Top3Clicks or Why Dive Into Social Commerce?

After talking for months, Mike and I finally took a leap and built out the initial version of Top3Clicks. We’ve spent a number of months refining the app and still have a ton of features to add.

One question we both get is “why social commerce”?

Mike and I are interested (as are others) in trying to marry e-commerce with the social graph. We went deep into e-commerce with iPrint and messaging (SMS/IM/SMTP) with MessageCast. We made several attempts at wiring e-commerce into messaging, but never felt like we hit more than a single.

With F8, Facebook enabled this scenario for, perhaps arguably, the first time. The key piece of what had been missing previously, the user profile, is available via the Facebook APIs. In many cases, the user profile is a rich data store of information that allows us to provide the user with an “easy on-ramp” to add Top3Clicks and begin using it immediately.

Messaging with the Facebook APIs is available in a number of areas. We are concentrating on application updates to the Profile page and using Notification and email to let the user know when a new item is available from their favorite author or snowboard company.

My personal experience has been great – I’m always on the lookout for new music from the likes of My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, The Clash, etc. After adding Top3Clicks, my profile information was imported and with no effort was immediately able to discover new offerings from favorite bands of mine.

Try out the app if you have a moment; gratuitous feedback is encouraged. Feature Request

I stream a lot of music over my Slimdevices Squeezebox, usually listening via Winamp (yeah, I’m old school). Additionally, I occasionally use Launch on Yahoo Music.

After reading a ton of glowing posts about from people like Fred Wilson, I decided to dip my toe in the water a few months ago.

Unfortunately, I just can’t get into and I think I know why – scrobbling doesn’t work for streams (at least I can’t find anything that says it does). I’m essentially starting from scratch on my preferences and building it up is taking too long.

Feature request for the folks – if possible, it would be great to enable scrobbling for streams. I could stick with my routine for a while, build up my profile and in turn, make a great listening experience.


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Facebook Drops Java Support

Facebook announced that they have dropped support for their Java client.

To this end, we have decided to discontinue support for our official Java client library, and rely on the existing community-driven libraries to fill this gap. While we understand this may have an impact on some developers, we feel that it is most important to keep working on our list of initiatives I referred to before, instead of maintaining an additional client library of which the developer community has already built several unofficial versions.

They recommend moving to one of the project listed here.

I have to ask, was anyone actually using the Facebook Java client anyway? Six months ago, I gave it a whirl and found it pretty poor. Instead I moved to the project being hosted at Google Code, known as the “Facebook Java API Community Project”. The “Companion Utility” makes it easy to do things that the PHP library has had since the beginning, including detecting if the user has logged in and if the user has previously added the application. Getting the whole thing to run in a Tomcat container was straightforward.


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TheRelay - 2008 Edition

The 2008 edition of The Relay starts tomorrow (4/19/2008). The 12-person relay starts in Calistoga and ends in Santa Cruz and goes non-stop for the entire length of the 199 mile run.

I'll be running in Van 2, Leg 11 with an overall ranking of 4th most difficult (my bad-ass wife has the 2nd most difficult overall)

If you are driving in the area, be on the lookout for 398 vans (199 teams, 2 vans each) full of tired, sweaty, smelly runners!



Napa Valley Marathon 2008 - Finisher!

Last Sunday we ran the Napa Valley Marathon. The race starts in Calistoga on the Silverado Trail, passes a number of famous wineries, and finishes in Napa.


Staying at the host hotel (Marriott in Napa), we hit the Expo on Saturday to get our bibs, etc. While we were at the Expo, Dean Karnazes came by to sign his book. He ran from his house in San Francisco to the Expo in Napa to give a presentation. Afterwards, he was going to run to the start of the marathon. He was then supposed to run the actual marathon and then run back to his house. I'm guessing his mileage was about 100 miles each way. Looks like he beat my time:

     529 Dean Karnazes  San Francisco, CA  3:51:26.0  Men 40 to 44


Up at 4:30am, we caught the bus to the start. Unfortunately, our bus driver got lost on the way. Fearing we would be late and miss the start, everyone's stress level was quite high. Eventually, the bus driver was able to find her way to Highway 29 and then to Calistoga. We arrived about 6:30 and barely had enough time to stretch, check in our sweat bags and head to the start.  At the 7am start, the weather was in the mid 30's, strong winds at about 20 mph and clear skies.

With 2300 participants (no half, full marathon only) it took a minute or so to cross the starting line (no chips for this race) and a mile or two for the crowds to thin out. Following the Silverado Trail, we had great shade and a tailwind for much of the race. The canter of the road changed quite a bit as we followed the twists and turns of the asphalt which kept us constantly looking for the flat part of the road.

We hit the first half at 2:06, which was pretty much on pace. The first 5 miles of the race has some decent hills, but nothing like Mile 17 at the Portland Marathon. As the sun rose, the temperature got pretty warm, hitting ~70 degrees (F) at the finish. Unlike CIM, I never did hit the wall, which I attribute to being aggressive on fluid intake and Gu every 4 miles. The race is remote in many spots so the crowds are fairly sparse. That said, there were many people cheering at the end, which really helped push us across the line.

Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:

Organization - Accurate mile markers, aid stations where they were supposed to be and plenty of support. Grade: A

Course - Beautiful course, extremely scenic. Grade: A

Aid-stations - Well staffed and stocked. Grade: A

Swag - Long sleeve, dri-fit shirt, nice medal.. Grade: A

Post-race food (new category) - Hot soup (not so good on a hot day), yogurt (?), rolls, bananas and oranges. Grade: C-



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