31 January 2007

Link Baiting, Flickr edition

You are the CEO of an online service, say in the media sharing space. One of your competitors is completing the final stages of merging into the larger company that purchased them over a year ago. Some customers (many of whom receive the service for free) are complaining about new limitations placed on the service. These limitations do not significantly impact the service provided, although the one the does was detailed long ago. This limitation is that users must use the existing, easy to obtain, authentication system of the acquiring company. Opting into this authentication system has been available for over a year and was detailed as eventually becoming the only method for signing into the service.

Now, all this said, if you're the CEO of the competitor, what's the best way to exploit this situation? That's right, make it seem far, far worse than it is. Thomas Hawk, CEO of Zoomr, has done a brilliant job of generating a ton of traffic to his blog by detailign the woes of a small subset of Flickr users as they complete the integration into Yahoo. I'm not linking to his post because, frankly, he's link baiting. Yes, some Flickr users are upset over the changes. But, with a major move like this, there are going to be some upset people. I personnally integrated my account into my existing Yahoo account (which I use for nothing but Flickr and a couple Yahoo groups) and it was dead easy; took under a minute.

Hawk's getting more press because Scoble linked to him, further stirring the tempest in this teapot. The digg thread on this swings in both directions, but the fact that this is being driven by a direct competitor isn't getting very much attention. The submission is at least questionable, possibly spam.

Digg - Flickr Users Are Mad as Hell About Today's Yahoo News

Why Does Andy Griffith Hate America?

I'm late to this meme, but Reason Magazine links to a clip from The Andy Griffith Show that shows just one of the many reasons that warrentless wiretapping is wrong. Remember when we all used to think about "due process"?

(Side note: If anyone knows how to embed YouTube video in Wordpress blogs, I'm all ears.)

Link [via Penn Jillete's radio show]

27 January 2007

Top Ten List

Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

Evil Bible

Which Science Fiction Author Are You?

I was too nerdy not to do this.

 

I am:
Arthur C. Clarke
Well known for nonfiction science writing and for early promotion of the effort toward space travel, his fiction was often grand and visionary.


Which science fiction writer are you?

Which is a pretty cool result as I like Clarke's work quite a bit. Not to mention, Sri Lanka might be an interesting place to retire.

25 January 2007

Adventures in IT

First clue that you won't be home on time.

4:38pm, new guy on Tier 2 Help Desk: "You got a sec?"

4:56pm, me: "That's not possible."

4:56pm, me: ".. but someone managed to do it."

*sigh*

23 January 2007

Burning Crusade Shatters Day-1 Sales Record

Call it a one day sales zerg.
Blizzard Entertainment® today announced that World of Warcraft®: The Burning Crusade(TM) has broken the day-one sales record to become the fastest-selling PC game ever in North America and Europe, with a worldwide total of nearly 2.4 million copies sold in the first 24 hours of availability.

..

"In addition to setting a new day-one PC-game sales record at our GameStop and EB Games stores, the expansion garnered more online pre-orders than any other PC game in our company's history." - Robert McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop Corp

World of Warcraft is arguably passing out "game" status to cultural touch-point, especially among the technical elites under 30. But MMOs, and games in general, still have a long way to go to rival cultural media points such as Seinfeld or American Idol, who's audiences dwarf any base of players for a game. However, numbers like the Burning Crusade release are becoming more common and the barriers to being involved in these kinds of virtual worlds are lowering.

How long until a persistant, virtual nation or world is based on simple, approachable, pre-existing technologies? When will the barrier of buying a box disappear? Don't want to install something? Want to check on your online assests? When the answer is "Fine, fire up a browser" the landscape could change overnight.

Still, it's impressive to see the impact one game can have. 2.4 million copies at $39.99 USD is around $96 million USD (and no, I will not adjust for non-US sales; it's a faux stat). In 24-hours. That's better than most movies do in their lifecycle.

World of Warcraft(R): The Burning Crusade(TM) Shatters Day-1 Sales Record: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

New Orleans of Future May Stay Half Its Old Size

But some economists and demographers are beginning to wonder whether New Orleans will top out at about half its prestorm population of about 444,000, already in a steep decline from its peak of 627,525 in the 1960 Census. At the moment, the population is well below half, and future gains are likely to be small.

...

