July 30, 2006 | 3:20 AM ET

If you have ambitions of becoming a photojournalist, make sure you get in the habit of getting your shot right in the field because fixing it later could get you fired.  What's especially odd about this story is that the photographer claims he corrected the photo to be closer to the reality of the scene.  If you follow the links you'll see he was previously reprimanded for enhancing his photos to look different from the actual scene.  Part of the art of photography (and I recognize that photojournalism is not the same as photography for art's sake) is how the photo, film or digital, is processed.  Furthermore, the more one tries to use a camera to capture what the naked eye sees, the more miraculous the naked human eye seems.  To demand that the photo represent the scene exactly in terms of light, color, and contrast can be a tall order.  I understand the counter argument, but my sympathies in this case are with the photographer.

To make the point further, what I don't have any sympathy for is totally doctoring an image so that the actual elements of the photo do not reflect reality.  The case in point this week took place in a Spanish language newspaper which caused some controversy by failing to label a "photomontage" that gave the impression that prostitutes were working mere feet from uninterested police.

Meanwhile, in the arena of citizen journalism:  "Cruz said police told him that he broke a new law that prohibits people from taking pictures of police with cell phones."  Outrageous.

Female bloggers revving up — The second annual conference of female bloggers (represented at Blogher.org) is in full swing.

Gnotorious:  Gnarls Barkley/Notorious B.I.G. mash up

Blogathon 2006 has begun.

Web2.0 security risk — This is mostly about MySpace and the recent headlines about people adding toxic items to their pages without realizing it.  The larger point, however, is that there's been so much enthusiasm for new capabilities and mash-ups that there hasn't been much attention to security in these new applications.  (And how many people had a heart attack when they heard about a storage glitch at Flickr?)

Judging by this small freak-out I'm arriving late to the buzz over this comic-drawing Beirut blogger.

I found a brief item on Boing Boing explaining that the blog was featured on BBC radio.

This trailer for a video game called Portal gives me a headache trying to keep up with the 3-D visualization.

Some Problems with New Assignment.Net — If you were skeptical about Jay Rosen's new participatory journalism project, some of your criticisms are likely addressed here.  The part I must have missed somewhere along the way is why the only money at play has to come from donors.  The site doesn't even exist yet and it's already got a good buzz around it.  Surely someone can get some ad dollars moving to pay for those stories that don't motivate donors.  If the editors are protecting the content from the corrupting influence of donors, why not let them also protect the content from the corrupting influence of advertisers?

This was probably on TV, but I didn't see it.  It's footage from an Israeli drone blowing up a building containing a truck with (what is identified as) rockets.  Despite the warning screen, there's no carnage.  The explosion is pretty cinematic.  (And yes, I recognize the irony of my saying that after my recent tirade about 9/11 not having been a movie.  YouTube clips aside, the situation in the Middle East is also not a movie.)

RediRipe stickers change color depending on the ripeness of the fruit they're stuck to.  So far all the photos I've seen associated with this technology are of fruit that no one needs a sticker for.  Of course you can tell if the apple is ripe.  Pineapple is one that could use a sticker, maybe cantaloupe, but I can already hear my Hawaiian readers tsking their tongues at that.

Used bomb squad robot for sale.  Bidding at $1,025 right now.  I don't know what the reserve price is, but this article says a new one goes for $130,000, so a grand would be a pretty ridiculous bargain.

What's the 1% rule?  "It's an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will "interact" with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it."

I've seen more links to Kevin Smith fighting with critics than I have links related to Clerks 2.

How to Lose the 'ums' and 'ahs' from Your Speech — There's only one tip here and it's to record yourself speaking and listen to it.  As someone who does this on a regular basis I can at least attest to the effectiveness at increasing the awareness of the ums and ahs.  My current struggle is with "sortuv."  It's sortuv a crutch that I use to sortuv pause for thought.  To expand on tips for losing it, I'll add "get enough sleep" because I find I speak better when I'm rested, and "speak more slowly.  If you pace yourself, not only are you easier to understand, but you get the time to think from the cadence of your words so you don't use ums.  Any other suggestions?

The icon factory — What will day 6 bring?

The trailer for Stranger Than Fiction.  Though I feel like we've seen movies where fictional characters turn out to be real people or writers turn out to be writing reality, this still looks pretty entertaining.  Good cast anyway.

