Dec 16, 2008

Budweiser & Clamato

I saw this at the grocery tonight:

How plowed do you have to be to drink this? I can hear it now: "Ya know what would really make this crappy beer taste truly awesome? Why, the refreshing taste of clam!"

Nov 13, 2008

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Graphics Cards

As if Street View for Rome wasn't enough, now the Google Earth team has rolled out an ancient Rome layer:

I've often said that I wished I could redo college with Google Search, but I'd like to amend that to include Google Earth as well. Please? It's like flying through the model of Ancient Rome during the time of Constantine that I made the pilgrimage out to the Museo della Civilta Romana in EUR to visit.

Anyway, get ready to time travel, but you'll need a pretty hefty system ("Dual-Core 2.0Ghz CPU + 3GB RAM + High End GPU with 512 MB RAM Suggested") to get there.

Nov 12, 2008

A Plea for New Orleans

I was a guest on today, and we talked about having ApacheCon in New Orleans, why we had it there, and how we incorporated Voluntourism into the conference. ApacheCon chose New Orleans this year for a number of reasons, but one of them was an email that I wrote to the Apache Members almost two years ago in an attempt to help them understand why New Orleans needed (and still needs) all the economic stimulation she can get. I read this mail on the show today and agreed to post it on my blog, so here it is:

From: Brian W. Fitzpatrick
Date: Wed, Dec 27, 2006 at 1:16 AM
Subject: A plea for New Orleans for ApacheCon 2008
To: Members of the Apache Software Foundation

As a native New Orleanian who just returned from New Orleans (~3
hours ago), I'd like to strongly advocate that we have ApacheCon
2008 in New Orleans, and for the following reasons:

1. New Orleans provides plenty of entertaining things to do in the
evenings for you and your friends. Things don't close at 2AM. or 3
for that matter.
2. It's within walking distance of the French Quarter (about 2 blocks
to Bourbon Street).
3. It's next to Harrah's casino (I didn't go in this time, but
pre-hurricane, I found it kind of dumpy).
4. The food. It's amazing. Red beans and rice anyone? Gumbo? Po-boys?
5. Coffee and beignets, mmm mmm mmm.
6. Other cool trips you can make over the weekend: River plantations
tour, the zoo is amazing, the aquarium is awesome, take a streetcar
ride down St. Charles and see some of the beautiful French and Spanish
architecture of the Garden District. Take a riverboat cruise on the

I could go on and on and on, but the main reason that I want us to
have AC 2008 in New Orleans is this:

While the French Quarter (and most other neighborhoods along the river
which are actually above sea level and didn't flood) is still a pretty
hopping place with food and drink aplenty, New Orleans is still
suffering greatly from hurricane Katrina and the levee breach that
filled the city with water. While I was down for Christmas visiting
my family in Metairie (a suburb), I took a drive through the city
proper, and I was devastated.

For 16 months now I've been watching video footage of New Orleans with
suitably awed newscasters repeating over and over that "you can't
possibly understand the devastation that this city underwent without
coming here to see for yourself."

Well, let me say it once again: You can't possibly understand the
devastation that this city underwent without coming here to see
for yourself.

I drove through the Lakeview neighborhood (closest to the floodwall
breach), and SIXTEEN months later, it still looks like Beirut
on a bad day. I'd guess that about one house in 50 is inhabited.
City streets are so bad that you can barely manage 15mph in a rental
car. Street signs are mostly non-existent. Houses are gutted,
abandoned, and falling in on themselves. What used to be a grand old
neighborhood is now so much bulldozer fodder.

Mid-City, where I went to high school, is better, but not by much.
The closer you get to the river, the better things get, but they're
still not great. In the Central Business District, the Hyatt by the
Superdome is still abandoned. The New Orleans Center next to it, a
shopping mall/office building, stands decrepit with broken windows a
daily reminder of the hell that happened here [Remember, I wrote this
in December of 2006 -Fitz].

Metairie, where I grew up, is better, but it's still crippled--FEMA
trailers still litter each city block. To get a feeling for what it's
like, take the neighborhood you grew up in and rip out every 3rd tree.
Park a trailer on the front lawn of every 7th house. Leave 1 house in
20 abandoned. Leave 1 house in 35 gutted and abandoned. Now burn
down and remove 1 house in 40. Demolish 1 house in 50. Lean fences
over precariously, buckle sidewalks, and board up storefronts. It's
truly heartbreaking to see, and this is SIXTEEN months later
(and believe me, my family lucked out big time with minimal
damage to their homes).

