Posting will be light or non-existent for then next week and a half, since I'll be on the road, first to my Dad's wedding in Marquette, Michigan, then after a brief run back through Hopkinton, to the Watson Conference on Rhetoric in Louisville (note to self: see if Underdog will drive while I write my talk).
We'll be on the trans-Canada highway for about half the trip, and the tiny mom-and-pop motels we usually stay at on the trans-Canada typically don't offer in-room wifi (hell, one last year didn't have in-room phones). If you're jonesing for a datacloud fix, you can look in the archives or click some of the great resources on the right side of the screen.
Guest-bloggers from my previous offline experiment: feel free to post in the interim (or at any other time...).
The Connection reports that Iraqi insurgents googled an abducted reporter's name to confirm his identity.(Not sure if they released him because they discovered he was who he claimed he was, or they held him, at least temporarily, because they figured out who he was. Hey, I don't actually read or listen to these links, I just post them....)
[via Joho the Blog]
Ars Technica breaks this:
In a ruling released today, the US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld (PDF) the decision of a lower court which established that web sites do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Americans with Disabilities Act.Major bad news for accessibility.
Kevin Kelly (not the Irish one) posts a great Meta-review of Review Websites:
My model of the ideal review site then is one built on a broad base of user reviews, in addition to a field of experts conducting uniform and comparative reviews, and ends up with an extract of top picks or other recommendations of what to get. I have not yet seen a perfect site. What doesn't work for me is a site sporting a vast matrix of all products and their features, or a site recommending a few products --ones that they happen to also sell, or a site with evaluations of gear they happen to get free from cooperative manufacturers, or heaven forbid, a site that has a few feeble reviews and is supported by a zillion ads. There are some wonderful review sites. I found the following to be useful. For the most part they have what the weak review sites don't have: a minimal ad environment, no direct connection to sales, a means to extract recommendations and not just feature lists, and users with enough experience to indicate how tools live up to others like it. I've ranked these "best of reviews sites" from 1 to 5 stars, listed here in descending usefulness to me.
Kelly recommends review sites across a great range of categories: not just computer hardware and software, but outdoor gear, flashlights, board games, high-end audio, telescopes, recumbent bikes, digital photography, and many more. Kevin's the coolest tool.
[via Cool Tools]
Polling conducted between July 15 and Sept. 19 among 19,013 adults showed that on a six-item political knowledge test people who did not watch any late-night comedy programs in the past week answered 2.62 items correctly, while viewers of Late Night with David Letterman on CBS answered 2.91, viewers of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno answered 2.95, and viewers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart answered 3.59 items correctly. That meant there was a difference of 16 percentage points between Daily Show viewers and people who did not watch any late-night programming.
As MMORPGs (Massively-multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) like Second Life become ever more complex and detailed, designers and users confront issues about default settings and customization. In "Sitting Pretty," Wagner James Au surveys the intense debate surrounding the issue of how avatars seat themselves in Second Life:
Used to be, when female avatars and male avatars would sit down, in Second Life, they more or less sat the same: Hands loosely laid on the lap, legs slightly apart. (Or as one resident waggishly put it, “Sitting with your junk hanging out.”) This didn’t sit well, so to speak, with many residents, especially some women. (And one assumes, some male residents who play as women.) It just didn’t do to put on a skirt or a dress, and attend an in-world fashion show, for instance, then end up sitting more like a stevedore at a sports bar, than a society lady. Quite a few complained to the [game designer] Lindens.
As Michi Linden points out, one of the interesting things about Second Life's world is that these debates take place, and that the designers actively revise the world based on those discussions.
[via New World Notes]
Maps always distort--that's their job, given things like the distortions made intranslating 3D space to 2D display (see this page on the Mercator vs. Peters Projection, for example), let alone all that abstraction maps must do to do their work. We're used to seeing U.S. electoral college maps presented as a simple overlay on the same maps of the US that we saw in our textbooks in school (and continue to see on weather forecasts, atlases, etc.). But what if we tried to make the areas of the map represent each state's weight in the electoral college. (As information design legend Harry Beck showed with his design of The London Underground tube map, sometimes different types of distortions are more productive than our usual methods.)
