April 29, 2005

Dear Reader: I’m traveling for the next few days so 'Clicked' will be on hold. I wish I could find some service that would automatically generate content for me while I’m away…. Some kind of bot that writes articles or something…

An idea: You might want to revisit some of my earlier recommendations that were overwhelmed and unavailable when first posted.

April 28, 2005| 1:25 AM ET

Dear time traveling Web archivist of the future, I hope this note finds you well and that the Internet has turned out to have been a good idea after all.  Please consider yourself invited to the Time Traveler Convention at MIT on May 7, 2005 at 10 p.m. ET. 
Yours long gone,
Will

Chinese watermelon art

O|Harmony, when you're ready to find the love of your life  -I don't want to hear any cries of foul play.  We all laughed at the photo montage of John Kerry hugging and fondling John Edwards.  All's fair in love.

The

is like a big legit filetrading service.  It helps organize media submitted by users and then offers that media in quick free downloads.  Or at least, that's what it's supposed to do.  It seems like a good idea and a lot of people are excited about it, but after installing it and then needing a media player update and then being asked to attain a license of some kind... well, I ran out of attention span.  Maybe I'll eventually pull a Video of the Day from this service, but for now (it's only in beta yet) I'll just point out that a lot of people are interested in OMN.

Commuter Click: What's the Matter with liberals?  This is written by the guy who wrote What's the Matter with Kansas, and I thought he was a liberal, so this should be interesting.  Usually a Commuter Click is something I print out to read on the commute home.  In this case I'll be printing it out to take on the airplane with me.  On the road again.

Everywhere I looked today people were linking to the new site for a movie called Serenity.

What the heck is Zeta Talk?  Is it some kind of philosophy or religion?  Is it meant to be paired with something else?  I keep looking for an "intro" or "about" button.

I wish I'd seen this when I posted yesterday's link to the ABC/Washington Post poll.  Ankle Biting Pundits has some problems with how the poll was set up.

Jason Kottke is less exuberant about the state of the Web than the person who wrote the first link in Monday's entry .

Professor Bainbridge on judicial nominations and disparate impact

MSN v Google search matchup

Paper Napkin: A surrogate rejection service.

Recipe for Simplicity

Why geeks and nerds are worth it  (By "it" they mean "falling in love with.")

How do they make marshmallows?  This is actually better than the Peep-maker we saw back around Easter time because there's no mystery step that involves tearing open special packet #2.

Dude falling.  This comes just short of crossing the line from entertaining to annoying.  Another few seconds and it would have gone the other way.

Bill Gates, video blogger.  (And, F.D., check signer.)

Juan Cole points out that threatening not to read a blog is not much of a threat at all because bloggers aren't beholden to audience numbers and ratings.  (Just like music won't cease to exist if filetraders take songs for free because musicians will still like to make music.)  Cole makes his own points, but I'll contribute that one of the lessons I've learned in dealing with online communities for the past few years is that for a lot of people, self expression, whether though blogs or chat rooms or letters to the editor, is not just a means to engage in discussion, but an end in itself.

British media is saying there's a new trend called Happy Slapping that involves kids punching, slapping, or kicking total strangers while someone videotapes the assault.  I watch a ridiculous amount of online video with an eye always on the lookout for new viral stuff.  Surely this story is a hoax since I've never seen Happy Slapping video.

Well, that just goes to show what I know.  Though others suspected a hoax as well, it turns out there are Happy Slapping videos out there.  If you scroll through the discussion thread you'll see three links to Rapid Share video downloads.  I only watched the first one, Zoo1, so I can't vouch for the other two, but it's pretty much exactly what the Guardian article above describes.

I have to add, I've seen a lot of ultraviolent video, including the new trend in " owned" videos (I know there have been "slam segments" and other crash compilations for a long time, but I'm pretty sure "owned" is a new term), but there's something pretty genuinely sickening about these slapping videos.  It's closer to mugging than any kind of prank.  (Note about clicking that "owned" link:  When I say ultraviolence, I mean it shows real people getting actually hurt, no Tom Bergeron wiffle-balls-to-the-groin stuff.)

