Domain Names Entertainment Games General Start Ups Virtual Reality VR/AR

A Domain name, Twitter and a UK Games Programmer

philz downtown Palo Alto

Let’s jump across the pond and visit a young game designer in the U.K.  I found him by a series of random events that began on Twitter.

Michel Cyger (@MichaelCyger) Director of Domain Education for Godaddy.com and founder of several domain related platforms tweeted the question “Who else is in the “I own my name dot com domain”club?”

I answered that I was a part of this club and also owned my son’s name, JamesRichardBradley dot com  and two grandkids names. And I bought one for a friend.

Somehow this got me to looking up the kid’s domain name in google and finding this JRB, who is not my son but shares his name in a country specific domain name for his website. https://www.jamesrichardbradley.co.uk

My JRB is not a techie (because of or despite all those years in Palo Alto?)  He is a talent manager for writers, actors, directors in soCal – (and he has also not used his domain name, much to my dismay).

I find that my child’s  U.K namesake is indeed into tech and some interesting tech at that. Please click on his site,  James Richard Bradley ,  but if you don’t, here’s some self described data about about him:

“I’m a gaming and technology enthusiast with 10 years of experience in the retail industry, currently retraining in my dream field of work, Games Programming. I have a passion for strong narrative and immersive gameplay, but I currently have a particular interest in exploring the use of AI in level design to create a more immersive experience.”

James of the U.K. happy to meet you.  I’m not into gaming and not a programmer. In fact, here’s my only contribution to gaming, the domain name eGameworld.com which happens to be for sale. Bought circa 1998 from godaddy. It can be a dynamic site with some work, a great name has come into its own.

So James, if you find this post, say hi here and let us know if you are still doing programming and if not, what are you up to?  Thanks to Michael Cyger for asking the question of who owns their name as a domain and leading to our finding a James Richard Bradley in the U.K who does indeed have a domain as his name, just like the U.S. JRB.

And to everyone:  visit eGameWorld.com, a great domain for sale.

Domain Names Games

From Good Morning America to Gotham: Here’s eGameworld

philz downtown Palo Alto

A Moment of Fame in Silicon Valley HIstory

From Good Morning America to Gotham: my domain names always have a story. They were the reason my email address was the headline in The San Jose Mercury News. Or Good Morning America called me or NYU Law interviewed and wrote about me. Or being a story on every local tv station in Silicon Valley.

All because of domain names? Yes. Just words. One publicity rich event was when I took on a multinational organization to win a trademark infringement domain name fight. Not in court, but on the very domain they wanted to sue me over. I published my arguments invoking, along with the law, Tim Berners-Lee. I won. Chilling effects website found the case, published it as well as Internet Freedom Foundation and this lead to NYU Law calling me. Power to the people as Tim and Woz said about computing.

The story that put my email address as headlines on The San Jose Mercury had to do with an ad I put in the paper to trade a domain name for a place to live. The Merc interviewed me and surprised the hell out of me by making this the headlines. When your email is the headline, you get noticed and Good Morning America wants to talk to you. It was fun for a few days but then the news cycle is over and that’s that! One and done.

Much has happened in IRL and virtually since those stories. By the time iRobot came nagging me about a domain I owned that they thought was trademark infringement I just put up a blog post showing them how they were incorrect and that was that.

Ok, now, I’d like a bit of that attention and fame because I am ready to sell some never used and some very unused domain names. eGameWorld.com for one. It is FOR SALE! Let me shout it to the rooftops. I bought egameworld in 1998. I’ve decided to try getting a tiny site up with a gaming news feed and some affiliate links. I am tired, so decided to hire someone, first time hiring a developer. Started with Craig of course (thank you Craig Newmark for so much). That’s craigslist I’m talking about. Problems already…people who advertised did not respond. hmm..ok, so from Silicon Valley I end up with someone from NY who advertises in L.A. Craigslist. Alright, its a digital, virtual world, fine by me. I had no idea however the name of the company I was responding to was Gotham. Have I found my superhero? Or, OMG, is this the Joker? I’m always looking for cosmic jokes – have I been served one now? EGameWorld has landed in Gotham? I believe in you..Here’s a pitch for you: GOTHAM TECH

