Holy crap. Alexa + Amazon + Google, and you see things like this. Very impressive stuff.
Did you like this site? You might also like...
Holy crap. Alexa + Amazon + Google, and you see things like this. Very impressive stuff.
Did you like this site? You might also like...
This morning I got an email from a Prince something from Zimbabwe, about an exciting business opportunity involving an African group. When he called me up a few hours later, I was surprised that he actually existed, and it ended up sounding like an interesting project.
You know you're getting too many Nigerian spams when you start assuming any African-related business is a sham.
Being on a new cable system, I've spent the last few weeks enjoying Trading Spaces, a show on TLC. I've mentioned before how much I love home improvement shows, and having an interior design/improvement show on several times a week has been great. For the most part, the redesigns are superb, on a tight budget a team of designers give one impressive makeover after another. It's interesting to watch designers work within the tight confines of small budget, and reminds me a lot of working within the confines of browsers when doing web design.
Also like web design, it's easy to spot bad design. One of the designers, Doug, is the epitome of bad, arrogant designers, and I don't mean design strictly in the visual sense. Design isn't just a matter of taste and style, at the heart of design is problem solving. Given the constraints available, and the goals for a project, a good designer creates a solution that solves the problems using their creativity. Doug, however, spends show after show ignoring the goals and spirit of his clients, argues with guests whenever he doesn't get his way, and has a knack for creating solutions that neither solve the original problems nor meet any of the goals. Imagine single purpose rooms designed in a space that was supposed to be multipurpose, imagine designs that go against the sole constraints given, imagine a designer that gets huffy and walks out of the room when people disagree or offer even the slightest bit of criticism.
He's the designer I love to hate, and every episode he appears on reminds me that I should listen to clients, figure out and communicate goals to everyone involved, and work within constraints when hard limits are given.
It's also a bit distressing to recognize where I lived for the past two years, almost down to the street, and see where I live now on a photo taken from space. Perhaps Major League Baseball is monitoring our activities.
The children have much to teach us. Especially about interface design.
I've spent the last few days housing and hanging out with Neale, and like the time I spent with him last summer in Sydney, we spent a fair amount of time constantly comparing Australian things, places, sayings, and mannerisms with the American counterparts. I found myself constantly doing the mental trick I did in Austraila, where in my head, I pre-scan every word I am about to say, looking for any mentions of numerical data that would have to be converted to metric. You'd think it doesn't come up that often, but having someone scratch their head and wonder what "85 degrees" feels like, or how long "75 feet" is, or how much "180 pounds" weighs several times in a single conversation, and you quickly realize that we americans use numbers and our antiquated english system of metrics when describing things on a steady basis.
What was really strange, however, was realizing that Neale had also seen every episode of the Simpsons ever, and like most of my close friends, at any moment either one of us would drop a Simpsons quote and we'd know exactly what the other person was talking about.
|...from my couch, I could pay a few bucks directly to TiVo for instant, ephemeral entertainment|
My newest crazy prediction: TiVo's Next Move
(I moved my TiVo post that was here, over there).
Microsoft being in charge of a national ID system via Passport is scary to the point of appearing comical, as if it's a big joke. I've avoided creating a passport account until now, and I sincerely hope I'm not forced into it by the government. Could you imagine the ease at which future identity theft will take place? This week Microsoft released a patch for their simple web server, which fixed ten exploits that were discovered in the past couple weeks. You'll probably just have to download a small .exe from a hacker/cracker site to assume someone else's identity if this goes through.
By the way, what problem does a national ID card solve again? I've never heard a satisfactory answer to that one. Is the ultimate goal that anyone without a card is a terrorist? How about a national "dye your head red" campaign. Anyone without a redhead is shot on sight. Seems logical and foolproof as a national ID card.
After getting a geocities page that explained the account had exceeded its daily bandwidth allowance, I realized something. As we inch ever closer to the end of free anything on the web, things that orginate on free hosts have no chance of ever getting popular or taking on a life of their own. The most famous case would be the homepage of Mahir Cagri. The original page isn't around anymore, though if it were to happen today, I seriously doubt it would have ever gotten big enough to create things like this or this.
"At the same time, and perhaps I'm wrong, there's very little interest in printing Chomsky-style prattle. A "balanced, accurate snapshot" of the Web would include the white supremacists who cheered the collapse of the towers on September 11, Jorn Barger's conspiracy theories implying Israel was behind the attacks, Saudi newspapers telling tales of Jews baking Gentile blood into pastries, Counterpunch's and Robert Fisk's excuses for the terrorists, and Arab newspapers on alternate days applauding Osama Bin Laden for his bold strike and denying that he had anything to do with it. It would include masses of frankly unreadable attempts at writing from people of all viewpoints."
