Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Happy Wednesday!

In my capacity as a semi-professional bike blogger and social media influenza, from time to time I receive the sorts of glamorous invitations that you lowly professional types with real jobs would never dream of.  For example, at this very moment, a quick glance in my inbox reveals that most recently I've been invited: to learn more about my Irish ancestry from Ancestry.com on the occasion of St. Patrick's day; save 20% when shopping at a popular online bicycle component retailer; and to use my $2 in Staples rewards before they expire.

Hey, what can I say, life is pretty heady up here at the top.

Anyway, in addition to these exciting opportunities I was also recently invited to join Paul Budnitz on something called "Wuu:"

So what is "Wuu?"  Well, before we get into that I should remind you who Paul Budnitz is.  He started out as a maker of toys for adults:


And while you may be mystified as to why any adult would want a toy that doesn't either have wheels and go fast or bring you to orgasm, apparently there are a lot of overgrown children out there, because he was able to parlay his fortune into an eponymous bike company:


Which sells bikes he once explains are inspired by a BSA bicycle from 1946:

People have been asking where we found original inspiration for our bicycles. 

Above is the 1946 BSA Paratrooper folding bicycle — the twin-cantilever design we use has actually been around for almost 100 years.

Though one custom bike builder offers a different story:


Anyway, Budnitz launched with the premise that they'd offer an Apple-type shopping experience, meaning they'd sell something pretty and easy to use to people who don't want to be bothered with how they work in a transaction untainted by haggling or any technical details whatsoever.

Budnitz then gave me a bicycle to test:


Which I immediately customized:


It was basically a 29er but without the frame clearance or off-road capability, and it creaked like an old person's knees:


This offended me deeply, because: A) The whole point of the bike was to give you a trouble-free experience; and 2) As the world's greatest living bike blogger I resent being presented with a bicycle that's less than perfect.

Anyway, I decided it was indeed the perfect bike if you're looking for something like a Giant Cypress but you want to spend a lot more money and you've got a hearing impairment.

And that was that.

But Old Man Budnitz was not done, and having disrupted the bike industry with his revolutionary new concept of selling expensive bikes to people who don't know or want to know anything about bikes, he moved on to social media, bringing the world something called Ello:


Which was basically a minimalist Facebook:

With help from a Denver consultancy, Mode Set, they built a service characterized by minimalist black-and-white graphics and no ads. Gradually, it became the social network that Budnitz and close to 100 of his artsy friends wanted to use. “It was totally private. The problem was that as we got toward the end of that year, there were thousands of our friends who wanted to get on Ello.”

So they raised $435,000 from a Vermont venture capital fund to create something that could grow. Budnitz says that the idea is not to take over the world, but to keep building something that he—and others—will want to use. That means it will remain a service with no ads. “People keep asking are we competing with Facebook?” Budnitz says. “And I actually believe that Facebook is not a social network at all. It’s an advertising platform. We are a social network. That’s all we do. Facebook is there for the advertisements.”

And while I have no idea of Ello still exists or not he's now introduced this Wuu thing, which is basically a minimalist Snapchat:

And that’s pretty much it. My colleague Dami and I spent the morning trying out the app, quickly filling the other’s feed with wacky filtered images and confused text messages. But Wuu’s interface is incredibly vague, putting even Snapchat to shame. Instead of any clear labels, you’re presented with a row featuring a square, a circle, and a triangle at the bottom of the main feed. Through trial and error, square lets you send a text post, circle a picture or video, and triangle an audio message, but there’s no clear way to figure that out. It took me almost an hour to figure out how to change the color of text (swipe right and left on the screen while the typing interface is active), and if there’s a way to zoom in with the camera or adjust text label sizes, I haven’t found it yet. The app is also fairly buggy — both Dami and I experienced crashes in our brief time with Wuu, and at one point it froze my entire iPhone.

Sounds awesome.  I especially like the idea of buttons that make no sense, like you've been abducted by aliens and are trying to escape in their spaceship but you can't understand the controls.

Anyway, back to the email:

Wuu is beautiful, fun, and private. It's my daily dose of happiness — a safe place to share your life with people you love. 

No Likes, no followers, and no ads. Everything deletes from Wuu's server in 24 hours. Lots of hidden features, and once you join you can invite people you love too.

I dunno, call me a retrogrouch, but when I want to enjoy private time with the people I love I generally use my living room.  There are no ads there either, and nothing gets stored on any server.  (Well sure, the TV is listening to me, and I've got Obama in the microwave in the kitchen, but that's something else.)

Still, you've got to hand it to Old Man Budnitz.  Over the past 10 years he's basically copied and re-sold:

1) The Noid from those old Domino's commercials (Kidrobot toys);
2) The expensive swoopy-framed bicycle (Budnitz bikes);
3) Facebook (Ello);
4) Snapcha (Wuu).

Indeed, he hasn't so much copied them as Budnitzed them, which is to say he's basically taken the whole thing and then changed some superficial details to make them less functional and more expensive.  (Or at least more "exclusive" in the case of the social networks.)  And while there was a time in my blogging career when this might have irritated me, now that I'm getting older I only wish I'd been similarly canny, for it only becomes clearer as time goes on that to the grifter go the spoils.


“He gets probably to this side of me almost completely past me and says, ‘I remember you.’ And before I know it he’s grabbing my throat. He basically shoved me over onto the boulder and I just went into total protection mode and tried to cover my head,” Andrew said. “After the two punches he stomped on my back kind of right around here,” Andrew said.

