Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Stubborn Persistence of BBS

I was holding this post back but when I heard Loren Feldman of 1938 Media call Twitter a BBS, I had to post it right away because I thought, "Hey! I thought of that too!"

When a computer protocol was written by Ward Christensen so that one could dial up a Bulletin Board System in 1977, the early precursor of the World Wide Web was born and the sharing of information freely through networked computers residing in the homes and offices of “some other” people became possible.

The World Wide Web really started at CERN (No Al Gore joke here), European research Lab. Tim Berners-Lee set up the first web server. From the CERN website: “The idea was to connect hypertext with the Internet and personal computers, thereby having a single information network to help CERN physicists share all the computer-stored information at the laboratory.” The ability to find, browse, search and create information that can be viewed by anyone with a computer and an Internet connection came to be.

Connecting to others, having conversations and exploring beyond your own physical borders must be ingrained in our collective DNA. We need to share information with other people who may or may not be like-minded. In Twitter we have found yet another way to accomplish this.

Twitter has managed to blend many of the greatest aspects of the Internet as it has evolved and put them into one succinctly designed application that, 1) Connects us to others outside of our physical community and B) Allows us to share information with those people that we find.

So with all this history an over 30 years of innovation what is the best thing we came up with? Twitter. That’s right. We have finally developed a way for people to log in and talk to other people over long distances in 140 characters or less. What does that say about us as a culture?

The Internet started as a means of transmitting scientific and academic information, with the real stress on information. When you look at the evolution of the World Wide Web (I still love calling it that!) it’s all been just a refinement of achieving that objective.

Everything else is just exploding soda bottles and LOLcats.

Lon S. Cohen

Blogs R Us - A Controversy

On Business Week’s website, Ben Kunz of Media Associates wrote about the controversy surrounding Chris Brogan’s sponsored blog post for K-Mart in his story titled, “A Modest Blogging Proposal.” I thought it was a good article. Though I think it oversimplifies the controversy. Advertorials are commonplace in publishing. Chris Brogan's blog is a publication as well as an outlet for his personal opinion. K-Mart asked him to write a sponsored post, which was clearly and obviously noted in the piece. He did not shill for K-Mart and wrote what he says are his honest opinions.

I thought Kunz did a great job of satirizing the subject but we’re a long way from sponsored blog posts to sponsored personal opinions. As I mentioned, Chris Brogan’s blog and his personal brand provide a service. He is a publisher. While some blogs are random thoughts and others are filled with reposted items (I am guilty of lazily reposting news items in my blogs too) the blog itself has become elevated to a higher status in many ways. It is a genuine form of publishing adopted by many MSM websites. In that respect, it is open to many different interpretations, and Chris Brogan offered an experiment in one way an advertiser can take advantage of influential bloggers in a non-traditional way. (Traditional being relative here since by traditional I mean sponsored links and banner ads, which themselves are relatively new to the ad game on the whole.)

When the sponsorship is ambiguous or outright hidden and then offered as honest opinion, that’s when a blogger endangers his reputation and trust. In this case, I think it elevated Brogan’s rep because he is, after all, considered a cutting edge marketer and he’d be doing his clients a disservice if he didn’t practice what he preached whenever possible.

That all said, I agree (shudder) with Robert Scoble about devaluing a blogger’s time and posts to marketers. I could make a living writing $500 posts at 500 words all day long if I didn’t have to do any research, or self-promotion or reputation building or pretty much anything else. Unfortunately I have to do all those things and the marketers are not knocking down my door to offer and endless stream of $500 posts to me (or anyone else). That means my time is worth more than $500 per post. A lot more.

Marketers are getting a pretty sweet deal at that price. If I were them, I’d do the same thing any day of the week and get away with it. If Brogan, with all his influence and Internet fame gets five hundred measly bucks for his K-Mart post, then what hope do I have of making a living off my blog?

While a great idea, in theory and one that if done correctly will not devalue the reputation of the individual blogger, the real issue your article raises is the pittance bloggers can expect to get paid if the trend continues. At this rate, I’m going to have pay K-Mart for the privilege of writing about their crappy store. (Hey K-mart. Consider that one, pro bono.)

Lon S. Cohen
Twitter: @obilon
Web: lonscohen.com

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Waiting For Web 4.0, DAMMIT!

By Lon S. Cohen

I’m skipping right to Web 4.0. I like Web 2.0 so much that I’m going to wait for Web 4.0 to roll out before I upgrade my stuff. That’s the day when the Internet will ingrain itself into my real world in such a way that it will be virtually inseparable from my environment and approach a certain Artificial Intelligence aspect, the total integration of the Internet into all my appliances.

I want the Web 4.0 house. I want my refrigerator to send me an email when the filter in the water dispenser is low. Better yet, I want to set the preferences on my refrigerator to order me a new filter when it needs to be replaced and then email me an alert to expect the filter to arrive in the mail by UPS and by the way here’s the tracking number and here is where that package is in transit right now. Same for the air filters in my forced hot air system. What about my light bulbs in my recessed lighting? Why the hell am I still counting mileage on my car against a stupid little plastic sticker on my windshield to know when I need an oil change? I want the car to send an email to me: Excuse me master, but my oil needs changing.

If some Luddite finds this disturbing I say get a dog. Dogs are great at having you guess what the heck they want. They’re unpredictable and it takes time to train them. Better yet, have kids. Those are some Web 1.0 little units. They don’t do ANYTHING by themselves, true analogs.

I ask this question of myself all the time: Why do I have to stick my DVD into my computer to access the web content? With WiFi technology and a simple operating system loaded with a browser interface, my DVD player can show me the content right after I watch the movie. (Advertisers are you listening because then you know exactly my tastes by what DVD I was watching and can target those banner ads accordingly.)

Here’s another question I ask myself: Why can’t my stove give me access to the latest recipes when I am feeling inspired to cook like Emeril while watching the show on TV? I can tell my stove to access one of many websites where I can find recipes and then get a list of ingredients emailed to me or better yet WiFi the information to the printer directly. That way I can run out and get exactly what I need. There’s probably a thousand brands out there who would love to be the exclusive sponsor so when my list prints it doesn’t simply say to buy butter but Land O’ Lakes butter.

It’s like movie product placement but in your real life. And when is it too much networking? Does my lamp or my cheese grater really need a WiFi connection?

Probably not, but that would be cool.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To Follow or Not To Follow. A Brand Dilemma.

By Lon S. Cohen

After my post about brands on Twitter at Mashable.com where I took the position that they should and can thrive there, I got a great follow up question from @amykchulik via Twitter. While I was crafting my reply I found that it was going to take a few more than 140 characters to do the topic justice.

Over multiple Tweets @amykchulik asked about brands on Twitter and the strategy (for lack of a better word) of following back those that follow them:

amykchulik: Hi Lon -Great article on brands using Twitter! I am curious as to your thoughts about brands following followers back on Twitter –

amykchulik: Do you think it's essential and that not following others back, or picking & choosing who they follow back as a non-company-related

amykchulik: person might, is a reflection on their company & a rejection to that person/potential customer? Do they have a greater responsibility

amykchulik: to treat all as a customer/reciprocate? I've love to know your thoughts. Sorry for the long messages. Thanks!

(First, I want to say, Aw shucks! Thanks @amykchulik for the compliment on my article.)

