July 22, 2007

Totally Awesome New Site: Natuba

Filed under: Technology — Cory @ 1:24 pm

When I first started blogging about two and a half years ago I would write about just about anything, including the mundane details of every day. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was almost always boring, and probably only of interest to me. These days I reserve blog posts for when I actually have something to say, like when I’ve visited some new place, seen a new band, or found something interesting on the Internet. But, there are often times that I want to post other things on the web that aren’t always worth a blog post.

Over the past couple of years several sites have emerged on the Internet that allow people to post different types of content to the web. For example, Flickr provides a really simple way to post photos to the web. YouTube created an easy way for anyone to share their home videos with the world. Twitter popularized the concept of “microblogging,” which is basically a single sentence or statement without much (if any) context. Del.icio.us made it easy for people to “share” their bookmarks with everyone on the Internet. MySpace became the site for people (teenagers and college kids, mostly) to post their “profile” pages on the web for everyone to see. The pages could even be decorated to be as gaudy as only a 14 year old redneck teenager could imagine.

These sites essentially became publication houses for content on the web. You publish your photos on Flickr (or Photobucket). You publish your videos on YouTube. You publish your random one-liner thoughts on Twitter (or Jaiku). You publish your bookmarks on Del.icio.us. You publish your personal data on MySpace (and/or Facebook, etc, etc, etc). And of course, you publish your blog on LiveJournal, Blogger, WordPress, TypePad or even MySpace. Everyone is publishing everything everywhere!

Of course, the point of publishing things is for other people to see them. Sure, I am interested in reading what my friends are blogging, and I like to see the pictures they are taking as well, but do I really want to check all of their pages every day to see if they have updated anything? As more of these “publication” type sites pop up on the web, it’s getting more and more difficult to follow everything my friends are doing online. Fortunately, I think I may have found a solution: Natuba.

Natuba is described as a way to “give your friends a single place to follow everything happening in your online life.” With Natuba a person can continue publishing their blog posts, photos, microblogs, bookmarks, etc in the same ways that they always have, and everything they publish gets pulled into a single place for all their friends to see. Instead of telling people 5 or 6 urls, a Natuba user only has to give a single url to everyone. For example, my Natuba page features content from this blog, my Flickr photos, my Twitter microblog, my gallery, and my YouTube videos.

Natuba was created by these three really cool guys, apparent saviors here to rescue us all from the dizzying swarm of web 2.0 sites emerging from the depths of this great ocean we call the Internet. Ok, so maybe that was a little over the top, but we have worked pretty hard building Natuba, and although there is still a lot we want to do to with it, we think it is ready for the world to play with.

Natuba accounts are available via invitation at this point, so if you would like to try it out just shoot me an email or leave a message in the comments of this post. I know a guy who knows a guy who can get you in.

I’ve updated the sidebar links on my blog here to point to my Natuba page, which is at http://natuba.com/cwright/. There are feeds available for the page as well, so if you are into that sort of thing then you can subscribe to my Natuba feed to follow everything I am posting on the Internet.

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July 16, 2007

The (hopeful) End of My Migraines

Filed under: General — Cory @ 10:16 pm

Anyone who has spent time with me in the past 22 years should know that I suffer from migraine headaches. I’ve been getting them since I was 5 years old, typically 1-2 per week, sometimes more and sometimes less. It is quite an understatement to say that migraines have been the bane of my existence.

To make things worse, almost nobody (except my parents) understood how awful these headaches were. People who simply didn’t know any better were always suggesting that I try some new over the counter headache medicine that had worked for them. What they couldn’t understand is that the worst headache that they had ever had was still better than anything I could hope for. In my opinion, these people didn’t really even have headaches, because I could see them continuing to function. When I had a headache, I simply could not function.

Until I was 14 or thereabouts there wasn’t even any medicine that I could take to relieve the pain. The only thing I could do is lie down in a dark, quiet room and try very hard to go to sleep, which was difficult because I would almost always be nauseated. My condition was the worst during my fifth grade year of school, when I missed several days each week from these headaches. Also, I seemed to get headaches any time there was a school field trip that I was excited about (I would get all worked up and anxious and give myself headaches).

Finally, a medicine became available that actually could stop a headache cold. It was unbelievable, and seemed like a miracle drug. When Imitrex was first introduced it was only available as an injection, and from the local doctor’s office. Whenever the headache seemed bad enough, my parents would take me to the doctor and I would get an injection in my arm of Imitrex, and immediately I would feel better. Not “immediately” as in 10 minutes later, “immediately” as in 30-60 seconds later. And then I would always want McDonald’s french fries. I wasn’t 100% better, as physically I would be really weak, but mentally I felt much, much better and could actually stand to be awake. As great as it was, it was still really inconvenient to have to drive to the doctor’s office.

A year or two later, a tablet form of Imitrex was introduced, and I could finally take a pill if I got a headache. The pills were incredibly expensive, and insurance would only pay for 9 per month, but they worked. Not as fast as the injection of course, but in about 20-30 minutes the pill would take affect and soon thereafter I would begin feeling better. At least now I had something I could take with me on trips, or to school, for when I got a headache (not if, but when). At some point they also introduced prescription Imitrex injections, which I also have for emergencies when I can’t keep the pills down.

So, for the past 10-12 years this is how it has been. I have been taking a preventative medicine all this time, but I couldn’t really tell whether it worked or not. When I moved to Houston in September I started having more headaches, and it was becoming a real nuisance. I needed to focus more on work, but the more I focused the more headaches I would get. At the urging of a friend I finally made an appointment with a neurologist here in Houston. On a somewhat related note, I also scheduled an appointment with an oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth finally removed 4 days before my appointment with the neurologist.

Where am I going with this? Well, it has now been two months since I saw the neurologist (who prescribed new preventative medication for me), and also had my wisdom teeth removed, and I have not had any normal migraines. I have had 3 headaches that I caused myself (being out in the Texas heat in the middle of the day, etc), but not a single headache like I used to get. For the past 22 years I have been getting 1-2 of these crippling headaches a week, and in the past 2 months I have not had any! I can’t even begin to say how thrilled I am about this!

And it couldn’t have happened at a better time. The week before my appointment with the neurologist I was informed that my insurance company had changed it’s policy and would now only pay for 4 Imitrex pills per month. The other irony is that the patent on Imitrex just expired 3 weeks ago, which hopefully means that there will be cheaper generic versions of it. (Imitrex is around $25-$30 per pill).

At any rate, life has never been better for me now that I am headache free. :)

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July 2, 2007

Nathan runs for his iPhone

Filed under: General — Cory @ 2:07 pm

He was hauling ass!

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