Political Friendster MAR 31
Political Friendster. Follow the connections between corporations and politicians in one big, happy social network.
Political Friendster. Follow the connections between corporations and politicians in one big, happy social network.
Erik Spiekermann's favorite fonts. He created the Meta and Officina typefaces and now has a weblog.
Signs of life at Six Apart again. About fricking time...the silence from all these weblog companies (*cough* Kinja *cough*) is weird and stupid.
A community site called FunHi is based completely on amassing karma...and they've monetized it!. This is brilliant. Instead of building a community around topic/activity XYZ which will inevitably come to be dominated by people seeking karma, they've skipped right to end.
Google is playing with personalized search. Which everyone thinks is the future, but it needs to be more passive than this.
First look at Microsoft's blog search engine. Is everyone who does blog "search" going to get it wrong?
On the way home from work this evening, I stopped by Times Square and played a video game on one of the jumbo videotrons:
Yahoo! partnered with interactive agency R/GA to produce the car racing game to promote their automotive site. The game play is pretty simple...you call an 800 number (1-800-660-4402), listen for your race, and when the starting flag goes down, you press 2 to speed up and 8 to slow down (like slot cars). I crashed twice, once into a cab and once while going too fast around a corner, but I still beat the stuffing out of the other car.
Audio files of the 9/11 Commission Hearings are available for free from Audible.com. You need to sign up for an Audible.com account though.
A brand new doormat appeared at the front door of our apartment building a short time ago. In the winter, the stairs get extremely dirty due to snow/rain and the super's negligence in mopping them, so the mat was a welcome addition. But now the mat has been there so long that it too is extremely dirty; it's gone from being a solution to a problem to part of the problem itself.
Andy's chatbot games get written up on Wired News. "Instant messaging and text adventures go together like peanut butter and jelly."
There are too many clocks in my life. And each one is showing a different time, so I don't know when I am anymore.
Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School by Michael McDonough. I'm having problems with #9 these days.
Every weblog panel I've ever seen in a nutshell. "Yes, and obviously I concur."
Physicists at the Institute of Physics in London have calculated how high heels can go. h = Q x (12+3s/8) where s is shoe size and Q is a sociological factor based partially on alcohol consumption, years of experience, and how fashionable the shoes are.
Beyonce for Vice President!. "What I'm suggesting here is that Kerry at least consider the notion of taking the path more bootylicious."
"I'm a bonafide publisher now, and you can be one too.". Use out-of-copyright books and on-demand printing to roll your own publishing house.
A conversation with the blogosphere. "Thereâs probably a quiz about that; you should check my archives."
No, your other left.. Those wacky Republicans...when in doubt, they always go right.
It's only March but I feel safe in saying that this Charlie Kaufman/Michel Gondry collaboration is the most creative film of the year. What's even more remarkable than me making such a ridiculous pronouncement is that the creativity is not just gimmickry; it, like Jim Carrey's comedic energy, is carefully applied in full support of the film's themes and plot. The final scene of the movie between Carrey and Winslet is, at once, one of the most truthful, heartbreaking, hopeful statements about love that I've ever seen in a film.
Series of photographs that have had the text stripped from them. Neat idea, would love to see this done with a photo of Times Square.
Time is flying by so quickly these days, so I didn't notice on March 14th that this weblog is now six years old. Except for the basics (eating, sleeping, remaining alive), I've never stuck with anything for six years straight, so it's hard for me to believe I'm still here doing this. Six years!
TypeKey, authentication services for weblogs. I wonder if you could hack MT 3.0 to use Flickr for authentication instead...
One of the subjects of the film, David Friedman, is a birthday clown here in NYC and was profiled by Susan Orlean in the New Yorker a few years ago. The story didn't touch on any of the family history, which didn't come out until Andrew Jarecki, the director of the film, profiled David for a short film on clowns, at which point the project exploded in scope.
There's been some criticism of the film for being misleading, and that view has some merit. The director states in this interview that two scenes near the end of the movie, one showing Jesse Friedman clowning around and one showing him crying were actually shot weeks apart, not within the same day as the film makes it seem. But so much of the film is about the difference between reality and perception anyway that the whole thing could be fiction or heavily biased and it wouldn't matter too much (to me at least).
Loaf is attempting to use social networks to make email a little more useful. In essence, your email program can ask each incoming email, "hey, do I know this person or any of her friends?" without completely destroying anyone's privacy.
The NY Times ran another of those fawning TiVo articles yesterday about how everyone who has one loves it like a member of the family. An excerpt:
Mr. Smith has since replaced his older TiVo model with three ReplayTV units. The new units allow him to stream programs from one to the other. After recording a program in his darkened home theater room, he transfers it to his brighter living room area, where he can watch while doing other things. Mr. Smith has been so taken with the technology that he has persuaded five of his friends to buy a recorder, he said.