So what's the point of this long rambling email? New Orleans needs
economic help. They need you, me, or anyone to show up and spend
money. They need anything and everything that they can get. Sure
they've got their problems with selfishness, greed, and corruption
(every city does--New Orleans is just famous for it :-). It will
never be the same, but I think it would be nice for the ASF to help
out "The City that Care Forgot" and have a good time in the process.

Laissez les bon temps roullez!


Nov 4, 2008


I'm totally fascinated with numbers and statistics, and I've been glued to for the last month since it follows all the polls, but today's poll is the only poll that matters, so get out there and vote!

Nov 1, 2008

The Dude Abides

For Halloween this year, I went as The Dude (Click for larger versions):

But what made it really great, was the fact that Walter dropped by to hang out:

That's Jim, our esteemed director of sales for Chicago.

I think we really tied the room together.

Oct 30, 2008

Street View hits Italy!

Google Street View for Italy just launched and It's giving me a serious case of Rome-sickness. The official blog post has some great views of the city, so I'll share a few of my favorite non-historic places. For starters, I can see a view down the street to the John Felice Rome Center where I lived, studied, and worked for three years:

View Larger Map

(You can click to zoom or drag to look around on all of these shots)

The "Green Bar" where we used to go for coffee and chocolate croissants:

View Larger Map

OK, I can't resist--here's my favorite church (architecture-wise),
The Basilica of St. Giovanni in Laterano:

View Larger Map

And Marie's favorite,
The Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore

View Larger Map

I could go on for hours, so I'll close out with the greatest gelateria in the world, Cremeria Monteforte (run by my good friend Roberto):

View Larger Map

Drag the image around 180 degrees to see that it's facing the side of the Pantheon. Oh man, now I'm seriously craving a big cup of Roberto's Cioccolato Semifreddo.

Oct 27, 2008

A Message and a Messenger

If you've had enough hearing about politics and this presidential election, you can stop reading now

Most of you who know me well know that while I sit firmly on the left side of the political bus, I don't go around beating a drum about it, and that I think that most politicians are crooks and liars. So it's exceptionally uncommon for me to find a politician that I respect, believe, and am willing to listen to.

First, as a speaker who has given over 100 talks in the last 8 years, I really appreciate a good orator (and can barely sit through a bad one). Barack Obama is a dynamic speaker who can connect with people on an emotional level, but more importantly, he conveys a message of inspiration and unity. Both of these messages have been sorely lacking in our country's leadership for the past eight years.

With that introduction, take a look at the last six minutes of a campaign speech he gave in Canton Ohio:

At no time in my life has this country needed someone like Barack Obama as much as we do today.

Take a good look, kids: this is our next president.

Oct 15, 2008

Everybody Should Have One

The Second Edition of Version Control with Subversion has finally hit the bookshelves. Ben and Mike and I enjoy working together, but we're all happy to see this finally put to bed.

If you're a fan of the dead trees, you can buy a hardcopy or if you're a fan of whizzing electrons, download a free copy.

I hope you like it--enjoy!

PS Please don't tell my Grandmother that the book's not actually about turtles--she'll be really disappointed if she finds out that it's about "that crazy computer stuff."

Oct 8, 2008

Life Imitates Art

My favorite web comic wrote this cartoon.

A short time later, my favorite online video site did this.

I tried it out and practically fell over laughing. Go ahead and try it yourself.

Further proof that the folks over at YouTube rock. I love it!

Sep 27, 2008

Is That Really Necessary?

I went to Zurich this week and thanks to a massive brainfart, I forgot to bring socks. Fortunately, a Puma store was less than 20 feet from the entrance to my hotel. I ran into the store, bought a pack of 3 pair of socks, and found this tag fastened to the socks:

What I want to know is: have they really had a problem with people not washing their socks when dirty? Is that something that shows up in a high volume of support calls ("My socks seem to be kind of gross... what should I do?"), or is this a general public service announcement?

I'm not sure, but I'm going to go wash my socks right now, just to be safe.

Sep 25, 2008


I was in an Apple Store the other day to pick up an iPhone belt clip, and I was totally flabbergasted by the sheer number of people in there. It was insane--there were people trying things out, two older women on folding chairs sitting at the feet of a store employee taking a class on something or other, and scads of people buying everything in sight. Most people weren't in line at a cash register waiting to buy their purchases, they were buying and paying for their merchandise at any spot in the store via handheld point-of-sale PDAs that most of the employees were toting.

