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Downloaders pwned the radio star

May 5, 2006 |

Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is about the leaking of their new album to the Web.  As with previous leaks, like Dave Matthews', the greatest source of upset is that the leaked version is not the finished, fully produced version and therefore is not up to the band's standards of sound quality.  Announcements like this are often met with cynicism and publicity stunt speculation.  (My favorite is the theory that by announcing a Web leak in advance of the album release, the band has a built-in excuse for poor sales numbers.)

I popped over to to see if there's any other news about the matter and found most of the commenters unsympathetic.

Speaking of money for music, the Freakonomics blog points to Canadian musician Jane Siberry's "."  Looks like it works, she gets a better average price than iTunes.

And speaking of stealing stuff with a computer, the advent of wireless starts and computerized car security has made the laptop one of the most valuable tools of a car thief.  Cars aren't so much stolen as .

People who know how to use Photoshop (well) are being asked to contribute their talents to an effort to belonging to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

should put any he-man to shame.  (Note that it comes with video.)

Give a man to fish, he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats as long as fishing remains a source of food and he's near a body of water, teach a man to learn new skills, he eats forever.  Or so goes.

Could the reduction in teen pregnancy rates really be due to ?  Though the article makes some interesting and alarming points, the general consensus around the water cooler here is that other explanations are more likely (like more oral sex, less intercourse).  It reminds me of a recent mail exchange with a reader named Chad.  I told him I'd fallen asleep with the laptop on my lap and he joked that I should careful not to burn myself.  My laptop doesn't get hot enough to do that (though I've heard of it happening) but I used to nurse a paranoia that the laptop heat would make me sterile, so I bought a wooden cutting board at the kitchen supply store and use that under the machine.  Not only does it keep my legs from overheating but it keeps all the laptop's vents unblocked.  Consider that today's free Clicked tip.  Worth every penny.

Speaking of e-mail, several people have written to recommend checking out this site for .  It's a Flash site in which a man in a bathrobe talks about shaving and fruit and vegetables are substituted for mentions of unmentionables.  I'd love to know how overt the marketing (2.0) strategy for this was.  I haven't seen the bathrobe guy on TV, so it seems like it's purely a Web campaign.  But I also haven't seen any actual ads for the link, just word of mouth.  I'd like to know how they planted the initial viral seeds and if the whole thing has ended up being more successful than if they'd done a traditional ad buy.

Since we're in the midst of DaVinci Code hype, here is a collection of .

Video of the Day:  This NASA looks remarkably similar to the death of the sun in a recent episode of Dr. Who.

"The of tiny creatures found in a deep-sea survey in the Bermuda Triangle region of the Atlantic Ocean is amazing scientists."

The is out.  I clicked to a high bandwidth version.  It's one of those slow-loading videos but it worked better for me than the AOL player.

Speaking of Bond, has revealed his new car.  [long slow whistle]

What if other things were measured, like oil, ?  (P.S. I love that little graphic of the Earth burning at both ends.)

  (Interesting how much more reassuring that is than if the headline said "Congress/President issues call to arms on energy.")

—  This is about the latest .  I'm never quite clear whether there's some illusion involved in these stunts or if we're just supposed to be impressed by the feat.  (I'm a bigger fan of his street magic.)  Judging by this article, the illusion will be if he doesn't appear to breathe any pure oxygen but manages to hold his breath for 9 minutes.

From we learn that the reason people are linking to is that it is the first of its kind to top the Technorati top 100 list.  No real discussion of what it's about, however.

— The Apple ads we clicked the other day have sparked discussions about their degree of truth, but also parodies and copycats.  The "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" format may become the new "brain on drugs" template for faux advertising.

"Minority Report" touch screen monitors are here.

Following the fancy wooden computers and peripherals we clicked the other day, here are .  My first though was that this is ridiculous, but maybe it's more surprising that it's taken this long for technology to marry luxury accessories.

