Category Archives: Uncategorized

No more beer (for now)

In our ongoing quest to get swift and svelte, we are giving something up we really enjoy (and want to have back). Sort of like when I gave up drinking beer to lose 15 lbs (but picked it back up -more moderately - after I met my goal). Here we are talking about giving up those “related goal” links at the bottom of the page that tell you about related goals (take a look at the image if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

So long old friend.  We will be together again soon.

So long old friend. We will be together again soon.

Those little darlings were slowing down some of our most popular pages by as much as 12.5 seconds. So we are setting them aside to speed up these pages and we’ll bring them back when the back-end has been reworked to speed up that query. Thanks for the support on our diet! More to come.

The Robot Co-op goes on a diet

I shouldn't have done that last super cheer, or the 3 ice creams.

I shouldn't have done that last super cheer, or the 3 ice creams.

It has been 5 years since The Robot Co-op got its start, and like some of us who work here, we have to admit we’ve gotten a bit out of shape over those years. We were trim and fit back when we first asked “What do you want to do with your life?” but we have put on a few extra pounds. It is a bit overdue that we consider going on a feature diet.

The goal of this diet is a sleeker and swifter Robot Co-op, with faster and more responsive web sites. And the extra calories we need to cut are site features (and whole sites) that are weighing us down. The team has trimmed down and we’ve cut out an “empty calorie” here and there but it’s time to get more radical in our efforts to make the sites fast and stable.

What should we give up on our new diet? Well the first thought we had was “Should do this”.

So long old friend.

It was a great idea: a suggestion box for the internet. But it didn’t proceed as we had planned, and ultimately we realized it had an ethical conundrum at the heart of its business model. Is it fair to host a suggestion forum for a company that didn’t ask to participate? It’s an interesting debate. One we never had to really consider because traffic to the site was never very meaningful. So why kill it? Saying goodbye frees up space in our brains. We have one less site to think about and more attention to put toward sites that people care about. We learned a lot from should do this, and don’t regret taking it on. But given what we learned, we decided to take it down last week. Whew, I’m feeling a bit more trim just typing that!

Next we thought, what feature did we build that users just never use? Maybe even a feature a lot of users actually hate! Well no feature was added to 43 Things that ever met with more hate and loathing than our one time pride and joy: SuperCheers.

We hate supercheers

We had big hopes. If someone would buy a teddy bear for a facebook friend, why not a SuperCheer to encourage a fellow 43Thingster? Well you all told us why, in about 400 angry emails denouncing SuperCheers and the wicked minds that concocted such a feature. OK good riddance.

In removing the feature we give up some revenue that supports the site but we get less hassle for not having to deal with it. We don’t have to maintain a secure server or deal with our credit card processor anymore and it simplifies things. We know about 3 of you out there actually like this feature and will miss it, and we appreciate you supporting the site. Sorry it is going away, but your sacrifice will help us slim down. The feature should be down later tonight.

You probably know it is hard to lose weight, so we could use your support. The goal is a site that is faster and more responsive, and Robots with more attention available toward what matters most. If you have suggestions for cuts you think we ought to make, let us know. We’ll give you an update next week on what else we are doing to get fit (sit ups, new servers, etc). See you at the gym.

Personal Growth and Personnel Changes

Daniel Spils on keyboards with Maktub

If you’ve been following the Robots for any amount of time, then surely you’ve met Daniel somewhere along the way. He was present at the creation, when the idea for 43 Things first emerged and he’s been our “Smooth Operating Officer” for nearly 5 years now.

If you are a real Daniel devotee you might also know that he’s a professional musician who over almost 10 years has released 5 albums with his band Maktub and toured the country a couple times over.

Meet Maktub

Meet Maktub

Well today is an auspicious day in that band’s history as they announce the release of their fifth album FIVE. They’ve made FIVE available as a free download, a CD you can buy from their own store, from Amazon or download mp3s from Amazon. iTunes will have it up shortly.

You should definitely check out the free downloads (really pay what you like downloads) and hear what Daniel’s been up to. Here at the Robot Co-op, we couldn’t be more proud of Daniel’s progress on his musical goals. But we are even happier about the personal news Daniel shared with us this week.

Daniel Spils is getting married!

