Thank god I had this

Thank god I had this x10 ad popunder on me today. I ordered a camera right away, because I can’t tell you how many times my home has been attacked by shapely stock photo models in tight clothing. They’re ferocious I tell you.

Finally, I can feel safe and secure again.

We’re back! A few things:

We’re back! A few things:

– Man, I mention something earlier this month, and now they’re doing something about it. I’d say I’m some sort of oracle they turn to for new ideas, but I’m sure it was in development for many months and it was dumb luck on my part for predicting it. There’s no doubt that Google will be the king of all search tools for some time to come. Of course, you could have heard me saying the same thing about Altavista in 1997.

– Everyone writes too much. It’ll take me weeks to catch up on the past two weeks of posts everyone has written while I’ve been away, then I’ll have to catch up some more.

– I somehow learned to publish from beyond the grave. While I snorkeled the great barrier reef, an article I wrote ran in the new Digital Web issue, and while I sat in a Honolulu airport for an emergency landing and 4 hour diversion, I got a mention in this morning’s NYT, in an article that cites a weblog as the primary source, interestingly enough.

I know, I’m being less modest than usual. Sue me.

– I’ve gotten more hate mail in the last two weeks than I’ve gotten in my entire life. One bunch, for MetaFilter going down, which means if I ever take the site completely offline, I’ll probably be deluged with death threats. The other hate mail was from someone that liked a certain Arizona hiking area that I chronicled online over four years ago. Apparently the place is overrun with tourists and it’s all my fault because I’m an asshole for sharing the knowledge of where it is located, how to get there, what fun it is, and how much it all costs. I hope the guy that emailed me is sending screeds to every southwest backpacking guidebook author as well, for not keeping his favorite place on earth a secret.

I’m also wondering why people are so damn pissed off at everything. Ideas?

– The trip was fun, lots of photos and words coming soon but if I could give you just a few bits of advice, here they are: long flights suck and no human should ever be stuck in four cubic feet of space for 17 hours straight. Springing for the upgrades to business or first class is probably worth every penny. Customs isn’t nearly as bad as we heard. Australia is a great place to spend a vacation and surprisingly cheap. That driving on the left thing will never feel right, no matter how hard you try. Keep your passport in your bags, not your wallet or backpack or purse. Jet lag is surprisingly easy to avoid. Wear shorts when flying, regardless of weather or local custom at either your departure or destination city. A tin can with 300 people in it heats up quick, and you can use a blanket if you’re ever cold. Splurge on your accommodations, you’ll be better rested and ready for the day’s activities. Always head off the beaten path where possible, experiencing the world as a local is completely different than the experience a tourist is often limited to.

I’ve been away for a

I’ve been away for a few days now, seeing amazing sites in fantastic places, and while I haven’t missed the internet at all, a few minutes ago, I was reminded of what a great thing is truly is.

I’m sitting on a beach outside of Cairns right now, mere steps from the sand, using a kiosk at the fish ‘n chips shop. A few days ago, I met up with Neale, a person I would have never met without this worldwide network. I stopped into a internet cafe in Sydney yesterday and exchanged real-time messages with someone watching our apartment and pets, and my whole trip here was planned via a series of websites and email exchanges with residents of Oz. So while it’s good to get away, it’s great to know it is there, ready to beam messages and connect people and places for virtually no cost.

(update: a quick email check when I wrote this contained a travelocity message stating one of our connecting flights was cancelled, which a quick call to Qantas fixed. Thank jebus for email!)

Fun with Kazaa: do a

Fun with Kazaa: do a search for audio, with title words containing the word “cover.” Download anything that looks remotely interesting, a good rule of thumb is to maximize the juxtaposition (punk bands doing 80’s covers, classical version of heavy metal classics, country bands covering gangsta rap).

After finding quite a bit worthy enjoying, I was struck by something claiming to be Greenday doing Wonderwall. It sounded more like two teen non-native speakers of english with an acoustic guitar, singing off key and out of time. Here’s the track and here’s the Bitzi record for that song.

There’s something infinitely more interesting about imperfect renditions of songs you’re familiar with. I’m reminded of Brian Eno’s Portsmouth Sinfonia project, a symphony comprised of people with little-to-no musical training, playing the classics. There’s something great about this wonderwall cover that I can’t put my finger on, but I’d rather hear this version over the Oasis one.

Search engines have to do

Search engines have to do a lot, and they’re never expected to keep current, but I’m kind of surprised that industry-leader Google is pretty bad at finding timely information.

Search for “sircam virus information” yields zero results.

Search for “sircam virus” gets only one hit, which isn’t relevant, but there’s a google-sponsored ad for a virus cleaner and a recent news story, so google knows something about the topic I’m searching for.

Perhaps there’s some sort of stop-gap measure they can implement for frequent, timely zero searches?