December 2, 2007
Tagging, in my world, is nearly irrevocably associated with folksonomies and tag clouds. For those that are unfamiliar with that sort of jargon, that term refers to user-assigned taxonomies, a phenomenon assessed and described with eloquence by David Weinberger in his excellent Everything Is Miscellaneous. Here, the tag is more of a throwback to the hoary days of 2002, when bloggers tapped each other to pontificate about the most recent Internet meme.
It's fun, it's friendly and I'm glad to play along.
Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Don’t break the chain!
1. I adore "pickle pottage sandwiches" -- stoned wheat thins, peanut butter and dill pickles - though I have them infrequently.
2. I tried to literally cross the Rubicon as a teenager and left a Teva embedded in the river back after my classmates pulled me out of the muck.
3. The first television show I ever watched was a Bugs Bunny episode, courtesy of Warner Brothers. I think it was Duck Season, and I wouldn't see TV again for years.
4. I won a pesto challenge at Star Island when I was 19 by drinking a full tureen of creamy sauce in a go, nearly two quarts. I earned a stomache ache, bragging rights for a week and five large raspberry rickies at the snack bar. Even trade, IMHO.
5. I own not one but three cast iron crepe pans, along with more than a dozen other cast iron skillets, pots and sauce pans. Go figure.
And with that, I hereby tag the following folks:
Gimpadelic (who, even if GG tagged him already, might benefit from the additional impetus.)
October 29, 2007
Stay classy, Interwebs.
The mustache contest is over! Shaven again, I feel like a new man. I even placed second, albeit in a three-way tie in a five man field. I may grow a goatee again some day -- but this particular brand of facial fur is firmly off the table.
October 26, 2007
There's much more to say but....it's Friday, and blogging is not what I want to be doing. Here's a hilarious video, courtesy of Eric, to take me into the weekend.
We Didnt Start The Viral - Watch more free videos
September 27, 2007
September 26, 2007
After working hard all morning and early afternoon, I decided to take a ride out to Walden for a swim, an incredibly attractive prospect given the 91 degree weather.
I've cycled out there at least once a month since March -- ok, not August -- and thought it would be the perfect way to clear my head and then tackle a long-standing coding project.
I wish I'd found some other way to decompress.
I went downstairs to get my bike and found the front tire flat.
I pumped it up and then drove over to the bike path, thinking I would avoid having to cycle through rush hour traffic and give my already-sore legs a break when I returned.
I geared up and pedaled all of 8 strokes before the back tube blew, sending me skidding sideways.
I broke my fall with a gloved hand (fine), knee (now sans a large swatch of flesh and skin) and my pedal.
Determined to persevere and get out to my swim, I drove back to the bike shop and then went over to CVS and bought a big bleedstop bandaid.
Patched up, I extricated the tube, bought and installed a new one and drove back to bike path, sure that I'd overcome my challenge and was still going to get a pedal and dunk.
And then I saw that my pedal had broken in half due to the force of the skid, no doubt preserving my joints but making the bike more or less unridable.
I tried to stop at my favorite BBQ place on the way home to console myself over while I iced the knee....and of course my debit card wouldn't read on their machine.
A long, hot shower later, I'm shaking my head and wondering where the bad karma came from while being thankful that I didn't wipe out in traffic or on the trail.
Frickin' hump day. My knee hurts.
September 25, 2007
September 20, 2007
I don't agree with everything in this story, though.
It's quite possible that more of us are hooking up because of Facebook, MySpace and Craigslist.
Not all of us are giving up the horizontal mambo in favor of Desktop Tower Defense, Halo 3, updating our blogrolls and friending old classmates.
And technology in many cases is bringing us closer together, not apart.
August 27, 2007
[In this image provided by NASA shows a newly expanded image of the Helix nebula Friday Aug. 24, 2007 lending a festive touch to the fourth anniversary of the launch of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. This spectacular object, a dying star unraveling into space, is a favorite of amateur and professional astronomers alike. Spitzer has mapped the expansive outer structure of the six-light-year-wide nebula, and probed the inner region around the central dead star to reveal what appears to be a planetary system that survived the star's chaotic death throes. Spitzer launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on August 25, 2003. (AP Photo/NASA-JPL)]
August 21, 2007
This constructigasm blew my mind sufficiently to provoke it, thankfully.
I adored Legos as a child. Hours upon hours of imagination expansion. I missed the introduction of Mindstorms, sadly, which is at the heart of much of the Lego factory above.
Coolest bit: When the completed vehicle rollw off of the ramp.
August 1, 2007
July 26, 2007
She's back, with a new song, album and a promo video that manages to be creative, quirky and a wee bit disturbing. I dig the tune. I'm not sure about the clothespins.
