Tuesday, November 30

On Dan Rather's Departure from CBS

You know, I'm actually going to miss Dan Rather. He was a far better personality and had far more integrety than 90% of the current day news personalities. It almost seems like an end of an era, I should be happy that bottom-up media is having an impact, but I don't want it to kill old media, merely shake it up and make it better. I guess you can't have a shake up though without a few heads rolling, but there will always be room for broadcast news, newspapers, and radio just as there has always been room for books and ukulelias.

"Of course, the guy has always been a little bit out there. There was his decision to sign off his newscast with the word 'Courage' for no apparent reason three times during a single week in 1985 as well as the bizarre 1986 incident in which Rather was roughed up by attackers who reportedly asked, 'Kenneth, what is the frequency?' -- a line later immortalized in an R.E.M. tune.

It also didn't take much to prompt certain peculiarities to exit Rather's lips, such as during my interview with him last year.

CBS Evening News with Dan Rather 1989
(RealMedia, 33seconds, 1.81 Mb)
Describing his love of CBS and CBS News, Rather observed in the interview last year: 'In my mind and the minds of the people I work with, this is a magical, mystical kingdom -- our version of Camelot. And we feel we are working at a kind of roundtable of King Arthur proportions. Now, it may be that this kingdom exists only in our minds. But that makes it no less real for those of us who live it every day.'

And then there was this: 'Ed Murrow's ghost is here. I've seen him and talked to him on the third floor of this building many times late at night. And I can tell you that he's watching over us.'

If Rather has been spending too much time of late yakking with the ghost of Murrow and too little confirming the veracity of his sources, maybe we need to cut the dude a little slack. He's earned the right to be eccentric by continuing the quest to be a real journalist when he didn't have to."

Article: Humble Rather earned departure fit for an icon

Video Clip: CBS Evening News with Dan Rather 1989 (RealMedia, 33seconds, 1.81 Mb)

Video from: InformativosTV

Blog is Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2004

Blog was the most looked up word this year on Merriam Webster's website. Let the backlash begin. ;)

CNN.com - 'Blog' No. 1 word of the year - Nov 30, 2004

Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2004

Googles Blogger.com crapping out (warning rant!)

While I love google's blogger.com (the free weblog too that this site runs on) I'm having more and more problems with timeouts. Blogger.com is either simply not loading or taking forever to load. It's getting impossible to post anything. If I can't post something on a whim then this serve is useless to me. I cannot sit around and wait five minutes for the damn blogger page to load.

Bloging is suppose to be convenient and spontaneous not a freaking chore! You may have noticed the amount of posts dwindling here. There has been a lot of great stuff I've not blogged about because I simply can't sit around and wait for blogger to load.

Has anyone else been having problems with blogger loading slow or not at all? I hate to complain about a free service, but it's less than free if it keeps abusing my time and I have to say it's really starting to piss me off because it's a betrayal of the trust I put in google, an insult and disrespectful of my time. If google can't run this service right or is unwilling to invest the money in a few more servers than I'm going to have to go elsewhere! And I can't believe I've recommended them to so many people. They're giving me a block eye for recommending such a crappy service. This is not on professional par with google.com or their gmail. They're turning some thing pleasurable into crap! And, if I have to spend the countless hours porting my blog over to another platform they're going to be forever on my shit list. Crapping all over your customers is inexcusable. This is a perfect example of "inhumane interefaces". The interface is about more than just functionality. Most obviously it has to first freaking show up, which is to say the page needs to load.

Oh, one last thing. This is also causing posts to appear multiple time on my blog. Meaning I have to go back and clean this crap up and it makes me look bad. This has happened before, but it appears to be happening more often and the timeouts seem to be getting worse.

Monday, November 29

The Long Tail of the Blogosphere

The "long tail" meme is alive and well on the web this week. It's scope and influence is still growing. You might say the original Wired articles made waves or turned on a great many light bulbs. A whole lot of people are suddenly "getting it" and a whole lot more are trying to apply it fruitfully (or not) to all sectors of business. What we have here is a little cluetrain manifesto stuff going on. You'll be sure to see more posts regarding this subject from me. That's for sure.

In his article "the long tail of the blogosphere" Steve Rubel, a PR strategist, talks about the need for marketers to embracing blogs and cites some examples of different sectors in the media that are already starting to do so. Below is his conclusion.

  1. Taken in all together, the result is that big media will increasingly adapt and embrace blogging in order to maintain their dominance. As a result, marketers too will need to adjust their strategies -- everything from where they elect to place their PR messages to where they allocate their media budgets. Here are several short-term ways the long tail is already causing the media to adapt:

  2. Publishers and advertisers are experimenting with unique custom blog sponsorships. The Art of Speed -- Nike's experiment with Gawker Media -- is one such collaboration.