It really was an unbelievable experience to see so much buzz around Apple products--and to think that some folks swore that the stores wouldn't work back when they were first announced.

I'd say they're working pretty damned well.

Aug 28, 2008


Wordle is a great way to waste an hour or two creating pretty word clouds from a given corpus. Since somehow or other Red Bean has become a home for a number of version control books (namely the CVS book, the Subversion book, and the Mercurial book), I thought I'd run them through Worldle and see what came out (click on the image for a larger version):

Aug 27, 2008

Tivo Olympics

A few years ago I lamented the state of the Olympics on television, and while NBC hasn't done a whole lot to improve their televising of the Olympics, Tivo made it all somehow bearable. Tivo let me skip the commercials, the background pieces on athletes, the medal ceremonies, and the grating color commentary by Bob Costas and others. All in all it took me about two hours to watch each five hour stretch of the Olympics, and that somehow made it pretty OK.

I love my Tivo.

Aug 12, 2008

Stirling Engines at Sci Foo 2008

I spent last weekend in Mountain View at Sci Foo 2008, and it was incredible. I attended some excellent sessions, talked with a lot of interesting people, and, along with Robert, assembled some Stirling Engines that Cat bought for the conference. Since Stirling engines run off of any temperature difference, the obvious choice to power them is a cup of hot water or coffee, but I figured you could get a nice difference if you only had something cold to run the engine on. So I... well, I'll let you see for yourself:

Aug 6, 2008

My Other Computer is a Data Center

I was pretty happy last week when Dewitt sent me the article that Marc Benioff wrote entitled Welcome to Web 3.0: Now Your Other Computer is a Data Center. It's a good article, but the really cool part of the article was the last paragraph:

One of our developers has a bumper sticker on his laptop that captures the spirit of Web 3.0 perfectly. It reads: "My other computer is a data center." That's a claim that any developer in the world can now make. And that's the stuff of revolution.

Why is that cool? Well, because I designed that sticker.

That sticker traces its roots back to May 2006 when Jason Robbins and I were brainstorming some new sayings to put on the Google Code Hosting page and one of the saying Jason came up with was

My Other Computer is a Google Data Center

I thought that was an awesome quote for the hosting page, but it was crying out to be made into a laptop sticker. After all, it's the perfect companion to the sticker I used to see around in the '70's, "My Other Car is a Rolls Royce". It's fun, campy, and, unlike the Rolls sticker, it's actually true!

I ran over to Andrew, who was running Google Developer Day (the predecessor to Google IO), and wildly tried to convince him that this was the sticker to give out at the conference. He wasn't convinced, but he was busy, and I forgot about the sticker.

However, two months later I went to Foo Camp 2006, and Chris DiBona was manning the Epilog 35 watt carbon dioxide laser engraver and I just knew I had to engrave something. My laptop seemed to be the obvious thing...

But what to engrave? I wasn't feeling particularly artistic, and I didn't want to do anything too weird since I use my laptop to give dozens of presentations every year. I then remembered the "Data Center" idea and decided to etch a giant "sticker" on the back of my laptop. The saying didn't quite flow right, so I pulled "Google" out of the middle of the saying and added a big Google Code logo and a link to the hosting page. It wasn't particularly artsy, but definitely geeky, and hey, it's contextual advertising if bring it when I'm speaking at conferences!

After cleaning the NeXT sticker off the back of my laptop and giving it a good scrubbing, I headed into the lab where Dave Recordon was etching his laptop and he kindly offered to help me etch my laptop in the interests of me not completely destroying it--after all, you only get one shot with a 35 watt laser. After three test runs on paper (at 20% power, of course), it came out perfect:

Over the next year dozens of folks wanted to know where I got the cool laptop "sticker" from because they wanted one. I explained that it wasn't a sticker, but a laser engraving ("Really? Cool!"). In early 2008, since PyCon was going to be in Chicago and I was giving a keynote, I decided it was time to get some stickers made to give out there.

I designed the sticker with the quote in white on black and placed the Google logo off to the side on a white background so that if people wanted to put the saying on their laptop but not the Google logo, the only thing standing in their way was a sharp scissors.

(photo used under CC license from ryanobjc)

I ordered 1,000 and distributed about half at the conference and sent a few dozen off to Googlers in other offices who had asked for them.

