Monday, January 31, 2005

A Tale of Two Pictures

She doesn't get it. (Sorry Everybody) Posted by Hello
They do Posted by Hello

What was that song?

Chris Anderson looks at the iPod Shuffle and declares it a "value subtract" product. Interestingly, Apple borrows from the Microsoft playbook ("That's not a flaw - it's a feature") when they claim "iPod Shuffle adds musical spontaneity to your life. Lose control. Love it."

The idea of your iPod being shuffled-programmed like a radio station, isn't necessarily unappealing, but my guess is most, when asked, will characterize it by what it's missing, not a very rewarding consumer experience.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Orange and Purple

Tumbling graffiti-laced walls in Berlin, orange scarves and sweaters in the Ukraine, ink-stained fingers in Baghdad-- new symbols of freedom throughout the world.

On Meet The Press, John Kerry tried to put a cautionary damper on the moment, but as the day wore on, the excitement -- captured here by Geraldo Rivera on Fox News -- bubbled over. Just watching those folks dancing in the streets, defiantly raising their purple fingers to the cameras made me smile all afternoon.

Take a moment and watch this video. This is what we needed to see after months of relentless, disturbing pictures being splashed on our front pages. Freedom, cynically pooh-poohed by the Left, is the fuel driving these Iraqis.

Look at their eyes. Look at their smiles.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Boxer shorts

Bill at INDC Journal has scored 3 -- count 'em -- 3! excerpts from Senator Barbara Boxer's forthcoming novel (here, here, and here) to be published by Chronicle Books in November, 2005 -- too late for that killer beach book you were hoping for, but just in time for stuffing some Blue Stater's stocking.

Ok.Ok. Here's a tease:

"'NO! I will not permit the rape of this fragile ecosystem!' bellowed Ellen courageously, staring down the inhuman glare of the bulldozer's jagged jaws, as she determinedly set the heels of her Kate Spade tan suede boots into the spongy Alviso silty clay loam of Gaia's exposed and trembling bosom."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Cruising through the LA Times

Max Boots Sy Hersh.

(Sorry. It was irresistible.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Sunday’s elections in Iraq will predictably be praised by Bush supporters and called a sham by his detractors. One thing will, however, be undeniable: Iraqi citizens, despite threats, will brave the polls displaying remarkable courage for the entire world to see. I wonder what this year’s record voter turnout would be if Americans had guns pointed at their heads.

Lots of bloggers will, no doubt, be giving their perspectives throughout the day, but I’ve found that Command Post is a great central resource.

UPDATE: Powerline passes along the results of a poll conducted by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, which notes that:

53.3% said the security is good in their area.

21.7% said that security was average in their area.

25% said that security was bad in their area.

Hindrocket - "Not exactly the impression you would get from the American press."

Turner's tantrums

Broadcasting & Cable reports on Ted Turner's opening address at the National Association for Television Programming Executives' conference, a nostalgic reminder of how much fun he was before he entered the Land of the Former.

In those days, he would shake his fist at Black Rock (the CBS headquarters) on 52 Street, surrounded by reporters, while everyone knew he was merely pining for a seat upstairs. But the cute, outsider David vs. Goliath stuff became tougher to pull off as he amassed billions, became Vice-Chairman of Time-Warner, and -- oh yes, America's largest private landowner.

Bloggers are familiar with Godwin's Law which states:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

As this is the second time Turner has made the Murdock/Hitler allusion, it appears he is not, as some would say, another loony leftist falling victim to Godwin's Law, but something much worse - a tired cliché. (Via Drudge)

Oh - and Fox shows it can snark with the best of them:
"Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network, and now his mind," said a Fox News spokesperson. "We wish him well."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hypertext TV

Both Google and Yahoo launched beta versions their new video searches today. Google's is here and Yahoo's is here. Both searches are more like toe-dips into the video pool, but you don't have to be much of a sage to see this as a watershed day for communications. Hypertext TV is here.

As Blog Blog notes:

What happens, for instance, if you search for some video of a place or an event and it turns out that the best stuff you find comes not from a network but from a talented individual. That changes everything.