Why you want to be friends with Steve.  (Irate e-mail preemption: I'm sure there are other good reasons to be friends with Steve too.)

How much Jesus in you?  This is a bit of wise-guy blogging to make fun of religious people who believe that by receiving communion they are actually consuming flesh and blood.  I don't think anyone is going to lose their faith as a result of this blog's argument, but the math is cool to ponder.

A sea anemone clock that helps you wake up because it's such a pain in the ass to turn off.

Video of the Day: Xylophone girl

April 27, 2005| 2:18 AM ET

The Les Blogs conference-goers in Paris are tagging their entries with lesblogs on Technorati so you can find them all in one place.

But wait, there's French in here, you don't speak French!  Ah!  Ask of the blogs and the blogs deliver.  Free French lessons.  "A video instructional series in French for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 52 half-hour video programs, audiocassettes, coordinated books, and Web site."  Sign-up was one page, no e-mail confirmation.

Speaking of learning: How to make money from your blog: 5 tips  -No big secrets here really, but nice basic explanation of strategies.

Speaking of basic explanations, here's a great little tutorial on how to use the Bloglines RSS aggregator.

Speaking of RSS, one of the criticisms of that technology is that it takes the content of a page and puts it in someone else's frame, amounting to, some have argued, theft.  Even for those who don't go that far, many people won't display the full text of their blog entries in RSS because they need to entice readers to their site so they can get page view counted for their ads.  Chris Prillo brings news that Google has found a way to include their AdSense ads in RSS feeds.  If this technology spreads, it may be the first step in clearing a major hurdle to more widespread acceptance of RSS.

A Webliography -A really long list of thoughtful articles and papers on blogs and their significance.  Not a good place to begin if you've never heard of blogs, but certainly a handy resource if you're researching the subject.

Speaking of research, Morgan Stanley's report on the online market is more than I can consume, but I already see people referring to some of the stats it contains.  ( source page)

MyDD outlines the Democratic strategy if judicial filibusters are stopped.  Sounds kind of exciting actually.

Speaking of the nuclear option, one of the major themes in the Letters to the Editor mailbag right now is frustration with the way the definition of nuclear option has changed.  Initially the nuclear option meant the Republicans nuking the Democrats' ability to filibuster.  But now Republicans are using the expression to refer to what the Democrats will do to lock up the Senate if Republicans get rid of their ability to filibuster.  Got that?  Josh Marshall explains the complaint more thoroughly

Why Lebanon matters  -"Lebanon may be the only place in the world where you can buy a necklace with a Christian cross and a Muslim crescent moon fused together as one."

An insect's View -Striking portraits of a hidden world

The end of analog TV (?) -You may have a year to get a new TV or be forced to take up knitting, going outside or even talking to your family.

Speaking of the end of TV, this is Turn off your TV week.  You'll have to find some other kind of background noise while you surf the Web all night.

This week is also a good time to make use of your TV B Gone button.

Is it cheating if you watch TV online instead, poor man's Tivo style?

Competitive blogging?  (With cash prizes!)

Gallup: 50% of Americans Now Say Bush Deliberately Misled Them on WMDs

Speaking of polls, here are the details of the recent Washington Post/ABC poll.

Gonzo journalism uncool in Kalamazoo -There's a limerick in there somewhere.

CNN accused of "keyword stuffing."  This is a new term to me.  The idea is that you used to be able to fill a page with keywords so that the page would show up higher in searches for those keywords.  Google caught on and now that trick backfires and if Google reads a page it thinks is trying this trick, it pushes the page lower in the search results.  In this case, someone appears to be trying to use this to push negative blog posts about CNN into search result obscurity.

Art is Not a Loaf of Bread -Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and professor Lawrence Lessig talk music, remixing, artistic freedom and the law.

Speaking of intellectual property: Deconstructing stupidity -"It is as if we had signed an international stupidity pact..."