Well, once those few stickers showed up in our offices, I started getting email after email from other Googlers wanting stickers. I cooked up another 10,000 stickers and sent packs and packs out to the teams requesting them, and gave a ton away at Google IO, OSCON, and various other venues. I've seen them on the laptops of VPs at work, hundreds of other Googlers, strangers at conferences, and even several Yahoo engineers! (with the Google part cut off, natch)

And now it's being talked about in essays by CEOs. Quite a journey for a humble little sticker.

Jul 27, 2008

Holy Banana: TR2N

Tron has always been my favorite "computer" movie. I don't remember if I saw it in the theater, but I do remember that my friend Will had a copy on Betamax that we watched probably twenty times, even on his "portable" tiny 5" black and white TV. I loved the movie--it actually had a plot, a geek for a hero, some great sets (e.g., the Big Door), and—at the time—some incredible computer graphics. I always thought that the light cycles were the coolest thing I had ever seen, and was constantly disappointed by the video game with its crappy graphics and lack of cool, screaming sound effects.

I remember when the Laserdisc release came out 12 years ago and I realized just how crappy the VHS transfer of Tron was—the Laserdisc had gorgeous colors and incredible details. I even pull out my DVD copy every year or so and give it another watching just for fun. I would occasionally peek at the Internet Movie Database to see if a sequel was in the works (partially in excitement for new Tron action, partially in fear of yet another rape of my childhood, but I never found anything.

Well, it looks like the long-rumored "Tron 2" or "TR2N" is actually being made, and a grainy crappy copy of a teaser leaked from Comic-Con this weekend all but made me explode because, well, it looks awesome:

Let's see what we've got here:

  • Light Cycles: Check.
  • Kick-Ass CGI animation: Check.
  • Jeff Bridges: Hells yeah check.
  • Plot: Maybe?

And now I have to wait until 2011 to see it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

Dear Disney: Please hurry. Also, please don't screw it up. KTHXBAI.


Jul 21, 2008

The Ben and Fitz Show Goes to OSCON

At OSCON this year, Ben and I are giving three talks and sitting on a panel, including:

So there you have it—all the Ben and Fitz you can stand, plus a whole lot more. If you see me at the conference, ask me for a My Other Computer is a Data Center sticker if you want to pimp your laptop (or, um, your car, I guess). Hope to see you in Portland.

Jul 7, 2008

Protocol Buffers: Now in Open Source Flavor!

Google has open sourced protocol buffers, our data interchange format that we use for, well, just about everything we store. Protocol buffers are fast. And cool. And fast. Did I mention fast? I thought so.

Jun 18, 2008

Congratulations, Louis and Jim

[Before I explain who Louis and Jim are, and why congratulations are in order, indulge me as I tell the story of how I met them]

Ever since I was a kid, I knew that I had a cousin Louis. Every so often, his name would come up and that he lived in San Francisco. I don't recall ever meeting him, and the only picture I ever saw of him was with a black cat that had a piercing stare. So I always remembered Louis and the cat... Louis and the cat.

Fast forward to my teenage years when I finally discovered why I'd never met Louis. It turned out that Louis was gay, and because of this, his parents basically disowned him, which is why I didn't remember meeting him. He ditched New Orleans and moved to San Francisco, and that's pretty much all that I ever heard of him. My grandparents did visit him once or twice on their travels, but for the most part, we never spoke about Louis. He was just Louis. He was gay. He lived in San Francisco.

Fast forward again to the late 90's. Working for Apple, I found myself travelling frequently to the Bay Area—usually to San Jose, but occasionally to San Francisco. At some point in the year 2000, I remembered that my cousin Louis in San Francisco and that it would be nice to look him up since I was out there so often. It never seemed fair that he'd been unceremoniously drummed out of the family, and especially unfair to me that I hadn't gotten to meet one of my cousins.

I called my grandmother and got Louis's phone number and dialed the number. As I anxiously listened to the phone ring, I thought about what I was going to say. Would he be happy to hear from me? Shocked? Annoyed? Angry? Anxious as I was, of course, I got his voicemail. I left a somewhat awkward message and waited for him to call back—if he ever did call back.

A few days later, Louis called me back. I explained that my job took me to the Bay Area somewhat often and that I knew he lived in San Francisco (Wrong! He lived in Oakland!), and that maybe we could get together for dinner or something. He graciously invited me over to his house to meet him and his partner of many years, Jim. As we chatted, he asked about my family as he'd been out of touch with them for some time. I'll never forget the lump in my throat when he asked how his uncle—my grandfather—was doing. I didn't know how to tell him that he'd died two years earlier and I felt like a total jerk when I just blurted it out. I mean, how do you tell someone something like that? But I digress.

