March 25, 2007
Prepare for fungal invasion

I was out walking the dog today when I came across a huge mushroom.

Perhaps we should prepare in case it grows even bigger...

Posted by michael at 03:37 PM | Comments (5)
March 19, 2007
Customer Support from Ampd discusses Ann Coulter

Recently, Ann Coulter made a derogatory statement about John Edwards. I went to Coulter's site and saw that Ampd, the mobile phone company, was advertising on her site.

I wrote this letter in complaint:

From: Received: 03/06/2007 03:22am Eastern Standard Time (GMT - 4:00 )
To: < > Subject: Ann Coulter

Michael Pusateri

You advertise on Ann Coulters web site. She is offensive and bigoted.
You should not advertise on her site.

After almost two weeks, I received this email in response:

Sean < >

Thanks for your email.

Our goal in our advertising is to get attention from, as many segments of the market as possible. We try to be a-political and cater to the humor of both the left and the right.
While Anne Coulter tries to stir up controversy and has been known to have foot in mouth disease, as noted in the recent event where she made a bad joke in reference to some actors decision to check himself into rehab after he got mad at a co worker and used a derogatory term. People, do say bad things and tell bad jokes that don't go over well
And there are a lot of statements from the left are derogatory towards the right many have come from artists who are on Amp'd live and on channels and shows we advertise on.
If you don't wish to buy Amp'd because we advertise on Anne "my right foot is in my mouth" Coulter's webpage remember that there is a Republican who is not getting Amp'd because we advertise on a page or program where the individual has the left foot in their mouth or have Little Bush which satirizes George W. and if you look at you will notice Logo which
Caters to the Homo and bisexual market. As you can see like Mad magazine we are an equal opportunity offender and are trying to appeal to differing segments of the market. So if we were to pull adds and artist for their statements which we are not responsible for we would not be able to advertise any where and offer no content because we would be to afraid that we may offend some one to do anything.

Have we answered your question? We hope so. If any other questions come to mind, feel free to email back.

Wow, just plain wow.

Posted by michael at 07:31 PM | Comments (8)
Michele & Football

A couple years ago, I wrote about being a NFL Widower due to my wife Michele's football obsession. Jen Brown, a writer for, called to speak with both of us about it for their upcoming story on couples dealing with football fanaticism.

Yesterday, MSNBC published a story about women who love football and Michele is one of the main topics of the article. Give it a read!

Michele is becoming quite the person for journalists to interview. Just last year, she was in the New York Times talking our experiences in adopting a dog.

Posted by michael at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)
March 16, 2007
Timelapse: Starbucks National Coffee Break Day

Here is what it looked like at the Starbucks at work for free coffee day...

Posted by michael at 12:29 AM | Comments (5)
March 13, 2007
Notes from SxSW 2007

It's the last day of South by Southwest and I'm finally finding a moment to blog about things.

The sessions here have been good, not great. Henry Jenkins was great.

But overall, there isn't alot of what's new, it's more about what's hot. Making money off of video is hot, thinking that web sites can change the world are hot, and obsessing over design is hot.

A few good moments:

  • Seeing drunk geeks limbo under a glowing light saber.

  • Getting the best swag of the show, a Flickr lens cleaner. BTW, the Yahoo party had the best food.

  • Eating lunch everyday at Champions so my brother Matt could watch basketball.

  • Meeting a woman when when choosing between giving up alcohol, sex, and cheese for Lent, chose cheese.

  • Having Robert Scoble try to steal the beer I was bringing to Heathervescent.

  • Paying $4 for a Starbucks Doubleshot can.

  • Meeting Neal Pollack at a bar, not knowing who he was, and thinking he was rather unfunny.
         Update: Some (who didn't pay attention in English class) think that I am saying that that Neal is not funny. In fact, I am using irony, because Neal is, in fact, funny.

  • Eating pizza while drunk at 2AM when the daylight savings switch happened on Saturday night.

  • Watching my brother sleep through the Dan Rather Keynote with a can of Monster energy drink in his hand.

  • Seeing Ze Frank at the web awards. He's just as funny live and in-person.

Here's my SxSW story about The Liberation of the Alcohol:

On Saturday night, we ended up at a party called 8-Bit. The 8-Bit party was huge and it was packed. Here is the layout of the party.

