Category Archives: Tech

When Expectations equal Hype

Much has been made about the migration of eyeballs online and the impending reality that the majority of media will be mostly consumed via the Internet. I, myself am a staunch proponent of this theory as much of my day is spent trumpeting the tremendous benefits of advertising online. Consequently, I must also admit that on rare occasions the result does not quite live up to the hype. The below is definitely NOT one of those times. My colleague Mac Delaney summed the below interactive ad up best when he stated that “softcore meets soft shells”. This is simply innovation at it’s best. Traditional media suffers yet another blow and kudos to Taco Bell. First the Mexican Pizza, now this. Click image below to start your shoot!

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Is it possible to belong to more social networks than have actual friends?

Facebook and the boy genius du jour, Mark Zuckerberg are prominently featured on the Newsweek cover this week. In the past several months Facebook has become the darling of the tech world due mostly to its “Applications” feature and Silicon Valley needing a new starlet after YouTube was acquired by Google. The most influential blog publications have gushed incessantly about Facebook and are following its every move like a TMZ paparazzi. It’s like a schoolgirl’s first crush with a bevy of enthusiastic proclamations such as “Look how cool it looks on my iphone!” or “They have a RSS Facebook newsfeed!”. That’s ultra cool according to Mike Arrington of TechCrunch who is beginning to remind me of James Spader’s character from Pretty in Pink, which I guess would make me” Ducky” since I don’t have any juice or popularity whatsoever. “Ultra cool” is a term I have not heard since my I wore “Hammer” pants and my main mode of transport was a pogo ball. Then again the Sith Lord of Silicon Valley does count the Pussycat Dolls, My Chemical Romance and the Black Eyed Peas as his favorite musical acts, so if the Hammer pants fit….

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Admittedly, I too have jumped on the bandwagon (probably after reading about all the hype in TechCrunch) and started to favor the site in lieu of the stoic LinkedIn for building my network and trolling for my dream gig. Late at night I have caught myself adding ridiculous applications that are of little consequence and fleeting amusement. Inner thought to myself: “I’m sure that XYZ company is going to love that I added the “Arrested Development Application!” Pathetic, yes I know. I do find it amusing that the royalty of the tech world have now latched onto a site that was beloved by millions of binge drinking college students for quite some time now. In fact, I recently noticed that my three sisters residing in the 3rd world of Trinidad & Tobago have been using Facebook religiously for the last several years. Maybe these Caribbean islanders should hold a conference filled with dudes in ill fitting khakis and blue shirts (this portion of joke stolen from Valleywag) who twitter about the fact there is a “hottie” at the Looksmart booth passing out schwag. That’s a shoutout to my friend Kaley Dobson who will indeed be manning the LookSmart booth at the Trekkie convention aka Search Engine Strategies in San Jose this weekend, and was actually in a movie called “Hotties”.

SEOs rejoice that there will be at least one good looking girl at SES this year and that they can Twitter from the Google Dance on their iphones.

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Yesterday, it was also revealed that Kickapps had received an additional$11 million dollars in funding in an effort to become the market leader in the increasingly competitive “white-label” social network world. I have fiddled around with both Kickapps and Ning and they are both pretty easy to use, especially for a non-programmer such as myself. One must wonder if a “long tail” of social networks is something that will hold any stickiness to its members. I mean do I really need need a social network for my kickball league or book club? I guess it works for companies who would like to add an SNS to their corporate websites but how much utility and benefit does it really bring? Only time will tell, I guess. After being in Big Sky, Montana for five days last week sans Internet access I found the best and most enjoyable social network is still the old school variety. The kind where I am surrounded by my best friends in the world and I can buy a round of drinks and talk some ish.


