all teeth missing or bent outwards, and smiling like a dope.



This turned into an unexpected late night. Shift refresh, you should see a new site (or an old site if you read (un)filtered).

I'm not a designer, but I know what I like. When I saw Michael's new site I knew it was what I wanted for myself. I got the "okay" from him and redid his site by hand with CSS and only one table (shakes fist at HTML forms). I couldn't bring myself to copy and paste it, plus I have been wanting to learn how to do my own custom template through TypePad so it became a project.

It's late, I haven't had a chance to debug, and I have almost 1,000 entries to re-classify after realizing I really didn't need most of them (genitals?).



...And just like that and I have a little brewery in my apartment.

This weekend I rented a car and loaded up on all my supplies. I planned on brewing when I had some time this week, but I have no patience when it comes to new projects and I started only hours after unpacking the car.

The process took about four and a half hours from heating up my water to getting it in the glass carboy. The next morning I woke up to find an eruption of activity that smelled...well, not so great at 7am, but when I come home from work I sit with it for a few minutes with a bottle of store bought beer and watch the little bubbles percolate.

Now that the blow off has subsided (it foams up and over the top) the smell has gone away. I have five more days of it like this, then I transfer to another container to get the beer off the sediment (hops/used yeast) that's collected at the bottom. After several days in the new container I bottle it, and let it age a bit and build up some carbonation.

This was something of a test run. It had been so long since I brewed anything I was more interested in going through the motions and remembering what I needed to do and when. I have no idea if this beer will be any good—I assume it will be drinkable—but once I get a good rythym going I can start focusing on all the things you have to pay attention to to brew excellent beer.

Also, some links:


Originally uploaded by pusgums
So, my friend Sean reminded me that it's humanly possible to brew your own beer. I used to brew it when I lived in LA but you could only do it in the wintery months, and even then a couple of warm days would screw your batch and you'd end up with banana smelling malt liquor. (back then I was pretty poor, so the trick to disposing of this mistake was pinch your nose closed with one hand while you drank with the other)

But now I live in San Francisco! I drink much more beer! It's always fricken cold! Wish me luck!



Dropparachutelarge I've decided to start posting every idea for a site I have because otherwise I stew over them and never do them, and then hate myself for not having any time outside of work to build these things. I keep a list, you see, of every idea I have--dumb or not--and the date I came up with them. They usually aren't very good ideas, and if they are good, someone usually already does it.

So here is one I had a couple days ago when thinking about one of the difficult things about mailing stuff to people: I hate mailing stuff to people. I hate finding a box that fits, and wrapping the thing up so it doesn't break. I hate finding postage and of course tape suitable for mailing. Above all I hate going to the post office.

About a year ago, I had the idea of selling self-addresses stamped padded envelopes. You would go to a site and enter your address, your friend's address, pay a little bit of money and then your friend is mailed a padded envelope containing a padded envelope that is addressed to you with postage paid. Your friend simply inserts whatever he was sending you, tapes it up, and drops it in the mail. So, a year on I realized there could be a whole online store where people enter stuff for sale and enter the size and weight (I'm told eBay lets you type in UPC #'s and it figures out the size and weight for you by using magic).

I think it'd work best for video games, as they have the best cost/size/weight ratio. So if I was starting it I'd focus only on video games as they would all fit nicely in a padded envelope.

Though Amazon has the infinitely cool S3, I still think my idea of web storage has a spot somewhere. The entire idea could be deployed on S3, but I think the authorization would be a sticking point, and I'd prefer to not require apps to register with Amazon. I still want to do that one.

I have another idea that I think I'm going to hold onto for another week. It would probably take about a week to build properly, and it would solve the whole problem I have with sharing my Wii # or my phone # with friends. I was reminded of it after seeing Andy's link to this post by Simon Willison about whitelisting.


I'd attend that conference.

Nothing against the recent conference that happened here, but I don't find the subject very interesting anymore. I think my motto is "run from enthusiasm".

Thinking about what is interesting to me: good customer support, "small + cheap", decentralized processing (ad serving has ruined my brain), my friend Leonard brought up off-web/on-web connectivity and I can't stop thinking about it. Leonard does that a lot. I used to want to do these little PDF booklets that could be printed but someone did it already. No fun now.

I find Netflix's delivery system the most fascinating thing I use on a regular basis that has web connections. I wish Dodgeball were more interesting but it isn't. I like the idea of that RSS service that lets you hear bands coming to your town, but ideas are cooler than the implementation unfortunately.

This is still true.

