Entries for June 2007 (July 2007 »    August 2007 »    September 2007 »    Archives)

 

Cupertino, we have a problemJUN 30

My iPhone bubble abruptly popped this evening when I tried my Shure E3c earphones (the best pair of earphones I've ever owned and far superior to the Apple earbuds) with the iPhone and they didn't work. The ones that came with the iPhone work fine. On their site, Apple says:

iPhone has a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack, so it is compatible with most portable stereo headphones. Some stereo headphones may require an adapter (sold separately) to ensure proper fit.

The earbuds from a v3 iPod didn't work either. The E3c plug is 3.5 mm and the earphones are about 2 years old. Is anyone else having problems with their earphones? I don't understand why this is even an issue. Very irritating.

Update: Others are having similar problems with headphones not fitting. Looks like it's the plastic sheath around the plug that's the problem. (thx, sean)

Update: I cut away a bit of the E3c's sheath with my trusty Exacto knife and it now fits in the jack. I'd love to know the reason for recessing that plug so much...besides pure aethetics of course; it just seems like too much of a trade-off.

According to Apple's iPhone stock checker, everyJUN 30

According to Apple's iPhone stock checker, every single Apple Store in the country currently has iPhones available.

Update: That page only updates once a day at 9pm for the next day's stock. So when it says there are iPhones in stock at 3pm, that's not necessarily the case. (thx, jeremy) At around 11:30 am ET today, Jake Dobkin reported "plenty of stock, no wait to purchase".

John Gruber's initial assessment of the iPhone,JUN 30

John Gruber's initial assessment of the iPhone, a lot more thorough than mine.

Quick iPhone reviewJUN 30

- I'm kind of amazed that this thing lives up to the expectations I had for it. It's an amazing device.

- To read RSS, just put a feed address into Safari and Apple redirects it through their iPhone feed reader. But it's very much of an a la carte thing, one feed at a time. What's needed is a proper newsreader with its own icon on home screen. Workarounds for now: Google Reader looks nice or you could make a collective feed that combines all the feeds you want to read on your iPhone and use that with the iPhone feed reader (Meg's idea).

- I skipped the index finger and am right into the two thumb typing. With the software correction, it's surprisingly easy. Or maybe I just have small lady thumbs.

- After fiddling with it for an hour, I know how to work the iPhone better than the Nokia I had for the past 2 years, even though the Nokia has far fewer capabilities.

- I could use the Google Maps app forever.

- When I go back to using my Macbook Pro, I want to fling stuff around the screen like on the iPhone. It's an addictive way to interface with information.

- Finding Nemo looked really nice on the widescreen display.

- You can pinch and expand with two thumbs instead of your thumb and index finger.

- The camera is not what you would call great, but it's as good as my old phone's, which is about all I want out of it. The lack of video is a bit of a bummer.

- I Twittered from on line at the AT&T store that the line was moving slowly because they were doing in-store credit checks and contract sign-ups, contrary to what everyone had been told by Apple beforehand. That was not the case. They were just being super careful with everything...each phone and the bag that it went into had a bar code on it and they were scanning everything and running phones from the back of the store one at a time. The staff was helpful and courteous and it was a very smooth transaction, all things considered. I was on line for 2 hours before the store opened and then another 2 hours waiting to get into the store.

- The alert options (ringtones, vibrate options, messaging alerts, etc.) aren't as fine-grained as I would like, but they'll do for now.

- I have not tried the internet stuff on anything but my home WiFi network, so I don't know about the EDGE network speed. Will try it out and about later.

- The Google Maps display shows the subway stops but not the full system map. Workaround: stick a JPG of the subway map in your iPhoto library and sync it up to the iPhone. Voila, zoomable, dragable NYC subway map.

- Wasn't it only a year or two ago that everyone was oohing and aahing over Jeff Han's touchscreen demos? And now there's a mass-produced device that does similar stuff that fits it your pocket. We're living in the future, folks...the iPhone is the hovercar we've all been waiting for.

Update:

- The iPhone is the first iPod with a speaker. Which means that in addition to using it as a speakerphone, you can listen to music, podcasts, YouTube videos, and movies without earphones. Which might seem a bit "eh", but won't once you have 15 people gathered around watching and listening to that funny bit from last night's Colbert Report. You know, the Social.

- I'm getting my mail right off my server with IMAP, so when it gets to the phone, it hasn't gone through Mail.app's junk filters...which basically means that mail on the iPhone is useless for me. In the near future, I'm going to set things up to route through GMail prior to the phone to near-eliminate the spam.

- Tried the EDGE network while I was out and about. Seemed pretty speedy to me, not noticeably slower than my WiFi at home...which may say more about Time Warner's cable modem speeds than EDGE.

- BTW, all of these first impressions are just that. You can't judge a device or an interface without using it day to day for awhile. I'm curious to see how I and others are still liking the phone in two weeks.

- Everytime I connect the iPhone to my computer, Aperture launches. Do not want.

Cute ad for Deutsche Post...two envelopesJUN 29

Cute ad for Deutsche Post...two envelopes playing Pong with a heart.

Ratatouille opens today and it's got aJUN 29

Ratatouille opens today and it's got a score of 94 on Metacritic, which puts it in a tie for 6th place on the all-time list.

Chart of the price of cocaine inJUN 29

Chart of the price of cocaine in countries around the world. Cheapest price is in Colombia ($2/g) while New Zealanders have to pay ~350 times that.

Facebook is the new AOLJUN 29

Earlier in the week, I made a comment in passing in a post about Vimeo:

you do know that Facebook is AOL 2.0, right?

A few people picked up on it and speculated what I might have meant by it. In reading those posts and poking around a bit, I found a post that Scott Heiferman made just after Facebook Platform launched in May:

While at Sony in 1994, I was sent to Virginia to learn how to build a Sony "app" on AOL (the #3 online service, behind Compuserve & Prodigy at the time) using AOL's proprietary "rainman" platform.

Fast forward to Facebook 2007 and see similarities: If you want access to their big base of users, develop something in their proprietary language for their people who live in their walled garden.

Scott pretty much nails it here. I've no doubt that Facebook is excited about their new platform (their userbase is big enough that companies feel like they have to develop for it) and it's a savvy move on their part, but I'm not so sure everyone else should be happy about it. What happens when Flickr and LinkedIn and Google and Microsoft and MySpace and YouTube and MetaFilter and Vimeo and Last.fm launch their platforms that you need to develop apps for in some proprietary language that's different for each platform? That gets expensive, time-consuming, and irritating. It's difficult enough to develop for OS X, Windows, and Linux simultaneously...imagine if you had 30 different platforms to develop for.

As it happens, we already have a platform on which anyone can communicate and collaborate with anyone else, individuals and companies can develop applications which can interoperate with one another through open and freely available tools, protocols, and interfaces. It's called the internet and it's more compelling than AOL was in 1994 and Facebook in 2007. Eventually, someone will come along and turn Facebook inside-out, so that instead of custom applications running on a platform in a walled garden, applications run on the internet, out in the open, and people can tie their social network into it if they want, with privacy controls, access levels, and alter-egos galore.

Update: I've clarified my AOL vs. Facebook thoughts here.

rating: 4.5 stars

Live Free or Die HardJUN 28

Die Hard 4 might be the perfect summer entertainment. I couldn't believe how much fun this movie was...we wanted to go again as soon as we got out.

Never mind Transformers, here's a look atJUN 28

Never mind Transformers, here's a look at the possible summer blockbusters of 2008. Here are a couple more lists of 2008 movies: FirstShowing.net and Box Office Mojo.

Regarding the food plagiarism business from yesterday,JUN 28

Regarding the food plagiarism business from yesterday, Ed Levine reports that he visited both restaurants yesterday and has some further thoughts on the situation. I think he nails it with this observation: "He was her right-hand man for six years, with complete and unfettered access to her creativity, recipes, craftsmanship, and even the combination to her safe. Charles is a smart, fiercely independent, tough-minded chef and businessperson who misplaced her trust when she gave her chief lieutenant all that access. McFarland, bereft of his own ideas, decided to open what is, for all intents and purposes, a clone of Pearl."

Metropolis magazine profile of designer/programmer/artistJUN 28

Metropolis magazine profile of designer/programmer/artist Jonathan Harris, creator of such projects as Word Count, Daylife Universe, 10x10, and Seed magazine's Phylotaxis. More of Harris' work is available on his web site.

