Auction Fun: In a nail biting, nerve-racking kind of way

So, the auctioning of got under way at noon on Monday. By Tuesday evening it had barely met the reserve price. This was set at $5,000 on the recommendations of Sedo, the auctioneers, whose position is as follows:
Our experience has shown that the more accessible you set the reserve, the greater the degree of competitive interest and the earlier bidding wars are likely to begin. I would strongly suggest setting the reserve as low as possible.

By Wednesday night the price had not budged from $5,000.00 and I was "too bummed to blog." (Anyone else out there ever get that feeling? You just can't find it in you to post something, even though part of you is itching to type?)

I had spent much of Tuesday emailing...

Countdown to Auction at

Just under an hour to go until the start of the auction, that is, the auctioning of the domain name "" to the highest bidder. It should show up here under Auction Listings.

Not sure if anyone has ever blogged the auctioning of their domain name before (although, given the size of the blogosphere today, it has probably been done many times already).

I did quite a bit of research ahead of time and found a great blog about domain names, Frank Schilling's Seven Mile. Here's an interesting discussion that took place there relative to the value of (And here's Frank's listing in Wikipedia, just in case you don't know who he is, and I admit I didn't until I started looking at the domain market.)

What prompted the discussion was a somewhat embarrassing lack of clarity on my part when I put out a press release about recent domain name values, like selling for $50,000 and going for $175,000. My intention had been to show the range of values for recent sales of 'last name' domains and perhaps my mistake was to list going for $1.5M. Some people took that to mean I was asking $1.5M for when I would be happy with something closer to or maybe even ($72K). The latter is a good example of a four-letter dot-com name. Even better might be which was purchased for $500K, but has a more generic appeal.

Anyway, as it turns out, the only reliable way to put a price on a domain name is to sell it. "As in real estate, so in virtual real estate." Even among experts there is a huge range of pre-sale valuations (e.g. I got responses ranging from $40K to $600K in the valuations I commissioned).

So, let the bidding begin. And stay tuned for my reports on how this kind of auction feels when you are on the 'receiving end' so to speak.

Pentagon to Merge Next-Gen Binoculars With Soldiers' Brains

Words fail me at this point...

Pentagon to Merge Next-Gen Binoculars With Soldiers' Brains

Are you someone like me who assumed [erroneously] that the military switched from Jeeps to Humvees because Humvees were armored [and that is why they cost so much more than Jeeps]? Then you probably think hooking binocs to brains should come somewhere after putting armor on the bottom of army vehicles. I mean, did nobody in America notice the way the British had modified their Land Rovers for anti-terrorist duty in the seventies?

Technologically this next-gen stuff is cool. But I vote not to fund it until someone in that great big five-sided building stands up and says "It's about the people, stupid!"

Freesound: A cool site for people with ears

If you are fascinated by sounds then check out the freesound home page. This is the home of a project to make sounds available under Creative Commons licensing. What's cool about that? Well there are times when you want a sound, maybe for a movie or a music project. This site is working to make sounds searchable so that you can find the sound you need, then use it under a Creative Commons license.

I used the sound of a film projector from this library in my first video on YouTube. I am in the process of uploading some of my own sounds, things like dogs barking, rain on a tin roof, frogs doing what frogs do, and so on. In fact, I sometimes carry a small digital recorder with me just to capture sounds.

Is it art? Well, there is an art in the use of sounds, as many a motion picture sound track reveals. And there is an art in the capture of sounds. Creating sounds is also an art form. Some of the sounds on this site are generated from chips. Maybe you need to have grown up with radio drama as a major form of entertainment to get same the kick out of sound that some of us old folk do. Few things have sparked my imagination like listening to BBC radio plays on an earpiece under the covers after bedtime using a crystal radio attached to the drain pipe with an alligator clip.

Tweaking the Template: Getting close to 'live'

Okay, so I have settled on an Andreas Viklund template [wp-andreas01-12]. This is available from the Wordpress themes site. I already use the andreas02 web theme for my business site ( You can download that from Andreas' own site.

For me, this blog template is just the right balance of good looks and usability. Any issues you might have with the look "as-modified-by-me" are the result of me being a. aesthetically-challenged, and b. color-blind. They are certainly no fault of wonderful Mr. Viklund.

Now begins the long task of merging, into this blog, a number my other blogs, namely:








Cobb on Stamps? Maybe not, but your puppy will work fine

So I'm watching BBC America and I see an ad for Photo Stamps with the catch phrase: "Real Postage. Really You."

Yes! You can now print out U.S. out postage stamps with your own photos on them.

Right away I'm thinking great, I can make stamps that express my political opinions through the use of carefully chosen images. And right after that I'm thinking, "No way! They would never let you do that."

A quick trip to the web site confirms it. Here are some of the things you can't put on these stamps that they advertise as "Real Postage. Really You."

"Material that is obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, sexually suggestive, deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy, supportive of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, violent, or otherwise objectionable..."

Most of that is fair enough but "otherwise objectionable" is very broad. What about the photo of the nasty spider bite I got--I'd like to raise awareness of the dangers posed by spiders. Is that objectionable? And wait, there's more that won't be allowed on "your" stamps...

"Material that depicts celebrities or celebrity likenesses, regional, national or international leaders or politicians, current or former world leaders, convicted criminals, newsworthy, notorious or infamous images and individuals, or any material that is vintage in appearance or depicts images from an older era."

What if I myself am notorious? Does that include notorious for always leaving the bar before I buy a round? And what's this opposition to all things "vintage"? Some people think I'm vintage. And it doesn't stop there. Any attempt to push this vague but very tight envelope could cost you:

"If, in its sole discretion, determines that any material you upload may not meet these content requirements, may reject your order without explanation. reserves the right to charge a processing fee of $10.00 for each image, graphic or photograph that you submit as an order which violates our content restrictions."

And don't even think about complaining:

"In addition, in the event you violate these Content Restrictions and you intentionally publicize such violation, you acknowledge that will suffer substantial damage to its reputation and goodwill and that you can be liable for causing such substantial damage."

So, go ahead, express yourself on stamps. With just the right amount of flair. Or else.

p.s. Feel free to use the above photo on your stamps. We're pretty sure it meets the requirements and we hereby release it to the public domain.

Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops - New York Times

Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops - New York Times
"the latest example of how technology is often embraced by philanthropists and political leaders as a quick fix, only to leave teachers flummoxed about how best to integrate the new gadgets into curriculums. Last month, the United States Department of Education released a study showing no difference in academic achievement between students who used educational software programs for math and reading and those who did not."
First you teach them to read and write really well. THEN you let them have computers.

Is This Art:? Coverage of the Virginia Tech Coverage

For years people have complained that network news and the major news networks have become less about news and more about entertainment. A fad? All about the money? No. It is an emerging phenomenon of considerable significance to human development (both in general terms and in the specific terms of Hegel's Aesthetics, which I happen to believe is the most prescient of his works).

The conclusive proof for me is that the best political journalism on TV today is The Daily Show. No doubt about it. Doubt it? See Jon Stewart's handling of the coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.

That is art.

Coverage of the Virginia Tech Coverage

The best political journalism on TV today? The Daily Show. No doubt about it. Doubt it? See Jon Stewart's handling of the coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. I have discussed this elsewhere and I tip my hat to Mr. Stewart for saying what needed to be said.