Nate Etter Has a Blog!

I love outing friends who have blogs.

Now, Nate, it’s your turn.

I’ve known Nate since, oh, sophomore year at Stanford. 1992 I believe was the year.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with Nate since the beginning of last year, when he joined eBay to take over product management for the Sell Your Item form.  He now runs the entire product team responsible for listing on eBay.

His blog is already making me feel a little guilty about not having more family pictures here… I’m going to have to work on that.

As a side note, I found Nate’s blog through a most interesting turn – the tag functionality. I’ve started noticing that WordPress itself is becoming one of the regular referrers of traffic to my blog. I think their on to something, by getting bloggers to discover each other, and by using tools like surfacing “hot blogs” and “hot posts” to bloggers. I think they sample through some posts all the time, on every page, giving everyone a little bit of exposure.

Ironically, I noticed that one of the tags that people were using to find my blog was “Friends”. I clicked on it, and I recognized Nate’s Skype icon as the icon for the blog.

Thank you, WordPress, for reconnecting us. At least, our blogs.

Equinox Releases iSale 4 at Macworld 2007. Unbelievable eBay Selling Tool for Mac OS X.

I know I said I was a bit disappointed by Macworld 2007, but I did see a few things that I liked.

One was the new version of iSale 4 by Equinox software.


This application just keeps getting better and better.  I was really impressed with their new, searchable, listing template functionality.  I was also very impressed with the visual, live update of sales status, and the order tracking functionality.

The application represents the best possible combination of creative use of the existing eBay APIs, and a best-in-class Mac OS interface.   They support very Mac-specific touches like iPhoto integration, .Mac picture hosting, and other goodies.   The feature list at this point reads like a “Who’s Who” of Apple & eBay functionality.  Check it out on their website.

They even support the ability to preview your listing on both eBay & eBay Express!  Right in the application.  Gorgeous.

My wife continues to use GarageSale to sell on eBay, and I use the new Sell Your Item form from eBay.  But when I see great work like this, I just have to give them a shout out and say to readers, if you are looking for a great Mac application to make selling on eBay easy, try iSale.  It’s a free trial, and it’s worth checking out.

My Tivo Ate My 24 Series Premiere

I hate to post anything that even resembles something bad about Tivo, but…

My DirecTivo ate my 24 series premiere.  Or more accurately, it failed to record the second 2-hour block last night.

I caught it part way through.  At 8:45pm, nothing was recording.  When I checked, I saw that for some reason, while my Season Pass was there for 24, the guide showed “no upcoming episodes”.  That was strange, since obviously one was playing on the screen.

I hit record, and ran to the bedroom to discover, thankfully, that my 2nd DirecTivo was recording the show correctly.


But how bad was this problem?  I had a problem like this 2 weeks ago, when the Scrubs premiere failed to record.  All the other shows recorded fine, but Scrubs was showing “no upcoming episodes” even though there clearly were shows in the guide.

I found this post on PVRWire which went into some detail about problems people were having.   I don’t buy the conspiracy theories about DirecTV trying to ruin people’s Tivo experience to get them to “upgrade” to the craptastic box that is the DirecTV-branded DVR.  But bugs and issues can and do happen, and it made me realize how much I depend on my Tivo “just working”.

I double-checked my To Do list for the week, and I discovered no less than four other shows that had the same problem.  I manually added them to the To Do list, but I’m worried.  I hope they fix this problem soon.

A spokesperson on CNET has saidit is aware of the problem and should have it fixed by this evening (last Friday).” However, at this point in time DirecTiVo users are continuing to report problems.

Yesterday, The Venice Project. Today, Joost. Tomorrow, Yours.

There is a lot of coverage today about the official unveiling of The Venice Project, now called Joost. You can easily do a search on Google News for Joost – I’m sure it will be in all of the papers tomorrow.


Joost is the latest and greatest attempt to bring high definition video to the internet. The reason it is getting so much attention is simple: Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. They are the founders behind the infamous peer-to-peer music service, Kazaa, and more recently, the voice-over-IP phenomenon Skype.

