First: I am really, really excited about this launch. Like seriously.
Flock is one of those rare applications that really solves a problem people have. It takes something that, to this day, is really hard and annoying -- and practically makes it magical. It makes your life easier and more joyful, which is something that technology should be doing more of, but unfortunately doesn't.
Yes, I acknowledge my bias. Trust me though, if I wasn't really excited, I wouldn't take the time to write this here. But I am going to, because Flock is, in my opinion, just that good.
So, what does it do?
Let's talk about the typical way people share photos. Pretend you and some of your friends go out to get some food and see a concert. You each take some photos. When you get home, you want to share these photos with your friends -- well, thankfully Facebook exists! You each can upload your photos into galleries, fantastic!
Except... now each of you has a separate gallery. And Tom really is slow, he didn't upload his photos. "I'll get around to it", but you know that you'll still be waiting in a year -- if he ever remembers. Oh man, now you have to go share the gallery and hope that everybody sees it, and who the hell knows what stories Facebook chooses to show everybody... well, you can tag people so it emails them, but that's quite a bit of work!
Now you've spent three hours on this, longer than you spent at the concert! This entire workflow is a royal pain in the ass. It requires far too much human interaction and intervention and effort, and half of it never gets done.
Enter Flock: view my Flock event!
That is a web gallery that was assembled by Flock this morning. The people you see took photos with their phones, then they each got a notification from Flock (which they had previously installed): "Hey, you took some photos with Shona, Sunil, and others!"
That keys you to launch the Flock app, where it has already discovered that you took some photos near some of your friends. You can then select which photos you want to share and hit the button to do so. (You still have control over what you share!)
Your friends then get a notification that you've shared photos with them. Flock enables you to "like/+1/<3" the photos and also leave comments on them. This is shared with everybody who is on the album and you get push notifications so you can stay on top of things.
So, what actually happened here?
Without giving away too much of the secret sauce, the mojo is that Flock combines your Facebook information (people you know) with geographical information (where you took each photo). It combines this with all of your friends who use Flock to determine when you have taken photos together. It then pushes notifications down to you to let you know, and handles the heavy lifting of building a group photo album.
Instead of relying on everybody to upload photos, tag them, and then watching Facebook for them to appear -- that entire workflow is now reduced to the Magic Point: you don't have to figure out how to do it, Flock takes care of it. You still get total control and can share or not share as you like, but now you get to live your life as you like without all of the headaches of sharing photos between friends.
And before you ask: yes, this launch is iPhone only, and yes, it requires you to use and connect to Facebook. I know that rules out some of you, but for those of you who fit this bill... give it a whirl, let me know what you think.
Also, of course, Flock is only useful when people have it. Get your friends and family on it and see what happens. :)
Short entry for now. I'm back from Wisconsin, which is a mixed bag. Mostly I'm happy to be home with my family again (first time I was really away from Oliver...it was sad!), but I am kind of sad that the conference is over. It was a very pleasant and surprisingly good conference.
I'll write more about it on mark later, but personally, I enjoyed it a lot. The keynote was a message that is near and dear to our hearts here on Dreamwidth (in short, promoting diversity) and there was a lot of talk about it later. The words "be nice!" were being bantered around a lot and I didn't see lots of over-the-top fail of various sorts I typically expect at tech conferences.
It really heartens me that the Perl community is starting to really talk about this stuff and make some progress on addressing it. Yeah, there's a million miles to go, and some of it is going to be hard and full of failure, but I have hope that we will make it happen.
Madison was a very pretty city -- it made me miss the midwest a lot. I really would like to get out of California, and yeah, I could totally go to the midwest. (Probably won't, but I totally could.) I didn't get to do a lot of stuff in the city on account of my lack of transportation and my body's very unhappy response to the whole thing (stupid body), but it was good nonetheless.
For now: bedtime. I must sleep.
I went to the oral surgeon today and did a review of my tooths. The funny thing is that I went in telling him I wanted the two on my left side removed, and then he launched into his spiel to try to convince me to have them removed.
Dr: "There is a lot of tissue swelling. This causes it to be really hard to clean, letting bacteria and food to get trapped back there, which can lead to gum and bone disease."
Dr: "It's easier to get them removed when you're younger...if you wait, it becomes harder and harder for the body to get through the removal and recovery."
Me: "Yes...I am here to get them removed. You don't have to convince me."
Dr: "Oh, uh..."
I totally threw him for a loop; it was awesome! Anyway, it's scheduled for the 22nd and they're going to put me under for it so I am not really worried. I will have to find someone to watch Oliver though so Ari can drive me there and accompany me.
The only annoying thing is the cost. My medical bills are pretty exciting ... it seems like it's $500 every few weeks for this or that. Oh well.
P.S. I love that clock in the background. It's a mechanical clock with exposed gears and it makes a delightful ticking sound and dings every hour. It has a big weight that I have to raise every day or two and adjust the time slightly. It's brilliant.
* Got my right knee drained. 150cc of inflamed synovial fluid. Let me tell you, it's a weird feeling having the secret sauce drained out of your knee and then feeling all of the muscles and things starting to relocate to fill the void that suddenly appears.
* The sulfasalazine doesn't seem to be doing as much as we'd hoped, so he wants to start me on methotrexate too. This is exciting. Methotrexate is commonly used in chemotherapy to treat various cancers, rheumatoid arthritis (of which my ankylosing spondilitis is a relative), and to perform chemical abortions. WTF.