"In September 2006, a group of African AmericanJUN 27

"In September 2006, a group of African American high school students in Jena, Louisiana, asked the school for permission to sit beneath a 'whites only' shade tree. There was an unwritten rule that blacks couldn't sit beneath the tree. The school said they didn't care where students sat. The next day, students arrived at school to see three nooses (in school colors) hanging from the tree." Read more about the Jena 6 at While Seated and BBC News.

Is the search for aliens such aJUN 27

Is the search for aliens such a good idea? If/when we find evidence of extraterrestrial intelligent life, will they welcome us as neighbors, treat us as vermin in their universe or something inbetween? "Jared Diamond, professor of evolutionary biology and Pulitzer Prize winner, says: 'Those astronomers now preparing again to beam radio signals out to hoped-for extraterrestrials are naive, even dangerous.'"

Peter Kaplan takes photographs from great heights,JUN 27

Peter Kaplan takes photographs from great heights, sometimes even putting his camera on top of a 42-foot pole to get the right shot. A slideshow of some of his work includes several shots of iconic NYC buildings from unusual angles.

In critical situations in matches, female tennisJUN 27

In critical situations in matches, female tennis players play more conservatively, commit more unforced errors, and serve slower than male tennis players do in the same situations. "While men's performance does not vary much depending on the importance of the point, women's performance deteriorates significantly as points become more important." (via mr)

Line items under "Skills" in my futureJUN 27

Line items under "Skills" in my future resume: refreshing all feeds, making things unbold, tab management, pressing cmd-z, scrolling, and posting to the future.

An illustration of how insanely effective waterJUN 27

An illustration of how insanely effective water is at absorbing heat: you can hold a water balloon over a candle without popping it. The rest of Robert Krampf's videos are worth a look as well.

Food plagiarismJUN 27

Rebecca Charles, owner of the Pearl Oyster Bar in NYC, a seafood place modeled after hundreds of similar restaurants in New England offering similar menus, is suing a former employee (of six years) for copying too closely her restaurant and menu in opening his new place, Ed's Lobster Bar.

Many parallels here to the design/art/film world...what is mere inspiration versus outright theft? The key question in these kinds of cases for me is: does the person exercise creativity in the appropriation? Did they add something to it instead of just copying or superficially changing it? Clam shacks are everywhere in New England, but an upscale seafood establishment with a premium lobster roll is a unique creative twist on that concept brought to NYC by Charles. An upscale clam shack blocks away from a nearly identical restaurant at which the owner used to work for six years...that seems a bit lame to me, not the work of a creative restaurateur. Who knows how this stuff is going to play out legally; it's a complex issue with lots of slippery slope potential.

Meg has more thoughts on the issue and Ed Levine weighs in over at Serious Eats with information not found in the NY Times article. It was Ed who first raised the issue about Ed's Lobster Bar earlier in the month.

Update: I forgot to link to the menus above. Here's the menu for Pearl Oyster Bar and here's the menu for Ed's Lobster Bar. For comparison, here are the menus for a couple of traditional clam shacks: the Clam Box in Ipswich, MA and Woodman's in Essex, MA.

The American Sign Language alphabet made fromJUN 27

The American Sign Language alphabet made from matchbooks...think of the matches as fingers.

Video about how the keyboard software forJUN 27

Video about how the keyboard software for the iPhone works. As suspected, learning the keyboard requires some techniques not needed for using a regular keyboard but once you get used to them, the two-thumbed typing shown in the final scene seems pretty quick.

Congrats to the Vimeo team on theJUN 27

Congrats to the Vimeo team on the launch of the latest version of the site. Here's the announcement post. The login/signup page is awesome. I also like how Vimeo has found room in the crowded video-on-the-web field, even though YouTube dominates the space. Vimeo is to YouTube as Facebook is to MySpace...not in terms of closed versus open (you do know that Facebook is AOL 2.0, right?) but in terms of being a bit more well thought out and not as, well, ugly (and not just in the aesthetic sense).

A five-minute crash course in constitutional lawJUN 27

A five-minute crash course in constitutional law by Walter Delinger, former Solicitor General to the Supreme Court and current law professor at Duke.

Twitter spamJUN 27

From my inbox this morning:

Twitter Spam

We can't have nice things on the internet.

Top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills, includingJUN 27

Top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills, including Cobol, PowerBuilder, and cc:Mail. "A rough translation of OS/2 could be 'wrong horse.'"

Remember the Splasher/graffiti/defacing business fromJUN 26

Remember the Splasher/graffiti/defacing business from last week? The group of people collectively know as the Splasher is back with a manifesto: "if we did it, this is how it would've happened". Not the most succinct, these art school revolutionaries.

David Pogue writes that the iPhone livesJUN 26

David Pogue writes that the iPhone lives up to most of its hype. Summary: typing is so-so, browser good, network slow, email is great, and a modified Russian reversal joke: "On the iPhone, you don't check your voice mail; it checks you". (thx, david)

Update: Walt Mossberg has a much more in-depth review...he liked it less than Pogue, I think. Regarding the Microsoft Exchange incompatibility speculation: "It can also handle corporate email using Microsoft's Exchange system, if your IT department cooperates by enabling a setting on the server."

Update: Steven Levy weighs in with a review in Newsweek. I wonder how many review phones got sent out? I'm guessing less than 20.

For those that don't like the newJUN 26

For those that don't like the new version of Desktop TD, you can go back in time to play version 1.2 and version 1.0.

On his new blog at the NewJUN 26

On his new blog at the New Yorker, George Packer asks (and answers) a question: Why do the highest government officials always seem to know less about a particular situation than anyone else? "I believe that the President believes so firmly that he is President for just this mission -- and there's something religious about it -- that it will succeed, and that kind of permeates."

Strange musical machinesJUN 26

Who knew you could play the theme song from Super Mario Brothers with a Tesla coil?

So just to explain a little further, yes, it is the actual high voltage sparks that are making the noise. Every cycle of the music is a burst of sparks at 41 KHz, triggered by digital circuitry at the end of a "long" piece of fiber optics. What's not immediately obvious in this video is how loud this is. Many people were covering their ears, dogs were barking. In the sections where the crowd is cheering and the coils is starting and stopping, you can hear the the crowd is drowned out by the coil when it's firing.

More about Tesla coils at Wikipedia. (thx, mike)

And I don't know what rock I've been hiding under for the past 33 years, but this Gnarls Barkley cover is the first I've heard of the theremin music machine:

In a great illustration of the sometimes odd path that innovation takes, Robert Moog found inspiration in the theremin after it had fallen out of favor in serious musical circles:

After a flurry of interest in America following the end of the Second World War, the theremin soon fell into disuse with serious musicians, mainly because newer electronic instruments were introduced that were easier to play. However, a niche interest in the theremin persisted, mostly among electronics enthusiasts and kit-building hobbyists. One of these electronics enthusiasts, Robert Moog, began building theremins in the 1950s, while he was a high-school student. Moog subsequently published a number of articles about building theremins, and sold theremin kits which were intended to be assembled by the customer. Moog credited what he learned from the experience as leading directly to his groundbreaking synthesizer, the Minimoog.

Update: Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey is a 1994 documentary about the theremin and its inventor. Here's a trailer, a review by Roger Ebert, and the DVD from Amazon. (thx, jeb & mark)

Video of a binary adding machine madeJUN 26

Video of a binary adding machine made out of wood and operated by marbles.

Update: The adding machine was built by Matthias Wandel, woodworker extraordinaire. Here's an explanation of how the machine works. Be sure to check out the other projects listed on his home page and what's new page. (thx, charles)

New publicly released data shows that someJUN 26

New publicly released data shows that some NYC subway lines are exceeding maximum capacity, both in terms of the number of riders per car and the number of trains per track.

100 blogs they love so much that they'reJUN 26

100 blogs they love so much that they're not going to link to a single one.

Update: Several people pointed out that the original list is available with links at PC World. Of course, it's a pageview-pumping multiple page situation, so you'll want the print version instead. (Yes, this is me punching a gift horse in the mouth, or whatever that expression is.)

Paris Hilton released from jailJUN 26

Early this morning, Paris Hilton was released from jail after serving a 23-day sentence for violating her probation on a prior conviction for reckless driving. Here's a photo taken soon after her release:

Paris Hilton released from jail

We see photos of celebrities smiling in public all the time, at movie openings, at awards shows, on stage, on TV, on red carpets...anywhere there's a camera waiting to capture a public image. Hilton in particular is known for smiling in public, chin down and looking up to the right. But the above photo is the first time she's ever looked genuinely happy, an authentic smile. Never have all those smiling celebrity photos -- and the purposes behind them -- looked so phony.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: "the phenomenon whereby peopleJUN 25

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: "the phenomenon whereby people who have little knowledge systematically think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge". "Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Meanwhile, people with true knowledge tended to underestimate their competence." (via cyn-c)

A company called Lifeforce has received FDAJUN 25

A company called Lifeforce has received FDA approval to store white blood cells for people as a "back-up copy of your immune system". The idea is that those pre-diseased cells could be reproduced in the lab and infused back into your body when needed to fight off infection or deal with the aftermath of chemotherapy.