A few nights later, I took the BART to Oakland and Louis picked me up and drove me to their house, popping half a dozen pieces of nicotine gum on the way home. I didn't know a lot about him, but he sure liked his nicotine gum!

Dinner was some of the best Italian food I'd had in a long time, and the conversation flowed even more easily than the wine. Louis and Jim turned out to be what they call in the industry "good people." They were clearly two people who were made for each other, and they were a joy to talk to--passionate, irreverent, curious, and downright hilarious. We talked for hours before they drove me back to San Francisco sometime close to midnight.

From then on, it was no longer just "my cousin Louis," but "Louis and Jim," and we kept in touch more often as time went by. Marie came out to the Bay Area with me on one of my business trips and visited their house and spent the next day up in Sonoma with them. We had a blast (and a whole lot of wine).

I was honored when they accepted my invitation a year and a half later to come to my wedding. They even came out to spend Thanksgiving with us one year. Who knew that that simple phone call eight years ago would bring not one but two wonderful people into my life. I guess I'm a pretty lucky guy.

And all that brings me to why I'm writing a post titled "Congratulations, Louis and Jim." It's because after 35 years of being together, they got married today—all because the Supreme Court in the state of California finally ruled that same-sex marriage was legal.

When I got an email from Jim earlier today announcing that they'd gotten married, I let out a whoop that scared half my office mates. I was so excited that I pretty much told the good news to everyone I saw this afternoon. In fact, I'm still pretty excited. They even got interviewed by a few reporters for the LA Times and the San Francisco Gate (Picture and an audio clip on that second article).

So, congratulations to two of my favorite people. May you have another 35 years together.

(photo from SFGate as Louis hasn't sent me his pictures yet, ahem.)

May 23, 2008

I'm Sorry, You've Reached an Unlisted Email Address

Lately, I've been encountering more and more people who want to participate in open source communities (and other online communities) but seem to be afraid of having their email address posted anywhere on the internet out of the sheer terror of drowning in spam. Given how easy it is to setup an extra email address, why not just create an extra account and use that for your public address, saving your "private" address for your friends and family?

I've had the same email address for over 10 years, and according to GoogleBot, it's listed in at least 960 places on the web. According to Gmail, I get about 1500 spam emails a day, and Gmail catches about 99% of them on any given day, which is extremely manageable (thanks, of course, to the extremely hard work of Brad and his team). Does Gmail get any false positives? Maybe--I just don't have time to go wading through the river of spam to check (54,061 at last count). Long ago I decided that I'm OK with any false positives that get through--if someone really needs to get a hold of me, there are a number of ways to do so.

In short, if you want to participate in online communities such as open source projects, just setup a "public" email address, use that, and don't live in fear of getting buried in spam.

Mar 3, 2008

The Best Place to Work in Chicago

It's been almost a year and a half since our Chicagoist interview was published, and a lot has changed since then. The Google Chicago engineering office has grown tremendously since we started hiring in May of 2007, and I have to say that I was pretty excited to find out today that Crain's Chicago Business ranked Google first out of the top 20 places to work in Chicago. They even created a slideshow to give you an idea of what it's like to work in our office (narrated by Ben and I). It really does a great job of capturing the look and feel of our office.

Photos by Steve Serio (who photographed, recorded, and helped produce the slideshow). Thanks Steve!

PS If you'd like to work in Google's Chicago office, take a peek at the open positions.

Feb 27, 2008

Farewell, John Felice

John Felice died last month at the age of 84. He was the founder of Loyola's Rome Center, a former Jesuit, a teacher, British Intelligence in World War II, Director of the Rome Center, and even the Dean of Students. He was larger than life to those who knew him--a man whose ability to give of himself knew no bounds.

He meant a lot of things to a lot of people, but he meant the world to me because he was one of my dearest friends.

I met John Felice in 1990 when I spent my junior year abroad at Loyola's Rome Center. I later had the honor of working at the Rome Center with him for two years as a resident assistant, and then for two additional years from Loyola's Lakeshore campus in Chicago as the Rome Center admission counselor, working to bolster flagging attendance at the Rome Center. John and his wife Kate were generous enough to look after me as I worked out what I wanted to do with myself and, quite frankly, as I grew up a bit (finally).

