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September 2009 Archives

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

One of the problems, I think, with Movable Type is that the forums aren't very active, so questions often receive few or no replies.

Ultimately mindshare is marketshare and scores of stranded and confused users demoralizes existing users and scares off potential ones.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Blindingly fast and criminally impressive robbery of a Marlton, New Jersey, Apple Store, reminiscent of the culling of 39 iPods in 15 seconds, by three New Yorkers on a crime holiday in Riverdale, Utah.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Or, as Marshall McLuhan put it (and as is randomly inserted as the banner epigraph on this blog)

What we are considering here, however, are the psychic and social consequences of the designs or patterns as they amplify or accelerate existing processes. For the “message” of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs. The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure. This happened whether the railway functioned in a tropical or a northern environment, and is quite independent of the freight or content of the railway medium. (8)

Which is to say the droll nostalgia (gallows humor) of Matthew Moore’s list of “things that are being killed by the Internet” obscures the ways in which the scale and nature of human / non-human interaction is altered by the advent of the global computer network known, today, as the Internet.

Discussion on MetaFilter.


McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1994.

Illustrative use of negative space.

You’ve been running Mac OS X v. 10.6 for a week now and you’re wondering what’s next, besides 10.6.1. Wait. You mean you didn’t wait in line last Friday for the historic release of 0 New Features?

SnowLeopard Line at Apple Store, SF

In addition to reading John Siracusa’s epic review of Snow Leopard, you can catch up by playing a few sets of “geek tennis” on the blue.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Make a font out of your own handwriting. (Apparently this is not a new idea.)

from the blue

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Opens with a backward-lapsing re-framing narrator, evolving into a sophisticated meditation regarding the relationship between paper print and electronic media. Echoes of Borges, Eco, Ocampo, and Vinge.

I fucking hate it.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

These kids are adorable and a joy to watch. I especially enjoyed the conflicting emotions revealed in their facial expressions.

On my second viewing, I noticed that with the exception of the two boys in the room together (and even then), there were no children of color. Which got me to thinking that this “experiment” and the experiment on which it is based do not just measure a child’s innate abilities to defer gratification. For example, the experiment might also reveal a child’s ability to measure the reliability of promises that adults make.

If, like me, you are having a hard time using Safari because the damn tabs only open all the way on the righthand side of the browser window and you refuse to support a developer who charges real money for a program that forces Safari to run in 32-bit mode, you will welcome the opportunity to live on the bleeding edge of this release candidate.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

00:00:39 [Fly-in transition of man with horned helmet, fur collar, and spectacles. He holds a shield and axe.]: Hi, I’m Fred.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Yesterday evening, I put into place the final code to generate the posts on this main page. The features of this code are

  • It’s threaded!

  • The CSS for each blog is independent.

  • A minimum number of posts for can be specfied for the main blog.

  • A maximum number of posts can be specified for the secondary blog.

The code:

I think the code is simple enough and the variables descriptive enough that the code doesn’t really need documentation. The code is unquestionably a hack, but it’s a hack that works and one of the consequences is a feature in the joint. Update» with bug fixes.

Last night we saw Dave Boyle’s White on Rice, a wonderful comedy that portrays its Japanese characters without fear or assimilation.

In the Q & A, Boyle explained the Japanese actors wrote their own dialoge. I asked if the Japanese actors also wrote their own English dialogue, the delivery of humorous lines was that good. Watanabe has a master’s sense of comedic delivery in American English. Nobody could have been surprised when Watanabe confessed I love American sitcoms.

Oh, and don’t tell my fiance, but I am totally infatuated with Aiko.1

For your delectation, a few tchotchkes:2

Picture of Johnnie Wilcox with Hiroshi Watanabe

Image of Promotional Poster for Dave Boyle’s _White on Rice_

1 The character, not the actress.
2 The horrible halo around the picture of me and Watanabe is due to my roughly selecting our images in the foreground and blurring the distracting vending machine in the background. Better shooping next time, I promise.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Four reasons to love Facebook again.

Facebook comment thread

Beautiful. Beautiful! Fucking, all these people. George Washington. I didn’t chop down a cherry tree or I have wooden teeth and I cannot tell a lie. Oh, you can tell a lie and you fucking did. You dumb fuck.1

1 While I cannot verify the accuracy of the events depicted, I can verify they are hella funny.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

iRex, Amazon and the entire e-reading category have an even more significant problem: savvy consumers may hold off on buying devices to see whether Apple enters the market with a more general-purpose tablet computer.

Allan Weiner, Gartner analyst

When media historians look back at the early twenty-first century and begin documenting the period when digital print overtook paper print, they will dutifully note there once existed single-purpose devices for the display of digital print. The historians will record that early manufacturers not only abstracted the codex book form with the shape of these devices—thin tablets roughly the dimensions of a trade book—but that they also reproduced the limited function of the codex book, restricting these devices to acquiring and presenting digital print. The historians will note that digital print began its eclipse of paper print only after readers had access to a general-purpose device for the collection and manipulation of digital print, a device with a familiar form factor, intuitive controls, and multiple uses.

Amazon, Verizon, Best Buy, and iRex are all bumping elbows for space in an historical footnote.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

This warms my (former) educator’s heart.

As someone who started reading illustrated books as a young child and who graduated to a steady and voracious diet of comic books as a pre-teen and early teenager, I can say my own literacy was in part furthered by comics.

But tools like Bitstrips are not comics. The cartoon aesthetics tells young people “this is for you” while Bitstrips’ design templates provide students an easy way to combine different elements into a look that pleases them. By lowering the difficulty of producing aesthetically pleasing designs in the context of comics, Bitstrips invites students to engage in a further acts of creation, most notably the creation of narrative.

I can imagine this software combined with a unit developed from Vladimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folk Tale or Joseph Cambell’s The Power of Myth, two texts which explain that narrative can be generated by combining familiar and well-established motifs in a manner similar to the generation of a visual aesthetic by combining coordinated and complementary graphical elements.

Plus, the looks on those kids’ faces justify practically any teaching technique.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Duration: 3 min

Clicking downloads a 18 MB file.

Please be patient while the file loads

Ctrl/Right-click here to “Save File As . . .”

Had enough with the fat letters on the main Google search page and you’re using Safari? Then download this zipped CSS file and follow along with the video.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy is now available as a networked object with social features. Readers can comment directly on the book’s paragraphs, go to the object’s blog, and subscribe to the comments feed.

The sponsoring entity, MediaCommons Press, launched earlier this month, responds directly to the crisis in academic publishing limned by Stephen Greenblatt in May 2002.1 From my vantage, this is a bold and correct step forward, one realization of the many possiiblities afforded by network tools.

MediaCommons Press is an unprecedented project with serious teeth, and it’s about to bite the academic publishing crisis right in the ass.

1 Seventeen months later, which is lightning speed in academia, historian James M. McPherson asked his colleagues to consider this same problem. McPherson lucidly and succinctly characterizes the origins of the academic publishing crisis.