Amateur runners, cyclists, and triathletes are startingJUN 25

Amateur runners, cyclists, and triathletes are starting to choose to compete in lesser-known smaller races in order to have a better chance of placing higher in the results. "Some are trying to gain an edge by finding where the fast racers aren't. Instead of training harder, they're spending hours online to scout out the field, and they're driving hundreds of miles to race against thin competition in out-of-the-way places."

As a 14-yo, Donald Young seemed likeJUN 25

As a 14-yo, Donald Young seemed like a can't-miss tennis prospect. Now, nearly 18, he hasn't missed but he hasn't exactly lived up to all the promise either.

Remember the guy who was suing hisJUN 25

Remember the guy who was suing his dry cleaner for lost pants to the tune of $65 miilion? He lost and has to pay court costs for the dry cleaner (and may have to pay their attorney's fees as well).

The Arctic Ocean was once more ofJUN 25

The Arctic Ocean was once more of a big lake that drained into the Atlantic Ocean. "18.2 million years ago, something happened. Drawn by shifting tectonic plates, the strait began to widen. Slowly, over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, salt water from the Atlantic began flowing into the Arctic turning it into the ocean we know today."

How Whole Foods is using longer checkoutJUN 25

How Whole Foods is using longer checkout lines to ensure faster checkouts in its Manhattan stores. "Whole Foods executives spent months drawing up designs for a new line system in New York that would be unlike anything in their suburban stores, where shoppers form one line in front of each register. That traditional system, they determined, would take up too much space and could not handle the crowds they expected here."

Cartype: "A comprehensive collection of reviews andJUN 25

Cartype: "A comprehensive collection of reviews and study of typographical applications of emblems, car company logos and car logos with images, comments, links, car company information and general interest."

Christopher Hitchens' book about religion and atheismJUN 25

Christopher Hitchens' book about religion and atheism is a surprise hit.

I've been keeping up with the latestJUN 22

I've been keeping up with the latest iPhone news but I haven't been telling you about it...partially because my poor pal Merlin is about to pop an artery due to all the hype. Anyway, it's Friday and he's got all weekend to clean that up, so here we go. The big thing is a 20-minute guided tour of the device, wherein we learn that there's a neat swiping delete gesture, you can view Word docs, it's thumb-typeable, the earbuds wires house the world's smallest remote control, Google Maps have driving directions *and* traffic conditions, and there's an "airplane mode" that turns off all the wifi, cell, and Bluetooth signals for plane trips. It looks like the iPhone will be available online...here's the page at the Apple Store. What else? It plays YouTube videos. iPhone setup will be handled through iTunes: "To set up your iPhone, you'll need an account with Apple's iTunes Store."

BREAKING NEWS!!! The newest version of DesktopJUN 22

BREAKING NEWS!!! The newest version of Desktop Tower Defense is out. My afternoon (and yours) is shot.

Update: New features include new Fun modes (Trickle- 1 creep per second, Random creeps), new Challenge mode (15 towers max). I'm on the scene, more as I have it.

Update: One new tower: ink tower, which has a minimum and maximum range and one new creep, a dark creep which I don't yet know how to kill (it seems to repel a lot of different attacks). My initial impression is that a lot of the changes make the game more complex but not necessarily more fun to play. Much more research is clearly warranted.

Update: It's also got in-game advertising...the little "K"s on some of the creeps refer to kongregate.com, a sponsor of the game. Blech. (Or maybe it's good that you can shoot advertisements?)

A hi-res photo from 1910 of the FlatironJUN 22

A hi-res photo from 1910 of the Flatiron Building in NYC. Still a lot of horse and trolley traffic in those days. (via NYC Snapshot)

According to a recent poll, folksonomy topsJUN 22

According to a recent poll, folksonomy tops the list of annoying words spawned by the internet, followed by blogosphere, blog, netiquette, and blook. Also of note: an mp3 of a religious service is referred to as a godcast.

NYC font fans rejoice...Helvetica (the movie)JUN 22

NYC font fans rejoice...Helvetica (the movie) will be starting a run at the IFC Center on September 12. My short review of the film is here.

The Senate voted to increase fuel mileageJUN 22

The Senate voted to increase fuel mileage requirements on cars sold in the US. "If the Senate bill becomes law, car manufacturers would have to increase the average mileage of new cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, compared with roughly 25 miles per gallon today." According to CNN, SUVs are included under the requirement...it's about fricking time that loophole was closed.

A fellow named the Splasher has beenJUN 22

A fellow named the Splasher has been splashing paint on street art around NYC over the past few months. Here's some of his, er, work. Well-known street artist Shepard Fairey (the Splasher has targeted several of his pieces) opened a show last night in DUMBO and two guys tried to set off a homemade smoke bomb at the opening, leading to speculation that one (or both) of them was the Splasher. Gothamist has more. Jake Dobkin has photos from Fairey's show, which looks pretty nice.

Update: The Brooklyn Paper is reporting that DJ 10 Fingers subdued the suspected Splasher before he could light his stink bomb. (No, seriously!) The would-be stink bomber is facing a possible 15 years in jail.

Somehow I never pointed to this articleJUN 21

Somehow I never pointed to this article from April about Dan Everett and his efforts to understand the language of the Piraha, an Amazonian hunter-gatherer tribe. Everett's position on Piraha linguistics is controversial because he believes their language doesn't adhere to Noam Chomsky's idea of universal grammar. "The Piraha, Everett wrote, have no numbers, no fixed color terms, no perfect tense, no deep memory, no tradition of art or drawing, and no words for 'all,' 'each,' 'every,' 'most,' or 'few' -- terms of quantification believed by some linguists to be among the common building blocks of human cognition." Everett recently wrote a piece for Edge on the Piraha's lack of recursion and engaged in a debate with Steven Pinker and Robert Van Valin on the topic.

Regarding Eve Mosher's project to draw aJUN 21

Regarding Eve Mosher's project to draw a flood line around Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, here are a couple of related projects. Ledia Carroll's Restore Mission Lake Project outlined the shore of an historical lake which used to sit in the midst of San Francisco's Mission neighborhood. Under The Level explores the possibility and consequences of Katrina-level flooding in NYC. (thx, kayte and dens)

Monocle on 25 everyday wonders ("pavements, well-designed schools,JUN 21

Monocle on 25 everyday wonders ("pavements, well-designed schools, punctual transport") that make urban environments worth living.

"One day, your computer will be aJUN 21

"One day, your computer will be a big ass table." Parody of Microsoft Surface, a $10,000 touchscreen coffee table. (via everyone I know)

These are not the fonts you are looking forJUN 21

Peter Saville, the British designer closely associated with Factory Records, is offering free downloads of some of the fonts he used in designing record sleeves and other work for New Order, Joy Division, and other Factory Records artists (see update below).

Saville Fonts

(thx, mark)

Update: Several Peter Saville fans from around the world have written in to say that the above site is not Peter Saville's official site (this is). It's also unclear whether those fonts were indeed made by Saville (probably not) or ever offered for download free of charge (probably definitely not). But they're still neat fonts, so download at your own risk.

Update: Kai has identified some of the fonts offered as shoddy versions of the following:

Joy Division Closer - Trajan (Adobe)
Blue Monday - Engravers Gothic (Bitstream)
New Order 1981 - Futura (Bauer)
New Order 1993 - Handel Gothic (Linotype)
New Order Ceremony - Albertus (Mecanorma)
New Order 316 - BT Incised 901 (Bitstream) = Antique Olive (Linotype)
New Order Regret - Rotis Serif (Agfa)

In this case, you get what you pay for, I guess.

Artist Lou Romano is on fire. HeJUN 21

Artist Lou Romano is on fire. He did the cover for the June 25th New Yorker and he's the voice for Linguini, the main human character in Ratatouille. Visit Romano's blog.

The American Film Institute has refreshed theirJUN 21

The American Film Institute has refreshed their list of the top 100 movies...here's a listing comparing the new list with the one from 1998. Godfather Part II at #32 is still a travesty.

Update: Roger Ebert weighs in on the list.

