LA Marathon - Race Day Transportation Troubles

If you are planning on running the L.A. Marathon this year, you might want to weigh in on this issue:

Urgent Message for all L.A. Marathon Participants and Alumni

When we first announced our new point-to-point course last summer, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke to the significance of transporting participants for free on the Metro on race day. Yesterday, L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, in her capacity as MTA Chair, said in a committee meeting that marathoners should not be provided with free race day transportation and withdrew the agenda item from next week’s MTA board meeting. Mayor Villaraigosa plans to take this matter directly to the MTA board meeting on February 22.



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New Discs: Mother Hips and Ball-Point Birds

Mother Hips

They created and toured heavily for their best disc to date ("Green Hills of Earth"). Rolling Stone critic Bill Crandall rated it as his Top Album of 2001. They went on "hiatus" (much of it documented in the awesome "Stories We Could Tell"). Most people took to mean that they broke up. There was the occasional show, then a few mini-tours and now this:



Kiss The Crystal Flake, the new studio album by California’s The Mother Hips, will be released April 3 on New York based-indie Camera Records. It is the follow up to the acclaimed Red Tandy EP (Camera Records, 2005) and the first full album for The Hips since 2001’s Green

Hills of the Earth. Featuring 12 new songs Kiss The Crystal Flake reintroduces the world to The Mother Hips’ own brand of California rock, blending a natural psychedelia with their own 21st century musicianship and songwriting. It is produced by The Mother Hips with Badman Recording Co. founder Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek, Call and Response, Erlend Oye.)


“Many things have come our way,” said singer/guitarist Greg Loiacono. “Opportunities, challenges, gifts, hard times and misfortune. Kiss the Crystal Flake is about embracing everything. It's about standing face to face with whatever comes.


"This album is almost like a debut album for us,” explains singer/guitarist Tim Bluhm. “It is very different from anything we recorded in the past. You know that saying about wishing you knew then what you know now? Kiss The Crystal Flake is that coming true."


The Mother Hips will tour the U.S. in support of Kiss The Crystal Flake.


I'm stoked :-) They are even touring the East Coast, something that hasn't happened much previously.


I first heard Tim and Greg back when they were in a group called "Allie and the Cats" (the two of them and a female singer named, you guessed it, Allie). Some friends and I accidentally stumbled upon them playing at a party, and only because we heard someone playing Zeppelin's "That's The Way" (we had to climb a few fences to find them!). There have been some departures over the years (first Mike, then Issac) and rough patches. It is great to see that they are giving it another shot. Count me in for a pre-order


Ball-Point Birds



On a similar note, Greg and Tim have a side project, "Ball-Point Birds". Their first CD was great - it stayed in my CD player for a long time. They recently announced that their latest disc "Two Discover" is coming out (you can order it here) and that they are doing a release party at Cafe Du Nord on 2/20/2007. The disc is self-released, so it is available only on their website and at shows. Spread the word!

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Media Metrics: MetaCafe Analytics Added

MetaCafe support has now been added to Media Metrics. (Note that support for MetaCafe comment feeds is coming soon)

In case you missed the previous entries on media metrics: Part One, Part Two: APIs and Part Three: RSS

Here's a quick rundown of what is available for each service.


Number of
Number of
Number of

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SDForum: JBoss Messaging

Tonight I attended the February SDForum Java SIG in Palo Alto - specifically to hear and meet the Project Lead of JBoss Messaging, Ovidiu Feoderov.

I've been happily using JBoss MQ for about 3 years now, doing an astounding number of transactions on a regular basis. Getting durable messaging to work reliably took a bit of time, but it performed well once we got it up and running (this book was quite helpful)

The main reason I attended was to get a better idea of one of the main features in the new JBoss Messaging product, which has replaced JBoss MQ. Ovidiu had a great presentation about the latest rev (v1.2) which is supposed to hit GA at the end of this month. From the looks of it, v1.2 will be a significant improvement for High Availability (HA). The team has put quite a bit of effort into providing seamless/transparent failover for clients. JBoss MQ has the concept of HA via a heartbeat and a shared relational store, but v1.2 looks to really move the ball forward. Also of interest - the performance is supposed to be markedly improved.

Here's a post detailing the features in 1.2 by Tim Fox

1.2.0Beta2 link

I can't wait to give it a whirl

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Five Years Ago Today...

Five years ago today, I left my job as CTO at and founded MessageCast - in my spare bedroom.


The concept was to create an environment that allowed Publishers to utilize IM as a delivery mechanism in the same way as SMTP and SMS. I went about creating a prototype using Jabber, Java and MySQL. The first few months were solitary and enabled some of the best personal growth I have ever had. I read and read and read some more. I gained deep experience in agile concepts including TDD, design patterns, automation and many other areas that would bear significant fruit down the road. The risk was astronomical and the whole thing seemed like it might fail a half-dozen times. I highly encourage you to try it at least once :-)


Eventually, I convinced Royal and then Mike to come on-board and we got rolling - ending in an acquisition by Microsoft. Looking back, there are things I wish we'd done differently, but overall, we created a business with solid technology. So solid that we made it through the technical due diligence process Microsoft puts acquisition targets through - no easy task.


While Mike and I are currently at Microsoft, Royal has moved on to a new gig. Fingers crossed that we all have Messagecast type success in our future endeavors.


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Alerts/Spaces - Live!

While I don't usually blog about my day job as the Dev Manager for Windows Live RSS/Alerts, this has to be mentioned.


Last Thursday, the Windows Live Spaces team propped a release to production that enable seamless integration with Windows Live Alerts. The rollout is limited to English language Spaces first, with more to follow. From the post:



Be instantly notified of changes to your favorite Spaces!



It’s now even easier to find out who updated what on their Space and when…and you can be one of the first to find out! You can now sign-up to receive updates in real time for blogs, photos, lists and comments in your favorite Spaces. Simply click on the “Sign up for alerts” link in the Visitor tools module of your favorite Spaces and start receiving your updates right away. We want you to try it out and tell us what you think of alert, so we’ve limited this new functionality to English Spaces first.



We wrote quite a bit of the code when we were MessageCast - it is great for it to finally see the light of day!


As you might imagine there are a number of technical challenges working with a service as large as Spaces. Kudos to a lot of people for making it happen.

If you are interested in integrating with Windows Live Alerts, check out the SDK.


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Media Metrics: Wallstrip Episode recently posted an interview they did with’s James Altucher.

The number of times the episode was viewed on YouTube since 1/18/2007 looks like this:


The number of times the episode was viewed on Revver since 1/18/2007 looks like this:

The data shows that Wallstrip has a larger audience on Revver, which has a much smaller user base than YouTube.

There are a number of other interesting metrics to compare (number of ratings for example), however Revver is not currently populating this info in their API results.


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