Cap’n Crunch

January 14th, 2007

On Friday, an older fellow came up and talked to me about MemoryMiner, how it was built, and whether we ever hired contract engineers. He told me he had a lot of experience with internet telephony, and was a close personal friend of Steve Wozniak (whose amazing stainless steel card he pulled out).

Eventually, a guy who was walking the show with him said “do you know who he is? He’s Cap’n Crunch!”. I was shocked, honored and amazed. Everything made sense in an instant.

For those who might not be familiar with Cap’n Crunch, here’s a great Wiki article

Met Sinbad At Macworld

January 13th, 2007

The highlight of Thursday at Macworld was meeting Sinbad, the comedian/actor who has been a fixture in the Mac community for years. I had just arrived on the show floor and was getting prepared for another day of demos, when I saw him behind me. Punk Kid hadn’t arrived yet (and was given a savage beating later on for his tardiness) so it was all me. I yelled out “Sinbad, you’ve got to see this!” He came by, and I gave him a demo chock full of “how cool is that?!”

A lot of Sinbad’s comedy routines involve everyday family life, so he got a kick out of the remote annotation feature that we just added, which, as I demonstrated, allows you to let other people provide details about the “backstory.”. The example I used were some old snapshots of my brother giving me the “evil eye” when I was just two days old.

We talked about the different ways MemoryMiner is being used in schools, and I also showed him some other examples, including one for a user who created a story about her dad’s life as a musician. He looked at one of the pictures and said “I know that cat!”

Small world indeed.

We Made It!

January 10th, 2007

For those of you who read the last post, in keeping with our Blues Brothers theme, I can happily say we made it to the County Assessors office in a nick of time. Macworld has been a whirlwind, just like last year. People who have seen the MemoryMiner Remote Annotation Web Service have been floored.

Registered users will be getting an email about it next week, but in the meantime, have a look at this link:

Introducing MemoryMiner Web Services

The Blues Brothers Movie

January 6th, 2007

When I was in high school, a absolute favorite movie was The Blues Brothers (Watch the trailler from IMDB). The last few days of intense preparation for Macworld has felt like one big race against time, which is the essential plot line for the movie.

For those of you who have seen this film, I would say that by now, we’re on the outskirts of Chicago.

Slapgood and I are arguing about which one of us is John Belushi.

Either way, we’re definitely “on a mission for God” and we will certainly make it in a nick of time, hopefully with fewer car crashes and police chasing us!

See you in Moscone North at the Digital Media & Publishing Special Interest Pavilion (station # 16).

Heads down for Macworld

January 3rd, 2007

Happy New Year!

I’m heads down with Punk Kid & The Southern Gentleman getting ready for Macworld. Once again, we’ll have a sprawling 2 meter pod in the Digital Media Special Interest Pavilion in the North Hall.

Come see us. We’ll be showing something quite groundbreaking.


December 20th, 2006

I heard about MacSanta from Punk Kid the other day. MacSanta is a web site where a bunch of indie developers (83 at last count) have banded together to offer an across the board 20% dicsount on their software. I was very happy to add MemoryMiner to the list, and so far it’s been great.

Generating attention for your product is a huge undertaking, and it’s always great to receive emails, like the one excerpted below:

“I just was searching the macsanta site and stumbled across your application…. I’m floored by it….”

Check it out:


On sale in Japan

December 18th, 2006

Happy Monday.

Last Friday, MemoryMiner went on sale in Japan through the well known publisher Act2. They publish Comic Life, the OmniGroup applications, iViewMedia Pro and many other well known and respected products, so I think we’re in good company. We’d been working together quite hard over the last few months preparing MemoryMiner for the Japanese market. My friend Ted wrote me by way of congratulations:

“Cool! Hopefully you’ll get to do a promo tour soon, and that can be the basis of “Lost in Translation 2: Memory Miner” Heck, with a title like that the movie practically writes itself, and you’ll get to hang out with Scarlet Johansen and Sofia Coppola…”

I think that’s a fantastic idea. Who among you can help me with this? Sofia, are you reading?