On brand indentities that are flexible (vs.JUN 21

On brand indentities that are flexible (vs. those that are static). Examples: Google's logo, Target's bullseye, and Saks' jumbly identity. "As advertising agencies lose their grip on the communications channels, the logos are starting to come out of the corner. Once pushed as far over to the bottom right as possible, they're becoming central to communication, no longer content to just be the the full-stop at the end of a piece of branded communication." (via quipsologies)

Children are allowed a lot less mobiltyJUN 20

Children are allowed a lot less mobilty these days than past generations were. Back in 1926, George Thomas was allowed to walk 6 miles from home by himself while his great-grandson is allowed 300 yards from his house at the same age.

Video demonstrations of 20 magic tricks.JUN 20

Video demonstrations of 20 magic tricks.

Manufactured Landscapes is a documentary about EdwardJUN 20

Manufactured Landscapes is a documentary about Edward Burtynsky and the photos that he's taken in China of the Three Gorges Dam, factories, and other vast industrial projects. Trailer is here and it's available on DVD at Amazon. (thx, scott)

Update: Manufactured Landscapes is playing in NYC at Film Forum starting tonight through July 3.

Working from home today...I've got yeJUN 20

Working from home today...I've got ye old webcam on for awhile this afternoon.

An average human being gets 400 miles perJUN 20

An average human being gets 400 miles per gallon at 3 mph. "A 155 lb human walking at 3 mph will burn 246 kcal/hour, or 82 kcal/mile. Feed that human one gallon of gas in potential energy -- 31,548 kcal -- and he'll have enough energy to walk for 128 hours."

Update: Riding a bike increases the MPG to ~750.

Will Wright's long zoom game, Spore, hasJUN 20

Will Wright's long zoom game, Spore, has been delayed until 2009. No one knows why, but I hope the answer involves porting it to the Wii. (via waxy)

Update: EA's fiscal year starts in March, so it's not delayed until 2009...just until after March 2008. (thx, zach)

Update: The unofficial word from someone on the development team is that Spore the system is almost ready but Spore the game isn't all that much fun yet. A recent round of user testing didn't go so well. Hence, the delay.

New Underworld album due in October, Oblivion With Bells.JUN 20

New Underworld album due in October, Oblivion With Bells.

Larry Lessig is shifting the focus ofJUN 20

Larry Lessig is shifting the focus of his work away from IP and copyright issues and toward tackling what he calls corruption. "I don't mean corruption in the simple sense of bribery. I mean 'corruption' in the sense that the system is so queered by the influence of money that it can't even get an issue as simple and clear as term extension right. Politicians are starved for the resources concentrated interests can provide. In the US, listening to money is the only way to secure reelection. And so an economy of influence bends public policy away from sense, always to dollars."

Tomorrow's Wall Street Journal has a storyJUN 19

Tomorrow's Wall Street Journal has a story about Paul Preece, creator of the mega-addictive Desktop TD. Version 1.5 of the game is launching sometime this week.

Photographs of very complex highway intersections. AJUN 19

Photographs of very complex highway intersections. A couple of the photos (the last one in particular) look fake, but cool nonetheless. (via quipsologies)

Julian Dibbell on Chinese who farm gold (JUN 19

Julian Dibbell on Chinese who farm gold (and perform other for-pay duties) in online games like World of Warcraft. "Nick Yee, an M.M.O. scholar based at Stanford, has noted the unsettling parallels (the recurrence of words like 'vermin,' 'rats' and 'extermination') between contemporary anti-gold-farmer rhetoric and 19th-century U.S. literature on immigrant Chinese laundry workers." Dibbell's Play Money was a great read and deserves wider readership than it originally received.

For the past few years, the workforceJUN 19

For the past few years, the workforce at Best Buy has been transitioning from a "how much you work" model to a "how much work you get done" model, with promising initial results. "Hence workers pulling into the company's amenity-packed headquarters at 2 p.m. aren't considered late. Nor are those pulling out at 2 p.m. seen as leaving early. There are no schedules. No mandatory meetings. No impression-management hustles. Work is no longer a place where you go, but something you do. It's O.K. to take conference calls while you hunt, collaborate from your lakeside cabin, or log on after dinner so you can spend the afternoon with your kid."

NY Times on the rise of OpenTable,JUN 19

NY Times on the rise of OpenTable, which wasn't exactly an overnight success. To me, the thing that pushed OT over the edge toward acceptance wasn't so much the public-facing business (let your customers make reservations online) but the software that the restaurants were provided to keep better track of their customers and their habits. It used to be a big deal that Four Seasons Hotels tracked the preferences of all their customers but now any restaurant with the OT system can easily do the same. "Doug Washington, a co-owner of Town Hall, said the notes were not just helpful, they are occasionally indispensable. Next to the name of one regular, who has a habit of bringing in women he is not married to, is an instruction to make sure the man's wife has not booked a separate table for the same day."

Patton Oswalt, who does of the voiceJUN 19

Patton Oswalt, who does of the voice of the main character in Ratatouille, shares some details to look for in the film. "Everything that Ian Holm, as the evil Skinner, does -- especially his teetering-on-the-edge-of-insanity rant to his lawyer about that 'rat' that no one else sees but him. The animators I talked to had so much fun rendering his lines -- 'An animator's dream', according to one of the character design staff. Also, the animators used his toque like the shark's fin in JAWS -- you always see it moving closer among the stoves in the kitchen. Hilarious." (thx, martin)

Great clean, simple design for the LeJUN 19

Great clean, simple design for the Le Monde Diplomatique newspaper. Here's some more info on the publication.

A look at the available details ofJUN 19

A look at the available details of Pixar's next few films. We know about Ratatouille and Wall-E but there's details about Up, Toy Story 3, and Pixar's first live-action film (???).

Short review of Taxi! A Social HistoryJUN 19

Short review of Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver from the NY Times Sunday Book Review. "When I was young, most of them had adopted a common strategy against loneliness: a fleeting intimacy with their passengers. This was the era of the cabby as philosopher or comedian, quick to make observations about life itself, or its subdivisions in politics and sports, or to crack wise about women and other mysteries. This form of performance art had two goals: human contact and better tips."

Map of the galaxy in which Star Wars takes place.JUN 18

Map of the galaxy in which Star Wars takes place.

Artist Eve Mosher is drawing a chalkJUN 18

Artist Eve Mosher is drawing a chalk line around Brooklyn and lower Manhattan that denotes the encroachment of the ocean if it were to rise 10 feet above the current sea level. There's a web site for the project, including a progress blog. See also Flood Maps.

Video of a bunch of reject WiiJUN 18

Video of a bunch of reject Wii games, including WiiWhaling, Paperwork Mario, and WiiDriveby. (thx, jeffry)

Long profile of Steve Jobs on theJUN 18

Long profile of Steve Jobs on the eve of his fourth act written by John Heilemann, who is one of my favorite technology/culture writers. I'm dying to find out what past Jobs-championed Apple product the iPhone will most resemble: the Lisa or the iPod?

A map of the lakes and riversJUN 18

A map of the lakes and rivers underneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Referring page is here. (via pruned)

Lessons learned at an experimental basketball gameJUN 18

Lessons learned at an experimental basketball game where the rims were 11 feet high. "Perhaps the biggest impact was on the interior players. No longer could centers like Billbe catch the ball on the low block, turn and simply extend their arms and lay the ball over the rim." (via clusterflock)

Trailer for There Will Be Blood, theJUN 18

Trailer for There Will Be Blood, the first movie from PT Anderson in I don't know how long. The flick stars Daniel Day-Lewis and is adapted from Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! (via crazymonk)

rating: 4.5 stars

RatatouilleJUN 18

With its latest film, Pixar manages to achieve something that few other big Hollywood films do these days: a convincing reality. The body language & emotions of the characters, the machinations of the kitchen, the sights and sounds of Paris, and the dice of the celery, Ratatouille gets it all right, down to the seemingly insignificant details. As we walked out of the movie, my wife, who has spent time cooking in restaurants (with Daniel Boulud, even), couldn't stop talking about how well the movie captured the workings of the kitchen. To be sure, a G-rated kitchen but a true kitchen nonetheless.

I'm not quite sure how this is possible, but the people in Ratatouille acted more like real people than the actors in many recent live action movies (especially the rats), like they had realistic histories and motivations that governed their actions instead of feeling scripted and fake. The world of the movie felt as though it had existed before the opening credits and would continue after the curtain fell. Systems that have arisen through years, decades, centuries, millennia of careful evolution and interplay with one another were represented accurately and with care. In The Timeless Way of Building, Christopher Alexander writes of the quality without a name:

There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town, a building, or a wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named. The search which we make for this quality, in our own lives, is the central search of a person, and the crux of any individual person's story. It is the search for those moments and situations when we are most alive.

