Month: January 2006

HeadsDown should have been RSS

The other day Charlene asked me to explain RSS to her. RSS is an XML format which contains titles, blurbs, times, dates, and full text from a website. The RSS feed is usually published whenever a new posting goes up on a website. RSS feed aggregators then download these RSS files and alert users to the new content on the website. She turned to me and said “That's the original idea for HeadsDown!”.

Yes…yes it was.

I just renewed the HeadsDown domain last month, converting it from Network Solutions, over to GoDaddy.com where all of my domains live. While doing so I looked up my original date of purchase…January 27th, 1997.

My friend Tim and I went for a meeting with a VC firm to pitch our idea. Tim wanted to rename it something positive like “Surf's Up”, though my comment was that you were bringing Headlines Down, hence the name “HeadsDown”.

The project was this idea where we would use HTML standards to search websites for changes in content and use web standards to look for things in “H” tags. The program would then bring down the headlines into the app and create a link through to the website.

We also thought about creating a text file standard that could be used to let websites notify users when their websites were updated.

Our business model would be based off of selling advertising in the program. We asked for $200,000 in initial start-up funding, which would have paid for our salaries, computers, office space, and a couple of programmers for six months.

We didn't keep on pursuing it, but I really do think that if we had kept it up, we might have stumbled on RSS about 4 years before RSS came alive.

That's not to say I'm not proud of what HeadsDown has become. I use it all the time to update my websites, and our Easy Updating tool is pretty much my favourite part of it.

Why I’m a bad man

Wow…I thought I was busy before. Apparently the things that I thought were “busy” were just the preliminary rounds to what is actual busyness. I know my busy-ness is a poor excuse for why I haven't posted on my own darned site in ages…but what can ya do? Here's a few of the things I've been working on;

All New Comics
My little online comic book webstore is getting bigger. My partner Pete and I have been doing a ton of things to get ready for the show, and I'm having a few major projects worked on to help me get the store to where I need it to be. We're going to have a major presence at the Toronto Comicon, and that is sort of our “coming out party”. I'm doing designs for business cards, banners, stands, placards, and a postcard that we will give away to everyone at the show.

We've got a half a dozen regular users on the site right now, and we're getting some good attention. That will increase in the next couple of months because of the next two projects. Hey, remember to sign up today to start getting your comics from All New Comics!

The Toronto Comicon website
I did all of the major work last year, but this year I've been working on a ton of little things like modifying pictures, creating new banner ads, little tiny things that take up a little bit of time each. The show is April 28th-30th and is already embroiled in a major controversy. The competing convention organizer in Toronto, Aman Gupta's “Canadian National Expo”, is running a “Toronto Comicon Fan Appreciation Event” the week before the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon. I inserted myself into the conversation trying to convince Aman to rename his one day show to be more in line with his summer offerings to reduce the confusion in the marketplace he's causing. He declined…so to prove what a pathetic business man he is, I went out and bought www.torontocomicexpo.com since it's up for grabs. Who knows, maybe I'll start up a comic convention of my own the weekend before his? Fortunately the man is a moron and will probably run himself out of business in the next few years.

The Women of Comics
My partner Pete has had this idea to do a spotlight on the Women of Comics for a couple of years now. We are officially sponsoring the panels and the guests, so we are getting a ton of referrals from the Toronto Comicon website, and we will be getting some good press in the future. I'm noodling around some design ideas for a website.

Then of course there's the Kegger (which is my nickname for her since her initials are K.E.G). She's awesome. Every day she does something else that's awesome. Today for example we tried to see if she'd pull herself to a standing position with some help. She did it no problem, and stood up a couple more times right after. She's also totally addicted to her Jolly Jumper.

Char's stopped posting about the Kegger here because she's posting over on iheartbabytoes, her own personal blog. Go check it out.

Other than that, not much going on. You know, typical stuff.

Whirlwind holidays come to a close!