  3. Some media outlets are openly embracing bloggers -- either by buying them out entirely or by signing them to joint operating ventures that include revenue sharing. Mediabistro, for example, recently purchased CableNewser -- a popular TV industry blog, rather than launch its own competing effort.

  4. The media will turn themselves into blog-like online aggregators that link readers to all relevant content in their area of focus, whether it's a blog or a news site. CNET's News.context, for example, already takes this approach.
Media Web sites will morph into social sites, employing comments, trackbacks, RSS feeds and other blog-like structures in order to create community. CNET and Variety are already pioneers experimenting here.

If the media are buying into the long tail, then the marketers should follow, right? I sure hope so, because those who ignore it may be forced to catch the tiger by the tail rather than by the teeth.

The Long Tail of the Blogosphere

Holiday tech purchasing trends:

"Holiday purchases of electronics dipping

Interest in holiday purchases of consumer electronics appears to be leveling off this year after peaking in 2003, a new survey found.

The demand for electronics gear is still healthy, but interest in high-definition televisions, DVD players, game consoles, PCs, digital video recorders, cellphones and wireless networking equipment all dipped a little, the Ipsos-Insight survey found.

From a list of 18 electronics items, only printers and satellite radio gained slightly, though the difference is still within the margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Interest in digital cameras, home theater systems, satellite TV, portable MP3 players, personal digital assistants and DVD recorders held steady.

About one in four surveyed said they wanted a new cellphone or PC, making them the most-wanted items, followed by digital cameras, DVD players, then printers.

The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Oct. 28 to Nov. 5."

From: The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Kazaa adds free Internet phone to file sharing

Friday, November 19

Neutered dog haikus

b_aIronic that I
should spend my cruel life chasing
that which was taken.

My contribution to ZeFrank's neutered dog haikus

Virgin Dachshunds Eating Grilled Cheese Sandwich - the grilled cheese Virgin Mary meme

0f_2This is just to "important" not to post about.

Spawned by the original post, which ebay removed, there is now a feeding frenzy going on over at ebay for virgin mary grilled cheese and/or toast oriented collectables. This is no joke. Some of these excellent and superb collectables are going for over one hundred dollars. Get yours now.

LINK: eBay item 5536484772 (Ends Nov-22-04 19:38:15 PST) - VIRGIN DACHSHUNDS EATING GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

View the complete line of Virgin Mary toast and/or grilled cheese products here: eBay - grilled cheese sandwich, Metaphysical, Weird Stuff, and Decorative Collectibles items at low prices

Thursday, November 18

When meme's cross - "Sorry Everybody" meets Ellen Feiss

se13539You're sorry, I'm sorry, everybody's sorry. Even Ellen Feiss is sorry. I so like it when a couple of good memes get together.

From: Sorry Everybody dot com

The backstory on Ellen Feis is still on apple.com, and the great Apple advertisements featuring her as pointed out in a recent post are on Errol Morris's site, though it appears to be down right now, likely do all the traffic.

Remember kids, old meme's never die. They just cross with new meme's to become extra super virulent memes.

Wednesday, November 17

BBC doing trial podcasting of several shows

Damn, the BBC website is a mess, it's impossible for me to decipher, but this much I know.

The BBC is offering mp3 downloads if not podcasting of several of its shows. This as opposed to the streaming real broadcasts. I could not find feeds of all the shows but I did find a podcast feed of atleast one of the shows. You'll have to manually download the rest unforetuneatly.

The MP3 trial runs till the end of the year (I didn't have anything to do with that, it's one of several MP3 download trials the department is running, and it's an enormous achievement for such a huge broadcaster. Very proud to be working here at the moment). But there are these folks writing software to make the whole audio-online experimence much smoother, the Podcast folks, could we give that a go too? And that's what today is about [I work in the BBC's Radio and Music Interactive department, btw].

Please let me know if you find any bugs/problems with our Podcast feed. I'll get em fixed. We'll be updating it once a week for the remainder of the MP3 trial (it's the same distribution channel really; no more or less information, no archives). The trials are being done because it's important to know what people think and how the MP3s will be used: Please share your reactions and give us feedback (if there's anything that needs addressing immediately, feel free to mail me too).

MP3 Available: BBC - Radio Five Live - Fighting Talk

MP3 Available: BBC - 1Xtra - TX - Download this documentary

PODCAST! BBC - In our time - Podcast

More info on the "In our time" podcast BBC - Radio 4 In Our Time - mp3 download

Via: cityofsound: Podcasting In Our Time

Tuesday, November 16

Errol Morris: Commercials - reliving a little apple switch

Errol Morris, film maker, has been building up a pretty amazing site full of materials in a blog type format. Here are a few of my favorite Apple Switch campaign ads, most of which didn't make it on TV.

