Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Dear Google,Google CheckoutI hear you just unveiled a new Payment Processing System the other day. And like everything you build, it’s simple and user-friendly. Online stores integrate it as a payment option, and then we, the consumers, only have to enter our credit card numbers once — for you — and all participating websites immediately become a one-click checkout for us. ::wince::I love you. I hate you. I lovehate you.You’re so good at what you do. I hear nothing but good things about how friendly and creative you are, and how well you treat your employees. You offer so much free stuff to the web community. You revolutionized advertisements to be less invasive to users and more accessible to small businesses. You help us find things at the speed of ethernet. You’re really awesome. Thank you so much for all you’ve done.Except that now you know everything about all of us and that scares the heck out of me. And now you just want all of our credit cards. And I can just hear you saying, “Really, for a company that already knows all of the websites you’ve ever visited and everything you’ve ever written in an email, is that so much to ask?”I hate to be a doomsayer here, Google, but I’m seeing the makings for an information age apocolypse with this kind of power isolated in one place. Would you just stop already? Quit while you’re ahead and still appreciated? Let someone else compete with PayPal? And what’s next? Are you going to archive our phone conversations with the new internet phone technologies? Are you going to record our street conversations when you install wireless internet across San Francisco? Are your Google Maps satellite systems going to zoom in on us in our backyards and display our actions in realtime? Do you really need to push these limits?I love you, and I don’t want to hate you. So knock it off already!Signed,Your friendly local Gmail user and hourly Google searcher

Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Ask Anna - IkeaI have an assignment for you.

  1. Go to The Ikea Website
  2. In the main menu, click “Ask Anna”.
  3. Talk to her. Ask her about bookshelves.* Tell her she’s creepy. Exclaim, “Oh my god.” Say, “This is weird.” Threaten to poke her with a stick.

First off, she’s creeping me out. Thank goodness they’re not pairing her with automated text-to-voice technology, because that would just be too much. The way she stares at me and blinks a lot and tips her head… I just want to hide under the desk I haven’t bought from them yet. Second, she’s awesome. Seriously. She handles non-customer-service-related questions so professionally. If you deal with the public in your profession, you should be taking notes from this robot. She’s trained to deal with the crass and curious public with flair.Third, she’s still creeping me out. *if you ask about anything on the website, she’ll open a pop-up window with a related web page for you. I had to turn off my pop-up blocker for it to work.

Heads up, this content is 15 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

I know you’re all on the edge of your seats, checking this website every day (or maybe staring at its node on your super-fancy RSS aggregator), wondering what the heck I’m up to these days. ‘Cuz it’s a pretty good bet that if I’m going a few weeks at a time between entries, my “real world” life is packed full and bursting at the seams with some pretty neat stuff.

First of all, yes, I did go to New Hampshire for a month. It was wonderful and relaxing — I saw many friends, and spent plenty of time with family. I sat in a rocking chair on the porch of an old farmhouse and watched the trees. I swam in lakes. I screamed at the ocean. I told stories around campfires. I stood on the top of a mountain. I bought candy at a store that still sells things for a penny. I surprised the heck out of my mother by showing up several days early, in a wig, on Mother’s Day. I heard poetry.

Second of all, yes, I’m back in San Francisco now, and I love it here. Some people were apparently under the impression that I was moving back to New Hampshire. Let me set you straight right now: that’s not going to happen.

Third, yes, I’m working again (am I ever!) — and while I’d love to hear about your awesome new project, chances are I can’t help you with it for a couple of months if you’re not already on my backlog list. And for those of you who are already on my backlog list, rest assured, I will get it all done. I just did a headcount, and I’m working on eight websites right now. EIGHT! Some are bigger and more urgent than others, but they’re all on my desk.

It’s been another period of chaos recently as I’ve tried to grapple with both the Big Picture and the Daily Details… but I’m feeling in control now, and going merrily with the flow. And can I tell you a secret? 

I know what I’m working for now. I’ve nailed down The Dream into tangible terms: I’m amassing skills and resources to become a Producer of Projects. Our lives are made up of projects. The urgent ones get done, and the important ones often die from lack of support. I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me and described things they’d really love to do or create, but don’t believe that it’s possible. I’m becoming the one who makes it possible. I knew this excessive optimism would come in handy someday…

(And you’re probably wondering about the picture on this entry. This is you watching me evolve. Click it for a bigger version.)