Meanwhile I decide to sell a site, never used, bought in 2007 and do the same thing: affiliate links and newsfeed. And then, a few hours after I decide to do this I find out 23andme has gone public with the ticker symbol ME. My domain is DNAisME dot com…I bought it in 2007 and it has been unused since. Any chance 23 will not come after me for trademark infringement? Ok, we’ll see, ’cause the site is coming, and DNAisME is me, since 2007.

Gotham? Really?? I ended up in Gotham? And a domain with the 23nadme ticker symbol? Oh, the places I’ve been, and I’m skipping the years the Japanese took over CowsAreVeg (I’ve got it back.)

Facebook social media Start Ups Startups

Goodbye Zuckerberg and Facebook?

Lost My Facebook Page, Can’t Get It Back, Gone to Aldershot, England

Facebook and I have history but not in any usual sense. Circa 2007, Mark was starting out in Palo Alto at an office on Hamilton Ave. (At the time Fast Company said this about Facebook: “The question remains, if Facebook is a business, how will it monetize the opportunity that Zuckerberg has created? And how soon will the race for cash flow begin? Already there is rampant speculation about potential advertising models and other next-stage transformations of the business mode.”) Seems so quaint now.

I was living on Addison a few blocks away and renting out a room with private bath. My ad on Craigslist got a lot of responses because of its location. In July 2007 the email that eventually got the room began: “I’m starting work at an internet startup in Palo Alto on August 6 and am looking for a place to stay.” He had just graduated college at age 23. The internet “startup” was Facebook and I was located within what they called “the miracle mile”. If an employee lived within a mile of the Facebook office on Hamilton they got an extra $600 per month because they were expected to be available if the servers crashed in the middle of the night.

So enter new renter, new employee at “startup” Facebook. What a great guy the renter was. We got along well, we even somehow knew someone in common though we were generations apart. I decided now might be the time to open an account with this startup. I asked the FB expert to help me – and voila – one Facebook account/customer was born. Fast forward a few months and the new employee decided he needed to travel, told me he was leaving Facebook and my place. I suggested he might want to stay as I heard things were going quite well for the company and he might be missing out on something about to scale.

No, he was insistent, there was some traveling he had to do and now was the time. So, exit Facebook, hello big wide world. And eventually, maybe four months later he was back in Palo Alto and looking for work. Apparently he had a friend who had an engineering degree from Stanford but was marking time with a side hustle at a local cafe. Former Facebook employee asks friend if there is any job at the cafe. Friend says “Don’t do cafe, I’ve got something else going on.” ‘Something else’ would come to be known as Instagram. The barista was Kevin Systrom. The rest is history. My renter became part of the group that Mark bought and is known as Instagram’s first employee.

So, from an early employee of Facebook, who became Instagram early days, I got a Facebook account. I wasn’t sure what Facebook was or did and I already did my own sites so I wasn’t sure I needed this. But over time, although I didn’t post much I would keep up with friends and family.

Until now when I got this email from Facebook: “It looks like someone tried to log into your account on June 1 at 5:24 AM using Edge (Chromium Based) on Windows 10.” Then, “Your Facebook password was changed on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 5:34 AM (PDT). IP address: 79.70.36.25 Estimated location: ALDERSHOT ENGLAND, GB”

I’ve tried working though system to fix .I webcammed my CDL and it was not accepted. I need help….

I tell you about original setup of account because it was done with help from early FB employee who became Instagram, Josh Reidel.