July 24, 2007
July 17, 2007
I'm not afraid to say that this thing scares the s--t out of me, even while I think it's really quite amazing at the same time. Bruce Sterling (easily one of my all-time favorite sci-fi writers) wrote about his impressions a bit more eloquently:
Yeah, yeah, I know -- some boondoggle Pentagon robot. Where's the zillion-dollar spare parts? But look at the insane way this lurching mongrel picks its way through mud, sharp rocks, and snow. And those horrible little hooves it has, and its bandage-wrapped black-zombie legs... and that irritating whining noise it makes. I don't see it "running and jumping," but it's so cheap-looking and pig-ugly that it looks entirely convincing -- twenty years from now, tech-savvy global-guerrilla marauders will be strapping IEDs and AK47s onto these things and unleashing them on remote mountain villages.
July 12, 2007
July 8, 2007
It floors me to note that how long I stayed on Fox News -- but there it is.
Much better, however, was the epic and superlative battle between Nadal and Federer this morning. A 5-set championship battle between the two best players in the world? A++ tennis? Spellbing. Federer is, more or less, the kind of tennis player I dreamed of being growing up, before the small issues of talent and coordination kicked up. I'll always love the game but the sorts of shots he's able to make, looping around the net or located in the only four square inches over the net that would escape his opponent's racket is just mindboggling. The grace that he approaches hitting each shot with is extraordinary, reminding me of the swing of Tiger or Ted or MJ's jumpshot. Beauty.
The unexpected tennis-fest follows on a brilliant Saturday. I caught up with the remainder of the spring cleaning left by a departing housemate, primarily organizing, doing laundry & dishes, gardening, stowing gear from the sojourn to Maine and generally getting settled in again. I shaved three weeks worth of beard -- always rejuvenating for me -- and celebrated with a walk around Fresh Pond, dinner on the patio at Jose's, a fantastic local Mexican restaurant with expertly executed authentic dishes, followed by G&Ts on the back porch. I was lucky to find spectacularly good company for my summer evening, a stroke of random luck that's still sinking in.
We caught the late show of Ratatouille at Fresh Pond, walking through Dennehy Park on what can only be described as sultry summer evening.
Pixar recaptured and rekindled the same spirit that drew me in with Toy Story, raising the bar yet again for digital detail and dazzling with whirling, twirling shots that left me a bit breathless. I loved it. I loved the reflection of the streetlights in the textured granite sidewalk, the bright copper showing in the scratches on the patina of the well-used pans in the kitchen and the fur of the rats themselves, a marvel of autonomous fibers animated in an utterly realistic way. It took an artist's eye to raise my appreciation of all of those elements to another level -- I was a fortunate soul to have one next to me. Two of 'em, in fact.
Ben Bird's characteristic flair for sweet, universal humor was on display throughout.
For this cook and foodie, the theme of the movie itself was probably the biggest treat. I'm looking forward to attempting that presentation of ratatouille myself sometime soon, though the smoker and grill are calling to me more than anything else these days.
I'm about to bike out to Walden and swim, hoping to escape the load of the 90+ degree humid blanket of hot air that is suffocating Cambridge.
SUCH a happy camper this morning.
July 6, 2007
Geeky covetousness, I am your huckleberry.
So far, I like it.
If anyone wants to chat me up, go for it. I hope you have something inspirational or revelatory to impart, though that's probably asking for a lot.
July 5, 2007
I just had a bit of fun over at the Simpsons movie site creating this "avatar." Pure goofy pleasure.
Trips to NYC to see old friends get married that blend into epic efforts to race the dawn and tide back to the southwest coast of Massachusetts, only to fall asleep on the beach and become dreadfully burned.
A two-week sojourn in Maine, poorly initiated by a bout of bronchitis but culminating in an all day fest of smoking ribs over applewood, sea kayaking and log home caulking.
Cavorting with porpoises and seals in between, while marveling at how many books I seem to read in the absence of a high-speed Internet connection.
Fishing and porch sitting in NH, gazing out at the White Mountains while dreaming up all new ways not to catch trout. And removing ticks. Lovely, that.
Unexpectedly losing a housemate. And now, perhaps, gaining a new one, similarly interested in outdoorsy pursuits and much better versed in biological study.
Unaccountably taking very few pictures of the places that instill in me a sense of deep, visceral contentment in Maine and New Hampshire, though to be fair I have hundreds of the very same vistas from the past decade.
It was surreal to be back in Boston after a few weeks away north, bearded amidst the unshaven (instead of the inverse at the beginning of the trip), surrounded by friends instead of family, buildings and bridges instead of trees and ocean, digital diaries replacing analog scribblings.
If I wasn't sure of how happy I was to be back before, however, two nights of seeing old friends wiped away any reticence, as we moved from a patio BBQ to a rooftop high above Back Bay to cheer and sing as the fireworks exploded above our heads in a moment that seemed to stretch on forever, a 22-minute limbo that left me hoarse, dazzled and exhilarated.
