Wednesday, November 30

A folksonomy of casual games

Millions of games is the of casual games. Those of you unfamiliar with social bookmarking sites, they allow you to create and classify bookmarks of websites over the web and share them with others. Users can accomplish this by tagging with keywords. For example, I have tagged Billwildered using keywords like Internet, music, websites, God's gift... er, umm, you get the picture.

In any case, Millions of games or MOG is a social bookmarking site just for online casual games (see previous Addicting Casual Game post).
"When you 'MOG' a game it gets added to your list of games (your MOG) and you get to see how many others have MOGGED it too and as such, how popular it is."
Check it out and have fun MOGGING!

Tuesday, November 29

Are you LinkedIn?

I was invited about six months ago to join a colleague's LinkedIn network, and I just finally joined a few weeks ago. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with LinkedIn, it is an online professional networking service. Similar to social networking sites like Friendster and MySpace, LinkedIn enables you to build your network of professional contacts, which will include your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to thousands of qualified professionals. After only a few weeks of inviting former classmates, past colleagues, clients and partners and finding some old contacts through the site's search tool, my network (friend of a friend of a friend) is over 28,400.

Once you join, you create a profile much like a watered down resume and can invite your contacts to join your network. Since there's over 4.2 million people on it already, it's also fairly easy to reconnect with people you may have lost touch with. I was able to find a bunch of old classmates from graduate school and invite them to join my network.

Most people are using the site to find mentors, subject experts, and business partners who come recommended, be found for business opportunities, search for jobs, or just get introduced to other professionals through the people they know.

So, take a look. Once you're on, find me, and we can join each other's networks.

Monday, November 28

Check out Barakus

My best friend's brother's band, Barakus, is well worth a listen. They have a unique, edgy sound and some really good range. They play mostly in the DC area but have been adding more NY shows. I got to see them at Continental, and they're a blast to see live. They have an upcoming show at Blaggards in NYC (38th & 5th) on Dec 3rd.

Check out their site or their MySpace page. They have songs available for download. My favorites are Love and Money, London Said, and Ticket To My Soul.

If you really like their stuff, you can buy their EP at CDBaby.


Sunday, November 27

Online video-sharing services

Saw this blog on Lifehacker - Online video-sharing service roundup - Lifehacker. It references a recent NY Times article that gives a rundown of video-sharing websites.

I've created accounts on, ClipShack, Vimeo, and YouTube which can each integrate directly with Billwildered. Each seems to be modeled after folksonomy sites like Flickr (photo-sharing) and (website favorites sharing), both of which use tags for easy searching. I'll re-post or add a comment to give you the lowdown on my opinion. So, keep your eyes peeled for video on Billwildered (I just have to get around to editing and uploading all the video we have of the kids).

BTW - Google Video is not really a video-sharing service -- at least for the masses. It has been getting some press lately as many of the networks are making videos and clips of TV shows available there.

Lastly, if you're looking to make a little money off your creations, another site called Revver is worth looking into. The way it works is that Revver attaches an advertisement (you control the type) to your video. They call it a RevTag and that tells you how often your video is played, which dictates how much money you can make.

Anyone looking to share video should check these out. And please comment if you've run across other video-sharing sites.

Thursday, November 24

10 things I'm thankful for

To all my loyal readers (yeah, I'm talking to you three), Happy Thanksgiving! Just thought I'd share 10 things I'm thankful for this year:
  1. my family - they make it all worth it
  2. my friends - they keep me young, give me perspective, and remind me what matters
  3. my health - a little creakier in the joints, but I can still run the court with the 20-somethings
  4. my new job - a great team, excellent organization, fun and creative colleagues, and a position filled with opportunity to be innovative that puts me in the heart of the Internet
  5. my old job - also a great team of supportive friends where I had the opportunity to spread my wings and learn a lot
  6. my Xbox - yeah, I'm a gamer geek - it's such a great escape though
  7. my Tivo - surely, you don't expect me to watch infomercials during those 3am bottle feedings
  8. my car - the mere fact that the Jetta hasn't died yet deserves my gratitude
  9. my gut - no, not the one formerly around my waist (Thin Bill's been back for years!). Just my clumsy intuition - so far, it's done me well.
  10. my ambition - not so much professional, but just to be a better person, a better husband, father, brother, friend, co-worker, etc.

I'd be remiss to not mention you, my surprisingly silent, lurking readers.