The Morning News has begun publishing a " week in videos" feature.  The third one on this week's list is fun.

Remember that study of where people click and look at Web pages?  This is a little more clear cut.  See where people click on the image.

Someone actually took the time to compare the overlapping scenes in Back to the Future I and II and pair them up with a little editing to keep the scenes synchronized.  See them side by side in this video.  Did the movie-makers themselves go through this much trouble?

"Google Video is letting us anchor link directly to videos on Google Video at the timestamps."  This means that instead of telling people to scroll ahead to the time stamp of the good part, you can link directly to it.

Speaking of Google making things easier, how long before you can google objects as well as Web pages?  (Ever notice the prevalence of the flexible pull-out screen in futuristic gadgets?  Remember Earth: Final Conflict?)

Radical Cartography offers maps of major cities with the relative wealth of residents overlaid in color.  I can't decide what's more interesting, the similarities or the exceptions.

"The 81-year-old father of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman was cited for lewd conduct and indecent exposure Tuesday for allegedly having sex in a vehicle with a 38-year-old woman, according to a police report."  There's not much more to the story than that.  Still, that's quite a sentence.  There's a novel in that sentence.

Speaking of good stories, Bail bondsman helps capture stripper who kept ‘Freddy’ the hand, 6 skulls .  Includes the possibility of someone trying to kill themselves with a hammer (?!).

One more:   The Sleazy Life and Nasty Death of Russia’s Spam King

3 Ways to Immediately Increase Search Engine Traffic — A little cynical because the audience is "the commercial blogosphere," but remarkably similar to advice given to non-commercial bloggers to expand readership.

What do cheaters see when they cheat?  Video game cheaters can download extra programs that give them an unfair advantage over other players.

10 nasty money mistakes -  "Pay yourself first" is interesting advice that doesn't occur to most people.  If I could add one, I'd say don't buy something in response to a creative urge.  If you feel like drawing, draw.  Don't go to the art supply store and buy a new set of pencils and then come home and watch TV.  If you want to write, write.  Don't go to the book store and buy and book and come home and watch TV.  If you want to exercise, exercise.  Don't go to the newsstand and buy a fitness magazine and come home and watch TV.  Which reminds me, two weeks after he posted it I'm still thinking about Ze Frank's piece on having ideas and doing something about them. (And by the way, you're missing out if you're not watching The Show regularly.)  And by the way, this is how I interpret Little Room as well.

This has been the number one video at Google for a jillion weeks.  It's a fat kid in a wig jiggling to "Hips don't lie."  The guns are a little odd, but I guess I understand what they're trying to parody.  P.S.  When you have this many people voluntarily videotaping themselves imitating your dance style to your song, you own the world.  (Be careful, you can end up watching these things for an hour.)

Speaking of watching TV-quantity video online, some people are calling Gotuit a TV-killer.  I find the ads off-putting.

The real cause of blackouts — Essentially, lack of accountability.  This essay argues for opening the system to market competition.  There's probably a similar argument to be made for tying the service to the government so the electorate can vote out anyone who can't provide them with the services they expect.

The world's most photorealistic vector artNOTE:  Gallery contains a nude woman more sexy than artsy.  Your boss may not understand.

Stephen Colbert on how to be an expert.

This is a little old, but the Tesla Roadster set tongues lolling (Homer style) among car junkies.  Short version Long version.

The Best Page in the Universe explains why there is no 9/11 conspiracy.

World of Warcraft cracks down on cheaters.

Is Condi speaking in Biblical code?

How to grow a chair — It's called arborsculpture and mainly involves grafting.

July 27, 2006 | 6:20 PM ET

I spent a ridiculous amount of time last evening trying to understand the dramatic YouTube saga of lonelygirl15 and her friend Daniel.  Their story is as universal as adolescence itself, which is presumably a large part of the appeal of the videos.  In short, lonelygirl tells the world that Daniel has admitted to "liking" her, throwing their heretofore platonic relationship into turmoil.  The lynchpin video, Boy Problems, has been viewed more than half a million times.  The story includes a series of responses from Daniel and a slew of video reactions from teens across the Internet who have either replied directly or re-mixed the videos into mash ups.

