Monday, August 30

Olympics athlete felled by Bee Sting

ATHENS (Reuters) - Danish mountain biker Mette Andersen had to pull out of the women's Olympic cross country race Friday after being attacked by a bee.

Anderson was stung on the second lap of the five-lap race and had a bad reaction, the whole of the left side of her chest swelling up.

She was receiving medical attention at the course on Mount Parnitha, just north of Athens.
Oddly Enough News Article |

keywords: bike, bicycling, wacky and weird, obscure / obscura, oddly enough

Syracuse newspaper article bashes

Anyone who knows me knows that is my absolute favorite website. As such I'm well beyond the need to defend it when people (whom obviously were raised by monkeys) attack it. I merely in my own smug and arrogant way tell them to pull their heads out of their butts and take a look around at the world at large. Wikipedia is the air we breath. Wikipedia is life itself. You can no sooner deny wikipedia than you could deny the fruits of the world's labor. Wikipedia functions on the same fundamental premise as that which keeps you from getting run over by a car or shot while you're walking down the street. People don't need to be paid money to do good they merely have to see the personal benefit in it.

These people who attack wikipedia are people who invariably think that nothing is any good unless they're getting paid to do it or they're paying somone for it. I say let them eat Encyclopædia Britannica

Today that person is Al Fasoldt, staff righter at the Syracuse Post-Standard. His own ignorance mocks him and it makes for very fun and interesting entertainment for the rest of us. Please do read: Librarian: Don't use Wikipedia as source

Follow up: Who Do You Trust, The Wiki Or The Reporter? on

UPS deploys fuel cell-powered trucks in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

United Parcel Services (UPS) yesterday deployed three fuel cell-powered Dodge Sprinters for service in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Ann Arbor, MI. This launch marks the first use of medium-duty delivery vehicles powered by fuel cells in the U.S., made possible by an alliance between UPS, DaimlerChrysler AG, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
From UPS?s Brown Turns Green, Thanks to Fuel Cells

Around the Capital of Magic with the Bikemob — John Perry Barlow on his participation in New York's Critical Mass bicycle ride

This must be the most enjoyable thing I've read in weeks. I'm quoting quite liberally from John's post, practically the whole thing in fact, but please do jump over and visit his site and read the rest of the post at your own leisure.
I'm pleased to report that everybody behaved gracefully and with restraint. While we did routinely run red lights - YOU try to get 5000 bicycles to stop suddenly - the police were chill and even, it seemed, mildly supportive.

Observers on the sidewalks cheered and clapped as we rode past, though there was the very occasional taunt. (My favorite cultural assertion was the guy who yelled at us, 'Get a car, you fukkin' tree-huggin' fucks.') The bikers yelled, whooped, and whistled a lot. One guy even had a kind of drum kit on his handlebars that he whacked away on throughout the ride. Occasionally we broke into various chants, most commonly a refrain where some folks would shout, 'Bush Sucks,' and the larger mass would reply, 'FUCK BUSH!' Not terribly intelligent, I admit, but shouted with apparent heartfelt conviction. I couldn't get the grin off my face, and neither, it seemed, could anyone else, biker or spectator.

There appeared to be no planned route. We turned an arbitrary new direction whenever we encountered resistance, giving the route a very fractal quality. We ended up riding south to Houston, up 6th to 30th or so, over to Madison and north, across to Broadway on some street in the 50's, and back down Broadway through Times Square, down 7th past Madison Square Garden and then over to the East Village.

Finally, after about two hours, the police decided that it was time to put a stop to it, which they did with efficiency and dispassion. Mobilizing suddenly and in force around St. Mark's Place, they created a box canyon of blue, let it fill with about 250 bicyclists and then methodically, if arbitrarily, arrested them all and hauled them off. They were doing their jobs just as, in a sense, we we were doing ours. When one engages in civil disobedience, arrest is a natural consequence that he should expect. I'm just glad they didn't trap me in their noose.

And, even if they had, it would have been worth the moment when we cascaded down the long slope of Broadway into the incandescent canyon of Times Square. We felt like an irresistible river of anarchic order. The air was cool and perfect. For a moment, all things seemed possible. It occurred to me that a Bike to The Polls movement would be a useful thing to start...

From BarlowFriendz: Around the Capital of Magic with the Bikemob

"Bicycle printer" inventor and activist Joshua Kinberg arrested Saturday in NY during the RNC

Joshua Kinberg of Bikes Against Bush fame (previously posted about on mmeiser blog) was arrested for defacement of property over the weekend in New York while demonstrating his bicycle for a news interview. His bicycle, cell phone, computer and other equipment were confiscated and are being held until his trial. Ironically he had just used his invention to print "America is a free-speech zone" in water soluble chalk on the sidewalk as a demonstration for MSNBC reporter Ron Regan.

About the question of defacement of property:
Bikes Against Bush will utilize a water-soluble chalk mixture. It is the same material used for marking athletic fields. It is environmentally safe and removes easily with water, or naturally biodegrades within 15-30 days. Thus, while the messages may have the appearance of graffiti, this is certainly not an attempt to damage or deface property.
from Bikes Against Bush — FAQ
Always check your legal facts and document them before hand, that way when the NYPD arrest you on fraudulent charges in order to sensor you you'll have a great case. It is highly unlikely that Joshua Kinberg will get his equipment back until after the convention. I will definitely be following this closely and will be making further posts when I find out more about his legal representation. He seems like a very smart guy, I hope that in addition to getting legal advice on his invention, that he also had retained legal counsel prior to participation and demonstration at the RNC.

What most ticks me off about this whole thing is that his form of protest was unique and healthy. When the NYPD silences healthy, non-violent protest such as this they in fact fuel the flames of deviant protesters and encourage people to use more extreme and covert means in order to be heard. I'm very disappointed.

NYC IMC: Activist bike creator Joshua Kinberg arrested 8/28/2004

Download a video of the incident via bittorrent and DV Guide.

Cool new aluminum beer bottles

Beautiful, simple, design. It's nice to be able to post something whose face value is obvious ater that last post.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Business: Beer in aluminum bottles on the way

Sunday, August 29

Bea Arthur of "Golden Girls" TV show fame sparks Terrorist Alert?

Ok, this is just a sign that all the pressure of living as a "nation in fear" is starting to crack us up. What is "this"? Well we're all either cracking up because there's little to no truth to this and it's spreading like wildfire, or it really happened and the TSA is really harassing 81 year old ladies with pen-knives.
Bea Arthur sparked a security scare at Logan Airport in Boston this week when she tried to board a Cape Air flight with a pocketknife in her handbag.

The "Golden Girls" star, now 81, was flagged by a Transportation Security Administration agent, who discovered the knife - a strict no-no following 9/11.

"She started yelling that it wasn't hers and said 'The terrorists put it there,' " a fellow passenger said. "She kept yelling about the 'terrorists, the terrorists, the terrorists.' "From Philadelphia Daily News | 08/26/2004 | Howard Gensler | Could terrorists really Bea after her?
The Details — How bad news propagates.
Turn back now all those who are faint of heart.

I can't determine which is more screwed up the reporting or the actual incident. I can't find a single news source that credibly reports the facts. This is some sort of instant urban legend. Some sort of April fools joke gone terribly wrong. As an example I point to BoingBoing's coverage:
Bea Arthur's fight against the Transport Security Agency
Bea Arthur forgot to take her pocketknife out of her purse last week at Logan airport and when the TSA found it, she ran around screaming, "The terrorists! The terrorists put a knife in my purse! We're all doomed!" She was being funny -- it's what she does. She's the funniest of all the Golden Girls, that's for sure.

