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Lego Minifig Videos
Tried to get a Mime Lego Mini Fig this weekend. Here are the two videos:
Let's Go Surfing
Had a very nice time at Jenn's parents house.
Never had so much been baked in such a tiny little kitchen
Lunch and Tablets
Met Jenn for lunch today-- one of the pluses of my day off. Got a pick 2 at Applebees. French Dip Sliders and a cup of chili. Filling.
Finally stopped into the new Best buy on Alpine, which is in the old Circuit City location. nice enough looking store. Saw a half dozen or so Android Tablets. Neat to get the hands-on, but really didn't see anything more compelling than the cheap 1.6 OS one I imported back in the summer. Will be interesting to see what Google does with it's Android 3.0 release next year which is supposed to be optimized more for tablets.
I should be doing some web work right now. Playing around with new code, dabbling here and there, making something useful.
The last few weeks, I've been enammored with the Apple App Store. So many fun little photo apps to play with. Sure I've had the Pre for 18 months or so. The Smartphone concept is nothing new. The Pre has apps, and as a phone/sms/email device I still prefer the Pre. But the apps on the iPod Touch are such wonderful little time sinks to tinker and play with.
Had a nice breakfast today and have spent a good portion of the day in the computer room. Had cleaned out my RSS feeds Saturday, so I was pretty much sopping up the sides of the RSS bowl today.
Watched the Craig Ferguson interview of Matt Smith, Doctor Who today. Fun interview and Matt Smith seems just as entertaining as a guest as he is as The Doctor. Also happy to hear that the next Doctor Who Christmas special will be on BBC America on Christmas day. Watched a handful of other misc videos, finished a podcast that Adam and Comfort were in. Fast forwarded thru last nights' Saturday Night Live, and generally surfed the day away.
Had some more of last night's chili, mmm Chili, and that more or less brings us to about 4pm or so.
Let's Go Surfing
Sent from my iPod
Living on the Internet
Have you seen the movie, The Social Network? Good. Great.
Now go read this article: Generation Why? by Zadie Smith | The New York Review of Books. It's rather long. It will take you a little bit. You might want to send it to Instapaper so you can read it on your iPhone or iPad in a comfy position on your couch or in bed.
Come back when you're done.
Done now? Great.
There's some things in this article that really resonated with me:
In The Social Network Generation Facebook gets a movie almost worthy of them, and this fact, being so unexpected, makes the film feel more delightful than it probably, objectively, is. From the opening scene it's clear that this is a movie about 2.0 people made by 1.0 people (Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher, forty-nine and forty-eight respectively).
To create this Zuckerberg, Sorkin barely need brush his pen against the page. We came to the cinema expecting to meet this guy and it's a pleasure to watch Sorkin color in what we had already confidently sketched in our minds. For sometimes the culture surmises an individual personality, collectively. Or thinks it does. Don't we all know why nerds do what they do? To get money, which leads to popularity, which leads to girls. Sorkin, confident of his foundation myth, spins an exhilarating tale of double rejection—spurned by Erica and the Porcellian
"A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool?… A billion dollars." Over cocktails in a glamorous nightclub, Parker dazzles Zuckerberg with tales of the life that awaits him on the other side of a billion. Fincher keeps the thumping Euro house music turned up to exactly the level it would be in real life: the actors have to practically scream to be heard above it. Like many a nerd before him, Zuckerberg is too hyped on the idea that he's in heaven to notice he's in hell.
If it's not for money and it's not for girls—what is it for? With Zuckerberg we have a real American mystery. Maybe it's not mysterious and he's just playing the long game, holding out: not a billion dollars but a hundred billion dollars. Or is it possible he just loves programming? No doubt the filmmakers considered this option, but you can see their dilemma: how to convey the pleasure of programming—
World makers, social network makers, ask one question first: How can I do it? Zuckerberg solved that one in about three weeks. The other question, the ethical question, he came to later: Why? Why Facebook? Why this format? Why do it like that? Why not do it another way? The striking thing about the real Zuckerberg, in video and in print, is the relative banality of his ideas concerning the "Why" of Facebook. He uses the word "connect" as believers use the word "Jesus," as if it were sacred in and of itself: "So the idea is really that, um, the site helps everyone connect with people and share information with the people they want to stay connected with…." Connection is the goal. The quality of that connection, the quality of the information that passes through it, the quality of the relationship that connection permits—none of this is important. That a lot of social networking software explicitly encourages people to make weak, superficial connections with each other (as Malcolm Gladwell has recently argued1), and that this might not be an entirely positive thing, seem to never have occurred to him.
Facebook page lists, among his interests, Minimalism, revolutions, and "eliminating desire."2 We also learn of his affection for the culture and writings of ancient Greece.