Best headline for the coming release of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD goes to the Metafilter folks:  (The new version of Star wars was received with considerable controversy for the addition of Greedo firing before Han in an effort to clean up Han Solo's image.  If you didn't know that already, you probably don't care, and if you did, then you probably don't need to click for a longer explanation.)

May 4, 2006 |

If you thought retired generals had a lot to say, how about retired press secretaries.  on supporters of net neutrality and they give it back to him good.  Two cent summary:  Conventional net neutrality wisdom says that Internet providers are greedy corporate bastards trying to get paid twice for use of the Internet that should be free in the first place.  But what if those corporations making more money would lead to improvements to the Internet and the actual greedy bastards are the content providers who make money from the Internet but don't want to pay to support its infrastructure.  What if supporters of net neutrality are being duped by those content providers?  That's McCurry's argument.  Whether you agree with him or not, what's useful is that he redirects the topic to address the question of how to serve the future of the Internet; a bigger picture than the usual naming of villains.

Speaking of Mike McCurry, he figures prominently in a somewhat defensive piece about "."  Netroots is the word for online political activism.  Remember when online supporters of Howard Dean were going to revolutionize politics?  There's a bit of a backlash against that sentiment lately.

Speaking of liberals fighting with each other, is my Commuter Click today.  First sentence:  "Truly this is a bizarre time for the life of the mind in America."

"Suppose you could save five lives by taking one - ?"  The BBC presents four ethical dilemmas for your pondering pleasure.  I recommend sharing them with a friend so you can either fight about it or bond over your agreement.

Speaking of saving people from runaway trolleys, there's a new .  Looks like they reinvent a lot of the first Christopher Reeve movie.  Kevin Spacey was an awesome pick for Lex Luthor.

Speaking of design expiration dates, .

Speaking of Web design, — This may not seem relevant to you if you're not a designer, but I'm not one and I got something out of it.  The title should be "the art of why" because it's about asking why before saying no and the benefits that can sometimes yield.

Folks are talking about a new blog search engine called .  Why do we need yet another new blog search engine?  Check and see if they have any new features that interest you.  The date range search is a good idea, and the "sphere it" feature seems to work, though didn't give me all the blog results I was looking for.

It's hard to say what makes something a Video of the Day, but one criterion might be if I watch it more than once.  a few times and also in stop-start-stop-start slow motion trying to figure out if it was fake.  If it is, it's well done.

— I heard about this recently from friends of mine who live in New Hampshire.  My understanding is that they (the feds, I think) want to put an RFID tag in drivers' licenses.  The article describes other issues.  Needless to say, this is not going over well with everyone in the "live free or die" state.  Have other states already done this?  I've not heard anything about changes to my NY license.

— By which the author means, 5 reasons why it's not the year 2000.  I think an argument could be made that we're in a tech boom by virtue of the Web 2.0 ideas and the spread of broadband and WiFi, but that would be "tech boom" by a different definition.

— We saw something like this not too long ago, but it was inside.  They painted patterns on a scene so that when viewed from a specific perspective it looks like one big pattern drawn over the whole scene.

— A group effort to collect song lyrics.  I thought it was a copyright violation to print someone else's song lyrics, so we'll see how long this lasts.

Japanese researchers invent glass that allows light to pass through .

A USB memory stick is a cool invention that allows you to carry lots of information around with you so you have it handy.  The problem:  do I need to carry around and have handy?

— Being from a British paper, the focus here is on British exchange.  Last night, however, I clicked against the U.S. dollar.  They've recently cleared the 90 cent mark.  Kind of weird to think of Canadians one day coming to the U.S. for the good exchange rate.

Think Progress has latched onto the President Bush's decrying a Spanish version of the American national anthem.  Apparently he himself .  Naturally, Scott McClellan "."  They've also got some trivia on past Spanish language versions .  UPDATE:  .