Dear Facebook, we go way back and I am not a big FB’er, though you may be happy to know I have bought FB ads – but I need to see the fam and friends posts. And there’s a guy from Redwood City wearing a Facebook shirt that I intercepted today to ask for his help, who was nice enough to stop and talk, but he doesn’t work for FB, just wearing his sisters T and well, I really don’t want to stalk any more Facebook t-shirt wearers. But hey, dude from Redwood City, thx, you and friends were cool for listening to my Facebook rant.

If anyone knows how to help, let me know. I’ve tweeted to FBsecurity DM’ed to Facebook and nothing. C’mon someone, anyone at Facebook, find my page. It was created by a Facebooker who got bought by Mark when he became an Instagrammer, in my living room in Palo Alto and now its gone to Aldershot, England. And I don’t know why. Can we have a better ending, Facebook? Mark? Sheryl?

Government & Technology Investing Stanford Start Ups Startups

Dr. Seuss and Silicon Valley

A very long time ago in the era 2000 I was somehow struck by the need for social commentary a la Dr. Seuss.  I understand the current issues but am also one of those who say, “Don’t cancel culture, teach from it.”

So, with love and affection to someone who made words sing,  though  now I know some might sting, here is:

 

HOW  THE  GRINCH TAUGHT  THE  VC’s  a  LESSON 
in the year 2000
Every dreamer in the valley liked riches a lot.
“dot com it” “dot com it,” that’s what is hot!
But the Grinch of dreams lurked in the bay
Saying, “Hear them all talk, but I’ll get them one day.”

The Grinch hated dreamers, and liked them to lose.
He thought, “I can make them unhappy, if I so choose”
He read 100 business plans, and said with glee:
“Why, these are as stupid as stupid can be!”

He read with a grin, “Profits will be slim or none,
There is no reality : we buy high and sell low and be done!
It’s not what we do, it’s who we know.
They shall sit on our Board and that’s what we’ll show.”

He went to the West Coast and onto Sand Hill
Where VC’s were at work and janitors were road kill.
He saw them talking on their cell phones and using their Palm.
Those objects so beloved that soothed them and acted as balm.”

He watched with awe as the prices of houses went up and up.
The people who lived there had mega size kitchens yet went out to sup.
They bought SUV‘s and SUV‘s and more SUV‘s
so they could drive and never say , “please!”

And all of the people on Sand Hill were happy, happy guys and gals
‘Cause they  played games with all of their pals
Starting up dot-coms and  doing IPO’s
And now in the valley of jeans and T’s, we’re wearing designer clothes.
And the Grinch was filled with glee.
This people have no idea! They had no idea what was to be!
But the Grinch soon worried and started to fret,
it looked like some of the dot-com’s were wet, wet, wet!

Then he saw that this was really very funny:
What will these people do when there is no more  money.
“We’re not worried,” they said so smug.
“The end  was part of the plan”, they added with a shrug.”

But people were beginnning to ask
“Just what does this company do? What is its task?”
“You named it fookaddoka.com; oh what ‘s in a name?
I thought and I thought and it sounds like a game.”

The Grinch saw the people needed help and quick:
Their stocks were all dead, the companies so promising; now sick.
All was now  understood:
Alas, the VC’s had done no good.

And the Grinch was now satisfied. He knew the lesson they learned
That profits must  be earned.
And so, dear VC’s the Grinch urges you and you and you!
to come off the hill and meet with those of us who’d like to earn a sou.

Yes, we’d like to earn a sou or a dollar or a yen,
We’ve got ideas and talent and use them again and again.
But we don’t want pre-IPO and we don’t need a Board or a fancy name
Just some help, ’cause life is hard work, that’s the name of the game

But we’ll give you profits! Yes, we’ll try and make money.
Stop laughing, this isn’t *that* funny.
It’s the New, New thing – a company in business to earn –
Look – sit down and have a latte, there’s a lot you need to learn.

 

Entertainment General Start Ups

A Blonde in Need

sex workers in silicon valley

When you live in Silicon Valley and a virus steals all the things you like to do (well almost all)  and one of them includes not getting highlights, what do you do? A website of course! That’s how Make Me Blonde came to be.