* Oh, yes, and I need to take a folic acid supplement because the methotrexate murders that apparently and can cause some exciting things to happen. Oh and finally, I am banned from alcohol while on the new drug. It's not like I drink much, but I do from time to time. Sadness.
That's the update, I guess. Now my knee is sore and I'm angsty and sad and angry and all the normal things after going in and learning that, yup, my body is stupid and broken still.
This is something important to me, and particularly as I am getting older, something I am getting more and more concerned about. I'm now taking steps to reduce my online footprint and reduce it.
Anyway, the landlord sent someone out to look at it. So they did some stuff and the water went away. Yay!
This month, my water bill is $25. I dug out the numbers and looked at the graph and sure enough, the CCF used went from about 40 per month down to 4. That's... odd. I wondered if that made sense, so I looked up what a CCF is. I assumed it was a "cubic foot" and in that case, ~40 c.f. of water per month makes sense.
Nope, actually, a CCF is a hundred cubic feet of water. The conversion is 1 CCF = ~750 gallons. When we were using 40 CCF a month, we were using 30,000 gallons of water per month. That's a lot.
I think that whatever happened under the house was actually happening all along, for months and months. It just took until now before it finally bubbled up to the surface and brought itself to our attention.
This kind of blows my mind.
Anyway, we launched about two hours ago, and we've already had 16,600 people download and install the app. There have been thousands of bumps and over a thousand matches, and thousands of photos shared. It's really interesting working for a company that has such a huge userbase -- over 75 million downloads -- the numbers are really huge and cool.
Most of the company got in at 4:30 AM today to be ready for the launch. Our wonderful HR/recruiting/admin team slaved over hot cooking devices for two hours to make us waffles and other breakfast stuff. Now the sun is up and everybody is either yawning and debating napping, or sitting down to do some work.
Days like this are exciting, and make me think fondly of the night we launched Dreamwidth to Open Beta. Watching people rush in and start using the site was so amazing. This whole "making stuff people like" thing is really addictive!
Anyway, tired now. I'll try to stick it out as long as I can, but I expect I won't make it past lunch.
I removed the entry text since the page is loading reliably now. Also, damn I love this court. Check this out, from the official opinion of the court:
Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.
I am drawing sparkly hearts all over this document.
Today, it's shut off on me twice and the video card deemed that it was no longer there and collapsed all of my windows on to the main display. Pulling the cord off and reconnecting it caused it to wake up again. Only to repeat a few hours later. Annoying.
Now back to code. That is all.
12/01/2011 $167.76 ACADEMY SPORTS #7 HOUSTO 11/30ACADEMY STRN: 054813 12/05/2011 $150.00 ACADEMY SPORTS #10 HOUST 12/03ACADEMY STRN: 012816
Okay. So, based on the name here, these were made to Academy Sports which is a chain of stores all over the south. The stores seem to exist, and in fact, are just a few miles from each other down in sunny Houston, TX.
Let's take a moment and think about this, though. Texas... in late November/early December... oh gee, wait a second, I'm not sure that makes sense. In fact, I'm pretty sure it doesn't:
Yeah, my bad. I had a kid that was 7-10 days old at the time of these charges. I was most definitely sitting at home partaking of the restful sleep of ... wait ... no, actually. I was cranky and tired and most definitely, absolutely, nowhere near Houston, TX.
Well, thankfully, I've been on this rodeo before. I called up Chase and talked. They issued the credits and I went about my business of getting a new debit card. Annoying, but most definitely not the end of the world. This kind of thing happens and we had a pretty bad rash of card theft in my city over the past few months. It's annoying but no harm done.
So I thought, anyway, until today. Today, I got a nice letter from my bank -- Chase. They let me know, in no uncertain terms, that these were authorized charges and that they'd be re-debiting my accounts for the hundreds of dollars that I spent in Houston.
Exciting. I guess tomorrow I will have to make some telephone calls and put on my Angry Face?
In short, it seems that the waste elimination system that feeds his butt and the one that feeds his penis are on separate timers. (You parents know where this is going already, I bet.)
The practical side of this lesson is that I have now, something like five times, been in the middle of changing a diaper stained, smeared, or otherwise full of poop and have felt a startlingly warm and wet sensation followed shortly after by the thought "aw damn, he's peed on me again!" I've been getting better about positioning the new diaper and catching it, but it's quite the tricky maneuver.
It's not the end of the world, of course, but it means more laundry. I don't really prep for a golden shower as part of the changing ritual -- no plastic sheets or anything. Maybe I should?
Anyway, the shining moment in this story (and the reason for me posting this) was yesterday. I probably should feel bad about this but, alas, twenty-four hours later I'm still giggling. It was another standard poop filled diaper that I was cleansing from his buttocks and assorted boy parts -- if you've had a kid, you know exactly what I mean. That shit gets everywhere.
On this particular incident, I turned away for a moment to go throw away the diaper that I had just wrapped up. It was pretty full and needed to be somewhere other than on the changing surface. Out of nowhere and with great gusto, little Oliver started crying like only a very upset, startled, and angry baby can. Confused, since he normally doesn't start up the crocodile tears until the new diaper is going on, I turned back to see what was up.
Sure enough, the boy had decided to have another loose cannon incident. Unfortunately for him, though, this time the friendly fire was not on Daddy. Nope. This time, little Ollie managed to aim the cannon to attain a perfect bullseye. Poor kid managed to nail himself in the chest and face with his own warm surprise.
I managed to get him cleaned up and handed off to Ari for feeding before I collapsed in a helpless, giggling heap. I'm probably going to hell for this.