It sure does. But the networks HAVE the best stuff. The issue is freeing it up so that it is available and easily accessible. And if the networks (in fact, all the so-called mainstream media) miss this opportunity, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

ESPN does a decent job of extending its on-air presence and CBS has developed a workable template for how the future can look with its Survivor site. There fans each week are treated to additional footage not aired during the show, in addition to a ton of behind the scenes stuff, pictures, biographies, quizzes, etc.

Wanna survive? Free up the footage. Slap a logo on it. Keep the brand alive. Expand and extend your audience.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Wild Fire

Firefox, the open-source browser from Mozilla breaks 20,000,000 downloads today and this chart shows just how quickly it has caught on. Microsoft's aging Internet Explorer is waaay overdue for a full overhauling.

Some Firefox background can be found here, but this story about 19 year old co-creator Blake Ross is more interesting to me.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Not Enough Fingers

Roger Clemens, 42, returns to the Houston Astros after signing a one year contract for $18 million. Let's see -- he appeared in 33 games last year, so if he repeats -- that's $545+K per outing. Hmmm, the Astros Minute Maid Park attendance last year was 3,087,872 so that means...ummm, (...divided by...carry the three...) I'll be right with you...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

You Have Reached A Page That Doesn't Exist

On a reader tip, Powerline finds an ABC News form request:

For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20. If you know of a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below:
Reactions to this disturbing plea can be found here, here, and here, but it’s interesting that in this post-Rathergate period, network news operations continue to cover-up their missteps. ABC yanked the page, but not until Capt. Ed archived it on his site.

Most bloggers rarely delete posts, preferring to include updates to reflect changes. This of course provides transparency and helps readers to follow the story, including corrections, additions, etc. Some even point out when punctuation edits are made.

Why can’t the MSM just update its posts to reflect its rethinking?

Something like:

UPDATE: ABC News, upon reflection, realizes its earlier solicitation of a military funeral was a deeply flawed idea and, as Hindrocket at Powerline has pointed out, was offensive to the families of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan, or aided tsunami victims in Indonesia or Sri Lanka, or in training exercises.

As a result, we are rendering the above form inoperable and thank all those readers who have helped us to come to our senses.


UPDATE: ABC News had a military funeral solicitation form here earlier, since removed because we are receiving what we feel is an unwarranted amount of criticism from various bloggers and e-mailers. Rather than rehash the whole thing over again, we feel the correct course is to delete it from the site and pretend like it never existed. Thank you for your cooperation.

I even have a slogan:

INTERNET POST UPDATES: Providing clarity since 2005.

UPDATE: ABC finds its funeral.

UPDATE II: John Hinderaker at Powerline is tipped about the funeral coverage and concludes:
"The broadcast networks are at war with the Bush administration."

Mobilizing talent

Dow Jones' reporter Bob O'Brien uncovers a euphemistic classic from Applied Materials on CNBC.

You don't actually get fired there.

The company announced it is firing 240 workers, but called the move a "talent mobility program."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Globes

Everyone behaved themselves at tonight's Golden Globe Awards. It was a pleasure not having to sit through two hours of Red State/Blue State jokes.

Jaimie Fox's emotional acceptance for his performance in Ray all but sealed his lock on the Oscars this year; his speech had the room in tears. You can bet all those Hollywood mavens will be stuffing Academy ballot boxes like Gregoire Democrats in Washington. He is an amazing talent.

Meanwhile, I was hoping to hear someone wish the show's producer - Dick Clark - a speedy recovery. He is still hospitalized after suffering a mild stroke this December. Here's hoping he will be behind the mic backstage for next year's show.

Sunday surfing

MemeFirst cautions CBS about the Katy Couric rumors.

Timothy Birdnow ponders Maureen Dowd's "hapless love life."

Powerline compares and contrasts Water and Rathergate. Cover-up?

More screen captures

This time it's from Michael Robertson's amazing custom capture the flag map for Unreal Tournment 2004 - CTF-Amoude 2004. The detail is unbelievable and it gives me a chance to test Picasa's Hello, which can be used to host pictures for Blogger.

I have some reservations about the program - more about that later - but for now enjoy the eye candy.

(Incidentally, if you have UT 2004 and want to test this map out, it can be downloaded here.)

CTF-Amoude 2004 Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Morrowind Adventures

Time for some gamer geek stuff.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is an epic, open-ended single-player game where you create and play any kind of character you can imagine. It's thick, complex and believe me, HUGE. I think I read it covers more than 10 sq. miles. And with over 3,000 NPC's (non-playing characters), more than 30 cities and hundreds of caves, it'll be quite some time before you get through this adventure.