My favorites:
Will Ferrell
Will Ferrell
Hot Dogs
Ellen Feiss
Ellen Feiss

apple_fraunfelder_70 Including this one with Mark Frauenfelder, that freak over at boingboing.net

2005 Stamps to Feature Muppets


"WASHINGTON-Nov4- It isn't easy being green. It isn't easy getting on a U.S. postage stamp either, but Kermit the Frog will manage it next year, along with his Muppet friends. New stamps also will recall the late President Ronald Reagan (news - web sites), singer Marian Anderson, actor Henry Fonda and songwriter Yip Harburg, notable scientists, famous Marines and sports cars, the U.S. Postal Service said Thursday."

Yahoo! News - 2005 Stamps to Feature Muppets, Reagan

The new sexier female Ronald McDonald from Japan

Classify this under weird and wacky.

Watch it (Win Media Player)

Download it directly, while it lasts (WMV 780k)

Via: Ookii Ne.com: Female and sexy

War & Culture - Fallujah & GI Joe (AP Photo)

us_marine_fallujah1-11142004A U.S. Marine of the 1st Division carries a mascot for good luck in his backpack as his unit pushed further into the western part of Fallujah, Iraq, Sunday, November 14, 2004. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Via Ookii Ne.com: G.I. Joe in Fallujah

War & culture - Fallujah & GI Joe

us_marine_fallujah2-11142004A U.S. marine from the 3/5 Lima company carries his "GI Joe Action Man" doll as he walks past the destruction in the restive city of Fallujah. (AFP/Patrick Baz)

Monday, November 15

How 'Dungeons' changed the world - Imagination and the D&D culture

I enjoyed this article by Peter Bebergal tremendously. To me it's about the power of imagination and the culture that supports it.

"To put it simply, Dungeons and Dragons reinvented the use of the imagination as a kid's best toy. The cliche of parents waxing nostalgic for their wooden toys and things 'they had to make themselves' has now become my own. Looking around at my toddler's room full of trucks, trains, and Transformers, I want to cry out, 'I created worlds with nothing more than a twenty-sided die!'

Dungeons and Dragons was a not a way out of the mainstream, as some parents feared and other kids suspected, but a way back into the realm of story-telling. This was what my friends and I were doing: creating narratives to make sense of feeling socially marginal. We were writing stories, grand in scope, with heroes, villains, and the entire zoology of mythical creatures. Even sports, the arch-nemesis of role-playing games, is a splendid tale of adventure and glory. Though my friends and I were not always athletically inclined, we found agility in the characters we created. We fought, flew through the air, shot arrows out of the park, and scored points by slaying the dragon and disabling the trap."

Read it: Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Op-ed / How 'Dungeons' changed the world

Via: Boing Boing: How 'Dungeons' changed the world

More info: Dungeons & Dragons - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturday, November 13

Firefox flies when optimized

I haven't even gottent a chance to test it out yet, but I will.
For those who feel the need for speed, Neil Lee may have the answer: a build of Firefox 1.0 optimized for the G5 processor.

Neil notes the optimized version is officially unofficial, and comes with no guarantee that it won?t harm your mother. Reader response indicates said build works beautifully and, notably, quickly. Those of us still running our trusty G4 processors need not sit idly by while our G5-toting companions have all the fun; Kai Rune has posted a series of Firefox builds optimized for the G4 processor.

Next I want a clairvoyant build of Firefox, that will load the appropriate page before I even realize I need to go there. Is that too much to ask?
LINK: Firefox flies when optimized - The Unofficial Apple Weblog - apple.weblogsinc.com

Update: Well I've tried it out and I can attest to its speed. On my G4 500mhz tiBook it loads pages considerably faster that Safari. Although the application itself doesn't open quite as fast I'm very pleased. I may start using it more. It's got a couple of things like bookmarking whole sets of tabs all at once that make it really worth while. Now if only I could figure out how to switch between tabs with quick-keys?

Friday, November 12

God, I just wish there were a good toy blog

hellboy_largeToys are everywhere, we love them, we put stupid Buzz Lightyear dolls and action figures on our desk to keep us company as we work. For some of us they're our only real world friends. Toys are the biggest self propogating meme there is. So why are there no good toy blogs?

I mean, come on, we have infinite totally awesome blogs about gadgets (engadget, gizmodo) and Sweet design stuff (Pirotcar, Cool Hunting, MoCoLoco, Funfurde & Sputnik) and Mac gadgetry

...and Crazy Obscure Stuff, and those funny alaskans and crazzy Viennese and even Low Carb freaks, but WHERE ARE ALL THE TOY BLOGS!