Pixar's search for this quality in the making of Ratatouille is impressive. And in a way, necessary. In order to draw the audience into the film and make them forget that they're watching animated characters in an animated world, the filmmakers need to get everything right. Motions too exaggerated, motivations glossed over, plot too uncoordinated, and the whole thing loses its sense of authenticity. People need to act like people, omelettes need to sag off of spatulas like omelettes, and the only woman chef in a haute cuisine French kitchen needs to behave accordingly.

This is an interesting state of affairs. In comparison, the live action movies have become the cartoons. Not all of them, but certainly many Hollywood movies have. Spidey 3, Transformers (I'm guessing), Die Hard 4 (guessing again), anything Eddie Murphy has made since the mid-80s, Wild Hogs, Blades of Glory, RV, etc. etc. I could go on and on. So what are we to make of a cartoon that seems more real than most live action movies? How about we stop thinking of them as cartoons or kids movies or animated films and start considering them as just plain movies? I'd put Pixar's five best films -- Toy Story 2, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and let's throw Brad Bird's The Iron Giant in for good measure -- among the best big budget films made in the last 10 years, no caveats required.

Oh, and I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that Ratatouille also has something to say about critics and criticism, a topic that's currently under debate in foodie circles and has been discussed many times in different areas of the blogosphere. It almost seems as though the film's message is aimed partially at bloggers, and for those that care to listen, that message is both encouraging and enlightening.

Suck it, Nile! The Amazon River mayJUN 18

Suck it, Nile! The Amazon River may now be the longest in the world.

In the Year 2030, the Young Hotshot atJUN 18

In the Year 2030, the Young Hotshot at My Office Tries to Walk Me Through "Centaur," Apple's New Mind-Orb-Based Operating System. "Well, go ahead and materialize the topaz orb first. That should launch your facefield preferences."

Crazy story about a woman who bumpsJUN 18

Crazy story about a woman who bumps into the woman who stole her identity in a Starbucks. A chase ensues. "She had bad teeth and looked like she hadn't bathed. I thought, 'You're buying Prada on my dime. Go get your teeth fixed.'"

A teaser trailer for Wall-E, Pixar's newestJUN 16

A teaser trailer for Wall-E, Pixar's newest movie, due out in summer 2008. That sounds like a heck of a lunch. (thx, scott)

The rules of unicycle quidditch and juggling quidditch.JUN 15

The rules of unicycle quidditch and juggling quidditch.

For her final project in a MediaJUN 15

For her final project in a Media Lab class, Anita Lillie fastened three accelerometers to her body and tracked her movements while asleep. The data recorded allowed her to determine her sleeping positions and orientations (on her left side, on her back, etc.) and how they changed through the night.

Bruce Schneier on the Portrait of theJUN 15

Bruce Schneier on the Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot. "Terrorism is a real threat, and one that needs to be addressed by appropriate means. But allowing ourselves to be terrorized by wannabe terrorists and unrealistic plots -- and worse, allowing our essential freedoms to be lost by using them as an excuse -- is wrong."

Clusterflock, one of my favorite daily reads,JUN 15

Clusterflock, one of my favorite daily reads, is raffling off an iPhone. Tickets are $20, which gives you an approx. 1-in-25 chance of winning an iPhone. I like those odds.

Temporal anomalies in time travel movies, anJUN 15

Temporal anomalies in time travel movies, an investigation of how time travel is represented in movies like Donnie Darko, 12 Monkeys, and Back to the Future. (via joshua)

If you're unfamiliar with the alternate sideJUN 15

If you're unfamiliar with the alternate side parking shuffle that happens once or twice a week in most areas of NYC, Jen Bekman has a good description of it. I'm convinced the New Yorker would go out of business if it weren't for the shuffle...a lot of 6,000 word articles get read waiting for the meter maid to come around.

Regarding my post about Tim Knowles' work,JUN 15

Regarding my post about Tim Knowles' work, Greg sent in a couple of links to similar projects. Olafur Eliasson created these drawings much like Knowles did with his Vehicle Motion Drawings, except he used the motion of his father's fishing boat. William Anastasi has done drawings for almost 40 years by letting his pen drift on a piece of paper while riding the subway.

If you thought that Nevermind's 15th anniversaryJUN 15

If you thought that Nevermind's 15th anniversary made you feel old, try this one on: Radiohead's OK Computer was released 10 years ago tomorrow. (via 6f6)

Poor Pluto. First they demoted it fromJUN 15

Poor Pluto. First they demoted it from planet status and now it's not even the biggest dwarf planet in the solar system.

Even though it's not out until October,JUN 14

Even though it's not out until October, you can pre-order the new version of OS X (10.5, aka Leopard) at Amazon right now.

A Brief History of Economic Time. "No 18JUN 14

A Brief History of Economic Time. "No 18th-century politician would have asked 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' because it never would have occurred to anyone that they ought to be better off than they were four years ago." (via migurski)

Oliver Herring's photo sculptures. Reminds me ofJUN 14

Oliver Herring's photo sculptures. Reminds me of David Meanix's work for Six Feet Under (if you remember Claire's photo masks in season 4). (via moon river)

The social life of plants: plants canJUN 14

The social life of plants: plants can tell their relatives from strangers. "Plants grown alongside unrelated neighbours are more competitive than those growing with their siblings -- ploughing more energy into growing roots when their neighbours don't share their genetic stock."

A fragment of a weapon used byJUN 14

A fragment of a weapon used by late 19th century whalers was found embedded in a bowhead whale, suggesting that the animal was over 100 years old.

The ending of the Harry Potter seriesJUN 14

The ending of the Harry Potter series written in the style of the ending of The Sopranos.

Update: Hilarious alternate ending for The Sopranos.

Tim KnowlesJUN 14

I just stumbled upon the work of Tim Knowles, whose art explores the mostly hidden, obscured, or otherwise unnoticed motion of objects. One of his projects is Tree Drawings:

Drawings produced by pens attached to the tips of tree branches, as the branches move in the wind the tree draws on to a panel or drawing board on an easel. Like signatures the trees drawings tell of the tree's character; a Hawthorn producing a stiff, scratchy & spikey drawing an Oak a more elegant flowing line.

Here's the oak at its easel and the resulting art:

Tim Knowles

For Vehicle Motion Drawings, he constructed an apparatus to capture the motion of a car being driven...the turns, stops, and starts of the vehicle move the pen over the paper. His postal projects capture the motion of packages through the postal system, both with drawings and photography. (Knowles' Spy Box reminds me of Kyle Van Horn's cameramail.)

Love his stuff. (via waxy)

A blog of bad drawings of StarJUN 14

A blog of bad drawings of Star Trek's Mr. Spock. Khaaan! (thx, david)

Martin Klimas' captured moments of shattering statuesJUN 14

Martin Klimas' captured moments of shattering statues is an interesting form of photographic sculpture. (via daily awesome)

Opening Friday, June 22 at jen bekman galleryJUN 14

Opening Friday, June 22 at jen bekman gallery in NYC: A New American Portrait, "a group exhibition of photographs featuring artists at the vanguard of contemporary portraiture in America". Curated by Jen Bekman and Joerg Colberg, one of my favorite bloggers on the topic of photography.

Crime in the three biggest American cities (JUN 14

Crime in the three biggest American cities (NY, Chicago, LA) is down...and up almost everywhere else. In part, this is due to the aging of the population in those cities. "Together they lost more than 200,000 15-to 24-year-olds between 2000 and 2005. That bodes ill for their creativity and future competitiveness, but it is good news for the police. Young people are not just more likely to commit crimes. Thanks to their habit of walking around at night and their taste for portable electronic gizmos, they are also more likely to become its targets." Young people, your gizmos are hurting America!

New York Magazine has a short profile of Edward Tufte.JUN 14

New York Magazine has a short profile of Edward Tufte.

The results from a recent Gallup pollJUN 14

The results from a recent Gallup poll show that more Americans accept creationism than do evolution. Among registered Republicans, almost 7 in 10 don't believe in evolution. (via cynical-c)

Roy Pearson, the judge who is suingJUN 14

Roy Pearson, the judge who is suing his former dry cleaner for $65 million in damages for a lost pair of pants, started crying in court today when describing the moment when the dry cleaner tried to give him the wrong pants. And this was after a witness called by Pearson likened her treatment by the dry cleaners to Hitler's treatment of the Jews. The judge should have invoked Godwin and declared a mistrial. Also, nice headline from CNN: Judge aims to have pants suit ironed out next week. Haw haw.