"While walking is no guarantee of health or longevity, a new study found that the ability of elderly people to do the quarter-mile was an 'important determinant' in and how much illness and disability they would endure."

How did San Francisco become so popular with gay people? 

The new are out.

Speaking of ads, I finally lost patience with the weird ads on Spike TV for .  Turns out it's teasing a new show .  Starts June 28th.

I can't believe it.  No sooner have I predicted GPS sneakers for kids (see yesterday's entry) I click this story about .  "The shoes have a built-in GPS receiver and emergency button 'that relays both the prostitute's location and a silent alarm signal to public emergency services.'"

, very pretty.  I used to say that the true Internet revolution would come when people didn't shun their computers to a wire-covered table in the basement home office and instead put it in front of the couch with the rest of their home entertainment equipment.  This would definitely make the difference.

Speaking of significant tipping points, we've seen the virtual world of online gaming overlap with reality before, but being able to turn may be kind of overlap that draws mainstream attention.

Steven Levitt is asking readers of the Freakonomics blog .  He's also asking why people have to put their fingers in a machine in the way in.  I've never been, so I'm not sure what that's about.  (And that probably disqualifies me from answering the first question as well.)

Speaking of Freakonomics, I recently received a pitch from a book publicist for a book called "The Shangri La Diet" by Freakonomics co-author Seth Roberts.  The diet is difficult to describe, but it's more about tricking the brain than the usual nutrition based diets.  If you're curious, two describe it in greater detail.  Keep an eye out for a chat to be booked with Mr. Roberts.


May 2, 2006 |

  The GPS on his phone reports his whereabouts so you can track him.  Some of the links are down, but there's one there you can try to see how it works.  This is one of those things that would be cool to play with and bad to be subjected to by, say, the NSA.

(While you have Google Earth open, check out the where you can see some of the models created with Google Sketch Up.  It seems like a good way to add in things that were built since the last photos were taken.  parked at Google HQ is clever.)

Speaking of tracking people by cell phone, , reviewed in , offers a kit for a hundred bucks.  Local news here just ran a piece on using something like this for keeping track of your kids.  I reckon GPS sneakers or something will soon be standard kid equipment.  Disclosure:  I work with the wife of one of the co-founders of Mologogo.

Speaking of keeping connected wherever you go, has come up with a WiFi enabled SD card.  You digital camera might not have built in WiFi, but you can put one of these memory cards in it and basically plug in that capability.  See some of the links to prominent bloggers on for details.

And also speaking of finding things on a map, seeing today's story about has had me IMing to people all morning, so we can call it the Video of the Day.  Note:  Some cursing out loud.

Speaking of good video, here's a documentary on .  It seems odd that the factual culture draws so much from the fictional movies about the culture.

.  The article has one scholarly nugget and doesn't do a very good job of explaining it.  I took the quote they used and plugged it into Google Scholar (first time I've found a use for that) and got .  The real explanation is that caffeine helps you focus and apparently, when you're able to focus on an argument, you're more likely to be convinced by it.

For some reason that coffee study reminds me of .

— What the heck is Internet2?  "The Internet2 network, which parallels the regular internet and allows universities, researchers, and even some K-12 school systems to share large amounts of information in real time, currently uses shared fiber-optic cables run by Qwest Communications International.  In the new network, Internet2 will have the cables all to itself."  The capacity boost referred to in the headline has to do with information being transmitted with different colored light.

— Touches on the possibility that they invented weapons the same way we did and are too busy killing themselves to come find us, but expands more on the idea that intelligence might lead to technological fulfillment of biological and psychological urges, but that doesn't necessarily (or even likely) mean colonizing and/or exploring space.

You may have heard that is offering .  You can play the songs free in a Flash player, which is of course nothing like the old Napster, but still, if you have a song in your head, or there's something new you want to check out first, it's not a bad thing.  "Napster's offering, for instance, appears to be designed primarily for sharing links to Napster songs."  Remember that article on Marketing 2.0?  P.S.  As an example, to a song with the title of today's entry.  Which, it turns out, is .