I'm running out to see the Transformers soon, or I'd offer more context on all of the above. Seeing Live Free or Die Hard at the Criterion Theater in Bar Harbor has left me well-primed for more blockbustery goodness. And robots. Lots of wonderful, transforming, spectacularly-animated robots.
June 12, 2007
SO farking cool. A plywood boombox made entirely out of junkyard auto parts and one man's very creative and handily executed vision.
I guess this homage makes me an official MAKE geek. Shocker, that.
(Hat tip: BoingBoing)
June 6, 2007
The short is less than six minutes long, but that's more than long enough to deliver a a moving narration from Carl Sagan that puts humanity and our small planet in the kind of perspective that perhaps only an astronomer can.
When that narrative mashed up over a montage of dozens of the most iconic moments from the history of film and popular culture, c'est voila:
Transcendence. Or something approaching it.
June 5, 2007
Can you turn "Baby Got Back" into a lovely, acoustic tune with folksy overtones? Apparently -- Coulton brought a smile to my face as I worked away this afternoon. While I still prefer Codemonkey, add this to the canon.
June 4, 2007
The presence of a storied local is one of many net positives in the move. The other side of the ledger isn't clear -- the cost of food and housing aren't negligible here and may be unsustainable in the long run -- but on the whole I'm sure I made the right choice when I moved here from Roslindale in the beginning of March. While I miss the Arnold Arboretum, Shadow and Roberta, my (new) roomate's dog, have been running around Fresh Pond a couple of times a week, which amounts to about four miles and change. These days, it's going faster and without much of a pause, a sign that I might actually be returning to some semblance of physical shape. Shadow is game, after he gets through marking at the beginning of the circuit or dropping off the inevitable deposit at the bank, so to speak, though I notice that he's perhaps lost a step in his smooth gait to match the increasing grey around his muzzle. He'll be seven in August, no longer the muscle-bound bolt of black lightning that I adopted five years ago this May.
I took three significant steps towards residency on Friday as well, acknowledging "on paper" what's been true in reality for a while: I signed up or a library card at my local library, just three blocks away, paid the excise tax on my truck and visited City Hall to secure the golden ticket that is a Cambridge resident parking sticker.
A parking pass, library card and taxes; I'm on my way to residency, anyway.
There are other, less tangible benefits to the move as well. Proximity to the Minuteman Commuter Bike Trail at Alewife, running all the way up to Bedford. A ten minute walk to Porter Square's T stop, shopping center, restaurants and music venues. A quick exit to Route 2 outbound or onto 16 to go into the city. A reasonable Chinese restaurant, Lucky Garden, a mere block and a half away, with creditable versions of any number of tasty dishes. The Fresh Pond shopping center only a walk -- or blink of a bike ride -- away through Dennehy Park, where the inexpensive if average-sized wonders of the cinema await, along with the paycheck-devouring aisles of Whole Foods. The young Indian brothers who run the convenience store next door that embody laid back ease and good humor. The library around the corner or the Hi-Rise Bakery a few blocks beyond that.
That laundry list, of course, ignores my luck in roommates or the cool twenty-somethings that inhabit the floors above me, along with the dog-friendly backyard, storage and laundry in the basement.
Karma comes around. I'm sure that with time other black marks may emerge. For now, I'm more than content to meet new neighbors, watch the vegetable garden explode out of the ground and pots in the back garden and make the most of the opportunities that now lie within walking distance.
I can't say the adjustment to single life has been easy. There's no doubt that the choice to move to Huron Village, as some realtors have taken to calling the neighborhood, has made the transition less painful.
Cantabridgianity, here I come.
May 27, 2007
If confirmed, that would be even bigger than "Hogzilla" in Georgia a few years ago.
That is one BIG feral pig.
UPDATE: I just listened to a NPR news story that really, really bugged me. It turns out that the gigantic pig pictured was no wild hog at all. He was an immense pig raised elsewhere, on a farm, purchased and then shipped to this game preserve where he was released four days prior to this hunt. The previous owners of "Fred" have come forward, first to protest that this was not a wild boar and also to note that allowing a boy to shoot the animal eight times with a pistol was neither humane nor particularly sporting.
I'm really more sickened by the episode than anything else, including any part I had in glorifying the youngster's achievement. While it's no different, in practice, than the release of farm-raised trout for anglers to catch in stocked ponds or the seeding of grouse or pheasants for hunters to shoot on other game preserves, in both cases I imagine the sportmen paying the animals more respect with quick, merciful deaths.
(AP Photo/Melynne Stone)
May 24, 2007
According to this story in the Daily Mail, Angelina Jolie has geotagged herself in a rather permanent way.
Lockets of hair just don't cut it in 21st century celebrity, apparently.
