May 31, 2007


My friend Anna is traveling abroad this summer and I highly recommend her travel blog. A recent sample:

If you miss breakfast the next morning and try to order some french fries from the hotel kitchen, they'll shout 'Lazy girl! Lazy girl!' over and over at you, even if there are a lot of other people around. And you still won't get any fries.

May 22, 2007


Google Hot Trends! Google can play with those other kids with their cool data visualizations and neat infoporn.

Except Google's definition of 'play' is to use pretty much the same application template they use for almost everything from Sitemaps to AdSense. Do people want to browse this type of casual information in the same way that they want to track their portfolios? Seems unlikely.

At least Google's conflation of 'simple' and 'staid' results in some unintended humor. The one element that breaks with the standard design is the 'Hotness' meter for each term. Somehow, the Trends folks got away with naming their Hotness levels: Mild, Medium, Spicy, On Fire and Volcanic. Which is pretty out there by Google standards.

Unfortunately, it also results in visuals like the following:

The fact that this is the only playful element on the entire page, makes the labeling seem that much more absurd.

May 20, 2007


28 Weeks Later is a fine sequel to Danny Boyle's first zombie movie. In this one, the Americans have taken over Britain following the crisis of the undead depicted in 28 Days Later.

The mission of the US military is to establish a new society from within the safety of a Green Zone set up in London. And, as you would expect from such an allegorical premise, everything goes swimmingly and liberal democracy prevails.

Actually, not so much. One of my favorite shots occurs shortly after everything goes pear-shaped; it's close-up of Horatio Nelson's face and he looks unbelievably sad atop his lonesome pillar.

Speaking of Brits, the kids in the movie are played by actors Mackintosh Muggleton and Imogen Poots. I mean, honestly. How can you resist Muggleton & Poots.

It should be noted, this movie is scary. I screamed out loud at one point.

Hardest working elf in show business

Bjork performed at the Shoreline Amphitheatre last night and, man, does she put on a show.

She comes out with a brass band of Icelandic ladies who are carrying samurai flags and is further accompanied by percussion, keyboards and some dude playing the latest in esoteric electronics.

And also there were lasers. The lasers were key. They didn't switch on until she played Army of Me. Once they did, I felt that maybe she was trying to warn off would-be alien invaders.

Set-wise, she played a sampling from the new album (I don't have a strong opinion on the new material). And a decent selection from the older stuff. The highlight for me was Hyper-ballad which goes on the list on Songs I Always Wanted to Hear Live and Finally Did (also on the list: New Order's Temptation, Pixies' Where is My Mind, Belle & Sebastian's Arab Strap).

Hyper-ballad was played super up-tempo and the electronics dude busted out the Reactable. The on-stage screens showed the various manipulations he was doing with the table-top synth. And while I can't really say what it added to the song acoustically, it certainly made the song seem more intense.

But really, Bjork sells that herself. She only played an hour-long set with a two-song encore. And while this is short, the lady leaves it all on stage. She went through multiple costume changes (I think she came out wearing felt intestines and ended up dressed in gold flake) and just belts out every song. Plus, she dances like a fiend and is so very cute and OMG! I WANT TO TAKE HER HOME SO MUCH!

Ahem. In conclusion, Bjork gives a great concert.

May 18, 2007

Knocked Up and Out

Mary is two months pregnant and very sleepy.

May 17, 2007


As the photographic record will show, I am a Transformers dork from way back in the day. (I think that's Crudtronicus I'm holding up.)

Despite this, I'd really not been following the hype about the upcoming Transformers movie. But the new trailer came out today and I have been converted. The flying robot doing the flip over the bridge is particularly hot.

Michael Bay's not my favorite director, but I think Armageddon is a misunderstood work of genius. So as of today I am filing my Statement of Excitement with the Federal Commission on Fanboys. May God bless America and here's hoping "The Touch" doesn't end up in the soundtrack.

May 15, 2007

I'm just saying

We're now at the point when John Ashcroft has to be propped up in a hospital bed to serve as the last line of defense against illegal wiretaps. How far off are we from finding out that Donald Rumsfeld was all that stood between us and war with Iran?

May 09, 2007

Web 0.2

This video from the first Internet Marketing Conference in 1994 is a pretty good time. The highlight is Marc Andreesen's talk about Mosaic and the recently-formed Netscape. Some things I like:

  • He talks about applications rather than sites. Mosaic allows users to use applications. The idea that now we're creating web applications rather than sites is meant to be one of the centerpieces of Web 2.0. But it's been in mind since the beginning.

  • Mosaic was successful, according to Marc because they skipped all the hard problems of traditional hypertext systems. Most notably this includes search. "How do you search across the information? I dunno."

  • Mosaic grew to several hundred thousand users in its first year and 3M users in 18 months.

  • The key to Mosaic is communication between people. "The applications that will be succesfull in the next 5, 10 years are the ones that really tie together people."


May 07, 2007

Have you heard about microformats?

Me with birthday gal Laura Riley (photo credit: Emily Young).

May 06, 2007

Death be not proud

John Donne is so emo his quills cut themselves.

May 05, 2007

You talk funny

The Speech Accent Archive is a real good time. It has hundreds of speech samples from all over the world. And with a fancy search you can find out what a native Afrikaans speaker sounds like.

Also fun: comparing an Edinburgh accent to a Glasgow accent. Or a Texas accent to an Virginia accent.

Maybe I'll be able to properly distinguish an Australian accent from a British one now. Man, do they hate it when you mess that up.

May 04, 2007

Goodnight B1

Today the fine folks at Google switched off the old version of Blogger - the version that had been running in the same cage we were in when acquired by the Googs (altho' the code and the machines it ran on had been updated many, many times).

Pete reports the triumph on Buzz and notes that the old version of Blogger will finally be able to "totter off to realize its dream of getting to level 70 in the Burning Crusade."

Sweet! I think Blogger will do really well in Warcraft. Maybe we can group together.