What are you thankful for? You are out there, right? Hello? Helllloooo?

Wednesday, November 23

Shoposphere & Pick Lists beta

As a follow up to yesterday's blog, here's one for the shopper who needs gift ideas and doesn't have a Baggle Bag to guide them. It's a new offering from Yahoo! that's still in beta called the Shoposphere.

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Taking a page from the growth of social networking sites (like Friendster and MySpace), Yahoo! characterizes the Shoposphere as "social commerce."

We believe the community of shoppers is one of the best sources for product information and advice. The Shoposphere is a place to discover interesting and cool products thematically arranged into Pick Lists by other shoppers. It’s always changing. It includes new lists in a “product stream” and highest rated lists which are a fun way to explore new products and trends. The Shoposphere will continue to evolve as a hub for other types of user-generated content.
The idea is that all users can create Pick Lists of products and post them. Pick List titles can be anything -- from "Top 10 Must Have DVDs" to "Best gifts for getting out of the doghouse" and even "I wanna be like Napolean Dynamite." But then the user community weighs in by grading how helpful different lists are -- thus the social aspect.

Anyways, trying to find gift ideas for that hard to shop for loved one, check out Shoposphere.


Tuesday, November 22

Baggle Bag - The Universal Wishlist Posted by Picasa

This FREE website and application are way cool. is an online shopping tool that allows you to store items you find anywhere on the web to a single "Baggle Bag."

As the holidays approach and more and more shopping is being done online, could you think of anything more useful than this?

The way it works is you can either download a small application that adds a button to your Internet Explorer or Firefox toolbar or manually add a link to your favorites list. When you find something on the web that you want to put in your Baggle Bag, just click the Baggle icon in your toolbar or click the Favorites link (if you opted not to download). Then Baggle will prompt you to highlight and/or type info.

Baggle Bag Posted by Picasa

The application is great for comparison shopping. But even better, it's a good way to provide gift ideas to loved ones, perhaps to unimaginative husbands (not that I know any). All you do is send people to where they can type in your name or you can send them your personal Baggle link. Once there, they can see any "public" bags you've created, review items, click on links, and will be taken to whatever site you were on when you added it to your bag. Cool, huh? Try it out.

Thanks to Casey for showing this to me.


Monday, November 21

What the heck is a "rootkit" anyway?

If you've been reading papers, blogs, or the web or watching TV (even listening to radio) over the past three weeks, you have probably heard this word being bandied about -- "rootkit." Sounds more like a garden tool than a hacker tool to me.

Why do you bring up such a dry, mundane, technospeaky topic, Bill?

Well, faithful reader, it seems that in its efforts to preserve its bottom line (and effectively piss off its customers), Sony has bundled its "XCP Content Protection" software onto several of its music CDs, primarily being distributed through BMG. Apparently, when customers play the CDs on their computers, the "rootkit"-like DRM software is installed without their knowledge. It was meant to limit the number of times songs could be copied or "ripped."

Well, they got caught, which isn't the worst part. Apparently, the rootkit leaves your PC vulnerable to hackers, and what's worse is the uninstaller or "patch" that Sony provided leaves an even bigger security hole. Surely that must be the worst of it, you say. Sorry, there's more.

The worst is that Sony tried to downlplay the risk and denied that the rootkit creates problems. In all the hubbub, it's also been discovered that the rootkit software is also sending information back to Sony about how the media is being used. Basically, they're spying on customers.

The results so far are that Sony CDs have been banned from the workplace of many companies and gov't agencies, Sony's DRM has infected over 500,000 computer networks including those belonging to the military and the government, and a class-action suit has been filed against Sony.

Umm, kind of a big black eye to sport going into the holiday shopping season, don't you think? So, take it into consideration as you shop for gifts for your loved ones.

If you're interested in more details about how this developed, there's a great summary on Boing Boing.

And to see the list of CDs containing the "rootkit," click here.


Posted by Picasa

Those of you unfamiliar with GMail, it is Google's FREE web-based email service. It is currently still in beta, and the only way to sign up yourself is through text messaging on an SMS-enabled cell phone. You can, however, be invited by a current user.

If you're interested, let me know. I have been using GMail for a few months, and while at first glance it looks like any other web-based email service, there are a few interesting features we haven't seen before. My favorite features of GMail, aside from its storage (almost 3 Gigs), are the search capabilities, its use of labels instead of folders, and how it groups messages into conversations.

