Monday, April 30, 2007

Blogger mobile Post #4, or, "Mitochondrial awesomeness"

Have you heard? About the mitochondria? Most scientists now believe that mitochondria were once independent, parasitic bacteria, that have evolved a mutually beneficial relationship with our cells.

How wonderful! Maybe we can, "all just get along."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Globe as a Country, or, "Practical Idealism"

Two things have been bugging me for the past couple of decades:

1) Can our global community be seen as analogous to the federation of the United States? The answer is no, right? Interactions between countries on the planet follow a different set of rules than interactions between states or people within a country of laws. Or do they?

Within the United States system, citizens value "civilized" values such as non-violence, human life, diversity, individualism, and tolerance.

But we live within a global community that includes periodic genocide and regular war. I don't see a parallel to this with people within the United States. Violent crime, I suppose, is the "war" between individuals, but I haven't seen much interstate strife unless you count private-public sector strife (businesses over-billing governments).

Either I am sheltered, naive, and/or elite, or the global community is still closer to the wild west than the current United States system.

2) Other thing that's been on my mind is Scarcity vs. Abundance: Is there really enough to go around, or do we in fact have to fight for a way of life? I would like to talk to an economist about the world's energy and food sources.

What I am wondering is, if there is NOT enough to go around, are our leaders making a decision to act a certain way within the global community in order to preserve a standard of living and way of life? If so, there needs to be a public dialogue about this.

I will say that again. There needs to be a public dialogue about this. U.S. citizens deserve the right to choose how our country will behave within the international community. We can consciously choose what we're willing to do in order to preserve a way of life, or what sacrifices we are willing to make to avoid international conflict. Why doesn't anyone talk about this?

If there IS enough to go around, well then, why can't humanity get its act together? I suppose we're doing OK when one looks at the past few hundred years' views of slavery, "savagery," and religious self-righteousness.

I'll tell you the answer. Everyone needs Internet access and education (although I'm not sure if everyone actually wants that).

Over and out. I will continue saving the world another time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Online Grocery List, Software-as-a-Service model, Supports Multiple Content Contributors

5/31/2007 update: OK the spambots have found me, and I've found a better alternative: 37signals ta-da list.
Also supports user-contributed content (mom?).

Background: my wife Analisa and I need a mobile-device-accessible place on the web where multiple content contributors (the two of us) can update and access a central Grocery List repository from home or abroad. Below is my first attempt at said endeavor.

Allllllllllrighty... I think this will do. At least until the Marki-Dunn Online Grocery List begins attracting spam, getting flooded, or becomes otherwise defaced with silliness from my prankster colleagues, at which point my idealistic world view will be utterly shattered, and I will be forced to add authentication or orphan the page somewhere top-secret.
Name (required)
URL/Email (optional)

Friday, April 20, 2007

processing vtech

It's been a busy week in my technology world, and only today am I beginning to come to terms with the gravity of the Virginia Tech shooting and what it means for our society.

"The scene was something these experienced officers had never witnessed. As they entered each room, they asked the students to hold out their hands, show that they had no weapons, and then led those who could walk down the stairs and outside. But there were so many bodies. Blood everywhere, pieces of flesh. The shooter himself, with a gun lying nearby, was almost unrecognizable, a face destroyed. And the innocent victims did not just have bullet wounds, the police would recount later, but were riddled with bullets, gushing blood. The scene was so emotionally overwhelming that many officers could not hold back tears even as they went about their business."

There's not much I can add to the gravity of the scene described in the above text, so I won't even try.

Thoughts are beginning to formulate in my active-unconscious mind regarding how this event:

  • affects our sense of security
  • fuels both gun control advocates and opponents
  • draws scrutiny, criticism, and hopefully improvement to our mental health system and overall mental health awareness
  • encourages us to rethink our public and private safety
  • encourages us to rethink our humanity in the age of isolation, technology, and connected anonymity (word has it that some of Cho's attempts at human connection were in the form of IM correspondence with women that degraded into harassment and/or stalking).

Other stuff comes to mind, though, including a sign I see in town for an exhibit in Los Angeles, "In Violence, We Forget Who We Are," a title inspired from a Mary McCarthy quote. I haven't even seen the exhibit, but these words haunt me. Not sure why. Maybe a thought will solidify later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Make Lemonade

What do you do when your meetup bombs one week? Let everyone know all the fun they missed.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at 7:30 PM
D'Amore's Pizza Connection, Westwood , CA 90024

Event fee:

USD21.00 before or $25 at event

Event rating:



It's estimated that 2 people attended.

Hide photos

  • Steve Mark envelope

    Steve Mark of On-The-Mark Systems, Inc.

