taking down freakonomics like a bad case of the flu

I've been on vacation for a little while -- and included a sustained Internet abstinence -- so I've got some catching up to do.

In returning to my bloated inbox (mostly spam), I found a link Jeremy had sent from the Freakonomics blog. Apparently a frozen website is like a sick person, which is sick because reddit made it sick. (Idea for a new slogan: reddit, it's like Internet pestilence!) Anyway, it was neat to see the shoutout, so I'm returning the favor with a logo. You'll notice I just ripped off the apple/orange from their cover art (I must say, I've always really liked that cover -- in part because of how much I independently like apples and oranges and wonder how good a hybrid fruit of them would taste). I'm still a bit jet-lagged.

The offending blog entry posed an interesting question about whether or not public libraries could be started today (assuming they'd never existed). I always thought they had a terrible business model: "Sure, let's just let people read the books for free."

Incidentally, the discussion on reddit got quite good:

brennen
Regardless of what (some) publishers might think given the hypothetical situation, I doubt you'd find many authors who would want fewer people to have exposure and access to their work.

bsiviglia9
Are you suggesting the desires of the authors are often contrary to the desires of the publishers?

Oh, authors and publishers, why can't you two just get along...

not safe for scandinavia

Thought I'd share an interesting email convo I just had with a friend:

her:
trying to decide btw. the concert in finland 5/8, sweden 7/8, or norway 8/8....hmmm. what's closest to madrid? yeah, i suck at geography...

me:
here's a geeky mnemonic I use: you know about NSFW (Not Safe For Work) material online, right? Those 3 are in the same order from west to east (Norway, Sweden, Finland)

Whenever you think about Scandinavia, just think about porn. Problem solved.

Although this still leaves the meaning of the "W" unanswered. Now there's room for Scandinavia to finally accept Wallis and Futuna (yeah, I looked this up on Wikipedia -- this territory is the only "W" country in the world).

Got any other geography mnemonics you'd like to share? The U.S.A. doesn't often test well for this sort of thing, so we could use the help.

this blog has jumped the shark cat

I never thought it would come to this, but it was late last night and I wasn't quite ready to go to sleep (yes this is what I do on a typical Friday night).

Few folks know that I own a cat that looks like Kaiser Wilhelm II. This is a very disconcerting thing, even for non-German-history majors.


So naturally, this led to my LOLCAT attempt (if only I could find a Pickelhaube he could wear like a bukkit):


I've also evidently hit a new Internet low now that I've posted a picture of my cat online. Forgive me.

almost spoke too soon, phone now unlocked

Guess no one at AT&T/Cingular had read the earlier post about this (shocker) or they're just that considerate. Here's the confirmation email, imagine it in what must have been 18pt font:

*** SIM Unlock request REVIEWED and APPROVED by Subsidy Unlock Group IMEI: (###############) / SIM unlock is: (################) Emailed code and instructions back to: (#####@reddit.com)****

To make sure you have the correct code for your phone, power on phone and type *#06# this will display the IMEI, or you can pull the battery out of the phone and the IMEI will be on the sticker.

* The customer only has five (5) tries to unlock the phone.
* If this process is unsuccessful five times in a row, the phone will be permanently locked to the Cingular network.

BlackBerry 8800

For the device to display the software version, select "Options" then "About"

1. Insert Cingular SIM into device

2. Power phone on and Turn off the radio (Turn Wireless Off option) VERY IMPORTANT.

3. Select "Options"

4. Scroll down and select "SIM Card"

5. Type "MEPD"

6. Type "MEP2"

7. Enter the Unlock Code

8. Press enter

9. Reboot device. Device is now unlocked.

zenter bought by google, not bad for a winter

I think this has already sufficiently been blagged about, but now that we're free to talk about it, I wanted to congratulate the Zenter team. I couldn't help but smile when I saw this on my visit to zenter.com:


I'd missed their presentation at demo day by only a few minutes, but I heard great things. Then I saw Paul use it to give his talk at StartupSchool (the first time, I believe, that Paul Graham has used slides in a presentation). Next thing I know, there's a glowing Newsweek article about the then newest batch of startups.

(great pic)

And sure enough, here they are after a super industrious winter and change, joining the Goog.

Very impressive, guys.

OK, I think I've done my YC promotion for the week. Back to today's logo...

**Forgot these guys were in the 2007 Winter Founders Program. Silly me.

fresh reddit gear

Just before we sold out of our last batch of shirts, I'd doodled up some new ideas for designs. The new release is finally available at our store. As you can tell from some of the pictures, we desperately need someone with a better camera and no shame to model a couple of the new shirts.

The folks over at Vogue have better things to do than help us with our shirts, so we did what we could. Two of the designs were also inspired by user suggestions. I'll let you guess what one of them was:

BTW, shipping is included in the $16 price -- none of that $.99 pricing BS. How 'bout that?

PS. If you were one of the many redditors who submitted a pic, since we've decommissioned a few versions, I'll figure out some kind of display for all your pics so you can hang on to that piece of Internet fame. From now on, you can also refer to your shirt as "limited edition".

idaho's portugal no more!

... or is it California's Canada? Washington's Mexico? I can't remember.

But it doesn't matter, Oregon now has it's own reddit.

It's something we built with the folks at Oregonlive.com. And by "we", I really mean Jeremy. We turned it on earlier this week and it's been fun watching their readers use reddit to vote on the news that's important to them.

Case in point, behold the hottest story at the time of this writing:


Great things happen when you let readers decide the news.

Idaho is gonna be so jealous when it finds out.

getting at&t/cingular to unlock your cellphone (a howto)

First rule: Don't tell them you're doing it to switch carriers.

I made this mistake on my first call. Heh.

The reply I got was a curt, "In that case, we cannot unlock your phone for you."

Barring the conundrum that I evidently don't really own the phone I've already purchased from them, this gave me hope. There must be some cases where they "can" unlock it.

A quick Google search revealed that they're happy to oblige if it means you're traveling abroad and want your hardware to mingle with some foreign SIM cards. Called back, mentioned a pending trip abroad, and now I'm getting emailed that unlock code. Phew. Fortunately I didn't have to list my reasons for travel, destinations, and window/aisle-seat preference.

And if you're looking for some strategies to get refunded on those overage charges, I even photoshopped the Cingular logo for that entry.

Incidentally, here's today's header! (click for the explanation)

my spam domain


Somewhere during the meltdown of Registerfly.com, an absolutely terrible registrar, I got to see my beloved kn0thing.com reduced to a landing page with a smiling blonde and text-ads for horror flicks, halloween, and a Wayans brothers movie.

Even considering the last one, it could have been worse. A man's vanity domain is all he's got going for him, imagine if it were reported on Valleywag that I liked the Wayans brothers.

I wouldn't have noticed if it weren't for a friend IMing me about it -- she thought the Scary Movie 4 reference seemed unlike me.

Plus, Steve's the only blond friend I have.

Anyway, thanks to some friendly folks at Enom (I'm looking at you, Álvaro) I got my domains back today. And I even added some more random content that you can almost guarantee will never get updated.