While the interface takes some getting used to, I have to say I like it. So let me know if you'd like me to invite you.

Sunday, November 20

Expert Flyer

For those of you who travel by plane often, a younger fraternity brother of mine from my Chapter Advisor days has recently started a website called Expert Flyer. Expert Flyer gives the frequent traveler insight into information about airline flights and fares all over the world.

ExpertFlyer Posted by Picasa

While they don't sell airline tickets, they provide access to information that will allow you to make better travel decisions as well as get the most out of your frequent flyer miles.

Expert Flyer is a subscription service, so unless you travel often or are willing to do the research, it may not be for you. If you're interested, they offer two levels of service: basic ($4.99/mo) and premium ($9.99/mo).


Saturday, November 19

Black Friday 2005

If you are one of the few gluttons for punishment who actually enjoys venturing out to the stores on Black Friday, then this site is for you. is a site that gathers the Black Friday ads of most all of the major stores. While they can't say with 100% certainty that the ads are for real, they have had a high success rate in the past.

Here's what they say on their site:
" is meant to serve one purpose: to be the ultimate collection of rumored Black Friday 2005 deals."
Anyhow, if you are interested, take a look. At the very least, it can give you some ideas on the store ads to look out for when they come out on Wednesday.

Thanks to my friend, Richard, for the heads up.


Friday, November 18

Try out Smotos!

The beta version of a new photo sharing application called Smotos just launched. It takes so many of the great features that you find on other photo sites and combines them with functions that are typically only available with software bundled with digital cameras. I'll plan a blog of the different photo sites in the future, so you can see how Smotos compares.

Like many of the other applications/websites I highlight it is FREE.

Since it is in beta though, you have the unique opportunity to share your thoughts and make suggestions -- many of which could likely be available in version 1.0, when it's released.

So, take a look and let me know what you think.


Thursday, November 17

Birthday Girl!

Guess who turned 1 today! Here are some shots from our small celebration for Sophia's birthday.

Enjoying her present from her big brother.

Ethan's Present
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The princess is waiting for her cake.

Birthday Princess
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Yummy! Or as Sophia says, "Mumm!!"

Mumm! Posted by Picasa

More pics to follow. Her birthday party with friends and family is this Saturday.

Wednesday, November 16

Addicting casual game

I have been doing research on the gaming space lately for work. Those who I've shown my "inner gaming nerd" to know this is kinda a dream come true for me.

But anyways, it's an amazing industry going through continual growth. And it's not just the console games (Xbox, PlayStation, Gamecube, etc.), handhelds (Gameboy, PSP), or even PC gaming. Much of the growth is coming from online gaming. And many people think that online gaming can and will eventually make PC games obsolete as web graphic technology advances and bandwidth increases.

Online games can be split into two major categories: casual gaming and what's called massively multiplayer online games (MMOs for short). Casual games are those that are simple in terms of both graphics and gameplay -- Bejeweled and many of the Mahjong titles for example. MMOs are much more sophisticated and complex. You can equate most to role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. While some casual games allow you to play against others online, MMOs are all about the online play with others, either in head-to-head battles or as part of a team in what are most commonly called guilds. MMOs are much bigger in Asia and Europe; they are still somewhat of a niche in the states. Still, millions of dollars are being spent by stateside gamers to play titles like EverQuest, World of Warcraft, CounterStrike, and Asheron Call online.

Well enough with the lesson. Today I met Eric & Peter, the co-founders of the game developer behind Diner Dash -- the number one online and downloaded casual game worldwide. They were recently referenced in Business Week. The article said this about the casual gaming space:
" estimated 56 million adults worldwide who may not care when the next Madden NFL Football is released but who still want a little game time. Call them the casual gamers: a set of folks loosely defined as those who have broadband but play less frequently -- and who want less complex games -- than the much smaller hard-core gaming crowd."

Check out this game (link below). I tried it out before heading into Manhattan to meet them. While quite simple, it is very, very addicting. (BTW - I saw General Norman Schwarzkopf while waiting in the lobby. Apparently he's on our board.)

Link to BWeek article

Link to free online version of Diner Dash at

Tuesday, November 15

Internet radio

If you're like me, you haven't plunged headfirst into getting a personal media player (PMP) -- the most common type being an MP3 player. I have a small freebie that I got at a trade show that holds about thirty songs, but it hardly counts with today's standards of 5,000+ songs.