It’s no surprise that I was somewhere in the middle when it came to answering this question and it was more than just a yes or no. Brands come in all shapes and sizes. Some are global behemoths while others are small and locally minded. Some are specific to an industry and others to a particular interest group. Many want to appeal to as many people as possible. I am sorry to say that there is no one size fits all when it comes to following back when you are a brand on Twitter. (For that matter, there is no one size fits all for anyone on Twitter.) I have outlined a few of many ways you can go about this question of whether to follow everyone or not on Twitter and what it means. (Or you can save time, skip down to the end and see where I throw the whole thing out the window.)

Still with me? OK. Here it goes:

The Auto-Follow Variable:

I thought of many instances where a brand might want to strategically follow only a few people, one that comes to mind is the auto-follow feature. If I am auto followed by one of the huge personalities on Twitter then they will start to see my Tweets automatically and may be engaged before they either tune out or block my brand from their stream. So a brand would probably do well to start by following some big names in the Twitterverse.

For whatever reason people like to auto-follow, it is their own choice. Personally I do not. Some people like the huge stream of Tweets and thrive on it. I can’t process information that quickly no matter what tool I use. But luckily, some either auto-follow or manually follow just about everyone that follows them. If you chose the right influencers on Twitter then following them to match your goals on Twitter would be a great idea. (For the record, I have never used auto-follow and apparently it is not even a public feature but one that you have to request.)

The Auto-Follow Caveat:

This would probably be best for smaller brands. Target some very popular Tweeple that match your audience. Follow them. Watch what they do and if a moment comes up, engage like the Enterprise going Warp Factor 5. That said, you can also gain followers by @ replying to people (wisely!) and seeing what happens if you have patience. For big, gigantic brands, this is probably not needed. Just publishing your Twitter Account on your website, company blogs or specific advertising may do the trick.

The Media Equation:

Say you are a Media Company. Now I know that we’re all media companies in one way or another with our blog, Twitter, Delicious and YouTube RSS Feeds but take a large media company like the New York Times. For the most part they want to transmit their content to as many places as possible. Following back people only places false importance on the people you follow since all you are doing is re-feeding your news, videos, pictures, etc. through an auto publisher to your Twitter Account. For large media companies I’d say, don’t get caught up in who to follow and not follow. Following many, many people may not be the best tactic. Keep it simple. Keep it safe. As old Gandalf used to say.

For example, below are two media companies and their follow stats:

Name: The New York Times
Following: 32
Followers: 15,480

Name: CNET News.com
Following: 2
Followers: 9,574

The Media Caveat:

My caveat for the Media Equation is that if you have your official Twitter accounts under different reporters’ names or specific customer service channels, then of course, it’s best to have individual follow strategies as you see fit. But in that case it is a personal choice not one that necessarily reflects on the brand itself.

The Customer Service Calculation:

You are a brand. You have a specific reason for being on Twitter. It’s not to expand your brand’s narrative into a new Social Networking channel to create awareness or seem hip. It’s just to be there when people are looking for you and want help. In this case I’d say go with both guns blazing. Follow everyone whom could possibly be a customer, a potential customer or a customer’s father’s, friend’s brother’s cousin’s former roommate. What does that make you and that customer? Absolutely nothing. But in this case, when a question comes up you can pick and choose out of your own stream to answer questions, head off vicious roomers and make every feel like you are that desperate person who wants to be friends with them, because that’s who you are. You want to know everyone even if they don’t want to know you. Rev the ol’ follow button up to Ludicrous Speed.

For example look at two well-known brands. They follow everyone. Maybe even you too:

Name: Frank Eliason (Comcast Director of Digital Care)
Following: 6,100
Followers: 6,107

Name: Zappos.com CEO
Following: 28,125
Followers: 24,465

Like two big, shaggy dogs, these guys follow everyone who follows them and then some in many cases. Not coincidentally they are both famous for their Customer Service on Twitter.

I’d also say that if you are a retailer with a very wide appeal and especially if your business is on the web (who’s isn’t these days, really) then this is probably a good strategy. My best example: Amazon.com.

The Customer Service Caveat:

None really. Customer Service should follow as many people as it can. But be careful not to abuse that and start thinking you are there to be all their friends and talk to them all, responding to every single Tweet about the weather in Des Mois (Unless you happen to have an office in Des Mois.)

And Finally,

The Specific Brand Axiom:

If you have a brand that is not a big national media company, or a customer service nut (though we all should be customer service nuts—but that’s another story), or an enourmous brand name that’s been around for hundred and fifty years then you may want to craft your own follow strategy. Here’s where it gets iffy. For the most part, everything I read about etiquette on Twitter or Twitterquette says that you should not be too concerned that people aren’t following you back, or answering your @replies right away, or answering them at all, or talking to you. Twitter is not email. It’s not IM. People don’t expect that you are going to engage them and have specific conversations with every single person on there. It’s just not possible and it’s understood.

The Specific Brand Caveat:

Just don’t go insulting people with your Tweets. Don’t tell @obilon that you’re not following @joe_blow because you think his Tweets are blasé. You still are a brand and need to protect your image. There are many Twitterquette articles out there to guide new brands on Twitter in that subject.

The Sum of All Tweets

I could have saved you a lot of time from reading this post by just telling you up front that it just doesn’t matter. In the end, there are multiple ways a brand can attack its follower strategy.This is what I meant when I said in my last article that in a new media space, new media rules still apply. You have to learn the audience and the way people are using Twitter. Brands can’t worry too much on Twitter (or many other Social Media spaces) that they are “insulting” people because they are not being “friends” with them. It doesn’t work like that all the time. You can selectively befriend people on Twitter without risking a backlash of complaints from others. It is a social network. People are connected by degrees of separation to almost everyone else on the network. That’s the point.

There are so many exceptions to my suggestions that this article could have been written from the exact opposite position on every point and there would be plenty of data to prove it. I thought of adding IMHO after every single paragraph but thought it overkill.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brands on Twitter

I wrote a response to a post on Mashable.com about brands on Twitter. I disagreed with the writer's POV. Mashable did a fantastic job with my response.

Read it here.

As a supplement, there is a great New York Times article by Randall Stross about the trouble many brands are having marketing on Social Media.

No wonder they're having a problem on Facebook. They don't have any good ideas.

@AdamIss sent out this response to that New York Times article. "I have been saying these things for two years now…no one wants to be a friend of laundry detergent."

Sure if you put it like that, it makes sense. I don't want to be friends with a newspaper either but I am on twitter. And on facebook I'm friends with a dead Cubism artist and a fictional character. People also throw "snowballs" and "80's memorabilia" at me all the time. Too much in fact. So laundry detergent can find SOME way to be relevant, can't it?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Debra Winger Pulls A Fast One On David Letterman (1993)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Rickrolled by REAL RICK!

Rickrolled at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My First Official Blog Post About Twitter ANd How It's Taking Over Blogging And Social Media

I read this blog post by Lexy Klain, an Account Manager at Ogilvy PR, titled “Twitter – A Professional Networking Tool.” It’s an older article but I got there in my ever popular and addicting game of Link Frogger where I jump from article to blog post to website from site links inside said articles, blog posts and websites. Usually I forget from where I originally started but when something interesting strikes me I stop hopping and read. I came to Lexy’s article from a post by Brian Giesen, a Digital Influence Specialist at Ogilvy.