This week Studio 360 hammers out the artist’s relationship to tools. Kurt Andersen talks with master film editor Walter Murch about the tools he used to edit movies like The Godfather and Cold Mountain. You’ll hear a painter fall in love with some very shapely power drills. A riding lawnmower is customized to dance to the sounds of leaf blowers and weed whackers. And before composers used computers, one created complex music no human could ever play, by using the old-fashioned player piano.The page with info on this week's show includes links to Real streams, pictures, etc. Also included is a discussion of Phil Kline's musical composition based on Donald Rumsfeld's (apparently) unintentional poetry.
Today special: ******* AIR BOMBS *******Questions, questions. Are they really selling weapons online? (This might offer a solution to discourteous drivers I encounter on my commute to work.) Probably not. There are several URLs in the message, including one that's only an IP number. I was curious, but not curious enough to click through.
OFAB-500U HE fragmentation air bomb
Fuel-air explosive air bombs -Not in stock
BETAB-500U concrete-piercing air bomb
ZB-500RT incendiary tank
500-KG SIZE RBK-500U unified cluster bomb
RBK-500U OAB-2.5PT loaded with fragmentation submunitions
RBK-500U BETAB-M loaded with concrete-piercing submunitions-Not in stock
RBK-500U OFAB-50UD loaded with HE fragmentation submunitions
To protest this decision, we are creating a forum for sample-based musicians and artists to share their own 30 second songs which have been created using only the sample in question. By doing so, we hope to showcase the potential and diversity of sample based music and sound art, and to call into question the relationship between a sample and its use.72 entries so far. [via metafilter]
"I use Second Life for students to explore ideas about public space and what makes a good public space," she said. "Being in Second Life all of a sudden puts them in this different environment, which is similar but different, and it forces them to explore how they think about these things.... When you're in Second Life, because it's similar, but the physics are different, people react differently. And it makes them think more deeply about how one designs public spaces.
[via Wired News]
LOS ANGELES, CA, September 21, 2004 - The NHL lock out may have postponed the 2004-2005 season, but disappointed hockey fans can still watch the puck drop in more than 50 million U.S. and Canadian homes when the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the Philadelphia Flyers in the season opener of the video game NHL season on G4techTV. The hard-hitting action begins with highlights, scores and stats, airing daily on the network's sports program "Sweat," premiering October 13 at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT. G4techTV is the only 24-hour television network devoted to games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes.
[via Boing Boing]
The discussion thread following the post at metafilter is worth reading as well.
Moblogisme, or: The Situationist city restored.: "The Situationists famously had their own ideas about cities, and about how to city them; in particular, they held forth the derive, or aimless drift, as the ideal way to encounter and make sense of urban place. It's easy to caricature the derive as an essentially passive mode of experience, but it was intended to be anything but: a playful, lively, engaged, and above all social act.
Now that cities are where most of us live, for better or worse, and we have the ability to document our travels through these conurbations and share them over the Web, might it be safe to say that Situationist psychogeography has gone mainstream? That the moblogged drift, in fact, takes things to an entirely new level, by making the city and its flows not merely more legible to ourselves, but visible to a potentially global audience?"
Only one review, but it sort of captures the whole archetype of "twisted and problematic genius" (something I've always aspired to ... I've got "twisted" and "problematic" down, but I'm still struggling with "genius.")