The devices not only allow users to watch shows at any time, but they also introduce them to obscure programs that they might not otherwise find. Before Dr. Everett, the Michigan ophthalmologist, and his wife take a trip, he enters the destination on their TiVo "wish list," to automatically record travelogues about the area.
Having used a TiVo myself for almost four years and wondering how I'd ever
live watch TV without it, I can fully identify with the TiVolutionaries featured in stories like these. However, I wonder if there are people for whom TiVo was not a life-changing experience. They've got to be out there, unwritten about in major national newspapers; the appeal of TiVo can't be that universal. So, I know this is probably a long shot, given that I'm largely preaching to the converted here on kottke.org, but does anyone out there not like their TiVo? And if so, are you crazy why? (No "I dont watch TV so why would I love TiVo" stories please.)
JetBlue's CEO regularly serves as a flight attendant on his company's flights. "Hi, my name is Dave Neeleman, and I'm the CEO of JetBlue. I'm here to serve you this evening, and I'm looking forward to meeting each of you before we land."
100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English. Some of these are surprising (not "suprising").
tastingmenu.com looks like an excellent food weblog. One of the entries on the site is up for a James Beard Award for Internet writing.
2004 James Beard nominees announced. Nominees include Steingarten, Colicchio, pal Pableaux Johnson, and someone for a post written for their food weblog.
Fundrace2004, which is shaping up to be an extremely interesting and unique source of election information, has a new feature called Neighbor Search. You put in an address (or ZIP) or the name of a friend/neighbor/co-worker/celebrity and it returns the names, addresses, company names & job functions, and campaign contributions for persons matching the search criteria. Like all public data sets that have previously been available only in dusty books or individually by request (allow 6-10 weeks for delivery), the effect of seeing this data in aggregate and being able to slice it and dice it at will is both thrilling and a little unnerving. Ain't the Internet grand?
Here are a few people and their contributions:
Bill Gates: George W. Bush, $2000
George H.W. Bush: George W. Bush, $2000
Craig Barrett (Intel CEO): Joe Lieberman, $2000; George W. Bush, $2000
Harvey Weinstein (Miramax): Howard Dean, $2000; John Edwards, $2000; Dick Gephardt, $1000; and possibly Wesley Clark, $2000
Larry Lessig: Howard Dean, $2000; John Edwards, $2000
Warren Buffett: Bob Graham, $2000; Wesley Clark, $2000
Jimmy Buffett: Bob Graham, $2000; Wesley Clark, $2000
P. Diddy: Al Sharpton, $2000
Also of interest is this map of Manhattan showing political contributions by building. Lots of Republicans on the UES and lots of Democrats below 14th Street...no surprise there. (via reBlog)
Translation guide for Perl and PHP. Would be great if this included several other popular languages.
My favorite sneakers were a pair of Nike Air Darwin shoes I bought back in college. They were all-black low tops with a smallish white Swoosh placed backwards right below the ankle, simply designed, very cool-looking, and comfortable. Sneakers these days look either like Jackson Pollack paintings or classic cars (complete with shock absorbers), making it hard for me to find something I like. I've kept my eye out for a pair of Air Darwins in a 9.5 on eBay and vintage sneaker sites, but no love so far.
According to IFC, the word "fuck" and its derivatives was uttered 138 times during the course of the film.
- Fly your flag proudly!
- Stay cool for deep, restful sleep.
- Think again, before it's too late!
- Don't hit the garage wall!
- Organize your priorities.
- Hold that thought!
- Drink no wine before it's time.
- Express your love.
- Spend some time in England.
- Get smart!
- Keep 18 pairs of shoes handy.
Boing Boing finally moves to a more powerful, stable blogging system. Monthly/weekly archives are missing tho...I was gone for five days and missed a whole mess of posts.
Congratulations to me for finally joining the 21st century.
Victor speculates that eBay's not-so-great site design might be responsible for their success:
Conventional wisdom - at least with the folks I hang out with - says that auctions, plus EBay's first-mover advantage - is such a compelling experience that people will tolerate the bad design. But what if EBay is succeeding because of its bad design? What if, like a flea market's rough, seller-created environment, the amateur design communicates the idea of bargain?
I remember talking about this issue with Stewart and Jason in preparation for our panel on Simplicity in Web Design for SXSW 2002. I can't recall if we talked specifically about eBay, but we did discuss The Drudge Report and Google. Drudge maintains his independant DIY credibility with the site's amateur design and Google's simple design and unprofessional visual branding gained the allegience of geeks and general Web users looking for no-nonsense search results.
