Hunkered Down

December 5th, 2005

Hello. Just wanted to make a quick post to let everyone know that my colleagues and I are busy busy busy fixing bugs, writing documentation, and generally preparing for the commercial release of MemoryMiner at MacWorld coming up this January. When I get a little breather, I’ll make good on my promise to blog about the inspirations behind MemoryMiner.


November 24th, 2005

It’s the night before Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, and I just wanted to post a few words of appreciation. The first round of beta testers (50 or so out of the nearly 400 who have signed up) have been working with MemoryMiner since Monday morning. I owe a debt of gratitude to all that have been sending in bug reports and suggestions. The thought and detail that has gone into people’s reports has been simply amazing. It makes me feel all the more driven to make MemoryMiner the best that it possibly can be.

When I was at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference this past Summer, I heard a great talk by a fellow from Pixar, one Michael “Wave” Johnson. He walked us through the iterative design process they use to produce their animated features. In particular, he emphasized the need to get feedback early and often, no matter how brutal. His last slide enjoined us to “Make someting beautiful.” With the feedback received so far, and a lot more blood, sweat and tears, I’m confidant that is exactly what we’re going to do.

It goes without saying that there’s no way I could possibly do it without the testers who have stepped forward and given so much time and effort, even in the short period of time that they’ve had to work on it.

Thank you all.

Lastly, to my wife Viola and son Ernest, I thank you for your patience and understanding. Together, you are the light of my life.

Building a community

November 19th, 2005

Since the MemoryMiner public beta announcment went out on November 17th, well over 300 people have signed up wanting to beta test the software. What’s most interesting to me so far, is the the breadth of the community that is beginning to appear. There are film/video makers, teachers, therapists, design students, professional photographesrs, digital storyetllers, adademics, fellow software developers, and “just plain folks” from all around the world. Many of you have really intersting projects, such as a museum exhibits, you’re working on. Others have told of deeply personal reasons for wanting to record family histories while there’s still a chance to use first hand sources. Some have just said “Dude, that’s cool!” Flattery will get you everywhere.

One of my fondest wishes for MemoryMiner is that it will allow people to connect via their shared experiences across time and place. What happened to the people who grew up around the corner from you? What about those that lived next to you when you were a student and you never even met. If you met them by chance tomorrow, I bet you’d have an amazing conversation. It seems as the MemoryMiner community grows and people share their stories, these crossing of people’s life threads will be uncovered, all to fascinating effect.

For those who might be going to MacWorld in San Francisco this coming January, MemoryMiner will be shown in a tiny little “pod” in a far end of the Moscone Center. I hope to eventually meet as many of you as I can to swap stories and to put faces to names.

In the meantime, here’s a very interesting article about a young rapper/playwright named Dan Wolf who starting with a single manilla envelope containing a letter written by his grandfather embarked on a journey that led him to Hamburg to discover the amazing parallels between the life and times of his grandfather and that of his own. It’s a fascinating story, that was turned into a theater piece called “Stateless” which I had the privilege of seeing earlier this yeat at the Bay Area Hip Hop Theater Festival.

Check it out:

“Stateless” filters family history through hip-hop

Overwhelmed by the response

November 17th, 2005


Just a quick note of thanks to all the people who have sent mail so far to sign up for a beta. This site just went live late last night, and there are still a few things that need to be done, not the least of which is to finish up the automatic mail processor. Then there’s an updated video, some proper blog entries, linked screen captures, etc. etc. Please rest assured that all requests are being received, and a reply will be going out as soon as possible (in the next day or so, I promise) with all the info testers will need.

Also, for those of you have already given feedback and suggestions, please know that I am incredibly thankful (and flattered). MemoryMiner is just taking its first steps out into the world, and I’m thrilled that it seems to be striking a chord. Please stay tuned, and let’s build something great together.



The MemoryMiner Story

November 13th, 2005

Well, it definitely feels like a lifetime, but in actuality, I’ve been working on MemoryMiner for nearly a year. For those who might be interested, I will be serially posting the story of how MemoryMiner came to be. Stay tuned.