The coordinates of the tattoo on her arm, above, represent coordinates in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Namibia, and Vietnam, each string of characters representing the location of birth for one of her four children.
I admit it: I think this is pretty cool.
May 23, 2007
I love cooking like this. I took inspiration from both new neighbor's tastes and the newfound return of balmy weather to Boston and lept in to the creation of the perfect grilled fish taco.
I surfed through a few dozen Googled recipes and culled out my favorite combination of ingredients. There wasn't any one that was perfects, so the recipe that follows is definitely both a mashup of styles and original.
In my experience, for a truly memorable meal, most of the effort happens on the front end in planning, shopping for and choosing your ingredients. 1/4 planning, 1/4 ingredient selection and shopiing, 1/4 prep and 1/4 actual cooking. Maybe even less on that last fraction, when presentation occupies some portion of that as well.
Anyway, I started with choosing the fish itself. Local wild bluefish and some very fresh monkfish and tilapia were all quite affordable and held together well on the grill. Preparing the fish was simple. I placed all of the filets in a Pyrex pan and slathered them in safflower oil, citrus salt and pepper. I cut up a Vidalia onion into thick discs and de-seeded the jalapeno, added both to the fish in the dish and set them the pan aside, out of reach of the ever-present Roberta. She's quite the chowhound.
After that, the sous chef de jour and I got to work prepping the rest of the groceries.
Those included, first and foremost, a dozen soft corn tortillas for soft tacos and another dozen hard corn taco shells. I've always hated hard tacos that break when you eat them, so I planned to enfold the hard shell with the soft to avoid taco in the lap. That worked out well -- especially when I melted cheese and added grilled, chopped onions between the layers.
While I could have liked to have had avocado, I couldn't find any suitably fully ripe ones at the market.
Even without it, the essential fish taco I wanted included the following:
chopped red cabbage seasoned with soy, mirin, pumpkin seed oil and S&P
minced red onion
roasted sweet corn
chopped cilantro and diced scallions
The corn prep was satisfyingly easy. I just de-silked the ear, retaining the husk, and then soaked it in water. When grill was ready, I put it on to steam. Easy, simple and tasty. I sliced the kernels from the cob; this is definitely a new favorite way to eat corn.
The finished fish taco, with two layers of corn tortillas, grilled sweet onion, melted chedder/jack cheese, sour cream, red cabbage and onion, cilantro, salsa, scallions and key lime juice was one of the better scratch dinners I've done recently.
Economical, too. I fed five people and had enough for two more today.
While there was a brief concern as the gas grill failed to get up to full strength, I actually preferred using the pot-bellied Weber with charcoal briquets. I like the taste more and the loving attention required speaks to me on some fundamental level. It may be about the fire -- pyromania of a modest sort has been with me since the very earliest age.
Snow gets full cred for plating and inspiration, some sweet sous cheffery & most definitely for the photography above. And helping with the dishes.
Here's to 278/280 Walden -- I like the new digs.
May 21, 2007
It's a shame the whiskey named after her isn't top notch. It's a blend (and not my favorite) but probably still much better than what the Cutty Sark's sailors drank.
Like the Royal Navy, maybe I'd feel better if I drank a pint of grog or more every day myself.
I was glad to read that the Cutty Sark's metal skeleton did not buckle in the heat of the blaze -- and that firemen preserved her figurehead. She may be preserved yet.
It's extraordinary to think back the days of epic tea races as the clipper ships scudded across the world's oceans, coursing over the waves. . . how else to explain a trip from Australia-to-Britain in as little as 67 days? Under sail?
According to Wikipedia (ahem), the Cutty Sark's best run, 360 nautical miles (666 km) in 24 hours (an average 15kt, 27.75 km/h), was said to have been the fastest of any ship of its size.
May 17, 2007
Calvin and Hobbes. Animated. In Italian. I don't think Bill will be thrilled to see his work used by yet another unauthorized party...but this is, as is noted in the comments, a labor of love. It might just squeak in under "fair use" -- but I doubt it. Either way, the animated short is a delightful trip down memory lane. I adored Calvin and Hobbes as a kid. Still do, really. Whenever I mention to a friend that something will "build your character," it's a direct homage.
May 2, 2007
April 15, 2007
Brings new meaning to "ease-of-use" though, eh? I wonder how the screen looks after those tender attentions. I have no doubts about whether this feline Q&A specialist might pull of a similar demo on a Wintel machine: nada.
March 19, 2007
The blogosphere has been going a little batty (moonbatty, perhaps?) about a mashup of the iconic original 1984 Mac commercial and Hillary Clinton's online fireside chat. The video was made by an Obama supporter (shocking) and while I'm reticent to entirely endorse either candidate (I prefer Bill Richardson to both on a number of levels, frankly) the impact of this political ad/statement/art if undeniable.
I hope it's the first of many such mashups, on both sides.