Out of all their examples, only Jorn Barger would even be considered in a book of "bloggers' views of September 11," the rest are a nice example of argumentum ad consequentiam. None of those points matter, because they don't even represent the contents of the book. Impressive attempt to derail the criticism with hyperbole though.
If one were going to compile a review of weblog reactions to September 11, I would think Dave's site and Jason's site during that day, and in the days that followed, in addition to the giant MetaFilter thread and every Blogger weblog post that mentions relavent terms perfectly capture many people's shock and horror as the day's events unfolded. The broad range of reactions are shown in all those posts. Calls for peace intertwine with calls for arms. Descriptions of real time events as they happened, filled with pain, horror, anger, and sorrow. It doesn't require digging into the edges of the political spectrum to get an accurate picture of blogger's view of the day, it's all out there in the open, and quite easy to find. The original post that brought it up, though heavily exaggerated, doesn't sound like the book will really cover blogger's views of September 11, nor communicate the great power of weblogs and the good things they did for a lot of people that day.
The real story is much more than presenting a bunch of hawkish warblog posts in book form. The real meat of the story is manyfold, it starts with the fact that major news sites were unreachable, and weblogs filled the gap, that people could share their first-person accounts in text, video, or photographic forms just hours after it happened, others could locate missing folks via the web, and everyone could write about how they felt, getting their anger, confusion, and frustration out.
Forty years from now, we're going to ask each other "Do you remember what you were doing in America on September 11, 2001?" and like our parents telling us where they were and what they were doing when they heard Kennedy was shot, we might be able to point to actual weblog posts as a historical record. A range of reactions would be interesting, to get an accurate picture of what the weblog world looked like in the aftermath of 9/11.
I don't think a collection of post-9/11 essays from a group of armchair generals would be interesting nor provide any lasting value, it'd simply restate prevailing opinions of the time and instantly date the work. I would hope the editors are shooting for something lasting and substantial, though I'm not holding my breath.
From the it's-about-time category: Joe vs. the Volcano is finally out on DVD.
The latest news in the domain theft of hoopla.com is an outrage. Transfer your domains off Network Solutions, if you've still got domains there.
I've had experience with Joker and Dotster, and have heard good things about DomainMonger and PairNIC for transfers as well. It could happen to anyone, and it's in your best interest to no longer allow NetSol to control your domain.
You know, I would possibly cut Network Solutions some slack if the hoopla.com domain was their first domain hijack. The truth is that it's the latest in a long line of thefts that have occured through their service. The domain sex.com was stolen in a similar way, and it received much fanfare. It was just one of the many reasons why I transferred all my domains off of Network Solutions, and over to dotster*. If you search Wired News for "sex.com" you will find 39 results from articles chronicling the struggles the original domain owner fought against, all because of some faked faxes.
If you run a business, and the front door lock constantly gets picked and the place is robbed, wouldn't you rethink the quality of door lock and think about adding a new deadbolt?
(I was afraid of losing my domains when I transfered them, so I transferred one of my non-essential domains first, to test the waters. After a few days, when it went well and worked painlessly, I transferred the rest, and they all went off without a hitch. The transfers take the same nameserver information, so there is no downtime and no propagation issues, the domain transfers registrars silently in the background. As far as I know, there hasn't been anyone that lost control of their domain during a transfer, it either goes through successfully or not at all, and you get a message mentioning an error, but your domain won't be thrust into the freely available pool.)
It's certainly sad to see Leslie's domain hijacked right in front of everyone's eyes. Why is this still possible? A single forged fax and NetSol gives it up? I was never a fan of Network Solution's customer service but I had no idea they'd continue their negligence into the year 2002. I'm glad all my domains are registered on joker and dotster, where at least hijacking is a bit tougher.
It's kind of funny how we humans interact with technology. Problems don't surface when you first begin incorporating technology into your life, because everything is new and novel. No, it happens at that half-way point, when you start getting used to technology and depending on it, but it hasn't completely replaced doing things by hand.
Today's the first day in my life that I've missed out on the time change, and the same thing happened to Kay. An hour late getting up, thinking 7 on the small clock meant 7am when it was actually 8. Losing an hour means being late to work, late to meetings, and late to class.
The thing is, half of everything in the house is automated. All the computers updated themselves (the macs did so without saying a peep, at least the windows boxes remind you of the event), the cordless phone updated itself, the cellphones knew the new time, and the trusty TiVo righted itself without having to be reminded. It's also a coincidence that these devices serve as our major time pieces, especially during the waking hours of a weekend.
