March 1st, 2008
The Shrine of the Mall Ninja.
quote: Originally posted by SteyrAUG:
Last time I checked class G (armed) security guards were restricted to .38 cal revolvers as duty weapons. NO state would authorize the use of a semi automatic carbine or rifle made by anyone. I would think that Todd would know this given his expertise in low paying occupations.
We were previuosly restricted to .38â€™s and two Mossberg 500â€™s with less leathel rounds in them, but when our team saved the life and possibly the virginity of the Mayorâ€™s nephew, there was a special relaxation of the rules made for us, due to the factt that the nepheew(who will remain nameless to rpevent a scandal) was saved by us using weapons better than our issue setup, so now we have good funding for gear for our jobs, and we needed to find relaible SMGâ€™s, but the HKâ€™s just wouldnâ€™t cut it.
Don't worry if the weapons-geek talk goes over your head: it's the symptoms of testosterone poisoning that make this a very special thread.
[Via Neil Gaiman]
February 23rd, 2008
January 25th, 2008
Charles Arthurs says All this online sharing has to stop:
The IFPI – the International Federation of Phonographic Industries – is the global music industry organisation whose very name tells you how long ago progress overtook it. On Thursday it published its digital music report for 2008, which says boldly that "the spread of unlicensed music on ISP networks is choking revenues to record companies and investment in artists, despite a healthy increase in digital sales in 2007, up approximately 40% on the previous year". [...]
The IFPI's solution? Sort it out at the internet service provider level. "ISP cooperation, via systematic disconnection of infringers and the use of filtering technologies, is the most effective way copyright theft can be controlled. Independent estimates say up to 80 per cent of ISP traffic comprises distribution of copyright-infringing files."
You know what I say? Damn right. Let's get ISPs to stop copyright infringement. But, um, music people? Better form an orderly queue. You think you were the first to suffer from your content getting ripped off and spread to the four corners of the earth? Get to the back of the line, bud. There's a few people ahead of you. [...]
January 25th, 2008
December 4th, 2007
Stephen Fry nominates Tim Berners-Lee as the greatest living Englishman:
Who is the greatest living Englishman? It would be hard to argue against the merits of Tim Berners-Lee, the sole begetter and inventor of the world wide web, an organism whose initials, www, have (in some languages, including our own) three times more syllables than the phrase theyâ€™re abbreviating, which is perhaps the only flaw in Berners-Leeâ€™s grand design.
Incidentally, that flawâ€¦ the unwieldy name and initials, www, came about as a result of the inventorâ€™s extraordinary and entirely endearing modesty. Originally he had come up with the name The Information Mine, but he found the initials, TIM, embarrassing. No less egocentric (especially in French-speaking Switzerland, where he was working) was another thought, the Mine Of Information, so he settled on good old www. [...]
Note to would-be commenters: anyone posting that Bill Gates invented the World Wide Web when he wrote Internet Explorer will have their Internet Driving License revoked with immediate effect.
November 11th, 2007
The Nerd Handbook pretty much says everything that needs to be said:
Your nerd has built an annoyingly efficient relevancy engine in his head. Itâ€™s the end of the day and you and your nerd are hanging out on the couch. The TV is off. There isnâ€™t a computer anywhere nearby and youâ€™re giving your nerd the daily debrief. â€œSpent an hour at the post office trying to ship that package to your mom, and then I went down to that bistro â€” you know â€” the one next the flower shop, and itâ€™s closed. Can you believe that?â€
And your nerd says, â€œCoolâ€.
Cool? Whatâ€™s cool? The business closing? The package? How is any of it cool? None of itâ€™s cool. Actually, all of it might be cool, but your nerd doesnâ€™t believe any of what youâ€™re saying is relevant. This is what he heard, â€œSpent an hour at the post office blah blah blahâ€¦â€
You can be rightfully pissed off by this behavior â€” itâ€™s simply rude â€” but seriously, Iâ€™m trying to help here. Your nerdâ€™s insatiable quest for information and The High has tweaked his brain in an interesting way. For any given piece of incoming information, your nerd is making a lightning fast assessment: relevant or not relevant? Relevance means that the incoming information fits into the system of things your nerd currently cares about. Expect active involvement from your nerd when you trip the relevance flag. If you trip the irrelevance flag, look for verbal punctuation announcing his judgment of irrelevance. Itâ€™s the word your nerd says when heâ€™s not listening and itâ€™s always the same. My word is â€œCoolâ€, and when you hear â€œCoolâ€, Iâ€™m not listening.
Information that your nerd is exposed to when the irrelevance flag is waving is forgotten almost immediately. I mean it. Next time you hear â€œCoolâ€, I want you to ask, â€œWhatâ€™d I just say?â€ That awkward grin on your nerdâ€™s face is the first step in getting him to acknowledge that heâ€™s the problem in this particular conversation.
November 9th, 2007
Joel Turnipseed Interviews Cory Doctorow and Jennifer Love Hewitt:
Joel Turnipseed recently sat down to chat with Cory Doctorow, noted information liberator, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, actress, internet imagineer, and all-around hot chick. The original interview was edited for content in order to appease Kottkeâ€™s advertisers. What follows is the original interview in its entirety.
CD: [We...] live in a century in which copying is only going to get easier. Itâ€™s the 21st century, thereâ€™s not going to be a year in which itâ€™s harder to copy than this year; thereâ€™s not going to be a day in which itâ€™s harder to copy than this day; from now on. Right?
JLH: [Shakes head.]
JLH: Youâ€™re talking about music, not books.
CD: Iâ€™m talking about books.
JLH: Who copies a book? Itâ€™s hard. Itâ€™s as hard now as it was in 1440. [Mouths the word â€œGutenbergâ€ to Turnipseed.]