The new doubts, surprisingly, are largely not based on the widespread damage caused by the flood. Rather, crippling problems that existed long before Hurricane Katrina are mostly being blamed for the city’s failure to thrive.

A hard, but fair, look at the situation in NOLA 17 months post-Katrina by the New York Times. The basic tennet is the possibility that the current population is within a few percentage points of what the new, normal population of NOLA will be. With pre-Katrina problems such as crime and government corruption now leading the list of issues facing the remaining residents (and those who have yet to return), the culture of NOLA is in peril.

With scholorly work now coming to the mainstream with predictions like this, what is the face of NOLA to become? Is it realistic to expect to preserve every cultural aspects of the city pre-Katrina? Where does the city shrink, either geographically, culturally, or both? Who gets to decide? Who is deciding?

In short, who chooses what to lose in order to save the most?

Hard questions, but questions that need to be asked (and for which I'll be flamed, I'm sure). Good article, check it out.

New Orleans of Future May Stay Half Its Old Size - New York Times

22 January 2007

Kwispelbier!

Beer for dogs!
"Kwispel" is the Dutch word for wagging a tail.

I would have gone for the (more pedestrian) hondbier, but I'm Dutch-American. ("Hond" is Dutch for "dog".)

Pet shop owner creates beer for dogs

UPDATE: Sweet! There's an American version; Happy Tail Ale. [via Popgadget]

21 January 2007

Think tank: Mich. should raise beer tax to ease budget problems

State officials should consider raising the tax on beer for the first time since the 1960s as part of an effort to ease the state's budget problems, according to [John Bebow, executive director of The Center for Michigan, a think tank in the Ann Arbor area].

I hereby postulate that Mr. Bebow is a snobby wine drinker and further propose that the tax on wine be increased at a rate three times that of a beer tax. Obviously, he can afford it working in a think tank (cha ching) in the Ann Arbor (CHA ching) area (CHA CHING).

And how, you may ask, did The Center for Michigan come up with this brilliant tax plan? Perhaps they're playing to their base: check out the steering committee.

Link

20 January 2007

Cheap at Twice the Price

We are assembling a community of heathen pet-lovers to care for pets that are “left-behind.” We are coordinating with feed mills and kennels in preparation for your post-apocalyptic pet care needs.

JesusPets [via MeFi]

19 January 2007

Who the hell is running Sony?

Seriously, nothing like ending the run of a format before it even gets started. Sony announced today, after days of back and forth, that they will not allow their disc-replicating subsidiary to produce pornographic titles. At all. Sony says they won't actively try to prevent adult titles on Blu-Ray, but won't allow their subsidiary to do so. They then turn around and completely contradict that statement with this:
"As far as I understand, Sony has said to the replicators that if you replicate adult, you'll lose your license." -  Robby D, a director at popular adult film maker Digital Playground Inc.

Sounds like a pretty active prevention technique. If this scenario sounds familiar, it should.
Many believe that Sony's Betamax video tape format, while technologically superior to VHS, died because the adult movie industry was barred from using Betamax, noted Jake Richter, an analyst at Jon Peddie Research

This is a layman's definition of insanity. Nice knowing you Blu-Ray.
Sony says no to porn on Blu-ray Disc

16 January 2007

Adventures in Misreading

Here's a quote from an article on organ donors, plus one important word I read that was not actually published:
The Secretary of State's office is kicking off a campaign that asks residents who are willing to be organ donors to place a heart sticker on their license plates or state identification cards.

The words "plates" was not actually in the article, but my brain popped it in there for me. I immediately thought "that's stupid, desperate people will just start running potential donors off the road in hopes of getting their organs."

I may be a bit too cynical.

Link

13 January 2007

Ah, schadenfreude

Amanda Congdon, former hostess of Rocketboom and attention whore, gets tasered at CES. And no, the irony of my linking to this video is not lost on me.
ABC News: Amanda Congdon Index

11 January 2007

Beer of the Moment

It's been far too long since I blogged about beer. Not that I've taken a break from drinking the stuff, I've just stopped talking about it.

Today's Beer of the Moment (BoM) is Fat Weasel which is, as far as I know, an exclusive for Trader Joe's. Fat Weasel is a malty ale with a smooth finish, slightly caramel body, slightly burnt orange in color. It suffers in this geographic area from one fatal flaw; it's affordable. At $4.99 a six pack, no one in this area dares drink it, which is terrible. Not that Fat Weasel is going to win any awards, but it's not Bud by any stretch. Fat Weasel is full bodied, with a moderate head when swiftly poured.