The TSA didn't take it well.From Boing Boing: Bea Arthur's fight against the Transport Security Agency
Now, as you know I love the BoingBoing blog, but Cory Doctorow reports that she screamed "We're all doomed!" and cites only the Philadelphia Daily News article which I posted the corresponding quote from above. At no point in the Philly article does it state that Bea SCREAMED "We're all doomed!", nor does the Philly use an exclamation point, nor are the quotes Cory used a series used in rapid progression or even in that order, nor are these exact quotes from Bea's mouth. These are actually in fact quotes different people have attributed to Bea at different times including a random lady near where security stopped her and TSA officials when she got on the plan.

I'm sure you could take the words I've written or said in the last half an hour and string them together like I was plotting a coup. Cory's post is completely misleading and completely untruthful. These words are taken out of context and in fact never necessarily came from Bea's mouth! It would appear that in the space of one person Cory Doctorow has completely recreated the whole story.

Moving on, the San Francisco Gates Coverage. — GOLDEN GIRL CAUSES TERRORIST SCARE IN BOSTON No need to quote it, this SF Gate article is the exact same as the Philly article. Neither of them credit any source, so I'm lead to believe that one of them or perhaps both of them are simply plagiarizing some other article without attribution or even checking the facts. With out attribution any future readers have no way to verify the authenticity or track sources either. It would be better had they not reported this incident at all rather than add to the misinformation.

We now move on to WABC-TV, New York.
'Golden Girls' Star's Comments Don't Get a Laugh at Airport
(NEW YORK - WABC, August 26, 2004) A security scare at the Boston airport involving a heretofore unknown terror threat: namely 'Golden Girl' Bea Arthur.

The 81-year-old actress reportedly left a pen-knife in her handbag, while boarding a 'Cape Air' flight.

Sure it happens, but where she went wrong was to tell security that she didn't put it there, a terrorist did.

Joking about such matters is illegal. But the TSA let the emmy-winning star board the plane anyway."
From "Golden Girls" Star's Comments Don't Get a Laugh at Airport
I believe it would not be out of order for me to call their coverage downright pathetic. While they have not included few detailed facts that could be wrong they're whole transcript is full of assumptions. Notice how the pocket knife is listed as a pen-knife. Notice how they shorten the article by making rapid generalizations and summarization. Notice the poor grammar and sentence structure. It's almost as bad as mine and I don't have an editor nor a budget. Bad news? "Sure it happens," it did with WABC-TV. ; )

Several sites such as the Seattle Post Intelligencer report the quotes and article as originating from, but I've been unable to find such information on IMDB.

In conclusion, NOT one of these sources bothered to verify there information so far as I can tell. They all have different facts, most of which are obviously wrong, and the only one who properly quoted their sources was the Seattle Post Intelligencer although I cannot verify even that. Not one of the articles includes verifiable sources. Not even the names of the TSA officials, not the name of the quoted bystander are included in any report. It's a mess of misinformation propagation. The tail wagging the dog.

Now, that said if Bea Arthur is running around airports screaming about terrorists and doom I think it's pretty important or at least pretty funny, but if this load of clown poop turns out to be nothing more than a bunch of misquotes and sloppy journalism I think every one of these sources owes their readership an apology.

Note: As of the time of this post, the above news sources represent nearly all the news articles available at

Thursday, August 26

Nest sofa - Engadget -

I love it, but how to describe it. It's public art, it's fun, it's a benh, maybee a sofa, sculpture, functional. It's a public nest bench!

Via Nest sofa - Engadget - and MoCoLoco: More Tak

New engine runs on compressed air

Very promising new engine runs on compressed air. It's practicle application is still undetermined.
A garden buggy is the first commercially operated vehicle in Australia to use air as a fuel instead of petrol. But a critic says the air motor would be no use in cars.

The vehicle, which is used to pick up garden material, will maintain the lawns of Melbourne's Fiztroy Gardens after its launch today.
News in Science - Green buggy runs on hot air - 25/08/2004
The Di Pietro engine is a rotary design with two moving parts and, given air in sufficient quantity and pressure, is capable of producing about the same amount of power as a 5-litre V8 petrol engine. It weighs only 13 kilograms, compared with about 90 kilograms for conventional designs
— from ...or even run on air? - National - (free registration required)
There is an excellent Real Audio video clip showing its internal workings at ABC News Australia: New Inventors: Rotary Piston Engine.

'Humanizing and democratizing the net' — Wired interview with Craig, that Craigslist guy

Quotes and thoughts on quotes from the Wired interview with Craig Newmark, that Craigslist guy. A follow up from my earlier post Craiglist reaches a billion page views.
WIRED: What is craigslist's greatest contribution to society?
NEWMARK: Just by being good guys, we've created a culture of trust and fairness. The site makes it easier for people to get everyday stuff done, like selling things and finding an apartment.
It's all about the good overall experience: good people, good vision, good site, good culture, a culture of good. The primary value that differentiates Craigslist from it's competitors is in simply being good. Amazing how one can build a business by simply offering a better experience than the next guy.
I admit that when I think of the money one could make from all this, I get a little twinge. But I'm pretty happy with nerd values: Get yourself a comfortable living, then do a little something to change the world.
Craig is a hactivist through and through.
Really, the only thing I'm missing in terms of quality of life is a permanent parking space.
Glad to see he's keeping it simple, success hasn't gone to his head.
I bet Jeff Bezos has a parking space. How would you compare yourself to Amazon's CEO?
Amazon is great. But Jeff decided he wanted to make a business. Craigslist was a happy accident.
So Craig doesn't want Craigslist to be a "business" in the true sense of the word, I wonder how he would describe it? I wouldn't go expecting him to call it a "community" either. I'm sure he has a much more highly developed concept of what it is, and I'd really love to know. The Wired interviewer really missed out on following though on this question. In fact it occurs to me this interview is a "boxed" interview, definitely not done via email, but obviously very short. I wonder.
What could Bezos learn from craigslist?
I'd like Jeff to listen to customers a little more. I'm a sucker for mystery series, but I still can't get a straightforward list of my favorite stuff. Ninety percent of the function of our site is based on suggestions from users.
Google's touchy-feely corporate mantra is "Don't be evil." What's yours?
Give people a break.

A break from what?
A break from how difficult our lives are. It's like, if you're walking out of your apartment building and somebody is coming the other way with an armful of groceries, you hold the door. It feels good - it's the neighborly thing to do. And our species survives by cooperating.
Ha, simple, sweet and to the point. More reiteration on the common themes I cite of providing good experience and building on social capital.
What poses the major threat to that survival?
Kleptocrats and sociopathic organizations that have the almighty dollar as their only goal.

Are you saying that capitalism is flawed?
We've seen that people in corporations often make moral compromise - what I like to call the Halliburton crime syndicate. They're the epitome of being unfair.
We're well beyond such ridiculous generalizations as "anti-corporate". Kleptocracy and sociopathy are two primary problems facing modern corporate institutions most obviously seen in the fallout from the Enron and Worldcom scandals as well as Google's attempt to become a public corporation and maintain their policy of "not being evil".
When are you going to run for office?
My focus is on restoring democracy to America. We have to restore the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. That said, I have no interest in running for office. That kind of job sucks.
Very interesting, as a developer he sees his ability to use technology to engineer social change as being far more effective than effecting change through politics. This is something not openly addressed, but I'm sure if there was a study done you'd find that it's quite common among programers and tech people. I believe it to be a core value of hactivism, a lack of faith in other political models and an embracing and creation of new mean and models. It's a core element of our current rapid evolution in the technological world.
You're also a cyberpunk buff. How has, say, William Gibson's Neuromancer influenced the way you've run craigslist?
Those books talk about a future that's exciting technologically but darker, where everyday people have less of a voice and are increasingly controlled by big organizations. I figure we can be a counter-example.
No real explanation needed, he believes in small organizations, giving people a better voice and that the two directly relate.
At the end of Neuromancer, the hacker cowboy hero gets a huge payday. When's yours?
I'm not in a hurry. Our planning horizon is 200 years, or until the singularity.
Not sure what he means by "until the singularity" it has too many possible meanings. Of course that's part of the reason why he said it.

