As most of you know, I’ve been working with several companies over the past few years helping them with their marketing, communications, business development, and so on. I enjoyed the freedom that came with freelancing – but over the past year was becoming increasingly itchy for a change. I had debated starting another venture, but it felt terribly daunting and I had nothing I was sufficiently excited about to spend the 80 hours a week building it and trying to raise money.
Something I have long been very excited about was one of my clients – EdgeCast. The company is a content delivery network (CDN) competing with Akamai and Limelight (to name a couple.) In a nutshell, EdgeCast does for bits what FedEx does for packages – delivers them quickly, accurately, and intact. [OK, it’s a little bit more complicated, but that’s for another conversation.] The incredible explosion of demand for digital content – and the equally huge explosion in the supply of it – is combining to create a staggering market opportunity in the shuttling and stewardship of those bits. The public internet just wasn’t built for this.
Anyway, the company was founded in 2006 by friends – some very smart guys I admire a lot – and so I have been lucky enough to be involved since the idea stage and to see it mature into a serious contender.
Long story short – I’m really excited to announce that I joined the EdgeCast management team as their VP of Communications and Marketing. It’s actually been a couple of months now, but I haven’t had the chance to formally let the world know.
Everything was right about this opportunity – the timing, the team, the work I’m getting to do, the incredible market potential. I love that I’m applying my creative and technical mind in equal doses – and the company is at a very exciting stage. Perhaps best of all, I’m having a lot of fun.
I was sitting in my magic floating office pod when there was a very explosive and intense jolt – I felt a big shock / compression wave burst through the house (and me). Everything shook and rattled. It was powerful and incredibly jarring. Then, for a very short duration – maybe three seconds – there was major shaking; the house and its components made noises that I do not wish to hear again. I made it out of the pod and up against one of the core beams of the house within that time, and waited a few seconds. I looked out one of the small windows and the trees and telephone poles were visibly swaying. There were several more seconds of diminishing wavey motion, underscored by the oddest, deepest, almost-soundless roaring I’ve ever heard. Like the world’s biggest subwoofer turned way up, but without any actual music.
I stayed where I was for a bit, then checked around the house. Pictures on the walls are moved, a few things fell over, but there’s no visible damage.
To find out that the quake was a puny 3.4 was also jarring. A 3.4 felt like that? I must be a serious rookie. Virgin in the ways of earth-quaking. Really new and gone all wimpy-Maine-kid on these nerves-of-steel Californians. But then I found out it was centered about 800 meters from my house.
So I grabbed the camera and zipped down to the epicenter – the end of Venice Boulevard where it meets Pacific Avenue – to see if there was anything up. Everything looked normal; no sign of damage or anything. I walked the canal area for a bit; chatted with some people at Canal Club [literally at the epicenter]. Fuck yeah we felt it, the staff said, that was crazy. I talked with a girl who lives at Venice and Canal Street, and she said it was the biggest one she’d felt in her life, and she thought someone crashed into her house. Everyone was buzzing about it down there. This helped me feel a bit less wimpy.
Then I checked the Richter Scale article at Wikipedia and found that the approximate “energy yield” of a 3.5 is 747 gigajoules, or about the same shock wave as detonating 178 tons of TNT. Put another way, that’s a quarter the yield of a small atomic bomb.
The pod is also where Deanna was sitting when we had the rolly-quake last summer. She found that to be a unique experience. So, I’ve redubbed it The Quake Pod, and don’t plan on going back in there tonight.
First, this article requires some personal background: I had meningitis as a kid; as a teen I went to a lot of rock concerts with zero hearing protection; then, a few years ago, had a vestibular infection and/or Meniere’s Disease (even the experts at Harvard’s Mass Eye and Ear couldn’t decide) on my right side.
The net:net, without all the personal whining, is that I’ve ended up with some fairly significant nerve deafness, much worse on the right side. While it doesn’t much affect my day-to-day life, over the past several years I’ve found that I just don’t use the phone like I used to. Don’t like it much at all. No fidelity to the voices, they sound extremely flat, have to ask people to repeat, etc. etc. …… so I generally avoid the phone if I can. I know, I know, I should probably go get a hearing aid or something but I hate the idea – and besides (and more important) – why? I can carry on conversations just fine (unless there’s a ton of background noise), can still enjoy music, and honestly, most of the sound out there in the world I’d just as soon not hear.