Like Peter, I believe eBay could benefit significantly by a "tightening up of their experience", but Victor is right in emphasizing the importance of the site's flea market feel. Useful design doesn't necessarily need to be "slick" or "high tech" (a feeling which eBay needs to stay well away from, except when it comes to their security and fraud prevention efforts). Look at Ikea. They're known for cheap home furnishings and housewares, yet they focus a great deal of attention on design, not only for their products, but for their stores, catalogs, factories, signage, etc. eBay could definitely achieve a similarly successful balance with their site.
PlaySphere, a round PlayStation 2. Looks like a bowling ball.
Get you own reBlog. For those bloggers that "prefer curating content to writing original posts".
Gel (Good Experience Live) is a one-day conference being held at the NY Historical Society in Manhattan at the end of April. The focus is on "experience", which is a bit nebulous in comparison to a conference on technology or design, but that's what makes it fun and interesting. Highlights from last year's event were Ken Jackson's talk on New York City, Jim Kunstler's skewering of contemporary urban design, and a live performance by The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.
Scheduled to appear at this year's Gel are Christo, Scott Heiferman from Meetup, and Andre Haddad, VP of User Experience and Design at eBay. If you register for Gel, tell 'em Jason sent you (they have a referral program).
Kill cable clutter with Zip-Linq retractable cables. Available for all sorts of devices.
Belkin Media Reader for the iPod. Use your iPod as a portable storage device for your digital photos.
1998 New Yorker profile of Victoria Gallegos, top Prada salesperson, moved $2 million in one year. This woman could sell (very expensive) ice to (very rich) Eskimos.
Since my current mobile phone has been busted for almost a year now, I recently purchased a new phone from Amazon. I got the Sony Ericsson T610 with cell service from T-Mobile. Amazon is currently offering the phone for $154.99, which is $45 off the regular price. Two rebates are available when you purchase this phone, one from Amazon for $130 and one from T-Mobile for $100 (if you "activate a T-Mobile plan of $39.99 or higher"). T-Mobile charges $35 to activate your account.
When you do the math, Amazon, Sony Ericsson, and T-Mobile end up paying you $40 to buy a $200 phone. If you're like me, when a large company wants to give you something for nothing or wants to pay you to purchase a product, you start thinking that someone somewhere is getting screwed.
Gillette recently sent me a $10 razor for free, presumably so they can sell me replacement blades at $2 apiece, a price I'm assuming includes a ridiculous profit margin. My credit card company is constantly bombarding me with offers to pay me to try their services, which they can afford to give away because we're paying them 18% interest on our purchases and we'll forget to cancel these "free" services to the tune of $11.95/mo. (which monthly service fee is subject to the 18% interest and is both brilliant on the part of the credit card companies and maddening to their "customers"). My bank gives me free checking, but they sell my personal information to companies that send me junk mail and overdrafts cost me $20...which is why it's a good thing they also offer overdraft protection for a "low" monthly fee (this is what my dad would call "straddling the fence").
And now this cell phone thing. With this deal, the buck ultimately stops with T-Mobile. They're getting $40/mo out of you (with taxes and the extra service charges that all the phone companies throw in probably brings the bill up into the $50/mo range), $35 for activation (way too much...is this not a cost of doing business?), you're locked into a contract for 1-2 years ($200 early cancellation fee), and they can then charge you $3-7/mo for each of the following services that should be part of any modern cell phone service: SMS messaging, Internet access, sending photos via SMS or email, and unlimited in-network calling.
However you slice it, let's put it this way: they (and the other mobile communications companies) are making so much money selling their service that they (with the help of Amazon and Sony Ericsson) can give you a free $200 phone and $40 cash. I wonder what phone service would cost if I had more than a mere handful of companies to choose from?
CAP report on the Passion of the Christ. They recommend caution in deciding whether or not to take the kids to see it.
Even O'Reilly, the favorite book publisher of geeks everywhere, is thinking of jumping into the DIY pool. It's exploring the idea of a publication called Make that would be the anti-Cargo -- the latter tells its readers which DVD player to buy, while the proposed one would tell its own how to rip that DVD player open and hack it. As uncommercial as it sounds, the project has attracted help from some big names in tech publishing circles: former Industry Standard chief executive officer John Battelle and former Boing Boing editor Mark Frauenfelder.
Excerpts from a story about a cookie boycott involving the Girl Scouts, sex education, and the great state of Texas, with my comments interspersed throughout:
Some families are boycotting Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos and other Girl Scout cookies. Troop 7527 is down to just two members after the other girls were withdrawn by their parents. And Brownie Troop 7087 is no more.