Kaylin's first Christmas and New Year has come and gone. She engaged in her first ever “Tri City Tour” with mommy and daddy, and got spoiled rotten by friends and relatives, staying up late, and partying all night.

Char and I decided that we wanted to wake up Christmas morning in our own bed. It's a little thing, but it's nice to get a chance to have breakfast, open gifts, and have one last shower at home before the tour begins.

Char and I have a $100 limit for each other, and we bought each bought a few gifts for the Kegger but didn't tell each other what we got so that we could be surprised by her new gifts. I made out like a bandit with the new Bret Hart career retrospective DVD, a pair of nice sweaters, and a home workout book (my new year's resolution is to set up a gym in the basement so I can start doing a workout at home 3 times a week). Char got PJ's, which she asked for, a CD, and a DVD set of the classic Rudolph stop motion cartoons. I got Kaylin a marionette that I've had my eye on for years now from this cool baby store in the Beach.

Next we headed off to London for Christmas day, but first we stopped off at the nursing home in Ingersoll where my grandma is. Kaylin met her great-grandma Moo for the first time, and after some initial shyness, Kaylin took to her really well. My mom and dad came by as well and the five of us had a nice visit with grandma Moo before heading on to London.

Christmas in London was lovely, loads of loot was had, and some good food was enjoyed by all (Chris barbequed the turkey which was awesome, and his always wicked stuffing accompanied the dinner). Kaylin was really watching us eat, and eyeing up our glasses, so I gave Kaylin her first sip of water, and she quite enjoyed it. Kaylin got spoiled with a ton of clothes. My favourite moment was when we opened this little bear with teething rings on its arms and legs, and her eyes lit right up.

On Boxing day we headed off to Meme and Pepe Kish's place for more food, more gifts, and more fun. Kaylin's cousins Josh and Kim were there, and we got some terribly cute pictures of the three cousins hanging out together. Again we got spoiled, with Kaylin making out like a total bandit and getting a box load of clothes.

We were getting desperate for clothes too. The Kegger is outgrowing her 3 month old clothes, and we've got a few 6 and 9 month things, but now she has a ton of stuff to keep her warm until at least 18 months.

On Monday we headed back to Ajax (the third part of the tri-city-tour), but stopped in Kitchener at the McDonalds/Williams on the highway to cut the trip into a 2 hour and a 1 hour segment. At Williams Kaylin had her first little temper tantrum when she couldn't get water out of a water bottle…the crazy rug-rat had only had water twice before (at dinner on Christmas and Boxing days), and now she wanted it again…we decided to stop fooling around with stuff around her as she's getting to the phase where she wants to try new thngs.

Back in Ajax we chilled out, I went to work a couple of days, and we visited Larry and Liz in Toronto for a 905er party with Tim, Nikki, Sofia, and Tiffany.

On New Year's Eve, Ryan, Kari, and Paige came down from London for the second “pregnant woman's New Year's Eve party” with Kari filling the role of the pregnant woman which was played by Char last year. Donnie, Sarah, and Tasha came over and helped us ring in the new year.

On New Year's Day, Char, the Kegger and I hung around in our PJ's until Uncle Dennis and Auntie Tina came by for a visit. We played my new Las Vegas game that Mr. and Mrs. Kish got me for Christmas, and we played with the Kegger, who decided to stay up until 10:30 at night (crazy little bean that she is).

All in all, it was a fun week, I'm going to miss spending so much time with Char and Kaylin though.

Kaylin's schedule is way off right now, not going to bed until 9 or 10 at night from her regular 7 or 8, and getting up at 8 instead of 7…but we're going to spend the next few days getting her back into a routine.

New Year's Resolutions:
1 – Work out at home (getting into shape is a nice bonus).
2 – More home renovations (paint and trim the living room, upstairs hallway, and build some things in the office).
3 – To build All New Comics into a viable business.
4 – Pursue the next phase in HeadsDown.