March 9, 2007
Blogger flagged this as a splog and blocked me from posting.
Oh, and I moved to Cambridge. That may have occupied a few hours here and there...
Like I said, more to come. Friday night calls.
February 22, 2007
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s blog — note how that rolls off the keyboard — has been putting up video of representatives floor speeches against the war. That’s fascinating enough but get how they are posting the video: via YouTube. Here is Pelosi’s own YouTube user page.
C-SPAN has been the place to get source information on video: watch and judge for yourself. Now YouTube can take over that role and not just for limited official events but for source video anywhere. [crossposted at PrezVid]
This really is quite extraordinary. I'm sure my friends are tired of me blathering on about the Craigslist generation or the YouTube election -- but here we are. We're more wired than ever before, with the Edwards campaign on Second Life and the first presidential commercial (thanks, Mitt -- we'll all stop "dithering now") popping up there for embedding nearly simultaneously with its entrance onto the broadcast airwaves. The fact that the Speaker of the House is posting speeches from the floor of the House of Representatives (or more likely, one of her aides) strikes me as a significant step towards transparency. In other words, YouTube is good for more than just macaca moments. Such engagement in new media might even grab the attention of those who have turned off and tuned out from network news and newspapers, nearly en masse. I hope so. There are so many important stories out there.
(AFP/National Science Museum/File)
450kg of giant squid. That makes it the largest squid ever landed.
Let the calamari jokes begin... While a true kraken has yet to be pulled forth, it's not hard to imagine a 30-foot long cephalopod like this absolutely terrifying Irish monks, Vikings or Maoris navigating in small coracles or dugouts.
February 19, 2007
Lessig remains one of the most brilliant minds I've ever encountered in print and now in video. Code and The Future of Ideas remain a turning point in my education in open source, DRM, copyright and intellectual property. Great stuff.
February 14, 2007
As someone who retired from skateboarding seriously at an early age (ask me about my fake tooth) these wheelchair tricks are slightly mindbinding. I love that these guys are still thrashing in any way that they know how -- and doing things I'd never imagined possible in a wheelchair.
February 12, 2007
The Wall Street Journal has now hopped into the online video world in partnership with Brightcove. Notably, they've made it possible (and easy) to get embed code to place their content into, say, a blog. The selection isn't exactly wide nor deep -- but it's a start.
February 11, 2007
While I can imagine that the task of taking on a university with 12 schools, a 30 billion dollar endowment and 3 billion dollar operating budget is surely a daunting task for the (former) dean of Radcliffe (80 employees), I bet she's woman enough for the challenge.
In the wake of Larry Summers, this is an especially powerful statement, and one that should confirm to the world that opportunity at the highest levels is increasingly, if not wholly, available to every qualified American.
February 10, 2007
Now, while that technically isn't completely true, it's not exactly the converse, either. I've taken a faltering step in new direction, though the path is still unfolding.
I'd like to think that watching all Six Feet Under would have taught me that long ago, but here we are in 2007, more than a year since Sia's Breathe Me took us out of the final episode. That moment remains a sobering, beautiful resolution to a brilliant series, a reminder that we all die, sooner or later.
This song still chokes me up when I hear it.
It really took my uncle's passing last year to drive the point home, however. Memorizing the following words from the Bard long ago, in sixth grade, certainly didn't imprint that reality on my heart or outlook.
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
--From Macbeth (V, v, 19)
I suppose, at 30, I'm finally conscious of my own mortality.
February 8, 2007
Inspiration strikes at the oddest times.
I spent a little over two hours last night after work pranking the open cubicles of the two coworkers who foiled me earlier this week.
I think most folks were pretty amused.
Both pranks will have to be disassembled tomorrow. I'll need to remember the cord for my drill, as only one battery is charged for the DeWalt cordless drills I used to assemble the frame. I'd hate to run out of juice at a crucial moment as I take down.
I'll admit, I was proud of myself. Months of apprenticeship actually paid off in efficiently designing, planning, shoppping, measuring, cutting and then framing the armature. I'd like to think the creativity was always there, as this is just the sort of somewhat outrageous stunt I'd imagine pulling at age 10. The difference is that I've got access to power tools, a car, ladder and 6-foot frame to haul everything about and put it together. The will was certainly always there.
I'm glad I got it out of the way last night, too. Today was an intense, on so many levels. You never know what life will bring, whether it's sickness in your family, natural catastrophe or a winning lottery ticket. Or, you know, an 8 x 16.3 foot plastic tent over your desk.
UPDATE: The quarantine victim managed to take considerably better pictures of the prank than I did, perhaps because my digital camera is nearly five years old. Go E!
February 7, 2007
February 6, 2007
1) Continue the status quo, with competing schemes from Apple, Microsoft and Sony.
2) License FairPlay (the Apple DRM scheme) and cede control over that proprietary encryption scheme.