Would someone please make me a damn sweet awesome toy blog already!

whiteis-tmI swear I will promise to look at it every day and I won't even complain about the advertisments. Hell I might even click on a few. Well, just as long as it's really good and really geeky. It's got to have awesome designer vinyl dolls, and Dino sitting on top of a live volcano, and happy StrageFunCo stuff and the wackiest and weirdiest stuff. But that's all and I swear I'll come and visit everyday. Maybe our friends at gawker media will help. God knows I'm to incompetent to lazy and to just to damn much of a talker to do anything about it.

So how about it peoples, bloggers, anybodies?

This post spurned by conversation at: Crusty Chump, last cranked at 2004-11-12 12:46

Thursday, November 11

Wishful thinking the new photo iPod into a video iPod

This is an update on a previous post. Aparently the people at engadget want a video iPod so bad they've decided to simulate a video iPod by stuffing the new Star Wars trailer on their Photo iPod and making a demo out of it. You can check out the video and read the howto. This is geekdom and it's best folks. I hope Apple is paying attention.

Watch the video! (12.7 mb QT)

Holly recursion Batman.

To top it all off someone put engadgets video on their iRiver (an actual video player) and made a playback video of it. You can check it out here: video_h340_playing_ipod.wmv (1.1mb, Windows Media Player)

How-to article: HOW-TO: Play 'movies' on an iPod Photo - Engadget - www.engadget.com

Related Article: MacCentral: The New iPod Video... Almost

Wednesday, November 10

ex- CBS newsman: bloggers replacing journos like "parasite replacing dog"

Just hillarious.
The public is now assaulted by news and pretend-news from many directions, thanks to the now infamous "information superhighway." But the ability to transmit words, we learned during the Citizens Band radio fad of the 70's, does not mean that any knowledge is being passed along. One of the verdicts rendered by election night 2004 is that, given their lack of expertise, standards and, yes, humility, the chances of the bloggers replacing mainstream journalism are about as good as the parasite replacing the dog it fastens on.

LINK:CBS News | Blogging As Typing, Not Journalism | November 8, 2004 15:30:22

VIA: Boing Boing: ex- CBS newsman: bloggers replacing journos like "parasite replacing dog"

Video killed the radio star, video-casting killed the TV star

I don't see widespread evidence of it but I do see faint hints and glimpses from core people that they know the potential of podcasting is far larger than creating an alternative to radio broadcasting. This one isn't so subtle. Greg Reinacker creater of the NewGator RSS agregator has added the ability to compile video casting feeds (I've been using this feature in iPodderX for a few days now) and what's more he's even taking that content and casting it to his phone. He definitely is living in the future, or I should say the future is here it's just not well distributed yet.

Saturday evening's aggregator dinner was interesting. At one table existed about 75% of the RSS Aggregators. Jeff Clavier has the list of people who were there (that's not a complete list, just the folks who do aggregators).

Interesting thing that happened? Greg Reinacker, guy who wrote NewsGator, showed me his new Audiovox phone and explained that his aggregator can now listen for videos, in addition to podcasts, er audio enclosures in RSS feeds. He had West Wing on his phone. It compressed down to about 85 megabytes. Looked pretty good actually. He handed his phone around the table so everyone could get a look at it. I think he sold a couple more Audiovox phones right there.

Since Greg was sitting across from me, he also showed me the SmartPhone version of NewsGator. Gonna get that setup today.

Time will tell if I'm a fool or a genius and if video-casting will really do for TV what podcasting is doing for radio and what blogging has done for everything else. I've already said good bye to my TV not in anticipation either, but for what is here already. I guess we'll see what happens.

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

Video killed the radio star, video-casting killed the TV star.

Hmm... I think I'll start a video-cast tomorrow containing nothing but non-stop music videos. Perhaps Adam Curry would be interesting in being the host. I think there might be just enough music videos online already that it simply dwarfs the size of MTV's playlist. I think I could not only duplicate their linup but then add five more channels, cost, $0? ...perhaps a little free time. It's a scarry thought, yes it is...

Gadget news - Universal digital camera 12x's converter

'Instant 12x zoom fits any compact camera.'

Think your camera doesn't get you close enough to the action? Then think again. This brilliant optical gadget gives any standard digital or 35mm compact a zoom lens that a tabloid paparazzi would give his right arm for. Zoom-X is an ingenious12x variable-focus mini zoom that locates securely in front of the camera's own lens. As long as your camera's got a threaded tripod hole underneath (and 99% do), the universal mount will fit! It even works with your camera's existing zoom; a fast thumbscrew mechanism lets it slide to and fro. No circuitry is involved; integral solid state technology gives amazingly clear results every time. Includes mini tripod mounting, ideal for long exposure shots and astronomical photography.