While it is true that many, many people do update Twitter with useless bits of info, and in the past it was a bastion of minutiae better left to the ether, if you follow the right people and manage that list correctly while offering your own useful information and links it is a powerful Social Media and Networking tool. Believe it or not there is a learning curve to Twitter. It's best when people post tinyurl links to articles and information, join the discussion and add value rather than tell others what type of salad they are ordering or what color their poo might be.

Good ideas sometimes take time to germinate. Twitter has evolved because the users have made it useful. They have contributed the most value to Twitter, I suspect more than any other Social Networking site and that’s because of Twitter’s simplicity.

I blog less because of Twitter. In fact, I find people (myself included) apologize for blogging or emailing (instead of just replying or Direct Messaging through Twitter) saying that sometimes “140 characters is just not enough.” But it seems that most of the time 140 characters is just right.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shft in the way we look at genes.

This is a very interesting way to look at genes. It's not one for one anymore. It's one here and one over there and then another string from over there. Kinda makes you wonder how we don't have more mutations and cancers than we do.

Now: The Rest of the Genome
Published: November 10, 2008

Over the summer, Sonja Prohaska decided to try an experiment. She would spend a day without ever saying the word “gene.” Dr. Prohaska is a bioinformatician at the University of Leipzig in Germany. In other words, she spends most of her time gathering, organizing and analyzing information about genes. “It was like having someone tie your hand behind your back,” she said.

But Dr. Prohaska decided this awkward experiment was worth the trouble, because new large-scale studies of DNA are causing her and many of her colleagues to rethink the very nature of genes. They no longer conceive of a typical gene as a single chunk of DNA encoding a single protein. “It cannot work that way,” Dr. Prohaska said. There are simply too many exceptions to the conventional rules for genes.

It turns out, for example, that several different proteins may be produced from a single stretch of DNA. Most of the molecules produced from DNA may not even be proteins, but another chemical known as RNA. The familiar double helix of DNA no longer has a monopoly on heredity. Other molecules clinging to DNA can produce striking differences between two organisms with the same genes. And those molecules can be inherited along with DNA.

The gene, in other words, is in an identity crisis.

Read the rest.

Monday, November 10, 2008

VA Grants Benefits to All Veterans with ALS

On November 11th America honors the people who fought for our country. When the armistice to end World War I went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 it marked the end of “the war to end all wars.”

read more | digg story

Friday, November 07, 2008

I Can't Believe It Either...

Once Again Loren from 1938Media gets to the heart of the issue and says aloud what everyone else only dares to think...

Wassup! Old & New...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

My British friend here at work sent me the below email. Since he's currently reading my copy of Watchmen, I can only assume that he was thinking about V For Vendetta when he sent this to me. In any case, I wanted to forward my own recognition of Guy Fawkes Day to all my British friends out there.

I just wanted to wish everybody a happy Guy Fawkes Day, as we celebrate this today in England.

In 1605 Fawkes was involved in the Gunpowder Plot which sought to blow up the Houses of Parliament with the aim of killing King James I. Catholics realized that Spain would be of no help to them in fighting against King James, so some decided to take matters into their own hands.

Fawkes was underneath Parliament surrounded by 1800lbs of gunpowder when he was discovered with a lighted torch, and his hand was removed just before he could light the gunpowder. Fawkes was tortured, found guilty of high treason and was hanged, drawn and quartered.

Still to this day in England we celebrate his capture by setting off fireworks and creating bonfires upon which an effigy of Fawkes is usually burned.

The rhyme associated with this celebration begins as follows:

“Remember, remember the fifth of November
The gunpowder, treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.”

Once again, have a happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Very Moving Patient Tribute Video

Very Moving Patient Tribute Video

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barack Obama - American Stories, American Solutions

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit

We had a fundraising dinner on Monday for The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter, where I work. Our benefit, the 14th Annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit Dinner is a high profile event in Manhattan where we honor some sports celebrities and someone in business or politics. This year we honored Sandy Koufax, John McEnroe and Denis "DJ" Carey, a prominent Irish-American and activist, who has ALS. Carey's uncle is Hugh Carey former NYS Governor. DJ Carey gave a great acceptance speech making some pretty witty jokes about his diagnosis that helped ease the severity and grimness of his recounting of how doctors eliminated other potential possibilities, such as Lyme’s disease.

Sandy Koufax’s honor was unusual because, according to his agent, he never does these types of appearances. His friend, ALS Poet Laureate, Noah benShia, helped convince him to come out that night in support of ALS. BenShia’s father died of the disease in 1990 and Koufax had a friend who also passed from ALS. It was a rare to have met Sandy Koufax in this capacity, but unfortunately I wasn't able to get his autograph. In the VIP room I had the pleasure of chatting with Mr. Koufax for a few minutes, asked if he needed me to help fend of some unauthorized autograph seekers and even offered to get him a drink. In the end he got the drink himself and he kept signing autographs, almost continually the entire night. As you can imagine someone of Sandy Koufax’s legendary status is much sought after by sports celebrity hounds, especially since he’s a bit of a hermit when it comes to these events.

McEnroe was pretty much like I expected him to be, a little grumpy yet with a pretty good soul and very self-aware about how he comes across. He met some ALS patients at the even, which he said touched him very deeply and put his own persona in perspective. He spontaneously decided to donate a very large sum of money to us and announced the gift at the dinner. I think his wife Patty Smyth (former 80's rocker and front woman of the band, Scandal) had a lot to do with it. Patty and I spoke while I helped arrange the celebs for photos (not an easy task, I might add) and she was a sweetheart. She told me she's "working" on John, meaning trying to tone down his temper. She said he stays in shape by working out for hours everyday, playing tennis and such. Smyth said McEnroe would explode if he didn’t, which I thought she meant that he’d gain weight but she explained that it meant that his intensity is so high he needs a physical outlet for it. Explains a lot about him and imagine if he didn’t have Tennis to direct his energies. We had some laughs and she was totally genuine from as far as I could tell. No I did not geek out and tell her how much I loved Scandal as a kid and make some lame "Goodbye to You" joke when we parted company. (Though I really, really wanted to.) Standing next to her I kept trying to imagine what she looked like in her black gown with the make up from her “Warrior” video on. I amuse myself in this way to help get through the day.

We also honored Chris Chambliss but he couldn’t attend because of a family emergency. His former Yankee teammate, Graig Nettles showed up to accept the honor for him. Among the other celebrities to attend was former Yankee pitcher, Tommy John, who did a fantastic job of running our live auction along with Q104 DJ Ken Dashow, who is a long time and very loyal supporter of our chapter. Former members of many New York teams were on hand including, Dave Herman who played on the Jets, most notably for the 1968 World Championship Team that defeated the Colts to win Superbowl IV. Herman was also gracious enough to come to our Long Island Walk to Defeat ALS this fall, signing autographs to help raise money. Also there was Rod Gilbert, the first NHL New York Ranger to have his number (7) retired, and Howard Cross, who played for the NFL New York Giants and helped them win Superbowl XXV in 1990 against the Buffalo Bills.