    "I thought it was odd when they wheeled out the portable hot tub, but Crockett got right into it. The food was good, the girls were great, and I just heard they are going to rename their sorority "Crockett Hall.""

  • Crockett envelope

    Crockett Dunn of Gold Zeppelin, LLC.

    "Boy if you weren't there, you really missed out. Steve went nuts! Got totally naked, punched a guy in the face, then ran out with the cash register. Good times..."


  • Yes: 2 members
  • Maybe: 1 member
  • No: 13 members

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Email I received today

4/24 update: Get more info here, or take action here.

Commentary by Crockett:

Special emphasis on, "...As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA..."

I'm not a big fan of existing distribution channels lobbying for legislation that will stifle competition and attempt to preserve the status quo. Maybe I'm young and naive, but it seems to me that this legislation is bad for America. This country proved to the world that competition produces the greatest results, so it doesn't seem like a great idea for existing sources of wealth to pay to get legislation passed that will hurt or kill their competition.

Let's limit the grounds of competition to the quality of products and services delivered, and leave tactics such as undermining and sabatoge out of our economy.

Trouble viewing this email?...Click here


Hi, it's Tim from

I'm writing today to ask for your help.
The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a
recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost
triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty
rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays, and
broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties
will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.

In response to these new and unfair
fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes
listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining

Please sign our petition urging your
Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio:

Please feel free to
forward this link/email to your friends - the more petitioners we can get, the

Understand that we are
fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and
have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no
stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the
recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY
webcaster's business potential.

I hope you'll take just a
few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young
industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are
by far our biggest and most influential allies.

As always, and now more
than ever, thank you for your support.

src="" width=102> -Tim

(Pandora founder)

Liquid Paper Peace, or Technological Pathology

The truth is, after hours days weeks months years of screen-sucking and generally conducting technology and software business via email, it feels really good to apply Liquid Paper. Seriously... no lie.

Just taking my eyes off the multiple monitors and looking downwards towards a white piece of paper rather than white monitor screen triggers a bit of relief. Handwriting on the envelope feels good, too. Reminds me of elementary school, back when we had the, "headline/mid-line/baseline," giant paper/giant pencils, and were proud of the shapely letters we formed. And then you EARN the right to use PEN, and loose-leaf... around fourth grade I think.

Sure, the pen strokes feel good, but the broad, horizontal Liquid Paper strokes feel GREAT. Laying down the blobs, then spreading and thinning the goop, leaving little brush strokes that slowly melt away and smooth, careful to completely cover the ink.... I can almost hear the late Bob Ross narrating the "Happy Little Clouds" as I create my masterpiece.

Ahhhh..... Well that was nice. Now back to the screen-sucking and IRS correspondence.

Monday, April 16, 2007

If Google Managed the United States' Internal Revenue Service, or at least the forms...

Note to self:
Expound upon the idea* of how much we would all LOVE to pay our taxes if the IRS teamed up with the rock-stars from Google Labs and built a rich, Web 2.0 tax calculation platform to walk us through the process.

Think of aesthetically pleasing sites like LinkedIn, Ziggs, and BaseCamp, not to mention right here at Soft (as opposed to harsh), pleasant, and actually encouraging, these sites INVITE you to offer information, holding your hand through a guided process.

The process seems to jive with intuition, and these sites even provide incremental, positive reinforcement for the task of data entry (see LinkedIn: "Your network is x% complete").

Whereas the tax forms I file every year seem patched, supplemented, caveated, conditioned, band-aided, and overridden by various labyrinths of conditions and clauses. You would need a whiteboard and a professor to help you through the logic.

*Interested investors and business partners contact me @ I'd also like to build a pay-to-submit, biz/social networking site multi-submit tool, if I can come up with a team and some cash to get started.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sunshine Days

The wind has settled, and sunny days are back in California! I was thinking about getting into music "programming." Looking for work @ Pandora (previously the Music Genome project) or something where I could be involved at observing & documenting what factors affect music selection on a given day.

HOLY COW I've been in CA for 8 years now, and only today discovered Indie 103.1! Matthew Sweet was covering The Kids Are Allright, which always moves me, and then a song called cinnamon girl that reminded me of Tenacious D, and then they covered Little Surfer Girl.

Thanks to Matt Ramage @ E-Marketed for turning me on to the new station!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Freeway blood

I see tire skid marks crossing several lanes, broken safety glass, cut-away clothing, and a large blood stain on the CA-10 East just about one mile west of the 110 North. It was there yesterday, and it persists today- barely faded.

I noticed this blood and remnants of violence yesterday on my way from Mid-Wilshire back to Pasadena.