The Pixar media machine is getting crankedJUN 13

The Pixar media machine is getting cranked up for the release of Ratatouille...here's another article about the movie in Time. By the way, if you're organizing any sort of advanced screening in NYC, the proper procedure is to notify me immediately.

Digg policies from Lifehacker and Gizmodo, whichJUN 13

Digg policies from Lifehacker and Gizmodo, which state that the only Digg-worthy posts of theirs are those with "original content, new reporting, treatment, or photos" because "it's not fair when we get the Digg for someone else's work." This seems inconsistent on the part of Gawker Media. One of their main innovations (if you'd like to call it that) regarding the blog format was the idea of linking to things in such a way that readers don't need to actually leave the site to get the full (or nearly full) story. Why let all those readers (and the associated ad revenue) go to some other site to read the story...they might never return. Due in part to Gawker's influence as first mover in the pro blog space, this practice is unfortunately standard procedure for most similar blogs.

For Pixar, the making of Ratatouille includedJUN 13

For Pixar, the making of Ratatouille included some time in real kitchens and restaurants, complete with a stop at the French Laundry for some face-time with Thomas Keller.

Don Herbert, also know as TV's Mr.JUN 12

Don Herbert, also know as TV's Mr. Wizard, died today aged 89. Here's part one of a 4-part interview with Herbert from the Archive of American Television.

Fun letterhead cartoons drawn by Saul SteinbergJUN 12

Fun letterhead cartoons drawn by Saul Steinberg in 1967 when he was artist-in-residence at the Smithsonian for a brief period. (via daily awesome)

Five Flickr sets that aren't driving theJUN 12

Five Flickr sets that aren't driving the long-term traffic you'd hoped for. Merlin brings the funny, you make with the laughing.

Lake/island recursion, including "largest island inJUN 12

Lake/island recursion, including "largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island". It's like matryoshka dolls except with islands and lakes. (via fimoculous)

The Philadelphia Phillies have lost more gamesJUN 12

The Philadelphia Phillies have lost more games than any other team in professional sports, almost 10,000.

Did President Bush get his watch stolenJUN 12

Did President Bush get his watch stolen in Albania while shaking hands with people in the crowd? Bruce Schneier: "At 0.50 minutes into the clip, Bush has a watch. At 1.04 minutes into the clip, he had a watch."

Update: Tony Snow is saying that Bush put the watch in his pocket. (thx, hal)

McSweeney's in a spot of troubleJUN 12

Bad news from McSweeney's: their distributor filed for bankruptcy late last year and now they're out $130,000:

As you may know, it's been tough going for many independent publishers, McSweeney's included, since our distributor filed for bankruptcy last December 29. We lost about $130,000 -- actual earnings that were simply erased. Due to the intricacies of the settlement, the real hurt didn't hit right away, but it's hitting now. Like most small publishers, our business is basically a break-even proposition in the best of times, so there's really no way to absorb a loss that big.

To try and make up the gap, they're having a big sale and are also auctioning off some "rare items" like original art from Chris Ware, proofs from issues, signed copies of things, a painting by Dave Eggers of George W. Bush as a double amputee, and so on. In addition to Ware and Eggers, there's stuff from David Byrne, Nick Hornsby, and Spike Jonze. I've long admired McSweeney's for their editorial and business approach...it would be a shame to see them go out of business because of another company's financial difficulties. So give them a hand by purchasing something, if you'd like.

Graph of US Presidential approval ratings since 1946.JUN 12

Graph of US Presidential approval ratings since 1946. With the sole exception of Clinton, Americans like their presidents less at the ends of their terms than at the beginnings.

An interview with Paul Ford about theJUN 12

An interview with Paul Ford about the work that he's been doing at Harper's, specifically putting the magazine's entire archives online. "It's obviously a lot for one person working alone to bring hundreds of thousands of pages online while writing, editing blog content, programming a complex, semantic web-driven site, and providing tech support for an office."

Christopher Hitchens on his forced contemplation ofJUN 12

Christopher Hitchens on his forced contemplation of Paris Hilton. "Hilton is legally an adult but the treatment she is receiving stinks -- indeed it reeks -- of whatever horrible, buried, vicarious impulse underlies kiddie porn and child abuse."

From a paper on adaption to wealthJUN 11

From a paper on adaption to wealth and status: people on the right of the political spectrum adapt to higher status but not greater wealth and those on the left adapt to wealth but not status. (via marginal revolution)

Update: I had the two things mixed up earlier...it's correct now. (thx to everyone who wrote in)

A map of the US with theJUN 11

A map of the US with the states renamed for countries with similar GDPs.

Another gallery of photos from Magnum's 60-year anniversary. (thx, mark)JUN 11

Another gallery of photos from Magnum's 60-year anniversary. (thx, mark)

How Adobe Photoshop was born.JUN 11

How Adobe Photoshop was born.

Michael Bierut on design lessons learned fromJUN 11

Michael Bierut on design lessons learned from The Sopranos. "On The Sopranos, interest in certain things, including but not limited to event planning, fashion design, literature, and certain psychological theories, are considered indications of effeminacy. A not unsimilar macho attitude often obtains in corporate boardrooms when it comes to design."

"Travel is the starting point of learningJUN 11

"Travel is the starting point of learning social science." -- Tyler Cowen

Stuff from Steve Jobs' WWDC keynote thisJUN 11

Stuff from Steve Jobs' WWDC keynote this morning: new version of Safari for Mac *and* Windows (downloadable beta), developing for iPhone can be done with HTML & JavaScript...just like Dashboard widgets, new Finder and Desktop, and Apple's web site is completely redesigned.

Update: From the reaction I'm hearing so far, it's difficult to tell what was more disappointing to people: Jobs' keynote or The Sopronos finale. Also, a Keynote bingo was possible (diagonally, bottom left to top right)...no report yet as to whether anyone yelled out during the show.

Update: TUAW is reporting that someone in the crowd yelled "bingo" 35 minutes into the keynote, but if you look at the card, a bingo was only possible when the iPhone widgets were announced towards the end. Disqualified for early non-bingo! (thx, alex)

The difference between marketing, PR, branding, and advertising.JUN 11

The difference between marketing, PR, branding, and advertising.

Researchers are developing a diet pill madeJUN 11

Researchers are developing a diet pill made from hydrogel...it swells in your stomach, making you think you're fuller than you actually are. And I'm contractually obligated to say: Just add water!

F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen tells us whatJUN 11

F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen tells us what he goes through during a typical race. "The actual driving, keeping the car on the road, is all natural, all automatic -- what I'm thinking about is where to make time." (thx, ajit)

The sushi economyJUN 11

Adding sushi to the ever-growing list of everyday consumables as economic indicators: steak, Big Macs, Starbucks coffee, Coca-Cola, and cigarettes.

A bunch of writers pick their favoriteJUN 11

A bunch of writers pick their favorite novel -> movie adaptations. (thx, david)

Today we once again get to hearJUN 11

Today we once again get to hear the gospel straight from the source; Steve Jobs will be keynoting Apple's WWDC at 1pm ET. MacRumors, Mac Observer, and Engadget will have live coverage. My predictions: better .Mac, iPhone something, and Jobs will announce that Paulie's gonna whack Tony Soprano but not before Tony squeals to the Feds. Oh, and a pony.

WeirdConverter for height/length and weight...forJUN 10

WeirdConverter for height/length and weight...for learning that 45 Panama Canals = 0.56 Great Walls of China or that 381 cans of soda = 23.2 spider monkeys.

Update: Measure is a app for the Mac that converts between ~3000 difference measurements. (thx, devin)

Unforgettable photos, some of the most strikingJUN 09

Unforgettable photos, some of the most striking and disturbing photographs ever taken.

Do racehorses really pee like a racehorse? Yep.JUN 08

Do racehorses really pee like a racehorse? Yep.

Speed Demon Photography, some entries in aJUN 08

Speed Demon Photography, some entries in a photo contest depicting speed. The rollercoaster picture is awesome.

100 hot women chosen by lesbiansJUN 08

Hot 100 women chosen by lesbians. A nice counterpoint to similar lists from Maxim and People.

This page generates a random pizza forJUN 08

This page generates a random pizza for you. I got a thin crust pie with red sauce, topped with mozzarella, red peppers, tomatoes, black olives, green peppers, and breaded chicken. Yum?

The Life Project is a series ofJUN 08

The Life Project is a series of photographs that, from photographer's Frans Lanting's perspective, that are a journey through time, from the formation of the universe to the present time. Also available in book form.