Daniel & Brangien

Daniel & Brangien

And who is his bride? None other than Brangien Davis, the blogger behind the Robot Co-op’s now defunct Petri Project. The Co-op brought them together and we couldn’t be more proud. We think Daniel couldn’t have found a more witty, urbane, and beautiful woman to spend his life with. And Brangien couldn’t have found a more caring, loyal, and fun loving character with whom to spend each day. The both are two lucky souls and we hope you’ll join us in wishing them the best.

Teary eyed yet? Get ready to turn on the water works: Daniel Spils is taking all this change and taking leave of the Robot Co-op. He’s taking his five year anniversary with 43 Things as an opportunity to spend more time with Brangien, more time with music, more time camping, and more time to recharge for whatever comes next. We can’t say good bye to Daniel, because we count on him being around and cheering on the Co-op, but we have to let him go.

So what can we say Dan? We love you. It has been a blast. You made it up and you made it happen. You got us started and you’ll always be a Robot. Best wishes and we’ll see you at the wedding!

Site slow down

We are working out some kinks on the site that have been causing the site to slow down lately. In order to keep the site fast, we are looking at some unnecessarily complicated features that might be gunking up the works.

Over the next few weeks, you might see a few features get turned off while we work things out. One prime suspect is “external feeds”, the ability to add external feeds to folks you subscribe to, so those feeds will get stale while we figure out if we can keep them working at all. If you are looking for a similar service, try

We are also bringing on a whole new fleet of machines to serve the sites. We hope we will see a nice bump there as well. Unfortunately, the slow downs and service changes are going to impact heavy users the most. You folks have simply used the site more intensely than the system was built to accommodate. Sorry for the bumps in the road, but we are adding the faster hardware and rewriting the features to keep the site fast and a pleasure for you to use.


Giant Locavore

Big news day at the Robot Co-op. First, we want to introduce all of you to Locavore, a powerful yet simple application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that allows users to find the freshest, most sustainable fruits and vegetables no matter where they are in the United States. It was built by the Robot Co-op’s very own Buster McLeod. Here’s how Buster describes the app:

Locavore on the iPhone

Locavore on the iPhone

“Utilizing built-in GPS and location awareness, Locavore finds a fresh food enthusiast’s location and then shows them what foods are currently in season locally, and what is coming in season soon. Getting this information quickly (especially while at the market and trying to decide what to buy) means that one can get the freshest, tastiest, and most healthy foods available any time of the year.

Locavore finds information about nearby farmers’ markets and food availability data from a collaboration of partners such as, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and others to give users a real-time look at what’s available to them and where to get it. This data will continue to improve and be updated over time.

The application also connects users to recipes from Epicurious and links to Wikipedia through a simple to use and intuitive interface. It features 234 well-known and more obscure fruits and vegetables with beautiful full-color images of each, in case a user momentarily forgets what an aprium or a rambutan looks like.

Locavore is available now at the iTunes App store for $2.99 for the first thousand customers. Coming up in the next update: integration with Facebook Connect to turn the appreciation and knowledge of local food into more of a social, collaborative, effort.”

Questions, etc, you can email Buster at [email protected]

So far, Locavore has been a smash success. Since it’s launch, Locavore has racked up some great press and Buster has sold more than 5,000 copies of the app. Locavore made it all the way to #65 on the top paid apps list in the iPhone store.

Now the big news, true to form, Buster’s decided to double down and focus full time on Locavore and similar iPhone apps. While this means Buster won’t be working on 43 Things and 43 Places, All Consuming or Lists of Bests, it does mean he’ll have more time to bring new greatness to the world like what he’s built with Locavore.

When we started The Robot Co-op, personal growth was always a goal. Buster’s departure will leave a hole at the Co-op we’ll never be able to fill, but we are all very proud of him and excited about his new venture. All of us Robots wish him the very best, and as he’s going to be staying in Seattle (maybe working next door?) we hope to slowly earn back all the upside he has won in 5 years of credit card roulette.

Facebook Connect on 43 Things

Buster has been working on connecting 43 Things with Facebook via Facebook Connect.

Facebook Connect

Facebook Connect allows you to connect your Facebook account with outside websites like 43 Things. The benefit is you’ll be able to see which of your FB friends are using 43T. You’ll also be able to automatically post to your Facebook page when you adopt a goal, complete a goal or write an entry.