.  Check out the last paragraph, it's almost like there's some kind of solar race going on.  The U.S. doesn't appear to be in the running.  UPDATE:  OK, I looked it up and found a very recent article on intentions to build the largest solar farm in the U.S. .  It'd be 5MW and would take advantage of all the dead roof tops and parking lots in the area.

Speaking of environmental solutions, "The Dutch are gearing up for climate change with ."

"Can the Government Impose Any Law on Us, ?"  In this case, requiring a license to be a florist.

— It's a his/her headstone with only the "his" filled out.  The story doesn't have to have been a sad one, but if you're in the wrong mood it's pretty depressing.

Did you know that in addition to all the other stuff going on yesterday, it was also ?  (Looking for the Stephen Colbert joke in here, but, no, it's legit.)

Part 2 of Dave Sifry's is about the international nature of the blogosphere.  There are more Japanese language blogs than English language blogs, and I'm not reading any of them.  Ug.  What amazes me most is how much tagging has caught on.  When that was new I didn't think anyone would want to bother with it.  Wrong again.  Um... maybe I'd better move to the next link before I reveal any more about how little I know about my field of specialty...

— Yes, there's a link to video.

.  They plot users against activity.  Video at the bottom.

"The Defense Department on Monday unveiled a $2 million-plus challenge for a self-driving vehicle that can ."  So there may not have been anyone in that car that cut you off this morning.

I've been generally overlooking an Australian story about the U.S. because Jim Miklaszewski already , so really, it's old news.  that the difference now is that the is a credible named source.

Did you ever go to a store or restaurant and realize that you're wearing the same clothes as the company uniform?  The folks executed a prank of a similar nature by sending a group of people into Best Buy wearing blue shirts and khaki pants.

.  This is a little surprising to me because generally our health folks are very wary of "user generated content."  Medicine is serious stuff and taking advice from "the masses" no matter how great their wisdom might not be the best idea.  (Before you fire up the angry e-mail, allow me to cover myself by saying that doctors are not always right either.)

— Given Fox's success with American Idol, it's not hard to see where they might go with this.  (P.S. is actually a really fun site.)

"What's interesting about is that no big press release about it was made--at least that I can find. It is strange that an administration concerned about its image after the Katrina disaster wouldn't emphasize its commitment spend more money to help out hurricane reconnaissance."  Ah!  But this is what blogs are for!

Commuter Click:  David Sedaris:  — I've enjoyed enough Sedaris essays that I'm comfortable printing this out and reading it in the nice weather without knowing much about what it's about.

The University of Colorado at Boulder is offering 50 bucks for the names of people , which I'm guessing is on campus.  What's not clear to me is the context of the photos.  Was there a big concert there or something, or do students just smoke up there in the course of a regular day.  They're calling it the 4-20 map, as though there was something specific that day.  If parents snitch on their own kids, at least they get a $50 discount on the tuition they're paying.  UPDATE:  It was .

- It's rare to hear of bloggers being sued, so I was interested to see what this guy could have done to provoke the lawsuit.  There's a lot of reading to do if you want to familiarize yourself with his case, but in a nutshell it looks like he's criticizing the marketing company hired by the state of Maine to promote tourism.  He criticizes the job they do, the strategy they're using and the conflicting interests of some of the people involved.  None of this is unusual to blogs and for the life of me I can't see what part of it would be illegal.

— Not the text, you're meant to click the categories in that graphic box.

May 1, 2006 |

While we wait for the new week's links to begin rolling in, a look at what happened this weekend reveals that  the blogosphere is ringing with discussion of Stephen Colbert's performance at .

You can watch it in .  There are a number of available as well.