Click here to Make Me Blonde

What have you done that you might not otherwise have done had a virus not invaded all aspects of your life? C’mon spill the beans and comment below.

 

Bitcoin Bitcoins Cryptocurrency Fintech

Bittrex and Me

bitcoin

This is a post about Bittrex and eventually I get to that. But first, some context.

Someone said me in 2014: You are the Bitcoin whisperer of University Ave. (Palo Alto, CA)   He said that  because I introduced Scott Robinson, fintech advisor, founder of Bitcoin Accelerator and the original Bitcoin Meetup in Silicon Valley, and Jean Paul Coupal, owner of Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto which accepted Bitcoin early on.  These were the days when bitcoin was an exotic word and many had no idea what it was. I’m actually a nobody in the crypto world but if no one else knows what you are talking about,  and it is early days, maybe no one knows that.  One time long ago XAPO contacted me and asked if I would write about them. They were young, in Palo Alto, and in need of getting known and someone there knew I wrote about tech stuff and went to Bitcoin meetups and they needed some publicity. 
 
Quoting myself from that very long ago post wherein I wrote about XAPO:
 

He followed me out of the coffee bar and said, “Excuse me, was that a Bitcoin transaction you just did?” Since he was behind me in line at Coupa Cafe, Palo Alto’s only retail place I know to use Bitcoin, I assumed the question was rhetorical. Wasn’t it obvious?  I had my phone out and pushing buttons and doing the QR code and the entire drill. Purchasing with Bitcoin at the retail level is a bit of a sideshow. If my hair isn’t looking good, I’m using cash because everyone gathers round and looks at you. No wonder it isn’t mainstream. Kind of like, Does my SAT score make me look fat? Is my short story on artificial intelligence/machine learning too much for pillow talk?

Yes, it was a Bitcoin transaction I told him.  “Oh good”, he replied, “because I’m a lawyer with clients with Bitcoin startups and I have no idea how it works.”Hmm. My mind was wandering: “And you waited until now to find out? Do they know you are clueless? No googling, no meet ups? No purchasing and using? You don’t know what it is and they pay you? Can I become a lawyer too?”   How could he represent clients in this exciting field and not even know how it works? I jumped all over Bitcoin when I heard about it.  A cryptocurrency? The blockchain? Mining?  Feed me more.  I want to know what this is all about.
 
The above is just to establish my somewhat obscure and, if truth be known, thin street cred in the cryptocurrency world. I did defend BTC against the bubble theory, calling it an S curve and I did learn enough about the blockchain from Scott Robinson to prove to Coupa Cafe that I had been charged three times for the same cup of coffee, and I have met some amazing people in the crypto world (Thank you, Scott and how I miss the meetups. They were awesome. And so was the pizza.)
 
I saw bitcoin become a known entity. The meetups went from 10 or 15 people to 300. The price acceleration from say, $500, to almost 20K was the kickstarter for that. 
 
Enter Bittrex. (and you thought I’d put you first?)
Out of the blue one day my kid in LA who had no interest in crypto asked me  if I knew about LISK.  No, I did not. He said he had it on good sourcing that it was a buy.  This was shocking.  What circles was he running in now?  Ok, I bought some.  But it had to be bought on a special exchange which is how I found BITTREX.  I opened an account and over time lost interest in it as I lost my investment in LISK.   I still sometimes follow it on Reddit threads. 
 
I also lost interest in Bittrex because they changed the user interface and I couldn’t even find my barely visible whatever was left of LISK account.
 
On May 21, 2020 I received an email from BITTREX:
 
 It’s been a while since you’ve logged into your Bittrex account – we miss you  As a special offer, we are reducing your trading fees to 8bps for the next three weeks.*
And then, a few weeks later, I find out my account has been disabled.