This might come in handy in a pinch for my digital camera, but the question is, how much does it distort the image.

Innovations - online shopping - gifts and gadgets

Via: The Red Ferret Journal » Zoom, zoom, zoom.

10x10 an inovative experiment in information visualization

10x10 scans Reuters, BBC, and NYTimes news feeds for keywords and then displays photo representations of the top 100 keywards. By clicking on the photos you can actually view a larger image and read the news articles. I don't think this particular application is particularly usefull in a practical manner, but it sertainly is a rocking example of innovative information visualization.

Check it out: 10x10 / 100 Words and Pictures that Define the Time / by Jonathan J. Harris

Via: unmediated: A 10x10 View of the News

Tuesday, November 9

JibJab video Grabs More Traffic Than Candidate Sites

A post election follow up on the Jib Jab animation. 10.4 million unique visitors in July alone. Sweet.

An online video released in July satirizing John Kerry and George Bush, reached substantially more visitors than both of the candidates' sites combined. The comScore Media Metrix analysis of consumer Internet behavior this month revealed that JibJab.com did in deed bring in more visitors than both President George Bush and Senator John Kerry's web sites combined. Why would a silly video draw so much attention? JibJab.com drew an impressive 10.4 million unique visitors in July, more than three times the 3.3 million Americans who visited JohnKerry.com and GeorgeWBush.com.

"... JibJab.com took the Web by storm..." said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of comScore Media Metrix. "This is an example of just how quickly compelling content can spread in a wired world." At its peak, well over a million Americans per day visited JibJab.com, making it the focus of thousands of water cooler conversation across the country. If you haven't seen it yet view the video here

LINK: National News: Kerry Bush Online Video, JibJab, Grabs More Traffic Than Candidate Sites

Via: Video-Link - Web Streaming Video Blog

Chicago stuff - palmer house, urban coyotes and a retro lowes theatre?

Interesting post on chicagoist.com about the new Chicago Loews theatre. I'm not quite getting the picture posted with it though. Is this supposed to be a picture of it? I ended up digging around the web looking for other imagery to know avail.

"... On the plus side, we got to see the newly renovated Loews Theater at 600 N. Michigan. Actually, that wasn?t much of a plus. In addition to not being math majors we?re also not Tribune Architecture Critic Blair Kamen. But even we can see that all the new design isn?t going to win one of the least-liked chain theaters any new fans."

Link: Chicagoist: Extreme(ly Bad) Makeover

Coyotes in Chicago?

Aparently Chicago is having a problems with a growing coyote population, not just in the suburbs but in the urban areas. This is the first I've heard of such crazieness. I suppose it's a lot better than rats.

"They're out there chasing rabbits by the ornamental bushes by your house while you're watching the 10 o'clock news," said Bob Bluett, a wildlife biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

There's even a pack in Lincoln Park, said coyote expert Stan Gehrt, a researcher at Ohio State University who has studied coyotes in Chicago for years, largely because the extensive county forest preserves make the area unique. Wildlife researchers also tracked one strolling down Michigan Avenue late one night.

Link: Chicago Tribune | Coyotes find that city life can suit them

Via: Chicagoist: Coyote Population Growing

... and finally the Palmer House Hilton is up for sale and Chicagoist has a great little post on it. It is Chicago's oldest and second largest hotel, was bought by Hilton in 1945 for $20 million and is expected to sell at $250 million.

Check it out: Chicagoist: Palmer House For Sale

Movies - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

This one looks like it might just be weird enough in the Big Fish or The Royal Tenenbaums fashion that I might like it. In fact this is Wes Anderson's first movie since he directed The Royal Tenenbaums and it stars Bill Murry, Owen Wilson and Anjelica Huston whom also stared in that movie.

I just notices Wes Anderson also directed Bottle Rocket. I have a sudden need to go back and watch that movie.

TRAILER: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou -- Zissou Archive (QT, Real, WMP)


IMDB - Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The (2004)

IMDB - Wes Anderson

Monday, November 8

File-sharing is now a torrent of bits - Are we heading for a tragedy of the commons?

Wow, you say our little internet revolution has outrun the tragedy of the commons with our glorious and fancy internet technologies that allowed us to stop shipping physical goods and switch to shipping bits and bytes? I say, maybe not. We may yet find the limit to how many movies, videos and MP3s can be pushed down the fat pipes of the internet before things start going very wrong.

Wired has picked up on the CaseLogic report which states that 35% of internet traffic is from bittorrent. More I should say Wired finally picked up THE Reuters article about CaseLogic. Wired has yet to write an actual article referencing the CaseLogic report which has now been out for over a month.