On the question of privacy, Zuckerberg informed the world: "That social norm is just something that has evolved over time." On this occasion, the world protested, loudly, and so Facebook has responded with "Groups," a site revamp that will allow people to divide their friends into "cliques," some who see more of our profile and some who see less.
Master programmer and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier (b. 1960) is not of my generation, but he knows and understands us well, and has written a short and frightening book, You Are Not a Gadget, which chimes with my own discomfort, while coming from a position of real knowledge and insight, both practical and philosophical. Lanier is interested in the ways in which people "reduce themselves" in order to make a computer's description of them appear more accurate. "Information systems," he writes, "need to have information in order to run, but information underrepresents reality" (my italics). In Lanier's view, there is no perfect computer analogue for what we call a "person." In life, we all profess to know this, but when we get online it becomes easy to forget. In Facebook, as it is with other online social networks, life is turned into a database, and this is a degradation, Lanier argues, which is
based on [a] philosophical mistake…the belief that computers can presently represent human thought or human relationships. These are things computers cannot currently do.
We know the consequences of this instinctively; we feel them. We know that having two thousand Facebook friends is not what it looks like. We know that we are using the software to behave in a certain, superficial way toward others. We know what we are doing "in" the software. But do we know, are we alert to, what the software is doing to us? Is it possible that what is communicated between people online "eventually becomes their truth"?
"We lived on farms, then we lived in cities and now we're gonna live on the internet." To this idea Lanier, one of the Internet's original visionaries, can have no profound objection. But his skeptical interrogation of the "Nerd reductionism" of Web 2.0 prompts us to ask a question: What kind of life?3 Surely not this one, where 500 million connected people all decide to watch the reality-TV show Bride Wars because their friends are? "You have to be somebody," Lanier writes, "before you can share yourself." But to Zuckerberg sharing your choices with everybody (and doing what they do) is being somebody.
Zuckerberg, and everyone raised on TV in the Eighties and Nineties, share a single soul), not being liked is as bad as it gets. Intolerable to be thought of badly for a minute, even for a moment.
Finally, it's the idea of Facebook that disappoints. If it were a genuinely interesting interface, built for these genuinely different 2.0 kids to live in, well, that would be something. It's not that. It's the wild west of the Internet tamed to fit the suburban fantasies of a suburban soul.
Shouldn't we struggle against Facebook? Everything in it is reduced to the size of its founder. Blue, because it turns out Zuckerberg is red-green color-blind. "Blue is the richest color for me—I can see all of blue." Poking, because that's what shy boys do to girls they are scared to talk to. Preoccupied with personal trivia, because Mark Zuckerberg thinks the exchange of personal trivia is what "friendship" is. A Mark Zuckerberg Production indeed! We were going to live online. It was going to be extraordinary. Yet what kind of living is this? Step back from your Facebook Wall for a moment: Doesn't it, suddenly, look a little ridiculous? Your life in this format?
We all know. If we really wanted to write to these faraway people, or see them, we would. What we actually want to do is the bare minimum, just like any nineteen-year-old college boy who'd rather be doing something else, or nothing.
but I can just about imagine a time when Facebook will seem as comically obsolete as LiveJournal. In this sense, The Social Network is not a cruel portrait of any particular real-world person called "Mark Zuckerberg." It's a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore.
Let's Go Surfing
Some iPhone Apps I've either downloaded recently or have been digging lately on my iPod Touch 4G.
ToonPAINT - Nice app that does a good job of turning photos into cartoon-like drawings.
ComicStrip - Nice App that let's you put multiple pictures together and make a mini comic page. Very intuitive word balloon creation (wish I could change the tail direction though). Works very well in conjuction with ToonPAINT above.
DotCamera - I like this app, let's you take your photos and "pixelate" them with a square dot pattern.
ColorSplash - Turn a picture to black and white and then add spot color back in. (Shindlers List Red effect).
Kik - Messaging app, let's you send to other kik users and tells you when they've seen your message.
Justin-tv - Broadcast live video to the net, integrates with twitter to tell people you are broadcasting, also saves the clips online. Works well.
Cinch - Post Audio to the web, also integrates with twitter. While I find it easy to just call Cinch's 1-800 and post that way, the app is really good for adjusting and reviewing your posts.
BlueFiRe - Record and edit audio on your iPhone. It's like iMove but for sound.
I had an email exchange with some friends on the recent Maddow/Stewart interview. One of the friends expressed that they wish more interviews were done in that longer form. Below is my response, which I thought I'd also share here on my blog.
Charlie Rose does these kind of long form interviews. Problem is, if you aren't interested in the interviewee, you click off the interview pretty quick.
I haven't watched the uncut web version of the Maddow/Stewart interview yet, but I think the broadcast version was pretty intact.