I'll admit my actual game-playing has been slow, because I have been bowled over by its graphics. For the most part I have been walking around taking pictures, like the one below. Can you be a tourist in an imaginary world?

Blue skies over Vivec. Posted by Hello

Where's George?

Photographer David Burnett has put together a site - DON'T PHOTO - which he describes as "The First Draft of History in Images of the 2004 Campaigns: As seen by those who saw it."

There are dozens of Kerry moments, from his ill-advised windsurfing afternoon to a silhouetted shot before a stain-glassed church window. I often wonder what the reaction would have been if the President had campaigned from a pulpit.

Speaking of Bush, the 261 photos from 14 professionals include 2 of him- yeah, that's right -2. Well, 3, if you count that one of his hand. (Via Photodude)

Friday, January 14, 2005

A Rhapsodic discovery

A few months ago I discovered Rhapsody, and after using the free radio portion for a while, decided to take the full subscription plunge.

Now some folks think Real Networks, Rhapsody's parent is the devil, but if you're a music fan, ya gotta try it! (That, too, is free for a limited time.)

But the neat thing is Rhapsody fans are establishing blogs and sites to exchange "listening lists" which is a great way to expand your musical exposure.

Here's one, Rhapsody Radish that has some well thought out lists.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Long Tailing

Chris Anderson, whose Wired article, The Long Tail has spawned the latest marketing meme has a same-titled blog which explores the subject further. He says the blog is "a public diary on the way to a book," - a fascinating look not only at an interesting subject, but Anderson coalescing his ideas for the book. If his forthcoming book were a box set, this blog would be the included “Making of…”

What is "The Long Tail?" That's a subject he's spending some time explaining and is currently looking for a snazzy definition, which he can place under the heading of the blog. There's been some pretty good submissions, but the best explanation I've heard comes from an Australian MBA student.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Where's the remote?

Cruising through TV Guide I found a listing today for "Kenny Loggins On Ice." My first instinct was to look for "Cooking With Noam Chomsky."

Winter TV. Ugh.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Great discussion going on over at BuzzMachine in the aftermath of the Armstrong Williams "No Child Left Behind" payola story. Jeff, being a media insider, has a better understanding of the mechanics of how this all works. The issue, in my mind, is deception.

Rather than just turning it into a political or racial brouhaha, I think it's an opportunity to examine how deception is used today, particularly in marketing, and yes, politics. What are the ethics involved? Is a pundit's taking an undisclosed amount to espouse a certain position the same as a Hollywood producer accepting payment to have his movie character drive a certain car or drink a certain soda? Of course one is fiction, but the underlying issue is the same; we are purposely misled by someone who is paid for this deceit.

Jeff's focusing on government for the use of taxpayer money to fund this sort of activity is understandable. (He even has filed an FOIA request to the DOE), but Armstrong William's actions seem no more ethically challenged to me than the dozens of deceptions hatched in public relations/marketing offices every day. It's not just government out to deceive us. Why do we decry the Department of Education for a No Child Left Behind promotion, but applaud some word of mouth marketing company for its savviness? Both suck.

From my BuzzMachine comments:

"...I feel deceived by Maureen Dowd's use of ellipses to distort meanings and I feel deceived when politicians describe spending increases as cuts. Hell, I feel deceived by product placement in movies and TV. Armstrong's lack of disclosure seems as ethically wrong to me as Krugman's Enron omission.

Jon Stewart tried to make the point, albeit clumsily on the famous Crossfire takedown, calling "spin alley" "deception lane". Deception is celebrated as a peculiar 21sth century skill. Bloggers, it seems to me, have a unique role in exposing rather than exploiting it."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Googling Your Library

Check out Rebecca Blood's great tip for using Google and Yahoo to search for a book in your local library.

"...type in "Find in a library" and the name of your book. Click the WorldCat result and fill in your zipcode for a list of local libraries that carry the book."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Jenny, are you there? (867-5309)

Tommy Tutone's one hit wonder inspired this guy to call the number in every area code in the country.

And I thought I had too much time on my hands...(via Fimoculous)

Monday, January 03, 2005

Say What?

The 40 Most Obnoxious Quotes Of 2004