Whisky Van Gogh Go

Terribly important, terribly insightful, terribly influential, terribly.
Feb23
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you got wtf in my peanutbutter

I was just doing some experiments with RSS Cloud and came across this gem of insanity.

Server: nginx
Date: Wed, 24 Feb2010 04:55:02 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Connection: close
X-hacker: If you’re reading this, you should visit automattic.com/jobs and apply to join the fun, mention this header.

To clarify: spam, in an http header.

To clarify for non-wonks: this is like… like pooping in a public restroom and finding a coupon for bran muffins printed on the toilet paper. Well, no, it’s stranger than that.

Ben: “automattic is the WP guy no? I think they make the majority of their money off Akismet, which is the WP guys hobby, because he doesn’t want his mom to get pornographic spam since he’s the one that convinced her to get online”

A minute of research proved that he is not full of shit.

My world just got a little stranger tonight.

Feb22
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Do not place a photograph of your favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.
— Ten rules for writing fiction - Guardian UK (via nevver)
Feb19
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Mobile Shmobile

And if Hulu decides to define the iPad as a mobile device, it would also need its content owners to grant it mobile rights, which it doesn’t actually have. [All Things D]

This sort of nonsense gets to the bottom of what’s wrong with these entertainment executives’ outlook on the world. They want to define everything by arbitrary device types — this is a “TV”, that is a “computer”, this other thing is a “mobile device” — and then sell/distribute the same content to different device types separately and with no spillage. But it’s all bullshit in the digital world. It’s all just ones and zeroes and pixels. [Daring Fireball]

It’s not just the media people, though. Remember Delicious Library for the iPhone, wherein Amazon changed the terms of their API to disallow use of it on “mobile devices,” thus requiring Shipley to gank the app from the store and scuttle several months worth of work? We ran into a similar problem with AccuWeather as well.

I’d like one of these people to explain to me, with a straight face, why an iPhone or iPad is a “mobile device” and my laptop computer isn’t.

Feb15
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it's not Bob

So I’m shocked by the early Windows Phone previews. Totally unlike the iPrephonedroid… I don’t think anyone could have predicted that. MS would totally own the mobile market if this had come out three years ago. As it is, maybe they’re not quite out of the game after all.

I love the “panoramic navigation.” Even the beloved iPhone gives the impression of trying to cram information into a tiny screen. The Windows Phone gives you the illusion of a surplus of space. (Is the screen 16:9?)

There’s still a lot of room for screwing up. They seem to be taking some cues from the (second) Xbox 360 Dashboard, which is a very pretty, slick, confusing, obnoxious mess. Dunno how much fun that panorama will be when you actually have a long list to dig through.

Curious about the development platform. It seems like all the talent that Apple has invested in Cocoa Touch and Core Everything, MS has squandered on Silverlight.

No Flash. RIP Actionscript, for reals now.

Feb09
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Dick's Last Stand

I missed the game, but my attention got drawn to this ad and it’s been bugging me for days. At first I enjoyed it for the snarky reference to “vampire movies” and deadpan delivery of “lip balm.” Then an acquaintance — who’s spent years stuck in an unenviable rut — linked it along with his own platitudes, and I saw it for the chilling depiction of emasculation that it really is:

You are a weak, puerile remainder of a gender whose time has eclipsed. Your hopes and dreams are so diminished that your only escape will take the form of a genre of vehicle that has for years been symbolic for compensation of a small penis. In fact, that’s exactly why we are bringing it back for the 21st century.

This is nailed home in the subtext of the tag: “Man’s last stand,” as in “Custer’s last stand,” as in the point at which defeat is imminent. Masculinity is doomed. Enjoy your muscle car because civilization took your balls years ago.

I imagine that there’s an alternate take that went something like this:

DUDE STUMBLES BLEARY-EYED INTO KITCHEN. DUDE STARES AT HALF A GRAPEFRUIT AS SCREAMING CHILDREN AND WIFE WAIL INCOMPREHENSIBLY IN A SOUND THAT IS HALFWAY BETWEEN PEANUTS “WONK WONK” ADULT-TALKING AND A BUZZSAW.

