Monday, January 9, 2012


I got a turntable for Christmas!  I don't know much about vinyl but I'm excited to explore.  So far I've just been buying used records from record stores and craigslist.  I have to admit, I don't completely understand the appeal -- I know a lot of music snobs will say that it sounds better, but I find that hard to believe given the quality of my DAC and lossless digital files.  Is it just nostalgia?  Novelty?  Mastering?  Maybe the art and concreteness of being able to hold your music.

Any advice on where to buy records and what to get would be greatly appreciated!  I think it would be fun to build out a jazz collection on vinyl.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Predictions

Cause, why not?

Here are some ruminations on what might happen this year.

Silicon Valley continues to be surprised the other half of the population exists.

More and more "surprising" success stories (like that of Pinterest or will surface.  There's so much room for growth in areas involving fashion and lifestyle design.  The shopping process for clothes, makeup, personal care products, shoes, jewelry, and home decor is still so flawed.  People who are interested in those areas currently don't have the buying experience that someone who wants, say, a camera would have, and the thought process of the consumer when purchasing those items is usually more irrational -- a random post on a small blog or a picture in a magazine can lead to desire and products selling out.

The explosion of curation and information management applications.

Things are getting crazy.  It's too easy to constantly spend time dipping into the firehose of information coming from friends, email, facebook, blogs, twitter, and other sources online.  We're already seeing the growing popularity of private information management tools like Evernote and Instapaper, and what will come next are even more sophisticated tools to enable a user to quickly skim through a deluge of information, saving the bits and pieces that seem relevant, and then providing contextual results on whatever device when it's relevant.

And editors and curators will become even more important.  We'll start to place a growing proportion of trust in the most popular voices, simply because there's too much to deal with and we need help filtering.

Local businesses will wise up.

Local businesses will start spending smarter to advertise online.  The good businesses will only offer deals when it makes sense to them -- during down times or to get rid of surplus inventory.  Only low quality businesses that have trouble getting customers will continue to offer blanket deals like we see now.  We will also see a lot more dynamic pricing.

Several major security breaches.

In terms of security, things are going to get worse before they get better.  Web application security is still full of holes.  I predict more major companies will experience data loss, and more rogue groups will cause trouble -- and I don't just mean groups like Anonymous defacing company websites, I mean malicious hackers (who might be nationally supported) disrupting food supply chains, utilities, or other major services that aren't properly protected.