All quotes are from: Wired 12.09: Mr. Craigslist, Master of the Nerdiverse

Be sure to check out Craigs blog. There's a nice response to eBay's purchase of 25% of Craigslist.craigblog: eBay and craigslist.

via Joi Ito's Web: Interview with Craig from Craigslist and Boing Boing: Craig of Craigslist interview.

Sunday, August 22

The Next Social Revolution

"In a recent interview, Howard Rheingold (author of Smart Mobs) discussed the possibility of a 'new economic system' born of 'unconscious cooperation' embodied by such technologies as Google links and Amazon lists, Wikipedia, wireless devices using unlicensed spectrum, Web logs, and open-source software. Rheingold speculates that 'the technology of the Internet, reputation systems, online communities, mobile devices...may make some new economic system possible....We had markets, then we had capitalism, and socialism was a reaction to industrial-era capitalism. There's been an assumption that since communism failed, capitalism is triumphant, therefore humans have stopped evolving new systems for economic production.' However, Rheingold is worried that established companies with business models that are threatened by these new technologies could 'quash such nascent innovations as file-sharing -- and potentially put the U.S. at risk of falling behind the rest of the world.'
Q: If so, it's a good bet not all companies will be happy with the changes.

A: New digital technologies are creating a crisis in the business models of the companies that depend on having a monopoly on distribution. Look at MP3 blogs: We're now seeing bands that are saying, "Please pirate my material. Here it is." They make money from that. They get bookings from that. They build an audience on that.

Q: Are there more such conflicts and opportunities to come?

A: Assigning frequencies to license an old-fashioned scheme...based on technologies of the 1920s. We now have technologies that make it possible to use the spectrum the way packets use the Internet. Instead of having a circuit-switched analog system in which you have to have an end-to-end connection, you just send your packets out with their addresses through this network and they find their way. It's much more efficient. It makes for millions more broadcasters in the Internet space. This is all pointing to a kind of voluntary sharing of your property.

Q: Does the pushback by companies threatened by these trends, such as the record and movie companies, threaten innovation?

A: Yes. Never before in history have we been able to see incumbent businesses protect business models based on old technology against creative destruction by new technologies. And they're doing it by manipulating the political process. The telegraph didn't prevent the telephone, the railroad didn't prevent the automobile. But now, because of the immense amounts of money that they're spending on lobbying and the need for immense amounts of money for media, the political process is being manipulated by incumbents.

Q: What might keep these powerful incumbents from holding back this tide?

A: You've got to have some huge force outside of the United States, where it's getting locked down. What if China says, "The FCC doesn't rule us. We're going to stop assigning frequencies within our borders. We're going to regulate devices so that they play fair with each other, and we're going to open up spectrum." That's going to make the U.S. an economic and technological backwater.

Then there's always the idea that maybe we're just beginning to see disruptive technologies. Maybe something is just going to blow it away. Certainly we've seen that over and over again in recent decades."
Full Article: MSNBC -
Howard Rheingold's Latest Connection

Saturday, August 21

'Butt Seriously' — is there a big butt trend in New York?

Motordyke I dedicate this post to you. I hope your leg is feeling better.

I ussually don't concern myself with reading about butts (I prefer to experience them in the real world), but then I've never read such great literary, NY insider, color commentary on the secrete (to me) world of the white female butt. Thank you Village Voice and Sloane Crosley for making me a more well rounded and happier individual.
"White girls with big asses, man. There goes another one, a J. Crew cardigan riding up atop a buttock so big, so out of place, it makes you wonder if Serena Williams woke up this morning wondering where her ass went. Temperatures are going up, taking hemlines with them, and the trendy white ass is hanging out there like a couple of upside-down Tasty-D scoops. They're taking over this city. They're everywhere I turn: in dressing rooms, in store windows, in that pond with the little boats - anywhere I can look down and see my own reflection.

Sloane Crosley is a writer living in New York. She likes to keep her ass out of trouble as much as possible."
From The Village Voice: Butt Seriously by Sloane Crosley. It's a great read wether you're you like the subject matter or not.

via adrants Adrants: Media Tries to Fight Proliferation of White Girls With Big Butts

Thursday, August 19

John Perry Barlow on the Intellectual Property Issue

Some great John Perry Barlow quotes pulled from a Reason interview by Tim Wu who's guest blogging on Lawrence Lessig's blog this week.
'Copyright and intellectual property are the most important issues now. If you don't have something that assures fair use, then you don't have a free society. If all ideas have to be bought, then you have an intellectually regressive system that will assure you have a highly knowledgeable elite and an ignorant mass.'

'I personally think intellectual property is an oxymoron. Physical objects have a completely different natural economy than intellectual goods. It's a tricky thing to try to own something that remains in your possession even after you give it to many others.'

'Trying to own intellectual products and creating an economy of scarcity around them as we do with physical objects is very harmful to the development of culture and the ability to speak freely, and a very important principle not talked about much, which is the right to know.'

'The motion picture industry should realize in an information economy that when you've got a lot of free access to commercial goods it does not necessarily reduce their value, because there is a relationship between value and familiarity in informational goods.'

'I get pilloried for saying this -- 'Oh, Barlow thinks the Grateful Dead model ought to extend to the world' -- but I don't see any reason why it can't. It worked for us and it has worked for everyone else I've ever seen try it. I think that what we stumbled into was a real deep -- we didn't know it at the time -- a deep quality of how an information economy works. We really did just stumble into it. We just decided it was morally shaky to toss people out of concerts just because they had tape recorders. It's bad for your karma to be mean to a Deadhead. And we thought we'd take a hit on it.'
Barlow quotes from Reason: John Perry Barlow 2.0: The Thomas Jefferson of cyberspace reinvents his body -- and his politics via Lawrence Lessig's Blog.

Also, I've added some quotes pulled from the prophetic A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace published by Barlow on February 8th, 1996.
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

... You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.
It is very interesting to note that even when this was written 8 full years ago that John Barlow and those who undoubtedly helped craft this declaration had already been grappling with the tremendous conflict inherent in the "intellectual property" issue. It very well may be an impossibility to separate through law the evils from the goods that come out of a free and open society. However base social engineering like the wiki may one day very well prove that the the answer to law and order on the internet is not in law at all not in the code at all, but in self governance of the masses through the study, faith and encouragement of the mythical inherent good in mankind. What I've called that magical quality that happens when you trust people. Could it really come down to simple faith in the inherent good of mankind and if so will our governing institutions be able to make that leap of faith? Will our industries be good enough to weather it? Most importantly will we as individuals be bold enough, smart enough, motivated and active enough to architect and to develop the necessary mechanisms of change or will we continue to build and use p2p systems that exploit the internet to bad ends rather than build upon it to enable great new beginnings?

Update! Also on topic is this excellent article by Barlow; The Economy of Ideas — Selling Wine Without Bottles on the Global Net. It starts with the following quote which not to surpassingly is from Thomas Jefferson himself. If you haven't already wondered why Barlow has been called the "Thomas Jefferson of the internet" after reading his "Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" then you really should be gettin' it by now.
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

Wednesday, August 18

Mozilla Calendar

Mozilla's calendar app reached it's first public beta (beta 2) release. This is exciting news, I suppose. I use it infrequently to check my calendar - until, that is, they removed the ability to use authenticated WebDAV. Hopefully the calendar comes a long way so that I can eventually synch it with my Palm.


Random media — the wacky, weird and funny

Knight Rider Jr. — Video of some guys building and destroying their own full size remote control car.

