Busy busy busy

May 4th, 2006

I realize it’s been an eternity since my last post, but we’ve all been cranking hard on version 1.1 (due in just a few weeks), getting the community section updated (it is now, thanks to Punk Mommy), and doing more podcasts and press briefings.

My trip to Carleton was a blast, and I recorded a podcast last night with Scott at duelboot radio to talk about my experiences and observations there. It should post in the next few days.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, I went to an NYU Alumni event, the highligh of which was a bear hug from the current President John Sexton, who’s a terrific speaker. Hopefully some projects can get started at NYU in the near future.

Back to the grindstone….

Off to impart wisdom

April 17th, 2006

On a recent podcast interview (see my earlier post about Pomcast) we talked a lot about a commencement speech that Steve Jobs made at Stanford. There are many great takeaway lessons, but one that sticks out is where he talks about looking yourself in the mirror every morning and asking if this was the last day of your life if you’d want to do what you’re about to do.

Here’s a link to the complete video from the iTunes Music Store (the video is free)

Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford

For my part, I feel lucky that’s been the case throughout my career: a fact owing, I believe, to being a serial entrepreneur. As I’m writing this, my son is running around chirping after having put on a Chet Baker CD all by himself and I’m getting ready to head to the airport. Tomorrow at Carleton I get to meet with some really bright students and professors.


So yeah, this is definitely what I want to be doing.

On Pomcast

April 4th, 2006

Yesterday morning I spent a couple of hours speaking with the mysterious “StuFF mc” of Pomcast fame. We had a nice long chat about software, technology, the Apple culture, and of course MemoryMiner. This one we did in English, and in a few more weeks, we’ll do one in French.

To subscripbe to this podcast in iTunes click on the link below:


MemoryMiner Goes to Carelton College

April 1st, 2006

Back in February I came across a very flattering blog by a professor named John Schott at Carleton College in sunny Minnesota:


I was quite flattered, and wrote to thank him for the kind words. Some very interesting conversations ensued, and as a result, I was invited to come to Carleton on April 18 to do a public event, and hold a series of workshops with students in his “We Media” program. As part of their studies, they will be visiting several cities and use their media production skills in a number of documentary and performance projects that sound fascinating. We’re looking into how we can put MemoryMiner to good use in this study program, and I’m confident some really interesting things will emerge.

Here’s an interview with Professor Schott:


Looks like April will be a really great month, and I ain’t foolin’!


March 28th, 2006

Prior to creating MemoryMiner, I was co-founder and CTO of a company called WebWare (we made Digital Asset Management software). One of the most interesting projects we ever worked on was the America 24/7 book, info about which can be found here:


From a technical perspective, a big trick to making this project work was the consitent use of metadata (descriptive information) which was embedded in the digital photo files themselves. Software that knows how to make use of that embedded metadata can do many useful things. Digital cameras embed technical information such as when a photo was taken, and if a flash was used. We already take advantage of this. Software such as iView Media Pro, or Adobe’s Bridge can be used to embed metadata about what’s going on in the photo or media, such as captions, where a photo was taken, etc.

I’m pleased to say that the initial engineering work to make use of embedded metadata in MemoryMiner is now complete, and it’s really cool. If you’ve taken the time to add metadata to your photos, we’ll do interesting and useful things with it in our 1.1 release.

Onward to 1.1

March 22nd, 2006

Now that 1.05 is out the door, it’s time to get to work on version 1.1, which will add some of the most requested featrures we’ve had, notably:

* GEDCOM import (should make the geneaologists happy)
* Read embedded IPTC metadata (to automatically associate to people and places in MemoryMiner)
* Automatic upload to .Mac and (S)FTP servers (to make publishing easier)

Software’s never done.

I’m on Duel Boot Radio

March 16th, 2006

I’m now at second number 7 of my 15 seconds of Internet fame. Last night I was interviewed for a very fine podcast called “Duel Boot Radio”. Derrick and Scott are great guys and let me prattle on for more than 40 minutes about the ideas behind MemoryMiner and the joys of launching a brand new product.

By all means, please have a listen, and subscribe to their podcast. You can find the episode with yours truly at this URL:


MemoryMiner at Two Months

March 10th, 2006

MemoryMiner shipped 1.0 exactly two months ago today, so I figure now’s as good a time as any to take stock. Releasing a new product, especially one with such a “grand vision” as we have here is always a bit nerve wracking: kind of like sending your child off to school for the first time. Now with 1.04 out the door, I’m pleased to report that in just 60 days, we’ve come a long way, and there’s still so much left to do.

I have to say I’m absolutely thrilled with the localizations. I cannot thank the people that worked on this project enough, so here goes once more. Heartfelt thanks to Baptiste, Marco, Frank, Christina, Preben, Knud, Skipper, Dave and David for creating and editing localizations in French, German, Italian, Danish, Traditional Chinese and Japanese. I never imagined that users would volunteer their time in such a way. Doubtless, we’ll have to adjust things a little in upcoming releases, but we’re clearly off to a great start.

So now, back to work on the next version: among other things, we’ll pick up where we left off on things like GEDCOM import that weren’t able to be added in this release.

Keep the feedback and stories coming.

Localization Redux

February 28th, 2006

Of course, I had to resist the urge to use “Part Deux” in this post’s title. Things are progressing nicely on the localization front. Thanks to Marco, we now have Italian. Grazie mille!

The most amusing part about doing localization is becoming more aware of cultural differences. For example, no one seems to have a good translation in French for the term “Stepmother.” I’m pretty sure the divorce rate is as high in France as in any other industrialized country. I suppose what this means is that after marrying a second time, there’s no attempt made to assume the role of alternate or supplemental mother. Of course, this is just my guess.

A free croissant from Tartine (winner must live in San Francisco) to the first person who can help explain this.

Paris, Tennessee

February 21st, 2006

There is a famous American query that goes “how are you going to keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen Paris?” I was thinking about that yesterday because I often make references to Paris, Tennesee when talking about being specific about the location of a photograph. Yesterday, we had several friends over for a very tradtional Southern dinner built around a country ham from a place called Clifty Farms, in none other than Paris, Tennessee.


Now, I was born in North Carolina, and both my wife (who is from Perugia, Italy) and I loooooove Southern cooking. We even brought a Southern ham to Italy with us over the holidays, and I’m happy to report that her family, while skeptical at first, could not get enough of it. I should point out that North Carolina is rivaled by few other places on Earth for its devotion to the pig, South Carolina being one of them.

As it turns out, while answering a tech support question from a customer in South Carolina, I couldn’t help but put in a little jab about North Carolina barbecue versus South Carolina barbecue. Since he helped uncover a bug, I have since had to be a bit more diplomatic.

So, let the following be put on record:

* Biscuits and country ham give you the fuel you need to fix bugs

* The best country ham comes from Tennesse

* Since you can’t keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paris, make sure you locate the farm in Paris