No one can explain to my satisfaction why they need to verify ownership. Why would they? Did they lose something? Get hacked? Screwed up? How can they not know I am the owner? That’s the path I need to know about because that’s the problem area.

In order to verify my account I must take 3 pics with arms and shoulders showing and holding in one place a government issued ID (I use CDL) and in another place a piece of paper with BITTREX on it and the date.  I can’t do this the normal selfie way and since I am on the road and don’t know anyone to ask to take a pic I have to learn how to use my Apple watch camera app to take a remote using my iPhone.  Actually I am glad I remembered it can be done and I found instructions but checked with one of the many, many (too many) Apple employee/guards outside the Santa Barbara store about the 3 second timer. (This is why tech is fun. In what sci fi film did I learn how to take a picture with a phone using a watch. None. But Tim Cook and a slew of Apple engineers gave it to me. TY)

 

I’m not the only one not liking this freezing account stuff from Bittrex. Here’s another’s opinion:

Bittrex does fairly poor when it comes to public opinion, mainly on issues dealing with suspended accounts.  Occasionally, certain accounts will be temporarily suspended pending completion of a review. The process has drawn sharp criticism from the owners of the frozen accounts, who have taken to web forums to air their grievances online. Apparently, this situation has been going on for some time, with only minimal response from the Bittrex team. Overall, according to Bittrex, only about 0.1% of accounts are affected by suspensions, closures, or outright bans. However, many threads have been opened in various BTC forums regarding this matter.
Read more: Bittrex Review (2020 Updated) – A Critical Issue You NEED to Know About | 99Bitcoins

Ok, that’s all I have to say – Bittrex, you have the pics now. Time to get me unfrozen. And as soon as I can figure out where you put my baby LISK and whatever else is in suspended animation, color me gone.  I still don’t understand why you can’t explain you are no longer sure who owns this account and why this doesn’t bother you.
UPDATE: Bittrex replied: “These photos are almost perfect but since the date on the paper does not match the date you submitted the photos we cannot accept them. Can you please send in three new photos that will meet this requirement?”    BITTREX did not request the date that was to be put on the paper to be the date submitted.  I handwrote the date I read the email because the email said, put on “today’s date” and the date was June 20. Done, Bittrex, done!  So, I have requested in house counsel name, we can take it there if they want.
Artificial Intelligence

ALEXA, Can We Talk?

Alexa

Existentialism and ALEXA  The COVID time: As we shelter in place, remain under house arrest or do this for the good of everyone – pick your label – it is a very good time to bond with our intelligences aka virtual assistants.

 

Here is Larry talking to Alexa daring to be the one to ask questions.  Jeff, can you hear?

 

 

ALEXA
    Am I loved
    Will I love
    What is the temperature outside
    Am I loved
 
ALEXA
   Play La Bamba
    I want to dance
    To a song without meaning
    In my kitchen
    With my arms thrust up in the air
    Be intoxicated by rhythm
    Be the fool
NOT
   Just the one
    Reading the morning paper
    And puzzling over crosswords
BUT
    The one
WHO DARES
    To ask
THE QUESTIONS
General Government & Technology mail Start Ups

Digital Nomads and Mail in Silicon Valley

mail

How important is your mail? Stupid question, right? It’s critical. No matter the digital world we still need mail and a mailing address.  Increasingly, digital nomads are resurrecting mail on the go services. Are they doing their job?

What if you found out your mail person was misdelivering your mail? Or not getting it to you in some way? Or sent you other people’s mail and didn’t respond to you about it? And suppose it cost you $11.00 to get the other customers mail and you had to send it to them certified? And suppose they charge you for what should be free?

That’s the story of The UPS store in Palo Alto. The one on Bryant Street. The one visiting VC’s use. Start ups use it. Digital nomads use it.  And ordinary people. Like me. It doesn’t matter who we are – we deserve a) our mail b) customer service without attitude c) attention to postal regulations in getting us our mail. Not too much to ask when you’ve paid hundreds to receive your mail.