Then the runner allegedly threw Andrew’s bike 50 feet down the mountain off the trail.

“I’ve replayed the incident over in my head multiple times thinking what I could have done differently,” he said.

As far as what he might have done differently, apart from this I have no idea:


If it were me I'd probably have curled into a ball and whimpered.

Here's the full story straight from the source:

Just one more thing to worry about.

35 comments:

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

Ted K. said...

228. But it will be helpful to list some criteria for diagnosing leftism. These criteria cannot be applied in a cut and dried manner. Some individuals may meet some of the criteria without being leftists, some leftists may not meet any of the criteria. Again, you just have to use your judgment.

Steve said...

Podium!

ken e. said...

trying, failing.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...isn't Teddy finished yet?

ken e. said...

also ted your crap could easily be created randomly, please see "the new age bullshit generator".

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said...

Snob Classic

vs

New Snob

vsk

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

8st? Boom! Back on the horsey!

BamaPhred said...

''Ello!
"I’ve replayed the incident over in my head multiple times thinking what I could have done differently,” he said."
Oldentard tip.
Bear spray the fuck out of whatever assaults/batters you.
Can't seem to find an opening?
Wait till they turn their back, press the button.
Of course, I've never had to do this, except for one low flying missle pit bull that just couldn't leave it alone and go home.

Bryan Bracy said...

top ten; bring it on the bike/jog fights.

Pist Off said...

Colorado's Front Range- where a whole lotta people are sprawled straight into the foothills. Lotsa bros crowding the limited bike trails. A small number of Stravassholes strafing downhills and refusing to yield to uphill cyclists or pedestrians. Runners and hikers on a hairtrigger about irresponsible cyclists. Stir em up, and add the general angst about the world right now, and I'm surprised riders don't get attacked on the regular. I hope the COR attacker is found and treated effectively in our 49th-in-the-nation mental health system.

Grump said...

That rider that grabbed by the neck.....Did the runner have orange hair??...If not, how fast was this Fred riding? he had to be riding at no more than 5 mph in order to be grabbed. As for the runner with headphones, just smack his head when you go by him......That'll learn 'em.

N/A said...

Budnitz must be related to ol' PT Barnum.

N/A said...

"Haha, oh man, look at these silly fuckers over here!"
-PT Barnum, addressing the mayor of Cleveland in 1837.

Schisthead said...

This one's easier to read, if that's what you're into.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GWpiHo6Q174/UeQa4xMhNVI/AAAAAAAAtXw/9Qo9jFzR7fk/s320/budnitz.jpeg

cdinvb said...

I got my new camera today. So after veterinarian for the poodle, I got camera battery charged. Got my wife to take off her clothes. And I've been taking pictures all afternoon. No time to ride today. I'll let you know if I got any good shots. Unless I don't.

JuanOffhue said...

Germans fight back against a pro-helmet campaign by their Ministry of Transport: http://www.copenhagenize.com/search/label/motoring%20helmet

Asshole from Colorado said...

ROID RAGE

Hee Haw the barista's weird bachelor uncle said...

I'm under the impression that some folks don't know who Ted K is and what the poster Ted K is doing.

What are they learnin' you people in school these days?

Sad.

Spokey said...

holy lobby

so late and top 1 score

Spokey said...


what lob are these people doing.

as far as i can remember (these daze at least 15 minutes) i've never been accosted, threatened, harassed, except by drivers.

i've been known to say allo to runners that i meet. and generally get some friendly acknowledgement back.

Steely Danzig said...

Is Old Man Budnitz a fool or a genius?
I live near where that guy got stomped on the trail. Personally, I blame Monster Energy for much of what is wrong with American society. Everything on the Front Range is always overcrowded. Colorado is OVER. There are lots of bro's driving to ride $5k dual squish 29ers, with all the new kit, on what can only be described as beginner level trails. Boulder DBs drive Audi, younger bro's like the Subaru WRX with hood scoop, spoiler and rocket box. Their sunglasses cost more than any of my bikes. They all have nice hair, love craft beer and have a season pass to Vail.

wats7 said...

All I can say is I'd like to see Danny McAskil try that Jackie Chan routine.

ken e. said...

@hee haw, i was provoked by the utter stupidity of both teds, robot and (incarcerated, dead?) flesh. having a robot regurgitate the nonsensical ramblings of an insane (murderer) person? for a cycling blog comments section? in today's america? i'd rather argue about helments.

SHTY SCRD
WORS PREZ
SUNK LAND

Late to the party said...

Mountain biking in the Colorado Front Range is no fun anymore. I agree with the other observations here. I prefer my mountain bike, but mostly ride the road because of what it has now become. Sure was a lot more fun in the 80s and 90s. Even Moab has become unbearable.

JLRB said...

Scranus

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

If you can't shake your head at the various idiots you see in cars, on bikes, walking or running without fear of being attacked, the world has become a sorry place.

Bogusboy said...

What pressure is Fixie Guy running in his front tire? Looks to be quite a bit below the Jan Heine ideal 15% hunker-down.

Greenbelt said...

Team Sky's new douchebags (not April Fool's best I can tell, but then I'm pretty out of it)
https://vimeo.com/209172958

Anonymous said...

If you're going to shake your head at someone, do it face to face. Or not at all. Please.

Ryan Kelley said...

I sure hope you don't run into Budnitz guy in a dark alley...

Anonymous said...

BIDNUTZ!

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