CD: And so, if your business model and your aesthetic effect in your literature and your work is intended not to be copied, youâ€™re fundamentally not making art for the 21st century.
JLH: FYI, as King of the Internet, Cory gets to decide whatâ€™s art. They voted on Fark or something. Was it Fark?
CD: â€¦It was Slashdot. And you knew that.
November 5th, 2007
Director Bruce McDonald is releasing all the footage he shot for his new film The Tracey Fragments under a Creative Commons licence so that would-be filmmakers can recut the film for their own purposes.
Just imagine the fun to be had if this catches on. A Jar-Jar-free edit of The Phantom Menace is a no-brainer. Think of Titanic without the gunfight and the framing story about that bloody jewel.1 Spider-Man 3 with only one villain.2 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen turned into a coherent story bearing some resemblance to the one Alan Moore wrote.3 The possibilities are endless.
1 Some would choose to excise the theme song. I didn't mind it too much myself, but that's the beauty of the concept: anyone with access to a decent video editing package can have whatever edit they want.
2 Venom, Sandman, Harry-as-the-Green-Goblin – I don't care who, I just wish Sam Raimi had picked one and stuck with them!
3 No, hang on, even the most talented editor can only accomplish so much…
[Via Red Ruin]
November 3rd, 2007
Ray Girvan has noticed some common patterns in the Terms & Conditions of Use applied to apparently unrelated sites:
[If...] you Google "6.2.1 use the Services to send junk email", you find hundreds of sites, of no discernable common origin, using the same Acceptable Use section in their terms and conditions. Another popular phraseology is "inherently unstable medium" "errors, omissions, interruptions".
I wonder how much your average web designer charges clients for slapping a bit of boilerplate legalese on their site. Though in fairness to web design consultancies everywhere I suspect that it'll more often be a case of the client's legal department thinking they need to cover themselves by bolting a disclaimer-cum-warning into the footer of their site's design or adding it to their About… page.
[Insert obligatory Shakespeare quotation.]
October 23rd, 2007
October 14th, 2007
Visualizing the â€˜Power Struggleâ€™ in Wikipedia:
[We...] began this piece by representing the data as a network. In this case the nodes in the network are wikipedia articles and the edges are the links between articles. We then (with some help from our friends at Sandia) used an algorithm to lay out all 650,000 nodes (wikipedia articles) that had at least one link in such a way that similar articles are near one another. These are the yellow dots, which when viewed at low res give a yellow tint to the whole picture.
The sizes of the nodes (circles, dots, whatever you want to call them), are based on a model of revision activity. So large circles indicate that an article might be controversial, or the subject of lots of vandalism, or just a topic whose content frequently changes. We labeled only the largest nodes, to keep it readable. There is an interactive version of this in the works based on the google maps platform which will change the labels and pictures used as the user â€˜zoomsâ€™ in or out. Stay tuned for that.
[Via Memex 1.1]
September 13th, 2007
DM of the Rings: unrelenting nerdery, and funny with it.
[Via Betsy Devine]
September 4th, 2007
Bioshock has been goatse.cxed. (Linked image is Safe For Work.)
August 29th, 2007
Tom Coates posted the other day about his dislike of attempts by PR agencies trying to persuade him to post about their products on his weblog.
Yesterday he got a response that sums up so much that's wrong with the world today:
Our job is to get even "challenging" people like you to write, say and/or do what our clients and companies want — of your own volition — and not even realize that you're doing it. If you are telling us that you only want information from people whose views you like and trust, then we'll just reach you through them and you'll never be the wiser.
Is it any wonder Bill Hicks felt the way he did about the advertising business?1 It's the sense of entitlement: the notion that it doesn't matter what Tom wants, he will act as a conduit for their paymaster's message.
1 I'm well aware that professionals in the field argue that there are clear dividing lines between marketing, public relations and advertising. It's not an especially relevant distinction from the point of view of those of us who are lined up in their crosshairs: the aim is the same in each case, it's only the tactics and weaponry that differ.
August 29th, 2007
August 27th, 2007
As if naming a baby wasn't hard enough:
Besides leaving the hospital with a birth certificate and a clean bill of health, baby Mila Belle Howells got something she won't likely use herself for several years: her very own Internet domain name.
Likewise newborn Bennett Pankow joined his four older siblings in getting his own Internet moniker. In fact, before naming his child, Mark Pankow checked to make sure "BennettPankow.com" hadn't already been claimed.
"One of the criteria was, if we liked the name, the domain had to be available," Pankow said. [...]
A viable strategy if your surname or your preferred forename is fairly uncommon – like Pankow – but not so useful for those of us with more commonplace family names unless we're willing to saddle our offspring with distinctive forenames or extra middle names.
Just a thought: if you're so keen on preserving your family's online identity, wouldn't it have been more efficient to register the pankowfamily.com domain1 and hand out subdomains to family members as required? I suppose a problem arises when the kid rebels against their parents and wants their own home online, but that same issue could just as easily arise when the kid wants to do something online that their parents won't find out about. Would any self-respecting teenager want their parents to be able to track their online activity via a simple search for their very own domain name?
1 I note that someone has registered that very domain; I wonder if they're related to little Bennett Pankow?
August 21st, 2007
Errors in the EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica that have been corrected in Wikipedia. For example:
1.1 Birth year of Ben Turpin
1.2 Buster Crabbe
1.8 Invention of the Safety Razor
1.9 Henry VIII and Leviticus
1.11 Birthname of William J. Clinton, 42nd US President
1.20 The origin of the Dolgorukov family
1.23 Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
1.24 History of European cuisine
I look forward to one day seeing Britannica publish a corresponding entry detailing Wikipedia's errors and omissions.
[Via Memex 1.1]
August 6th, 2007
What digg.com would have looked like in 1997.