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Secrets of the Startup Sages March 31, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Education, Web 2.0.
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What better way to learn how to launch a startup than to get advice from those who’ve proven to be successful with their own startups? Here is a collection of excellent wisdom and advice from some of the best startup sages in web history. Also included are links to their blogs and twitter profiles. Both resources are still alive and offer valuable information that only adds to their impressive body of work.

Evan Williams (Blogger, Odeo, Twitter)

Twitter: @Ev

Blog: http://evhead.com

Advice for Startups (1995 long before Twitter)

10 Rules for Web Startups

Several video interviews during Odeo days

Loic Lemeur (seesmic)

Twitter: @LoicLemeur

Blog: http://www.loiclemeur.com

Top 10 Things for Startups

Think Global Not Local

Jason Calacanis (Mahalo)

Twitter: @JasonCalacanisBlog: http://www.calacanis.com

How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips)

Startup Handbook: How to identify and deal with the slow masses, knowledgeable skeptics, and savvy dreamers.

Guy Kawasaki (Truemors, AllTop, Garage)

Twitter: @GuyKawasaki

Blog: http://www.GuyKawasaki.com

The Art of Innovation (Speech with Slides)

The Art of the Start (Speech)

Michael Arrington (Techcrunch)

Twitter: @TechCrunch

Blog: http://www.techcrunch.com

Startups Must Hire The Right People And Watch Every Penny or Fail

Michael Arrington and 13 Startup CEOs at Web 2.0 (Video)

Gary Vaynerchuk (Winelibrary.TV)

Twitter: @GaryVee

Blog: http://garyvaynerchuk.com

Legacy is Greater than Currency

The DNA Game

Final Thoughts on Startups:

This was just a sampling of the vast amount of excellent information available today about startups from the masterminds who’ve been successful with their own startups.

I selected the cream of the crop here and included many video presentations as well. Does following all of this advice ensure successful for your startup? I doubt it.

However, it will only help you avoid many of the mistakes that others have experienced the hard way. Perhaps you can become of these startup sages someday sharing the lessons you’ve learned!

43 People Places and Things March 30, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Lists.
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The following three sites are excellent ways to help you accomplish your goals of meeting the people you most want to meet, places you want to visit and things you want to accomplish in life. The best part of these services is the social network aspect which allows you to communicate with those people who have the same goals you have. You can also learn valuable lessons from those members who’ve already accomplished the goals you’re trying to achieve. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from the mistakes of your predicessors?

43 People is for tracking the people you most want to meet in life. They can be celebrities which is the most popular type of person for members. However, your list can include more realistic and perhaps enjoyable types such as people from your industry or profession. They can be fellow bloggers or members from twitter or social networks. It can be strictly business or personal or a combination of both. 43People can actually help you accomplish your goals by letting you learn how others managed to meet the very same people you want to meet.

43 Places is the same concept as 43 People but for places you want to visit. It’s also a great place to learn more about those places by reading the experiences others have had while visiting those places. You might even become interested in visiting new places after reading these reviews. It’s a good way to learn the best do’s and don’ts about places and cultures and could save you much embarrassment as well as time and expense.

43 Things is my favorite of the bunch. It actually started it all by allowing members to track all of the things that they want to accomplish/experience in life. The same principle of learning from the experiences of others applies in this case. Learn how to accomplish your goal as well as learn about any hurdles or obsticles.

Final Thoughts:

Personally, I wish they would merge all three sites into one service. Still, I think all three serve a good purpose and do it simply and quickly. If nothing else, it’s a great way to brainstorm and come up with a shortlist of the people you want to meet, places to visit and things to accomplish.

Writing 2.0 March 28, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Web 2.0, Writing.

Writers have always been resistent to change when it comes to accepting new technology as useful tools. It probably started with writing instrument replacements such as the quill, pen, pencil and later the typewriter which most writers resisted in the beginning. Ultimately, these new gadgets all became a common writing instruments. The same thing happened with computers and word processor programs. Most writers didn’t make the switch at first, but in time the majority of them did. The same pattern has repeated with the Internet and web 2.0 services that have been launched for writers. Fortunately, there has always been maverick writers who enjoy testing new things and experimenting with new technology and inventions. Eventually, others follow their lead until it becomes an accepted tool. While many writers are still resistent to these new online tools and services, the new age of writing technology has indeed begun. History will continue to repeat itself as the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Here are some of the best writing websites that I’ve seen thus far.


Invent-a-Story is another collaborative story writing site but this one does it just one line at a time! It’s silly but fun stuff.