“You Give Blog A Bad Name…”

For some reason modern society has a fascination with pedophilia or at least the people who are afflicted with the disease. It’s easily the most offensive and inexcusable of crimes, unless you can moonwalk and take Webster as your date to the Grammy’s. The fact that this did not receive greater outrage at the time is ridiculous. I mean imagine if Justin Timberlake brought….hmm…I’m getting so old I don’t even know midget child stars anymore, but you get the point. Thanks to NBC Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator” however, we are all much better educated about the topic. For instance, whenever the shows comes up in casual conversation, it is inevitably followed by cries of gleeful disgust with the ubiquitous statement, “I love that show”, immediately followed by a bad impression of the show’s uber wasp host. Misanthropy Today had a funny post about this trend. I guess the segment’s success can be attributed to sort of a car wreck type phenomenon where viewers can revel in the deserved, utter humiliation of depressingly sad, pathetic individuals as they hit rock bottom.

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It was only a matter of time until this subject entered the blogosphere as Jack McClellan was arrested for lurking outside a UCLA day care center yesterday. The perv had received occasional press over the last few years this for his blog that openly displayed his lust for extremely young girls including pictures he took at playgrounds and other public venues. Due to the fact that he had never been caught acting on his intentions he had never been previously arrested. It’s a standard cliche that when child molesters and mass murderers are caught someone remarks that they did not appear to look the type. McClellan is the exception to the rule as he truly looks the part. One can easily imagine him spending countless hours in his parent’s basement researching sex tours in Thailand while listening to Slipknow and slurping down Big Gulps. Although, I must admit he is not as creepy as the dude with the khakis pulled up to his armpits who falsely claimed to kill Jon Benet Ramsey. That guy might possibly be the scariest thing in hagar slacks since Mr. Kozart, my algebra teacher in 9th grade. They should add the guy from “Silence of the Lambs” who put the lotion in the basket and get the band back together.

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This latest incident will undoubtedly lead to the traditional media blowing up the topic and a number of talking heads on Fox and CNN talking about the implicit danger of blogs and social networks. The irony is of course, is that if this ass clown had not posted maintained his blog as way to most likely purge his guilt; law enforcement would never have been privy to his nauseating yearnings and illicit desires. I guess I’m guilty of buying into the impending hype as well by posting a blog about it but something tells me that Bill O’Reilly’s and Nancy Grace’s respective staffs are allready whipping up a piece that will strike as much fear as a Karl Rove spin tactic. After all, the media is at somewhat of loss at the moment as Nicole Richie appears to be ingesting food and Lindsey Lohan will probably not have access to an 8 ball within the next 14 calendar days. Vegas currently has 2 to 1 odds that within 2 months one of the seven Law & Order series or 8 CSIs has a plot-line about an overweight, pasty blogger who uses web 2.0 technology to lure his unsuspecting prey. Come to think of it maybe David Caruso could play the perp as well based on this pic. Here’s hoping that McClellan ends up in the slammer and gets jumped by some Piru Bloods.

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That Barack Obama gets a lot of tail….

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I am a huge proponent of Chris Anderson’s Long Tail heory to such an extent that my co-workers roll their eyes at my constant utterance of the phrase. The long tail contends that businesses with distribution power can sell a greater volume of items at small volumes than of popular items at large volumes. It is the methodology that is the driving force behind such companies as Netflix, Ebay, iTunes and Google Adwords. It also serves as a social theory in that our tastes are becoming much more diverse and niche in nature. For example, the highest rated TV show today has about a third of the audience as in the 70s and 80’s. This is not because people are watching less TV, but rather than watching a uninspired sitcom on network TV, I now maintain the ability to watch an episode of “Flight of the Conchords” on HBO followed by “The Bronx is Burning” on ESPN. BTW, I’m already hooked on the latter. Who can resist John Tuturro aka “The Jesus” from The Big Lebowski playing Billy Martin ( I accidentally typed in Ricky Martin at first…think about him managing the Yanks) and the constantly sweating Oliver Plath doing the worst George Steinbrenner possible. Regarding “Conchords”, would a show featuring two indie rock kiwis living in Williamsburg playing synthesizers ever engender an loyal audience during the days of “Dallas”?