I recommend Fat Weasel and not because of the price. Even at $8 for a sixer, this is a decent beer, able to hold it's own against the mid-tier brews. As Ryan always says, drink what tastes good, snobs be damned. Unless it's Bud; that shit is awful.

The Scene

Missive conversations are intriguing.

Take today as an example. One of my colleagues mentioned a previous job writing for a music magazine in a quasi-large Midwestern, identity crisis laden Midwestern city. Ok, fine, it was Grand Rapids. But, during his recounting of his experiences writing for this magazine, he mentioned places I used to tread. Clubs like the Apple Lounge, The Intersection, other shitty bars on Monroe that no longer exist. These are the breeding grounds not only of the crappy kid that thinks skateboard parks are "cool", but also some really kick-ass music.

When he and I were kids (read: 16), getting in was, in and of itself, not just a challenge but a rite of passage. These places were cool. Now, with the click of you left mouse button (except for you Mac addicts.. seriously, two mouse buttons are a Good Thing [tm]) gets you into what was once the underbelly of the music scene. To get that demo tape *shiver* meant you had to sneak, lie, or coerce your way into some smokey, piss-beer-serving former juke joint populated by ex-merchant marines, bar flies that real flies don't touch, and twenty-somethings who continued to peg their jeans into the late 90s.

Not that I'm a scenester, but being "in" used to mean something. Now, any jerk 14 year old from OK City can be down with local Detroit bands.

Wait, that's a good thing. Dammit, did I just get old?

Get off my lawn!

Enough

Silence is Violence.

"We pledge to you that we will get better and we're going to start today," he said, adding that the city would not recover until residents felt safe. (source)

Hope you meant that, Nagin. There's a lot of pissed off people who are going to hold you to it.

By the way, those few NOLA people who still troll this site, congratulations on a message well delivered. I only wish there were fewer people in the ground before someone listened.

Oh, and you made Drudge. (screen cap)

08 January 2007

WoW expansion pack sold out at the publisher

Next week should be fun for Blizzard. Pre-orders for the expansion of the insanely popular MMO World of Warcraft, Burning Crusade, began a couple weeks ago. On Friday, Blizzard posted links to their online store where players could pre-order that expansion pack directly from Blizzard.

Well, it's gone. That's right, Blizzard, the company releasing the expansion pack, doesn't have a single copy left more than a week before launch.

Blizzard Entertainment - Online Store

Top 300 Freeware software

Pick your category and get downloading.

Link

05 January 2007

Great Googly Moogly!

Holy bloody huge! Check out this "colossal" squid.

bigquid.jpg

Calamari jokes aside, the article mentions they think this thing is only two-thirds is full size. Yowza. Suddenly some those sea monster stories start to make sense.

BBC [via Neatorama]

Pimp My (Ice Cream) Bowl

Terrible pop-culture reference, check. Informational follow-up post, you bet.

Back in May, I wrote about Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, the best ice cream I've ever had. I incorrectly said in that post that they did not have a website. Linda Parker, owner of MDIIC posted a comment pointing out that, in fact, there is a website. Doh! Apparently I can't Google as well as I thought.
You can also get MDIIC ice cream off-island; check out their locations page for a ton of restaurants and businesses where you Mainers and tourists can get yourself a sample. I highly recommend Blueberry Basil. It's like Vosges chocolates in ice cream form.

MDIIC Home

04 January 2007

WP: New Orleans repeats mistakes - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com

The WaPo weighs in.
"It's terrifying: We're doing the same things we have in the past but expecting different results," said Robert G. Bea, a professor of civil engineering at the University of California at Berkeley and a former New Orleans resident who served as a member of the National Science Foundation panel that studied the city's levees.

New Orleans repeats mistakes - washingtonpost.com

03 January 2007

Why we're so good at recognizing music - Culture - International Herald Tribune

"You hear only one note, and you already know who it is," he said. "So what I want to know is: how we do this? Why are we so good at recognizing music?"

Short on science but long on interest, this article explores the work of Daniel Levitin, a cognitive psychologist at McGill University.

Link [via Dvorak]