This is my third winter away from New England and my second one here in lovely Venice, California. I’m proud to say I’ve braved dozens of brutally cold New England winters. I’ve never considered myself a “cold baby.”
After spending almost two years here, though, I am officially a “cold baby.” When it drops into the low 50s here at night, I notice it. I feel cold. I don’t like it. I whine like an old lady. I want to bring a jacket or turn on the heat a little bit in the car. I never would have done this just a couple years ago. As a Maine schoolkid, I would have laughed at the notion that I’d ever feel cold at such temps. I recently reminisced with a friend about the miles we would walk as kids in brutally cold weather (because we had no other option.) It really had to be arctic for us to feel uncomfortably cold.
A few people have responded to my recent whining with remarks such as, “living in warmer climates thins your blood.”
So I got to thinking – is climate acclimation a psychological process or is there a physiological component to it as well? Is the “blood thinning” thing an old wives’ tale, or is there really something to it? (I’m not knocking old wives’ tales here – some certainly turn out to be true, such as my grandma’s eat your colors rule)
And here’s what I learned: no, it doesn’t thin your blood. Recently, Doctor Ashok Kumar told Mary Ann Roser at the Austin Statesman that: “the blood viscosity, the technical term for the thickness, doesn’t change” and goes on to suggest that the myth might have started because high altitude can thicken your blood.
I don’t think this necessarily obviates that there may be other physiological changes, but it sounds like the simple answer is: you just get used to it (or unused to it.) I certainly have acclimated. It happens fast, I guess.
Everyone – please, for the love of all that is holy, get out and vote tomorrow. If you can vote early (at this point I guess that’s just today), do. Those of you who can’t vote early, please be sure you know where your polling place is, and that you bring anything you may need to bring (some states require ID for first-time voters.)
RockTheVote has a great resource center that helps you figure out where to go and what you need to bring. Use it. Now. And DO IT.
Valleywag picked up a FriendFeed discussion between a few of us yesterday regarding the bailout bill within which Scoble blames “people like [me]” for the coming “breadlines”. It rings a little hollow considering where I’ve been on all this and where he’s been (i.e. nowhere), but it brings a much more important issue to the fore.
To the thread in particular, I realize how acerbic my tone can be when discussing such things and try to be cognizant of that every time I write. Sometimes my frustration – the result of a bit too much anguish about our national slumber – gets the best of me. But Americans sat mostly silent as international and domestic crimes were perpetrated in their names and their economy was wrecked – choosing to glide along as if they had far more important things to think about.
Robert is right to describe the financial mess as the result of our collective idiocy. The bill for one or two generations of stupidity has now come due and our remaining credit cards have been declined. And for the moment, the social media characters participating in the specific tendril of web masturbation that is Robert’s “what to do” post have come up substantially empty. So, I’ll see what I can come up with.
Every American should sit through (and actually digest) this interview in its entirety [Part 1] | [Part 2]. Whether you watch or listen, please take the time to do so with open ears and an open mind. It is probably the most powerful and sobering assessment of the American condition I have heard in years.
Growing up, there was a book that first got me excited about computers. I’d never really forgotten it, but over the years it had faded deep into memory. And fond memories they were – the book was whimsical, full of strange artwork and far-out metaphors. It really helped me – a middle-school kid in the middle of nowhere trying desperately to think big – to see outside my small world and into a universe of infinite technological possibility. I was probably 12 or 13, just starting to tinker with TRS-80s and early Apples and really having my mind opened up by these strange little boxes.
A few months ago – for some reason – that book popped back into my mind. Who was that guy? What was that book? And off I went to figure it out.
I’ve often whined in these pages about various modalities I enjoy online and, also, my frustrations with some of them. A couple of years ago, right after the great big anorexia brouhaha of 2006, I remarked that folks seemed to be starving for conversation, and online tools hadn’t matured to the point where it could happen very well.
What I really love about blogging – other than getting my opinion out there and pissing people off – is curating. I love finding cool, random things that inspire or touch me in some way and sharing them with all of you. My hope is that you see, read, or feel things you would not have otherwise.