My design is my own

Over at TechCrunch land I see a lot of people are calling Mike Arrington a jerk for how he dealt with a designer. ValleyWag has the timeline.

A few thoughts.

1) This is why I do my own design. And I've been derided for that decision too. But, it's ugly. And it's mine. And I don't need to deal with anyone else's hurt feelings if someone calls my design wacky or ugly.
2) I immediately sent Mike Arrington an email when he emailed the design around to a group of his friends and said it sucked. Why? Cause it didn't work on my mobile phone. I hope he fixes that soon. Dave Winer's design is great for mobile phones, by the way. I know a lot of bloggers who read other people's blogs on mobile phones (at Northern Voice almost half the bloggers there said that they read blogs on phones at least occassionally).
3) I really hate the way people deal with each other on blog comments. Going ad hominem just sucks. It's far stronger just to argue ideas and not get personal. But, that's just me.
4) Over on CrunchNotes I sense a lot of jealousy for the position Mike now holds. (He's #1 on the Share your OPML site, for instance). The thing is, I've seen how hard Mike works to get his blog out there and done. Hey, Mike, I know how hard you work on your blog and I really appreciate it. While in the hospital I've been looking for a blog that comes close to watching the Silicon Valley geek industry and I haven't found one that comes close.

Anyway, it sucks having dirty laundry waving in the wind for everyone to see, but it's part of blogging. Not fun part, for sure, but I'll gladly trade places with anyone having a bit of blogging trouble this week.

I don’t mind being pitched (oh, and Montana blogger meals)

Jeremy Waggstaff, a Wall Street Journal columnist, talks about my experiences getting pitched by PR people while my mom is terminally ill.

I don't mind getting pitched. It's how I'll come out with something new to say that TechCrunch or Dave Winer won't have on their blogs. Please do tell me about the cool new software you're writing. Or the cool new iPod you're designing. Or the Second Life experience you're having.

But, demonstrate to me you read my blog and I'll be far far more likely to be interested in you. See, this is human nature. I gravitate toward people who like me and away from people who don't like me. Most people I've met in my travels behave like that.

Which brings me to the next point. A reader of mine, Todd Kenck, introduced me to John O'Donnell, who runs the TechRanch, which is a place that helps technology ventures get started in Montana. So, we're gonna meet there at 11 a.m. on Thursday in Bozeman. Then I'll be in Billings, MT on Thursday night.

Anyone else wanna meet up those two times? Or on Friday morning in Billings? Let me know and we'll get it together.

Thanks to my mom for getting me to visit this community. It's nice to be able to hang out with geeks during this time. I can't even imagine what families did before Wifi or cell modems and PCs. Watching a parent sleep in their final days is mighty boring.

A museum of love for computers

The love started with the purchase of a $125 adding machine. Barbara and George Keremedjiev bought it at a flea market without knowing what it was. They quickly learned and kept buying adding machines and later computers. Most of the time they got really interesting things for free because so many items were being thrown out.

Today that collection has turned into the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, Montana.

Last time I visited this museum it was in the early 1990s. It now is in a new storefront in a strip mall. But it is no less thrilling.

It's interesting to contrast the museum with the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. That one is probably 150 times the size with many many times the budget. But I like this museum better in a few ways. I think it's a bit more educational. It certainly is more intimate. They focus more on the people behind the machines rather than just the machines themselves. And because it's in a major tourist zone (if you are driving from the West Coast to Yellowstone you probably will pass through here — Bozeman is about 1.5 hours from Yellowstone's northern border) they get a different audience than the Silicon Valley one gets.

I'm sitting here on the floor, there aren't many visitors today, and I'm talking with Barbara. They just reopened after a few weeks preparing their new exhibit on Samuel Morse and the telegraph.

What do I notice? Is the love and attention to detail. And the personal stories of things they've collected. Unfortunately my cell phones are giving me fits (GPRS isn't working well here for me) so I'll have to wait until next week to get my photos up, but this is a do NOT miss.

Oh, and Steve Wozniak has been here twice and donated an Apple I to the museum.

Channel 9 video on WPF/E (cool dev tech for Macs and Windows)

Thanks so much to Charles Torre and Duncan Mackenzie for filling in and taking over my Channel 9 video duties while I tend to my mom. She's doing well, by the way, and is just slightly more alert than in past days (albeit getting more and more tired).

An interesting video they threw up is one I did with the Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere team. If you're a developer this technology will let you create new kinds of applications that are very hard to create with existing tech. Another cool video is the one Charles did with the InfoCard team. That's a way to build in identity to your applications.

My coworkers have really been great through this process. I have a much deeper appreciation for them that I'll try to repay.

Montana blogging

I'm gonna take a couple of hours to visit the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, today. I'll write to you from there in a little while. But it was nice to see the Montana Jones blog sending some nice thoughts to me! Anyone wanna do a blogger dinner or lunch while we're here?

What's funny is that ever since writing about not seeing much tech in Montana I've been getting asked computer questions. Just goes to show, you better watch what you ask for!