Most amazing to me, other than the fact that in this brief exploration I entertained more high school-aged gossip than when I was actually in high school, was the non-linear way the story fleshed itself out as I clicked.  Ultimately I figured out that from her profile I could follow the most important thread, but in the course of making that discovery I watched the reactions from teens around the world, including a number who suspect the whole thing is some kind of marketing ploy - or at least fake.  Meandering through a story is not uncommon in Web surfing, and I can't help but wonder if it will eventually show up as a prescribed storytelling technique.

Oh no!  Baseball cards aren't worth anything?  There goes my retirement plan!

I'm not sure how much attention to give the little controversy between Digg and Reddit.  suffice it to say that it appears that Reddit links are being blocked from Digg's front page.  Are user labor resources on social sites so finite that they need to horde users?

This NPR story from March is sad enough to ruin your entire day, so think twice before clicking.  It's the story of a photographer who took prize-winning photos of human tragedy and ended up killing himself.  It looks like the reason this old story is resurfacing is because of this Kos Diary entry encouraging people to become more active in humanitarian causes.

"Are there any children's books that are dear to you, either as a child or a parent, and especially ones that perhaps strike a chord with those from a science sensibility?"

Photos of underground Japan — Not the same as those other famous photos of underground Japan, but similarly surreal.

How to find what you love to do — Boils down to thinking really hard about it.

Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence

Goatse now illegal in the United States — Apparently there is now a law that forbids Americans from claiming a link goes to one place when it really goes to another, obscene place.  Goatse being perhaps the most obscene image on the Web, a lot of folks like to play the prank of sneakily linking to it.  Not any more.  At least, not without the risk of prosecution.  (Of course I'm not linking to it.  If you're really curious, start at Wikipedia.)  I wonder what the law means for this ice cream commercial.

"Studies conducted by the German Aerospace Center have revealed that a solar generating facility covering just 0.3% of the area comprising the Middle East and North Africa could supply all of the energy required by European Union; an area just 4 times this could supply enough electricity to match the current consumption of the entire planet."  How ironic would it be if we finally get off Middle Eastern oil only to get hooked on Middle Eastern solar power?  They do have a lot of sun after all.

I'm not sure why I clicked a couple 9/11 links last night, perhaps because of that stupid Nick Cage movie.  There's this series of photos of the WTC site.  Pretty much all the words at the top of the page are false, they're not from the 13th, and they certainly aren't "just about the only close ups."  But it's a worthwhile reminder of the real scene, not the movie set.  The Digg discussion suggests that if the movie sparks any discussion it'll be about "what really happened" instead of terrorism.  I also clicked the Wikipedia entry for the falling man.  Please tell me no one plays that role in the movie.  Regardless of conspiracy theories, 9/11 was not a Hollywood production.

This guy combines his two favorite hangover cures and makes Pepto Bismol ice cream.  The process contradicts indications on the bottle, but seems to have worked.

The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe — Don't let "universe" fool you, these aren't space questions.

It never occurred to me that the trend toward self-checkout at grocery stores means a big loss of business to the products you stand next to when you wait on a traditional line.

Wow, Ana Marie Cox has been hired as the Washington editor of Time.com.  Let it never be said that blogging doesn't pay.

"In a meeting that will go down in internet history, the United States government last night conceded that it can no longer expect to maintain its position as the ultimate authority over the internet."  There's not a lot of analysis about what this will mean to Internet users, but there is a line about the Internet being more likely to stay in one piece.

Netvibes-Meebo mash up — Netvibes is one of those "my" pages that lets you plug in RSS feeds from around the Web so you can read them in one page.  Meebo gives you a single sign-in for all your instant messengers.

Internet Explorer 7 Will Be An Automatic Update — If you've been keeping an eye out waiting for IE7 to leave the beta stage, don't sweat it, it'll come to you when it's ready.

Speaking of new Microsoft stuff, the "iPod killer" we heard about recently will be called Zune and it looks like official news will be found here.  Engadget catches you up on "what we know, think we know, and don't yet know."

" Israeli/Lebanese Coffin Counter" — I'm not sure what to make of this.  Is it too insensitive?  Too exploitive?  Is it trying to make a point?  Or is it just raw data and draw your own conclusions?

Google WiFi Mountain View Coverage Map — You may have heard that Google wired its campus with WiFi.  This map shows the nodes and the coverage holes.  I'd love to see a national one of these.  I'd really love to see one for cell phones.  A "can you hear me now" map.