Discrimanating bear prefers Rainier 36 to 1 over Bush

Random Chappel Show Outtake (10.5 mb, MPG video) — A Getaway video game spoof?

President Bush takes yet another tumble on his bike

All via my friends at (warning XML, only viewable in certain browsers, such as Mozilla compatible browsers)

The Dawn of L.A. new Wave style

I just stumbled upon the scans of two whole issues of Wet Magazine. It is a spactacular L.A. based new wave magazine from 1978. In it are some great jems. A couple of my favorites are; some old KROQ ads (1 and 2), a Tom Petty ad, an exceptional Devo ad, and several interviews such as that of Timothy Leary.

BoingBoing had a blurb about it back in May.
Wet was a graphically innovative magazine that predated zines. I remember seeing some copies in the early 80s and liking the design a lot. The guys who made Wet later went on to write the Graphic Design Cookbook, which I used as inspiration for the print edition of bOING bOING. Designer Jennifer Sharpe (daughter of famed street prankster Mal Sharpe) has uploaded two complete issues to her site.

Tuesday, August 17

The BBC's open media project

The BBC just published some interesting official news on their attempts to publish their entire content archive online.
Researchers at the BBC have been studying how to put the Corporation's archive online after chairman Michael Grade labelled it public property and said that it should, as far as possible, be made freely available.

There are formidable obstacles to placing the entire archive online, which amounts to a national memory bank involving copyright, repeat fees and partnership deals. But engineers now know what would be required to do so.
The BBC is doing some other navel gazing as its Charter comes up for review, and radical ideas are being thrown about.

It is developing an open source video codec, called Dirac, to replace the Real Networks software currently used to stream video from the BBC site. This could challenge other commercial formats, including Microsoft's Windows Media Player 9.

BBC researchers are also grappling with other implications of the convergence of computing with consumer electronics, including the possibility that easy TV recording on cheap portable devices could see consumers start to view programmes in chunks, rather like reading a book.

IBM motion for judgement

The Register and Groklaw are both reporting on IBM's motion for summary judgement. This isn't big or exciting, though, as we knew it was going to happen. What is interesting, however, is the part on derivative works. You can find a copy of the summary here - which I haven't read because it's all legalese. The Groklaw article is a good breakdown of the summary in human readable format.

RFID 'Lamps' Map the Physical World — the new architecture of information


The time is soon coming when a hand held device might provide infinite google type information not just in stores but in all aspects of life. An "ambient technology" where a simple handheld device might be a launch pad for further information, similar to a camera but in addition to just chronicling information, also allowing for real-time further information gathering. I predict this will soon be a revolutionizing feature for cell-phone/PDA/camera devices. The future is very close it primarily is waiting for higher speed, more ubiquitous wireless data. This is just out of reach of the the T-mobile Sidekick or Sprint PCS Vision or Blackberry solutions. The only real issue is to demonstrate market demand and make "always on" wireless data devices with low latency to keep the responses quick. We're so very, very close.

RFID 'Lamps' Map the Physical World

One further point, mix this automatic information launch pad with a little GPS and you'd have a device capable of chronicing not just what and when you looked at something, but also where. You could create 3D geographical memory models. Very interesting, but not without privacy issues.

I'm still waiting for cameras that not only stamp date/time information but also GPS information. Very, very, cool.

Olympic Mascots Called Animated Condoms

They're getting more bad press than the Olsen twins, and worse reviews than the latest Spike Lee flick. Olympic mascots Phevos and Athena, siblings named for a pair of Greek deities, are catching an ungodly amount of abuse around Athens.

The pair were derided in various news articles, described as animated condoms and mutants from a nuclear meltdown. Their names were co-opted by anti-Olympic activists, who promptly firebombed two government vehicles in February.
Article: Calgary Herald - network

via Adrants: Olympic Mascots Called Animated Condoms

note: The Calgary Herald seems to have removed the original article but it lives on through google cache. If they get it removed from google, then just let me know and I'll post it on my server. This removal of articles as a form of censorship will never work. Once it's out there, it's out there people. There is no shutting down freedom of speach online. If you squelch one voice a thousand more will step up to take it's voice.

Athens 2004 hyperlink policy absurdness

Being inspired by this policy I will (in the coming days) seek to illustrate for everyone how not to link to the Athens 2004 website. Furthermore I encourage others to do so in memory of the fun, open spirit that the olympics once was. I will start right now by breaking point (A) of's crappy internet hyperlink policy using terms other than "ATHENS 2004", such as "crappy" in linking to the site. ; )
ATHENS 2004 Organising Commitee for the Olympic Games -Website Hyperlink Policy

For your protection and ours we have established a procedure for parties wishing to introduce a link to the ATHENS 2004 website on their site. By introducing a link to the ATHENS 2004 official Website on your site you are agreeing to comply with the ATHENS 2004 Website General Terms and Conditions. In order to place a link embedded in copy interested parties should:

a) Use the term ATHENS 2004 only, and no other term as the text referent

b) Not associate the link with any image, esp. the ATHENS 2004 Emblem (see paragraph below)

c) Send a request letter to the Internet Department stating:

· Short description of site

· Reason for linking

· Unique URL containing the link (if no unique URL than just the main URL)

· Publishing period

· Contact point (e-mail address)

My cliff notes on the Olympic coverage

First, the most alarming issue is the great US media firewall / blackout on the olympics. This goes well beyond just making sure NBC gets it's money's worth in advertising dollars. There has even been a black out of coverage on blogs (but more on that later). This is censorship, a violation of freedom of speech and a violation of freedom of the press. It also poses an undue burden on broadcasters in other countries. It is simply absurd. I can't believe the courts have allowed capitalist interests to trump such fundamental civil liberties. We're use to talking about censorship and media blackouts in other coutries such as the Russia's Iron Curtin or the great firewall of China, but here in the US? This is a first. (I'll be blogging more on this later.)
The Summer Olympics, which began Friday in Athens, is the first Olympic Games to be broadcast from a collection of websites. The BBC and other European networks are offering live, on-demand Internet video streaming of Olympic events to broadband viewers. But the BBC and fellow members of the European Broadcasting Union are required by their Olympic broadcast contracts to block U.S. Internet users and others from outside their home counties.

NBC paid $793 million for the exclusive U.S. Summer Olympic broadcast rights, and is the only U.S. website licensed by the International Olympic Committee to broadcast video coverage of the games.

Some Australian broadcast outlets have been forced to shut down their Internet radio broadcasting streams to avoid breaching the International Olympic Committee's strict rules governing use of games material.
Why the fascist media control?
"NBC can't afford for this event to not be what it has been, and better,' said Dean Bonham, chief executive of the Bonham Group in Denver, a sports and entertainment marketing consultant. NBC paid $793 million for the television rights to the Games, and an additional $3.7 billion for rights to the Summer and Winter Olympics through 2012."
The color commentary...
I'd like to personally commend NBC for screwing up yet another of the Olympics opening ceremonies. NBC is the world's gold medal champion in providing sucktacular coverage of one of humanities better events. Surely we can do much, much better than this.
Nike permanently affixes goggles to Olympic swimmers' eyes. Engaget blogger Ryan Block exaggerates a little (the goggles are not permanent) but this is still a must read.
If you're planning on swimming in the Olympics, you've got to be prepared to go the extra mile to shave off a few hundredths of a second off your time. It's not enough to have laser remove all your body hair and wear rubber band underwear anymore, now Nike wants you to use their latest drag-killing device, the strapless water goggles. How does it work? Two independent goggle lenses get afixed to your eye sockets with medical-grade adhesive (read: superglue). Say, while you're at it, why don't you just get your toes and fingers sewn together like a duck?
Security, Security, Security
New Scientist has an article looking at the US$312 million surveillance system installed for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The eyes and ears consist of 1,000 high-res and infrared videocameras peppering the city. Cell and landline telephone calls are being recorded, converted into text, and "scanned for phrases that could be linked to terrorist activity." The software's developers say it speaks Greek, English, Arabic, Farsi, and other major languages.
Poor attendance?
'We will not be giving away tickets,' said Michalis Zacharatos, chief spokesman for organisers Athoc.

