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A killer for every giant

My name is Will.  This is what I clicked.

June 17 |

I keep seeing headlines about "killers."  Not murderers, but web sites that will undermine the success of a popular site.  So new social networks are announced as a MySpace killer, and a new music download service is an iTunes killer.  Today's killer is .  Netscape is re-launching itself as a modern message board, by which I mean, readers "vote up" the items and comments they like, and "vote down" the ones they don't.  The links open in a terrible Netscape frame, which is both only ugly and undesirable.  I'm thinking predictions of Digg's death have been greatly exaggerated.  (I did click through to see on VH1's blog.  My God, that's bad.)

is still new (beta) so it's somewhat inside baseball, but there's so much buzz about it that I wanted to at least point it out as a heads up.  It's basically a new Web browser with social network leanings.  I haven't seen anyone call it a "Firefox killer" yet, but as alternative browsers go, you may soon hear this one mentioned often.

— In case you're wondering how that could be any different from something like a Google image search, you really should play with this thing.  It appears to be able to recognize faces and words and asks users to identify them and further clarify them for the purposes of delivering more accurate search results.  I was skeptical (as I usually am about things that require a lot of work from users) but 15 minutes later I was still playing with it.  A strong base of recreational users could really turn this into something amazing.

Speaking of metadata, checks a number of tag-using sites for the keyword you submit.

— I can't imagine the psychological trauma if these people are ever integrated with the rest of the world.

Google has a now.  Of course, the effectiveness of this search depends on how much the government makes available online.  Does anyone recall if the was ever ?

I am bound by duty to point out that my cable colleague Keith Olbermann is .  I'm not sure why, but it appears that he's taking troll bait, and they're loving it.

— A professor explains how he catches his students cheating.

— Includes vide of it working.  They need to make motorcycle equipment with this stuff.

Speaking of videos of guns shooting things, .  I think the amateur element of this gives the video a weird "Taxi Driver" quality.

Speaking of doing it yourself, holding a peep hole to your camera lens will give you .

Purely for the photo:  knitted herself a Ferrari with 12 miles of yarn.

Silly "Bush as God and/or Voodoo child" headline of the day:  — Did he create it from his own rib or from pieces of a mountain he chopped down with the edge of his hand?  (I don't mean to belittle the designation.  Good for him.  Just making fun of the word choice.)

Coming soon to a tongue tsk-ing talking head TV segment on how the media is a bad influence on our children near you:  .

An object lesson in .

In other turtle news, .  Good trivia answer to "what's the oldest living creature?"

Speaking of saving the animals, at dinner.  Clever how they keep appealing to her ego as they attack her.

Devastated by U.S. World Cup team's first-round loss,

"A new Highway Code is on its way, but they've neglected to update the most important thing: road signs. they're directing traffic in 2006..."  It's a funny photoshop contest.

— Not as cool as it sounds, but still a significant trend worth pointing out.  I guess the name comes from electrical devices that suck energy when not in use (overnight particularly).  With increasing frequency I'm coming across articles about how much energy is wasted by devices in "stand-by" mode and things that are still kind of on even when they're off.

Cool interactive map of

Just in time for Father's Day, cards for the .

Video of the Day:  Woe be the constituents of of Georgia.  (The kicker comes at 3:39, nearly the end, when he's asked to list the ten commandments since he supports displaying them in public buildings.)

Speaking of humiliating D.C. types, a lobbyist aggressively propositions a girl on the street and has the whole story on the girl's MySpace.  (.)  Update:  appear to be funny bedfellows on Wonkette.  How long before this combination turns up at the center of a major story?

Commuter Click:  (That font is way too small to read off a screen on a Friday evening.)

  (That would be people who are into mobile communications -although a group of people who are into mobiles would be cool too.)

— I didn't really do much linking to it here, but YearlyKos is a sort of political convention for fans of the liberal DailyKos web site.  Earlier in the week I saw a piece about the lack of discussion of labor issues at the convention.  This one is about the lack of challenge to captalism as an economic model.

"Only about 15% of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets down the road or run useful accessories, such as air conditioning."

Speaking of cars, in New York City, parallel parking is almost a spectator sport, so it only makes sense that parking would also .  The time limit is what makes it particularly hard.