I have now blogged about the Case Logic report three times and this is my second post about the same Reuters article on the subject. I cannot express the significance of the Caselogic report enough. The big question it brings up (ignoring for a moment the obviously huge yet incalcuable scale of intellectual property theft) is will such open filesharing traffic eventually grow to the point where it will cause a degregation in general internet traffic?

The fact that 35% of traffic on the internet might be bittorrent traffic does not mean it is 35% of the internet's capacity. In fact capacity for the overall internet may be incalucuble but we may still see capacity problems between certain coutries and certain nodes. The point is the amount of traffic bittorrent is already generating is mind boggling and it will only continue to grow as it's market has not yet matured. The growth of bittorrent traffic may yet prove the tragedy of the commons. A torrent of bits, at least they got the name right.

"LONDON -- A file-sharing program called BitTorrent has become a behemoth, devouring more than a third of the internet's bandwidth, and Hollywood's copyright cops are taking notice.

For those who know where to look, there's a wealth of content, both legal -- such as hip-hop from the Beastie Boys and video game promos -- and illicit, including a wide range of TV shows, computer games and movies.

Average users are taking advantage of the software's ability to cheaply spread files around the internet. For example, when comedian Jon Stewart made an incendiary appearance on CNN's political talk show Crossfire, thousands used BitTorrent to share the much-discussed video segment."

LINK CacheLogic - Research Release

LINK Wired News: File-Sharing Thrives Under Radar

This may well be my most poignant post on this blog to date. I know even as I write it that I have not heard the last of this report. It has tremendous ramifications for the future of the intellectual property and filesharing debate. This report will appear in debate and will be weilded by the likes of the RIAA and MPAA and yet how can we even stem the tide of illegal activity without forever supressing the voices of those whose anonimity is the only guarentee of free speach?

I remind you, I have a comments board.

Sunday, November 7

The Exploding Whale - Wikipedia style

The "Exploding Whale", which I blogged about a couple days ago was featured on the homepage of wikipedia today! Exploding whales must truely be an "interesting topic". :)

There have been two real-life documented incidents of exploding whales. The better known explosion occurred in Florence, Oregon in 1970 when a dead Gray Whale was blown up by the Oregon Highway Division in an attempt to dispose of its rotting carcass and became famous when American humorist Dave Barry wrote about it in his newspaper column. Footage of the incident later appeared on the Internet and it became an instant hit due to the improbability and absurdity of the event. The other reported case of an exploding whale was in Taiwan in 2004 when a build up of gas inside a decomposing Sperm Whale caused it to explode while it was being transported to have a post-mortem performed. The explosion was reported to have splattered whale entrails over surrounding shop-fronts, bystanders and cars. In popular culture, exploding whales are a theme written about by several authors, mainly because their unusual, absurd and highly improbable nature makes them an interesting topic.

LINK: Main Page - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

LINK: Exploding whale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Archive.org serves up over 1 million copies of Eminem's Mosh Music Video.

The Internet Archive has a smash hit with Eminem's Mosh Music Video.

GNN.tv produced a get-out-the-vote Eminem video that they uploaded to the Archive. While we have a gigabit connection to the Internet, even that is being pounded by this movie.

We are serving more around 2 videos each second at this point (that is about 500Mbits/sec between the US and the EU archives).

LINK: Internet Archive Forums: View Post

VIA: Boing Boing: 1,000,000 copies of Eminem's Mosh served by archive.org

Saturday, November 6

Postal Service (the band) resolves its conflict with the US Postal Service

Well the Postal Service keeps on moving forward with their grass roots success on the Sub-Pop record label. Not that I'm prone to blogging about music, but I've sort of been following this band for a while as I find them an interesting meme in studying bottom-up media since they are easily traced from their humble beginnings throughout the blogosphere and other online memepools into popular mainstream media. They definitely succeeded for not only their talent but because of an unconventional amount of word of mouth promotion. This is definitely a case of the "lengthening tail" of IP (intellectual property) economics that I've previously posted about.

According to today's NY times article they have not only sold over 400,000 albums since the release of their "Give Up" album in early 2003, but they are now Sub Pop Record's second biggest seller of all time after Nirvana's "Bleach". They've been all over in the press and the US this year touring this fall for the pro Kerry voting drive (you may have heard about it in reference to Bruce Springstein) and popping up in the oddest places, like on the TV series "The OC", the "Wicker Park" movie soundtrack, and the many times I've heard their music used as a segue for TV or radio news (though I lost track of the exact references). Now, to top it all off they have resolved their dispute with the U.S. Postal Service over the obvious trademark conflict. In short they get to keep their name in exchange for some promotion work for the the U.S. Postal Service.

