This is mostly aimed at one person in particular, but the lessons are universal, so pay attention kids. When I started Cornell, part of orientation week was a little 30 minute wowfest called “Travelers Of The Electronic Highway”, mostly going over things kids need to know about the Cornell network. Having been an employee for 3 months at this point, it was all old hat. However, there was definitely a point to it – there were lots of kids who had no idea, and it was worthwhile for them. Now, there’s a situation going on involving the CTC kids and one angry Canadian – and some basic life lessons need to be repeated here for the sake of everyone’s sanity. You may already know these, but they’re definitely worth repeating for those of you who are new to everything.
So apparently there’s this new hot-shit author named James Frey. Salon did this big piece on him a week or so ago, and here’s why I called him “hot-shit”: Don’t even get him started on Dave Eggers. “A book that I thought was mediocre was being hailed as the best book written by the best writer of my generation. Fuck that. And fuck him and fuck anybody who says that. I don’t give a fuck what they think about me. I’m going to try to write the best book of my generation and I’m going to try to be the best writer.” And that was just appetizers. Before he was done, Frey had revealed that the initials tattooed on his left arm stand for “Fuck the Bullshit It’s Time to Throw Down; that the message in front of his iMac reads: “A page a day. Anything less is unacceptable you punk-ass-bitch-motherfucker. Anything less is unacceptable.”; that his wife calls him a savage “because I eat with my hands. Because my best friends are my dogs. And I like pit bulls. And N.W.A. And I love boxing. Writers aren’t like that anymore. They’re all these guys who have fucking master’s degrees and are so ‘sophisticated’ and ‘educated’ and … well, I’m not a guy with a master’s degree … I can write big fat books, but I’m not an effete little guy.” So he’s the literary version of Eminem, I guess. Thank god for Neal Pollack taking him down a peg. I’d quote Neal Pollack’s blog entry, but it would probably get me one of those email from a respectable (older) adult who thinks there’s too much cursing on this site as there is. Just click through and read. It’s worth it. Trust me. (Thanks to Colin for the link!)
The TWOP 24 Michelle Interview Television Without Pity‘s 24 recapper, Gustave, had the pleasure of doing a telephone interview with Reiko “Michelle” Aylesworth a few days ago, and for all the 24 nuts out there, it’s definitely worth reading. Lots of amusing anecdotes and prodding questions – and it turns out that Fox WAS going for a lesbian angle between Michelle and Carrie, but they changed it at the last minute. How…unlike Fox!
Peep Research – Staley Library, Millikin University, Decatur, IL Finally, someone does research on Peeps that doesn’t involve a microwave. This is far too cute; I chuckled nearly the full way through.
So Apple’s done a zillion announcements today; the one that hits me the most obviously is the iTunes 4 one. Rendezvous sharing is very cool, but in fact, Apple will allow you to share with anyone, so long as you have the IP. Just go under Advanced, hit “Connect to Shared Music”, punch in the IP, type in a password if the user has one set up, and it’s just like they’re on your LAN. It’s streaming only, but it’s very good streaming. Even album art comes over (which I’m furiously tagging my MP3s with). I only had to rebuffer twice playing the Beatles’ “And I Love Her” from a friend in California. Edit: Apparently the friend who said the album art came over was on crack. Oh well. Nicely done, Apple.
On Saturday this week, the world will celebrate the 25th anniversary of spam, as the first unsolicited commercial message was sent on ARPANET on May 3rd, 1978. Those look to celebrate in geeky ways can check out the etymology of the term or, for the truly geeky, read initial reactions, including a young Richard Stallman saying he would be in favor of spam. (Thanks to Brad Templeton for all the great data.)