This is one of those links that could be spam, but I think it's a cool product anyway.  It's a USB power adapter that in the seat of a plane.  It also comes with an iPod adapter.  So no worries about running out of juice on a long flight.

(Which makes it that much more odd that he does.  The guy's a piece of wood on screen.)

.  I've been getting my for a few years, so this isn't so odd.  What's odd to me is buying food from a place that sells books, computers and sporting goods.  But if you have a WalMart where you live, that probably makes perfect sense.

"The growing fascination for is here to stay."

To close today, a few responses to my question about the "click 'til you figure it out" games:

  • "Will replies: Thanks Tom. I love these puzzle games where you have to figure out what to do with the little people. I haven't seen a new one in a while. Does anyone know if this kind of game has a name? I'm not even sure how to search for more like it."

    I've always heard those games referred to as "Click Puzzles," since the game really comes down to what you have to click and in what order. I don't know if that name alone will get you any good hits on Google since I think the general online community hasn't settled on a good name for that particular genre.
    —Sam

  • You posted a link for 'Quest for the Rest' - a flash adventure game. It seems to be a pretty young genre, so no real name for it yet, but of links to different ones in the same style. He's got a few different entries, so navigate on the right for more. Somorost seems to be the pinnacle, but some of the other ones are fun, as well. I particularly liked Kao Fu-Sen.
    —Stev

  • The genre of game you're looking for (such as Polyphonic Spree's) is called "point-and-click."  Basically you just point…. and… click? =) Fun games, they are. A very popular one is called Hapland, found (there's 3 versions), but my favorite is (you play out little story - just too cute).
    —Diana

  • A new Version of is out...
    New version of as well (It takes Flash 8)
    —D

June 15 |

Though much of the blogosphere is still digesting today's Microsoft announcement, there's still a good amount of reaction to be found.  This is what I clicked:

It's funny that we were just talking about Scoble leaving Microsoft and now there's .  My first stop was still Scoble to see if he had any inside scoop.  He didn't (though I imagine one's coming), but I followed his referral to , which is a Microsoft developers' network news/video blog.  They have a .

:  "Of course, it's a fancy way to say Gates is retiring. A veteran Valley journalist says, "'Chairman' is Silicon Valley for 'don't wanna work any more.'"

liveblogged the conference:  "Bill's going on vacation....for seven weeks! (I missed when his vacation starts) He hasn't had a vacation longer than 2 weeks in the last 31 years."

:  "Bill Gates to leave Microsoft:  Wants to be famous like Bono so he can point and look cool."

Meanwhile, if you paid even the slightest attention to the first Spider Man movie, there's one line that jumped out at you in today's announcement and it jumped out at .  "Perhaps the choice of quote might offer a clue as to how Gates sees himself: The vastly misunderstood Peter Parker type, who just wants to do good but is routinely vilified by the very public he wants to help."  This is actually one of the more insightful commentaries I've read in the batch of early reactions.  A lot of bloggers are pointing out that 2 years is so far off that this isn't really news yet.  But at this entry points out, Microsoft has a lot planned for release in 2006-2007, so these will not necessarily be "fade away" years for Gates.

draws a similar conclusion: "Gates will be leaving the company he cofounded in an enviable position when he steps away in two years—that is, if Microsoft is able to successfully meet the numerous challenges it faces between now and then."

And speaking of the new releases, ties the announcement more specifically to recent frustrations with the launch of the new Windows Vista OS.  "The following scaling-back and repeated delays of the project must have left him with an overwhelming sense of deja vu. When you're the richest man in the world, who needs it?"

Bloggers who suspect the state of Microsoft is an element in the decision are also pointing to a 1998 article in Wired magazine, "."

: "Should we look at Gates as an innovator or super-salesman or brilliant strategist?"

:  "But here's my bet: Twenty years from now, Gates will almost universally be known as one of the greatest, most beloved Americans.  Yes, really."  (Linking to his general URL because he has several entries, including interviews, so scroll.)

Naturally, everyone in interesting in what this means for the stock price of Microsoft.  (, , , — I don't usually play with these tools so this was a nice opportunity for comparison.)