3) Abolish DRM entirely. In such a world, "any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat."
What's the best direction? It's hard to see the major multinationals releasing their content in the way Steve describes in his utopian vision, though I cautiously agree that open formats would be in the best interests of both artists and consumers alike.
I thought the following facts were, if true, somewhat staggering, though of course he had asserted as much beofre in the keynote when he announced the iPhone. What follows the iPod sales numbers and purchases, however, is a much more interesting revelation:
Through the end of 2006, customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store. On average, that’s 22 songs purchased from the iTunes store for each iPod ever sold.
Today’s most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats.
I can say that's anecdotally true. The vast majority of music in my collection is from the CDs, tapes, mixes, burned CD-Rs and LPs that previously constituted (and still do, to be fair) the bulk of my music collection before the iTunes store ever entered the picture. These days, on the Nano at least, most of the space is full of podcasts.
I did notice an ad for downloadable ring tones of awful auditions, the first time I'd seen the promo. Ick. I can't wait to be around when those enter the teenage population.
February 5, 2007
February 4, 2007
5. Rock, Papers, Scissors -- Bud Lite
One of the first commercial was also one of the best.
Give a little love and it all comes back to you. How Lennon.
3. Wittiest title nominee: Connectile Disfunction (Sprint Mobile Broadband). The commercial isn't otherwise remarkable but that initial cleverness sold me. Mostly.
2. The K-Fed National Insurance ad. Tough call, but seriously, what other ad is generating more buzz?
1. The Robert Goulet appearance in Emerald Nuts actually made me LOL. There it is.
The worst? I love Garmin products, but this was just a mindblowing waste of 2.6 million dollars:
Ditto for SalesGenie:
Like the 2000 Superbowl ad season but perhaps even worse.
Update: Gizmodo posts on the SuperBowl ads more extensively -- and with awards, no less. GizFunny. Of note is that the iFilms render and play much more smoothly, IMHO.
Update II: The lonely GM robot was sadly overlooked. Score another one for anthropomorphizing our machines.
Update III: Embarrassment descends. I've been given a scathing dressing down for overlooking the Blockbuster spot that has some priceless neoLuddite humor that provoked a belly laugh. I don't know how I forgot to include this....too much time fussing over crab cakes, clearly. I think I even prefer this over Goulet.
My weekend has been very up and down. I saw Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" at the Huntingdon Theater on Friday and then went to Betty's Wok and Noodle, both of which were really wonderful experiences. I need to see more live theatre.
Saturday, I slept gloriously late and then worked up a sweat chipping the ice glaze off the steps, cars, sidewalks, end of the driveway and everywhere else it coated. I even managed to take the greyhound for a run in the arboretum afterwards, losing my wind 3/4 of the way up Peters Hill. I'm still getting back to decent shape, but I was glad to get some sun and break a sweat. Today, I accomplished that rarest of Sunday morning deeds, reading the NYT Sunday edition cover to cover. I have to admit, I skimmed some sections a bit (Sunday Styles?) but the feat stands. I never manage to do that anymore, though doing so brings me the warm and fuzzy glow of feeling informed, if only through the Grey Lady's lens.
Tons of great articles to note from today's paper, including:
- "Sharp Bits," about how restaurant blogging is changing the industry. Great work, though it would have been funnier entitled "Sharp Bytes."
This so doesn't below in the Styles section, though to be fair as section cover story it gets great play on the section devoured by status watchers dying to read the wedding announcements.
- "Taking Books Far and Wide, on the Road Less Traveled By" about the important role of a bookmobile in the rural Southwest of the US, providing a kind of mobile library to isolated resident.
- "You've Seen the E-mail, Now Buy the Art," which details how emailed JPEGs have let to art shows that sell out ahead of time in 3 minutes, not three hours, along with worthy questions about what this means for the future of art, speculation and shows in a digital age.
- "Wireless Internet for All, Without the Towers," Randall Stross's latest essay on "Digital Domains." I hadn't read about Meraki before, which "contains a WiFi router-on-a-chip, combined with the same microprocessor and same memory that formed the heart a Silicon Graphics workstation 10 years ago" that allows the creation of a low-cost, ground-level P2P wireless mesh networks an alternative to muniWiFi or WiMax. Neat.
- Finally, "In Elder Care, Signing on Becomes a Way to Drop By" covers the iCare, a product that represent a growing trend towards the inversion of the Big Mother concept, allowing family members to use digital technology to keep an eye on elderly parents. This trend can't be overemphasized, as we're well on our way to watching each other constantly with cheap webcams, portable GPS technology, remote biolevels sensors and browser-based monitoring systems. A brave new world, indeed.