Om Malik, on NewTeeVee, has the best write up of the new venture:

The Venice Project is not just another online video start-up. The Luxembourg-based company is the latest co-production of the two-person hit factory of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. The founders of Kazaa and Skype are hoping that The Venice Project will upend the television experience just as their earlier efforts turned the music and phone businesses on their respective heads.

And while the glam duo might hog the headlines, the task of making the Venice Project a reality falls on the shoulders of Fredrik de Wahl, a lanky Swede with a quiet demeanor who has been a cohort of Messrs. Zennstrom and Friis for more than half a decade.

Before reading his piece, I had no idea how much of the Joost application was built over Mozilla.  Very interesting, and a smart move in the current environment where the market will not reward you for rebuilding UI and application frameworks.  It will reward you for quality of user experience, and of course, our good friend time-to-market.

The Joost website is fun to read – you can sign up for the Beta if you are running Windows.  You can also enjoy the colorful design of the sight, and the flowery Web 2.0 language.

I had the opportunity, briefly, to meet Niklas & Janus in December while attending an eBay leadership conference here in San Jose.  I cannot pretend to know them well, but it is immediately striking when you meet them how passionate they are about user experience and simplicity, and how direct and honest they are with their comments and discussion.

I’m not sure how to resolve the limitations of our current broadband infrastructure in the United States to allow for the peer-to-peer distribution of content like high definition television, which is just incredibly large.  It’s so large that a Tivo Series 3 requires a 250GB drive just to store about 30 hours of it.   Hard drives are big, but the upload support that most people have from their ISPs is quite small.  For example, I get 3Mbps download from Pacific Bell, sorry SBC, sorry AT&T, but only 1/4 that is available as upload capacity at 768Kbps.  That means it’s possible for me to download video, but hard for me to use my upload service to “share” the content with another user.

In any case, I’m glad to see The Venice Project come out from under wraps.  Let’s see if Joost becomes a verb the way that Skype did.

How I Spent My Birthday Weekend (2007)

This year was special, because the entire United States decided to celebrate a three day weekend in honor of my birthday. I thought I’d jot some notes for you on what I considered a really great birthday weekend:


  • Woke up (8:00 am)
  • Had breakfast with Jacob
  • Watched Joseph
  • Helped give Newton & Darwin a bath (my specialty is drying the beagles as they go through “Beagle frenzy”)
  • Went to lunch in Los Altos at Tour Eiffel with Carolyn & Jacob & Joseph (Vietnamese Pho)
  • Took Jacob to get his haircut
  • Got coffee with my Mom
  • Listed about 8 items for sale on eBay
  • Ate dinner with my parents
  • Put Jacob to bed


  • Woke up (8:00 am)
  • Had breakfast with Jacob
  • Read the NY Times Sunday Business & Week in Review
  • Went to lunch at On The Border in Milpitas with Carolyn (Jacob & Joseph napped the entire time!)
  • Spent a couple hours online
  • Went to my parents house for dinner with my brother & sister, parents, and grandparents.
  • Blew out birthday candles & opened presents
  • Went home late! Put the kids to bed.


  • Woke up (8:00 am)
  • Had breakfast with Jacob
  • Watched the two boys alone for an hour or two.
  • Watched the first two hours of 24
  • Went to lunch at Chili’s
  • Went to Costco
  • Set up my new GPS unit for my car
  • Went out to a movie, Children of Men, with Carolyn (alone!)
  • Came home, ate dinner.
  • Put Jacob to bed
  • Packed & Shipped the 12 successful items that closed on eBay over the weekend
  • Blogging

My time with Jacob & Joseph is so precious. They are growing so fast. This weekend was filled with so many great and simple moments with them. Even a trip to Costco is fun when you’ve got Jacob in the front of the cart, and you’re racing down the ramp. I’m not sure how it could have been better.

And that’s how I celebrated the big 100000 (binary), or the big 20 (hex).