i thought lisp would be fun to learn

There was a point during those early months of our startup when we tried something radical. Steve had been single-handedly building and administering reddit until this point and I wanted to help. Sure, we could discuss the site functionality together and I could whip up some mockups in Photoshop, but when it came time to write the software -- I was back to drawing aliens.

One day, Paul suggested I give Lisp a try.

First, some background:

I'd aced a couple Pascal classes back in high school and started enough Quake2/Half-life clans to know HTML and basic Javascript. I knew enough CSS to be dangerous, but was worthless when it came to cross-browser compliance (I'm looking at you, IE). I'd also taken a couple Java classes at community college and a VisualBasic class at UVA. And that was my "programming experience."

Hopefully you've caught your breath now and cleaned off the coffee/soda you've sprayed on your monitor. Don't let it get in your keyboard.

So, it was with this background that I agreed to give Lisp a try. I wanted to help Steve. And how hard it could it be? You should have seen what a Pascal master I was -- a semicolon-wielding god.

And Paul was quite enthusiastic about it. His confidence was inspiring. Only later did I learn that he was doing it because of a John McCarthy-funded recruitment program. Convert twenty people to Lisp and you get a gold watch.

Anyway, I pulled out my trusty notebook (typically reserved for doodles and bad poetry) and started taking notes.

Steve insisted I use Emacs and he set up my Lisp environment for me. I liked the GNU icon.

To his credit, Steve was uncharacteristically patient ;-) with me as he explained all the keyboard shortcuts that would make my life more efficient -- once I memorized them. In the meantime, it was going to be a frustrated series of sweaty and frantic finger pokes. By the end of that first day, I had filled my first page of notes.

If you look carefully, you can see how that day ended for me.

Needless to say, I didn't become the Lisp superstar (or even mediocre Lisper) I'd hoped to be.

In fact, I gave up quite soon thereafter. But it was for the best; Steve wouldn't have been very productive if he'd been answering my inane Lisp/Emacs questions every ten minutes.
program LIFE_OF_ALEXIS (input, output);var    to_do : string;begin    writeln('What what would like to do today?');    readln( to_do );    if to_do = 'learn Lisp' then        writeln('Just quit now.')    else        writeln('Don't you have some aliens to be drawing?');end.

cupcakes

This blog, redditall.com, has long prided itself on only publishing content we believed to be of the highest quality. We have also never shied away from giving strongly biased reviews of dot.com startups.

I'd like to stray from the traditional formula and talk briefly about a fantastic bakery here in New York.

It's called Crumbs. And it's way better than that Magnolia place you've probably heard about. Cupcakes 2.0!

Find them in Manhattan at one of four locations: Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Bryant Park, and Downtown (the best one, like a tasty center in between the East and West Village).

Unfortunately, I'm not getting compensated for this plug. But that's a good thing, right?

If you'd like me to shill for your product, make sure it's something edible -- it's much harder for the Feds to track down.

Are you listening Senator Stevens? We already knew that the U.S. Congress is just a series of bribes, anyway.

i'm out of ideas

And I'm only 24, yet what creativity I had has deserted me faster than my senior prom date.

Let history show that I used to build week-long narratives into the reddit logos. But that is no more. I need your help. If you've got a scenario for the alien and/or the penguin to get caught up in for roughly 5 panels (days), please submit it.

Or a theme like "dress the alien up like different Transformers for a week" could work, but a suggestion like "light the alien on fire" is less helpful. Plus, fire is hard to draw.

I'll do my best to illustrate it. You'll still get all the credit. Don't get your hopes up though, logo designers don't have groupies -- Zuckerberg gets them all (or as I hear they call him, SugarMountain).

Check out the hottest | newest | top-rated suggestions for a plot. And if you think they suck, submit your own.

chime.tv: winning mashup camp in style

The alien endorses the "Best Mashup Contest" winners of this year's Mashup Camp, Chime.tv.

Taylor McKnight has now won the award two years in a row and Chirag Mehta is wearing a reddit shirt. I don't think I need to explain why we're taking time out from redditall.com's important editorial duties to commend this duo.
On its own merit, Chime.tv is pretty cool. And that has nothing to do with the fact that ZDNet called Taylor, "the world’s hottest mashup developer". But it didn't hurt.

Basically, it's a slick way to surf through the best videos on the web. The interface feels just as smooth as flicking through channels on your tv -- if your tv also has soft corners and gradients. Now, I'm far too busy drawing aliens to spend my days on chime.tv ;-) but if I could, I think I would.

