Robots Love Robots

March 28, 2007

When I tell people I’m working for the Robot Co-op, sometimes they ask if we make robots. I’ve had to explain that we actually make websites, but we got our long-awaited Roomba yesterday, so now I can say we own one at least.


We put it together yesterday, watched it buzz around the office, chased each other with the remote control mode, and asked it to find its way home to its dock. Not to neglect the actual cleaning functionality, we programmed it to run early this morning. The first question we all asked when we came in was “how is the robot?” (answer: it got stuck on one side of the office because we forgot to turn on the Virtual Walls).

Looks like there’s competition for the title of Chief Janitorial Officer.

Welcome to City Hall

March 26, 2007

city hall

Today we launch City Hall, the newest enhancement to the 43 Things community. 43 Things is very much a community of the people, by the people, for the people and in that spirit City Hall is the place where the community gives back and keeps the spirit of the site in balance. We’ve tried to take some common features on community sites and make them more participatory. Here’s what City Hall has to offer:

How To Use 43 Things: where users can ask questions about the site and other users can help with their questions.

Community Guidelines: we wanted to clarify the rules of the road on 43 Things. Let us know if you have other suggestions for this area of the site.

Contact Us: a new form for contacting the Robots.

Neighborhood Watch: for users who have been around a while, a tool for voting on suspect accounts that have been reported as naughty by other users.

We are hoping that this is just a start to make it more obvious what drives 43 Things—it is you. The community here shares goals, writes entries, and cheers each other on, but now they can also report abuse, answer user’s questions, and vote on suspect accounts.

If you have other ideas for City Hall, let us know about them.

We support John Edwards!

March 22, 2007

Well, maybe that puts it too strongly. It isn’t that we are ready to throw our influential endorsement behind John Edwards but we do fully support his campaign’s use of 43 Things. You can see the John Edwards profile page on our site with a list of goals that reads like a political platform (well, actually, that platform doesn’t say much about alternative energy, Iraq, or North Korea, but it is a start). Not only can you see his goals, his Flickr stream shows what he’s up to on the campaign trail.

We never considered how your goals on 43 Things could become a platform to campaign on, but it actually works great. Best of all, limiting any politician to 43 goals is almost certainly a good idea. Instead of letting a politician be for everything, we ought to ask “What are your 43 Things?”

On this day, with the Edwards family in the news, we wish them our best. We hope for a cure and that Mrs. Edwards beats this thing once and for all. We hope too that we’ll see more candidates, from all parties and all levels of government, join 43 Things and make their goals public.

Picnik’s Piecoras pizza party proves particularly pleasing (plus Picnik paid)

March 21, 2007


P for Picnik! We had the gents from picnik over to the Co-op for pizza and conversation. Not only is this a razor smart bunch but the app they’ve developed is super duper fun and intuitive. I was able to whip Buster’s cameraphone photo into shape in a few short moments. As I’m artistically impaired with visual stuff, this photo example does not represent the true power of picnik. It was, however, fun to make. I even used the new “gooify” effect to stretch John’s stomach (in the red sweater). Picnik = free website for manipulating, saving and sharing your photos. Think simplified Photoshop for cheapskates and you’ll get the picture … or just give it a try.

Perhaps the best part of the lunch was that Picnik graciously won in credit card roulette and picked up the Piecoras’ pizza tab.

Laurel & Howdy

March 8, 2007

We’ve been five Robots for a while and it’s been a nice change of pace. But when we recently talked with Laurel about working at the Co-op it was immediately clear it was a match made in Robot heaven. A power user of the sites, an honest to goodness SDE with an Electrical and Computing Engineering degree (the rest of us are liberal arts majors … or simply street smart) and a believer in possibilities . What’s not to love? Howdy Laurel!

Laurel will be taking the title of “shortest walk to work” from me. I’m nine blocks and I believe she’s five. Go ahead and say ‘howdy’ to Laurel. Subscribe to her while you’re at it. Oh – this is a good time to mention that Laurel sits on a ball instead of a chair. Crazy jazz!