If I had a weekend to blow, I'd make my wall-mounted MUNI/NextBus parser. Every morning while putting on my shoes I load it on my phone. Sometimes I find out I have 2 minutes to run down the hill, sometimes I end up with 10 and slowly amble down and wait with the other fools. I don't have a weekend to blow, though.

My mom bought me Beautiful Evidence for my birthday. I read on the boat this morning and got inspired to create something—I will most likely create nothing.

Band is good. We have a song recorded over like two months. MySpace alert: sweetie.

I think we miss Los Angeles less these days. Today while walking along the bay to my office in Sausalito I think I may have forgotten LA for a bit.


My best of 2005 doesn't really stick to any one medium. I tried listing my favorite music this year, but some of it was recorded in 1993. I tried listing some favorite movies, but I couldn't think of anything I got on Netflix this year that wasn't a TV show or made in some year like 1993. So then I thought about books and there was just the one I thought was worth reading.

So here are my favorite things of 2005. In no particular order.

Fisher Space Pen

I just bought my second and third Fisher Space Pen. I accidentally left my first one in the car I dropped off at Hertz so I bought two more. I like to find something that works and stick with it, and right now it's these wonderful pens. Sure they write through blood and water, and you can write upside down, but the secret to why it's so great is that when closed it's about 3/4ths the size of a normal pen, when you take the cap off and place it at the end of the pen the size grows to a normal size pen. Add in the very simple, black matte, metal, "bullet" design and a ball point that seems to begin delivering ink a micrometer before it touches the paper, and you have the best and only pen you'll ever need. (Unless you are all about precision, in which case I have to recommend my previous favorite pen, the Sakura Microperm).

Camper Shoes

This year I went all out on Camper Shoes. I now have seven pair. Moving to San Francisco has meant I'm on my feet more, and some of the shoes (not all) do very well for walking. Now that the Camper stores are popping up in the larger US cities, they aren't as rare, so they don't make me feel nearly as unique as they did when I'd be on this page hoping I wasn't ordering a shoe that would fit on a keychain.

The Mountain Goats - "The Sunset Tree"

Mat got me into the Mountain Goats this year. It's an album. A real full album like the old days when you'd drop the needle on the record and sit in your room and follow along (not that I really ever did this but I'm told by old people with Who albums that they did). It feels like sharing any song from the album is like sharing a chapter from a book out of context, but before I heard the album Mat had given me this recording the MGs had done on the John Peel show which got me interested.

John Darnielle also has my favorite thing said this year, from this interview done in haiku:

Q. Preparing yourself
for an ominous ending
What is the magpie?

A. Only a traitor
undresses his metaphors
As if they were whores

Graph Paper

Hell yeah I said graph paper. I love graph paper. I'm going to buy stacks of it. I like to use the 8 squares to the inch though that 16 square looks HOT. When was the last time you used graph paper?

iTunes TV Shows

I totally missed the boat on the TV show "Lost" due to work and moving. I hate jumping into something mid-season and so I figured I'd wait until it showed up on Netflix. For the holidays I was able to catch up using the iTunes Music store and that rules more than graph paper. I work a lot more on my laptop than I did at my old job. The fact that I can call up a TV show for $1.99 is pure joy. Though I have to wonder, why does 99¢ seem like a bit much for a song I could conceivably listen to 100 times, and $1.99 about right for a TV show I'd watch once? I can't figure that one out.

San Francisco

This town is swell. We love it here. The weather isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be, we're still in California after all, so Christmas Eve, when I was getting ready to drive down to my parents house it was clear and sunny, and I didn't need a coat. I dunno why everyone is all crazed about this weather, I've seen bad weather and this isn't it. I love being able to walk and get a beer, or coffee, or ride the train to downtown without worrying about parking. I do hate that I don't have easy access to stores like Target and Home Depot, though. Back in Long Beach it was easy to get to those stores if you had a lot of stuff to buy, now you have to plan a bit more. Plus I don't have my truck so you have to get creative with getting large things into the house.

To say it's a bit segregated would be an understatement. There are things about this neighborhood (Noe Valley) that annoy me and I think I'd like to be closer to the Mission if I could, but overall I like San Francisco and it beat out Italy when I made this list so that's pretty good.


Along with TextMate, Quicksilver is an application for Macintosh that I use religiously. I find it better and more agile than Tiger's Spotlight, and the plugins made for it are pretty varied. If you have a Mac you should try it out. Then check out Merlin's post on using its append to text file feature for your todo lists.


Speaking of Merlin, you should really meet Merlin. He's an interesting guy with great ideas and great hair. Seriously.

