Thursday, August 30, 2007

You Know You're at a Concert in Williamsburg...

When people are taking photos (at night, outside, where ISO 1600 film is just barely cutting it) with Polaroid cameras.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On Wordcounts

"There are only two kinds of stories in the world: those about which I do not care to write as many as 600 words, and those about which I would like to write many more than 600 words. But there is nothing about which I would like to write exactly 600 words."

-- David Halberstam (1934-2007)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

R.I.P Times Select

The Grey Lady may be skinnier, but now all of her online content is free.

(But I'm willing to bet that you still have to pay for the crossword...)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Someone's Not Voting for Rudy

Does no one else think that the best part of Caroline Giuliani's FaceBook profile is not her possible affinity for Barack Obama, but the fact that she is single and looking for "random play" and "whatever [she] can get"? Uh.

NYTimes Gets Liposuction;

Narrows waistline by 1.5 inches.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Adventures in Crowdsourcing

Particularly after the conclusion of Assignment Zero, I have become increasingly wary of the genuine benefits of crowdsourcing -- particularly within the context of journalism and other creative processes that require a degree of continuity. A few recent projects, however, have caught my eye for their singular ability to harness the occasionally useful residual energy of the masses:

1. You know that distorted word that pops up when you try to create an e-mail account or leave a blog comment? Usually, it's a nonsensical string of characters designed to foil spambots and the like. With reCAPTCHA, however, the site's visitor is required to enter two separate words: one that the computer recognizes and actually uses for verification, and another that actually comes from a book that is in the process of being digitized. reCAPTCHA takes the words that aren't easily identified by computers and has you blog readers and e-mail sign-up-ers do the work. Brilliant!

2. The Border Film Project provides packages with disposable cameras to both Minutemen and Mexican migrants attempting to enter the US. When the cameras are returned, the best photos are selected and added to a traveling exhibition. They've posted a number of the images on the site, and some of them are quite stunning.

3. And most recently, Google just launched a video project encouraging people to make short clips showing the trademark Gmail envelope passing across the frame from one hand to another. On August 13, Google will stitch the best into a single film. Pretty convenient if you can crowdsource even your advertising campaigns!

Friday, August 03, 2007

NYC Photography Laws to Be Re-Drafted



The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

--Billy Collins

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dear Beverage Purveyors,

Is it impossible to just order a medium coffee, or a small chai, or a large shake anymore? I don't want a "tall" Starbucks frappuccino or a "power" Jamba Juice smoothie, damnit. What does that mean, anyway, 'tall'?! And why would you choose to categorize liquid by height, anyway? What if I feel like 'Brazilian model' or 'legal midget'? I want corporations to use normal English, and I refuse to conform to your ridiculous Newspeak naming conventions. So there.

The One Train