Latest figures from the Games organisers showed that less than 50% of tickets had been sold in 27 out of 54 events on Sunday."

On Saturday, the first full day of competition, weightlifter Nurcan Taylan became the first Turkish woman to win an Olympic gold medal but her feat was achieved in a near empty stadium.
A spectacular opening ceremony? Of course it's the Greek press doing the praise but I like it none the less.
The Greek press is in raptures on Saturday after the opening ceremony for the Athens Olympics.
Olympic butts are a big hit
Seven out of the current top twenty most popular photos on Yahoo! News are of female Olympian asses
— via

To be fare this one is technically of breasts, and let's not forget these two Greek divers hugging.

Wednesday, August 11

Finding Forrester — Analysis on how blogging defines using a new architecture for information

When I find a site for a research and consulting business like Forrester Research I find the task of determining who they are and what they do to be a daunting task. Sure I can read marketing speak all day summarizing up what they say they do and where their areas of expertise are, but I increasingly find the heart of the matter is revealed in the "water cooler talk". "Water cooler talk" is what blogging and articles of interest are. They are an insight into the granular level of detail that is happening in the corporation that shape it's culture and reveal honestly a look into what motivates and drives them at a person to person level. This is what I'm interested in because unless it's McDonald's (which a consulting company most clearly is not) you are going to be doing business with real live people not some prepackaged and uniformed individual who's primary purpose is to be a walking, talking embodiment of corporate ideology. Blogs reveal the humanity in corporations which fundamentally connects to the humanity in their clients. Person to Person (or Peer to peer / P2P) is the level creative business is done on. I don't do business with market speak, advertising or corporate ideologies. I do business with people.

This "water cooler" level of interaction with potential clients was historically unheard of because in a world where you only have 15 seconds to grab an individual's attention you sure as hell weren't going to waste time putting forth marketing material talking about how the Real vs. Apple DRM conflict is changing the digital music industry.

My how times have changed. Marketing and advertising "conversations" have only just evolved within the last five years and they are still in their infancy. We still put out the marketing speak, the attention getters, and the brand names as identifiers which can if remembered be followed up upon. However increasingly we can cut these first contacts shorter and shorter.

Why? First, less explanation is necessary because our market circles are smaller, tighter and more specific so we don't need to be as broad or focus attention as quickly. Second, there is higher capitalization on potential customers because now the cost of the potential client to follow through from the initial contact, ad, or marketing blip to an in depth article of interest is lower. In summary it is inherent to the new media marketplace that the clients have much more specific ideas of what they need and it is much easier for them to follow through on their interests.

In short the architecture of our information systems have changed. The medium is the message or at least helps tremendously to formulate it and change it. The architecture implied by new media makes the difference. We have switched from a model based on casting a wide net to a model based on a high and specific level of interest. You can see this pervade every level of society from our choices in the music we listen too (the top 10% of musicians accounted for 90% of the music industry income just 2 years ago, now they only account for 40% of the income), to what we watch on TV, to our hobbies and our social circles. Some call this "geek culture", perhaps a progression on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to self actualization. I just explain it as "geek culture goes mainstream", "Engage at will". People have the ability to for the first time in history to follow through on highly specialized interests on a mass scale. This should be even more revolutionary than the advent of broadcast media ever was. This is the bottom up paradigm the exact opposite of the era of captive audiences, the few to the many, the broadcast nation. It's an awesome responsibility and power. Engage at will.

This new conversational and more natural methodology of self promotion and marketing is embodied in blogging. I could use some bombastic approach to talk about who I am and what my interests are, or I can give you the Cliffs Notes on who I am, a list of fields of interest and expertise and then send you off to the dog and pony show of current events and happenings that is my blog so you can really get a sense of what I find interesting, how I look at it, how I talk about it and my general personality. Ultimately the blog is a much better representation of me than any resume, marketing bio or "about" page.

Can we take the conversationalism of blogging into the traditional media such as TV and radio? In a word, no. Sure there is perhaps something to be learned or passed on from this new conversational realm of marketing and advertising, but the basic problem is the capitalization costs are way to high and the audience is way to broad in traditional media to make that solid connection. Instead we depend on an imperfect system that spreads distraction with unnecessary information (aka. mental pollution) balanced with spectacle in the form of humor, irony, parody, and the big kid on the block, satire. Only a small percentage of an audience in a traditional media marketplace that is exposed to the message will ever be interested in it and only a fraction of that remaining audience will be able to remember and follow up on the meme to gain further knowledge.

That wide scope being stated I followed along with Forrester Research as they gave me all the standard marketing and self describing rhetoric on the standard "about" and "product and research" pages of their website. I must say I didn't generally find them useful beyond the first paragraph.

Details, Details, Details

Turn back all you who or faint of interest we go now to where the tire meets the road.

Here's a simplified user experience study explained from my limited perspective. On Forrester's products and services page I found it interesting that they say they are into Research, Data, Consulting and Community. As for the specifics? Well the brand and marketing speak clearly get is the way of understanding:

» WholeView 2 Research
» Fast, flexible analyst access
» Consumer & Business Technographics®
» Omnibus
» Forrester's Ultimate Consumer Panel
» Forrester Oval ProgramTM
» ForrTelsTM

As we can see above the services are either completely proprietary brand names and therefore unable to be disseminated or in the case of "fast, flexible analyst access" they are wordy to the point of distraction. Never mind that it's "fast and flexible", is "analyst access" an actual service, product or specific interface, or is "analyst access" a hi-light of some aspect of their service such as being easy to get a hold of on the phone or responsive?

At this point I'm bailing. My eyes have glazed over and there's way more generic marketing speak and brands than I'm willing or should have to shake a stick at. This is a complete misuse of brand and marketing speak.

Forrester, you have me, I am here, just tell me what you do. Please do not feed me the marketing and brand BS when you already have my attention. Repeat customers and internal business professionals need the specific brand names as a handle to discuss and progress the ease of interaction and understanding, but used in this context they are an obstacle to new and potential customers. Shame. For a research and consulting company that seems to be completely experience oriented they should know better. Below are much better examples I've either made up or paired down. Notice how they are all lowercase to avoid confusion over wether they are proper brand name or simply descriptors and common terminologies.
» the venture capital program
» boot camps
» forums
» consumer panels
» consumer research

These terms are commonly understood terms by professionals and laymen alike. From a hierarchical standpoint a product and service overview should ALWAYS go for understanding FIRST and marketing and brand speak secondarily.

If Forrester really wanted to make some sense to new visitors and potential customers AND still use their brands it can certainly be done. A simple example: a grid giving the common name for the service in the first column and then the brand names or better yet the logos in the second column. This could also be done simply in paragraph form, or even with an added marketing speak description. For example, the common name is the paragraph title, the description contains the marketing speak, a pull quote could contain a testimonial, and a picture element the brand name or logo. These are but a couple of the basic options traditional design gives us to resolve such problems and build knowledge into the design of the page. The primary focus is (to reiterate) to automatically clarify and impart knowledge as to the proper product brand names and what they are properly and commonly understood to be.

