Monthly Archives: December 2005

One down

Tookie Williams has, hopefully, made his last stop before execution.

Under other circumstances an amoral sociopath with leadership skills like Williams could become Vice President, Speaker of the House or even Commander in Chief. It’s a shame, of course, that Cheney, De Lay, and Bush may never pay the ultimate price for their crimes, but that’s no reason to spare Tookie Williams for the murders he committed, and all the more blood that will be spilled as part of his legacy as founder of the Crips.

No hollow deathbed confession can wash the blood from his hands or the evil from his stained soul. Good riddance, asshole.

Visualize What’s Filling Your Hard Disk

“WinDirStat is a open source disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows”:

It scans your disk and then shows you what folders and files are taking up the most space on your hard disk, producing both an expandable list of the directories on your hard disk, sorted by size, and a visualization, color-coded according to file type.

It takes a few minutes to gather all the information, but once its done, you can see at a glance what’s using the most space on your hard disk.

Proof of Bubble 2.0?

It’s quickly become fashionable to speculate that another Internet bubble is quickly inflating. Yahoo’s recent purchase of for $30M just 8 months after VC’s invested ~$1M into what was, to that point, a one man operation, has only thrown gas on the fire. (That’s $100/user for each of about 300K users)

Based on what I saw today when I checked out, I’m inclined to agree. I was looking for info on the beta of WordPress 2.0, what got my attention was a link at the bottom of the page inviting people to advertise on Clicking on the link took me to a page on with this information:

$100K for a weeks sponsorship? Estimated clickthroughs: 590. Cost per click $196!

If I’m parsing the other stats they give properly, gets about 17K page views a day. Let’s call round that up to 100K/week. That’s $1 a page view!

Maybe I’m just ignorant in reading these numbers. Maybe there is a hidden thousands multiple somewhere that I’m missing?

Assuming I’m right though, those numbers strike me as nuts. What are your aveage visitors likely to buy that is worth $196/click, especially if you consider that an advertiser would be lucky if 10% of clickthroughs converted to a purchase. Optimistically, that’s an acquisition cost of $1960/customer. More realistically, its probably $19,600/customer. How many products and services have margins to support that?

Even if we assume that the Adbrite numbers are inflated by 50% to make people feel like they get a deal when their hard negotiation cuts the price in half, its still completely bubbiliciously nuts.

Intel’s Chief, Clueless

Craig Barrett, Intel’s chairman, has been talking down the “$100 Laptop”: (which doesn’t use Intel CPUs) targeted at the developing world by Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab.

Barrett’s argues that such a device won’t be flexible enough to satisfy today’s users:

World’s poorest don’t want ‘$100 laptop’: Intel – Yahoo! News
Negroponte said at their launch in November the new machines would be sold to governments for schoolchildren at $100 a device but the general public would have to pay around $200 — still much cheaper than the machines using Intel’s chips.

But Barrett said similar schemes in the past elsewhere in the world had failed and users would not be satisfied with the new machine’s limited range of programs.

“It turns out what people are looking for is something is something that has the full functionality of a PC,” he said. “Reprogrammable to run all the applications of a grown up PC… not dependent on servers in the sky to deliver content and capability to them, not dependent for hand cranks for power.”

So, just how capable is this device? According to the “$100 Laptop FAQ”:, it has a 500MHz processor, 1GB of storage, and a 1Mpixel display (~1024×768). That’s about as capable as my home machine was 3-4 years ago. That was a few years back, but I distinctly remember being able to install and update it with new software. Not that it really mattered, because most of the time the only thing I used was a web browser and an e-mail client.

The truth is, most people in the developed world these days would probably be perfectly happy with a web browser to browse the web and use webmail running on a “server in the sky” somewhere. Throw in an instant messaging program or two and you’ve probably satisfied a bunch more.

So, would the developing world really be that much different? A crank gets around the problem of spotty electric power. WiFi mesh networks link the computers to each other, and to a server at the school. The server could provide file storage and help with store-and-forward e-mail through an intermittant or low bandwidth connection to the Internet backbone. 1GB total RAM+storage would still be more memory and storage space than most computers had a decade ago and would be sufficient for a core set of applications.

I don’t think Intel really has a clue about what consumers (anywhere) want. Their stock price has been pretty much flat for years. The average selling price of a PC has been declining for about as long. The average selling price of Intel microprocessers have probably been declining along a parallel curve. In the meantime, the video card has become more important than the CPU in influencing the performance of the most demanding mainstream applications (ie PC games). Does any of this sound like a company who has their finger on the pulse of consumer’s needs or desires?

Keep a Closer Eye on Your Congressperson

The Washington Post just brought a site online that lets you “browse every congressional vote since 1991”: It also lets you subscribe to RSS feeds to keep track of the ongoing voting of individual congresspersons.

Also notable, it’s powered by “Django”:

Check it out!