Marc Andreessen on how to hire goodJUN 08

Marc Andreessen on how to hire good people. Don't just hire smart people or people with degrees...look for drive, curiosity, and ethics. "Pick a topic you know intimately and ask the candidate increasingly esoteric questions until they don't know the answer. They'll either say they don't know, or they'll try to bullshit you. Guess what. If they bullshit you during the hiring process, they'll bullshit you once they're onboard."

The guy behind Desktop TD and theJUN 08

The guy behind Desktop TD and the guy behind Flash Element TD have quit their jobs and teamed up to form a small games company...here's the blog they're writing while they get things together. Includes a sneak peek at the new towers for version 1.5 for DTD.

Excited for The Sopranos series finale? Here'sJUN 08

Excited for The Sopranos series finale? Here's a sheet and some suggested rules to set up an office or household pool about who's going to die, how, and other predictions.

kottke.org tagsJUN 08

After working on this -- on again and off again, mostly off -- for much too long, I'm pleased to say that a significant chunk of kottke.org now has tags (around 5,100 entries are tagged, out of ~13,000). Right now, the only way to access them is through individual tag pages, but after all the bugs are ironed out, I'll be putting them in different places around the site (front page, main archive page, etc.).

Each tag page lists all the entries1 on the site that are tagged with that particular word...some good examples to start you off are: photography, economics, lists, infoviz, food, nyc, cities, restaurants, video, timelapse, interviews, language, maps, and fashion. Each page also has a list of tags related to that particular tag and further down in the sidebar, you'll find lists of recently popular tags, all-time popular tags, a few favorite tags of mine, and some random tags...lots of stuff to explore.

I've tweaked the design as well: the main column is a little wider, the post metadata look/feel is consistent among short posts and long posts, faint dotted lines now separate all entries, and per-entry tags were added to the post metadata. I'm testing all that out for eventual site-wide use. Questions, comments, bug reports, etc. are welcome...send them on in.

Update: I almost forgot, the nsfw tag.

[1] Not all the entries exactly. Until I figure out how to do some pagination, I've limited the number of entries to 100 for each tag page. The movies page was more than 1 Mb when all the entries were listed.

As people exchange their land lines forJUN 08

As people exchange their land lines for mobile phones, phone books are getting smaller. "Americans have not been eager to list their cell numbers in phone books. Consumers and privacy advocates balked at the idea in 2004, when most of the big wireless carriers said they wanted to compile a nationwide directory. Cellphones may make it easier for people to reach each other, yet Americans are very guarded about whom they want calling them."

A series of visually insteresting ads from Juicy Fruit.JUN 07

A series of visually insteresting ads from Juicy Fruit.

Chinese writing is oldJUN 07

Missed this from a couple of weeks ago: Chinese writing may be 8,000 years old, far older than the previous estimate of 4,500 years.

A rerun, because it came up atJUN 07

A rerun, because it came up at dinner the other night: EPIC 2014, the recent history of technology and the media as told from the vantage point of 7 years in the future. "2008 sees the alliance that will challenge Microsoft's ambitions. Google and Amazon join forces to form Googlezon. Google supplies the Google Grid and unparalled search technology. Amazon supplies the social recommendation engine and its huge commercial infrastructure."

Photoshopped series of photos of people kissingJUN 07

Photoshopped series of photos of people kissing themselves. Sort of disturbingly erotic, in an erotically disturbing way.

The 2007 MacTech 25 "honors the most influential peopleJUN 07

The 2007 MacTech 25 "honors the most influential people in the Macintosh community". Includes a single woman.

Wikigroaning: comparing sparse Wikipedia entries about highJUN 07

Wikigroaning: comparing sparse Wikipedia entries about high culture topics with the more fleshed-out entries about low culture topics. For instance, compare the entries for Hammurabi, who wrote some of the world's first legal codes, and Emperor Palpatine, who ruled the Empire in the Star Wars movies.

Blog to watch: Madame Royale, a blogJUN 07

Blog to watch: Madame Royale, a blog about notable women from the past. (via cyn-c)

David Plotz has finished his Blogging theJUN 07

David Plotz has finished his Blogging the Bible series at Slate...he wrote about each book of the Old Testament. "While I've been blogging the Bible, I have tried not to take myself too seriously and not to pretend more insight than I actually have. I just wanted to read the book and write about what it's like to read it. No essays, no philosophy, no experts."

People who live in Greenland are lovingJUN 07

People who live in Greenland are loving this global warming thing. "At a science station in the ice-covered interior of Greenland, average winter temperatures rose nearly 11 degrees Fahrenheit from 1991 to 2003. Winters are shorter, ice is melting, and fish and animals are on the move." 11 degrees in 12 years!

Photos of the absurdly polluted Citarum RiverJUN 06

Photos of the absurdly polluted Citarum River in Indonesia. "Their occupants no longer try to fish. It is more profitable to forage for rubbish they can salvage and trade -- plastic bottles, broken chair legs, rubber gloves -- risking disease for one or two pounds a week if they are lucky."

Forgetting May Be Part of the ProcessJUN 06

Forgetting May Be Part of the Process of Remembering. "A lightning memory, in short, is not so much a matter of capacity as it is of ruthless pruning." I pointed to some similar studies in my better living through self-deception post from a couple of weeks ago.

Top 20 plays of the 2007 NBA playoffs (soJUN 06

Top 20 plays of the 2007 NBA playoffs (so far). It's a good list but YouTube sucks for watching sports highlights...the quality is just too low. (via truehoop)

The Armageddon Flowchart. (via rebecca blood)JUN 06

The Armageddon Flowchart. (via rebecca blood)

Aerial photo of a pulp mill aerationJUN 06

Aerial photo of a pulp mill aeration pond. Nice abstract photo.

Research suggests that those who fidget areJUN 06

Research suggests that those who fidget are less likely to be obese. Fidgeters of the world say, "well, duh, all that moving around is good exercise".

Facekicking, n. The act of accessing FacebookJUN 06

Facekicking, n. The act of accessing Facebook from your T-Mobile Sidekick. Coined while chatting with Jonah the other night...we decided that "facekicking" was more exciting to say than "sidebooking".

Old chicken bonesJUN 06

Old chicken bones are a clue that the Polynesians made it to the Americas before the Europeans did. "The 50 chicken bones from at least five individual birds date from between 1321 and 1407 -- 100 years or more before the arrival of Europeans."

Are there many small galaxies, like theJUN 06

Are there many small galaxies, like the one just discovered just outside our own, orbiting the larger visible galaxies?

Four-part documentary about the making of StanleyJUN 06

Four-part documentary about the making of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining: one, two, three, four. Shot by Kubrick's daughter, Vivian.

Pirate myths uncovered: they never said "arrr",JUN 05

Pirate myths uncovered: they never said "arrr", there was no plank walking, and no treasure maps. The "arrr" and the pirate accent "originated with Robert Newton, the actor who played Long John Silver in the movies and on TV through much of the 1950s".

Vincent Laforet talks about a sports photoJUN 05

Vincent Laforet talks about a sports photo series he did using the tilt-shift technique.

Reconsidering Rachel Carson's Silent Spring: it wasJUN 05

Reconsidering Rachel Carson's Silent Spring: it was an influential book...too bad the science was all wrong. "She cited scary figures showing a recent rise in deaths from cancer, but she didn't consider one of the chief causes: fewer people were dying at young ages from other diseases (including the malaria that persisted in the American South until DDT). When that longevity factor as well as the impact of smoking are removed, the cancer death rate was falling in the decade before 'Silent Spring,' and it kept falling in the rest of the century."

Update: Scienceblogs' Tim Lambert has been following a campaign to discredit Carson and her book. More here and at Google. (thx, jim & paul)

Photos of people from around the worldJUN 05

Photos of people from around the world and the food that they eat during the course of a week.

Tiger Woods tops this year's list ofJUN 05

Tiger Woods tops this year's list of top-earning American athletes. He makes $111M a year, more than twice as much as the fellow in second place. A list of the top-earning non-American athletes is available as well. (via cyn-c)

A rare positive review from Speak UpJUN 05

A rare positive review from Speak Up of the new London 2012 that everyone else in the world seems to hate. "I believe, despite any ensuing boo's, that this is some of the most innovative and daring identity work we have seen in this new millennium, and the lack of cheesy and imagination-impairing gradients gives me hope that identity work can still be resurrected on a larger scale."

Update: Coudal loves the logo.

Matt Webb's presentation slides and transcripts areJUN 05

Matt Webb's presentation slides and transcripts are always worth reading through...this one is no exception: Products Are People Too. I hope to catch one of his talks in person someday.