Meanwhile, here’s the URL for the product page on Act2’s site:


PS: I would be remiss in not mentioning the Holiday Sale on MemoryMiner:

Aperture Support

December 4th, 2006

For a while now, people have been asking about support for their Aperture libraries, and in 1.21 which we just released, now “it’s in there” (just like the old TV commercial for Ragu brand spaghetti sauce). While we were at it, we were able to tweak our web export, integrate a better IPTC/EXIF parser, improve the look-up of Japanese addressses, and fix several typos in the localizations. We’re still working on perfecting cold-fusion and solving the Global Warming crisis.

We’ll keep at it.

PS Here’s a link to the MemoryMiner change log feed:

Carnival of Genealogy

November 19th, 2006

In my last post, I mentioned that it was written specifically for a “Blog Carnival.” It was a new experience for me, but I really enjoyed participating.

This installment is now up, and is full of really great posts. Have a look here:

Why I Created MemoryMiner

November 16th, 2006

It’s been just over one year since the very first public announcement of MemoryMiner. Man, time flies. A few days ago, Susan Kitchens, of fame invited me to participate in a Blog Carnival, and who am I to refuse? The topic was something along the lines of overcoming technical issues while recording a family history. The technical issue I encountered was a lack of decent software, so I set about creating something myself. Here’s why…

Over a 12 month period from 2003-2004, my father died, I got married and had a child. I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the “threads” of my life, particularly how the choices my parents and grandparents faced were shaped by the larger historical events of the time such as the Great Depression, WWII, the Suez Canal Crisis, etc. I also thought about the places I’d travelled, where I went to school, the people I knew but had lost touch with.

During a vacation at the beach with the entire extended family, my brother suggested that we scan as many of the photos in “the” family album as possible. If for no other reason, so he reasoned, we should all have a CD copy of these precious memories. As he busied himself with the disassembly and scanning of the the albums, I noticed something interesting. As people came in from the beach, they started picking up photos and recalling stories. We also noticed interesting patterns, such as a picture of my dad where he looked exactly like my nephew, or the style of pants my mom wore in the 60’s which had come back in vogue again. It was so much easier to make these connections when all the photos were “liberated” from the physical albums and could be rearranged quickly and easily. Essentially, I wanted to capture and extend this shared experience where both the memory artifacts and the people who knew about them were all working together.

Because I had a ton of experience creating “Digital Asset Management” software (I was cofounder and CTO of a company called WebWare that was pioneer in this field), I thought that it would be a pretty interesting challenge to create software that would allow people connect the people, places and times that were captured in their photos–along with all the related letters, articles, etc. that collects in boxes in our attics. While there are several great photo managers on the market such as iPhoto and Picassa, these tools don’t really “connect the dots” in the photos in the way I imagined possible. They pretty much just replicate the structure of a photo album, which is nice, but leaves so many possibilities unexplored.

I wanted to create a tool that would treat each photo as a frame in a storyboard, and allow people to traverse the connections between the people, places and time depicted within. I also dreamed of creating a huge network that would allow people to connect with each other based on overlaps in time and place. It’s kind of a chicken and egg problem. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to do the work of annotating their photos, and then you need to provide a network that lets people connect their libraries securely. No small task.

In December of 2004 I left WebWare (since merged and renamed ClearStory), and set up shop in a cafe around the corner in order to create version 1.0 of MemoryMiner for Macintosh. It was released at Macworld at the beginning of 2006, where it won a “Best of Show” award. Along the way, I’ve been joined by a small group of super talented folks, and we’re cranking along. A Windows version is approaching public beta, and the web services for connecting peoples’ libraries is in the testing phase as well.

There’s still a ton of work to be done, but I’m immensely proud of how far we’ve come with this dream.