Webhotornot - Is your site hot or not?

Want a fun game to play with your friends when you've got a few minutes to waste? Try out Webhotornot - see how good your eye for sites compares with everyone else's. You might even stumble upon an interesting site that you didn't know about but others have rated highly, too!

How did it come to exist? When I was in Madrid visiting my friend and investor Martin Varsavsky late last year, we had a fun time brainstorming ideas to help find and rate interesting web sites, and we came up with the idea. Who knows, perhaps the ratings might even be useful if people start using the site - sort of a "prediction market" for web sites. Most of all, we just wanted to create a simple site that was fast-loading and fun to use. We both love Hotornot, so we figured we'd do an homage.

Who knows where it'll go, it is a quick hack that Martin's team pulled together quickly with our direction. Go check it out - and if you've got a hot site that you want to add, you can submit the site as well! Martin blogs about it as well.

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Public Service Announcement: When was your last fully bootable backup?

I'm working from home today, so I kicked off something that I really needed to do for a while - I'm running a fully bootable backup of my primary computer onto one of my portable hard drives. I also dropped by the local Best Buy and picked up a 750GB Seagate drive, which I got for only $197, that's 26 cents per gigabyte (wow). I've had good performance with the Seagate drives - they're quiet, as opposed to the WD "My Book" drives, which sound like a jet engine going off in my living room. I got the extra 750GB to do a complete backup of all the photographs I've taken since 1999, which now total about 550GB, so that's running at the same time. I've had all of that data up to 2007 backed up on DVDs, but I haven't had time to do my annual yearly DVD backup, and I was starting to feel vulnerable - I wouldn't want to lose all those photographs from the entire year!

So, when was the last time YOU did a full backup of your primary computer? How much valuable data would you lose if your disk went chunka-chunka-chunka-whiiiiiiiiine tomorrow?

Go back up your data. it's amazing how little storage costs nowadays, and don't put it off until tomorrow - there's nothing worse than the shiver that runs down your spine when you realize that you just lost all the work you've been doing for the last month/quarter/year...

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Big Winter Storm in San Francisco this weekend: Some pictures.

Right after the big winter storm blew past, I ran down to Ocean Beach on the west end of San Francisco, and got a few shots of the sun, the rain, and the spectacular clouds and waves blowing around. I love the silhouette of the person walking dogs in the foreground, too:

Sunset after the big winter storm, Ocean Beach, San Francisco 1/4/2008 - 1107

I like the square crop of the next photo. It is all about expressing a mood - of solitude, of watching the remains of a massive storm, of knowing that the rocks are still there - battered, bruised, but still standing - even 85 mph winds can't knock these guys down, and how small we really are in this world.

I also liked the compostion, the negative space, what it leaves out of the photo:

Rocks in the sea through the mist after the big winter storm, Ocean Beach San Francisco 1/4/2008 - 1103

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Announcing Hoosgot: Resurrecting the Lazyweb

Today I'm unveiling a new service that I put together over the last 48 hours. It's called Hoosgot (pronounced “who’s got...”) is a simple way to ask who’s got what you’re looking for. Just put “hoosgot” in a blog post or a Twitter tweet and it’ll show up on Hoosgot. Send a twitter to @hoosgot, it works as well. You can tag a post with hoosgot or lazyweb, and we'll pick it up as well, as long as your blog is indexed by Technorati. It’s meant to give you a place to send the requests for all of those things that you’ve wanted, but just can’t find - chances are, what you want already exists and someone else out there in the ether knows about it (or has built it!)

If someone’s got what you’re looking for, or a clue in that direction, they post a comment. RSS feeds flow from the posts and the comments.

For example, you might ask:

hoosgot an easy-to-use pencil sharpener that has suction cups on the bottom so I can stick it anywhere?


hoosgot a simple camera bag that you can stick a laptop in, and still carry over your shoulder without knocking over pedestrians? Note I’m not looking for a knapsack or a backpack, I want it to act like a messenger bag…

And so on.

It works if you work it: Give back to the web

Of course, you should subscribe to hoosgot, it has RSS feeds (the main feed and the comments feed) so you can watch and participate - for Hoosgot only works if you comment on the questions posed. Happen to know where someone can find the information they seek? Interested in collaborating with them on creating that invention described when the person invoked hoosgot or the lazyweb? Leave a comment on the entry, and give back to the web that has given us so much.

