See also Webfolio, Whimsy, + I Art Wert

January 31, 2001 +

Greg Knauss on wireless text messaging: "To type [cute couple] on a keypad, you'd have to enter "22288[pause]833122266688755533." I'll talk, thanks.


January 30, 2001 +

Steve Baldwin, the long-ago creator of Ghost Sites of the Web, has compiled a rather impressive -- well, unimpressive -- screenshot gallery of dead dot-com e-commerce startups' home pages.


January 29, 2001 +

I was thinking that today I'd write a whole screed on the Super Bowl, but frankly, it was a pretty boring show, sport and advertising and halftime included. And of course I'm late to the party, and Dori mirrored my sentiments rather nicely, so read her notes and let's call it a season. When does spring training start?


New York Times: Americans may be behind the rest of the world on wireless technology, but we're not missing much.


January 26, 2001 +

I am/have thus far been fortunate enough to avoid the dot-com backlash, downsizing and rethinking that has taken place across the industry in recent months. This is due to several factors, including my development of an area of expertise and employment by a company with a smart, sensible long-term vision for its Internet opportunities.

As a result, I find the incredible dot-com layoff tales of woe to be a fun read. There are some good managerial lessons to be learned in this.


January 25, 2001 +

Let me say again that Ed is just a fabulous TV show. Blind Date, my guilty pleasure, usually makes me laugh once a show, but "Ed" basically has me giggling for the better part of an hour. It's smart, cute, witty and fun. And I thought that even before they threw Rena Sofer into the mix, which is making me discover what happens when one laughs and drools at the same time. Watch this show.


So I, too, made my StorTrooper last week, but it didn't look like me, so I didn't post it, but that ticked me off, so I went back and made another one, then fixed up the color scheme a bit, and I think I nailed it a little better this time. (It's all about the messy hair, kids.)


January 24, 2001 +

Useful info: ACIA community survey of information architects' salaries and benefits. I'm not sure I am an "information architect," as it is classically described, but my career certainly revolves around the organization and presentation of information. Which, of course, makes this survey an excellent place to do a qualitative analysis of my position within the industry and compensation by my employer (read: compare dick sizes).


I wrote more on CNet's redesign in an email today, so to flesh out yesterday's data, here's that note (slightly edited):

CNet's redesign is attractive and worth exploring, because is doing things with content delivery that are particularly innovative and unique.

Among their new features:
  • The page is set for maximum viewing at 800x600, but the entire content area is boxed, and centers on a wider display.
  • Their navigation is deliberately simplified to a few main, tabbed topics at the top right of their screen, with links to related CNet properties above it.
  • Headlines flow down the right-hand side of the page on all pages to provide maximum cross-linking (although they severely decreased the topic-specific related links sections, which were one of the old site's benefits).
  • There is a huge (375x310) Flash ad in the middle of the page, starting at the second paragraph of an article. (On Netscape it is aligned to the left so text can flow around it; on Windows, the text continues beneath.) There are currently very few, if any, ads running as uses the space to explain what the heck it is and get its users used to it.
  • Thanks to the Flash ad, there are no banner ads on the content pages.
CNet also promises no loss of load time with the new design and the large ad.

I happen to like the redesign from a visual standpoint. It's attractive, clean, and airy, and adheres to conventions that focus groups obviously encouraged (tabs, more prominent video displays, etc.).

I do not love the huge inline ads, but they certainly do work from an attention-grabbing standpoint. With Flash they're risking some target audience loss but their advertisers are obviously willing to give it a shot.

I think the redesign is a success, and I'll be doubly impressed if they make money without alienating their users with this new ad format.


Google's relevancy search results, showing their effectiveness. (Here's a screen shot in case the results change down the line.)


You know you're a hardened New Yorker when you see a classified listing that states, "$1895 -- Spacious Affordable Manhattan 1Bedroom," and you almost believe the "affordable" part.


January 23, 2001 +

CNet redesigns. I like the new look, generally, but man, how about the size of those content-placement ads! Hoo hah, someone in sales is happy today.


Anil is cooler than me.

Or maybe it's "Anil is cooler than I." This one always trips me up. He's still cooler than, um, than David.


