June 5, 2009

  • It's Alive!!!

    You may have seen this elsewhere, but some big news...  the missus is pregnant!

    This is our third try at creating life!  It's been very depressing having two miscarriages...  so it was exciting to make it out of the first trimester (we're at week 13).

    Keep your fingers crossed for us, will ya?

April 13, 2009

  • [protected with Friends Lock]

    Just kidding.  I wouldn't go Friends Locked on you.

    Friends Lock is one of those things that's great when you use it... but you kinda wish nobody else did.  It's like Caller ID... it's great when you can screen your own calls.  But it's no fun to have your calls screened!

    The Xanga equivalent: it's mildly irritating when you see a username in your footprints and you go to click on it... and the site is Friends Locked.

    Then again, if you're having trouble with someone bothering you... you kinda have to use Caller ID or Friends Lock.  So there's that.  I saw a CSI:NY recently where a woman was being stalked, and she turned to extreme measure to get her life back.  The internet can be a scary place, which is why we built privacy features like this.

    Have you ever had to use Friends Lock?  How did it work for you?

April 3, 2009

  • Thanks Sungball!

    Sungball found a bug with the new Facebook pinger thingy!  The optout checkbox doesn't work in Safari... son of a gun.  It worked in Firefox, Firefox for the Mac, and IE... but not Safari.

    Turns out one of our backend controls isn't fluent in Safari-ese.  We're patching it with a fix now... it should be fixed on Monday it's fixed now!

    Thanks for the bug report, Sungball!  Much obliged.

March 31, 2009


    Xanga could use your support!  We have an advertising campaign with Infiniti.  It's a neat promo: if you post their ad widget to your blog, they'll give you 500 credits.  It's one of the most generous widget deals we've ever negotiated.

    The campaign is on its last day, and we could use some help!  There are about 700 widgets left.  They're going fast, but we want to make sure that they're all installed before midnight.

    Could you help us out, and install the widget if you haven't already?  I would greatly appreciate it... and it would help out Xanga as well!  Plus you get 500 credits... hopefully win/win/win?

    You can check out the widget here, or install it here with a single click:


  • Infiniti Weekend Getaways Widget

    I just posted this Infiniti Weekend Getaways widget for 500 credits. You can earn free credits too!

February 13, 2009

  • Easy Answers

    There is a lot of bad economic analysis in the newspapers these days (and heck, on Xanga and the blogosphere too).  The thing is, it can be hard to spot... so I thought I'd help pull together some rules of thumb.

    Bad Economics Rule of Thumb #1. The author is predicting about the past

    Economics is HARD man!  Well at least, it's hard to make economics predictions ahead of time.  However, it is insanely easy to make economics predictions after the fact, and explain why (of course) you knew the answer all along.

    I will show you how easy it is by giving you some brilliant economic analysis, after the fact:

    • We were in a massive real estate bubble that recently ended.
    • The Fed did not police the bubble at all, and in fact helped cause it through low interest rates.
    • Many recent administrations greatly encouraged the bubble by pushing for subprime home ownership (Republicans tend to blame Clinton, while Democrats tend to blame W.)
    • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should never have invested so heavily into subprime mortgages.
    • Lehman Brothers should never have been allowed to fail.

    I know this all seems obvious now, but man... does anyone remember how confused everyone was when all this stuff went down?!  It's easy to "predict" the past... it's hard to predict the future.

    Bad Economics Rule of Thumb #2: Everything is completely obvious, what are you a frickin' IDIOT?!

    This stuff is super hard!  Very few people have experience with managing a credit crisis, let alone one in a global economy.  And yet, some people make out like the answer is super duper obvious, and you're a tool for not understanding everything as clearly as they do.

    This stuff is so dang hard that many of the greatest economic minds of our generation are struggling to get their heads around what's going on.  Now it's possible that you are a genius and the answer is completely obvious to you!  But it's also possible that it just seems obvious because the problem is more complex than you think.

    Bad Economics Rule of Thumb #3: Main Street = Good, Wall Street = Bad

    I see a lot of articles that say, the Bailout did nothing but enrich Wall Street and screw Main Street.  There's definitely some truth to that.  And to be honest, I hate Wall Street as much as the next guy (probably much, much more). 