Speaking of the business side, though hasn't posted anything yet, that perspective can be .  "The next thing Microsoft should do is lay off 20% of their workforce and cut their product line by 25% (for starters). I predict major layoffs within 12-18 24 months."

More interesting to me than the fate of Gates is the man who will replace him, Ray Ozzie.  :  "This is great news for the Web, because Ray Ozzie has been the driving force behind Microsoft's Software as a Service strategy and the rollout of Windows Live - 'bet the company' initiatives which are founded on Web technology, as well as leveraging Microsoft's traditional OS and desktop software strengths."  Not everyone is this enthusiastic, but most remarks I read were positive.

: "Ray will lead Microsoft in new directions, especially towards his vision of a seamless, blended client-server-services architecture."

, who keeps a Microsoft blog at the Seattle P.I. is also rounding up reaction.

As for group discussions, , where taking shots at Microsoft is a form of recreation, there's discussion of how involved Gates will remain, what he'll do next (president?), and what his legacy will be.

The story shows up on Digg in a few places, but that has taken off.

focuses mostly on his charity work.

with typical humor.  (Remember, if you click around this site enough you will find boobies, so pay attention.)

If you've got an opinion but no platform on which to voice it, my good colleagues in the Tech section have opened .

If you clicked anything good that I missed, let me know and I'll update this entry.

June 14 |

In the understatement of the year, wonders if anyone will blog about .  In fact, a more reasonable question might be whether anyone isn't blogging about Scoble leaving Microsoft.  In case you're not familiar with him, Scoble achieved blogging fame as a Microsoft employee and is largely credited with putting a human face on the company.

Now that his leaving has been announced, he's doing on behalf of the company to make his intentions clear.  I wonder if any corporations are taking lessons about using an individual as a public face when that person can leave and take your PR with him.  similarly wonders if corporations like Microsoft and others who've lost high profile bloggers to the shifting sands of career moves feel the use of bloggers as a PR strategy is worthwhile.  In the case of Scoble it's not so bad because he's staying loyal to the end, but it's not hard to imagine a much worse scenario (from a corporation's perspective).

by the way.  Interesting site.  I'm listening to the news podcast on the upper left as I put today's links together.

It's funny to read to seeing her life broadcast on her husband's blog.

If you're really interested in more of this story, Scoble himself .

There is some speculation that will become the new public face of Microsoft.  (I should point out that there are thousands of Microsoft employees blogging, and I don't mean blogs like mine.  The MSDN folks have .)

As long as I'm pointing out : "Yesterday I was talking with Amanda Congdon, one of the co-founders of Rocketboom. Her videoblog is now seeing about 300,000 viewers a day. That's, what, a year or so old?  Did you know that advertisers are now paying her $85,000 per week?  That's almost as much money as I made in an entire year of working at Microsoft."  Woah!

The other story dominating blog banter is the news that Patrick Fitzgerald (and no, he ).  I'll skip the partisans, you can guess what they're blogging, but the story that interests me is how the folks with the (apparently now false) scoop that Rove had already been indicted are reacting.  Jason Leopold was still reporting at TruthOut that Karl Rove had , probably within hours of Rove's attorney getting the call that he wasn't.

I was expecting some kind of correction or explanation or maybe even a dramatic burning of the sources who gave him bad information, but instead they seem to be .  Their argument is that they simply .

Speaking of being convicted in the media before being indicted in a court, we haven't seen much on the Haditha case this week (the story of the marines allegedly shooting innocent Iraqis), but in parts of the blogosphere its still developing; particularly among who are in some of the witness accounts and in what appeared to be damning accounts of what happened.

Windows Vista Beta2 .

Songs you can listen to out loud with your kids in the room:

  • I confess that I haven't watched much Mtv since they stopped playing music, so I didn't watch the Mtv movie awards.  Thanks to Tivo I can see Gnarls .  Chewbacca on drums is pretty good.  An all-stormtrooper "Addicted to Love" video would be funny.
  • is a pop duo whose album was released when its members were 10 and 12 years old.  That's how it sounds, too, and yet it still works.

Fun to listen to but put your headphones on so your kids don't hear the cursing and a few off color lines:

  • Who you rollin' wit? 
  • song, from the school of bragging about heroes.