Why are folks in this conservative Texas town where President Bush has his ranch so mad at the Girl Scout organization?
Because they're uptight? Or perhaps they're upset with the war in Iraq or the rising national debt and are mistakenly taking that out on the Girl Scouts.
Planned Parenthood and sex education.
The furor was started a few weeks ago by the leader of the anti-abortion group Pro-Life Waco...
Pro-Life Wacko? This commentary almost writes itself.
...who sent out e-mails and ran ads on a Christian radio station urging people to boycott Girl Scout cookies because of the "cozy relationship" between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.
"Cozy relationship" between two women's groups? That sounds naughty! Christian radio is no place for such puerile double entendre.
Parents were upset to learn that the local Girl Scout organization had given a "woman of distinction award" last year to a Planned Parenthood executive. And they were disturbed to find out that the Girl Scout organization has been giving its endorsement for years to a Planned Parenthood sex-ed program in which girls and boys are given literature on homosexuality, masturbation and condoms.
I don't like the sound of this "literature". Sounds more dangerous than TV, video games, or movies. Let's attack this problem at its root and ban the printing press.
"It's not that we're a bunch of activists. We're just a bunch of moms who care about their kids," said Lisa Aguilar, who took her 10-year-old daughter out of her eight-member Girl Scout troop. "For us, it's the morality. Where is Girl Scouts going?"
The Girl Scouts are going where the rest of America is going, toward more tolerance, acceptance of diversity, education, and making sure young women are prepared for the future, not sheltered from it.
The two troops in Crawford, population 700, decided not to deliver the cookie orders that they had already taken.
They just took that money and ran. Thou shalt steal if Planned Parenthood is involved.
But cookie sales have skyrocketed this year as many people bought cases just to show their support for the Girl Scouts, said Becky Parker, a troop leader who is the cookie distributor for Waco-area troops.
More cookie sales mean more profits that can be funneled into a secret effort by the Girl Scouts to distribute vibrators and heroin to kindergarteners. They must be stopped.
While the cookie boycott may have backfired, the furor prompted the parent leaders of the two Crawford troops to quit.
"You're telling these girls to raise their fingers up to pledge to honor God and country, and yet you're handing out materials saying homosexuality is OK," said Brownie leader Donna Coody, who disbanded her five-member troop.
Yeah! Disband the Brownies! Those girls are up to no good! I salute your courage, Ms. Coody.
Some 400 to 700 fifth- through ninth-graders attend the half-day Nobody's Fool conference in Waco each July. The program never mentions abortion, according to Planned Parenthood. The youngsters receive a book with chapters on homosexuality and masturbation, as well as illustrations of couples having sex, people examining their naked bodies and a boy putting on a condom.
Some Girl Scout mothers called it soft-core porn.
"It embarrassed me to look at it with my husband," said parent Shannon Donaldson.
Something tells me Shannon showers, dresses, and does the "you know what" with her husband in the dark. Shannon's mommy told her that babies are delivered from the stork and don't you try and tell her any different.
Pro-Life Waco director John Pisciotta, an economics professor at Baylor, the world's largest Baptist university, said his call for a cookie boycott "was a way to bring attention to the issue and wasn't really about cookies."
Not about the cookies? Wake up, people, those cookies are all about sex! Thin Mints? Animal Treasures? Caramel Delites? Do-Si-Dos? Those are some of the most sexually suggestive and -- in the case of Caramel Delites -- racially charged dessert names I've ever heard.
The Girl Scouts national organization, which is based in New York and has 2.9 million girl members and 986,000 adult members, takes no position on sex education or abortion and has no national relationship with Planned Parenthood, according to the Bluebonnet Council.
The Crawford mothers are forming their own girls organization and will use a Christian-based curriculum.
Sweet! Instead of cookies, they could sell shrimp cocktail, lobster rolls, or crab cakes. God couldn't possibly have a problem with that.
Some parents decided to explain abortion to their girls.
I hope they showed them pictures of aborted fetuses. Nothing more wholesome than pictures of aborted fetuses to keep them from having sex until they're old enough to start drinking heavily and have unprotected sex in the backs of their boyfriends' cars.
Others gave only a vague explanation about the uproar.
"Oh honey, it's them damn homosexuals. They make Mommy so angry that she wants to take a shotgun to all those sinners. And they're actually marrying the gays out there in New Sodom, California." ... "Yes, baby, that's why Mommy took away your Lion King soundtrack. Turns out that nice Elton John is a fag! What's the world coming to?"