Anyway, Merlin "invented" the HipsterPDA and it's become my favorite organizational tool behind my .Mac residing todo.txt file. I've owned several palm organizers and learned how to chicken scratch letters on them only to have them trickle down to the bottom of my pile of crap I have no use for. Also, it's cheap!


Like I said in my Fisher Pen item above, when I find something that works well I stick with it. And this year was all about three products: Tom's of Maine Toothpaste, Dr. Bronner's Soap, and an array of Kiehl's  products.

When I was a kid I remember toothpaste being toothpaste and not candy. It seems like toothpaste now is so sweet and candied that I don't feel like I'm getting my teeth clean so much as coating my mouth with stuff that smells good. It's like air freshner for the mouth when I really need to be cleaning it. Tom's of Maine just works. And it's in a simple tube that doesn't make me feel like I'm not only buying toothpaste but funding some toothpaste manufacturer's R&D budget to make some crazy dispenser.

Dr. Bronner's Soap isn't a very new product, it's apparently been around a while and I've seen it in people's bathrooms and heard about it from friends but didn't really come around to using the soap until this year. It comes in a bottle straight out of crazy world and being a sucker for packaging I bought a couple bottles when I saw them at Trader Joe's. Of the three companies I'm talking about, Dr. Bronner's wasn't featured in any Seth Godin book I know of, but it should. It's the purple cow to end all purple cows, and it's damn good soap.

I am a sucker for good marketing and good packaging. When I first saw a Kiehl's store I knew I was going to buy a cartload of stuff. The fact that I think the products (specifically the shaving cream, non-alcohol toner, and shampoo) work so well is why I keep buying it. Only later did I find out it was a Lancome company with a trumped up back story. Being a fan of Seth Godin's books means that sometimes you either feel like a total hypocrite or just an informed shopper when you fall for stuff like Kiehl's. It is good though.

Other Stuff

A few things that were good but not great last year:

		<li>A <a href="">PSP</a> and
			<a href="">Wipeout Pure</a> for
			my trip to Italy. Sitting on the train or waiting out jetlag in the hotel went by quickly
			with this game. I still can't hear the music and not think of Rome or Venice.</li>
		<li>Any game I was insanely excited about after E3. Nothing really kept me playing this year. All the
			GTA:III styled
			games turned out to be the yellow-fade of the gaming world. &quot;Ooh, I get to drive a motorcycle around and
			run over people. That's a game?&quot;
			Even <a href="">Psychonauts</a> became
			tedious and grating after a few hours. I did nearly finish <a href="">Shadow of the Colossus</a> but
			it was during a time when I was swamped at work and couldn't really devote my evenings to it. I'll probably
			finish it up in the next month.</li>
		<li><a href="">Netflix</a> is a great service, but it feels like they hit a brick wall in terms of building their application.
			It's the same service it was (to me) as it was a year ago. They added some friend features and cleaned
			up the interface a bit, but nothing that really made me feel like they were devoting much time to its future.
			Where are the video games? Where are the PSP movies? Netflix is rapidly becoming the <a href="">CDNOW</a> of online rentals.</li>

Stuff That Didn't

There were a few things I had been excited about this year that turned out to not be what I had hoped for. While PHP turned 10 years old, Ruby on Rails (or, as I lovingly refer to it: Ruby on Rims) went 1.0. I know, Ruby on Rails runs best on LightTPD, PHP runs best on nearly everything. I think Ruby as a language is wonderfully simple and a good language to be introduced to programming on, I think I just didn't mesh with the RoR way. I can't wait to do an app with it, I just didn't trust it when I first tried. It really isn't you, Ruby, it's me.

Gamefly was a huge disappointment. Their turn around times are atrocious and it's like their interface people have never used Netflix before. When I first signed up it took nearly 2 weeks to get my first games, and my original calculation of $50 a month for one game vs. $30 for unlimited games seemed to be thrown off. Waiting a week or so to see a new game in the mail is hardly what I expected.

Not to sound like some tech-pundit blowhard but what is Microsoft doing? They're almost completely off my radar now that I and nearly all my friends work on Macs. I realize that's dangerous, but come on, isometric views of my apartment? Big whoop.


While the world doesn't need another weblog template site, it sure could use a web app template site. Not a template system like Smarty, but a site where a good web designer with some knowledge of the types of screens (login, form pages, user pages, tag soup pages, etc) that a web developer would need could be prepared. Nothing sucks more than having an idea, building it in a couple hours, and then having to scramble to find something that doesn't look like total poop.

