Archive for September, 2007

Love this comment

Here’s a short interview on the Practical E-Commerce website with Jay Steinfeld of

I loved the (one and only) comment at the end (emphasis mine):

This seems to me like a variant of the “Follow The Money” technique deployed in a rapidly evolving environment. It works quite well but it does require nimble thinking and a willingness to step into the unknown and experiment.

The merchandising side requires a very flexible ecommerce system, one that can be changed rapidly with minimal costs. On the marketing side it requires some careful risk management and superb data analysis. You try something and measure if things got better or worse, also called A-B Testing. Then you do it over and over and over, sometimes making incremental improvements while mostly abandoning the things that don’t work.

The most difficult aspects I see when employing this method is people have great difficulty dealing with the intensive data throughput, the rapidity of change, the impermanence of everything and an overload on their decision making apparatus. People look for “stable” solutions that don’t require such heavy demands on their mental processing. The constant bombardment of data and decisions frequently overloads the individual.

There are some very good ways to deal with a business at this level but all require a change in tradtional thinking. Not everyone can accomplish this.

I have a suspicion that Mr. Steinfeld is quite bright and has developed his own methods for handling and processing huge amouts of data and making an inordinate number of daily key decisions without overstressing his systems. It’d be very interesting to learn how he does it.

Posted by: Steve Strickland
Thursday, September 20, 2007


Three-way Pistol Duel

This is very cool!

You’re a cowboy, and get involved in a three way pistol duel with two other cowboys. You are a poor shot, with an accuracy of only 33%. The other two cowboys shoot with accuracies of 50% and 100%, respectively. The rules of the duel are one shot per cowboy per round. The shooting order is from worst shooter to best shooter, so you get to shoot first, the 50% guy goes second, and the 100% guy goes third, then repeat. If a cowboy is shot he’s out for good, and his turn is skipped. Where or who should you shoot first?

Without going into to any detailed probability outcome calculations, is there any other heuristic other than “aim for the guy with the best aim first?” I suppose I would be surprised if that wasn’t the case.

The Tim Russert Hatchet Job

Tim Russert interviewed Hillary Clinton on Meet the Press this morning. What an unabashed, transparent hatchet job.

Shorter Tim:

  • Why are you so wishy-washy on the war?
  • Wasn’t the AUMF vote the most important, and also your worst vote, as a Senator?
  • Do you condemn those dirty hippies at (x3)
  • Didn’t your fuckup in 1993 set healthcare back 15 years?
  • Didn’t you have a dirty, dirty relationship with Norman Hsu and Johnny Chung?
  • Aren’t you too polarizing for the country?

What an ass. Tim should be ashamed.

The End of the World!

I hadn’t seen this in a long time. Cheers!

CSS-driven design

Why is it that every time I turn around I run into another stupid problem with columns in CSS? I don’t want to have to engineer my CSS, I just want it to work simply. I (sort of) understand the de-emphasis on layout in CSS, but it’s frustrating.

Dynamic CSS

I’ve been thinking today about how best to dynamically introduce CSS into a website. For example, a blog engine like or Blogger has the ability to let users edit CSS “files” which are then applied to the website dynamically. I say “files” in air-quotes because I don’t know yet if they actually edit a hard file, or if the “file” is a stream of data stored in a database, or what.

For my purposes, a hard file (stored on the filesystem) won’t work. I need my solution to be DB-driven. Given that CSS data is referenced from HTML page output either (a) inline or (b) via a LINK file reference, that makes a sort of out-of-phase problem that I need to work on.

First: I suppose the <LINK> mechanism will only work through a reference to a dynamic page. Example:

<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”/css-dyn/mycss.aspx?site=123456″></link>

The “mycss.aspx” page would then create text/css MIME-type content and return it to the sender.

Second: the inline mechanism is potentially simpler, but less modular, and maybe avoids some hidden “gotchas” with the <LINK> method. Just output a <style type=”text/css”> section inside the <head> section of the page to be displayed.

More ideas to come…

New Balance SC602s just came in

The NB SC602 soccer cleats I purchased the other day arrived this afternoon. At first blush, the 2E seems pretty narrow, especially the last, but we’ll see if the uppers can stretch enough to make them work. Can’t wait to try them out this Saturday!

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