"Our girls have been through a lot these past three weeks," said Jennifer Smith, who quit as leader of Girl Scout Troop 7527 and removed her daughter. "After I told my 10-year-old daughter that they are supporting some things that are not morally right, she understood."
Thank God. That's so much better than treating your daughter like an adult and letting her make up her own mind about what's morally right.
I just got the best piece of spam ever! Ted Jesus Christ GOD (TJCG for short) thinks he's the Second Coming of Christ *and* that His Word shall pass through the world's email servers unhindered:
TJCG is also insisting that nobody now and into the future has the right to block port 25 that is an SMTP port or port 80 that is an HTTP port and that it is HIS RIGHT to have these ports unblocked and unfiltered and COMPLETELY OPEN that HE can send email and run servers and this unrestricted by any ISP or Email Provider or Web Hosting Provider and send Unsolicited Bulk Email or UBE or Unsolicited Commercial Email or UCE per the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
TJCG reserves the right to sue for damages if you block His email:
If you are a corporation or company or partnership or soul proprietorship in the United States of America and mess with Ted Jesus Christ GOD in the slightest or stop HIM from sending future emails to ALL of your employees and ALL of your customers and ALL at your domains and ALL on your mail servers and ALL on your computers it is that TJCG can sue you minimum and also any that did not receive their emails and you need to ask yourself how deep are the pockets of the corporation and board members and top executives and executives and managers and employees or partnership or soul proprietorship and their managers and employees. There could be and will be put a dollar value on each email blocked or filtered out or bounced like $7,000.00 each and then you sued for that amount minimum. Why this much money? Because TJCG is TRULY the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to World Earth and can and does prove this enough to step out in faith and follow HIM and like Jesus when on World Earth it is that any that do not Closely Follow TJCG by their death will be getting ETERNAL DEATH and will be LOST unless an exception is made to this. Therefore the emails of TJCG and HE will ARGUE are a matter of life and death are ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT BEYOND ANY WRITTEN OR SPOKEN WORDS. How much value can you put on an email that if not received causes a person to get ETERNAL DEATH and be LOST? This is actually much more than $7,000.00 per email if and when put like this this is more like PRICELESS.
"Soul proprietorship!" The Lord Ted GOD Jesus H. Christ is such a poet. And it goes on for several more pages. Read the entire thing if you feel the need to be saved. Praise Ted, amen.
Today is one of those days when I don't feel like eating. All my favorite foods from my favorite lunch spots seem boring and unappealing to me. If I had access to an IV, I'd skip lunch, hook myself up, and get my midday sustenance that way. But as that's not an option, what should I have to eat today for lunch? Options around Grand Central appreciated.
Update: I'm back from lunch. Thanks for all the recommendations.
I've updated the kottke.org RSS feed to include my movie and book posts. An RSS feed for the remaindered links is available separately. There are three other RSS feeds currently published on kottke.org (in RSS 1.0 format), but they will not be "upgraded" (i.e. won't show the movie and book posts) and will eventually go away, an occurance which I hope will be nearly seamless for those of you reading this with an RSS reader. RSS auto-discovery is now in effect. Atom support will be added at my leisure, when/if the advantages of switching to a new format are made clear to me.
Could a John Kerry/Bill Clinton ticket work?. Legally? Yes. Politically? Maybe. Hillary? And ruin her chance for a run in 2008? Not likely.
Radio Vox Populi takes weblog content and plays it over the radio. Reminds me of Press Nothing to Continue, a blog-to-phone project I did for 0sil8 a few years ago.
Avi Rubin is a prominent critic of Diebold's e-voting machines; this is his experience as an election judge. His precinct used Diebold machines exclusively.
Kidz Bop 5 features children singing Outkast and Beyonce songs. I'm afraid to listen to this.
Bryan Boyer's simple yet elegant entry won I.D. Magazine's "global identity card" competition. What does an ID card mean for those without enough money to buy a car or have a credit card?
Real world coin tosses aren't strictly random. Not 50/50, more like 51/49 in favor of the coin face it started on.
After I finished the movie, I watched a couple of the DVD extras. During the making of, they mentioned that the movie was made in 1995. Nine years ago! Hard to believe that digital animation of such high caliber has been around that long. Toy Story's a little rough around the edges compared to Boundin', but it still looks pretty good.
The evolving design of the Economist. With pictures of designs new and old.
Hexadecimal Color Codes in HTML That Look or Sound Dirty, But Are in Fact Merely Colorful. CC00CC, F0CCED, EFF0FF, etc.
Sparklines are "intense word-sized graphics". From Tufte's upcoming book, Beautiful Evidence
Why Real Player sucks. Real has raised antisocial software to an art form.