SEED Conference Recap

I attended the first SEED Conference on Monday. It was a great event - it exceeded my expectations, and was a bargain at only $395. The event itself was small (the website says 135, but it seemed like there were a few more than that), and relatively informal. The venue was the McCormick Tribune Campus Center on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. The building is very interesting in and of itself, lots of different colors and textures, and the El runs right through the building.

SEED Conference

I will be at the SEED Conference in Chicago on Monday. If you’re reading this, and you’re going as well… say “Hi” in the comments below :)

Paul Graham on Stuff

Paul Graham has a new article up called Stuff: I first realized the worthlessness of stuff when I lived in Italy for a year. All I took with me was one large backpack of stuff. The rest of my stuff I left in my landlady’s attic back in the US. And you know what? All I missed were some of the books. By the end of the year I couldn’t even remember what else I had stored in that attic.

Random Things

I have a few articles I want to publish, but I’m holding off until I have this site moved over to Slicehost. In the meantime, here’s a kottke - style list of random things that have caught my eye lately. How to Charm a Woman I am(thankfully) long past dating, but just because you’ve convinced her to marry you doesn’t mean you don’t still need to charm her. How YouTube scales

Surely This Is a Sign of the Apocalypse

Just seen on TechCrunch: Why are you people searching for Britney Spears!? She is hardly the eye candy she once was so I just don’t understand how she has topped Yahoo’s most popular search terms for the fifth time in six years but is appears that the flashing, divorcing baby mama has. Tonight at 9 p.m. PST, Yahoo will release their most popular search terms of 2006. In the top five are Britney, WWE, Shakira, Jessica Simpson, and Paris Hilton.

Seth Godin: The Best Time to Start

I’ll try to prevent this from becoming another Seth Godin lovefest, but Seth’s article on the best time to start a business was too good not to write about. From the article: The best time to start is when you’re out of debt. The best time to start is when no one is already working on your idea. The best time to start is after you’ve got all your VC funding …the best time to start was last year.

A Change in Perspective

Photo by Tom Stone I often find that it’s difficult to be content with what I have in life. It’s too easy to focus on what you don’t have - a new car, a bigger house, that shiny new MacBook Pro - and forget about how much you do have. Modern society doesn’t make this any easier, particularly in the geek culture where something you must have comes along every few seconds it seems.

Apparently, I'm a Joiner

I typically avoid joining each new social networking thingy that comes along, but I’ve joined two lately. The first was LinkedIn. You can view my public profile here, feel free to add me if you’re so inclined. My email address associated with me there is larrywright at gmail dot com. The second one was Twitter, which is a new-ish site from the folks at Odeo (which, as an aside, was recently bought back from the investors - way to go Ev), that lets you keep up with what your friends are doing at any given moment.

Quote(s) of the Day

“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” Frank Tibolt “Far better it is to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that know not victory or defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

Why I Want to Have Seth Godin's Babies

From his post No to average: This is scary. It’s really scary to turn down most (the average) of what comes your way and hold out for the remarkable opportunities. Scary to quit your job at an average company doing average work just because you know that if you stay, you’ll end up just like them. Scary to go way out on an edge and intentionally make what you do unattractive to some.

American's Commutes Keep Getting Longer

According to Reuters, our commutes just keep getting longer and longer: Dave Givens drives 370 miles to work and back every day and considers his seven-hour commute the best answer to balancing his work with his personal life. Umm, yeah. This is obviously extreme, but it sounds like ridiculously long commutes are becoming more common: In the most recent U.S. Census Bureau study, 2.8 million people have so-called extreme commutes, topping 90 minutes.

John Vlissides

Via Martin Fowler, I learned that John Vlissides died after a long battle with cancer. John was one of the Gang of Four who wrote the definitive book on design patterns. His page on c2 has been turned into a sort of memorial wiki page by the people who had met him. Aside from the book, he has had a significant impact on a number of people. I do wish I had gotten to meet him.

Dean Kamen on Innovation

There’s an interview in the latest Make magazine with Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and many other cool things. It’s a good interview, and definitely worth your time to read it. One thing that stuck out was this quote on designing things: “I do very little research as to what the product should be … if you do “product research”, the product that you end up with will be similar to what already exists”.

Finding Inspiration

As I meander through the internet, I often find sites that inspire the wannabe designer in me. I’ve started collecting them, so that when it comes time to develop applications, I have a collection to go to for inspiration. In the event that I’m working with a designer, it gives me something to send them and say “I like stuff like this”. Here are a few recent favorites: LukeW Portfolio


KEXP is an amazing radio station out of Seattle, that simulcasts online. They don’t play much in the way of mainstream stuff, but if your tastes run more towards the eclectic/alternative, you’ll enjoy it. They also have an impressive collection of live performances, and now even have a podcast that highlights artists you may not have heard of. Check it out, you won’t regret it.

More on FireFox Tuning

After my last Firefox post, I found an application that alleges to tune Firefox automatically. It’s free, but appears to be Windows only. via

Speed Up Firefox

Firefox has seemed sluggish on my Ubuntu installation, which I attributed to my aging 1.1Ghz PIII, and rather limited memory (512MB). In a fit of frustration, I googled for “speed up Firefox” and came up with some good tweaks to the config that made a huge difference. If you are a Firefox user, you owe it to yourself to check this out. Link 1 - This is a good start, and if you do nothing else, make these changes.

Passion Reviews

Kathy Sierra, who runs the excellent Creating Passionate Users blog, is doing a series of “passion reviews”. She’s started with http://www.37signals.com Signals. Interesting article, but I suspect if the Signals get any more positive PR, they’re heads may explode. via Ted Leung