Giving out the awards was none other than sports journalist, Bob Costas, honorary Board Member of the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter. Helping to emcee the benefit was author, sports writer and television reporter, Jeremy Schaap, son of award-winning journalist, the late Dick Schaap, a huge supporter of the chapter’s efforts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Comparing Apples to Apples or ACORN to Acorns.

I Read this cnn.com article about voter suppression. People were comparing voter suppression to the situation that came up about ACORN and equating them to each other, saying if they are both true, it’s a wash.

Actually that's not true. If voter suppression is taking place, it's much worse than ACORN. What happened with ACORN was that the group was paying people to go out and REGISTER voters. Those fake voters they registered were never going to vote for anybody. It was the people ACORN hired to get the voters registered that falsified the records. If Mickey Mouse and Batman came to the voting booth as registered voters then that might be worse than voter suppression, but it's not happening. In the case of this article, actual legitimate voters (and the article implies that it is registered Democrats that this is happening to) are having their right to vote in this election revoked because of some scrub list and that fraudulent activity is taking place for this to happen. If true then it's disgraceful. But it's probably happening to both Dems and Repubs. Either way, it's a travesty for our nation and Democracy in general.

Read the article.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fly Them To Mars, And Leave 'Em There, Says Buzz Aldrin

That's easy for Buzz to say. Wonder how he'd have felt if they said that when they sent him to moon! I think we could eventually put up permanent residence on Mars but there's a lot to contend with first before it becomes a life long adventure. Also, when the Europeans came to America they had something that Mars lacks: Natural Resources and other humans living here first.

Though Aldrin makes a case for it, at this point, we need to concentrate on getting there and establishing a base of operations before we set up an old-astronaut retirement community. Rotating workers into and out of a Mars base would make more sense with tours of duty lasting from 2 – 5 years instead of say, forever.

Though I did agree on one ideological point Aldrin made. While the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS) have probably provided some scientific and even commercial value, they “were a disappointment” as the article says.

In the story Aldrin is quoted as saying that the shuttle “has not lived up to its expectations, neither has the space station.”


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Loren Feldman Yammers About Twitter & Britney Spears

Gotta love this crotchety old guy with puppets who claims he was born in 1938. You just gotta. Props to the Feld-Man.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Jewish Mother Now Guilts Me Virtually So I May Write A Book...

"Virtual nagging," not to be confused with "virtual guilt" or "virtual kvetching."

All this and more is a part of the new New York Times Bestseller, "The Jewish Mother's Guide to the Internet." Jewish Mothers can learn how to nag, kvetch and guilt from anywhere at anytime to any one of her children no matter how far away they move. Learn how to leave emails, text messages and comments on status updates on your children's Facebook page. Long distance nagging is a thing of the past. Rambling kvetch sessions left on answering machines have proven ineffective. If you think the M in IM stands for Mishugaas then you need this book!

No more waiting days or weeks for a response! The internet has become the YENTA-NET.

Listen to what Jewish mothers are saying:

"I read the whole megillah and I didn't understand a word of it." - Sadie from South Beach.

"My son's a mensch but he's a bit nebbish so I hacked into his email account and sent invitations to dinner and a movie out to all the nice Jewish girls in his address book. This computer hacking is a mitzvah!" - Celia from Cedarhurst.

Call now!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama & McCain In Elections 2008, A Parody

A friend of mine just sent this to me. An obvious attempt at marketing a viral video, but it's so funny it just might be as big as 2004's JibJab video of Bush vs. Kerry.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The New Star Trek Movie - New Pics

I'll watch the new Star Trek movie when it comes out of course, but I am fearful of the pretty boy looks of the cast. Spock and Kirk look kinda, well, gay... And not the good gay with leather and spikes and whips like Rob Halford of Judas Priest type of gay but the fluffy, pretty, boys that Richard Simmons dreams about. Did any men get hired for this movie? Sheesh...

On the other hand Eric Bana looks kick ass as a Romulan named Nero. Can only guess that he has aspirations to conquer the galaxy setting us up for a really epic film or a cliff hanger (which would be awesome!)

My biggest problem with the Trek series of films is that they are never "big" enough. A movie has to go someplace and Trek is notorious for the reset of its episodes on TV. In the Original series it worked because the characters and situations were so original for the time and in TNG, they attempted some character growth and some sort of over arcing stories at times (Q, Borg, etc.) But it still fell a little short. Despite that both TOS and TNG were great TV shows.

When the original cast moved to the big screen (after the first movie which other thought was no-so-great but I thought was pretty OK, even when I saw it originally in elementary school) the biggest problem was that most of the movies were over blown episodes. Wrath of Kahn had a great storyline with major change to the characters and the galaxy but after that they kind of meandered until the Klingon movie, which I liked. Other than those, the movies seem like they'd have done much better as TV shows. And TNG never translated well tot he big screen at all - no matter what my cousin Mike thinks (a true Trekkie if I ever saw one).

I have high hopes for the Star Trek reboot. I always wanted the original characters recast. But I have to saw, if J.J. Abrams doesn't treat this like a MOVIE and not a TV show, with characters and situations that present real danger and growth/change, then the movies will be just as much of a joke as the others. Reboot = Reboot, not a rehashing of the same old thing.

Yet, I have high hopes for this film. I fully expect to boldly go where no Star Trek movie has ever gone before and deal with the personalities (and flaws) of the original characters as they never had before. But in Hollywood they tend to disappoint as a rule and Star Trek has rarely been an exception to that rule.

Check out an interview with the producer of the new Star Trek here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Robert Sawyer's Flashforward sold to ABC for series development

I sat in on a group that author Robert J. Sawyer spoke with during the 2001 Philcon (got my copy of Calculating God signed by him there!) and we spoke briefly about Calculating God being a movie. Not sure why we got on the subject but I always had hopes ever since then to see it. Might work as a limited series better. But, this news about Flashforward being sold as a series to ABC is just as exciting. Congrats to Robert and good luck. Can't wait to see it.

Where The Cars Are: Meschutt Beach

(My article at hamptons.com about Meschutt Beach in Hampton Bays and the classic car enthusiasts who gather there.)

Want to know where the girls are? Sometimes they're on Jobs Lane in Southampton shopping. Sometimes they're having lunch in East Hampton at Cittanuova. And sometimes they're on Meschutt Beach, next to an open hood showing off the engine of a muscle car.

The first time I ever went to spend a Friday night at Meschutt Beach on the canal in Hampton Bays was about three years ago. The beach on the Great Peconic Bay was still packed with families, the Beach Hut was almost standing room only, and the rumble of the engines from what seemed like a hundred classic cars was mixed with the familiar salt air. It was an endless parade of cars from every era, enough to make even the most hardened gear-head salivate, that passed by throughout the evening.