DUDE IS BEHIND THE WHEEL OF HIS BLACK DODGE CHARGER. THE WINDOWS ARE DOWN, THE WIND RIPPLED HIS HAIR AS STEPPENWOLF PLAYS OVER THE STEREO.

DUDE IS IN HIS CUBICLE. BOSS UNZIPS, PULLS OUT COCK, AND SLAPS DUDE IN FACE FOR NINE HOURS.

DUDE IS DRIVING HOME IN HIS DODGE CHARGER (WHICH IS NOW INEXPLICABLY RED). STEPPENWOLF PLAYS. AS HE GRIPS THE WHEEL AND SHIFTS THE GEARS WE SEE AN ERECTION STRAINING AGAINST HIS CHINOS.

DUDE IS HOME, WHERE CHILDREN URINATE ON HIS SHOES AND BEAT THE FURNITURE WITH HIS GOLF CLUBS. WIFE PUTS PLATE OF STEAMED SPINACH AND A USED TAMPON IN FRONT OF DUDE, SAYS THAT THEY NEED TO TALK ABOUT THEIR RELATIONSHIP.

My version suffers for lack of the lip balm bit.

—-

Incidentally, Felix at The Denver Egotist makes a good case that the combination of guaranteed eyeballs and unlimited budgets has caused Superbowl advertising to devolve to the worst ads in the industry.

Feb07
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a Christian atheist in a foxhole

The very first time I heard artillery fire, I’ll never forget the sound, the whistling that filled the air. You dive in a hole, smoke rising all around you. There were six or seven of us together that day, and as soon as it’s over, you look around to make sure everyone is still alive. That time, we all made it,” Christian said. “That is your baptism.”

“They say there are no atheists in foxholes. But as we sat in those holes, praying that God would save us, I thought about the fact that the other side was doing the same thing. And then I wondered if God is just playing some kind of game with us. Pretty much I decided at that point there was no God,” Christian said.

(literal title is literal)

Feb05
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“Go home to your mother!”

The AV Club is featuring a list of their editors’ favorite cinematic bad-asses.

I immediately thought of David Carradine from Kill Bill; a man blown up to mythic proportions in the first film — a mysterious, faceless stranger whose reputation suggested that he could take on Superman and have a chance — and somehow, in the second film, actually lives up to the promise. He’d make a widow out of Lois Lane.

Which is to say nothing of the Bride herself, one of only a couple women who gets a nod in the feature. Which got me thinking that Tarantino is arguably the most feminist of “action” film directors:

  • Kill Bill 1 & 2
  • Death Proof: Ya Ya Sisterhood as revenge porn
  • Jackie Brown: revisitation of classic feminist bad-ass icon Foxy Brown — starring Foxy Brown!
  • Reservoir Dogs: an all-male cast bereft of female influence spirals into self-destruction (as Mr. Orange presciently murmurs: “Dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick” — see what that leads to)

I can’t fit Pulp Fiction into this, haven’t seen Inglourious Basterds yet.

Feb04
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really, your honor?

“I found it fascinating that the people who were editorializing against it were The New York Times Company and The Washington Post Company,” Justice Thomas said. “These are corporations.”

Equally fascinating: most homeowners ironically uphold the ban on murdering children, even though it would preclude those damned kids from trampling on their lawns. A surprising number of college students oppose rape, despite the fact that it may lead to more easily gettin’ laid. Also a high ratio of citizens endorse the existence of a functioning government, even after being explained that an absence of said government would allow them to do whatever the fuck they liked.

It’s not as if a philosophy based on unfettered self-interest could possibly backfire against a society or even an individual, after all.

“If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as a group, you’d say you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First Amendment right of association,” he said. “If you all then formed a partnership to speak, you’d say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and of association. … But what if you put yourself in a corporate form?” Justice Thomas asked, suggesting that the answer must be the same.

