April Fool's Day lasts for years on the web

March 14, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

The web has its own version of the time/space continuum. It's kinda two dimensional when you look at it on a screen, but those dimensions are fluid. It's also kinda no dimensional since the bits and electric pulses that make it up aren't really physical. The sense of Time on the web is getting slipperier every day. You have to push out something new all the time if you want to get noticed and stay relevant, but all that content can stick around in weird ways.

Case in point, I just googled "camera bits" which is the company that makes Photo Mechanic. Even though the link I wanted was the first result returned, the fifth link on the page caught my eye because it had a long title. Specifically, "Rob Galbraith DPI: Camera Bits announces Here I Am photo tracking". I glanced at the article and it didn't make sense, it's about tracking software that can be slid into photos that allow them to be tracked. Because of the way photos are stored on computers this shouldn't be possible, so I started to read for real. Then I noticed the date the article was published: Friday, April 1, 2005.

Dates in articles are generally blind spots that we blow right past. In this case, it created a little dissonance since I wasn't ready for an April Fool's Day joke on March 11. Welcome to wobbly internet time.


The good news for the folks at Camera Bits is that their actual company still gets top google results, but it's not too hard to imagine the fake article getting the top billing. While most users would make it to them eventually, it would be a tough break to try to deal with. If you run a business and you want a reminder of why you don't want to piss off search engines, this should do. Imagine if customers searching for your site were all directed to joke pages about your company on other web sites.

The internet is a wildly powerful communications tool, but we'd all do well to remember that just a few companies and organizations have immense control over the direction of that power.


Video sampling

March 14, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

While this isn't fundamentally different from creating an audio track from a bunch of samples, the fact that it's from youTube clips gives it extra points.

Of course, that wouldn't matter if it didn't groove.


Loads of free music from SXSW

March 11, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

sxsw-logo.gif I've mentioned before that South by Southwest releases music samplers with free MP3s on them from artists that play the festival. I just looked up this years and found this page that points to torrents of all the samplers. Huge amount of music.

Sadly, I still haven't actually made it to a SXSW festival yet. I'll be trying again next year.


Get your skulls in the Home and Garden section

March 08, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

I've heard one of the reasons you see skulls in old paintings so often is that artists used to keep one around as a reminder of their mortality. This seems like a good idea to me. Following along the line of making sure that you live every day to its fullest and to try not to let the little things get to you. So, I went in search of a skull. They are really cheap these days. Like under $10.

The one I ended up with is this one. It's very well detailed but a little smaller than I expected. No big deal, I really like it. The funniest part of the shopping experience to me was where Amazon had the skull categorized: Home and Garden. Here's a grab of the search results.

home-and-garden-skull.png

I'm not sure where I would have expected it, but Home and Garden would have been way down on my list of guesses. I'm not a big shopper of that department, but I'll have to browse around a little to see what other interesting surprises are there.


Mac Software: Max - CD ripper and encoder

March 08, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

max-logo.gif I've added one more piece of software to my Mac's Toolbox: Max from http://sbooth.org/. Max is CD ripping and encoding software. For the technically minded, it's really a front end to other process like 'LAME' and 'cdparanoia'. To the person using it though, all you see is Max.

While iTunes has ripping and encoding functionality built in, I'm not confident that it's producing the quality of MP3s that I'm looking for. When I'm ripping my CDs I only want to do it one time and be sure the MP3s are the highest quality I'm like to ever want. On Windows, I used Exact Audio Copy. The goal of that software is to produce MP3s that your general audiophile would find indistinguishable from the original CD. Since EAC is Windows only, I was very happy to find Max which looks to be a nice Mac replacement.

A quick note about cdparanoia, the ripper that Max uses. It's really good at dealing with scratched CDs. Unless you go after a disk with 60 grit sandpaper, cdparanoia can usually fight through it to ensure the ripped version of the song matches the CD. In addition to ensuring the final MP3 is as close to the CD as possible, this also helps prevent those weird digital garbles that pop up in MP3s from time to time. The trade off for this insurance is that ripping a scratched up CD can be very, very slow. Like I said before, I'm more interested in only have to go through the process once, so I don't mind that might take longer to get the track into the computer if it means I don't have to go back and repeat the process later.


Ecto - Desktop blogging software

March 07, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

ecto-logo.png I'm still in the process of deciding what software to use on my machine since my transition back to using a Mac. Today, I installed "ecto", a desktop/offline blog editor. If you blog and you haven't tried this type of software, you really should. As nice as the browser editors in blogging software has gotten, the desktop experience for creating blog posts is a even better.

A few of the high points:

  • You don't have to be online.
    Posts are created and edited "locally" on your computer with no need for an internet connection. While you could do this type of offline editing with a word processor that would mean having to jump through additional hoops later. With software like ecto, you simply hit a "Publish" button when you have a connection and are ready to send the post to your blog.
  • Software on your computer move faster.
    Browser based editors are decently fast but they have to communicate with a remote server which causes latency. These delays are usually minimal, but compared to software that is running directly on your computer it's a dramatic difference.
  • Software on your computer behaves better.
    The online edit pages for blogs try their best to prevent you from doing stupid things, but they are limited by the the functionality that's built into the browser they are running in. It's all too easy to select and delete text that you can't get back via "Undo" or to navigate away from a page and loose an entire post. The safeguards protecting you from yourself from this kind of behavior are more robust when using local software. They can't entirely prevent you from doing something stupid and loosing a bunch of work, but they are better at preventing it.

While there are other advantages, those are the main ones I've in the short time I've been using desktop blogging software.


Ecto is the second piece of desktop blogging software I'm trying out. The first one was "Mars Edit". The biggest difference right off the back is that ecto has a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get edit window. Mars Edit is a basically an HTML editor. While I'm a geek and can easily move around in code, when I'm making blog posts I much prefer a W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. editor.

Writing and thinking about code are two different mental modes. Even if you are really good at both, having to switch gears imposes a state change cost on your mental processing. It's a great way to break concentration and kill a thought before you get it out.

Both Ecto and Mars Edit are commercial pieces of software which cost $19.95 and $29.95, respectively. While I'm a huge fan of Free and Open Source Software, I've got no problem paying a reasonable price for good software. Especially when there isn't a viable Open Source alternative. Just based on the W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G editor in ecto, I'm probably going to purchase it after the trail expires. It's well worth $20 to gain the benefits of as desktop blog editor.


New Music: Happy Up Here by Royksopp

February 27, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

I really like the video. The song is groovy, and I like it too. I probably would have liked the song on its own, but it got a nice bump from the video. The visuals are so good they definitely influenced my first opinion.

Happy Up Here from Röyksopp on Vimeo.


Clips of content

February 26, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

There has been an increasing trend of video used for posts on the web recently. Often, this is taking the "embed" code and putting a video from youTube or a youTube clone on another site. This easy clipping of content continues to filter out as more and more people see clips they like and copy them over. For the most part, these don't require any work. It's just a simple copy and paste job. Then, there's folks who talk the source video and clip and reassemble themselves to create a new peice of content. Call it Remix, Mashup or whatever, this type of clipping can also provide some very entertaining results. Two examples are below. In case you haven't seen The Sopranos and don't get the meaning of uncensored, you now have fair warning that there is a lot of dialog that's not safe for the office. In fact, damn near all of it is considering the clip is billed as every curse word from every episode of the show. the sopranos, uncensored. from victor solomon on Vimeo What from Lost

Kudos to the folks who put these together for taking the time to do it. They have much more patients than I.


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