You need to have a Facebook account for any of this to work. If you don’t have a Facebook account or are not interested, simply click the little “x” on the FB Connect widget on your profile page in the upper, right column. You’ll never have to see it again.


You can disconnect from FB Connect anytime you like by clicking “edit” and then diconnecting. Give it a shot and let us know if you experience any weirdness (with respect to 43 Things, not in your general life).

UPDATE: It looks like Facebook has to approve the 43 Things application so it may be a couple days before it works for everyone - hold tight if on your first go around it doesn’t work. We have word into Facebook and they should be approving it soon.

There’s a book in the navigation bar … for a little while

We added a book image and message to the navigation bar up top today.  It’s a temporary thing to promote the release of our new book Dream It. List It. Do It! and the new 43 Things Personality Quiz. If you haven’t already, take the quiz … it’s quirky, fun(ny), informative and, at times, wildly insightful.


I’m an Extroverted Lifelong Learning Tree Hugger. What are you?

There’s a new 43 Things book and a fun 43 Things personality quiz to go along with it. Take the quiz, check out the book and let us know what you think. So far the most common results are “Newness-Seeking Self-Improving Tree Hugger” and “Romantic Traveling Reinventer”.  What are you?


Dream It. List It. Do It!

New 43 Things nav bar on the way

We’re launching a new navigation bar for 43 Things. Hopefully this week. Here it is (click on it to see the full size image):

The new nav bar includes Your X Things, Zeitgeist & Your Account. When you click on Your Account a dropdown box opens up with Subscriptions, Messages, Edit Account and Log Out. The search box is much bigger and the 43 Things logo moves over to the left. The pages will get a little wider (we’re moving from 750 pixels to 930 pixels). We’ve already moved many pages to 930 in the past few months, but we’re getting them all over to 930 pixels wide with the new nav bar. You may notice that there’s extra white space on the goal page - we’ll be tightening that up in the coming weeks as we’re working on a redesign of the goal page that will make use of the new 930 width.

The important links will be readily available to you from any page. You’ll now be one click away at all times from editing your account, viewing your subscriptions and your messages.

New widgets, tweaks, Cheers & tips

Thanks for all the feedback on the new profile page! In response to the missing links to other 43 websites in the footer and missing tags we’re happy to announce 2 new widgets:

Your Tags & 43 Universe Widgets:

  • Your Tags (displays the tags you’ve given to goals on 43T)
  • 43 Universe (displays links to your activity on 43 Places, 43 People, All Consuming, Lists of Bests)

To adopt these widgets click the “customize” link in the top, right corner of the right widgets column on your profile page. Select the widget and save.


  • “I love 43 Things” is no longer the default language in the About Me widget
  • remove your birthday - click edit on the About Me widget - zero out the day and month fields and save changes
  • better pagination — allows you to easily jump to the end or middle of your completed goals, entries and other paginated stuff (we’ll push this out by day’s end)
  • goals you’ve given up are now located under the “I’ve done x things” tab — click the “… & I’ve given up on x things” link up top
  • added back the “read all 5 entries” link next to entries under recent entries

I’m probably missing some other tweaks we’ve pushed out the last 24 hours.

Disappearing Cheers:

Many people’s cheers given/received have gone down a notch in the last day. This was related to a bug fix that we’ve had sitting ready to get pushed out — this fix coincidentally went out with the new profile page.

Okay, so here’s where I lay it down for you, and there’s no sugar coating that will make this cheer-drop go down any smoother. The higher cheers counts many of us had (me too) were artificially inflated for a few months. Now that the cheers count bug is fixed everyone is seeing their true, for reals, honest to goodness cheers count. So, on the one hand you probably feel deflated (damn the Cheer Goblin!). On the other hand you may be experiencing the uphoria of absolution (“These cheers are the real deal and I’m an honest cheer giver and getter!”). I choose to see the cheers glass as half full. Join me?

Tips (for fun):

  • add the Tags and 43 Universe widgets … because they’re cool
  • reorder your widgets by dragging them up and down to a desired location
  • reorder your goals by dragging them up and down
  • click on the “x cheers” link under any goal and see the fancy recent cheer pop-up
  • click on a picture and watch it get big!

Okay, that’s a mouthful. Help me spread the word about the fixes, widgets and enhancements. More to report soon …