From a poll in the Guardian: GeorgeJUN 04

From a poll in the Guardian: George Orwell's 1984 is the definitive book of the 20th century. Gatsby, Grapes, and Brave New World also make the top 10 list.

New York magazine has a great collectionJUN 04

New York magazine has a great collection of stories about how various NYC businesses go about making their money. They cover everyone from a taxi driver to a sex shop to Goldman Sachs to the MoMA.

Some prominent writers (Eggers, Foer, Nicole Krauss)JUN 04

Some prominent writers (Eggers, Foer, Nicole Krauss) tell us about what they've been reading recently. In other summer reading news, Rebecca Blood is keeping track of various summer book lists that are popping up around the web.

The Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the WorldJUN 04

The Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World scores the world's countries on two axes of cultural values...from "traditional" to "secular-rational" and from "survival" to "self-expression". (via strange maps)

Pirates 3 not so bad?JUN 04

Last week's post about the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie hinted that I was having difficulty reconciling its summer blockbusterness (and all the suckiness that usual entails) and the feeling that there was something more to be discovered under the distracting explosions and swordplay. Ryland Walker Knight, writing at The House Next Door, says that Pirates trilogy is a film series worth watching seriously (emphasis mine):

The Caribbean world of Verbinski's trilogy is, after the first film, one of constant shuffling, of tangential narrative ruptures: the world of the film, like the world we audience members live in, is chaotic. Of course, this Caribbean world is not the world we live in. In our world, there are no giant mythological squids or sea goddesses, but there are, however, pirates - and daily acts of piracy. And there are social dictums, social pacts, that we appropriate and reconstitute on an individual basis, to live with ourselves, to live with the world. The main thrust of this trilogy is that reckoning: How will we live in the world when our autonomous freedom is continually challenged?

It's certainly not a stretch to make the connection between the autonomous freedom theme and the US government's recent actions to limit freedoms in the name of fighting the "global war on terror". The Onion AV Club's Noel Murray didn't read that much into it, but he did think it was more than just swashbuckling and gunnery:

No, I'd rather argue that Pirates is not junk. It may be a lousy movie -- I'll accept that argument, even if I more or less disagree -- but it's not just, as Nathan Lee writes in his Village Voice review, "a delivery system for two kinds of special effect: those created by computers, and those generated by Johnny Depp." I believe that a genuine effort to delight -- and not just subdue -- has been made here. The movie contains the same kind of preoccupation with clockwork gags and bad guys accidentally doing good that's been part of The Verbinski Method since Mouse Hunt. Like it or not, Pirates does have a brain, and a soul.

I almost want to go see it again, to watch it not as a blockbuster but as a film that might have a little something to say.

An interesting somewhat-inside look at Google's searchJUN 04

An interesting somewhat-inside look at Google's search technology. I found this interesting: "When there is a blackout in New York, the first articles appear in 15 minutes; we get queries in two seconds." No matter how hard CNN or Digg or Twitter works to harness their audience to break news, hooking up Google search queries to Google News in a useful manner would likely scoop them all every time.

Another one of those lists you loveJUN 04

Another one of those lists you love to hate: the 25 best movies you've never seen. Putting the horrible Boondock Saints on the list is a major boner, especially just ahead of Peter Jackson's pre-Rings gem Heavenly Creatures.

Gunter Grass: How I Spent the War,JUN 04

Gunter Grass: How I Spent the War, a first-person account of an SS recruit during WWII.

Update: Here's some biographical information about Grass, who is a Nobel Prize-winning novelist. (thx, red)

Can the health of the high-end steakhouseJUN 04

Can the health of the high-end steakhouse business predict the future health of the overall economy? See also: the Big Mac index, the Starbucks index, and the Coca-Cola index.

Embiggen, a perfectly cromulent wordJUN 04

Embiggen, the fauxcabulary word created for an episode of The Simpsons, has found its way into string theory. Here's the usage from a recently published paper on Gauge/gravity duality and meta-stable dynamical supersymmetry breaking:

Embiggen

Here's the original quote from The Simpsons episode, Lisa the Iconoclast:

A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

The uses are probably not related, but you never know.

Photos from the first 60 years of Magnum.JUN 04

Photos from the first 60 years of Magnum. More iconic Magnum photos at Wallpaper.

Apple has released three new iPhone adsJUN 03

Apple has released three new iPhone ads in advance of the device's release date on June 29. The third ad is the money spot. The only remaining question: how likely am I to get one within a week or two of release without standing in line for hours on end? (via df, who notes that "No other cell phone is advertised by showing off the user interface.")

King Kobayashi's long reign is over. JoeyJUN 03

King Kobayashi's long reign is over. Joey Chestnut broke the record for eating the most hot dogs in 12 minutes yesterday: 59 1/2. He bested the previous record by a whopping 5 3/4 dogs.

Update: To put this in perspective, Chestnut bested the old record by roughly 10%. This would be like running the 100m dash in 8.8 seconds, long jumping 32.5 feet, or completing a marathon in 1:51.

Serena Williams could kick your ass.JUN 03

Serena Williams could kick your ass.

Hilarious interview with Ocean's 13 stars George Clooney,JUN 01

Hilarious interview with Ocean's 13 stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ellen Barkin, and Brad Pitt.

Video of women depicted in Western artJUN 01

Video of women depicted in Western art morphing into one another. Belongs in the seamless mesmerization category of videos along with Noah Kalina's everyday and 787 Cliparts. (thx, robin)

Nation to Ken Griffey Jr.: We WishJUN 01

Nation to Ken Griffey Jr.: We Wish It Were You Hitting 765 Home Runs. "They talked about his 1989 Upper Deck rookie card, and how, instead of going down in value with every hamstring injury, it should have skyrocketed in price with his 800th, maybe 900th home run."

I'm sure this functionality is coming, butJUN 01

I'm sure this functionality is coming, but when using the new Street View feature in combination with driving directions on Google Maps, I want a play button that drives me from the starting point to my destination, showing me the street-level view along the way.

Amazon has the TiVo Series 3 DVR (that'sJUN 01

Amazon has the TiVo Series 3 DVR (that's the one with the 2 HD tuners) for only $400 after rebates. It was $800 when released back in late 2006. (via lance)

The scale of the IceCube neutrino detectorJUN 01

The scale of the IceCube neutrino detector is amazing...a cubic kilometer telescope 1.5 miles deep into the ice caps of Antarctica. (via pruned, which has more thoughts on the architecture of particle physics)

For your fun office lunchtime activity: aJUN 01

For your fun office lunchtime activity: a bunch of tips, folding instructions, and paper patterns for making sweet paper airplanes.

Decisions, Decisions: a nice looking hand-drawn flowchart poster.JUN 01

Decisions, Decisions: a nice looking hand-drawn flowchart poster.

Analysis of Casino Design is one ofJUN 01

Analysis of Casino Design is one of a number of articles on different aspects of casinos, gambling, and slot machines (see links at the bottom of the page). (via spitting image)

Gary Parker's fantastic photos of little peopleJUN 01

Gary Parker's fantastic photos of little people of all shapes and sizes. Tiny Kenadie Jourdin is just about the cutest kid ever. Here's some more info about Kenadie, who has been diagnosed with primordial dwarfism and "isn't expected to grow past about 30 inches or weigh more than 8 pounds". (via cyn-c)

Update: For some reason, the links to Gary Parker's site are being redirected back to kottke.org...not my doing. Copying and pasting the links work just fine. (thx, julisa)

Back in August 2005, I gave Google aJUN 01

Back in August 2005, I gave Google a good shot at developing a WebOS of sorts, a browser-based platform on which would run a suite of apps to replace a bunch of the most commonly used desktop applications. Google Gears is a another small piece of the bigger puzzle, a browser extension that allows web apps to provide offline functionality. I don't think the offline thing is as important as it was two years ago; people have gotten very comfortable using web apps and web access, especially among heavy users, is almost continuous and ubiquitous. That and if the hype about Facebook's new platform is accurate, working online together is more compelling than working offline apart.

Scott Rosenberg quotes Steve Ballmer as sayingJUN 01

Scott Rosenberg quotes Steve Ballmer as saying that only 4 out of the first 30 Microsoft employees were good...the rest "weren't as good -- they just weren't pushing as much". Here are some of the schlubs in question. Ballmer pushed pretty well, I guess...he showed up late to the party and, somewhat controversially, got $15 billion out it.

What a game! How badly does theJUN 01

What a game! How badly does the NBA want the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals? Very very. TrueHoop's got more.

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