Well if the Postal Service members Jimmy Tamborello, Ben Gibbard and Jenny Lewis are not really cashing in on their success some might actually consider this selling out. The whole thing is now getting blatantly and ridiculously commercialized. I typically don't have a problem with bands cashing in on their popularity if it doesn't affect their ability to make good music (i.e. Moby's music seemed to be featured in every car ad for years) so I'll try to reserve judgment until they prove that the Postal Service project was not just a flash in the pan by releasing a second album to some critical acclaim. The longer they put it off the harder it's going to be to compete with the spectacular media blitz "Give Up" has created. I sense implosion is imminent and I desperately hope they will prove me wrong. The Postal Service project did after all start as a side project from their separate previous full-time endeavors Dntel (Jimmy Tamborello), Death Cab for Cutie (Ben Gibbard) and Rilo Kelly (Jenny Lewis), which is to say they've all been around the block once or twice without cashing in, bailing out, or getting distracted. Speaking of which, Jenny Lewis is also an actress though I have no idea how that relates to The Postal Service thing.

LINK: The New York Times > Arts > Music > Postal Service Tale: Indie Rock, Snail Mail and Trademark Law

LINK: The Postal Service - Wikipedia.org

DVD by mail price wars are heating up between Netflix, Blockbuster, Walmart and now Amazon

Techdirt is rocking my world today. I had know idea Walmart and Amazon had jumped in the DVD by mail game and just heard Blockbuster jumped in the game last week. Now the price war is has started. Walmart, Blockbuster and Netflix are duking it out starting at $17 a month. That's pretty sweet.

The guys at techdirt wonder how well Blockbuster can leverage their local stores, but what I want to know is this, why bother with the mailing at that point Blockbuster? Why can't I just swing in and pick up the next three videos on my wish list and walk out with a card swipe if I choose and skip wasting the 3-6 day mail turnaround time. At this point it's pretty much an all you can eat membership at Blockbuster for $17 a month and no more worrying about late fees. I like it.

And finally, why are we still continuing to ship bits on plastic disks when its far more cost effective and effecient to ship them via the internet?

As long as the movie industry thinks it's a good idea to lock music to one computer with DRM it will always be more easy for consumers to rent or buy it on plastic and then rip it to digital devices sans-DRM so they can watch it when, where and how they want. Meanwhile the movie industry will still be under the grand illusion that somehow clinging to it's very costly and inneficient plastic disks is best because once upon a time it was secure. Though, now digitizing content from plastic is actually just as easy and sometimes easier than copying a pure ditial music form. So, the movie industry is going to foolishly hang on to a ridiculous fantasy surrounging the security of distributing music on plastic disks for as long as possible. Meanwhile the market will shift to a purely digital market where millions of new film artists and consumers bypass the middle men and .

Techdirt:Blockbuster Goes Into Price War Mode

Lauging at Apple - Apple Afraid Of What You Might Say About Their Products

Tech dirt wrote such a great post about the Apple Store's new customer reviews tool that I thought I'd just steal it in it's entirity, but I'm also including a screen snap of the actual FAQ via gizmodo.com. This is just two hillarious.

'This one is a bit bizarre, but it does seem to confirm Apple's reputation for being serious about designing cool products, but never listening to what their actual customers tell them (Apple knows best...). They've apparently added the ability to rate products in the Apple store but not if they're built by Apple. Those products automatically get a five star rating because Apple thinks they're great, and how dare you suggest they might not be perfect. In fact, they basically say that in the explanation. While I do think Apple products are often great, the company has a bit to learn about listening to customers."

LINK: Techdirt: Apple Afraid Of What You Might Say About Their Products

Thanks Techdirt, you guys rock! Let me know if you think I'm a punk ass bitch and you want to sue my ass off. ;)

Friday, November 5

Publisher - a killer application for publishing MP3's to Archive.org?

Well, this is a follow up to my previous article. Apparently the stampeed to download and try out Archive.org's new killer app has died down. You can now check out the screen snaps and download the application.

I must say this is pretty cool, for those of you who are not hip to what's going on with this Archive.org has been offering free hosting to orginal content that is "copy left", which is to say has liberal sharing rights. Prior to this app it could take days or even weeks to get content online. It was a tedious process indeed. Now however this application promises to streamline the process to 24 hours. This is a huge deal for those who want to share their highres photo's, videos, or audio but lack the hosting and bandwidth. Or perhaps those who want to try their hand at audio and video blogging but don't have the capacity. Very cool indeed. Hopefully I'll be talking about this again in the coming weeks.