I think the most shocking violation of “my mail is safe” with them came from their not responding to three or four emails about the other person’s mail. They only respond when I purchase the overpriced service of having them send my mail to me: $22 for 2 pieces of mail and that was the least expensive packet over the past months.

Here’s the DNA of this story: (long and boring but I spent a lot of time on postal regs so please..read some of it. TY)

In order to become a UPS Store that offers mailboxes, they have to fulfill requirements from the USPS. (United States Postal Service). Seems logical doesn’t it? However when mentioned to an employee at another UPS Store (not the Palo Alto one) the response was “No, we don’t we’re individually franchised.” Hmm..methinks that’s unclear on the concept (the concept being the USPS is in charge of mail rules).

Mailing stores (of any kind) are called in Postal Service lingo Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies or CMRA’s for short.

I’m going to make this quick: to be a CMRA, the owner must fill out Form 1583a. That’s a US Postal Form which outlines what the store must do to receive and distribute mail. It is named Application to Act as a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency.

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Investing Start Ups

Pie Capital of Palo Alto Announces New Funding Limits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pie Capital

Palo Alto, California

contact@pie.capital

PIE CAPITAL ANNOUNCES NEW ACCREDITED INVESTOR CAPABILITY

Current Funding Platform, formerly limited to Unaccredited Investors from $50-$2,000, now permits higher limits in excess of $5,000 for Accredited investors.

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA – February 26, 2019 – Pie Capital, Inc. today announced the immediate availability of their new Accredited Funding Platform. The technology is available on mobile and desktop viewing.

For the first time we are proud to offer the ability for accredited investors to participate in a meaningful way in Pie Capital’s portfolio companies, explained Bill Eichen, CEO of Pie Capital. Family Offices, Angel Investors and High Net Worth individuals (HNWs) can now fully participate above $5,000 without limitations.”

“Pie Capital is a unique tool for our early stage startups to quickly access funding, and we are now vetting the accredited investors to allow them to participate as well”.  “Family Offices and Angels are busy with so many investment opportunities, and need 24×7 access to our portfolio companies.”

By using today’s mobile communications technologies, Pie Capital brings these investors to the startups in a pre-vetted environment.  Investors have immediate access to the pitch decks, valuation and video of the corporation’s tech business.

“Pie Capital utilizes the latest reactive technology to ensure multi-platform compatibility with mobile and laptops,” said Sanjeev Dharap, CTO at Pie Capital.  “Our active startups enjoy a secure, fast, and reliable service, and the HNW capability makes everyone more efficient.”

“Pie Capital has created an innovative platform that pairs smart money with pre-vetted startups, which is extremely valuable to Silicon Valley in early stages,” said Dennis Surabian Jr., of the Surabian Family Office. We would not have had access to BBuck and other great startups in Silicon Valley if it wasn’t for the Pie Capital platform.

“We appreciate being a lead portfolio company on Pie Capital’s platform, said Malcolm Flack, CEO of BBuck, a leader in next generation gaming technology. “Pie Capital has demonstrated a revolutionary technology for us to get funded quickly, and effortlessly using standard mobile devices” added Malcolm.

Online and mobile customer support is available 24×7 to registered startups and investors. “We have created a customer-facing corporate culture to insure our portfolio companies and investors receive information in a timely and reliable fashion,” said Eichen.  

ABOUT PIE CAPITAL

Pie Capital, Inc. is a privately held corporation in Palo Alto, California.  Pie Capital designs, develops and supports vertically oriented internet products and tools for the startup and financial community. Professionals and related ecosystem partners are encouraged to contact Pie Capital’s Affiliate department affiliates@pie.capital

Pie Capital may be reached at (650) 493-1801; via email at contact@pie.capital; or visit www.piestartups.com

Pie Capital, www.pie.capital, www.piestartups.com, AutoVet, and Pie Learning Center are trademarks of Pie Capital