As you can see, the larger part of the party was served by a beer bar, and liquor was seperated into a seperate concentration camp. I and others felt that this was patently unfair and prejudiced against liquor.

Thankfully, my co-worker Scott came upon the idea of how to liberate the liquor from it's camp and into the freedom of the larger party.

The trick was to walk over to the liquor camp and order a drink. Then casually walk over and place the drink on top of one of the wooden fence posts. Next, leave the liquor camp and walk past the guards empty handed and back into the beer camp. Finally (and with stealth) walk over to the fence posts and liberate the liquor into the freedom of the beer area.

This underground railroad of booze operated just fine for quite a while. However, no good thing lasts forever. I bumped into Michael Buffington and asked if he wanted on the liberation team. He ethusiastically joined up and we made yet another foray into the barren liquor zone. We got the drink, placed them on fence posts and took the long walk. Upon the moment of liquor retrieval, Mike was so excited he said something to someone on the other side of the fence (very un-ninja-like) and the bar manager woke from his Col. Klink style nap, hopped up and busted us.

This put an end to the liberation scheme and we forced to return to the liquor camp to consume our drinks. Fortunately, this was near closing time, and we were soon booted out of the party completely to wander drunkenly back toward Sixth Street to find pizza.

Posted by michael at 10:32 AM | Comments (3)
March 07, 2007
Info you need for SxSW

SxSW starts this weekend in Austin. This is my fifth year and these are my helpful tips for the novice.

Introduce Yourself - People are at SXSW because they want to meet people and see new things. Strangely, many of the blogger types that go are introverted types that are a bit shy. Do yourself a favor and say "Hello, I'm So-and-so" to that person you are sitting next to. (Don't say So-and-so, use your name...) I guarantee that they will be happy to talk to you.

ABC - Always Be Charging - If you bring a laptop, you need to be charging it every single chance you get. No battery lasts long enough. Try to sit near an oulet in the session rooms. Share power outlets with others.

Personal cards - Make up business cards with your name, email, and website info on them to hand out. Bring your regular business cards if you want, but what people really want is a card that ties you to your online persona so they can find you after SxSW.

Session Info - When you arrive on Friday go to the Convention Center and pick up your badge. They will give you a large canvas bag of swag. You don’t want to haul this around, so you need to figure a way to drop this off at your hotel before a long night of partying. In the bag are two crucial items. First is the program which has detailed session descriptions. Second is a small pocket card with the session schedule on it. You want these to be in your daily walk around bag, not in your hotel room.

Shiner Bock - Shiner Bock is a local Texas beer that you find everywhere. Often referred to as simply ‘Shiner’.

Fray Cafe - Go to the Fray Cafe on Sunday night. It's one of the best things about SxSW.

Stay Warm - It can get cold and rain in Austin this time of year. Bring a good jacket or coat.

Sharpeners - There are no pencil sharpeners at SXSW. People think writing on a pad of paper with a wooden pencil is a bit strange.

The Backchannel - Be aware that there is a backchannel of real-time IRC discussion going on. Probably on, probably on #sxsw. The trick is to not make the backchannel into the front channel for you. It can distract you from listening to the speaker/session that you paid to see...

Secure connections - Wifi traffic is in the clear and people are sniffing packets all the time. Arrange for secure email, FTP, and if possible, secure browsing while at SXSW. It’s unlikely that a malicious hacker is gunna do bad things, but it’s best to be prepared.

Street Signs - For some reason, downtown Austin has few street signs. Get a map and study it before venturing out.

Food - Eat food. Austin has a great bar scene. You will be drinking. Don‘t drink on an empty stomach.

Texas BBQ - IMHO, Texas BBQ pales in comparison to BBQ in other areas like Kansas City and Carolina. That chopped beef sandwich stuff just doesn't cut it, but people will want to eat it for lunch.

Say Hello to Me - I would love to meet Loyal Cruft Readers. On Friday night I will be at Break Bread with Brad drinking beer and smoking cigars. Email me or IM at pusateri AT and I promise to respond.

Any questions?

Posted by michael at 11:44 AM | Comments (2)
March 05, 2007
Why Cisco bought Tribe; or The Corporsphere

Several people in the Blogosphere have commented on Cisco's decision to buy and can't seem to see why Cisco did this. These people don't work inside the Corporsphere.