CBS Marketwatch briefly reports on the difficulties of researching the effects of being disconnected--for two weeks--from the Internet:
I assume they're talking about people who normally use the Internet heavily. When I was offline last summer, I did find it was difficult to go about my daily life, even for relatively mundane things like quickly getting a weather forecast. And I certainly don't think I could have responsibly gone offline during the school year, given how net-connected most of my teaching and research are. But I did discover that giving up the Internet was a little like giving up TV: It's disconcerting at first, and leaves a huge, empty gap in your daily routine. But then other things start to tumble into that gap, filling it. The experience made me think a lot about the work that I do online, both the sheer amount (currently 6 to 8 or more hours a day) and the sorts of work I use the Internet for. And eventually you get used to being offline, and to some extent I have to say I was happier, overall, offline. (Leading me to also question the status of the Internet as an addiction. Why am I back? Who knows.) [via MacMinute]
I assume they're talking about people who normally use the Internet heavily. When I was offline last summer, I did find it was difficult to go about my daily life, even for relatively mundane things like quickly getting a weather forecast. And I certainly don't think I could have responsibly gone offline during the school year, given how net-connected most of my teaching and research are. But I did discover that giving up the Internet was a little like giving up TV: It's disconcerting at first, and leaves a huge, empty gap in your daily routine. But then other things start to tumble into that gap, filling it. The experience made me think a lot about the work that I do online, both the sheer amount (currently 6 to 8 or more hours a day) and the sorts of work I use the Internet for. And eventually you get used to being offline, and to some extent I have to say I was happier, overall, offline. (Leading me to also question the status of the Internet as an addiction. Why am I back? Who knows.)
InCase is getting ready to market iPod mini cases, one of which makes the player look like a turntablist's rig.
I guess it's sort of the iPod equivalent of case-modding. Sort of.
[via Cruel Site of the Day]
THE ARTIST DOES NOT ENDORSE THE FOLLOWING WARNING. THE FBI DOESN'T HAVE HIS HOME PHONE NUMBER AND HE HOPES THAT THEY DON'T HAVE YOURS.
The David Byrne–Gilberto Gil concert for the benefit of Creative Commons will be streamed on the Internet. The concert will happen 2004 September 21 Tuesday night in New York City. It will be webcast live from this page (requires Apple's Quicktime player). [Creative Commons: weblog]
45. In 1988, Cohen told Musician magazine: "As you get older, you get less willing to buy the latest version of reality."
[via Boing Boing]
Bidding starts at $150k.
When most people shop for a cellphone, considerations like aesthetics, size and features usually top the list. For most, the sleeker, the smaller and the more fully loaded the phone, the better.
But when Eugene Auh went trawling at eBay for a cheap cellphone last month, he searched for one with a decidedly anachronistic bent.
"I wanted the biggest cellphone I could find," said Mr. Auh, a 27-year-old investment manager in Philadelphia. His winning bid of $25.95 bought a Motorola DynaTac, a 1980's-era "brick" cellphone that fits more comfortably in a backpack than in a suit pocket.
Rather than subtracting from its charm, the phone's cumbersome size - it is roughly eight by two by three inches - is its main attraction, Mr. Auh said. Indeed, he plans to take the phone to work, to the gym and even to his nighttime haunts.
"Imagine this: I'll walk into a bar and ask for a girl's number, then break out my phone," he said. "How could you say no to that?"
While his attraction to digital relics may seem unusual, Mr. Auh is part of what appears to be a growing group of 20-somethings embracing yesterday's designs. These fans of retro technology are using ingenuity to find or fashion the perfect cellphones, gaming systems and computer cases - in effect ushering back a time they experienced only barely, if at all.
In a postmodernist turn, we've gotten to the point when The Next New Thing doesn't necessarily drive decisions about technology use. There's still some of that next wave feeling in the air, but it's no longer enough to be cutting edge. Armed with a web-hosted product catalogue and a credit card, anyone can own cutting-edge tech. Digging through the scrap heap of last year, last decade, takes a little more discernment and style. (I mean, otherwise tech-savvy people are still using Apple Newtons.)
