Safari 4 gets funky

I’ve been using the Safari 4 beta for a few weeks now and have been pretty happy with it in general. Last night though is started crashing almost as soon as it loaded. Over and over. I was worried because I didn’t have any other browser installed. I restarted the system and the crashing continued.

Eventually it worked and I was able to download an install Firefox. It’s working fine and now Safari is being more stable as well. I wish I knew what was behind it. I did learn an important lesson though. Always run two browsers – especially if one is an early beta . . .

Need. More. Power.

I love my Batavus moped. It’s so awesome. I’ve had it for almost a year and except for a few little snags here and there (like it being stolen, me breaking the drive pulley, break issues, etc.) it’s worked out pretty well. The one thing that it doesn’t have going for it is power. I’m not looking to tear up the road but the thing tops out at about 23 MPH (that’s 37 for you metric fans out there) and even less on hills so I got it in my head to tweak the performance a bit.

For the Holidays my frelative Chesley gave me a Biturbo pipe. It ought to give me a little bit of a boost. This past weekend my brother-in-law James and I installed the thing:

Biturbo two piece exhaust

Biturbo two piece exhaust

Here’s James retooling the holes a bit so it fits a little better onto the cylinder. So far so good.

Reboring the holes to mount the pipe

Reboring the holes to mount the pipe

Next we made a few cuts on the pipe so it could be bent slightly – to make it easier to get the peddle over it and to avoid some of the real wheel assembly:

Cutting the pipe

Cutting the pipe

That sure made a ton of sparks.

Finally, after we’d test fit the thing to the bike, James welded all the cuts and we mounted it for real.

Welding the pipe

Welding the pipe

Then came the moment of truth. We carried the thing back outside and I took it for a spin. Guess what. If anything, it’s even SLOWER now. And it has even LESS power going up hills. As you can probably imagine, I was kind of bummed out by this outcome. I’ve since learned that I need to retune my carburetor – but that’s a task for another day.

If anyone has experience or advice on how to do it please let me know. I could use a hand.

iVillage Connect Bites the Dust

A few years ago I signed up fro iVillage Connect to work on a client project. The idea of the site was to build a social media function among the large and active iVillage community. Whenever I tried to use it though I found it to be just about as clumsy and difficult as can be.

Apparently that didn’t change. I got an email today letting me know that iVillage Connect is being shut down:

Dear iVillage Connect User:

You are receiving this message because you are a registered user of the iVillage Connect social networking service. We are writing to notify you that iVillage will be shutting down the Connect service as of March 31, 2009 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. After that date, you will not be able to sign in to access your account or use the Connect system. We recommend that you access your Connect profile before this change to copy any information you may wish to save.

We have appreciated your participation in the Connect social network, and we look forward to your continued use of iVillage services. We are always working hard to provide the best features for our users, and we hope you will visit iVillage for your future needs.

If you have any questions, encounter problems or have missed the date to access your Connect profile, please contact our Customer Support team.

Caryn D. Stein
Director of Community,

It’s interesting that such a large community failed to make the leap to social media – but not that surprising. Why? I think there were a number of reasons. First, the community was working pretty well as it was and to ask people to change the way they connected to each other maybe wasn’t the best idea. Secondly, the site just wasn’t that easy to use. It was cumbersome and not especially intuitive. Third, because there were broader and more functional alternatives – members may well have used other sites for social media.

I think this is a cautionary tale for companies who decide that now might be a good time to build social media communities of their own – especially those companies that don’t already have active and lively communities to begin with.

Adieu iVillage, it’s hard to say you’ll be missed . . .

Social Media Club Event 3/24: Social Media in Government

The Social Media Club Boston will be hosting an event next Tuesday night at MIT. You can get more details and register on eventbright.

It’s a pretty nice panel so make a point of coming to check it out:

Brian Reich is the co-author of Media Rules! and a regular speaker and writer on the issues involving the impact of the internet and technology on politics, society, and the media. He is the editor of the blog Thinking about Media.

Matt Viser is a reporter in the City Hall Bureau for the Boston Globe’s City & Region section. He covers local and state politics and has written on such issues as Boston city politics, military base closures, and suburban growth.

Brad Blake is the Director of New Media and Online Strategy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where he guide’s the governor’s social media efforts.

Massachusetts State Senator Jennifer Flanagan serves as chair of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, and vice chair of the Transportation Committee.

Hybrid Sales Slumping

The LA Times reports today that sales of hybrid vehicles are way off their peak (seen, not surprisingly, when gas prices were at their peak).

My favorite quote from the story:

“The automakers are in the situation of needing to pacify politicians that are in the position to bail them out with expensive fuel-efficient cars,” said Rebecca Lindland, auto analyst with IHS Global Insight. “But shouldn’t it be more about satisfying the needs of the American consumer?”

So does this mean if American consumers want more cocaine we should do more to satisfy demand? How about importing ivory? Drinking grain alcohol for breakfast? We’ve seen what no oversight or regulation can look like; is that ALWAYS the best approach? Somehow I don’t think so.