    But if our entire financial system melts down completely, Main Street is completely screwed.  I mean, banks are the lifeblood of our economy... we can't survive without them.

    Was anyone else forced to read that Orwell book, Animal Farm?  The animals take over the farm and start changing, "Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad!!"  Reminds me of a lot of articles on the economy these days.

    We need both Two Legs and Four Legs to make it out of the Great Depression II in one piece.

    ps in my perfect world, Wall Street survives but they get evicted and have to sell all their fancy cars like in that Eddie Murphy movie, Trading Places.


    I sure hope that the government figures this all out.  Neither the Bush or the Obama administration has had too much luck so far, and I'm incredibly concerned for the US economy.  But don't worry: I'll let someone else figure it out, and then afterward I'll share the answer with ya.

    How could you not have seen the answer beforehand - it was so obvious!

January 23, 2009

  • Vanedave is actually funny!

    So last Friday night, I went to the NY Comedy Club to see Vanedave perform live!

    He killed... his set was awesome!  I was more nervous than he was... cuz I knew if Dave sucked, I would have to get my lie on.  Or at least, I'd have to make ambiguously positive statements like, "Wow, I can't believe you did that!  It takes a lot of guts to get on stage!"  <-- Notice none of these statements depends on him actually being funny.

    But Vanedave was really funny (please note: his humor touched on Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and domestic violence... not for everyone).  You can see a video of his set on his blog.  The video actually doesn't show how funny he was or how hard people were laughing... or how comfortable he was on stage.  I was really impressed!  I could never do something like that.

    I went out for drinks afterward with Dave and his girlfriend (it was great to meet you Denise!), and we ended up having a few cold ones.  There was a two drink minimum at the club, so I ended up having four beers inside of me.  I've cut way back on drinking, so I was definitely buzzin'.  That's my excuse for giving him advice like:

    Oops!  Haha, I should've given Dave my "please don't blog my drunken babble" speech.  What I meant by finding your angry lesbian is that, successful comedians seem to have a niche.  Like how Lenny Bruce was always yelling... and Dave Chappelle was always joking about race and identity.  Or how Russell Peters talks mostly about immigrants and Asians.  It seems like becoming a comic is all about finding your niche?

    Anyway I had a great time watching Dave perform, and would definitely recommend you check out one of his shows!  If he gives a heads up before his next performance, I'll post it here.  If anyone wants to join, just let me know.  We can heckle him from the audience, and then blog about it... sound good?

January 14, 2009

  • Xanga Survey

    Saw this survey on BrittMiles's site, so filled it out on a break.

    What's the reasoning behind your name?

    It's my name.

    Do mass messages really annoy you?


    What about time stamping?

    Rampant timestamping annoys me.  I just think it's rude.  The only exception is if you've added something new to the post.

    Could you list the colors of the xanga boxes without looking?

    I should hope so!  Blue, Red, Green, Orange, and Yellow.  Darn, I got the order wrong though.

    How many people do you have blocked?

    I can't block people... it wouldn't be very professional.

    Do you miss Xanga's old homepage?

    There have been so many!  I miss them all...

    Xanga offers you a position on their workforce-do you accept?

    I don't think this survey was targeted at me.

    What's the dumbest thing to blog about?

    It's your own blog; you can blog about whatever you want.

    Has Xanga become a bxtchfest?

    No, it has always been this way haha.

    What ish site would you like to add?

    Ugh I hate the term "ish" (we're working on an official name for them).  We've had people ask for a subsite about art, one focused on humor, a video gaming site, and a few others.

    Do you have favorite people on Xanga?

    I love all the children of Xanga equally.

    Do you use Xanga to store pictures from your computer?

    I hate pictures.  Don't you know - pictures steal your soul!

    Just kidding, I don't believe in souls.  I don't believe in pictures either though.

    What's your profile picture of?

    It's a drawing from explodingdog.com.  I don't know why I like it.  Maybe a psychology major can fill me in on my subconscious desire to protect myself from loss.

    Do you vlog on Xanga?


    Copy and past the last 2 messages you sent:

    I send this one so much - ugh I hate managing Featured mostly because so many sites are locked:

    "Your post about _____ is great, and was submitted to be featured on our frontpage. We'd love to feature it, but your site is "Signin Locked"?