The @hoosgot Twitter User

Along with, you can also subscribe to updates by following the @hoosgot user on twitter. When you invoke hoosgot or the lazyweb, don't be surprised when you get a reply from @hoosgot! Tell your friends. Twitter away.

Hoosgot's Roots

Hoosgot humbly traces its roots to the wonderful lazyweb which unfortunately shut down in 2006. It was a glorious experiment in what the web could produce - co-creation on a global scale. Many many thanks to Ben Hammersley and team for setting it up, and running the original site.

Why did I do this?

I love the lazyweb. You know, the idea that if you had a need, a wish, an interesting "what-if" thought, you could make a suggestion on your blog, your community on Seesmic or Twitter, and every now and then, the gods of the interwebs would answer your prayers thrown out to the ether. It bummed me out that a central place for these requests was nowhere to be found, and all these great ideas (and pleas!) were being lost in the ether.

You gotta love Holiday Weekends

Friday night (the 28th) The lazyweb popped back into my mind. I missed it. I started asking myself the question, "Why hasn't anyone reconstituted the lazyweb?, What if we could rebuild the lazyweb for the 2008 web? What if we could take advantage of all the cool tools that have arrived in the last 5 years? Would it work?" Rather than wait around, I realized I could just build it, and maybe folks like me would use it. At about 5am on Saturday morning, the first prototype was up. I made some major changes, including twitter support Saturday night. And launch is today, on Sunday morning! Ain't working on the web fun?:-)

Many Thanks to the Lazyweb

On December 31, 2002, was purchased by Pete Birkenshaw, and the first public post was on January 1, 2003. Parenthetically, it is an interesting coincidence that the first conversations about the Lazyweb were probably happening when the earth was right about in the same spatial plane as it was when I was coding it, only separated by 5 years of temporal difference. It ran for over 3 years before finally succumbing to trackback and comment spam, when Ben Hammersley shuttered it, with a simple message "The LazyWeb is now closed." The last post was made on April 25th, 2006. I wanted to bring it back.

What about spam?

I'm not sure. It's possible that hoosgot will suffer the same fate as After 5 years of running Technorati, which was constantly bombarded with spam (and not always getting things right), spam is definitely a real issue, especially if people like the service and use it a lot. We had to think through and build a bunch of services that didn't exist before - but some of those systems are now out there and available for regular folks to use, in tools like Wordpress. I've also installed a number of backend spam fighting tools and systems, which means that sometimes it'll miss a legitimate post or tweet. That doesn't mean you're a spammer, it just means I'm not a very good programmer. Drop me a line at david AT sifry DOT com and let me know. Chances are I'll figure out what's up. Sometimes I might be too busy to respond. Hoosgot is a labor of love, so I appreciate your patience. We're going to take this adventure together.


To start, many thanks to the folks behind the original Lazyweb site. Here's who they credited:

Who's Behind This? Primarily, you are. Since its launch you've given the LazyWeb over 100 ideas, and the LazyWeb only works when people give ideas and help each other to make the web a greater place. But, if we have to name names, Matt Jones had the original idea (and designed the logo), this site was built and is run by Ben Hammersley following a LazyWeb request from Clay Shirky. The domain name is owned and donated by Pete Birkenshaw. Wicked-cool Movable Type jiggerypokery is by David Raynes. The search box is magnificently awesome work by Maciej Ceglowski.

Many thanks, folks.

Doc Searls came up with the name Hoosgot, and Technorati and Tweet Scan help with the heavy lifting. Matt Mullenweg leads Wordpress, which much of this site is built upon. You guys rock! Many thanks as well to Liz Westover and Eric Willis.

What if my hoosgot doesn't show up?

There could be a few reasons for this. One is that we missed your twitter from the public timeline. First off, make sure that your twitter stream is public, not protected. Or if you are using your blog, make sure it pings Technorati. Give it about 15 minutes, check again, and if things still don't work, resend your tweet. Alternatively, go claim your blog (or twitter account) on Technorati - that'll make sure it gets indexed. If that still doesn't work, drop me a line (see below)...

Looking for bugs reports and feedback

Got feedback? Put "hoosgot" in the body of a blog post or a tweet, and chances are I'll see it. Email works as well, drop me a line at david AT sifry DOT com. If all else fails, you can call or SMS me at +14154122342.

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