Regardless, there are a number of sites and services out there that can turn you onto some new music and more obscure bands that you may not be aware of. Many of these take the form of Internet radio. Here's a quick sample of a few I'm familiar with. You can take a look and decide which might be the best fit for you. requires a download, can integrate with Windows Media Player, allows you to do searches on bands & artists, rate them, and create your own music stations based on your ratings and those of other users.

LAUNCHcast is owned by Yahoo! and integrated with Yahoo! Instant Messenger (YIM). There are certain genre-related stations you can choose from. But the cool part is that you can create your own station by rating songs, albums, and bands, and then let people on your buddy list (who also have you on theirs) see what you're listening to as well as listen to the same station as you.


To be honest, I'm least familiar with this one. I haven't tried it yet, but I've read good things about it. I guess it used to be a paid service, but is now FREE.
Here's a Lifehacker post about it.

Anyhow, take a look. Let me know if you know of any others (besides RealPlayer, Windows Media, iTunes, Quicktime. Yawn.). And definitely let me know if you uncover some good bands.

Monday, November 14

Jetta - 1, Deer - 0

Driving home from Rensselaer tonight (I was there today speaking in a few classes for one of my former MBA professors), I hit a deer on the NYS Thruway. Let me start by saying, I'm fine. The car, fine (I think). The deer, umm, not so much.

So, I'm driving down I87 and thinking I should hit the rest stop (damn those free Lally School Diet Pepsi's). I start changing lanes to get off at the service area, when alas, a deer (let's call him Fido) decides he wants to play pickle in my lane.

So, Fido darts out. I react, swerve right, then break, but not hard enough to avoid Fido when he changes direction, apparently giving up on getting that extra base. So, with my heart beating in my throat at about 120 beats per second, I pull into the service area, park, pry my hands off the wheel, and do an inventory of body parts.

I call Kerry to let her know what happened and try to assess the damage, but it was kinda difficult to focus. So I walked in, splashed some water on my face, used the restroom, and grabbed another soda (I'll never learn).

Unsure if I needed to file a police report, I called my insurance company (the one with the break-dancing lizard) and get paired up with "Gary the Aussie." He feigns his concern for my well-being and takes down the details of the "incident." As Dundee, er, Gary is finishing up, he asks "Oh, how's the deer?" And I'm like, "Deer? Oh yeah, Fido. Umm, not sure really."

What I didn't say was considering what was on my car, I was pretty sure that Fido was playing his game of pickle with Bambi's mommy.

So, I said my "G'Day" to Gary and drove the remaining 70 miles home to Kerry and the kids.

As for Fido -- I feel bad, really bad. I do. But better him than me, mate.

Sunday, November 13

50 Weddings

Kerry and I attended our 50th wedding since we've been together yesterday. Yeah, that's a five and a zero, or "fiddy," if you're so inclined.

I know what you must be thinking, "That's a lot of renditions of the chicken dance that we've suffered through." UGH!

Here's just a quick summary:

  • Kerry's been in four of them.
  • I've been in four of them.
  • Seven have ended in divorce.
  • Two have been second marriages (we attended both the first and second in each case).
Bear with me while I take a closer look. Of each of the seven couples who split up, only one made it to the five year mark. According to Divorce Magazine, 82% of married people reach their 5th Anniversary. Our group of friends is at 83%. Not too shabby, but not great either.

The good news is that while supposedly only 65% make it to their 10th, our friends have done much better with a whopping 90%. And, of all the weddings we've attended in the last seven years (since we said our "I do's"), none have ended.

Any ways, no big revelation here. Just felt like sharing.

Friday, November 11

Remember the Milk

From Lifehacker:

Remember The Milk is a free on-line to-do list service. It has lots of the features you’d expect from this sort of site: multiple lists, priorities, due-dates, repeating tasks, etc.

My favorite feature is the built-in nagging system that reminds you to get the job done. You can request reminders by E-Mail, IM or SMS. In addition, you can share and publish your to-do lists and create new tasks by e-mail.

Try it out, it's FREE!


Mozilla Firefox

If you're looking for an alternate web browser, consider Mozilla's Firefox. It has been praised as better, safer from spyware, and more user friendly than Microsoft Internet Explorer.

In the Forbes article (link below), it mentions several advantages.

"From the very beginning with Firefox you will notice a faster, cleaner feel to your browsing, as though you're surfing the Web having lost that beer gut from college."
The article is a year old, but Firefox has only gotten better. In just a year, it has captured over 6% market share from Microsoft.