Speaking of separating what kids listen to from what you listen to, by now you've probably heard about that only kids can hear because it's at a frequency most adults are no longer able to hear.  gives you the opportunity to actually test (in a non-scientific way, of course) how high your threshold is.  I got to 20,000 before I couldn't tell if I was hearing the audio track or the screens and monitors all around me.  I'll have to try again in the quiet at home.  Also, am I just imagining it, or does this hearing test give you a headache?  (Thanks also to Amanda who spotted this and sent it in.)

— Very annoyingly paginated.  I hate it when a site tries to drive up their page view count by unnecessarily spreading articles across a number of pages.

(the "" link is worth clicking).

Speaking of balls doing unexpected things, .  (Also amazing that it's NBC video and the lawyers haven't made them take it down yet.)

— "Don't change my reality.  Keep net neutrality."

Give yourself the mathematical ability of an autistic savant "by ."  I don't necessarily doubt these researchers, but there's a very basic, "don't poke yourself in the eye" part of me that doesn't like the idea of directly zapping my brain with a magnet to change a fundamental element of how it works.

The BBC has a for displaying their site stats and story ranking.

the cabbie blogger picks up a familiar fare.

The superb lyrebird of south Australia (The mocking birds on Long Island also mimic car alarms, but nothing on the level of this bird.)

opens to fit the person (or object) passing through it.

The trick Michael Jackson uses to make his deep angle possible during live shows is a sort of hook in the heel of his shoes.  (Is it just coincidence that this link pops up on the anniversary of the verdict in Jackson's trial?)

The KFC "famous bowls" demonstrate how effective a completely stupid commercial can be.  Even having seen it a million times, I still can't let it go by without making fun of it.  Looks like .

This is a small item about on a Playstation controller, which I wouldn't bother mentioning, but we just looked at Engrish in the last entry, so it seems appropriate.  (I can't actually verify that it's an error and not some kind of parody since the source this blogger cites is in Japanese.)

Speaking of Engrish... the weirdest damn I've ever seen.

Speaking of making fun of other cultures, too.

"" — It allows multi user gesture and speech interaction of Google Earth and Warcraft III on a digital table display.

has an official site and a countdown, but not much else yet.  There isn't a link to a trailer yet, is there?

— No offense, but haven't we ?

Video of the Day:  "" does not quite cover this play on the Diet Coke/Metos reaction.

— The original site (audio) is crashed, but this link works.  It sounds like the only thing worse than cancelling the account is actually trying to use one.  Do AOL customer service people get punished if they allow someone to cancel their account?

"It might be a good idea to sit back for a moment and realize that 'global terrorism' is . It's a phenomenon that would have little to no impact on our lives weren't we bombarded with 'news' about all day long."

Commuter Click:  A George Orwell essay called .  I saw the recommendation and noted the link but still didn't get around to reading it, so I'm going to print it out and read it later during my non-screen time.

— This is more of a political story than an environmental one.  The guy has made himself energy independent, but he's still a citizen, and the line between public and private gets a little blurry in some spots.  In this case, one such spot is whether you have to let them put poles and powerlines and other stuff on your property.

June 12 |

Hi Will,In many states, these simple common law rules have been overruled by statute. The police will usually give you “X” amount of days after you report a found item until the law recognizes you as having “adversely possessed” it, gaining all the rights of a true owner. To “toll” this statute, however, you have to report it to the police.In short, this guy is probably not the true owner in either a common law or statutory sense, but it’s not necessarily fair for the “morality police” to impose upon him for what he did because he seems to have acted in accordance with the ordinary rights of a finder.—Jeremy,Boy, sounds

Will replies:  Thanks guys.  I'll add one more related comment on the subject of losing things in cabs.  A friend of mine once left her purse in a cab.  A good samaritan called her to say her stuff had been found and would be mailed to her.  Feeling relieved, she didn't cancel her cards or anything.  As you might have guessed, the call was a ploy to keep her credit cards active long enough to use them.