Glypho is a story-by-committee type of service where everyone works together on a story and vote on the best chapter contribution. This all leads to many twists and turns in the direction of a story but it can be fun for those who are into this type of thing. It appears to be a good way to exercise your writing chops or breaking any writer’s block you might have.

Ficlets is a unique service. They describe themselves are literary legos and here’s why. Everyone can contribute their own ficlet which has a maximum character (not word!) count of 1,024 (as in one megabyte) and a minumum 64 character count. Others can contribute a prequel or a sequel to your ficlet and you can do the same with other ficlets. I told you they were different.

Novlet is similar to ficlets in that you are writing a story with others online, but the limits are not as low. Each Novlet story is divided into passages or sections of texts (usually 2-3 paragraphs long). Each passage can have one or more different continuations: it’s up to you, the reader, to decide how the story you’re reading should go on. And if you don’t like any of the potential continuations that have been already written, you can always write your own one, and start a new storyline.

NovelMaker is an interactive community for fiction writers, readers, critics, literary agents, editors, and publishers. Authors can upload completed works, or works-in-progress, and receive editorial suggestions, comments, reviews, and ratings. Those reviews and ratings may take new and unpublished writers into a realm never before accessible to them – a large, interactive community participating with them in the creation, and potential commercial success, of new works of fiction.

Authors can get instantaneous feedback, cover art, factual information, maps, pictures, and all manner of useful information to advance their literary endeavors to new levels. Readers can participate in an author’s creative process, rate and review an author’s work, create a user group to discuss the author’s work, or buy the author’s completed novel – in paper format or one of several e-book reader formats.

Literary agents can seek talent and worthy works of fiction online instead of just the old methods of over-the-transom submissions, query letters, and word-of-mouth. They can now read new works of fiction online, see the results of ratings and reviews by users on the site and see whose works may be commercially viable – because of the voting by the online community.

Editors and publishers have the opportunity to review new works of fiction, provide comments, and, most importantly, see what will sell based on our community response to new works. It can become a “testing ground” for an editor looking for the next best-seller.

StoryLink is an online networking and educational site for the creative community. They were conceived with both professional and aspiring writers and filmmakers in mind. Here’s what they offer:

  • StoryLink allows you to connect with peers with similar aspirations and experiences. Store, share and swap stories with other writers. Make invaluable contacts that will help launch your writing or filmmaking career.
  • Communicate with professional writers and filmmakers.
  • Up-to-the-minute events calendar featuring workshops, seminars, retreats and lectures. Be informed of the thousands of grant, fellowship and contest opportunities.
  • Articles and educational lectures hosted by professionals.

BookSpoke claims to be a dual-purpose site. One for readers and one for writers. It allows you to setup a blog of sorts so you as the writer can keep your legions of readers informed on your every move.

PlotBot is an excellent service for screenwriters that was previously covered on here in “Your Ticket to Hollywood“. You can work on your screenplays privately online or collaborate with others.
Final Thoughts:
I am still looking for that killer social network for writers, a sort of MySpace for literary types or a facebook for authors. I know it will happen some day very soon. In the mean time, I will keep an eye on this space and maintain a list of the best writing tools and services in a public spreadsheet called Writers Tools.

How Safe Is Your Neighborhood? March 27, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in family.
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This is not going to be a pleasant experience so brace yourself. This is about finding out information that you really don’t want to know about your neighborhood, but trust me this is important and worth doing. Thanks to technology you are now able to perform a search for all registered sex offenders in your neighborhood and surrounding areas. Yes, I know that this is a disturbing topic but it’s something all parents must be aware of.

So, for those of you who can handle it, here is a powerful tool that will help you learn how safe your neighborhood is and could possibly ensure the safety of your family and their friends.

Family WatchDog is an excellent service that works like google maps where you enter your address and it generates a map showing the location of each and every sex offender in your area. It will list the total sex offenders that appear on the map as well as those that aren’t mappable for whatever reason. Here’s the map results for my area in Alpharetta, Georgia:

The red squares are where registered sex offenders against children live. Burgundy squares indicate where they work. Yellow squares indicate rapists and blue indicates Sexual Battery offenders. Clicking on any square launches a new page with a great deal of information of the sex offender including their name, aliases, address, map of their location, convictions, Description, and a photograph. It’s all starling information, especially the closer they are to your home.

If offenders do not appear on the map, the LIST tab is another option to view this information. This is what it will look like:

Clicking on the name will launch the same detailed web page with all the information registered with that offender.

The Offender addresses dropdown list gives the option to list the unmappable offenders for more details.

The Recent Address Changes reveals the offenders who’ve been on the move and changed addresses.

The Get Free Alerts will send you email notifications about any of the offenders that you flag.