Despite having a disproportionate number of restaurants, my favorite places to eat list in Ithaca is woefully short. Maxies for fun and overall top pick (can’t beat the food, service, or atmosphere), Boatyard for formal (great balance between wow factor and price), Kayuga for Japanese (better service and consistency than Kyushu or Plum Tree), Viva Taqueria for Mexican (Coyote Loco is too fu-fu), Ithaca Bakery for sandwiches and the like, and Billy Bob Jacks for cheap BBQ. I’m happy to add Wings Over Ithaca to my short list of recommended places to eat. Granted, it’s a wing place. There’s not a huge amount of variety on the menu. But there’s around 20 flavors of wings, thus helping ensure there’s something you’ll enjoy. There are sandwiches, wraps, ribs, and bone-in wings if that’s your thing. And there are enough combos to choke a goat. We had ordered for delivery back when they opened, and they thankfully didn’t nail us with a delivery charge (see below), and the food ranged from reasonably good (Katie’s wrap) to extremely tasty (my DC-3). But what impressed me is when I actually went to the restaurant yesterday; it actually IS a restaurant, and they do a lunch buffet and whatever else. But what blew me away was that it took them one minute – just one – from when I paid for my order to when I got my food. That’s less time than McDonald’s takes for considerably better food. So big thumbs up there. Thumbs down, on the other hand, goes to Mama T’s AND Sammy’s (the new Commons branch thereof). Why? The delivery men routinely get lost while trying to find the house, thus ensuring I never get my pizza in less than double the time estimate they quote me, and normally with a few “where are you?” phone calls from the delivery guy. Now they’ve started insisting on a delivery charge because I live “so far out” from both locations. Of course, they don’t tell me this until I get the delivery. Add on top of that the fact that the pizza has been subpar as of late, and you get one unhappy Dan.
So the big geek-out thing as of late has been buddyzoo, which allows you to calculate your worth as a person via reciprical rankings done on your AIM buddy list. I know this is going to be an important and/or big meme over the next month or two because I was told about it not once, not twice, but three times. Three people on my list, who have no real connection other than being Cornellians (which, if you’ve gone to school at Cornell, you know is not a connection) – so I guess that makes it a “burst” or whatever Kleinberg is pushing them as these days. It got me thinking, though – there’s a huge obsession with having a rank in everything we do. I’m certainly not excluding myself from this, given that I have a big fat link to blogshares (go buy some of my stock!) and I’ve been known to google for myself about twice a month to see how I rank on my own name. But consider:
- The way we know which entertainment is the “best” is by how it ranks in the weekly sales chart, or Neilsen ratings, or if you want to ignore sales data by composite reviews.
- Video gamers are obsessed with ranking. Internet Ranking is huge these days. Konami put it in MGS2:Substance – why? Who cares! Get ranked, kids! Amplitude has online ranking that will drive you batty with the desire to play more and more. The DDR tournament scene is entirely driven on PA, which is a cold numerical calculation on who’s better than who – and of course, there’s controversy in counting algorithms all the time. All of our Freeverse games are ranked, and people go ape over their ranking.
- And then there’s the blogisphere, where what you care about most is how many people are viewing you. I’m not talking just daily hits/impressions/whatever. It costs “credits” to subscribe to my LiveJournal syndicated account, but the more people that do so, the less credits it costs. My blog “share” price is dictated by links out, links in, and market traffic. There’s a slew of google related measures of success – googlejuice, googlerank, googledance, and googlewashing.
- Let’s not get started on Cornell and the words “Standard dev”, where your place in society is dictated by how far you fall from the mean.
This is all crazy, isn’t it? I always hear advertisements saying “we won’t just treat you like a number” – but more and more, isn’t that all we want? I realize that Cory Doctorow focuses on “whuffie” in DAOITMK (which I’ve unfortunately put on hiatus while I pick up my new book) which adds some more insight into this all – expect a revisiting of this topic once I get around to finishing that. I leave you with a quote that stuck with me when I played through Deus Ex three years ago. In one of the side areas, you can have a long conversation with an AI named Morpheus – as I recall, most of it isn’t essential to the plot, but it’s a nice diversion. This one quote stuck with me enough to make the quotefile, and it definitely applies now: “The need to be observed and understood was once satisfied by God. Now we can implement the same functionality with data-mining algorithms.”
So I’m a few hours late. Sue me. 1. What was the last TV show you watched? I unfortunately missed Bullshit tonight, so the last show I sat down and watched to completion was 24 on Tuesday. Which, I should note, was far better than the last 2 weeks have been, but still not on par with what I’ve been hoping for. 2. What was the last thing you complained about? If we’re getting technical, it was the fact that in Def Jam Vendetta, you can only use unlocked characters in multiplayer modes if you’ve ran through Story mode. Yessireebob, I like trivial things. 3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say? While this wasn’t directly to him, I was heard remarking to Katie that Pete is such a nice guy because when he asked me to make various copies of various things for him, he purchased 3 5-packs of DVD-Rs for supplies. That boy, he’s always prepared. 4. What was the last thing you threw away? A Kiwi Teawi bottle of Snapple. At Play!, of course. 5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited? Blogshares and various bloghops thereof, trying to figure out why my share price spiked.
My review of V-Rare 5. Also known as “LET’S HAVE SOTA REMIX EVERYTHING”.