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So what in tarnation does this have to do with the smoothest brother to hit the scene since Billy Dee or a young Eric LaSalle in “Coming to America”? A great deal actually. While attempting to sweat off the extra 15 pounds of lard on my frame I happened across an article in Time called, “Obama’s Viral Marketing Plan”. It appears that Obama has been utilizing a “long tail” strategy in his fund raising activities. Traditionally, a great deal of campaign funds are garnered in huge chunks of money from captains of industry. Bush Jr. set records by relying on corporate bigwigs who would be responsible for pulling in amounts upwards of $200,000 for which they would receive a Condaleeza Rice bobblehead and a commemorative plate of the moment when Dick Cheney found out he had sired a lesbian. Dubyas strategy falls right in line with the conventional 80/20 rule however, Barack’s strategy is right out of the long tail playbook. For instance, he maintains over 9500 volunteers which include diverse folk such as school teachers, factory workers and housewives. These volunteers have committed to hosting individual fund raising web pages for the smooth talking Democrat. In fact, more than half of 10 million of Obama’s second quarter contributions were made online and 90% of them were in increments of $100 or less. That is pure long tail working its magic, contradictory of the increasingly outdated pareto principle. I do not really fancy myself to be the political type and those I have encountered with political ambitions tended to be amongst the most disingenuous and shiftiest people I have ever encountered. However, if Obama’s fund raising strategy is indicative of the fresh approach he will bring to the Oval Office, I believe he is worth a very close second look. Perhaps, the almost diametrically opposed strategies of the Bush and Obama camps is a metaphor for something larger; one welcoming and open while the other is fueled by its exclusivity and secrecy. Actually, screw them all, I’m voting for Al Sharpton based strictly on his hair.

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Taking it to the Streets

Given that it is approximately 10:00 pm PST on Friday night and I am laying contentedly in bed blogging, it is obvious that I lack the necessary street cred to tell others what is “cool” at the moment. However, even an anti-social dork such as myself knows that Gregg Gillis aka “Girl Talk” and Montreal are cooler than a polar bear’s toenails. Yes, I admit I found this on Pitchfork Media, but hey I’m pushing 30 and need to depend on resources like this as a crutch nowadays. For those of you who don’t know, Girl Talk has received increasing press over the past couple years for his ability to mash up a diverse range of artists from Biggie to Elton John. Additionally, congress has even used him as an example as how copyright laws will be established given that he sampled 66 artists without permission on his last album. Is it a new creation or blatant use of another artist’s material? Many DJs have pulled these mashup stunts before however, what separates this particular individual is the frenzied party atmosphere of his live show. It’s like indie kids feel they can dance without fear to hip-hop when this dude is playing his set. ” Look that dude’s even skinnier and paler than I am, and he’s playing the music! Now I can pretend I’m in Making the Band 4 without fear of ridicule!” Actually, Gillis does not even use the 1’s and 2’s instead preferring to bang away at his Mac. Recently, Girl Talk performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, where he was armed with a mobile contraption armed with wifi capability that allowed him to take his act from the tent to the alleys and sidewalks aided by screaming Canucks and an alarming amount of glow stick/necklace contraptions. Below is the video. While he does throw a hell of a party and I highly suggest his mix cds to liven any dance floor or keep the blood flowing at the gym, I find it amusing how the concept of a white face on mostly black music makes it suddenly acceptable for hipsters who usually watch shows with arms folded and a nonchalant gaze to all of a sudden become an MC Hammer backup dancer. Also below is a vintage Hammer. If that dude staged a reunion should I would be there in a heartbeat. It at least must be better than the police debacle.

Bloggers who live in glass houses should not throw stones or iPhones for that matter..