The send map to a friend lets you share information with anyone you believe needs to know about a specific offender.


I’m not doing this for sensationalism or to generate blog traffic. I promise you that I would give anything in the world if we didn’t have to deal with these types of things in life. I’m the father of three small children so my number one priority is protecting my family. I know that there are many other parents who feel the same way and that will appreciate having this service and the valuable information it provides.

I have to add that everyone in life deserves a second chance in life. I believe in our justice system, despite all its faults and problems, it is the best in the known world. While I believe that MOST of these offenders will commit sexual crimes again in their lifetime, I do not believe that ALL of them will do so. Please do not condemn everyone in this registry automatically. People make mistakes and these individuals have certainly made the biggest mistakes of all, but we should never just give up all hope on anyone without first giving them the chance for rehabilitation. Many of them will actually become contributing members to society. However, it makes sense to keep informed of where these individuals are located especially in relation to your neighborhood and schools.

Sideways 2.0 March 26, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Web 2.0.
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When Gary Vaynerchuk met Robert Scoble recently I had an idea for a sequel to the popular movie “SIDEWAYS“. Imagine GaryVee and Scoble in the lead roles as two web-savvy guys whose mission is to turn the usually stuffy wine industry upside down! It would be semi-auto-biographical as Gary has done just that with his incredible “Thunder Show” on WineLibrary.TV. His “little” web show has made his business a massive success and now everyone is following him on Twitter and everywhere else online.

Here’s a mock poster for SIDEWAYS 2.0!


I.T. Happens! No.6 March 25, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Comedy, Comic Strips.
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“What’s in a name?”

Click to enlarge


Twitter is this generation’s CB Radio March 25, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, Movies.
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Everyone is going ga ga over twitter these days but it reminds me of a similar communications craze that swept the country way back in the 1970s when I was tiny little Pai. I’m talking about CB (Citizens’ Band) Radio which reached its peak of populariy in 1975/1976 with the hit song “CONVOY” by C.W. McCall. Click this link if you want to hear the song. Here are the lyrics (but you will need to to visit the Cb Slang and Ten-Codes links below to understand most of song!). Here’s C.W. McCall performing Convoy on the Mike Douglas Show in 1976 (Prepare yourself for sheer entertainment! Remember, this was the hottest thing in the land! People couldn’t get enough of it!)

The CB Radio phenomenon was so huge that there was even a movie version of the “Convoy” song in 1978 starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw.

Where Twitter requires a username to access their system, CB Radio required a nickname or handle for a call sign. For example, in the popular song “Convoy” the nicknames used were “Rubber Ducky”, “Pig Pen” and “Sod Buster”. Where Twitter limits all messages to only 140-characters, CB Radio required messages to be as short as possible which spawned a massive library of short-hand terms known as CB Slang. Here are some examples:

“Convoy” – a group of 3 or more truckers in a line, usually exceeding the speed limit.
“Bear” = Police officer
“Evel Knievil” = Cop on a motorcycleCB Radio users also made great use of the Ten-Codes or properly known as ten signals. These were code words used to represent common phrases in voice communication, particularly by law enforcement and in CB radio transmissions. Here are some samples:

  • 10:4 (Understood, OK, Affirmative)
  • 10:9 (Repeat Last message)
  • 10-00 (Office down, All Patrols Respond)

So the old adage “Everything old is new again” could very well apply in this case too. Sure, CB Radio was strictly an audio communication platform and Twitter is a micro-blogging platform based on text, but there are some valid similarities between the communication crazes that are separated by thirty plus years. CB Radio users were able to communicate from home as well as on the road so they were the first true mobile network. It makes me wonder what will be the next great communication craze another thirty years into the future? Telepathetic holographic communication called MindWarp.com? Who knows.

Final Thoughts: While the CB Radio craze eventually wore off and now considered a fad, I don’t think Twitter will suffer the same fate. I think it will continue to change and evolve relative to the way that we use it. I think it will always be around in some capacity, we just have to wait and see if we’re merely at the beginning of Twitter’s popularity or at its peak. Time will tell.

Free Writer’s Toolkit March 22, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Freeware, Writing.
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There is a vast treasure trove of free software and online services that can greatly assist writers with their work. Here are some of the best free tools and services that writers can add to their technological toolkit. Most of the free software is for the Microsoft Windows platform but versions for other platforms like MAC OS and Linux will be noted when available.

Free Software


StorYBook is an open-source application for writing books of all types. One of the most impressive packages that I’ve seen. The best feature is the way it helps you organize your chapters and offers differents views such as a chronological view of chapters by date or book view according to chapter numbers.
Here’s a screenshot:








Download (windows or linux)

yWriter is an impressive novel-writing program that was created by a writer so it makes
the process of outlining and editing much easier and even pleasurable!
Incredbily, it’s totally free!