There was a time in my life when I was convinced that John Felice knew everyone on the planet--or at least one person in every town. I'd stop by his office in the Rome Center to say hello and he'd ask me where I was going for the weekend. I could mention some obscure town in Eastern Czechoslovakia, and he would exclaim "Oh! I know the mayor", pick up his phone, grab his dog-eared address book, punch in a few numbers, and before I knew it he'd set me up with a private tour of the ancient monastery on the edge of town.

That was just the way that John was--he knew people all over the world--including government officials and even several popes! And almost every last one of these friends would drop everything to do him a favor, even if it meant hopping on a plane and flying halfway around the world.

I am deeply humbled to count myself as one of those people.

John served his life as a "man for others" (in the true Jesuit sense of the phrase). Almost everyone who knows John Felice would say that they're indebted to him for one or more things he's done for them. In this selfish world of "me me me", it's more and more difficult to find a person like John Felice. He really did give his life for Loyola's Rome Center (now the John Felice Rome Center), and would do whatever it took to help someone out, whether it was to lend an ear, offer advice, a shoulder to cry on, or to grease the rusty wheels of the Italian Bureaucracy. Often was the time that he would help someone out when they neither realized they needed it, nor did they want it--many was the time when he gave me a swift kick in the backside that I didn't realize I needed (or deserved!) until a much later date.

I owe both John Felice and the Rome Center a priceless debt of gratitude for everything they did for me.

John took a lot of things very seriously--religion, education, respect, and justice to name a few, but he loved life, his students, and his colleagues and employees. And John had a wicked sense of humor: he was the master of the whispered aside and would frequently say something quietly--so only you could hear it--that would cause you to do a double take or break out into laughter. He knew it too--he'd crack wise and he'd purse his lips and shoot his eyebrows up as if to say "I did not just say that, did I?".

But he was an incredibly stubborn man and had a short temper when it came to juvenile behavior or rule breakers. I've heard stories from many alums about the student (or students!) that John Felice sent home for some infraction of the rules of the Rome Center. My personal favorite is the time he awoke from his first open heart surgery to discover the doctor that had operated on him was none other than a student that he had thrown out of the Rome Center years before. And while I saw some of that fire in him on occasion, I have the distinct impression that age and experience had a mellowing effect on him. Everyone who spent more than five minutes with John Felice surely has a story to tell about him. Having known him for eighteen years, I could tell stories for days and days, but I won't. Those are my stories, and I'll hold them dear to my heart for the rest of my life.

Goodbye John. You will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Hail and farewell.


Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus
advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias,
ut te postremo donarem munere mortis
et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem.
Quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum.
Heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi,
nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum
tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias,
accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,
atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.

Feb 10, 2008

Podcast Episode 02 Done

Wherein we answer our first question.

Either download the mp3 directly from the site, or subscribe directly in iTunes. (If you can't find "PC Load Letter" in the iTunes podcast directory, open the “Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast” menu in iTunes, and enter the address

Jan 24, 2008

EveryBlock Launches

Congrats to Adrian, Paul, Wilson and Dan over at EveryBlock on their launch.

If you thought that ChicagoCrime was cool, EveryBlock is going to blow your mind. For example, take a look at what's going on around Wrigley Field or near my office.

So far it's only Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, so if you live elsewhere, you'll have to voyeur other cities for the time being.

Jan 19, 2008

Now with 80% More Yap Yap

After giving dozens of talks together, Ben and I have decided to do a podcast. We've kicked off with an inaugural episode where we tell some stories and lay out the ideas for the podcast, but the goal is for it to be more of a question and answer format about open source and collaborative development tools.

To download the podcast, either get the mp3 directly from, or you can just subscribe to it in iTunes. Just open the “Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast” menu in iTunes, and enter the address

Ben's blog post has some more detail, so take a gander over there or just head over to the PC Load Letter site to find out more.

Jan 2, 2008

Font Fancy: 9x15

In the past few months, several folks have weighed in on their favorite fonts—Cory Doctorow waxed poetic about Droid Sans Mono while James Duncan Davidson professed his love for Bitstream Vera Sans Mono (His blog died, so the link is to a post about his post).

I've tried a lot of different fonts over the years, but I always come back to the most boring and plain screen font ever. It doesn't even have a real name--I know it only as "9x15" and it comes with X11. It's pretty much the only font I've ever coded in, and I've got my emacsen all hard-wired to use it, on both Mac and Linux. Click on the image below to see the full-size version (Stupid Blogger image upload insists on resizing my images).

I'd love to find an actual vector font that looks just like 9x15, but I've yet to find one, despite quite a bit of hunting.