The 6 Ballsiest Scientific Frauds (People Actually Fell For)

If we can't trust scientists, who can we trust? These are the guys curing our diseases and generally saving the world. But, sadly, even in this field there are those who like to play fast and loose with the truth. And then there are these six guys who are just totally full of shit.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tim Burton talks about Johnny Depp, 'Alice in Wonderland'

I loved Sweeney Todd and was disappointed that more people didn't love it too. It was a much better Tim Burton movie than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was an unnecessary remake of a film that stands as an untouchable classic in the minds of many, many people. Like remaking Star Wars or It's A Wonderful Life. The innocence and naiveté of those films makes them beloved classics. Charlie fell flat in my eyes because the original captured a time when it was made as well as a story. For the most part, a book (children or adult novel both) tend to translate poorly to the screen without major chopping of the story and plot so there’s a reason they gloss over the more complex details and characterization. Novels are a unique format, just like movies, which rely much more on visualization. That said, Burton is the undisputed king of visualization and for as many time that he missed in his remakes (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow) he hits big time (Big Fish, Sweeney Todd). His original stuff is extremely creative and classic in their own right and I’d love to see more of Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare Before Christmas. I look forward to Alice In Wonderland but I keep my hopes tamped down a bit when Burton attacks a classic story. That said, he is still a genius. The LA Times story here has an interview with Burton on the set of his new film with Johnny Depp, another talented guy.

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New Star Trek May Boldly Go Where It Has Never Gone Before...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Posters For The Day The Earth Stood Still & New Australia

This was on DIGG. While mildly interesting, it was not DIGG-worthy if you ask me. But Jennifer Connelly is smoking so maybe that's the point? Or the point is that Keanu Reeves is a doofus? Or perhaps there's something useful in juxtaposing the films Australia against The Day The Earth Stool Still? I'm confused on this one. How Keanu Reeves gets himself into the company of the likes of Jennifer Connelly, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman is beyond me. The guy's a doofus. (Oh wait! I said that already.)

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

NASA Spacecraft Finds the Sun is Not a Perfect Sphere

Turns out our sun is a blob, not a sphere. Amazing. All this time I've been drawing suns as circles with all these little ray lines coming out of it. Next thing NASA will tell me is that clouds aren't shaped like bubbles all stuck together or birds aren't tiny curved letter M shapes. Sheesh. Is there no end to the madness of this universe. From the article: “The sun is the biggest and therefore smoothest object in the solar system, perfect at the 0.001% level because of its extremely strong gravity,” says study co-author Hugh Hudson of UC Berkeley. “Measuring its exact shape is no easy task.”

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World's Loneliest Bug Discovered in South Africa

A bug which lives entirely on its own and survives without oxygen in complete darkness underground has been discovered in South Africa. Desulforudis audaxviator, or bold traveller as it is known in English, relies on water, hydrogen and sulphate for its energy.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Brainwave controlled video game concept unveiled

NeuroSky, Inc., has demonstrated a brainwave-controlled video game utilizes the company’s MindSet headset, which reads a player’s brainwave information to register the current state of relaxation or concentration of players, allowing them to perform actions within the game.

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President Signs ALS Registry Act!

President Bush signed the ALS Registry Act into law late today. Our victory is now official! It has been a long difficult fight, and we want to thank everyone who continuously reached out to their Members of Congress throughout the legislative process to make this victory possible.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Fast Forward 2

Just got Fast Forward 2 in the mail from PYR. It's a book of short stories edited by my all time favorite SF editor Lou Anders. (Hear that Lou? I may have a SF short story somewhere in here myself...)

I interviewed Lou for the British Science Fiction Association some time ago. You can download the entire interview in PDF format here. Since then I have really gotten to know PYR's line and they do have fantastic books. Check them out.

Also, check out the free short story from Fast Forward 2 by Paul Cornell. On the theme of free stuff to read, you can read the introduction to the book by Lou at SF Signal.

I'm also looking forward to Ian McDonald's Cyberbad Days. I read River of Gods and loved it.

About Fast Forward 2 from the PYR website:
Fast Forward 2 is an anthology of all original, unthemed science fiction works, edited by Lou Anders, published by Pyr, and featuring stories from such names as Paolo Bacigalupi, Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow, Ian McDonald, Mike Resnick & Pat Cadigan, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Karl Schroeder & Tobias S. Buckell.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scam sites vanish after owners' names, addresses posted

arstechnica.com writes: Two brothers who ran a plethora of scam sites have been outed online, resulting in the disappearance of the sites they used to run. It's funny what the posting of a few pictures and addresses can do.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Actor Whose Baby Blues Came in Many Shades of Gray

Paul Newman learned to use his flawless face, so we could see the complexities underneath.

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'Sun' Probably Dead

Rumor has it that conservative newspaper, New York The Sun is dead. The New York Sun—the right-leaning pro-Israel daily newspaper that was more or less doomed by the final, complete death of East Coast intellectual conservatism (thanks, Bush administration!)—will cease publication after all, with a final issue running on Monday. Probably...

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Digg Buries Rumors of Acquisition With $28.7M Investment

So I guess they aren't looking to get purchased.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Wachovia in talks with Citi for possible merger

The retail bank Wachovia is said to be in talks with Citi to merge. While it has a sterling reputation in the retail sector, Wachovia took a big blow with an acquisition that left it holding some unstable Option ARM loans.

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Fuzzy Renaissance

Disney tries to put some life back into the muppets.

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The Top 15 Hottest Women on Television

Just look at the pictures. Park is way bootylicious! Who knew?

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Don't Be A Douchebag!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Almost-Averted Crisis

Looks like Democrats put the kibosh on a plan to oversee Fannie and Freddie a few years ago. May have averted some of this crisis. Though not the greater crisis because that was the work of agencies outside of Freddie and Fannie. Without them, the GSEs may have been fine. Maybe not. But this is a very interesting development. I've also read that President Clinton, by expanding Freddie & Fannie led to this entire crisis. A little far fetch since it was during the Bush presidency that the two (and the subprime industry) was allowed to fester and boil over.

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Alan Moore: Hollywood, I spit venom on your 'Watchmen' movie

Alan Moore Rocks. He's the godfather of all that is black and dark int he goth world. He is the man whom Trent Reznor scared of at nighttime because of his dark genius. And he's got these incredible silver claws. Where does he get those? From the article: "Moore tells LAT that modern filmmaking, "spoon-feeds us, which has the effect of watering down our collective cultural imagination. The 'Watchmen' film sounds like more regurgitated worms. I for one am sick of worms." He also rues the effect of Hollywood's siren call on the contemporary comics scene."

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The 10 Least Terrifying Justice League Villains

The Psycho Pirate 2 came in handy for the Anti-Monitor.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Palin's Creds - File Under Wha...?

From the New York Times:

Democrats, and some Republicans, have tried to make Ms. Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience an issue in the campaign. The McCain campaign, for its part, has made three main points so far when asked about Ms. Palin’s foreign policy credentials.

It invokes geography, noting Alaska’s proximity to Russia, as Ms. Palin did when she told ABC News, “You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.” Other times the campaign cites her résumé, noting that as governor she had been commander of the Alaska National Guard for nearly two years. And it often pivots to her work on energy policy, as Mr. McCain did last week, when he said, “I’m proud of her obvious knowledge of this nation’s energy needs, because that’s a national security issue.”

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sept. 19, 1982: Can't You Take a Joke? :-)

With a short post to a computer-science department bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University, on September 19, 1982 at 11:44 AM, Scott Fahlman became the acknowledged originator of the ASCII-based emoticon.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Journalists now use Twitter as easy quotes over Cabbies

A trend in journalism circles to search Twitter for quotes reflects the new media alternative to (wo)man on the street quotes, but the problem is that Twitter doesn't represent the (wo)man on Main Street, it represents the (wo)man on Geek Street.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Your Data With Destiny

Great article by Bob Garfield. "Hey, Mark Zuckerberg, listen up: This is about how to monetize Facebook. The billion-dollar answer awaits you just below. Just hang on for about 5,000 words, and no skipping ahead, please. That'll just ruin the suspense."

