Here comes Gusty

July 28, 2005

Have we mentioned Gusty?

As you may know, all the releases at the Robot Co-op are named after My Little Ponies. When we work on a new release, we always leave a few great features behind. It’s part of the wisdom we learned from DHH: “Instead of launching a half-assed product, just launch half the product”.

Almost 30 days ago we pushed out 43 Places, and to get it out the door we left behind more than 20 great features. Starting last week and continuing through today, we’ve been adding back some of the features we left behind.

So let me tell you about Gusty! One of our favorite new feature we call “tag browsing”. Looking for a good breakfast place in San Francisco or a seafood place in Seattle? Maybe you are more particular. Perhaps you just want Seattle Japanese seafood. You have entered the realm of multi-faceted tag surfing.

Here’s another: have you wondered about what some of the places you love look like from outerspace? Here’s the Piazza San Marco in Venezia, Il Colosseo (The Coloseum) in Roma, and the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. Want to help put more places on the map? Scroll down to the bottom of any page and click the “Help locate this place” link. I’m glad we’ve got that Google Dev team working for us.

Here’s a shot of the task cards we’ve been working on over the last few weeks. We’ll fill you in on a few more of the new features over the next few days.

Garland’s help

July 27, 2005

We recently added a “report a problem with this page” link at the bottom of 43 Places pages. Think of it as a “How’s Our Driving?” bumper sticker—you can let us know about miscategorized places, duplicate places, and other problems that require a bit more work to fix than is currently available on the site. The rockstar problem reporter is currently Garland who let us know about 46 out of 104 total problems reported. Problems can be classified as:

  • The place has a wrong/mispelled name
  • The place should be somewhere else in the hierarchy
  • It’s a duplicate place
  • The photos for the place are offensive or inaccurate
  • The catch-all “other”

Feel free to jump in and report issues on 43 Places pages. We tend to resolve problems within a day or so—and the problem remains documented via the “report a problem with this page” link at the bottom of the page.

As we learn more about how people are adding places, and how places within a place grow, we’ll be opening up some of these tools to the general public. For now, thank you Garland, and all of the others who are helping keep the site a bit more organized.

43 Places Person of the Day

garland wants to go 30 places…

Folding t-shirts is a snap

July 27, 2005

A clever technique for folding t-shirts. I now fold all my t-shirts this way!

43 Things Goal of the Day

64 people want
Master this shirt-folding technique

Party Idea #43

July 26, 2005

Buy a jar or two of cherries, invite a few friends over… instant weird party!

43 Places Entry of the Day

2 people want to go to Civitella Marittima

Civitella and Upper Maremma, an entry by


we went to Civitella almost two years ago, and since then, this little hamlet is in our thoughts! Hopefully, next year we will go back. We rented a house from the owner, Casina di Rosa (, and loved it.

The village is on a hilltop, with beautiful sights. It is in a region which (as the owners sais) is “out of the Tuiscan sun” and I add, that’s great!

It is not too touristy, not at all isolate. On the contrary: it is very convenient to many diverse must sees. It is very easy to visit both the region of Siena (Val d’Orcia, Crete, Chianti, etc) and the region of Grosseto (Maremma, Etruscan area, the beach… mmmh!).

If you go to this area, rent a car. We went with our car, from München. You miss a lot if you don’t have a car. And go to the local restaurant, la locanda, because the chef is great and very nice!

Upper Maremma is really highly recommended, and one of the most beautiful places in Italy we have ever visited, and excellent if you want to sightsee and relax on the beach. By the way, there are free natural hot springs in the woods nearby: really a great experience. I think they are called Petriolo or something similar.

Karina S.

Real stories from real travelers

July 26, 2005

One of the things we are starting to get on 43 Places that I’m hoping we’ll see more of are detailed stories of places people traveled to and where they stayed. 43 Places lets you add the little village no one heard about – but don’t stop there – add the little guest house as well. I’ve wanted to visit the Maremma (a seaside Tuscan coastal park area) and perhaps Civitella Marittima is the jumping off point for that future trip. Thanks for the tip Karina!

The Blog, take two

July 26, 2005

We sort of joke about how bad we are at maintaining the Robot Co-op blog. It’s not a very funny joke, but it made me start thinking about why that was. I mean, we spend all day every day thinking about what we’re working on, and enjoying it, why do we find it so painful to share some of that excitement on the blog? For me, it came down to feeling like we always talked about ourselves and that’s not really a whole lot of fun. Ideally, like the wonderful flickr blog, our blog might be better served as a place to highlight interesting people, interesting things that they are doing, and interesting places that they are going.

And since we’re all Ruby on Rails enthusiasts, we figured it was time to move the blog over to the quite elegant Typo weblog publishing engine. This made it easy to customize things so that we could easily highlight people, goals, places, and entries on our end when posting a new entry.

In any case, hopefully this will help encourage us to be a little more open about the things we’re passionate about at the co-op.

Car(rick) camping

July 25, 2005

Carrick drops the truth on a disappointing camp site.

43 Places Entry of the Day

0 people want to go to Belfair State Park

Disappointment, an entry by
Carrick Mundell:

“A stunner. Among the best. Bring lots of film and site-finding patience.” I don’t know what Ron Judd was smoking when he wrote this about Belfair State Park in his book Camping! Washington but it must have been pretty mind-altering. My family and I just returned from spending two nights in Belfair S.P. and I’m here to tell you it is a dump. The sites for tents and small R.V.s are tiny, packed together, and poorly engineered. Drainage would have been a real problem had it rained. Sunlight had a difficult time piercing the thick canopy of firs and pines. And anything that was left out under the trees was covered with dust and tree debris within a few hours.

Oh, and there’s a highway within spitting distance. With logging trucks going back and forth day and night. Hello Mr. Judd?!

It is steps away from Hood Canal and a “beach” of sorts. Too bad the water literally disappears at low tide. Belfair S.P. is at the crook of Hood Canal and, apparently, experiences extreme tides. So much for spontaneous dips in the water.

I will try to refrain from being too judgmental of our neighbors, some of whom looked to be making a summer of it on their little patches of the forest floor. I’m sure they were all decent, well-meaning, hard-working folks who were just having a good time letting down. Even the ones who left their four children unattended while the camp fire smoldered, blue tarps hanging from tree to tree, garbage strewn about like pine cones. And the guy who let his diesel pickup run for an hour while we ate our dinner? I’m sure he was a real nice guy. And the guy who cussed at his five-year-old boy, who’s face was covered in mud, when he found him playing in the creek? He was probably just a little tired and not at all drunk.

Yeah, if you ever hear yourself saying, “Let’s just pull into Belfair S.P. for the night,” give yourself a dope-slap and keep on trucking down Highway 106 to Twanoh, or even further around Hood Canal to Lake Cushman.

Cheers to London

July 8, 2005

We are heartened by the stories we are reading of 43 Things users in London. The interweb is amazing for bringing us closer together, where we can cheer folks on across the big pond, and share the photos together on Flickr.

We spent yesterday arguing in our office about how to make the world a better place, while our world was reminding us it needs us all to share our ideas.

Sure, it is naive to think that 43 Things, Flickr, Wikipedia and all the community driven sites can change the world by helping us better understand each other and share experiences. But perhaps it is not naive to think our world needs exactly this sort of naiveté.