Finally, the actual proper description and brand name should be immediately reiterated on the the individual product or service page. Forrester seems to do quite well with this but without the connection on the overview page they are at a loss. For example:
"Forrester's WholeView 2TM research is the foundation of all of our offerings. Unlimited Inquiry to analysts, regular teleconferences about research ideas, and a seat at a Forum are included for Member-level clients."
So, I'm going to at this point skip an analysis of the about page. I think you get the drift, and we're going to go straight into Forrester's Articles of interest which they call "Browse Research". It is essentially an extensive blog format. It consists of reverse chronological posts, but the sheer number of people involved and the categories makes this a highly developed blog. It is quite unique and appears to be a very good way of creating customer dialogue, marketing, and building consensus and direction. Very bottom up and very democratic for such a company. In fact they take a big and positive step in a new direction away from the traditional marketing spiel and if it's any indicator at all of what type of company they are then I want to work for them.

First I find it very interesting that they charge for most of their entries and articles. In fact barring the details it's a NY Times model. Give away the intro for free and charge for the full article. The biggest difference in this case is the articles seem to start at $75 and appear to go up to several hundreds of dollars. Also of interesting note, which is sad, is that they lack and very much need RSS feeds.

Who is Forrester according to their articles?

So what are they interested in? Well, let's start with things that they are interested in and that I'm interested in. Keep in mind that I culled this from their website in about 20 minutes, but each one of these I've read and is worthy of some post and discussion on this blog. I must say I'm quite enamored by their direction and level of interest.

Apple iTunes Jump-Starts Windows Digital Music
Why? Two reasons, peerless ease of use and broad awareness.
1) organize and find digital music files; 2) rip songs from CDs with great sound quality; 3) make playlists; 4) burn CDs and DVDs; 5) copy files to Apple's iPod portable players; and 6) buy music from Apple's iTunes store. The strength here is in the integration...
US Anti-piracy Bill Won't Stop File Sharing
File-sharing will survive the IICA. With 44 million Americans sharing files, stamping out file-sharing services is like killing bacteria with antibiotics ? it causes resistant strains to emerge.
Paid download services are the answer. Services like Kazaa already operate in the shadows; the IICA would further that trend. By contrast, industry-backed, profit-seeking services like iTunes and Napster keep improving with better connections to portables and more flexible packaging, including subscriptions. The best weapon in the antipiracy war is to stimulate competition among legitimate services, which we estimate will reap $300 million in US revenues this year alone."
TV Ads Hit The Web -- And Stop
Traditional advertisers love it.
Six advertisers and 15 media properties have signed up for the six-week beta test starting today, including AT&T, ESPN, iVillage, Honda, MSN, Pepsi, and Tribune Interactive.
However the model is dead
But TV ads online don't make sense for consumers. Television ads are designed for that medium's entertainment-focused environment and consumers' passive mindset. Online, consumers are more actively engaged in the content"
The new model is "quality of attention", better translated to quality of the experience
Media companies will want to charge based on the size of the audience, but advertisers will want to pay only for consumers who viewed the ad.
My predicted outcome. Go look up "honda cog" on google. This is what the future of advertising is about. It's word of mouth, it rewards quality, creativity and ingenuity. In short you pay the people who create it and the people who promote it. You can't buy the eyeballs online. BTW, and if you like that one I've got a million more.

From Discs To Downloads
Hard media is in jeopardy: By 2008, revenues from CDs will be off 19%, while DVDs and tapes will drop 8%. Piracy and its cure -- streaming and paid downloads -- will drive people to connect to entertainment, not own it.

» File sharing has lopped $700 million off of music sales.
» Proliferating on-demand media services will overtake piracy.
» In five years, 33% of music sales will come from downloads.
» CD sales will be down 30% from their 1999 peak.
» Various forms of video on-demand will gross $4.2 billion

What it means
Portals and cable win the on-demand media sweepstakes.

TV networks: Get those DVDs of popular series out quickly.
I don't necessarily agree with all their stats or summaries but one thing is important here and is clear. We need new marketplaces for getting video and other media on demand.

Blogging: Not Even Close To Mainstream
My thoughts? First, i wish I could get the rest of the article, but $75? Blogging is fundamentally NOT about mainstream. Blogging is a conversational medium. Saying it's not mainstream is like saying dinner table discussions aren't mainstream. Whether or not it's mainstream is irrelevant and that is precisely the point because a blog is relevant to the people who participate it just like you're family dinner table discussions are only relevant to your family. Now... Metablogs like Slashdot on the other hand, that is another story altogether.

One Cheer For XP Media Center 2004
Kudos to Microsoft for: 1) integrating the platform with download services like Movielink and Napster, and 2) bringing pause and rewind, TiVo-style, to live streamed radio. But we remain skeptical that Media Center Edition will sell.
The PC experience doesn't belong in the living room. We've said it before and we'll say it again: The complex interface, unparalleled user control, and open standards make the PC the ideal device for checking email, getting news, and editing and managing content. But when it comes time to passively listen to music or watch video, consumers don't want to wait for a PC to boot, worry about it crashing, or have to navigate through numerous menus.
You heard it, the Windows XP interface was created for sitting at a desk not a couch. As such it is on the whole a little to tedious. Then again so is the experience with most digital cable TV. ;)

Oh, and it's too expensive.

DNC Bloggers Missed An Opportunity
The Democratic National Convention recently admitted 30 bloggers as credentialed press. While they provided amusing and insightful anecdotes to traditional media, these new-age reporters missed the chance to be the public's eyes and ears where the real action took place: in the more than 200 sideshow events. Blogging serves its best role when it produces stories that the mainstream press cannot cover.

Damn, this I'd like to read, but it's not worth $99. In this one case Forester got it half wrong. Bloggers did miss an opportunity at the DNC, but it's not that they failed as press. It's the fact that they failed to scream "Hey! We're Not Press". Blogging is conversation, and even if they were press a few bloggers can't cover the DNC. On the other hand the traditional press can't create round table discussion and debate on a topic. There is a disconnect.
The whole issue was completely misleading from the start. The two COMPLIMENT each other quite well, so why is their so much anxiety, misunderstanding and posturing? Traditional press people for the most part don't seem to get it, and maybe the bloggers who excepted the invitation didn't fully understand the expectations they were putting themselves in either. This may have set progress back a little.

The Consumer Advertising Backlash(paid)
Consumers feel overwhelmed by intrusive, irrelevant ads. The result: a backlash against advertising ? manifesting itself in the growing popularity of do-not-call lists, spam filters, online ad blockers, and ad skipping on digital video recorders (DVRs). Marketing campaigns of the future must facilitate consumers' cross-channel search for information, going beyond the brand promises made in traditional advertising.
Travelers' Mobile Device Ownership Will Spur Wi-Fi
Mobile technology device ownership is pervasive among both business and leisure travelers. Nearly all own a mobile phone, three in 10 leisure travelers own a laptop computer, and PDA ownership among business and leisure travelers is substantially higher than the US average. The real news is the bear-hug embrace travelers have given Wi-Fi connectivity, primarily via their laptops, and for which most bear the cost personally. Hotels, airports, and establishments that serve travelers must focus on installing Wi-Fi to satisfy wired travelers' need, or passion, to remain connected. Wi-Fi will become the next value-added marketing amenity, starting with hotels, which will use it to as an incentive to attract Bookers to their sites from Web travel agencies."
Portable Media Players (paid)
Apple's iPod has garnered huge amounts of press coverage and propelled hard-disk-based portable audio players into the limelight. But what's next? Microsoft is pinning its hopes on the growth of a fledgling category of new devices: portable media players. Why just have sound when you can have video as well! But this is not just an added feature ? video presents a whole new set of barriers, including the different nature of consumer consumption, lower-cost alternative devices, and, currently, a lack of content services for these new devices. Nonetheless, aggressive pricing by device manufacturers will get these devices into consumers' hands and pockets ? but don't expect meteoric sales in the next two years.
All Roads Lead To Customer Experience

Introducing Forrester's Customer Experience First Look

The Digital Home Reshapes The Value Chain
Saving the best for last. This is a must read. To much good stuff to summarize.
1. Everyone is (rightly) nervous.
2. Dollars are moving away from content creators.
3. The hardware business ain't so rosy, either.
4. Dollars are flowing to the application layer.
5. Experiences will mean more than any piece of the chain. Is there one place in the value chain that is best? No. For companies pondering where they should be, the question to ask is: What is the best place in the chain for a particular experience? For video search or a local directory, distribution players will exert the most leverage. For long-form entertainment, content owners will win out. For business information or communication experiences, apps will harvest the most value. Devices will control experiences that are intimately tied to the device, like photos or games.
Point five is what primarily interests me. This goes all the way back to Marshal McLuhan. "Experiences > business models > meduiums > messages". That and every conceivable combination and order.