WordWeb is a small but powerful dictionary that hardly misses a word.


MobySaurus is an impressive thesaurus!

TheSage is a dictionary and thesaurus all rolled up into one cool
little application. Search results reveal a great deal of samples too.
OpenOffice The ultimate Microsoft Office clone that is totally free and open source.
There is Write (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint), Base (Access) and more!
Download (Win, Mac, Linux)
CutePDF Writer lets you create professional quality PDF files from any printable document.
FREE for personal and commercial use.
No watermarks. No popup Web advertisements!

McGill Dictionary of Rhyme is an amazing deal here because not only does it include an excellent rhyming dictionary but also a program called
VersePerfect that used to cost $150. These tools are excellent for song writers and poets. The real-time syllabel counter and spellchecker are VERY nice!

FreeMind is a free mindmapping program written in java.Downloads (win, Mac, Linux)

EverNote allows you to capture and search through notes, mobile phone snapshots,
webpage clips, images of printed and handwritten text, emails, passwords, brainstorms,
sketches, documents, and much, much more.

NoteTabLite The best text editor that I’ve ever used and I’ve been using it for many years!
NoteTabLite lets you open many text files at the same time with its unique tabbed
interface (much like a browser). It remembers all of the files you had open the last
time you used it and reopens them all automatically for you.

Free Services

Definr is a quick and powerful online dictionary that never seems to miss.


Freethesaurus is an useful online thesaurus from the makers of MobySaurus the thesaurus software.


RhymeZone  Very fast and useful online Rhyming search engine


WordFrequencyCounter Counts the frequency of words you’ve used.


MindMeister  is the best online mindmapping service that allows you to embed any map and share them with
others. An excellent tool for outlining stories or ideas.


Google Docs  is an excellent online word processor that lets you store your writing which you can access from anywhere,
anytime.You can export your google docs to word format or import word documents. You can publish any document as a public document so others can view it online. You can make it totally public for everyone to see or make them private justfor yourself or invite others you select to view or even edit the document.


Google Notebook is an online notebook for storing all kinds of text, images, links, etc. Create many subsections, tags, etc.


Zoho Writer Another excellent online word processor with storage anZoho offers the same features forsharing as google docs.


Zoho Db & Reports Easy and fast online database builder. Create databases to track story ideas, plots, characters,submissions, etc.


Zoho Creator
Similar to Zoho DB & Reports, but the big different is the ability to create slick looking web apps within minutes without a line of code! Here’s a sample app I created in 5 minutes called My Muse that lets you track your writing, including blog posts. It’s overly simple, but you can copy it to your account and change it any way you want.


Free Social Networks and Services for Writers were covered in Writing 2.0. Here’s a list of the best of these writing networks as well as all of the free software listed on here.

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Classic Computer Games March 18, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Fun, Games.
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I remember the first time my older brothers played PONG. My little brother and I were speechless and watched with jaws dropped and in amazement. We held countless tournements and loved that black and white game. Looking at the games of today in comparison is absolutely unbelievable. We’ve come a long way.

Here’s a screenshot of Pong.

Here’s a video of the thrilling game action! (Note: this footage has not been enhanced in any way! What you see is exactly what we played!)

Here’s a TV commercial for the home edition of Pong!

Atari offered a boatload of fun games you could play at home such as baseball and breakout. Here’s a TV commercial with some famous faces including Pete Rose who learned early on about his future regarding the Hall of Fame.

Here’s another sad but true game we played. It was a DOS game called Qbasic Gorillas.

Here are the gorillas in action!

Here’s a modern 3D version of the classic old game

Some of you will laugh at these old games but they were pioneers and critical to the evolution of the modern computer video games. Think of them like the first men to walk on the moon. The technology might seem antiquated to us today but it was all state of the art in their time. So please think twice before mocking any of these classic computer games. Ok, you’re allowed to snicker at the gorilla game because we did too even back then. 🙂

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LinkBunch March 17, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Online Services.
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LinkBunch is a simple but extremely useful little service that lets you send multiple hyperlinks with a single short hyperlink. Nothing more, nothing less.

Just go to http://linkbun.ch and enter all of the hyperlinks you want to share on a service like Twitter or via email or instant messaging and click the bunch button.

LinkBunch will create a new short link that will share all of the links on one page.

Here’s a sample:

In this hectic ultra-busy digital age, every second and every click counts! Being able to share multiple links with a single click is a much needed service!

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