Books

Launching the Pig

Up until now, there has been no comprehensive resource for all the cool tech events going on around Seattle. Stuart Maxwell and I have decided to rectify this by creating MeetAtThePig.com. We're chasing down and posting the most interesting events we find. Hopefully in the near future, we'll also be writing about regular events - meetups, user groups, etc. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Oh, and if you want more background info on the site and the name, go read Stuart's blog post.
Books

Weather SMS

Does anyone know of a service that would send a text message of the day's weather to my phone every morning? This seems like a terribly obvious thing, and I can't believe it doesn't exist. The closest thing I got from a brief Google search was AccuWeather Alert, but there's not much flexibility there.

The idea reminds me a bit of an old post by Marc Hedlund on O'Reilly Radar. If you're looking for a new business model, find an old unix command and implement it on the web. Google is grep, S3 is mount, etc. As far as I know, there's no cron service...
Books

New Job

For those of you that don't know, I've been working on a contract-to-hire basis at Zillow.com for the last six weeks. On Tuesday (technically Monday) after New Year's, I start as a full-time employee. My official title is Build and Deployment Engineer.

If you're working in downtown Seattle, and interested in getting together for lunch, then leave me a comment or send me an email.
Books

Geek Night!

I'm going to be at Ignite Seattle! on Thursday night, a local geek-night sort of event being put on by O'Reilly's and Make Magazine. I'll actually be giving a lightning talk on an idea that came up during the last Mind Camp - Community Works for Geeks. That's assuming that I actually finish the presentation first, of course. Should be a very interesting evening, and make sure you come early for the bridge building competetion.

If anyone's interested in meeting up for dinner beforehand (possibly at the Honeyhole), leave a note in the comments or send an email. Hope to see you there!
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Retail Inventory

There don't seem to be any low-cost, easy-maintenance inventory systems for a small business owner / retailer. There must be a ton of folks out there (like my brother) who are opening shops where they are the sole employee, and they are having to track all of their retail stock by pen-and-paper. They have neither the time nor the energy to set up an in-house inventory management system.

Seems like this is a market ripe for some sort of Backpack-style, thin web app for people who just want to track their stock. You might run into some problems running a Point-of-Sale application that has to connect to the Internet every time you ring someone up, but that's more of a scalability issue.
Books

Myhrvold v. Macx

Nathan Myhrvold (former CTO of Microsoft) appears to be stealing a page from Charlie Stross's Manfred Macx stories. Myhrvold's new company, Intellectual Ventures, is brainstorming and patenting ideas, as well as possibly buying up existing patents, to corner the market on the next generation of technology. John Robb has some interesting commentary over at his blog.

In the Macx stories (i.e. Lobsters), the main character files patents and then gives away the technology for free, living purely off the altruism of others. Which is in direct conflict with Myhrvold's strategy. So the question is, how do we shift things more toward Macx and away from Myhrvold? Could this be an open source distributed effort? Creative Commons patents, where you ask a large group of scientists to start filing patents, if they agree not to actually enforce the patents.

How do we hack the U.S. Patent Office? Somebody call the EFF...