You wrote:I looked at the page in question, and I guess the Samsung folks agree. They placed a prominent "Click to enlarge" link at the top of the picture. :)I've only recently started reading your column, but you've definitely led me to some weird and wonderful stuff. Thanks.Loren

Will replies:  That's really funny.  Plus, I like the idea of being able to customize spokesmodels to suit my taste.

I came across

Will replies:  Cool, thanks!  I love the sound of it.

Will-

Will replies:  A classic.  For what it's worth, the flip side can be found in a site called which features tattoos of Asian characters on people who are woefully misinformed about what the characters mean.

.  It's about a robotic sensor that emulates the human sense of touch.

Will replies:  Thanks Thomas.  I like how the article keeps its focus on the medical applications when, let's be honest, this technology would get picked up by the porn industry so fast it would leave the Web spinning.

Dear Will,"It's kind of mind blowing to read about the UK getting the hydrogen ball rolling..."It doesn't surprise me.  I was always fascinated with generating my own energy (I happen to have a wind up radio).  When I did a search for for my cell phone, all the top results were UK sites. It seems that in general the UK is ahead in pushing forward with alternative energy sources.P.S.: I did eventually find a little closer to home.  But it's from Canada, not the U.S.  When did America become too cool for cool stuff?—Ajin

Will replies:  Thanks Ajin.  I think America produces a pretty good amount of cool stuff, but it does seem like we haven't caught the spirit of alternative energy yet.

Straight out of Idaho comes the entertaining, educational, Idaho-esqe Our next host is Patrick of

Will replies:  Idaho-esque?

Just a heads up, the average daily calories provided by that diet each day would probably cause an adult to lose weight.  A female, 5’4”, 145 lbs with a sedentary lifestyle (little or no activity, desk job) requires approximately 1700 calories a day just to maintain their weight.  A man who is 5’10” and of average weight requires over 1900 calories just to maintain in a sedentary lifestyle.  Children require even more energy to be healthy.  This is an excellent diet for a college student or someone who is unable to buy more fresh produce than the menu lays out because of money issues.  A multivitamin daily would stave off problems longer.  I wouldn’t recommend it for children, or anyone who has to work hard physical labor.  And I wouldn’t recommend the menu for very long for anyone.—Nichole

Will replies:  Thanks Nichole for sharing that perspective.  I should have pointed out that the is labeled as being an "emergency menu."

Hey Will, Love your blog but I have to point out that MythBusters on Discovery Channel did a thing on the 5 second rule a while back and found that even on flat surfaces the items (they used crackers and roast beef) were picking up bacteria immediately. The more wet the food the more it picked up like the people in your link stated. Overall they busted the myth though.Thanks,Greg

Will replies:  Thanks Greg.  Someone here at the MSNBC.com cube farm pointed that out as well.  The line that struck me as odd in the page I linked to was "it takes at least that long for germs to devour dropped food."  I hadn't considered it necessary for the germs to eat the food to be on the food.

BTW, at least for the older Chinese or not-living-in-the-US Chinese, it's not really considered personal to ask how much you make - in fact, sometimes it's like the 4th question they ask ...

Will replies:  Around the watercooler it came up that being open about personal finances is a Marxist idea.  I don't know that for a fact, but it's interesting to consider in connection to your remark about the Chinese.

Dear Will,

Will replies:  Thanks Caroline.  News to me.

[

Will replies:  Thanks Tom.  I love these puzzle games where you have to figure out what to do with the little people.  I haven't seen a new one in a while.  Does anyone know if this kind of game has a name?  I'm not even sure how to search for more like it.

Hi we would love a write up on your news site!  We at

Will adds:  This wasn't actually sent to me, it's a general press release sent to MSNBC.com's Letters to the Editor, but since the storm season is starting up, it'll be worth keeping an eye on whether they get anything good.

Dear Will-Hey Will,.Gotta love those multi-colored fibers that sprout from inside your body, huh?  Between that and the phantom bugs which are crawling all over you, I don't see why anybody complains...Will, if you think this disease is a fake,

Will replies:  A few other people wrote in to day that Morgellons is somehow related to Lyme disease.  I'm still not sure what to make of the whole thing.  I mentioned it to a health editor here, but since it didn't come up in the MSN medical encyclopedia and there was nothing in MedlinePlus.gov and a few other resources, the conversation didn't go very far.