January 22, 2001 +

The New York Times' lead business story today: Rethinking Internet News as a Business Proposition. Gotta love when a media company isn't afraid to analyze its own shortcomings. Ten days ago the Times also did an excellent job covering -- and scooping -- its own dotcom layoffs. The Times may not be fast, but for even-handed, intelligent news coverage, there's no better news outlet in the world.


And of course, the problem here is that, well, yes, it is, for all intents and purposes. Bully on you for not being here too.


January 19, 2001 +

Fortune covers the Blogger server issue, and basically says the same thing as everyone else: Pyra had better figure out how to make some money off Blogger, and fast. (The article also divulges that cofounder Meg Hourihan has stopped paying herself.)


The Britney Spears guide to Semiconductor Physics is a riot. From the home page: "It is a little known fact, that Ms Spears is an expert in semiconductor physics. Not content with just singing, in the following pages, she will guide you in the fundamentals of the vital laser components that have made it possible to hear her super music in a digital format." (via Follow Me Here)


January 18, 2001 +

Almost one year to the day of its last redesign, netWert has been given a fresh look.

The page layout seen here carries through all current pages of the web site as an introduction. It should prove much easier to read and more user-friendly, thanks to its bright colors and clean related links areas, which can be found in the same location across the site.

On the flip side, there's a lot less blue than the old design, which is a shame. To that end, the home and supplemental pages carry on relatively unchanged. That's a happy, cozy blue, and it's not disappearing anytime soon, even though it's relegated to an accent color here.

Along with the redesign comes a relaunched music section, now titled Auricle; my first-ever discontinued section, as the Webfolio disappears before it ever really launched; and more to come, including a third-party fiction section.

Enjoy the new look, and feel free to let me know what you think.


Speaking of music, I finally made my long-overdue debut as a web DJ! I have guest-compiled a program for Dack Ragus's I've put together a pretty good show, if I may say so myself, and I had a blast doing it (thanks, Dack!). Check it out.


January 17, 2001 +

Back in the more freewheeling days of Internet startups, BigStar Entertainment made waves (of laughter) when it thoroughly ripped off UrbanFetch, taking advantage of UrbanFetch's loss leaders in October 1999. BigStar purchased, at retail, $5,000 worth of DVDs at prices below wholesale (and had them delivered within an hour, of course) before UrbanFetch changed its purchase policy.

As BigStar CEO David Friedensohn told the Silicon Alley Reporter, "I'm a lifelong New Yorker, and we have a joke about stuff like this: A tailor keeps buying pants for $10 each and sells them for $8, and he claims he'll make it up on volume. You know what? If they're stupid enough to sell below wholesale prices, then fuck 'em."

UrbanFetch gave up the ghost a few months ago. Unfortunately, sneaky purchasing tactics didn't help BigStar, which today became the first Silicon Alley startup to get delisted and kicked over to the OTC Bulletin Board by Nasdaq.


January 16, 2001 +

The good news: Sky-High Rents Are Declining in Manhattan.

The bad news: "Anything under $2,500 for a one bedroom still flies off the hook," [Citi Habitats President Andrew] Heiberger said. "Studios under $1,800 fly, too."

Thinking of moving to Manhattan? Want some sage advice? Keep waiting.


Fantastical is a good web zine focusing on web designers who write (like me, only with a higher profile).


January 12, 2001 +

Y'all're making my life easy -- all of today's items came via email.

From Brian comes an interesting twist on what to do with free music.

Andy is only a passive baseball fan but he has compiled the All Met-Con Team in honor of the Armando Benitez lawsuit.

And yes, you still can rename layers in Photoshop 6. Turns out you have to control-click on the layer and select "Layer Properties" and do it in there (thanks, Richard!). So no shin-kicking necessary, although I'd like to have a talk with the UI folks who decided that control-click-select on a layer is more intiutive than double-clicking, which still works for different options.


January 11, 2001 +

Could someone please find the person at Adobe who disabled the ability to rename layers in Photoshop 6 and kick the fucker in the shins for me?


The New York Observer reminds single women to search Google to investigate their dates. Sounds good to me -- a Google search for David Wertheimer brings folks right to my home page with a push of the "I'm feeling lucky" button.

The third item on Google's results list is another dot-commy David Wertheimer, president and CEO of Wirebreak Inc. Not a bad person to be mistaken for, I suppose, although the other David is taken.