The author of Misanthropy Today has developed a severe distaste for all things Apple. Most of his venom has been saved for the misguided “sheep” he feels have been connived into “needing” products that are inferior and overrated due to Apple’s irresistible marketing campaigns. Undoubtedly, most consumers who buy a MacBook Pro will never use it for pusuits more ambitious than surfing the Internet. An even larger contingent are most likely a tad bit overzealous in their collection of iPods and associated accessories for different activities and functions. (car, gym, bowel movements, reincarnation, etc.) However, the aforementioned argument is full of inconsistencies, and lacks a general cohesiveness often displayed by blathering, right wing pundits such as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh whose main aim is to provoke. The author is quick to condemn and criticize without offering any discernible solutions or suggestions, thereby making the grave error of failing to look in the mirror. The expression “To thine own self be true” has never been more pertinent and fitting in this case. Unwittingly, he is guilty of the same hypocrisy and transgression that plagues the ignorant, Trey Anastacio worshipping, peace loving, neo-hipie who proudly rocks a Che Guevara t-shirt. The following is the first of a 2 part series that examines this bitter individual’s entertaining yet flawed logic:

  • Et tu Brutus? The author would have us believe he is holier than thou, leading a Howard Roark/Ted Kascyzski like existence devoid of any of the influences of pop culture and US Weekly. Look closer however, and we see the author is just as guilty to the influences imposed by Madison Avenue. Except given his camo capris, soccer jersey and Diesel kicks perhaps the author resides in the far classier demographic that is partial to dancing up a storm to the latest, Tiesto anthem in an Ibiza nightclub while splitting another “mollie” with his “mate”. I’ll spend my time drinking Stella, listening to the new Interpol album in my friend “Dave’s” well decorated apartment any day of the week rather than being knee deep in foam while some ass clown waves a union jack to the pulsating beat of Paul Van Dyk.

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  • “Dave” drives a rabbit while utilizing a sidekick and listening to Wilco and Belle &Sebastian – If anybody can find me a male of this description; then they can surely direct me to the island paradise where Biggie, Tupac, Sasquatch and the Lochness Monster reside. (Perhaps, that explains the affinity for B&S given the Scottish roots of the band). Maybe, it’s just me but I equate VW rabbits with the standard hot blond chick from 80’s films, a sidekick with coke infused heiresses, and Wilco, well with people of tremendous impeccable taste. This cartoonish mashup of David Cross meets Hayden Panettiere crossed with a CNET correspondent is amusing but laughable when dissected.

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  • Equating a fondness for Wilco to being herded like sheep – Now, I understand Wilco is a critics darling and beloved by the indie/hipster set, and yes, that’s them on the new volkswagen commercials. However, I challenge anybody to listen to any album in the Wilco catougue, and then arrive at the conclusion that this band is part of the same slick marketing machine brings us the Duff Sisters and My Chemical Romance . Watch the documentary, “You are Trying to Break my Heart” and tell me this was all part of marketeers plan to get the band dropped from Reprise, only to rise from the ashes as a sparkling indie rock Phoenix. If it was pure propaganda, then kudos to the marketing Svengali that oversaw this strategy. FYI…“Sunken Treasure” is an equally compelling DVD of Jeff Tweedy’s tour through the Northwest.

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  • Additionally, I have a few pointed questions for the author:
    • In lieu of an iPod what do you use as your MP3 player of choice?…let me guess you only listen to vinyl right…that’s not pretentious
    • By “Thinking Different” did that compel you to have such carefully crafted MySpace page? and oh yeah… that Jem song on your profile is also a Noxzema commercial. Wouldn’t it have been much more legit to stick with Friendster?
    • I just re-read the author’s initial post and there are so many flaws in misanthropy’s argument that this is going to require a part 2 that will be posted tomorrow. Same Bat time, same bat channel.

Let the iPhone Games Begin!

IphoneAndy from Misanthropy Today has a hilarious post about what a bitter man he is and how much he hates the iPhone and the people that crave it. Apparently, he also hates babies.

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Be on the look out for my counterpoint coming tonight “You’ll like me even less once I steal your girlfriend and text her with my iPhone.”

Also Valleywag has their usually snarky take, although it pales in comparison to the rant above.