I'm not saying we need a bunch of Kubrick web apps cluttering the landscape, but I'd prefer to use a nice set of form elements and styled pages that take into account features of web apps that don't exist in weblogs, than running with my typical Helvetica/White Box/Auto-Margined And Centered/Floating On A Sea Of #C6C6C6 design technique.


Some day soon, I hope, I'll stop doing this:

@campaign = new

Otherwise things are starting to really progress rapidly now that I have a better handle on RoR. It's kind of like trying to get a car pushed from a standstill, once you get going it's pretty hard to stop, and sometimes it feels like you're going a bit too fast. I find myself asking questions about problems I see coming up two or three versions from now.

There is a difference, of course, between understanding Rails and how everything interacts, and being good with Ruby. I think I waste a little bit more time than normal solving problems with the language. PHP is such a peculiar amalgam of languages that I find myself wanting to solve problems with old methods I learned from not having certain built-in functions. I was always working towards MVC with PHP, so that hasn't been much of a problem.

Also, TextMate, my new favorite code editor on the planet, is a champ. Michael took a peek at the new bundles included (check the Window->Show Bundle Editor item) and blew my mind with all the neat triggers. See this post on their blog about some miscellaneous release notes for the recent beta.



This Adaptive Path essay is both exciting and really pissing me off. Sorry, I was in Italy for a couple of weeks so I missed out on this the first time around.

The most retarded sentence in it is: "Curious, inventive people are making cool stuff again." Um, hello? WTF? "Again"? I really don't know how to respond to that other than to feel really insulted and feel like anything people made three or four years ago was somehow "boring" because there wasn't any money attached to it. It's like when people say something as asinine as "Music is getting exciting again!" and the rest of us are like, "No, you just weren't paying attention."

Anyway, yes, there's more money that seems to be available for people who have been building these apps, but the suggestion that people who make these sites are only now springing to life when money is available is kind of disappointing. I hate the equation that $1 million in funding == EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES. It's how you fools lathered yourselves into the last bubble.

The exciting part for me is seeing friends, acquaintances, and heroes from years past finally getting recognition for their work; and yes, hopefully money to keep doing the stuff they like to do.

It's never been the technology that makes things cool for me, it's how the idea is executed. Tags, Ajax, RoR, RSS, XML, blogs, Java, VRML... if your focus is on the neat technology shoehorned into some idea to make money then you're going to be up to your ass in sock puppets again.


We have a new IA at work helping with our site re-design and we've become lunch friends, usually talking about some idea for a site or project. Today while walking back from eating he brought up something that had happened the previous week. We had been at my desk and Andy IM'd me that Dropcash was mentioned in a story of a talk given at ETech. I pointed it out to him, and then, according to him, downplayed it to the point of apologizing for even bringing up the subject. I am pretty sure I said something like, "Oh, it's this stupid thing I did..."

He said it was a peculiar reaction to something someone should be proud of, and we talked about how it's my general reaction to any projects I do being discussed.

I decided on our walk back from lunch, that this attitude is rooted in two things.

  1. At work I'm totally on it when it comes to pointing out our tech team's projects, yet when I'm doing stuff outside of work I feel that it's "play" and so I don't take it as seriously. Had someone at ETech discussed my very cool dynamic javascript publishing CMS which fakes dynamic content for Sony's Latin America web site, I'd probably be all over it. I'd have shirts made. But stuff like announcing TKPal not so much.
  2. Lana Turner was discovered at Schwab's Drugstore sipping soda. I have some idealistic dream of someone calling me up from the minors I think. That sounds so lame.

But yeah, I creep people out sometimes when I start sentences with, "I have this really stupid idea, but..."

PS, go help out the Moped Army if you're so inclined. They're using Dropcash.


I spent the weekend programming little Macintosh Cocoa applications. I just had a breakthrough with a certain feature in Cocoa and while walking around the house, flush with joy from having such a breakthrough, I realized that it's these little victories that come with programming that I enjoy.

I envy people who can focus on 



My friend Jason is on a roll. First he sent out Pass Pod to the world, and then followed it up immediately with another great idea: the Preshrunk blog.

Along with books, CDs, and DVDs, I tend to buy a lot of t-shirts since they fall in that sweet $15-25 range. Jason not only blogs the shirts, but he tells you the price, and whether they accept PayPal or not. (Dear people who sell shirts, use PayPal)

I renewed a bunch of my domains recently and I realized I tend to launch sites around this time of the year (December/January). I think slow work weeks, cold weather, and new toys get the creative juices flowing.


A few weeks ago I bought a Dymo label printer for mailing things, I have 150 jewelboxes from, and I have several hundred CD-Rs.

What could I do that isn't illegal?