Rachel really seems to defend that she isn't really a news reporter, she's a news analyst. She says she see's her job as to take the news of the day, aggregate it, and wrap it with commentary and a point of view. She also states in the interview, correctly, that there are plenty of places people can get straight news (newspapers, internet, magazines, etc.)
I almost have to agree with her.
Course, if like for many American's TV is their primary source of news, then yeah, it's easy to identify with Stewart's position that TV is doing a crappy job of doing news.
TV though, is inherently an emotional medium, telling things from a visual and emotional point of view is what the medium does best. It's hard to hold mass attention in linear video medium for long periods if you don't appeal with imagery and emotions.
If they were to go into a 10 to 20 minute in depth report on something, more often than not I'd probably just switch the channel because the topic probably wouldn't interest me.
What would work better, is not TV news, but Video news arranged on an internet experience like below.
Longer form pieces in a scroll that I could easily start, stop and skip to the next.
Now the above, while it works visually, is still the same crappy content that is on TV for the most part, but fill this format with good longer form content from a range of sources that I pick and i'd think you'd have something. (Youtube can do this with subscriptions, but they really don't have all the content.)
Sortof like Daily Show sends you to the net to see the extended interview, I'd really like a video rss feed from multiple sources, so that I could have my own custom news. Ideally I could vote it up or down too which would help surface it in my friends feeds as well.
It will get there, then the 24 hour news pundits won't be back to back amplifying conflictonators, they'll just be a scattering of voices mixed into my more general/balance feed.
I use posterous sometimes, cause it's easy, but my full blog is here
Game on - I briefly tried a 1st person shooter on the iPod Touch called Archetype Neat game. You play over the net with other people, it's very Halo-like.
File Sharing - I also played around with Dropbox on the the iPod Touch finally. Works well, very useful way to share files. used in a group, Dropbox is a very useful way to share files. I think I'll be getting alot more use out of it now.
Lifestreaming - Also tried Justin.tv on the iPod Touch. Not sure if I registered on Justin.tv before but ckarath seemed taken, so I'm ckarath2 on that service. It worked very effortlessly. I'm looking forward to being out and about sometime and finding something worth streaming live that would also be worth commenting on by viewers in real time. Can't say that I will do it often but it's one of those technologies that I've wanted to play around with for awhile.
Kinect - Out shopping today, Jenn and I were at Best Buy. We played around abit with XBox360 Kinect. Tried a soccer game. It was ok. I was actually more entertained by just waving my hand to tap the select buttons on the screen though. I'm sure this will be a popular addon for xBox 360 owners, as well as causing alot of gamers to push their dining room tables and couches back since the game requires abit of room in front of the TV. Hopefully Microsoft brings some of this Kinect connectivity to Windows in the future, cause while it's fun for gaming, it could be pretty entertaining on the desktop too.
Dell Streak - Also at Best Buy, I played briefly with the Dell Streak I was suprized to find that the 5" tablet size seemed quite hand friendly. While I'm not that interested in the Streak itself, I'll keep my eye out on other 5" tablets in the future (would love one with a Retina display :)
Macbook Air - Again at the BB, played with the new Macbook Air Briefly. Very solidly constructed feeling machine. I'm not in the market for such a toy, and I'd most certainly prefer my main desktop to be a PC, but you can see that the new Macbookbook Air would make a very nice travel "away" machine.
Nook Color - At Barnes and Noble, they had their Nook display all geared up for the Nook Color. Apparently the Nook Color isn't going to be available until 11/19 though, which begs the question why build a 10 foot display about a future color product to put in front of your current B&W product. Personally I think B&W eink works much better than color LCD for reading, but as a marketer, it just doesn't seem like such a display is going to do much for current sales in the next couple weeks.
Worlds Finest - While in the Book Store, I saw Enemies & Allies, $7.99 a Batman/Superman team-up prose novel set in the 50s, didn't thumb thru it, and the reviews look mixed, but I'm generally a fan of these type of stories where Supes and bats are set closer to the eras in which they were initially created. There's a Kindle edition too for $7.99 it seems. Perhaps something worth checking out later.
Also at the bookstore, I noticed more and more books on the shelves cover facing out, instead of spines facing out. The toy and game section also seems to really be growing. Less books, more stuff.
Doctor Who - Last night watched the David Tennant appearances on Sarah Jane Adventures. Not as good as the Matt Smith Episode of Sarah Jane Adventures, but it was good to see the 10th Doctor again. After wrapping up the Tennant episodes, we started watching the young Sarah Jane Smith on the the Tom Baker 70s Doctor Who (4th Doctor). Having started with the 9th Doctor, it's been amusing so far to see the familiar Doctor Who story structure played out in such an older series style. Still very recognizeable as "Who" though, I'm looking forward to working through these classic episodes.
Let's Go Surfing
Youmacon Game Room