Link to Forbes article

Link to get Firefox

Thursday, November 10

Free directory assistance

I saw this on Lifehacker and in a newspaper article, too. 1-800-FREE-411 is an ad-supported alternative to costly 411 directory assistance. The price for avoiding the $1.80 to $3.49 charge of a 411 call is listening to an ad based on your information request - so you hear about the competitors to the business you’re asking about.

Works on mobile phones, too.

Interesting model.

Free "note taking" download

I saw this on a blog a while back and downloaded it today. It's a pretty neat tool. It adds a button right to your Internet Explorer toolbar that when clicked adds whatever you have highlighted on the page (or entire window if nothing's highlighted), pictures and all to EverNote. You can also type notes as well as copy and paste from any application. Plus, it puts a link back to the original source in your notes (url or file).

Probably good for doing research/homework where you're pulling content from multiple websites, PDFs, docs, etc.

EverNote Posted by Picasa


TV commercial of 250,000 superballs let loose in San Francisco

I saw this on Boing Boing a few weeks ago, and then read about it in a magazine called Creativity that I picked up at the Ad Tech trade show I attended in Manhattan on Monday. It is a TV ad for the Sony BRAVIA -- there's a 60 sec spot and a 2.5 min extended spot. Titled "Color Like No Other," the spot was done by Fallon/London. Very cool.

Link to Boing Boing post

See the BRAVIA ad

Note: You'll need to download the latest version of QuickTime to view it. There's a link on the page, or you can
click here.

Wednesday, November 9

Don't you just love autumn?

From Sunday, 11/6 Posted by Picasa

Send an email time capsule to yourself

Forbes has a free service that lets you send an email to yourself and have it arrive in 1, 3, 5, 10, or 20 years. I'm going to have Ethan write one to himself. I'll write one to myself, too.

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Link to Forbes

I also learned that has been doing this for a while. The nice thing about their site is that you can choose a specific date.
Posted by Picasa

Link to

Bush Speechalist Mockumentary

I saw this on Boing Boing, one of my favorite blogs. If you haven't seen it yet, this is quite funny, no matter your political leanings.


The eccentric Andy Dick plays Harlan McCraney. You may also recognize him from his News Radio days with Phil Hartmann.

Link to original Boing Boing posting.

Tuesday, November 8

Good book and author

I just finished reading Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell on my train ride home today. It was a very interesting read about the study and science behind making "snap judgments" -- when they work, when they fail, and some insight into how to become better at it and more attuned to the prejudices and stereotypes that sometimes cloud our judgment.

Being the quintessential "go with my gut" kinda guy, I was very into it.

I do have to say though that it wasn't quite as earth-shattering as his first book, The Tipping Point, which was a study of trends and the point at which they become mainstream or even epidemic.

BTW - Gladwell has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1996 and a former journalist at the Washington Post.

So, having blogged all that, I'm looking for my next book, any suggestions?

Free Web-based Instant Messaging Application

Some of you use instant messaging (AIM, MSN, Yahoo! IM, ICQ, etc.). And if you're like me, you're sometimes at a computer that isn't yours and doesn't have it installed. Well this tool solves that problem. It's way cool.

Meebo Posted by Picasa

Meebo allows you to chat on any of the major IM networks through a web browser. If you're interested, I'll let out my inner geek and tell you it uses a technology called AJAX. You'll be seeing more and more of it as many websites and web applications are using it. Microsoft has AJAX built into much of the functionality of Vista, its next version of Windows (more on that later).

Anywho, with Meebo, there's no registration required. Just sign into your IM account as you normally would. Try it out.

Monday, November 7

Inaugural Blog

Welcome to Billwildered, my first foray into the blogosphere. If this is your first experience with a blog, I thank you for making the leap. Those of you who are old hats at blogging, I thank you for taking the time to squeeze my musings into the deluge of your everyday lives.

My hope is that this blog will make you laugh (or at least smile), provide you with some fun and useful websites, and let you get a closer look into my life.

For the time being, I have set up Billwildered as an unpublished blog. So, it will not turn up in any searches. However, anyone with the link can view it, and you don't have to be a member of my blog to post comments. While I'm just full of myself enough to believe that what I have to say should matter to each of you, I'm not quite narcisistic enough (or so I think) to believe that I should be waxing rhapsodic to the general population just yet.

Having said that, if there is anyone who you think would enjoy reading my blog, please feel free to pass along the link (