Strangers in a strangeland

I just ran across the Bullmoose Republican site, complete with multiple blogs. The strange thing about them is reading their four pillars, they don’t sound like republicans at all. They don’t sound like democrats either, though their stance makes them sound centrist to me. I suspect a party like this could gain a lot of support, but I doubt next November’s choices have much in common with these folks.

Rocking xmas tune

While browsing through hours of free music (with an intent to buy) at Magnatune, I came across the electro sitar stylings of Anup. He’s got that whole “sitars over beats” thing down that all the club kids are nuts for these days. But for a seasonal gem, listen to his take on Jingle Bells (mp3).

Listening to the song makes me want to go door-to-door in my neighborhood and perform Bollywood musicals to it.

Those clever devils at Customized Classics

When I first saw Customized Classics a few weeks ago I felt like kicking myself. It’s hard for most people to understand what “public domain” really means, and what value it can give us as a culture, and directly as capitalists and entrepreneurs.

Project Gutenberg has recently uploaded their 10,000th public domain book, and Brewster and the gang are working on the “million book project“. To demonstrate the potential of the public domain, and show people what movies, music, and stories used to be like when there was an active public domain (that at one time was only 14 to 28 years old — imagine making new movies and music from 60s stuff totally free of copyright), I’ve been kicking around ideas of how to exploit these free works (again, for demonstration purposes more than anything else).

One idea I called “judge a book by its cover.” Take these public domain classics, create exciting, artistic cover designs (perhaps by famous designers), and sell them via the new crop of print-on-demand services. A few months ago there was news of Oprah’s book club coming back to life and only selecting classics from the public domain, and how publishers would have to rush to meet the demands, but how anyone could print them up.

I’ve been coming up with other ideas but nothing is as good as customized classics. They just do a search-and-replace on names of your choosing, and spit out a custom book to you for 25 bucks or so. Brilliant and simple.

You’re all a bunch of blogging Grandmas

If you have grandparents like I do, you might have gotten envelopes mailed to you from time to time. Inside these envelopes, you would usually find a piece of paper folded up with some writing on it, and either taped to the paper or floating freely you’d find a story cut out of the newspaper. The note would often say something like “Saw this in the local paper today. Thought you might be interested in it.”

Newspapers are still ubiquitous but they used to be bigger in their day and age, and if you missed that day’s paper or lived in a different area, chances are you weren’t going to catch that story and clipping and sending it was the only way to share that info (aside from saying “hey grandson, go down to your library and ask for LA Times microfiche #32344 and look for A12 on it).

I got some newspaper clippings in the mail today and I realized that my parents and grandparents and I have a lot in common. It seems like blogging here is a lot like the newspaper clipping thing they do, but I do it all the time and for anyone that finds this site, where their work is for an audience of one (me).

Looking at my archives for the last piece of news I blogged about, it’s not much of a stretch to read this post and imagine getting the following note along with the story clipped out of the paper:

Here ya go sonny boy, here’s a nice story I thought you might enjoy. You still do the work on a computer, right?

Love, Grandpa.

Give it up for the Gonz

When I lived in SF, my supervisor was Matt Gonzalez and my experience with his office was great, as he responded to my comments in a timely manner. I also remember following the local news and frequently seeing him getting press for following common sense instead of party politics. I recently learned he’s the only mayoral candidate that has roommates and rents in SF, so he’s probably got more in common with 3/4 of the voters than anyone else.

I’d love to see Matt win and steer the city back on the right path. Vote for him if you can.

update: crap! so close, yet so far away.

Democracy in danger?

“‘There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

— Mario Savio (1964)

Moons over my hammy

I know where I’m stopping to eat whenever I take a long road trip and I need to check email, servers, directions and/or the weather forecast: Denny’s.

I’ll take a sunshine slam with a side of free wifi (crap, it’s not free — It’d be nice if they gave you an hour on the house if you were buying 10-20 bucks worth of food. Money grubbing bastards. And now I see they killed the meatless sunshine slam. Forget what I said about Denny’s, they suck.).

[news via decaf]

Call my dock clone Ishmael

Just a quick update to my earlier post on cleaning up the clutter of windows and making my PC and mac more inline with each other: Mobydock is an incredible little app that does a much better job replacing the windows taskbar than the earlier app I was using. I’ve been able to get cool new features, customize it to my programs and liking, and it works great for switching apps by clicking on their dock items (here’s a screenshot). It’s freeware on top of all that, though I’d gladly pay for them to keep updating it.

The previous dock clone I was using got shut down by Apple, and I’m not sure this one is much different, but it works great for me now.