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oded Schramm, 46, Mathematician, Is Dead

Dr. Schramm died in hiking accident where he fell to his death. According to the article he "melded ideas from two branches of mathematics into an equation that applies to a multitude of physics problems."

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Probably The Hugest Pixel Art on the Web [PIC]


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Did 'Spore' copy protections backfire on EA?

I suspect that there'd be just as much torrent downloads even without the DRM protection. And are these torrent versions cracked? Anyway, DRM does need to be put out to pasture but illegal downloading of software has the opposite effect. The one star reviews on Amazon, now that makes a statement.

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Concerns Beyond Just Where the Wild Things Are

Pure genius. And much more complex than I ever imagined. Darker too. Unbelievable that I never knew so many details about him. From the story: "Maurice Sendak on the death of his longtime partner, his recent triple-bypass, and the celebration of his 80th birthday at the 92nd Street Y."

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Joe Girardi Speech at Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Dinner

Yankee Manager, Joe Girardi, gives his speech at The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter's Annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Dinner.

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The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter honored Yogi Berra at their annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Dinner. This video was prepared to honor the great Yogi and his penchant for turning a phrase (upside down, that is!)

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Top 10 Movie Battle Scenes (Videos)

AskMen.com offers their opinion on the top 10 battle scenes. It's flawed, but everyone knows how hard it is to pick the best ten of anything While I am a LOTR geek, I think that there was a better battle to include than putting in battles from both Two Towers and Return of the King. Two Towers, is the superior battle, hand-down.

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John McCain’s 42 Flip-Flops

McCain says, "I’ve been through this litany before, where I say, “ok, what specific area have I quote changed?” Nobody can name it. … I am the same person and I have the same principles." Well, here's the proof.

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Jon Favreau interview on the Iron Man Franchise!

Jon Favreau just can't seem to talk too much about Iron Man 2 without talking about Iron Man 3.

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Tennant Set For "Doctor Who" Movie?

David Tennant is in negotiations for a new film version of "Doctor Who"

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Iron Man 2, 3, and 4 may have Captain American and the Hulk?

"Paramount pulled out no stops for the Iron Man DVD launch this week with Jon Favreau sitting down with a major contingent of online press to talk about plans for the sequel and beyond." I would like to see the Muthos Capt. America storyline as an origin story for a C.A. movie. That would be sweet and probably be one of the best origin stories in a long time, if done right. Blend of nostalgia and action. Thinking a quirky director like del Toro or something.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Geeks - Geeks!

Poster of the many flavors of Geeks. Very funny.

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Halloween Bubble Fogger Brings Fog-Filled Bubbles

I need one of these for my Annual Halloween bash! From the article: "Halloween fog machines? Been there, inhaled that. Bubble machines? Still pretty cool, soap in the eye or not. But what if humanity had created a machine that combined the venerable fog machine with bubbles? Interest piqued? Consider it done!"

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We Will Die!

Funny. Not true. But funny.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wired Magazine - Great Quote

Wired Magazine has this great article on scientists trying to duplicate the most fundamental organic chemistry to mimic life. In the article was this fantastic quote by one of the scientists: "some of the chemical syntheses that simple plants and algae can accomplish far outstrip human technologies."

Goes to show you how far we still need to go to catch up with what nature has been working on for billions of years!

Red the article titled, "Biologists on the Verge of Creating New Form of Life."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Paper Clips: Review of the HBO Holocaust Documentary

The children of a small town teach the world a lesson about the Holocaust and tolerence.

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Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport:

Movie Review: While most of the world ignored the growing danger of the Nazis, some tried to do something about it. The Kindertransport was started in England to help save children from falling into the death trap of the Nazi regime.

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Kung Fu Panda Is A Kick In The Pants

Movie Review: When I heard that Jack Black was going to star in an animated Dreamworks production populated only by animal characters playing a martial arts wielding panda, my initial reaction was, “What the Fu?”

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Iron Man: A Little Flat

Movie Review: Standing in my kitchen after viewing Iron Man on opening night, I had the strange sense that something was terribly wrong. Earlier I had taken my teenaged son to see the movie, leaving my wife at home. That wasn’t the problem.

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Didactic Chat: Bruce Sterling

Interview with Bruce Sterling. "When I first set out to find Bruce Sterling, I thought that it would never happen. Surely, a guy who has written the seminal -punk anything book, whether it be cyber-, steam-, or (I kid you not) monkey-, would have better things to do with his time."

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The Electronic Newspaper From Science Fiction: Coming Soon

I've been waiting for this! "The electronic newspaper, a large portable screen that is constantly updated with the latest news, has been a prop in science fiction for ages. While the dream device remains on the drawing board, Plastic Logic will introduce publicly on Monday its version of an electronic newspaper reader: a lightweight plastic screen that mimics the look of paper..."

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New E-Newspaper Reader Echoes Look of the Paper

So cool and it looks better than the Kindle, which is ugly as sin. From the NYT: "Plastic Logic introduced its version of an electronic newspaper reader: a lightweight plastic screen that mimics the look — but not the feel — of a printed newspaper."

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Reinventing the wheel to help disabled

This is cool! Watch the vid. From the story: "When David Hughes sets off to travel he has to plan his journey with meticulous care."

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Power To The Bottom

The power of Web 2.0 is taking a news turn with P2P lending and communities like PatientsLikeMe.com, made up of people who suffer from life-altering diseases—Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's, HIV/AIDS and ...

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Sarah Palin ‘affair’: big media stays quiet as ‘lover’ named

What the fu..? "While America's respectable media focus on John McCain's acceptance speech to the Republican faithful, blogs and gossip sites continue to lead the feeding frenzy surrounding the National Enquirer's allegation, reported here yesterday, that McCain's running mate Sarah Palin had an affair with her husband's business partner."

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Shifting Careers: Résumés for Presidential Hopefuls

To build the case for creating an online résumé, VisualCV.com created mock résumés for Barack Obama and John McCain.

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The man who "invented" cowboy clothing has died

RIP Jack Weil - Cowboy shirt maker. I tip my straw hat to thee.

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BigDog Beta Quadruped Bot Video Is So Stupid It's Hilarious

Piss Your Pants Funny: "If you thought Humanity was damned after watching the latest BigDog quadruped robot, prepare to loot the nearest supermarket and run for the hills, because this video of the beta version of BigDog will leave you in awe. And probably make you wet your pants with laughter, like some of the best Monty Python's skits."

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Rice Heading to Libya to Meet Qaddafi

I thought we didn't talk to terrorists? I guess we only talk to terrorists of previous administrations. From the story: "Muammar el-Qaddafi, in the eyes of the Bush administration, is rehabilitated, his country removed from the State Department’s terrorism list."

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What would you do for a Klondike Bar.

This guy is the best. Go to YouTube and subscribe to his channel.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

13 High Speed Photography Images

Just cool!