And thus as an employee of MegaCo. my votes and political voice are best expressed by the unlimited budget of the CEO of MegaCo. That makes a lot of sense.

Jan17
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Dude just had a Photoshop crash...

The document that he spent half a day on appeared to be corrupted, but on a whim I copied it to my system. It opened successfully; I saved (with “maximize compatibility” turned off), sent it back, and we seem to be okay again.

So, weird.

I can’t think of many programs with the scope and longevity of the various Adobe CS applications. Most smaller applications have minimized themselves to “apps” or are transitioning to web services. That leaves Word and Excel, AutoCAD, a few miscellaneous things. And a couple significant megaliths: Windows and OS X in their entirety.

OS X and Windows have gotten more stable with each release this decade. Even Vista (granted, I only used it for IE testing). Wouldn’t it be nice if Adobe started treating their applications more like the operating systems that they’re beginning to resemble?

Jan05
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iBusted

Quiz: Guess what the following links have in common.

If you’re reading this from an iPhone, I bet you figured it out: each one of these links is broken.

When the iPhone debuted nearly three years ago, everyone in the computer industry asked themselves, “What can I do to get on this bandwagon?” The obvious answer for digital publishers was to build iPhone-optimized versions of their websites. After all, though the iPhone had (and arguably still enjoys) the best mobile web experience to date, there were a few obvious shortcomings: a slow Edge wireless network, a slow-ish processor (faster than anything we had seen in-hand, but years behind “actual computers”), and a tiny screen. By offering an optimized site, a content site could offer a superior experience for the end user and enjoy a little sexiness-by-association from the Jesus Phone.

Somehow these efforts were horribly botched, and two years later we’re still suffering them.

These broken links mostly boil down to the websites’ forwarding mechanisms. This is a bit of code that checks the browser and, if it detects an iPhone, forwards to the iPhone-optimized site.

An example: ideally, the Chicago Sun-Times should forward requests for this link…
http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/1948278,ihnatko-ebook-nook-kindle-itouch-121909.article
… to this link…
http://mobile.suntimes.com/suntimes/db_21515/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=n1FQlXBo&src=cat 1
Instead, the Sun-Times is forwarding every page request to http://mobile.suntimes.com/ (the root “home page” of the optimized site), thus breaking every external link to every single article they’ve published. This is the very definition of a broken website.

Predictably, most of the culprits are media companies who have their roots in print. Scores of newspaper and magazine sites are iBusted. I’ve also found a handful of “new media” sites that also suffer this problem, but they’re mostly idiocy like collegehumor.com. Oh, and Salon. I expected better of you, Salon. AppleInsider, you have no excuse at all.

Three solutions:

  1. Fix your “mobile version.” Repair your htaccess redirect to get deep links working correctly. (Also keep in mind that by even having an iPhone-specific site you have sort of doubled the sheer amount of Website that you’re obliged to maintain.)
  2. Remember mobile stylesheets?
  3. Is an iPhone-optimized site even necessary? iPhones and their competikin have gotten wildly faster, and most third-generation handhelds are on snappier 3G networks. And as Ithako (ironically) states in the above article, “it’s better to be good than to be innovative.”

1 bonus silliness: I wasn’t even able to find this article via the Sun-Times iPhone site’s built-in search engine; had to dig around through a maze of categories and screens just to get this link.

Dec 20
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Adriano Celentano wrote this song with gibberish to sound like English. If you’ve ever wondered what other people think Americans sound like, this is it.”

Dec 13
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Dec 10
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Too many wrongly characterize the debate as “security versus privacy.” The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that’s why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.
— Bruce Schneier, real American hero, from a 2006 post about privacy, resurfaced in rebuttal to Eric Schmidt’s comment that “if you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”. (via jimray)
Nov 30
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All I’m asking is to be able to draw like this.

Nov 20
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