Exit, pursued by a bear.[via The Mediaburn Radio Weblog]
- William Shakespeare, stage direction in The Winter's Tale
I'm not able to speak clearly on my own so with the help of a computer, this is my new voice. It's the same one Stephen Hawking uses, and the one NOAA radio broadcasts in. I hate it.[RealAudio and Windows Media streaming versions of his piece from NPR are here.] Apart from all the other issues involved, Carey's story started me thinking about writing processes, and how something like ALS might require different approaches to writing than are normally studied. I would imagine, for example, that experienced Dasher users might opt for words that are in Dasher's vocabulary (because words not in Dasher's vocabulary would require users to enter every letter) and would eschew large-scale revision in favor of simple editing of word choice. (Such technologies are also increasingly used in by larger groups of users in things like cellphones.) Has anyone studied how these technologies affect writing processes?
Don't write like a lawyer. Write as a person unspoiled by the law. Write conversationally. Speak what you write; see how it sounds. Don't try to show off by sounding like a lawyer. Avoid legalisms; avoid Latin phrases. Write to be understood.It's mostly a littany of advice, often conflicting, and I daresay impossible to put into practice for a host of reasons. I'd tell why, but to get that advice you have to get on my billable hour clock... Oh, but here's a freebie: skip the Shania Twain references. -Bill H-D (uncloaking, just for a moment)
NYT, Metro Section, 6.9.04
"That's quite an armband you've got there. What does SIMUVAC stand for? Sounds important." "Short for simulated evacuation. A new state program they're battling over funds for." "But this evacuation isn't simulated. It's real." "We know that. But we thought we could use it as a model." "A form of practice? Are you saying you saw a chance to use the real event in order to rehearse the simulation?" "We took it right to the streets." "How is it going?" I said. "The insertion curve isn't as smooth as we would like. There's a probability excess. Plus we don't have our victims laid out where we'd want them to be if this was an actual simulation. In other words, we're forced to take our victims as we find them. We didn't get a jump on computer traffic. Suddenly, it just spilled out, three-dimensionally, all over the landscape."
Don DeLillo, White Noise, 1985
As Joi Ito notes in his post about the torrent,
Here's some serious substantial non-infringing use of P2P. I bought the DVD and watched Outfoxed. Definitely worth buying the DVD, but being able to download and use the interviews from the documentary is a great contribution to the commons. It will be interesting to see how people remix this stuff.
You can see more info about BitTorrent (including links to installers for Windows, Mac, Debian, RedHat, or the Python source code) at BitTorrent's official site. (I'm currently using TomatoTorrent for the Mac, which I've found has a better interface and a richer feature set. Or maybe it's just that the Tomato icon is cooler, I don't know.)
[via Joi Ito's Web]
[I]in addition to those who simply have no need for a serious text editor, or who simply prefer other editors, there are vocal contingents of BBEdit non-believers who profess outright bewilderment at BBEdit’s decade-long dominance of the Mac text editor market.
There are two vectors for such bewilderment, both of which belie a genuine understanding of what it is about BBEdit’s “interface” that makes it so beloved:
One is the conflation of aesthetics with usability. The idea that the quality of an app’s user interface is simply a measure of how good it looks; i.e., that the state of being “Mac-like” implies only adherence to the gestalt of Apple’s recent-vintage Aqua-flavored visual whiz-bangery: gorgeous iconography, anti-aliased type, vibrant primary colors, and visual effects such as transparency, drop shadows, bezel edges, and smooth-gliding animated widgets.
This is not to say that aesthetics are unimportant. To find something aesthetically pleasing is deeply satisfying in a left-brained way. But aesthetic appeal is but one aspect of user interface design, not the whole of it — and for a serious tool, not the most important aspect. Compare and contrast to, say, choosing an office chair. It’s certainly nice to have a chair that looks good; but if you’re going to be sitting in it 8 or more hours every day, ergonomics are much more important than aesthetics.
[via Daring Fireball]
Your mailer does not support HTML messages. Please switch to a better mailer.
The e-mail original message was not plain text please use html capable e-mail client program. HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) e-mail messages are with the look and feel of Web pages, instead of plain text. Like Web pages, HTML e-mail message can incorporate formatted text, images and other objects. These objects are not embedded in the e-mail message itself; rather the HTML code in the message makes references to images and other files stored on a remote Web site. New generation of e-mail programs has recently become available that simplify the view of HTML messages. HTML e-mails are more visually appealing and are usually easier to read than plain text messages. In fact HTML e-mail messages allows us to use graphics, color and text formatting to add your usability to the e-mail message. When you open your e-mail message, the HTML code loads the image from the specified URL into the message's layout. A wedding of linkable Web pages and regular email, HTML email is a growing medium for Internet communications, and it's getting easier to use. An HTML e-mail is a message that is presented in HTML instead of plain text. This allows control of colors and fonts, and it even allows the inclusion of images in a message. It's easy to send HTML e-mail from your client. The key is to understand how to form MIME messages. Please use a HTML capable email client to view this message.All of which, of course, is relatively empty rhetoric, since I'm not likely to change email clients just to be able to read spam (even if it does let me add my usability to my email messages). Thanks for playing, though.
In the back streets of Tokyo's upscale Aoyama district, there's a little antique store quite unlike all the others in the neighborhood.The audiophile obsession with combining old and new technologies is interesting because it reveals the contradiction in the strive for perfect audio. From a purely technical standpoint, most people think the CD is superior to vinyl. Simultaneously, though, people listening to new, clearer technologies discover that the noise, the unpredictability inherent in the old technologies was actually a good thing. Look at turntablism (which began on vinyl, prior to CDs, but has continued strong after it), vintage tube guitar amps (which typically demand much higher price tags than their digital successors), and high-end audiophile devices like the $949 Pioneer CQ-TX5500D Vacuum Tube CD Receiver for automobile audio. Two years ago, I traded in my POD Spyder digital guitar amp, capable of emulating dozens of earlier amps and effects pedals) for a used Peavey Classic 30 tube amp. Although not as versatile, the tone on the Peavey is richer, more interesting, less predictable.
Located on the second floor of an old apartment building, And Up specializes in selling antique radios and, of all things, iPods.
The store's owner, 50-year-old Takeyuki Ishii, recommends plugging an iPod into an FM transmitter, such as Griffin Technology's iTrip, and listening to music through the speaker of an antique radio.
Ishii believes there is aural magic in the combination of the very old with the very new. Playing an iPod through an old radio or tube-driven amplifier gives it a special warmth and atmosphere, he says.
"What we are suggesting here is an old-and-new way to listen to music," Ishii said. "In electronics stores, you find the latest speakers with crisp, clear and accurate sounds. By contrast, most of the radios we have are not even stereo. The sounds are hardly clear. You might even hear some noises, and radios with tubes change their sounds as the tube warms up."
We've spent, billions of dollars working to make audio "cleaner," and are just now starting to realize that a large part of what we like about audio is its dirtiness.
A similar trend has long been emerging in interface design, where UI designers traditionally argued for more efficient, cleaner, simpler interfaces only to discover that users are starting to like interfaces that are messy: multiple, overlapping windows, streaming audio and video running constantly at the margins, IM windows suddenly popping up during the middle of another task. We used to call this cognitive overload, but it might be better to think about it as potentially useful noise. Other examples include things like the Lomography movement in photography, which relies on cameras that are essentially poorly designed--full of light leaks, shooting analog 35 mm or medium-format film, prone to unintended double exposures, frequently relying on cross-processed developing (developing slide film in chemicals made for negative film, or vice versa) to generate unpredictable but often beautiful images full of wild colors and tones.
We're increasingly discovering that noise is good. Not necessarily a luddite movement, but post-luddite or post-clean. [via Wired News]
My company is one of America's largest beef and pork producers. Recently I took a trip to see a new computer room that had been built at one of our abbatoirs. While the new environment is nice and sanitary, the old computer room had air intakes that were adjacent to the rendering portion of the plant, and everything smells in an almost unholy way. Management is curious if there are any cleaning agents or means of deodorizing this equipment before moving it into the nice, new office
I expect that tech support hotlines have no branch in their trouble-shooting script that deals with this.
Ernie Ball--the Slinky guitar-string maker--died this week. These are about the most popular strings out there. (I use Power Slinky Nickel Round Wounds. They make me sound better than I am. Which isn't actually all that good, but I need all the help I can get.)
[via Boing Boing]
Now that you’ve got all this stuff on the hard drive, how do you get to it? Can you simply crack open your hard drive and take a look? You can, but experience tells us you will not see all your photos or emails or spreadsheets, because they are way too tiny.
Things change, as you approach them, but the shift is subtle. A poster suddenly shifts to contain obscenities; a single word in a newspaper headline suddenly becomes the only word you see. A bookshelf seems to contain nothing but volumes about fascism. And most disturbing to me, a bathroom mirror which contains your reflection becomes, when you come closer, a bloody death mask. The man in the mirror is actually a model, but the hallucination is based on the testimony of a schizophrenic who stopped shaving, because when he looked in the mirror, he’d see his corpse staring back at him. (And when you get close enough to the sink, you hear the strains of bagpipes— because this is the music the man heard too, when he glimpsed his own death.)
"You may notice,” Baldwin observes with typical understatement, “it's difficult to concentrate in this environment. Imagine if you had schizophrenia. I can't actually work in this environment; it's so annoying and intrusive, I can't get anything done."
[A ongoing voice in the user's headphones intones,]You're not sick, you're not really unwell. You know this is not the real world--you're dead. Join us in the world of the dead.
[via Boing Boing]
After spending about an hour figuring out what it can do, I realized my life probably isn't interesting enough to take advantage of this much photo tech. To compensate, I've started looking at Lomo LG-A's, which pride themselves on, basically, being flawed cameras that distort what you see in unpredictable ways. The cultish [and now sort of passe] Russian-built compact camera adheres to a lomographic manifesto that includes rules like "lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it," "try the shot from the hip," and "don't think."
For all they're worth in 10,000 little knots:
Visible up close as a grid of squarish clots
Where anti-alias threads smooth out the forms;
Visible from afar as texture that blurs but charms -
The coupled Gods embodied in an atmosphere
By the engine of art, the art of the engineer.
[via Collin vs. Blog]
I’ve been thinking, for a while now, about the value, challenges involved and effects of aesthetics on a Web design. To me “aesthetic details” differ from “design” when it comes to the Web, and while I find them important, I don’t think they’re the most important part of what makes a Web site successful.Of course, "aesthetics" is a notoriously difficult design term, and the community has been debating it for a while. At what point does aesthetics edge into function? Still, this should generate some interesting discussion. [via asterisk*]
What I’d like y’all to do is take a look at a few very well designed, yet visually different, sites and let me know which one you like best and why—based solely on your aesthetic preference.
I thought (and I hope they don’t mind) I’d use the personal sites of the “Design Fab Five” for this one. Mainly because I feel if I’m going to do this I should subject myself and because I love all of these sites visually for different reasons. Oh, and because these guys love to argue about this stuff.
Shopping for computer speakers at Amazon today, I noticed that Amazon suggested I'd like the silver JBL Creature II speakers more than the white or black versions. I clicked the "why?" button under the "recommended" link and got the window shown above. I'm not sure what the connection is between the JBL Creature II speakers and Bringhurt's classic text on typography. Sometimes I think Amazon is just messing with me to see if I'm paying attention. (Last year, they recommended several books by cultural conservatives based, I think, on the fact that I'd purchased a bunch of books by leftists.)
My test images are here.
[via Dan Gillmor's eJournal]
A coherent brand identity was further undercut by random visual variations between sections: one section might use three columns while another used four, and so on. Moreover, the site’s reliance on photography submitted by disparate journalists, while it brought home the urgent realities Amnesty tackles, unfortunately also contributed to the lack of cohension, impairing usability and further diminishing the brand.Here's what the redesign looks like. The Happy Cog report doesn't include an image of the old site, but here's the March 1, 2004 version of the site from Internet Archives Wayback Machine. (The Wayback Machine is an excellent resource, BTW, for looking at the evolution of websites, and how web design standards have shifted in the last eight years.)