The Corporsphere is the groupthink and reasoning that goes on within much of the technology departments within Corporate America. Just as the Blogosphere pertains to the ideas and rationale floating around the blogging community, the Corporsphere exists to reflect the ideas and concepts inside the systems of The Man.

Besides being a fantastic husband, father, and blogger, I also go to work. I work deep in the heart of Corporate America helping provide technology to co-workers. Overall, I like it, but you do have to simply accept some of the surreal thinking that goes on.

If you're in the Corporsphere, the Cisco acquistion makes perfect sense. You may not buy software from Cisco, but it doesn't seem crazy.

Let me explain.

In the regular world, people tend to make their purchasing decisions based on functionality, price, and sometimes brand reputation. People want the best product for the best price.

Inside the Corporsphere an entirely new set of rules apply.

There are things called Strategic Sourcing and Enterprise Standards and Risk Management that lurk like corrupt judges wandering into town messing with the local sheriff/IT manager.

Here's how it works. Let's say you want to put some weblogs into your company. You chose a best-of-breed solution made by a small company that runs on LAMP.

Strategic Sourcing says, "Have we done business with them before? Can Microsoft, HP, Dell, EMC, or anyone else we have long term purchasing agreements do the same thing? Will they pay $1,500 to join Ariba, our spend management provider?"

Enterprise Standards says, "Why Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP? Isn't there a solution that works on .Net with SQL Server or Oracle with IIS? Do they meet our identity management standards? What is the value proposition of this solution over Sharepoint?"

Risk Management say, "Do they have $3+ million in liability insurance? Can we see their financial records to ensure long term stability? Are they Sarbanes-Oxley approved? What's their overall compliance profile?"

At this point most IT managers are willing to install pretty much anything to get something done and stop the inquisition.

I haven't even mentioned other corporate boogeymen like Strategic Alliances, Diversity, Enterprise Learning, and Enterprise Resource Planning. Like the Nazgul, they roam the lands looking for naive technology managers to suck the life out of.

Back to Cisco.

Cisco is a tech company that is deeply embedded in every Fortune 1000 company. In the Corporsphere, Cisco is a safe choice. No one asks a single question if you want to buy a Cisco product. Cisco's got most corporations wired for the basics; email, web, and maybe even VOIP. But to grow, Cisco has to drive even more traffic inside corporations. 100Mb/s won't keep the orders rolling in. They need to be installing Gigabit Ethernet, Content Distribution Networking, Packet Acceleration, and a host of other new products.

The issue is finding something to fill up the pipes inside of companies. Recently, they bought Scientific Atlanta, a company that does serious digital video, powering cable companies systems that pump gigabytes of video around.

Business people say, "I want an internal Myspace!" and the IT managers try to figure out what to buy. Sure there's plenty of choices from small startups but rather than face the gauntlet, the beaten-down IT manager looks on the Preferred Supplier list and sees that Microsoft has Sharepoint, Intel has SuiteTwo, and now Cisco's going to have Tribe. Cisco sees the social software needs of the Corporsphere.

In the corporsphere, a mediocre solution that you can implement is better than a great solution that you can't get approved. So many make the choice to take the easy path and buy the system that is 'close enough' to what's needed. Why worry if KickApps or Ning are going to be around next year, when you can just buy a solution from Cisco or Microsoft?

Cisco knows this and sees a key to their continued growth is convincing the Corporsphere that putting social software in the Enterprise is important. It doesn't hurt that it drives all sorts of network traffic, including popular videos and photos.

The Cisco sales people are good. They will take you to lunch, listen to your problems, and even give you free stuff. If they can provide an internal Myspace to Fortune 1000 companies, they will find many customers, because in the Corporsphere, the best is the enemy of the good.

Small disclaimer: I use humor and hyperbole to make my points here. Believe it or not, there are rational reasons for the Corporate Entities I describe above. Some good friends of mine ride with the Nazgul. Supporting 50,000 people with technology is no simple task. Rules and methods are needed to avoid chaos. The rules inside the Corporsphere aren't wrong, they are just different and often puzzling to those on the outside.

Posted by michael at 11:21 PM | Comments (2)
Timelapse of me rebuilding my computer
Posted by michael at 09:57 PM | Comments (4)