Random Thoughts

Tech, words and musings from an Englishman in Seattle

Grey Goo

I was just browsing Hacker News and was intrigued by the link to Grey Goo.

Nanotechnology has been a fascination of mine since 1986 when I first read K. Eric Drexler's wonderful book Engines of Creation. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend that you do. It's a wild ride through our probable future.

Anyhow, I was particularly struck by one of the paragraphs in the wikipedia article that alludes to the class of bugs that all of us as programmers strive to avoid:

In a History Channel broadcast, grey goo is referred to in a futuristic doomsday scenario: “In a common practice, billions of nanobots are released to clean up an oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. However, due to a programming error, the nanobots devour all carbon based objects, instead of just the hydrocarbons of the oil. The nanobots destroy everything, all the while, replicating themselves. Within days, the planet is turned to dust.”


Let's not do that.

Bringing Nothing To The Party

Paul Carr's wonderful tell-all book Bringing Nothing To The Party is now available as a free ebook.

You can read about the process about bringing it out as a free ebook at techcrunch, download it directly here, or read it online via Google Docs…

It's a great story about startup culture in the UK and the jounalist's involvement in it.

Taken directly from the Amazon editorial review:

Bringing Nothing To The Party, is the bizarre, hilarious and nauseatingly true story of a unique group of hard-partying high-achieving young entrepreneurs and one man's attempts to join them, whatever the cost.

As a journalist covering the first dot.com boom, Paul Carr spent his life meeting the world's most successful young Internet entrepreneurs. And in doing so he came to count many of them amongst his closest friends.

These friendships meant he was not only able to attend their press conferences and speak at their events, but also get invited to their ultra-exclusive networking events in London and New York, get drunk at their New Year parties in their luxury penthouse apartments and tag along when they threw impromptu parties at strip clubs after raising tens of millions of pounds in funding.

In 'Bringing Nothing to the Party', Paul uses his unparalleled (and totally uncensored) access to tell the real story of a unique group of hard-partying, high-achieving young entrepreneurs - and his attempts to join them, whatever the cost.


Ignore Everybody

A few weeks ago, Hugh MacLeod, whose blog Gaping Void is a never-ending source of inspiration announced that his book Ignore Everybody was available for pre-order on Amazon.

Naturally I went ahead and ordered it.

A few days later he announced on his Crazy, Deranged Fools email list that he'd send a signed copy to the first thousand people who'd pre-ordered the book.


Today my signed copy arrived and my other copy will find it's way into the hands of someone else who needs some inspiration. Or a kick in the arse. One of the two.

Anyhow, the book rocks! I started reading it this evening and was very happy to see that chapter seven starts with my favourite piece of Hugh's writing…

Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the “creative bug” is just a wee voice telling you, “I'd like my crayons back, please.”

It inspired me.

So I went ahead and mashed me up some Hugh to create my own cube grenade. You can find Hugh's original here.

It'll be going up in the office tomorrow.

Thanks Hugh (and I hope you don't mind ;-)

Marketing 101

Now that is marketing.

Respectful, ingenious, class.

10. We're moving the first people in and are completely bought out - 389 residences before the completion of construction in a market that is decidedly not booming. (Don't get me wrong, this was a good building priced well in a great location. But, our marketing was the x factor in making it work.)

Godin is, to my uneducated ears, a total purple cow, the engineer of marketing. This just proves it.

Maybe :-)

Naked Conversations

On Saturday evening, Nabila and I joined a veritable who's who at the launch party for the book 'Naked Conversations'.

The event was held at the beautiful Medina waterfront home of John and Alison Dillow. Wow. What a house. It almost overshadowed the book :-)

Anyhow, congratulations to authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel - I'm looking forward to reading it.

Btw, Shel, you make a great book store clerk!

Naked Conversations

Thanks for inviting us guys.

[Update: A picture of Nabila and I at the party.]

Time's Top One Hundred Novels

Via Maryam Scoble's blog, I found the list of Time Magazine's top 100 English-language novels of all time, and was pleasantly surprised to find my favourite graphic novel, Watchmen, on the list. If you haven't read it, you must.

As an aside, I thought it might be interesting to see how many of the books I've actually read. I scored a paltry nineteen. How about you?

© 2001 to present, Steve Lacey.