Perhaps not surprisingly, David Byrne is an interesting blogger.  It doesn't appear his blog has perma links to individual entries, but I followed this link through the keywords "cultural censorship" which is the theme of his entry from April 16th.  The more recent one is also interesting.

The institute of backup trauma  -It's basically a 7 minute commercial, but it's entertaining enough to actually watch for 7 minutes.

The happiest and most depressed cities in the U.S.

"This project is my attempt to produce a free, downloadable set of high-quality star charts -- the Mag-7 Star Atlas -- capable of being printed at reasonable resolutions on the average home printer."

Video game inspired art

Here's an odd food review... the food is salt.

Speaking of food, last Friday was Sugar High Friday, a dessert recipe round-up.  Background here.

What does it mean to be rich?

I don't know if you've been following any of the discussion by bloggers of their experiences with the Connected show on MSNBC cable, but Matthew Sheffield has one of the more sense-making posts I've read on the matter.  He's also got links if you'd like to catch up.  The practical challenges of conveying blogs on TV and transposing blog news sensibility with TV news editorial judgment are manifold and more difficult to resolve than just "getting it."

For what it's worth, when I've been on that show the only requirement they put on me (other than time) was that my last item be about whatever their next segment was so they could segue smoothly.

One for the cat lovers

Darth Vader rejected.

Video of the Day: Always do the right thing - or maybe not.  (Extra credit for making a video that transcends language barriers.)

Reader Brian Pienkoski sent a mail with the humorous subject line, "My name is Brian. You are pissing me off."  He went on to point out that I was both flippant and inaccurate with the Raw Story/Jeff Gannon item yesterday.  When I wrote that item, I was thinking about Chris Nolan's expression "stand alone journalist" (item 3 yesterday) and how many new terms there are floating around to describe the new online journalism.  My resulting quip did not really suit the Gannon development and wasn't particularly clever to begin with, hence the rewrite.  Thanks Brian.

In another follow-up to an item from yesterday, a few folks wrote in to explain that the RightTalk Radio story was basically the result of a misunderstood joke and some personal animosity between bloggers.  Jeff from Protein Wisdom has just sent me the link to the recording of the show with some further explanation.  Thanks Jeff.

April 26, 2005| 2:03 AM ET

" Something is happening right now, and the developer community has an electric gleam in its eye. Curious, inventive people are making cool stuff again. There’s been a notable shift, and it’s incredibly exciting." 

Lollapalooza is in Chicago this year -I remember the first Lollapalooza tour.  Everyone was amazed that "alt rock" had achieved such a following that a production of its size could be put together.  Reminds me of a certain Internet phenomenon...

More "something happening" for today's Commuter Click: The Stand Alone Journalist is Here...And the newsroom has left the building.

"If you use the term "MSM" in a unironic way to denote the "Mainstream Media" I will write you off as a quack, unsubscribe from your RSS, and stop reading your blog."

Speaking of "blogs are mainstream media," I have no idea what the drama is around a recent RightTalk Radio show, but between this blog and this blog you can find a good number of links and opinions.  What I gather happened is that the blogger hosts of an online radio show attacked a blogger guest on their show and sensation and drama erupted.  For all the big talk about blogs, they really don't appear to have fallen all that far from the established media tree.  **UPDATE:  The actual story behind this is that it's a joke that some people missed and took too seriously.  More thoughts in tonight's entry.

The Secret Service has responded to the FOIA request for details on how the reporter calling himself Jeff Gannon accessed the White House.  The newest news to come from it appears to be that he was able come and go to the White House without checking in or out consistently. [**This item was edited from the first publishing of this entry.]

Our nation's security officials may not be able to track the comings and goings of people in the White House, but they sure as heck can stop penguins from jeopardizing our airline safety.  I can just imagine Osama now, wondering what to do with all those penguins he bought since we're clearly onto that strategy.

Speaking of matters of national security, that professor who had his top secret laptop stolen last week? Hoax.  The stealing part wasn't a hoax, just the top secret info, federal-agents-are-hunting-you-down part.