In summary. There is no summary. You've seen it, you've read it. I think it makes my point. The posts are more fun to read (even with my comments) and at the same time do a far better job of explaining the company, and as used in this context they also explain a lot about me.

Once again, it's to bad Forester doesn't have an RSS feed or possibly even comments. (Hint. Hint.)

Tuesday, August 10

The Merry Bloggers set out on 'Segway across America' trek

The Register has a superbly written mocking article on the team of four that is setting out to Segway across America. Here's a bit of the intro.
Back in the good old days, strong men such as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Ken Kesey went screaming across the great American highways with heads hopped full of sour mash and benzedrine. They performed lewd acts, taunted the police, harassed the stiffs and produced great art. These days we're left with four twenty-something geeks traveling country roads at 10 mph with their Segways, iPods and blogs.

Is the American Dream dead? It may well be.

This Thursday four white-toast yuppies will set out on a 4,300 mile trek from Seattle to Boston. One of the four - Josh Caldwell - will be riding a Segway scooter for this entire journey backed up by Hunter Weeks, Pat Armstrong and J. Fred Keough in a support vehicle. The fearsome foursome plan to make an online documentary of the Segway journey, interviewing people along the road and blogging about the rigors of going up mountains on an upright, glorified wheelchair.

'My american dream is to be an individual and to be the best person I can be with the talents that I have [Such as standing - Ed],' Armstrong says in a video promoting the Segway stunt. 'And so that's part of what I like about this expedition is that I am just going to go out there and find out for myself and learn about it and hopefully come back and be able to make some sense of it.'

Right . . ."
I did not know The Register was capable of such fine writing and fine sarcasm. Thank you Ashlee Vance of The Register for this superbly written article.
The Merry Bloggers set out on 'Segway across America' trek | The Register

Another very informative article on the subject:
Slow Ride: It's Segway or the highway for these Denver filmmakers. | 2004-08-05

The official website:
American Dream :: Segway across America at 10 MPH

The NPR Radio segment:
NPR : 'America at 10 MPH' Tours Nation on a Segway

Even more humor due Ashlee Vance of the Register:
Segways are brilliant, you idiots | The Register

Monday, August 9 — Another attempt at an open media repository

Marc's Voice:

Wired 12.08: The Lost Boys — The new media paradigm in advertising

I'm trying something new. This Wired article based on the shifting media paradigm I nearly wanted to quote the whole thing. So, since I don't think Wired would like that, and it's not within the scope of fair use I've decide to move to a heavily annotated style, which really interweaves some of my perspectives.
Since the big broadcast networks no longer deliver the mass audience the company needs, Coca-Cola cut its network ad spending last year by 10 percent. 'Where are we going?' Coke's then-president, Steven Heyer, asked rhetorically at an Advertising Age conference in 2003. 'Away from broadcast TV as the anchor medium.' Acknowledging that many in the ad industry are afraid to follow, he added bluntly, 'Fear will subside, or the fearful will lose their jobs. And if a new model isn't developed, the old one will simply collapse.'"
The music industry needs to learn from Steven Heyer. He is a wise man. I was beginning to think no incumbent corporations got the new bottom-up media paradigm. At least Steven Heyer is willing to listen. I'll give a heads up the old models for business and advertising DO NOT WORK, perhaps they never did. We just traded a pound of physical flesh for a pound of mental flesh where the damage was not nearly so visible... ADHD and anxiety disorders galore. What we need is simple, we need to embrace people power. People will celebrate great products and people will participate in the marketing and even creation and development of new products if they feel the companies give half a shit about them. Example: Open Source Software
"Used to be, TV was the answer," proclaimed the president of GM North America. "The only problem is that it stopped working sometime around 1987." The broadcast networks have been losing audience share for years, thanks to the remote control, TiVo, and all the new channels on cable and satellite. But when Nielsen Media Research announced last fall that young males - the hardest-to-reach and most intensely targeted subset of humans in North America - were watching 12 percent less prime-time network TV than the year before, Madison Avenue went on orange alert. True, the falloff was only 26 minutes a week - but in the ad business, a few lost minutes can add up to major trauma
In the five years that Jeffrey Cole has been running the UCLA Internet Project, he's found that Net users consistently watch less TV than other people - in 2003, more than five hours less per week. This pattern has held for every age group, for both sexes, and in every country he's studied, from Hungary to South Korea. Young men are simply the advance guard.
. . . "The business model of television, which is to deliver viewers to advertisers," he declares, "is as troubled as that of the music industry."
Amen to that. However the difference is that advertisers are acting as intermediaries to change business models.
"People don't have to listen to you anymore, and they won't," declares Tim Harris, the 30-year-old co-chief of Starcom's new video-game operation. "I mean, I resent commercials - they make me push three buttons on my TiVo."

"I feel manipulated and angry," says Lee, a 33-year-old musician. "Having these things forced down my throat all the time - especially with network television, it's loud, it's brash."

"Now that I have TiVo, I realize how much of TV is actually commercials," says Nick, a 25-year-old marine biologist. "I can watch two shows in almost the time it took me to watch one. Then if I see a commercial I like, I'll go back to it."

"I don't think they hate ads," concludes the session's moderator, Jane Buckingham, who heads CAA's Youth Intelligence unit. "They hate bad ads. If it's a cool ad, they're going to watch it."
Correct-a-mundo! People don't hate ads. However the average male has probably seen over a thousand feminine product ads by the time they're 18 years old. The average male could probably name the top five brands, but they will NEVER make the decision as to what brand to buy. This is simply put, "metal pollution" and what we need is a little "mental environmentalism".
Take the Quiznos Spongmonkeys. Created by Joel Veitch, a London-based Web and TV producer who specializes in hilariously asinine Flash animations, the Spongmonkeys are almost certainly the first cartoon rodents to be enlisted in a fast-food campaign. The spots - which show one of the razor-toothed, demented-looking furballs strumming a guitar while the other screeches a paean to Quiznos ("We love the subs! 'Cuz they are good to us.") - became an instant sensation when they debuted in February. Viewers either loved them or thought they were the most revolting thing they'd seen since, well, since the last batch from Quiznos, one of which showed a guy in a business suit sucking a wolf's teat.
What in the hell do some freaky little spongemonkeys have to do with Quizno's Subs? Nothing, but we thank you Quiznos for making us laugh. You're advertisers understand the new bottom up business paradigm. In fact before Quizno's Joel Veitch was just a one man publishing company with merely some Flash animations and a website, but his animated creations are hilarious and he's had a cult following for as many as five years.
"With this generation," says Bogusky, "it's, I know you're marketing something to me, and you know I know, so if you want me to try a new chicken sandwich, that's cool - just give me some crazy chicken to boss around.