The problem was the morning time pieces weren't connected to phone lines of any type, and weren't updated by any magical twice-yearly run program. I suppose we plumb forgot, since every other clock we looked at seemed to be fine the previous day. I went to bed knowing it was late because my laptop told me so. I woke up early and was surprised it was only 8:30 AM, when I figured it would have been later. When my phone rang and Kay reminded me it was 9:30 AM and I should get ready for my lunch meeting in the north bay, I knew technology had failed me.
Some random photographs, taken over the past two weeks.
We're still settling into our new digs, but tonight I was reminded of something I had nearly forgotten existed. After spending a little less than the last two years in a 1920's era apartment, complete with leaky single-paned windows of dubious construction and all the amenities of a early 20th century living space, I forgot what a wonderful thing modern appliances are. The best one can be summed up in two words: central heating.
As offensive as this may be to some, I feel obligated to share the funniest .sig file I've seen to date:
"I masturbate just to make baby jesus cry, I taunt him while I do it too. I say "Whatta ya gonna do baby jesus? Cry? Cry like a baby?!"
While perusing mr. pants tonight, I saw a link to Michel Gondry's latest ad for Smirnoff. Pretty much everything I've ever seen from Gondry has been gold, so I immediately clicked on it, but wondered why after a minute or two the video wasn't playing. And then I remembered the phone line coming from the back of my laptop.
I'm on a phone line right now, for the next two weeks until DSL gets installed. It's the first time in a long time, and probably the longest I've had to go on a modem since I first got a broadband connection. I realized tonight that I've had a fast connection at home since late 1997, and downloading large audio or video files has never been anything I thought twice about. It became second nature, and only now do I see a 9Mb file and think "that's at least an hour."
I found it weird that even though the previous tenent left the old DSL gear, and the phone company gave me a new number and turned on phone service in a matter of hours, they required a two-week lag time on getting new DSL self-install equipment to me and reprovisioning the line. Is it any wonder that broadband adoption isn't nearly as widespread as it was predicted, given that it's treated differently than a regular utility? Who wants to wait 2 weeks for something so costly? Why isn't it as easy to get as water, electicity, phone service, and gas?
There seems to be a trend lately that describes a history of weblogs beginning from a very different place than I expected. I've seen a few occasions where Andrew Sullivan is credited with bringing weblogs to the masses, most importantly after September 11.
This revision of history doesn't totally surprise me, as I've heard comparisons of the web's history (and weblog history, indirectly) drawn to early television. In the first few years of television, the people creating shows knew the technology inside and out, worked the cameras, lighting, and sound while simultaneously writing, producing, and acting in their shows. The same can be said for many web pioneers. They had to not only code pages by hand, they often ran their own web servers, created their own graphics, and wrote everything themselves. Eventually, TV took off when the professionals showed up. The radio personalities and vaudeville comedians brought their heightened creativity to the medium and it finally gained a wide audience.
When people think of television history, names like Philo T. Farnsworth don't come to mind. Rather, early talent like Steve Allen, Milton Berle, and George Burns come to mind. The pioneers of the technology and the craft are long forgotten and the first wave of professionals are remembered. Perhaps this is the same thing that puts Andrew Sullivan at the forefront of weblog history. The first "real journalist" to "get weblogs" and bring them to the masses, he paved the way for the mainstream to take notice, and since their notice began with him, I could see how it looks like he started it all.
This is not to say it's an unfair characterization and that I'm bitter, nor is it to say I'm accepting this new reality and will continue to tinker with technical matters in obscurity while the "real pros" take part, it's simply to say this is what I'm observing and how it compares to other media.
(update: Anil wrote something thought-provoking about a similar subject, and it's much better than this half-baked rambling)
fragments from some sort of futurist fiction I should organize into a story someday (part 1 of many):
He awoke to the crashing of office equipment in the other room, rubbed the sleep from his eyes and noted the early hour of 9 on the clock above. She had been up at 5am, working diligently on business matters as she often does, getting half a day's work completed before most people get out of bed. It had been a source of tension between them, her embracing the power of science to prolong her all-important workday, him embracing the comfort and solitude of unconsciousness. Who could have known an accidental lab discovery of an ionized poly-peptide bond would lead to the wonder drug Laxil? Who could have foretold the enormous effects the "Drug that eliminates laziness," or know it would cause such a rift among the working class?
Ever since Laxil hit the market, the separation began; the dreamers stayed away while the go-getters gulped it down.
This recent article about Herbalife scams and this eyewitness report of a Michael Moore appearance exemplify what makes the web great. Grassroots reporting for the people, by the people, reaching audiences worldwide in a way that has no equal.
I just hope media companies never get the stranglehold on the nation's connectivity they desire (I'm looking in your direction AOL, Earthlink, and AT&T), or you might not see interesting grassroots reporting like this.