Speaking of following up on last week's stories, corporate cousin Robert Scoble puts on a nice display of corporate transparency by revealing Steve Ballmer's response to last week's issue of Microsoft bowing to pressure from religious groups in deciding to change its position on an anti-discrimination bill.  Scrolling up through his blog, we see him struggle a bit with whether corporations should take a leadership role on human rights issues.

Sita sings the blues  -I tried one of these videos the other day but it was crashed.  Today seems much better.  It is an Indian folktale in four parts, set to music from old records.

Score one for old media:

Darth Vader's blog

Calculate the readability of a Web site.  This page gets a rating of 9.33, which makes it more readable than Newsweek, less readable than the Bible.  OK.

Which states have come the closest to ruling the whole planet?  U.S. is number 12, not even in the top 10.

TV Carnage  -Dedicated to our rich national tradition of lousy TV

Last week I linked a couple of times to the CDC "Oops" study that being fat isn't as deadly as they had said.  Here the story is couched in a little more hostility toward misleading "junk science."

Commuter Click if you're sick of media navel gazing:  This feels related to the above, but I suspect readers in the scientific community would disagree:

Over the next ten years, I predict, the mainstream of the environmental movement will reverse its opinion and activism in four major areas: population growth, urbani­zation, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power.

Speaking of scary science... " It's a cookbook!"

"According to statistics from the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, French is now the most common language in the blogosphere after English..."  I would have guessed Portuguese because there are a lot of Brazilian blogs.  That's from a story about Les Blogs.

JibJab keeps up the quality consistent.  I know it's a bit of an obvious choice, but their tribute to "matzah" is today's Video of the Day:

Get your ass over
to my pad,
it's Passover.

Could this really be the whole Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?  I compared the first chapter with the free chapter on Amazon and it looks complete.  I guess it just seems short because the page is so much bigger than the pages of a book.  I'm going to take a wild guess that this is "unofficial," so you might want to save this somewhere quick before the lawyers pull the plug.  Looks like it goes 108 pages in a word doc.

Speaking of free books: Free Tech Books

Speaking of free tech resources:  The Photoshop Guru's Handbook

New spiral laser beam -Would not make a very good laser gun.

"Yes, you CAN make a fire from a can of coke and a chocolate bar!"  -Actually, what you can do is polish the bottom of a can until it's so shiny it focuses the sun into a hot enough spot to start a fire.  Still a cool survivalist trick though.

URL Trends  -I'm still trying to figure out how this works, but I think the idea is to track how a site is being read by search engines.  The explanation on the site is, "View trend reports of your current and previous Google PageRank, Alexa Rank and incoming links for your website."

Money Origami

Speaking of origami, you might be a nerd if ...  " Download a dodecahedral calendar after your own specification."  (Rhombic is cooler.)

Exploding toads baffle German experts  Apocalypse begins.

Speaking of exploding, How to make bath bombs  -These don't actually explode, of course, and I'm not sure how comfortable I am with submersing my body in a chemical mix I found on the Internet.  (Chemical mix is a bit dramatic, it's pretty simple.)

Guess the Google  -They show you images, you guess which search term produced them as a result.  Wicked fun.  ( Background)

And by the way, while there I clicked a Google ad for something called Article Bot.  I really really really want to believe this is a parody site, but something tells me it's not.

Draw a Pig -"The pig serves as a useful test of the personality traits of the drawer."

Ladies of Star Trek  -I don't know why this came up today.

By the way, Matt Haughey also found this really interesting video of a media practice drill for a serious terror attack.  I couldn't watch too much, my freakout factor is pretty low.

You may have heard this one already but it was new to me.  The guy's laugh makes it impossible not to smile.

To the mailbag:

Hi Will,
I just found this from a friend but this site has me laughing my butt off.  Just refresh the page for different facts.
-Shawn

Dear Shawn,
I ran into this link today and couldn't remember where I'd seen it before.  Then I remembered that I'd neglected to share your letter.
Way to call 'em in advance,
Will

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments