June 30, 2006

International Mixtape Project

[obviously, I'm digging through a backlog of things to post now that datacloud is back online. bare with me.]

The International Mixtape Project hooks up people around the world wanting to trade mixtapes or mix CDs:


Each member is required to send one compilation CD-R or cassette to another member every month for the duration of the project. Your assignment is generated automatically around the first day of every month from a database of active members and delivered via e-mail. With each assignment, participants have until the end of the month to send a mix to their assigned recipient. In exchange, each participant receives a mix from somewhere around the world!

[via createdigitalmusic.com]

Posted by johndanseven at 05:09 PM

Forgetting Your Charger

I try not to count the number of times I've either (a) forgotten to bring by cellphone charger on a trip, or (b) left my cellphone charger in a hotel room on a trip. Tricks of the Trade points out the convergence of these two occurrences by mentioning that hotels frequently keep all those forgotten cellphone chargers in a lost-and-found box at the front desk—apparently, a lot of hotels will loan (or just give you) a charger from the box, so maybe one will fit your phone. (I'm not sure if they have a similar policy for laptop power adapters and video-out cables, but the next time this happens, it'll be worth checking on. I spent a full day in Tampa trying to track down a power cable for my PowerBook a couple of years ago.)

[via Gizmodo]

Posted by johndanseven at 04:41 PM

Magritte's PowerBook


I felt real smug when I colored in the glowing Apple icon on the back of my old PowerBook (red for the apple, green for the leaf), but I feel completely unimaginative in comparison to Dan's laser-etched PowerBook mod [flickr link], inspired by Magritte's works like "The Son of Man." There's a detailed HOWTO on the process which requires Illustrator and an Epilog Mini 24 laser engraver on hand. (I have Illustrator, but no Epilog... maybe Underdog's Dremel would work.)

[via Gizmodo]

Posted by johndanseven at 03:57 PM

Logo Design and Context

Michael Beruit at the Design Observer has some useful reminders (or maybe new perspectives for some people) about the importance of context and history to design. Prospective logo designs, in particular, are frequently evaluated as if they were acontextual. But most logos achieve their potential only over time and in the context of their use. The Nike swoosh, for example, means something much different today than it did initially. The swoosh today is one of the most recognized logos on the planet, but this is only when seen against its historical development and use, as part of Nike's aggressive branding campaign.

Give Nike founder Phil Knight credit: he had the vision to admit, “I don’t love it. But I think it’ll grow on me."

Maybe he believed it. Or maybe he was just tired of trying to decide. Either way, context did the rest.

[The Knight link above is to an interesting Stanford alumni magazine article about Knight and the Nike branding campaign.]

Notably, the Nike's branding efforts themselves have also taken place within a broader context that includes critiques of global capitalism (among other things), so the "meaning" of the swoosh is itself a localized, contested articulation: What the swoosh means is different depending on where you stand. Any specific individual or organization cannot simply make a logo (or any other design) mean a single, unified thing for all people in all places at all times.

Posted by johndanseven at 11:20 AM

under construction

So the upgrade worked; things will be a little wonky while I make some changes to the css.

Posted by johndanseven at 10:42 AM | TrackBack

Testing the Upgrade

The site appears to be working. Maybe.

Posted by johndanseven at 10:37 AM | TrackBack

June 24, 2006



Spork graduated from high school this morning; the shot is from her valedictorian's speech, in which she self-identified herself in the role of her tiny, rural school's "resident hippy liberal," then urged the audience to volunteer for at least a couple of hours a week at their favorite local charity. Ever since she's been minus-three-months old, she's been one of my personal heroes.

She's heading out to Skidmore in the fall. We'll miss her. But, on the other hand, we'll appreciate all the extra income from renting her room out. (I hope she finds a job downstate next summer; we're using a 12-month contract on her room.)

(More images in the Flickr set if you want them.

Posted by johndanseven at 11:05 PM

June 22, 2006

Search Engine Referrer Logs 11

10 Jun, Sat, 22:41:36 Google: funny johnson tuna add
13 Jun, Tue, 12:46:18 Google: johnson porn wikipedia
14 Jun, Wed, 22:03:12 Google: dissertation revising book length

Posted by johndanseven at 03:11 PM

June 21, 2006

Things I Have Had to Tell Students, Vol. 1

"Please take your iPod headphones out during the exam."

"Yes, you showed up to all the classes and turned in all the assignments. But that, in itself, won't earn you an A. This isn't high school."1

"No, it's not a freedom of speech issue. If you really want to, you can use your hottie69@hotmail.com account to email your proposal to the client you're working with in this class, but I'm going to take points off your grade for being unprofessional. Your email address is part of the professional identity you're building, and I think it would suggest the wrong profession."

"Don't lean over to the person next to you during a quiz and whisper something, then start laughing. Even it's a really, really funny 4/20 joke."

"It's probably not a good idea to email your professor the pornographic pictures you downloaded from the Internet. It's not professional."2

"I'm sorry that you might be deported, but that's not a valid reason for me to change your grade."

"That's fine, go ahead and answer the cellphone. The class can wait."3

"Hey. Wake up the guy next to you. Go ahead. Whack him really hard on the arm. If I have to be awake, so does he.... [whack] Good morning."

1This one got me in hot water, since I was a TA at the time and the local high school principal's offspring was in my class. Funny story, though.

2The student in question claimed he thought he was attaching the file with his homework. He looked mortified enough when I called him into my office to talk about it, I let him off with a warning.

3About three times a semester.

Posted by johndanseven at 10:14 PM

Pop Will Eat Itself

Stuck in a motel outside North Bay, Ontario, I couldn't find anything to watch on TV. (We don't have cable or satellite at home, so I've lost the ability to sustain much interest in TV. Even that old standby, the Weather Channel.)

I ended up watching an apparently abandoned pilot for "Nobody's Watching," which the WB commissioned but then WB dissolved.

The circularity of the premise is interesting: it's a faux-reality TV show about two guys from Ohio that the WB hires to make a sitcom. Which, of course, makes it easy to do invisible fourth-wall jokes (during the pilot, the main characters, in front of an apparently real studio audience, who are pretending to be a fake studio audience for the sake of the show's premise, realize that they can say the name of any US state and have a portion of the audience cheer) as well as skewer TV sitcoms in general (at one point, a character observes that as long as a show can make some audience happy, it'll stay on the air, no matter how bad it is. The two main characters yell, in unison, "Coach!").

Maybe it'll get picked up by someone. Although if it stays on YouTube, I'll be more likely to watch it.

Posted by johndanseven at 06:47 PM

June 19, 2006

after the storm

After the Storm

Leaves and seedpods from trees at the shoreline blown up against porch windows during a storm last weekend.

Posted by johndanseven at 09:17 AM

June 16, 2006

Embedded Marketing

Web Zen this week has a batch of Advertising Zen links, including one to a McSweeney's post, "Scenes from the Lord of the Rings That Might Have Been Used As Setups For Bad Commercials Had the Filmmakers Not Respected the Material."


ORC: I'm starving. We ain't 'ad nothin' but maggoty bread for three stinkin' days! What about them? (Indicates hobbits.) They're fresh.

URUK-HAI: They are not for eating!

ORC: What about their legs? They don't need those. Ooh—they look tasty.

URUK-HAI: They will need their legs, you scum!

ORC: Why?!

URUK-HAI: To be first in line when Gorman Mitsubishi opens its doors February 18. For one day only, they're offering up to $3,000 in dealer incentives on all 2006 models.

ORC: (Incredulous.) Even the hot new Eclipse?!


ORC: Arghhh! What are we waiting for?!

Posted by johndanseven at 09:57 AM

June 07, 2006


New posts here will be sporadic at best. I'm in Michigan, helping Anne Wysocki run a two-week workshop on Writing New Media.

Posted by johndanseven at 05:23 PM