Most importantly, they have a cute mascot (+15 points) that on mousehover, looks like it's cheering "yay!" (+20 points). Well done, gentlemen.

The whacked-out eyes are also reminiscent of an early version of the reddit alien.
Stay off the blow, lil' fella.

birthday wishes and monkey steals peach

Happy birthday, Jeremy. Instead of getting you a thoughtful, hand-crafted gift, I've instead opted to put your avatar on today's logo -- a slick regifting of last year's gift.

On an unrelated note, this fantastic ninja tutorial should finally give the pro-ninja camp some ammo against the pro-pirate lobby. It appeared on reddit today without any citation. Pity. Would someone like to take credit for this?

I'll direct all my energy the Ch'ueng Mo channel of the linkjacker's body and stop his/her heart.

re-confirmed: the internet is still for porn

My earlier post of Google search queries to reddit made its way onto India Uncut. Apparently the large percentage of Bollywood-related porn searches caught their attention. Amit Varma posits that "Indian libido drives the internet."

If it means more traffic to reddit, so be it. These searchers will only be disappointed now that nsfw.reddit is down; reddit is porn-free (99.9% of the time -- damn spammers). But apparently that doesn't matter. Guess what this blog's top search query is for this week?
indian nudes
Pay attention SEOers. I'm predicting a major surge in Bollywood-related keywords appearing in website footers...

Now why doesn't Thomas Friedman write about this kind of thing?


*Tip of the hat to Siddharth (not this one) for sending the India Uncut link to me.

linked in -- to what?

Facebook captured my soul a long time ago, but there have been a number of others vying for attention ever since. The most curious (and persistent) of them has been LinkedIn.

Frankly, I didn't get it when I got my first invite and a number of "connections" later, I still don't get it. Incidentally, even reddit the alien has a LinkedIn account. Feel free to "connect" -- I promise it'll give you a fantastic recommendation.

So it's the facebook for the business world? Everyone I work with is already on facebook and all we're using it for is checking out one another's cute friends.*

But then again, I'm probably not the target audience. I'm a startup guy who is only two years removed from college. Just give me someone to poke (figuratively, of course).

Those facts at the bottom of every piece of LinkedIn mail aren't convincing me.

Fact: I don't care how many (average) connections Harvard Business School grads each have** -- actually, I probably feel less inclined to participate in LinkedIn now that they've told me.

I'm not even a Yale graduate, this ire is rooted in pure UVA indifference to Ivy. Or maybe that's just rooted in state school insecurity? Gah. Moving on...

This originated from a chat I was having with a friend of mine about social networking sites and "young people." Then LinkedIn came up.

We'd both wondered whether real recommendations, or sincere introductions, had ever been made through the site. It feels like a major success when someone pokes me back; is there really something professional to be done on these kinds of sites?

You can't even find embarrassing party photos through the site, which is really what Facebook is for -- judging potential co-workers. (Yes Jeremy, we dug deep into your photo albums)

But this site has become so popular that plenty of folks must find it useful. I'd love to know why.

Please comment if you've got an endorsement (or would like to heap scorn) -- then "link in" with the alien.

*Don't think it's true? All your friends are doing it, but don't ask them or you'll look weird.
**Answer: 58

confirmed by the wsj: cats like rabbit meat

WSJ reporter, Charles Forelle, had obviously caught my earlier post of a cat tormented with live rabbit flesh, only to be scolded by its master.

Now the Murdoch Journal is reporting a boom in bunny meat being prepared, frozen, and shipped to cat owners. We can only assume that the raw Thumper is for their cats.

Thanks to the Chinese kibble scare combined with the undeniable appeal of succulent rabbit flesh, one entrepreneur is "selling about 1,000 pounds of raw rabbit each week."

That's a lot of rabbit.

Her company also happens to be called Hare Today (one can only hope her logo has Gone Tomorrow written beneath it.)

She even got a coveted WSJ hedcut (I'd have given her one for the punny company name alone). Bravo, Tracy.


(Thanks to nekoniku for submitting this)

*This entry was originally submitted with an unnecessary apostrophe in the title. Apologies to all the English majors this left writhing in pain at the sight of this glaring error.

feeling toxic? scientology has a cure


(front)


(back)

This isn't the sort of thing I expected to be handed on a walk through Midtown. Then I realized there's a church of Scientology right down the street from my office. Maybe one of these days I'll go in...

What I like most about this quiz is that even "If you've answered "Yes" to 3 or less [sic] of the above questions," you could still "have a level of accumulated toxins" that presumably require cleansing.

Not a day goes by that I don't feel "spaced out" or experience a drug "flasback."