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The 8 Most Obnoxious Internet Commenters


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Senator Obama Has Secret Meeting With Fox News Executives

Now this is the way to handle the media. Seems that it's a good reflection of Obama's diplomacy and ability to speak to hostile enemies. In direct opposition who McCain flies off the handle and cancels an appearance on CNN when he's unhappy, Obama sits down and negotiates. This is a great is a great way to juxtapose their personalities and performance under pressure and criticism.

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WSJ.com - Palin Queries Push McCain To Skip CNN

Apparently McCain has taken the issue of foreign policy off the table by picking Palin and then boycotting CNN. Oddly now that the Republicans have a candidate that appears flawed in all the areas they attacked Obama on, they now refuse to even speak to the media about it or answer questions. The debates are going to be interesting, indeed. In other news, Obama had a private sit down with Fox over their coverage of his campaign. Seems that's the more, ahem, stately and diplomatic way to handle the media. But what do you expect from this hot head (McCain)? Folks, do we want a gentleman or a nutcase in the White House? From the wsj.com report: "McCain abruptly canceled a scheduled appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live" in retaliation for an earlier interview on the network, in which an anchor raised questions about vice-presidential candidate Palin's foreign policy credentials."

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Letterman Baffled by NBC’s Replacing of Leno

In the story they say Letterman has his doubts about Leno leaving next year. But my source inside NBC says it's a lock. They've already built a studio for Fallon, with the plans still a go for testing him out on the Internet. Looks like with the successes of Hulu and the Olympics, NBC is confident about its Internet strategy. From the story on nytimes.com: "David Letterman, the CBS host who has competed with Jay Leno every weeknight for 15 years, now feels empathy for his late-night challenger."

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

So What Do You Do, David Karp, Founder of Tumblr?

Popularity, not profit, is the name of the game for this Web platform prodigy

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Fla. college turns academics into business venture

Boing, Boing, Boing... A college kid develops a bouncy vehicle for his father's heel chair so he can enjoy the beach and see sailboats up close again. From the AP story: "When Travis Watkins was asked a few years ago to devise a college engineering project that would help people with disabilities, the first person who came to mind was his father, who once cherished walks along the beach. The deadly illness known as Lou Gehrig's disease has left his father in a wheelchair..."

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Friday, August 29, 2008

YouTube in 1985!!!

Sorkin's Facebook screenplay is based on forthcoming book

More reason why this movie is going to fail. If an anonymous source is correct, Sorkin's movie will be based on a forthcoming book about Facebook. But some sources say the book is total BS, so...

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My Boobs Aren't Squeeze Toys.

Why not?

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Google Toying With The Idea Of Letting Users Mess With Searc

This one is sort of a head-scratcher. According to a report, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is working on a new function that would allow users to change the ranking of search results, comment on them, and possibly even delete them. Couldn't that negate their usefulness? Not if you believe Google.

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8th Annual Walk to Defeat ALS September 27

Continuing the success of past years, the ALS Association of Greater New York announces the date of Saturday, Sept. 27 as the next Walk to Defeat ALS on Long Island. One of the largest ALS Association Walks in the country, this year promises to be bigger than ever.

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'Bling Bandit' is ex-NYPD detective; allegedly knock

I know a guy who knows this cop! - The "Bling Bandit" who knocked off seven banks in Long Island and two in Queens is a hero ex-cop worshiped in the NYPD for 33 years of undercover and detective work, police sources said.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Digg Dialogue Questions get answered by Nancy Pelosi on CNN!

Yeay DIGG: Digg CEO Jay Adelson asks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questions sent by iReporters and selected by the Digg community. The questions you guys posed got answered, it seems like she did her best job to really answer them and take them as serious as any questions."

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Woman Called Yoda Blocked From Facebook

Yoda banned from Facebook. Actually, Mrs. Yoda.

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Bloomberg Accidentally Publishes Steve Jobs Obituary

Does the mayor of New York City know something that we don't? From the huffingtonpost.com: "The Bloomberg financial newswire decided to update its 17-page Steve Jobs obituary today -- and inadvertently published it in the process."

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10 Important News Stories as Depicted by 5-Year-Olds

From Cracked.com: "With all of the wars, gas shortages, a looming depression and no more Olympics to pretend aren't boring, things are pretty bleak. We wondered if our world would look any less depressing if viewed through the eyes of a five-year-old."

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The Girl-Power Vampire Stories Waiting for Their Big Screen

Yes yes yes, Twilight is coming. We've heard. Author Stephanie Myers has taken that well-trod Anne Rice vampire path to literary stardom, and the first movie from one of her books hits theaters November 21. Did I say well-trod? Why, I did say that. Why? Because it's not like the tortured supernatural romance genre took a siesta...

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Incredible! - McCain's Prickly TIME Interview

"Unbelievably Arrogant, Angry and just plain RUDE !" What did they expect? Hello Kitty? He's pissed because he's going to loose an election in three months. Get off his case already. By the way, Lieberman is a fink. There, I said it. And I can't take it back.

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Facebook The Movie: Coming Soon

The West Wing creator says his grandmother has more Internet savvy than he does, and she's been dead for 33 years. Already I'm not feeling it about this movie. Shouldn't someone who knows a little bit about Facebook already and can make a decent movie be working on this project? Seems like there might be one or two around that fits the bill. I am not confident. Looks like a flop in the making and an embarrassment to the Facebook folks. Unless they get some really, really good consultants. Think the Facebook members out there will be kind or critical on the group he's starting on Facebook to learn this Internet thingy -- not a direct quote but it may as well be. From nymag.com: "Aaron Sorkin, a man whose discomfort with the Internet goes way, way back to the days he got angry at the Television Without Pity message boards, is writing a movie about the founding of Facebook."

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits

Now c'mon. This doesn't seem like a problem we can't solve. From the NYT: "The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not."

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Lack of infrastructure hampers hydrogen-powered car rally

I am looking forward to the day when I can drive a Hydrogen powered cr. I mean, the sun is Hydrogen powered at it kicks butt as an energy producer. Can't my dinky car run on Hydrogen too? C'mon scientists, get with it already. Skip electric and develop Hydrogen powered cars. I want to fuel up my car from my sprinkler hose. From arstechnica: "Car makers recently held the Hydrogen Road Tour 08 to publicize H2-powered road cars, but a lack of fueling stations meant long stretches on flatbeds. Is the world ready for the H2 car?"

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The girl in the window


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Chicago Tribune: Marriotti resigns from Sun-Times

Instead of waiting for his newspaper to cut him, Jay Mariotti decided to leave. Good thinking. Even though he was in no danger of loosing his job, this sportswriter saw the "writing on the wall" so to speak. Looks like we won't see the future of journalism is not in the funny papers but in the blogosphere. I call this a man bites dog story. Score one for the working man. From the article: "Sports columnist Jay Marriotti decides the future of journalism is on the internet and quits the Sun-Times."

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Scientists Learn How Nemo Finds His Way Home

Cool. Run, Nemo, Run. Wait! Wrong Movie. Sorry. Still DUGG because clownfish aren't funny but they're cute and my kids love them. BTW, Nemo is a great movie. Can Pixar do no wrong. Off topic, I know but, seriously, Pixar rules. From the story: "How does the orange clownfish — aka Nemo from the movie "Finding Nemo" — really find its way home? It turns out the colorful saltwater fish can sniff for leaves that fall into the sea from rainforests growing on the islands near their coral reef homes."