[via Wired News]
In a 1993 essay on the relation between television and contemporary fiction*, David Foster Wallace mentions the recent "wider shift in U.S. perceptions of how art was supposed to work, a transition from art's being a creative instantiation of real values to art's being a creative rejection of bogus values." Wallace goes on to describe how ideas such as "sincerity" and "passion" have been undercut by a new hip and disaffected sensibility. Which brings me to my question. We've been talking a lot about bonsai as art, lately. When I think of bonsai art, I think of "creative instatiation of real values", of "sincerity", and of "passion." I don't think of hip cyncism or cutting irony. So am I missing something?(The quote is from Wallace's "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction.") The discussion ranges through the functions of Romantic art, the possibility of nature as an art forum, the reflexivity of the two in bonsai, sadism, high versus low culture, the philosophy of categories, and more (some of the more pomo among the previous terms were my paraphrases). What's striking about this, to me at least, is that the whole discussion serves well to remind us that postmodern theorists frequently, perhaps unintentionally, position themselves back into that "high versus low culture" category they claim is dead. The BonsaiTalkers show here that everyone can--should--be playing this game. (And I recognize that even this recognition plays back into that binary--"everybody" as if "look, even they can do it. But I'll own up to that bias and move on.) Wallace is great at this--a postmodernist playing within language, but tweaking it in ways that are productive rather than merely being either sensationalist or dense. Intentionally playing the game against itself, one person writes,
Perhaps bonsai can be used as "a neotraditional reaction to, and thus doubly-ironic inversion of, the ironic modernist's creative rejection of bogus values, through a reassertion of a sincere and value-laden paradigm." do I get my degree now?Sure thing; you can have mine. (Ironically, again, when I attempted to post a follow-up in the discussion, I was told that I hadn't been a member of the board long enough to be permitted to post....)
I normally have stickers on my laptops--on my old Vaio, I covered the MS Windows sticker with a Red Hat one. On my current PowerBook, I have a big "Responsible!" sticker (sort of like the things given to kids to reward them for something; I can't recall who gave this to me, since I'm so rarely responsible). I've also used a red Sharpie to color in the Apple logo on the front cover so that now it glows a dull red in the dark.
Creative? I thought so, but then realized I'd forgotten the whole uber-geeky casemod movement. Stickers? Sort of ... well ... mundane. I guess there's a whole range of mods, starting with changing icons in your OS and setting new wallpaper, through light modifications of the exterior, to turning your computer into a Pink Hello Kitty Laptop (PHKL). (There's "creative" and then there's CREATIVE. I think I'm more of the former than the latter...)
What's odd is their muzak. I just listed to something obscure by Roxy Music, and now a Barenaked Ladies tune is playing. These aren't tunes likely to ever show up in my party mix, but it's better than what I normally have to listen to when I'm on hold.
SKYPE illustrates network economics in the purest form: free connections within the network become more valuable to each user as more users sign up. Because of the system's peer-to-peer design, loosely related to the Kazaa file-sharing program that Mr. Zennstrom and Skype's other co-founder, Janus Friis, invented four years ago, the system scales well - that is, it doesn't bog down as more users join. The peer-to-peer design also allows it to work behind most Internet firewalls.
Here's how yesterday's front-page NY Times article about Bill Clinton's heart surgery ends before the leap to page 15:(I fixed an apparent typo in the quote copied from the NYT.) (9.7.04 update: Then I fixed a copyediting error of my own that caused this entry to break all the entries below it (unclosed p tag). How ironic.) [via Joho the Blog]My husband is doing very well, " she [Hillary] said, noting that he had beaten herAfter the jump, we get the rest of the sentence:and their daughter, Chelsea, at card games.