Strictly speaking, of course, this isn't a generation at all. The 18-to-34 demo actually straddles the tail end of Generation X and the leading edge of what demographers are calling the Millennials. "The younger group is a lot more positive," says Bogusky. "They're not so angst-ridden, not quite as ironic and cynical. They wanna have fun." There's also more of them - some 70 million, compared with 76 million baby boomers and the 41 million in Gen X. Millennials tend to be less suspicious than their predecessors, but they're still too smart for most marketers. "The hardest job is surprising them," Bogusky adds. "Usually they know what you're going to do before you do it."
Now we get to the heart of the matter. This new generation is less sarcastic, less bitter, less ironic, less cynical, and has less angst. Translation: When you're not being force fed your culture and your life and actually feel like you have control over it, have input on the external world, and that your opinions and ideas outside of your profession have a value within the open market and other people and corporations actually listen you in turn have a higher capacity for and greater understanding and respect for the differences between bullshit and good fun. Tuning out of 120, 30 second commercials doesn't just equal saving an hour, it equals having mental capacity to stop on the street and actually have a conversation with a stranger and be able to listen to them. It equals having time to think and explore and discover and create and to have an increase capacity and positive impact on society. If you want your captive audience you'll find it in a jail cell with and inmate and a TV, but not even that for long.
"This younger generation has a filter mechanism," observes Jim Lentz, group VP of marketing at Toyota Motor Sales USA. Lentz has his own focus group at home: two sons, ages 17 and 21. "They can be doing their homework, listening to music, watching TV, on the PC, and on the phone, all at the same time. It drives my wife crazy. You assume they're just screwing around - but they're not." This ability to focus is governed by a complex neural network called the reticular activating system, which filters sensory input to keep the brain from being overwhelmed. When you grow up in an always-on world this system may adjust to cope. "They have a total ability to block out anything they don't want to get through," Lentz marvels. "From an advertising standpoint, that's what makes this animal so scary."
Ha, Jim Lentz, group VP of marketing at Toyota Motor Sales USA just referred to his target audience as animals. Let me return the favor: "Referring to people as animals is just something those monsters in advertising do." They don't see anyone as human beings which is half their problem.

Filters? I don't know about that, a more sophisticated mind set, perhaps. Greater focus? Definitely. It comes with being able to think clear thoughts and follow through on logical progressions without interruption when we want to. Greater control breeds greater capacity.
To promote a new line of phone-cams, Sony Ericsson hired actors to pose as tourists and ask people to photograph them with the phones. The catch-all term for such campaigns is "experiential," because the point is to create an experience memorable enough to break through the filter mechanism and generate buzz - something far more likely to register with media-saturated guys than advertising.
It's all about experience? Definitely.

It's all about manipulating experience overtly? Definitely not. You might get away with it once or even twice, but sooner or later someone's either going to put you in jail or put in your nose.

As for the rest of the article. It's all about how Nielsen is trying to stay on top of the rating game. I say fuck Nielsen. Companies should come on down to the blogosphere level, say hello to Tivo technology, and be prepared to eat the shit of actual "human beings" for a while now that the tables are turned and there is no longer a captive audience of "eyeballs or animals".

From: Wired 12.08: The Lost Boys

"My Week with Fraggle Rock" — now out on DVD

I loved Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock, but truth be told I can't afford to just run out and buy every new DVD on the market. I just wanted Fraggle Rock on my blog home page for a while to make me smile. My friends all know I have no sense of humor so I stole this one from ;)

"Well, wouldn't you know it! All this time, we've been saying that Henson should put out Fraggle Rock DVD's, and all this time, they've been acting like putting out Fraggle Rock DVD's was just the hardest thing in the world. Oh, we couldn't possibly! they'd say, putting up their feet on the desk. In this weather? Don't be a fool. We'd have to go up to the attic and dig through all the boxes just to find the things, and then we'd have to drag them downstairs, dust them off, digitize them, rejigger the video transfer and cross-fade the mono tracks. Then we'd have to put them on DVD's, and after all that work, who'd buy them? You, and your six sad little friends, that's who. It's hardly even worth getting up for, they'd sigh, and then they'd put their heads down for a long nap. Poor dears, we really worked them to the bone, didn't we? No wonder they looked so tired all the time.

And then, just as they were settling in and really getting used to never making any money ever again in their lives, the company ran into some kind of mysterious financial trouble. I blame evil spirits, personally, either evil spirits or street gangs."

Tough Pigs -- My Week with Fraggle Rock

Sunday, August 8

The Green Hummer Project — For a "cleaner, greener" today!

Alternative transportation is a topic very central to my being. I can think of few topics more deserving of advocacy, and as such no more positive and effective a statement than bicycling. It's fun, it's good for you, it's good for the environment, and it's wholly positive. As such this project is a strong statement, it is effective and it is discrete. Kudos to the crew and creators of the Green Hummer Project. I wish I could take a trip down to Savannah just to ride with you guys.
"This bicycle is an attempt to make large numbers of people reconsider the ways that they move around their cites. Our SUV is the opposite of modern consumer culture, an anti-commercial. We want people to think independently of the corporations who program their televisions. We want people to see our pedal-powered, life-size Green Hummer cruise around a real city, and think about the contrast between advertising and the real world.

In advertising, cities are lifeless, cars are safe, drivers are happy, gas is clean, and you are not responsible whatsoever for traffic, pollution, your weight, the marring of our landscapes, or war.

Our SUV is for the real world.
— via James Wagner's blog
A simple, friendly, healthy and cleaner today.
"Our SUV is healthy, friendly, non-polluting, simple, inexpensive, fun, and socially responsible.

There are no black tinted windows to hide us from view. No air conditioning to further isolate us from the outside. No gas tank to fill and fill and fill. No greenhouse gasses pouring from the exhaust pipe. No frustration, no yelling, no honking, no road rage. No clocks to set, no alarm to annoy, no menus to scroll through. No video game system, dvd player, or GPS system. No 'we own the road', 'get out of our way', 'don't slow us down' mentality."
— via J-Walk Blog
"Green Hummer Busted!"
No not really. During the G8 summit the Green Hummer Crew got a visit from the local police. What did they want? Pictures!

Latest updates
Green Hummer Project Ride Log

Excellent read
Drain Magazine article

Funny and insightful
"Green Hummer Wins 'Least Intimidating Hummer' Award!"

Friday, August 6

How not to get a Job in Usability

A bad article about how to do something badly. In the author's words, "err... that's it". However, that's not it, while the article is not great the perspective of the author is very interesting. In a day where one can (and some do) send out 100 resumes in a day applicants can become little more than spammers. I guess the lesson here is if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. So don't bother sending your resume to this author.

Usability News - Caroline's Corner: How not to get a Job in Usability

Mies inspired East Hamptons house?

This house in the Hamptons (picture and review by the NY Times) reminds me tremendously of Mies' Farnsworth House on the Fox River, South of Chicago that I posted about recently. It's beautiful, minimal, mostly glass and most amazingly cost a fraction of the cost of equivelent houses it's size in the Hamptons. (Only a one or two million.) The architect even mentions the Mies influence (only in the slide show), however he does not specifically mention the Farnsworth House. The primary inspiration was in fact not Mies at all, but the Maison de Verre in Paris.
"...Mr. Haverland has designed for himself a modernist home with soaring interiors, a loft in the woods modeled after the Maison de Verre, a house designed in 1932 by Pierre Chareau that has a cultlike following. (In 1946, Mr. Chareau built a house for Robert Motherwell in East Hampton incorporating two Quonset huts. It was demolished in 1985.) The Maison de Verre, with walls made of hundreds of glass blocks, has an enduring modern elegance, like a Barcelona chair or a Florence Knoll sofa. Its industrial candor, with perforated metal screens and exposed girders has acquired a graceful patina with time."
Slide Show
A Loft in the Woods - NY Times

The New York Times > Home & Garden > The House That Homework Built

Related article
Resourceful in the Deep South vs. Sleek in an Alpine Landscape — The New York Times > Arts > Art & Design > Art Review