I found a .  Runtime 1:18:45  (Yes, it took a while to download.)  President Bush comes on at 40:50 and is immediately followed by Colbert.  Part of why it's worth seeing the whole thing is that it includes the president's exit and also captures the audio of what he says to Colbert after his performance.  For some reason, Editor & Publisher (seeing heavy linkage by bloggers) wrote its piece by interviewing audience members rather than watching it on TV, resulting in a report on that I don't believe is borne out by the recording of the event.  Not only did he shake his hand and say "nice work" he also gave him a pat on the back/shoulder on the way out -more than others at the table got.

is critical of the media's coverage of the dinner for not making more of Colbert.

I'm not sure I agree with that either (I agree that Colbert wasn't mentioned much, but not that his performance was major news), but I do agree that the performance gave the room an air of awkwardness (which, you'll recall, is what I said Friday about Plame's presence in front of the president).

Joe Gandelman, , describes the audience as nervous, and I think that's the most apt description.  (Also find a hefty pundit-blogger round-up there.) Heck, I was nervous just watching it, in part because I wasn't sure if the president or the press knows that people think those things about them.  How much of that "in a bubble" talk (about either the press or the president) is true?  There were so many not-funny elephants in that room, I'm not sure how Colbert could have delivered an honest performance without creating that uncomfortable atmosphere.

Given Colbert's treatment of , his performance this year was not as offensive as it could have been.  (Note:  Bleeped, but seriously blue.)

Speaking of people being upset by fake interviewers, to explosive effect.

Speaking of paying the price for not keeping up with pop culture, The myth of keeping up — The article starts by telling you that there's no way you can actually read and learn all the things you set aside for yourself every day, so stop trying and you'll be happier.  And just as you're about to burst into in relieved agreement, it switches to a list of tips on how to keep up (even though you can't).

that WalMart appears to have hired people for the job of making sure the WalMart Wikipedia page is all good news and no criticism.  At first I had a laugh that "Wikipedia propagandist" might be an actual job title, but then, what else would you expect WalMart to do?  Wikipedia results show up high in Google, so it's not some obscure page that no one will read.  There's a page out there about WalMart and anyone can edit it, but WalMart itself should just sit back and let other people post negative things?  (Of course this is why he wants the Wikipedia administrators to assert themselves.)

Speaking of using the bully pulpit, — This is about the president's "signing statements" in which he sometimes claims an exception to the bill he's signing.  .

Ever type a URL wrong and end up at a page full of ads?  Reportedly, Google owns a lot of those pages and .

.  $24,730  And yes, it sounds like it works:  "It said the fighter jet, last flown in 1995, has been inspected by a museum and found to be in excellent condition."

"What do you call the water and ooze blasting ?"

.  Screen saver/desktop material.

.  I have to say, I'm a little concerned.  Of course Wolverine is the coolest character in the movie, but I hope they don't exploit that by over exposing him.

Speaking of movie clips, here's a trailer for a in the Brothers in Arms series.  I have PTSD from it already.

Researchers learn more about ways to — OK, "learn more" is not exactly a breaking news headline, but it sounds really promising (no pun).

goes on a bit of a tear against fellow Democrats who are overly concerned about strategies for defeating Karl Rove's strategies in the coming elections.  His point, in short, is that the best defense is a good offense.

Scott Adams (the Dilbert guy) opens a discussion on .  More specifically, whether the rich people would ever use the power of their wealth to start a deadly war for the purpose of increasing their own wealth.

Britain is becoming increasingly similar to America.  It's also becoming increasingly hostile to American (and Americans).  But still not as hostile to Americans .

When we hear the term "power curve" in relation to blogs, it's usually about user traffic and it means that a few people are getting a lot of traffic and most people are getting a little traffic.  on the subject is an elemental part of how the blogosphere is understood.

Now Ross Mayfield introduces the power curve in a new context: .

(Remember last week's story about how most people are "silent users"?)  In the essay he draws a distinction between collective intelligence and collaborative intelligence and forms some conclusions about successful social software.