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Led Zepplin Back in the Studio

OMFG! My friend Tom is gonna freak. I'm in line already to buy the album, virtually. From telegraph.co.uk: "Led Zeppelin could be on the brink of a 10th studio album after musicians Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham said they had been working on new songs."

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Baseball to start using instant replay on Thursday.

Finally, baseball catches up. From the AP: "Major League Baseball has reversed its long-standing opposition to instant replay and will allow umpires to check video on home run calls in series that start Thursday, a person familiar with the announcement told The Associated Press."

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The crime that created Superman

Apparently, if you want to find Superman, don't look up in the sky, look down on the ground on the floor of a second-hand clothing store on the east side of Cleveland in the 1930s. That's where you'll find the origin of the Man of Steel. From USA Today: "On the night of June 2, 1932, the world's first superhero was born — not on the mythical planet of Krypton but from a little-known tragedy on the streets of Cleveland."

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Technology That Outthinks Us: A Partner or a Master?

Vernor Vinge's concept of the singularity in computers and intelligence gets another treatment in his new book, "Rainbow's End." Here the computers and the humans are hooked up to produce a sort of networked intelligence of all human knowledge - kinda like Wikipedia!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Madonna Kicks Off World Tour

"Does this look like a woman who just turned 50?" - Actually, it does look like someone who just turned 50. I always hoped that Madonna would be a little more classy than this. I am a fan. Glad she's around and her music is just as good as it always was, but she needs to tone down the act a little before she becomes a parody of herself.

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The Montauk Monster's cousin?

From The North Shore Sun: "Is it a dead possum? A raccoon? A dog? Or could it possibly be a distant relative of the -- gulp -- Montauk Monster?"

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Demon Washes Ashore New York Beach

What the...?

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Gorgeous Image of Endeavour with Earth in the Backdrop

A rare image of NASA's shuttle Endeavour orbiting around our beautiful planet earth. Space Shuttle Endeavour is one of the three currently operational spacecraft in the Space Shuttle fleet of NASA, the space agency of the United States. The other two are Discovery and Atlantis. Endeavour was the fifth and final NASA space shuttle to be built.

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Unification in progress: dark energy, dark matter, inflation

Ladies and Getlemen. The moment we've all been waiting for. Unification of three theories: Dark Energy, Inflation and Dark Matter. It was bound to happen, wasn't it? Where's Brian Greene when you need him? From Ars Technica: "Researchers show that it might be possible to unite dark energy, dark matter, and inflation under single field."

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Empty quantum channels greater than the sum of their parts

I don't understand this article, yet at the same time it makes sense. So if I combine those two results then on average, I understand! I think?

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Amazon may enter college textbook market with new Kindle

I wish I had this when I was in college.

My backpack was filled with books professors made me buy and then used only sparingly throughout the year. This is a brilliant idea. Everyone knows that once you get the kids hooked on something they're hooked for life.

These college kids aren't going to just throw away the Kindle after they finish school. They will continue to use them for novels and business books and resume writing guides, Wall Street Journal subscriptions, and job listing subscriptions, blog subscriptions... The possibilities ate virtually endless.

Boy. Now I want one. Between this and the iPod, my three biggest addictions (books, movies, music) will be fulfilled electronically.

Oh wait. They still haven't gotten to a place where virtual sex is downloaded into my pants, have they? No. OK only three out of my four additions have been filled. Guess it's still bit torrent porn for me until VR porn becomes available and mainstream.

From Ars Technica: "With rumors swirling lately about a new-and-improved Kindle, one analyst says that Amazon sees an opportunity in the education market and plans to target students. We've got some tips for Amazon should it get serious about pursuing college students with the Kindle."

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Can GameFly Survive in a VGOD World?

While the music industry offers downloads, Netflix has already embraced the downloaded movie business, somewhat tentatively. I believe that you can now even download movies to your X-Box from your Netflix account, bypassing the need for one of those Roku devices. For gaming, this model just makes sense. X-Box has burst open online gaming with X-Box live. I believe Microsoft has already expressed interest in software that is subscription based. Naturally, gamers would be quicker to embrace such a concept by virtue of their technological advantage and acuity. Then again, I can't see developing GTAIV for the money it cost and then releasing it at the regular subscription price. There will be a premium for these big name releases. Otherwise we'll see quality gaming go down. While subscription based models may increase overall access to more games, without the windfall of a GTAIV-type release, no big box releases will ever come. But I think that with a little tweaking this download, subscription-based model can work for movies, music and especially gaming. (Even books if Amazon has its way with the Kindle!) From the blog post: "What happens when users can download video games directly? Can GameFly survive in a video game on demand (VGOD) world?"

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No Matter How NBC Spins It, Olympics Web Strategy Comes Up A Loser (?)

I dugg this because it seemed and interesting and very true take. NBC probably missed an advertising opportunity from a revenue standpoint but annecdotal evidence and from pure hours of streaming video standpoint I see this as a success. It seems that people generally liked seeing lesser broadcasted events and elimination events online (sans commentary) and that led to a cross polination of viewership back to television. From a marketing standpoint, it was a success and proves to be a model of what we can do in the future (or broadcasters can do.) Was Silverlight the right choice? Don't know. Could Flash have been better? Probably. Only because more people use that format and are used to it. (YouTube uses Flash video, correct?) Anyway, while this was a lost revenue opportunity, NBC proved it could handle the challenge of streaming hours of content from a live event and have people generally happy with it, while promoting it back to a television broadcast, leading to one of the most watched TV events in history--from China, no less. Like I said, it was not a failure by any means, except for the bottom line. From TechCrunch: "Despite its special Silverlight-powered Website and more than 2,000 hours of online video, it looks like NBC flubbed its opportunity to make its Olympics Web revenues more than a rounding error. NBCOlympics.com may have streamed 72 million videos and racked up 1.2 billion pageviews, but Yahoo Sports still edged it out with an average of 4.7 million visitors a day versus 4.3 million (source: Nieisen Online). And Yahoo didn’t even have video. NBC is spinning its numbers as a success to the New York Times today, in response an estimate eMarketer put out on Friday that NBC’s Olympics video ad revenues came to only $5.75 million. That compares to $23 million that CBS made from video ads when it streamed the NCAA basketball tournament live on its Website in March."

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Haiku Nation - TIME

World has a short attention span.

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Beijing Olympics most-watched event in TV history.

So despite all the controversy (or probably more like--because of it) the Olympics this year are set to go down in history as the most-watched television event of all time. We had Michael Phelps (A.K.A. Aqualad) and the Chinese accused of screwing around with time travel and somehow getting children who are too young to compete in gymnastics, aged appropriately before their years. Amazing, those Chinese and what they can accomplish when they put their minds to it, ain't it? Anyhow. In this year of broken records and human rights issues, it seems that Americans don't need all that sappiness and backstory to may hay out of the Olympics. All they need is a mutant and a little good old fashioned Communism. I suspect that the web aspect also fueled a cross viewership to the television. The hype was upheld. Now we know that 2008 Chinese can bang a drum in sync. Who would have thunk it? From the blog post: "Through 15 days of coverage, 208.7 million viewers have watched the Olympics on NBC Universal (including the NBC broadcast network and its cable channels), according to Nielsen Media Research."

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