In all of this, I'm reminded of the central role that great newspapers still play in our world. Bloggers, by and large, comment, link, critique and fact check like no other collective consciousness in history but have yet to produce anything like the smorgasboard of exceptional journalism I read today or linked to above. The Old Grey Lady may have her faults (WMD, Judith Miller and Jason Blair come to mind) but she's as relevant as ever, as long as this kind of writing makes its way onto her pages.
My foodie juices are about to get aflowin as I head over to Cambridge to prepare for a culinary bonanza with a friend. He's been brining his pork loin for days; I'm ready to prepare some authentic MD backfin lump crab balls (albeit with Thai crab, but whatever - I can't afford $45/pound) with a cilantro aioli (my grandmum would not approve), braised BBQ country style ribs and a shot at creme brulee, which I've finally got a decent blowtorch for...should fun, along with that whole "football" and advertising extravaganza thing...
Bud.tv, however, is neither cute not a joke, though there are funny things to be found there. In effect, Anheuser-Busch has created its own online cable network, though for now pretty interface houses commercials, trailers and little else -- promises of enhanced content and shows are still coming soon.
If this campaign works for them, I imagine this accelerate the trend of companies creating online communities of users, customers or clients as a means of building both brand awareness and loyalty.
I think it will take much more than this for me to prefer a Bud over a Guinness, Belgian or homebrew.
February 3, 2007
Earlier this week Google made a significant change to Google Reader. You can now watch videos from dozens of sites without having to leave the reader. This means you can set up a RSS search feed, from say YouTube, and watch them all as a playlist in reader.
Page views? What page views? If no one is actually visiting your site, how do you monetize and sustain your business model? Creating meaningful social media metrics will be quite a challenge in this age of feeds, where content can be stripped of much of the branding, advertising or even authorship by a feed browser like Reader or Sage. I think it's about influence. At least, that's what some wiser blogging heads than I seem to believe.
Update: I subscribed to the most viewed feed from YouTube and then zipped over to Reader. Sure enough, the embedded Reader widget on my Google homepage now will pop up a window with a YouTube video embedded and playable within it. Cool.
My uncle emailed me this story about the failure of the main camera of the Hubble telescope this week.
This video montage gives some small justice to the gift NASA and its scientists offered to humanity.
February 2, 2007
That being said, I really do feel like I'm looking out over some extraordinary unexplored country, as I look out at the coming year. I've been rapidly and powerfully drawn to making and consuming online video this past week, both for work and for fun. As a result, I may have "cheated" more than a little bit by posting video instead of any grittier or more serious thoughts or comments on what I've experienced or felt recently.
There's just too much, really. Life just seems to accelerate when you're not looking. I can't believe it's already February.
At the top of the list should be the fact that I'm an associate now, with no trace of assistant anything in my title. I like that. I like that the word means much more than one thing. One can associate sounds with experiences, smells with memories or ideas with people. It's a fully loaded word. I'm a fan.
I caught myself describing my state of being to my mum on Thursday as "exhausted but high functioning." I've apparently absorbed too much psychobabble along the way.
That being said, it's accurate. I'm writing, editing, interviewing and reading as much or more than I have in a while, and generally at a much higher level. What a shock: I love being an editor.
I'm even starting to get back into better shape, stopping by the health club to check out the facilities on the way home last night and breaking out the free weights for the first time in months.
My only real complaint is that I wish I were reading more books and being more creative with photography, painting, poetry and woodworking. Blogs, magazines and newsprint seems to take up far too much of the bedside table and work downcycles these days. After reading Jeffrey Toobin's engrossing tale of Google's moonshot, however, I did head over to Google Books. I hadn't been there in a while. Seeing Dad's book was a reminder, however, of how much is lost on screen. The feel of the paper, the spareness of a poem on the printed page, even the smell of a new book is lost completely in the scanning. Minor quibbles next to the creation of the world's largest pool of information, of course, but I do enjoy slipping a thin volume into my pocket when I board the T. It beats reading it off my MDA, certainly, though I'd like get my hands on a Reader again for more than a few minutes.
It also bears mentioning that making new friends, in and outside of work, is deeply satifying. Many of them are now aware of this blog, so for once I'm picking more words more carefully. I think there will always be a part of me that will mourn the absence of former friends that I thought I might have for life, along with the cascading actions that led to the end of those relationships. It's taken me much longer than I care to admit to move on.
I'm kindly reminded by the friends I still have, thankfully, that it's out of my control. They've made their decisions. All I can do is try not to make the same mistakes and be kinder to others and, in the end, myself. Life is too short and bitterly unfair to do otherwise.
I think 2007 is going to be transformative, if the first 33 days are any clue.
January 31, 2007
January 29, 2007
|This Charlie Rose interview was one of the few broadcast journalists with access to Buffett and Bill Gates when they announced their historic philanthropic partnership. Buffett is engaging.|
January 24, 2007
|Rosling is professor of international health at Sweden's world-renowned Karolinska Institute, and founder of Gapminder, a non-profit that brings vital global data to life. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 20:35)|
January 20, 2007
January 16, 2007
January 15, 2007
The French government proposed a union of Britain and France in 1956 — even offering to accept the sovereignty of the British queen — has left scholars on both sides of the Channel puzzled.