Killer CC App: The Publisher, beta version

Special to air on PBS Frontline on the "persuader industries"

I'm looking forward to seeing this next Tuesday at 9pm.

"Want to understand what really happened in these elections? Watch my new documentary! PBS Frontline, November 9th, at 9pm in most places. It should be streamed online a few weeks later.

More about the show from the Frontline website:

FRONTLINE takes an in-depth look at the multi-billion dollar "persuasion industries" of advertising, market research, and political campaigning.  To cut through mass-media clutter and to overcome consumers' growing resistance to their pitches, marketers have developed new ways of integrating their messages deeper into the fabric of our lives. Correspondent Douglas Rushkoff explores how the culture of marketing has come to shape the way Americans understand the world and themselves, and how the influence of marketing on politics has profoundly impacted our political culture and our democracy."

LINK: :: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog ::

William Shatner's Spplat Attack! DVD

I've been enjoying William Shatner's new spoken word album "Has Been" for about a week now. While I enjoy it, I don't recommend it unless you also are just plain weird, demented or have a twisted sense of humor like me. Anyway, I'm not about to buy the following video, but I do like the fact that it exists. Go Shatner. Go.

"William Shatner leads the forces of earth to resist the alien hordes led by national radio personality Mancow and the cyborg warriors led by paintball icon Tom Kaye.

Spplat Attack is a one-of-a-kind cross over of world famous sci-fi with the world's fastest growing extreme sport. Shot on location at Challenge Park Xtreme with over 1500 participants and nine cameras, this is the ultimate paintball movie."

William Shatner's Spplat Attack! DVD

a clip (4.2mb QT)

Excellent review of WIlliam Shatner's "Has Been"

The Infamous Exploding Whale

"There's been a story floating around the net for years about a beached whale that was blown up (exploded, not inflated) for lack of a better way to be rid of it. Many people thought it was an urban legend.

It wasn't."

Watch the video: The Infamous Exploding Whale - Video

Background: The Infamous Exploding Whale

Tuesday, November 2

The History of the US Political Parties - an archival information graphic

I want.
This unique, dramatic print contains a map and explanatory text of the history of the US political parties from 1730 to 1892. It is a high-quality reproduction of an original antique print created circa 1894 by an unknown designer. The diagram vividly depicts the birth and death of each party as streams flowing across the graphic. It is packed with interesting information that will stimulate your brain and look great in your home or office. The print measures 34? by 14 ½?

LINK: HistoryShots Store - Political Parties Print

This should be in the public domain, I wonder....

Remixing the political debate with MC Frontalot

I stumbled upon this excellent MP3 on Metafilter and rather enjoyed it so I thought I'd share it here. The lyrics are as follows.
I tried to go clean from protesting but I'm a recidivist
my government behaving with unlimited wickedness
in the interest of peace is how a liar wages war
then clamors for more.
I wish we had elections every day
wave the ballot in the air like a sign when I say
that democracy delivered by the bomb and the gun
is terror elsewhere on the world I'm from

do you cheer for the once-and-for-all of an enemy
whose hand our man don was on in '83
but who now exemplifies all evil
that's what you get for shaking hands with people
who represent the vast and sinister interests of industry
we protect the free trade world, so don't dare try to stop us
we deliver them bullets and sell them their coffins

and I wish that I could afford the ear of Bush the second
I'd ask is it your favorite philosopher who recommended
invading and exterminating all who defy us,
crying out justice but seeking out triumphs?
wasn't your christ unbeloved of empires?
one nailed his ass to a post; he expired!
a terrorist, as roman evidence showed
put down like a retard on the death row
in texas, I guess "tough luck," right George?
ain't that how every war gets scored?
big gun wins, winner gets a free turn
enemy after enemy burns
are you listening sir? or did your mind drift
to the next country in your axis
to all the cool bombs drops you get to call
delivery fresh from the 4th reich to y'all.

Being a "medium is the message" freak, I'm obsessed with rich sources of debate and information and with capturing and communicating in naturally complex and rich ways instead of sloganeered and dumbed down debate as comes through broadcast media. I'm disgusted with political commercials that are simply inept, political phone call spam, and most of all so called TV news which is really no more than sensationalist entertainment rhetoric. So... you can understand why I find it refreshing to be able to listen to this well versed thread by a guy who calls himself MC Frontalot. A thread I can take with me on my mp3 player, a thread I can share with friends and in so doing spread enjoyment, promote an artist and celebrate a rich political debate. Thanks MC Frontalot and thank you Metafilter.

LINK TO MP3: MC Frontalot - Special Delivery (mission accomplished remix)

LINK TO: Lyrics

More from MC Frontalot: MC Frontalot | MP3 Download

Via MC Frontalot - he's so indy | Metafilter