    Would you be willing to unlock your site for a week or so? Please let me know!"

    All my other messages are about customer service questions.  I have noticed that once I reply to a help question from my personal account, they will never contact our help desk again.  And yet I continue to do so...  I must have a limited capacity to learn.

    Copy and past the last 3 messages you received (not of the same thread as the sent.):

    I can't do this for privacy reasons.

    Do you delete messages ever?

    I get too many to delete them.  Or, I'm too lazy.  Or both.

    Have you ever met somebody off Xanga?

    Maybe 100 times.

    Xanga is closing in ten minutes. What do you do?

    Take a long, long nap.

January 6, 2009

  • The scariest dream of my life

    We are doing an interesting promo for the horror movie, "The Uninvited" that I think is pretty neat.  Basically we are hosting a contest where people blog about their scariest nightmare ever (and get 1000 credits).  Then we read the top 25 rec'd and commented posts, and pick the best one!  The winner gets to go to a special premiere in their hometown with a bunch of friends.

    I'm not eligible to win (curses!), but I thought I'd kick things off.  So without further ado, here is the story of my scariest nightmare ever:

    The Scariest Nightmare of My Life, by xanga.com/john

    One afternoon maybe five years ago, I was at home chilling in my bed.  I was exhausted and wanted to take a nap, but for some reason I couldn't fall asleep.  I was just lying there counting sheep, and waiting for the sleepies to hit.

    But the zzz's just weren't coming, so I lay on the bed miserable and awake.  At least I thought I was awake... unbeknownst to me, at some point I had actually fallen asleep!  But in my dream, I was still lying down in the same bed, still trying to fall asleep.

    At that very moment, a ghost started gliding by overhead.  It wasn't a scary ghost - just a floating spirit.  Not coincidentally, the ghost looked exactly like the ghost from Raiders of the Lost Ark (after Indiana opens the ark and tells everyone to close their eyes but of course the Nazi's don't and they all get eaten).  The ghost wasn't too scary or anything, but definitely freaky.  (In the picture to the right, I am the Nazi but I was lying down and I wasn't wearing a Nazi uniform.)

    Then *just* as the ghost was about to pass me, it glanced down and saw me.  The ghost glided to a sudden stop.  I held my breath, hoping against hope that it would just keep moving.  But of course, the ghost wasn't going to pass up on a good snack and decided to go for the kill.  It transformed into a hideous demonic ghost with claws and sharp teeth and plunged down from the heavens to attack!!!

    I had no idea I was still asleep, and that this was a dream.  I was convinced that I was going to be killed by this demonic ghost viciously attacking me with its claws.  I threw up my arms and legs to fight the demon, and started flailing about to try and knock it down so maybe I could run from the room (my strategy sucked, since the ghost could probably just phase right through the door.  In my defense, I had never fought to the death with a ghost before.).

    Of course by this point... I had completely woken up and found myself in the exact same spot as I was when I fell asleep.  My poor wife (then girlfriend) was lying next to me, completely bewildered as to why I was screaming in total fear while thrashing at the empty air above me.  She said that she's never heard me (or anyone) scream like that... it was like out of a horror movie.

    It was by far the scariest dream of my life.  It's been five years and since that day, I've barely had a single other dream.  I guess that one dream scared all my other dreams away!

    What's the scariest nightmare you've ever had?  Tell me in the comments... and then repost it to your site and get 1,000 credits!

    If you've had a scary nightmare and are interested in entering the Scariest Nightmare contest, click here!  You get 1k credits just for entering the contest.  Good luck!

January 5, 2009

  • Quick Updates

    I'll be posting about the site maintenance soon on TheXangaTeam, but I wanted to share a few quick updates:

    • We're moving our hardware around within our network facility, which is why we're doing all this site maintenance lately.  It should be done within a day or so, and we'll be back on track.
    • I saw some reports that pulse comments stopped going through a few minutes ago... we'll get that fixed asap!
    • I feel like I should have three updates, but I only have two.

    Will keep you all posted!  I also have some followup posts on Xanga Ideas I'm working on, so more updates on that soon too .