Newly discovered documents in Britain's National Archives show that former French Prime Minister Guy Mollet discussed the possibility of a merger between the two countries with British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden.
What a bombshell. The article describes a British historian nearly falling off of his chair.
I can only imagine what such a cataclysm would have meant for the cuisine of the "froggies" and "rosbifs."
I kid the French and English. I'm glad that England and France remain sovereign, for any number of reasons. I like both roast beef and frog legs quite a bit, after all, just not in the same dish.
January 11, 2007
Up until very recently, I thought the wireless Mighty Mouse that the Biostat Belle had purchased for her iBook was the coolest mouse I'd ever used. Absurdly easy Bluetooth connectivity, great either-hand form factor, and, best of all, 360-degree scroll ball right where your index finger tends to rest.
Being able to scroll sideways is kind of mindblowing if you work on plaintext documents and source code that tends to stretch out beyond the boundaries of your screen.
So that was it, my gold standard. No longer -- and it's tough saying that. I love the Mighty Mouse.
Enter the Logitech MX Revolution.
I read about it in (suprise) Wired, and, when I was in Microcenter picking up a new VoIP headset for podcasting and a webcam on Monday, I bought one in one of the most blatant impulse buys of technology I've indulged in since, well, my purchase of an MDA last year.
I'm genuinely suprised at how much my productivity has increased this week at work. Things are just faster and easier -- and I've barely begun programming the darn thing. The "hyperscroll" wheel works as advertised. And it just feels good in my hand. Ah, technophilia.
You'd think that a few crossed off items would make a difference. Get a new job that I love -- check. Score health, dental and vision insurance -- check. Put something away for retirement -- check. Write more, work out more, reconnect with nature more -- check, check, check. You'd think I'd be able to rest on some laurels. Not so much.
I have more of the same goals now, with a new layer on top. Such is life, I suppose, but there's a part of me that simply wants to burn the yellow legal pad I pulled out on New Year's Eve.
The trouble is that I simply love to paint in big, bold, dramatic strokes. Themes, with just a touch of grandiosity. Write a decent piece of short fiction and submit it to a publisher. Get much better at editing video and start producing features over IPTV. Take pictures and write every day. Renovate the house, starting with finishing the back porch window sills and then getting into the kitchen cabinetry and bathroom. Establish an IRA. And there's the really broad resolutions: Learn more. Be Happy. Be good to my friends and loved ones. Take better care of my body and mind.
Good lord. I'd probably have been better off resolving not to make lists any more.
It's not that I don't think all of the above is possible in a year. The year is young, just eleven days down, and I've taken steps towards all of the above. I've even started the process of renewing my passport. It's time to invest in a copy of GTD and get rolling. Get a PCP and take care of any health issues. Start writing more and gaming less. Cut reality TV out of my diet entirely.
Whoops. There I go again with the lists. Forgive me, friends. I hope I see a lot more of you, too, over the coming year.
January 10, 2007
I watched this for the first time on Sunday and was just reminded of it by coworkers. C'est voila: of course it's available on YouTube. Aside from Bruce Campbell, who I'll always regards with great geeky respect for his work on the Evil Dead trilogy -- especially "Army of Darkness" -- there's great writing and the longest sailing ship I've ever seen. There's a wonderful subtle element to the commercial as well, as the background behind Campbell just wraps and wraps, implying that he's in a sealed room, albeit one decorated in a distinctly old-school man-study kind of way, and therefore has no experience of the wide world. That it's a commercial for Old Spice is probably beside the point. This is just pure celluloid joy.
January 9, 2007
January 7, 2007
A greyhound makes a new Guinness World Record high jump, clearing 68 inches at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge
That was easily the longest blog post title I've written -- but then "Cindy" was pretty impressive.
I watched her clear a barrier 68 inches high in once extraordinary bounce just after noon today on the television. By doing so, she broke the record she had herself set set earlier in 2003 at the same event.
Greyhounds, traditionally one of the more earthbound breeds due to the intensive sprint-training most racing dogs receive, equipping them to move in a wholly horizontal direction and often building hyperdeveloped muscle mass. When I first adopted show, his musculature was defined in much the same way that a professional body builder's body sculpting would be. Apparently, Cindy has been trained since she was a puppy in agility and leaping skills. It shows in her body, much more lean and whip-strong than that of ex-racers.
January 5, 2007
"You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility."
The fact that I'm 55% Catwoman or Supergirl, and 45% Wonder Woman, isn't so exciting, though I suppose I should be more open to engaging my feminine superheroine side.