Stereogum has the new Scissor Sisters single.  Sorry, I'm not a disco fan, not even 2006 disco.

Want to get good at videogames? Hire a kid — It's a good point.  If you had no gaming background and wanted to get into it because you recognize video games as the future of entertainment, what would you do?

Clickstream Study Reveals Dynamic Web — Clickstream, eye tracking and heat maps are the coolest kind of Web reporting.

Jeff's Quick Guide to TV on the Net

The Myth Of The 'Flying Car'

July 26, 2006 | 6:20 PM ET

I'm slowly catching up from my time off.  I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, but I walked into the building this morning at the same time as the entire crew from OCC, so that was a pretty cool way to start the day.  (I haven't seen any promos for it yet, but folks around me said they were taping something with Scarborough.) 

A quick entry to freshen up the place:

Jay Rosen is developing a new project called NewAssignment.net.  The idea takes advantage of citizen journalism (what we now call "networked journalism") in that the audience contributes story ideas as well as information for stories.  The operation is to be managed in a professional manner but draw upon amateur ambition in the way that has so many online advocates excited.  Click through to his Q&A for some examples of what's inspired him.  It reminds me a little of NowPublic.com, but the money element makes it different from anything I've heard of before.  If you've ever said "No one's covering this story, I'd pay money if someone would send a reporter to tell this story" then you're the kind of person who could make the project work.

Speaking of online journalism, you're probably already aware that the online supporters of Ned Lamont are giving Joe Lieberman a real hard time.  I clicked this video of a Web journalist asking questions of Senators Liebermann and Boxer, acting as his own camera man and mic operator.  (Note:  There's a curse at the end, watch your volume.)  If I'm not mistaken, the guy in the background interviewing Lieberman toward the end is NBC's Chip Reid.

Speaking of taking it upon yourself to do the job of the news, did you see Colbert hand it to the morning shows last night?  Devastating.

Speaking of semi-pros appealing to the online community, the personalities from Tech TV are thinking through a regrouping online and are looking to their fanbase for assistance.

The 50 most beautiful people on Captial Hill — I'm not sure what to make of this other than that it demonstrates what a small community Capitol Hill is.  This reads more like a high school yearbook than People Magazine's sexiest.  Includes everyone from a police woman to a Fox News lady.

The top ten of top tens

License plate reader information may soon be available to the public.  They're not talking about simple look-ups, they're talking about tracking you around town by having cameras keep track of where your license plate has been seen.  The part of me that wants to be outraged about the invasive nature of this idea is not so loud and the part of me that wonders why bother?  As cars become increasingly equipped with GPS and Wi-Fi, not to mention EZ-Pass and other RFID transmitters, why bother taking pictures of cars when they're already constantly transmitting their positions?

Device uses waves to “print” on water surface — This seems so mindblowingly complicated to me I can't even fathom the calculations that would go into it.  Something tells me if I knew more about fluid dynamics I would be less amazed.  ( This  blog's worth starting at the top and scrolling.  Lots of cool stuff.)

Speaking of new ways to visualize, I thought a heliodisplay was projected on water vapor of some kind.  That is apparently not quite the case as this article refers to "transformed air," whatever that is.  I think in person the display is not as wavy as it is in this video either.

Things that changed while I was away:

  • The Digg Labs visualizations launched.  These are a little difficult to understand intuitively, but extremely cool.
  • Technorati added all kinds of "most popular" toys.  I'm not sure they're firing on all cylinders yet, but I did click some good stuff, which is all that matters.  Like this Japanese punk band (which is definitely not the same Cro-Mags I grew up with.)
  • Tailrank added a few categories as well.
  • Reddit spread to the NY Times and Slate.

Visions of science photo slide show is not the biomedical image awards

Text based pong — It's actually more exciting than the real thing.

Apparently Jessica Simpson will sing a custom song with your name in it.  This strikes me as a mix between those little novelty license plates they sell at tourist shops and celebrity answering machine messages.

Speaking of pop hotties trying to get Webby, did you respond in time to design Janet Jackson's album cover? This is also from Yahoo music, so I'm guessing they have a newly energized marketing department there. (NOTE:  Link contains an image of Janet Jackson in a bikini bottom that somehow makes her look more naked than if she wasn't wearing it at all.)

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