War pigs [live], Neil Young, Bridge School Benefit Leg Of Lamb, Queens Of The Stone Age, R Count Me Out, The Del McCoury Band, Del And The Boys Track 18, The Replacements, Please to Meet Me Sessions Take Me Down to the Infirmary, Cracker, Live at the Filmore Where Are The Prawns?, Soft Boys, Underwater Moonlight (Disc 1) Black Cat Bone, Johnny Winter, Lone Star Shootout Eyeball Kid, Tom Waits, Paris, 5/30/99 - Disc 2 Ring of Fire, Social Distortion, Social Distortion Crashin' & Burnin', Fred Eaglesmith, Drive-in Movie Someday, Neil Young, A Perfect Echo - Disc 1 7/7/04 Atropine, Rainer Maria, A Better Version Of Me Masquerade, Joe Pass, Montreux '77 Little Whirl, Guided By Voices, Alien Lanes Don't Talk About My Music (Shut Your Mouth), Violent Femmes, Viva Wisconsin Universal Truths And Cycles, Guided By Voices, Universal Truths And CyclesCoherence was never my strong suit.
(The )( signifies an open wireless node in a public space.) [via Joi Ito's Web]
4. "Well, it makes sense to me." Translation: "I’m a representative sample of our customer base." Unless you’re developing tools for the project team itself, no one on the project is a true end user. For one thing, it’s rare that the target audience consists of developers or project managers. And even if that were the case, team members still do not qualify, simply because anyone assigned to the project will have a much more intimate knowledge of the system than the average user, and their ideas of how the system should work will always be skewed by that knowledge. The tendency to evaluate designs based on ones own perspective goes hand in hand with point #3. This is because corporate cultures that are inwardly focused when generating requirements also tend to look inward when assessing the value of proposed designs. In these cases, management often becomes the target audience by evaluating the designs and making judgments based on their own needs and expectations—or on what they believe customers to need. However, in my experience, what companies believe their customers need and what they actually need are often two very different things.[via SIGIA-L]
Right around 5:30 or 6, just as things started to heat up around me, I stopped getting SMS, just like that. I thought it was rather suspicious, but was willing to concede that it could be some technology malfunction. There were more SMSes going out than usual, for the region, and I thought maybe it was an overload. It blew any opportunities I had to effectively co-ordinate with the legal, and civil, RNC protests. So now, as it turns out -- say the txtmob people -- it wasn't technology, it was T-Mobile (my now ex-carrier). Highlighted text below, from the txtmob dispatch: "T-Mobile blocked TXTmob messages during a portion of the RNC. "I don't know of any independent verification of this, but it's a worrying possibility.
My only question is, WTF? Since when does T-Mobile decide which messages are ok, and which aren't? What, in my contract with them, specifies that they can decide which messages I am allowed to get? Who told who to block which messages? I'm no lawyer, but those seem like the kinds of questions that lawyers are interested in.
Of course, you don't arrive at a morally profound motto like “don't be evil” without some serious thought. Here are some of the mottoes [sic] that Google tried out and rejected:
- Google! Dance with the devil, but go home before it gets serious.
- Google! We won't commit genocide in most circumstances.
- Google! Don't eat no babies.
- Google! We could do good, but we're like, whoa.
- Google! Begone, demon!
[via Boing Boing]
The price was breathtaking. At $1,000, the ProntoPro costs more than a lot of the equipment it talks to. But factor in the lost hours spent hunting for the DVD remote that someone kicked under a chair or the television remote wedged deep in the sofa, and the ProntoPro might pay for itself in, say, a quarter-century or so.Usability took a backseat, apparently, in the design of the ProntoPro. Grimes isn't impressed. [via SIGIA-L]
Given that all the reading research psychologists I know support some version of the parallel letter recognition model of reading, how is it that all the typographers I know say that we read by matching whole word shapes? It appears to be a grand misunderstanding.
Bonsai Potato. I can't really add anything to this.