Poking through my CD collection with a friend last night I rediscovered my Liz Phair albums.

She may have fallen below the radar now, thanks to parenthood and a changing musical climate, but music fans should not forget what a significant impact she had on rock music in the 1990s. Releasing her debut at the height of the grunge era, she brought a tenderness to songs patterned after the Stones instead of Seattle. And no other woman at the time was so deliciously, brutally sexual with her lyrics:
"Every time I see your face I get all wet between my legs ... I think of things unpure, unchaste, I want to fuck you like a dog, I'll take you home and make you like it ... I'll fuck you till your dick is blue"

"I ask because I'm a cunt in spring, you can rent me by the hour"

"You've been around enough to know that if I want to leave, you better let me go, because I take full advantage of every man I meet"

"He said he liked to do it backwards. I said, that's fine with me -- that way we can fuck and watch TV"
Is it any wonder every 21-year-old American male had a crush on her?

(Yes, this kind of thing will be in the music section soon, I promise.)


January 10, 2001 +

U.S. News reports on "simplifying gadgets" that "just drive us crazy." File me and my PDA woes in that user base. The first sub-head in the article says it all: "Easy is hard."


And what will Bill Clinton do when his presidency is up? Well, hey, he'd make a great (and legally eligible) president of France. C'est bon!


How sexy is Apple hardware? Someone posted a photo of the new titanium PowerBook on AmIHotOrNot. It's got a 9.9 so far.


January 9, 2001 +

The Industry Standard anticipates that 2001 will be the year online consumers start paying for things. They make no mention of paying for FTP weblog applications, although the parallel can be made.


Also in (on) the Standard this week is a James Fallows expose on memory slag in Windows hard drive storage. What's memory slag? That's when you think your instant messaging is anonymous, but unbeknownst to you, little blips of your conversations are being saved at the end of your email archives. Whoops.


January 8, 2001 +

Blogger raised enough money to get its new server.

Missed this one from a few weeks ago: On his personal web site, Pyra founder Evan Williams discussed pricing models.

The two are not unrelated, although Pyra has yet to truly do what it must.


No comment necessary:


January 4, 2001 +

Remember the early IBM e-business ad with the clueless hotshot web designer and his boss, where the dialog went something like this:

Designer: "So check it out. Our logo spins, it whizzes across the page, and it even bursts into flames."

Manager: "What if we were able to coordinate all our commerce online, so that our suppliers can talk to our clients all at once?"

Designer [after a pause]: "I don't know how to do that."

Except at Visa, the manager chose to listen to the cluess designer (and, no doubt, the marketing department) instead.


I love Ed. Not the guy, the TV show. Clever, witty, charming, sexy, warm, unique, perfectly cast.

I hope "Ed" solidifies its ratings, because it truly seems like something special. I haven't been this impressed by a show since "ER" and "My So-Called Life" first appeared. ("The West Wing" is great, too, but I'm not into politics, so it doesn't hold my attention.)

I only watch three or four regular TV shows in a season, excluding sitcom reruns and sports programming. I can't be bothered to watch many more. I either watch unique, compelling shows or complete guilty pleasures. In the last year or so my entire schedule has changed. Here's what I'm watching now versus the last time I thought about it:

January 2001:
That '70s Show
Blind Date

May 1999:
Ally McBeal
Dawson's Creek


January 3, 2001 +

The Pyra/Blogger revenue essay has been moved here.


January 2, 2001 +

Happy new year.

News from the Ideapad front: I'm working on a PC for a change, so if things look weird, blame Allaire. This is all quite alien, and kind of fun.

I've also decided to redesign all of netWert. Look for a sexy new Ideapad in a month or so (no promises, as I'm going to install a database and learn some XHTML, and I don't have a timeframe on that yet).


Next time, skip the Research button on the stock display pages. The New York Times on Monday exposed many stock analysts as shills for their companies' investment banking arms. Me, I'm selling all my stock and buying a new car.


I'm looking for a different name for Chords, since, well, a lot of today's music doesn't use any. Leaning toward "PB&J" right now (it's an acronym; you'll see). Got a better idea?

Read December or see netWert home

Copyright © 2000 David Wertheimer. All rights reserved.