Earlier that same day, en route from Pasadena to mid- Wilshire, I saw a large maroon motorcycle being loaded onto a tow truck in the same area, while other lanes were blocked with wrecked autos. I suspect that someone from the freeway West ended up on the East side, and the skid marks were from an evasion attempt.

There is something unsettling about this persistent blood stain. The city (city's infrastructure) claims a life, but the system cannot be stopped, even for a moment, to remove the gruesome evidence. Someone's life is either ended or abruptly altered, yet the flow of traffic moves on and on. In an instant, the lives of the loved ones of whoever's blood this is are altered: friends, co-workers, spouse, children, parents, siblings. Many life paths have been changed. But the freeway system is bigger than all that, so it must not be stopped.

Individually we are capable of tremendous compassion and empathy, but collectively... collectively, in the context of the freeway system, we've adapted not to feel.

This is a strange city, Los Angeles. Full of life and tragedy;

trash and beauty:

It's sunny and windy today. So windy that if you are driving through downtown on the 110, trash, leaves, and papers blow across the freeway surface and far up into the sky. In addition to the normal smog, the air today is literally dirty. But so sunny and colorful, too, with the blue sky and green hills. Brown mountains in the distance. It's important to keep your eyes open for the beauty, even if you are on the freeway.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We are living in exponential times

My uncle sent me this, and I love it! Change is good. I think it keeps our brains malleable.

This is a video that was created by Karl Fisch, and modified by Scott McLeod.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Blogger Mobile Post #3: Live & Direct From... the Toilet @ Jamba

No, not ON the toilet.

IN the toilet, @ jamba juice. Ok, I think it's hilarious that their bathroom key "anchor" is a bucket. The comedic possibilities are endless. Oh, the things I could have said to cashier upon returning from bathroom with bucket, but I was thwarted, and the bucket was intercepted by a woman waiting outside the door.

I had not planned my humor for this circumstance! So I politely handed over the bucket with an awkward glance and a polite nod, carrying my quiet comic fantasy outside to share with you.

Monday, April 02, 2007

E-Food: Chipotle To-Go

1) One night in 1996, while sitting in my dormitory adjacent to the Duke University Hospital trauma unit helicopter pad (seriously, I'm surprised I couldn't find one of these photos with a view directly into my old dorm window- that seems to have been the flight path most followed- the one where the "headlights" would illuminate my room at night...), it occurred to me how "cool" it would be (and convenient) to order dinner from the INTERNET. So I jumped onto a search engine, probably old Yahoo or Altavista, and googled (wait, I don't remember what we called Googling back then) order pizza online.

It turns out, at the time there was ONE location of Papa John's Pizza that accepted internet orders, and it was hundreds of miles away. I can't remember my exact reaction, but I vaguely recall emailing Papa John's national and recommending they expand their online order accepting system nationally.

2) During what was perhaps the peak of my internet/connectivity/technology obsession, a friend of mine, noticing my fair skin (fair= ridiculous pallor for southern boy), commented, "well can't you just DOWNLOAD some sunlight?).

While I still cannot download sunlight, I was pleasantly surprised tonight to observe Chipotle's online web-to-order system fully functional.

Check it out:

Thank you for placing an order with Chipotle! Your order has been sent to East Pas.
It can take 10-15 minutes for us to receive your order once it's been sent. So, please call your selected Chipotle in about 10 minutes to confirm that we received it. Otherwise, your order will not be made.
Here is your Chipotle contact info:
East Pas
3409 E. Foothill Blvd.
Fax: 626-351-6027
Here is a summary of your order:
Order ID: 832629
Ordered by: hcd2
Crockett Dunn
Phone: 626-798-0323
Company: Gold Zeppelin LLC
Nick Name:
Meal Type: BOL
Rice Pinto Beans FAJITA VEGGIES Medium Corn Salsa Medium Green Salsa Cheese Guac Lettuce 1 Side Chips & Guac
Nick Name:
Rice Black Beans CARNITAS Mild Salsa Medium Corn Salsa Medium Green Salsa Cheese Guac Lettuce
Please do not reply to this confirmation email. If there is a problem with your order or a further question, please call your estaurant.
signed with love!

I was skeptical as I completed the process and the order wizard cautioned me that I must call to confirm my order. I thought this was another un-implemented web-to-order system where I go through the wizard and then have to pick up the phone and read the order off my monitor.

Not the case. As instructed, I called 10 minutes later, and they had my order and where preparing it.

Hooray Technology!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Case for Racism

just kidding.


I was playing guitar and treadmilling, and I got so lost in the music and rhythm, that it was a few minutes before I realized I was drooling.