Archive for April, 2009

I’ve Had it With You, Twitter

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Ok.  I was willing to give it a chance.  But after reading this brief little blurb in Time:

Years from now, when historians reflect on the time we are currently living in, the names Biz Stone and Evan Williams will be referenced side by side with the likes of Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Guglielmo Marconi, Philo Farnsworth, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs …

… and now I’m mad.  What a load of crap!

Twitter, as far as I can tell, is totally and completely worthless.  For me.  And for pretty much everyone I’ve talked to in my circle of friends.

It seems to be a revolutionary new way for people I don’t care about to say things I don’t care about and listen to the opinions of still more people I don’t care about.

While the aggregation of all of the posts on Twitter could amount to ‘the next wave of culture’ or ‘news’ you could say that about anything.  I could say that about the blogs I follow via Google Reader.  Or about the items on McDonald’s Value Menu.  Twitter is just data.  Mass amounts of unweighted, subjective data.  And while, yes, it does give you ‘access’ to people you otherwise might not get access to, I’d still say you’re fooling yourself if you think that access is unfiltered.

Do you really think Sarah Palin updates her own Twitter account? Oprah? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Ashton Kutcher? Maybe.  But it could just as easily be their press agents.  Or their interns.

To call it social networking is a lie.  It’s almost entirely anti-social.  You post talking points and assume someone somewhere cares.  The ‘conversation’ barely exists (unlike Facebook, where conversation is the whole point).

So fine.  Let the media people all hang on each others’ words until their heads explode.  Let the teeny-boppers follow Ashton Kuscher.  Let the Republicans follow Sarah Palin.  But count me out.

I don’t see anything Twitter has to offer me that hasn’t already been rolled into Facebook’s latest update, or into something like FriendFeed (that aggregates everything people have already posted).  And I already have a blog, thank you.  I appreciate that I don’t feel lazy or uncreative enough to feel daunted by word count potentially greater than 140 characters.  I like writing.

And the funniest thing is that Twitter’s platform is still completely unstable.  People have complained about their service being jittery nonstop for the past year.  And now, even in light of all of this media attention, they still can’t seem to get it together.

I’m not making any predictions because… sadly… I’ll probably be wrong. But let’s just say I wouldn’t mind if Twitter turns out to be a bad trend (like 80s neon and AOL) that people just try to forget they were excited about after 3 months.

Maybe we can focus our attention on more curious things like the supposedly game-changing Wolfram Alpha, and what on earth that could be.

UPDATE: Oh great. Anyone have any guesses as to why Apple is now, so to speak, sucking Twitter’s dick?  I’m sorry…. a Triumph of Humanity? Come on! A cure for cancer.  That’d be a triumph of humanity. The judges would even accept ‘a cure for Swine Flu.’  But Twitter?  What, did the same guy who wrote the Time article write this one too?  Maybe he gets paid to publish in bulk.

Man, I didn’t like you before, Twitter. But now…

Have a Ball

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Check out this cute (and addictive) little game from Josh Nimoy:


What’s most impressive, IMHO, is that it’s written entirely in JavaScript using the canvas object (sorry IE fans).

And in that vein, it serves as a good test of each of the current browsers’ rendering engines.

While FF 3.01 performance is spotty, Safari’s current release really tears it up (most likely because canvas is a native Apple element).  I imagine since the app was written to show off Chrome’s JS engine, that Chrome also performs beautifully.

Alright, enough nerdiness.  It’s a game. It’s fun. You should play it :)

Thanks VSL!

Nerdy AND Anti-Palin

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

This is Sarah Palin’s new Twitter account (any wagers on whether Sarah knows how to post to Twitter?):


Note the text:

Bio: Creating New Energy for Alaskans as governor of the 49th state!

As pointed out by Gawker, this blatantly violates the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, a big no-no as far as reality and existence in this dimension goes.  Physicists and chemists everywhere should write Palin to inform her that she is toying with forces she couldn’t possibly understand.

Thanks for this, Gawker.  You’re always so trashy, but sometimes your trash smells oh so sweet.

Interestingly, while I was poking around on Twitter, I found California Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Twitter page (he’s one of the 7 people that Sarah Palin follows, along with Karl Rove and Newt Gengrich.  What a classy great group of people.), and noticed that he’s following almost as many people as follow him ( Following 43,369, Followers: 55,117).  That seems a little out of character for a public figure (Newt, for example, follows 92 people, while 214,506 lost souls follow him), but maybe that’s how Arnold keeps up with all of his many, many, many friends?

Official State Rock Song?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I just saw this on my ride up the elevator:

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has signed an official order making the song Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips as the state’s official rock song.

“The Flaming Lips are great ambassadors for the state of Oklahoma, all over the world, and they are fiercely loyal to the great state of Oklahoma,” Henry said before signing the order.

First off, thanks USAToday for making my elevator ride more entertaining.

Second, dibs on Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues for New York.  Or really any state.

Clowning Around

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Check this out:

It’s a commercial (for Phillips TVs), yes, but a brilliant one.  Adam Berg, through some amazing combination of CGI and live-action filming (and maybe some still photography?) basically constructed an uninterrupted tracking shot to rival the one at the beginning of Touch of Evil (rival, perhaps, but not beat — considering that shot was a minute longer and was shot on film with no digital trickery).

I have no idea how Berg did it, but it’s pretty cool.  And like the opening of Touch, it’s a self-contained story.  I like it.

via VSL

Facebook Not So Dirty After All?

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Alright.  Not to speak too soon here, but maybe I was wrong about Facebook yesterday.  And If so, I’ll gladly eat my words.

Read this: Results of the Inaugural Facebook Site Governance Vote

As always, the proof will be in the pudding.  But this sounds to me like FB is going to go with the majority of the 0.32% of active users that voted — and adopt the new user agreement (tossing out the Evil Terms of Service).

While there’s talk in the post about their disappointment at the low turnout, they do acknowledge this is a Faceboook First (as well as an internet first), and are considering lowering the 30% threshold necessary for any future vote to be binding.

First of all, I offer my non-binding, conditional apology to Facebook.  Maybe they’re actually interested in protecting their users’ rights after all.

Second, I still maintain this vote was not nearly as transparent as FB believes it was.  The language was confusing.  The voting period was too short.  And there should’ve been more user notification (eg. ‘Hey! You haven’t voted yet! Only one day left to vote!’) if they wanted this whole process to actually be more democratic.

Still, from the looks of it, at least their heart is in the right place…

Crazy Bike Stunts (if by crazy I mean AMAZING)

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

This video just takes my breath away:

I can’t even imagine how many collective broken bones these guys have between them. But the outcome is unbelievable.