You have arrived at the web home of Noah Brier. This is mostly an archive of over a decade of blogging and other writing. You can read more about me or get in touch. If you want more recent writing of mine, most of that is at my BrXnd marketing x AI newsletter and Why Is This Interesting?, a daily email for the intellectually omnivorous.

August, 2008

More Linkage Than I Know What to Do With

I've had like a million quickie entries and other stuff I've been meaning to write, but just haven't had the time. So I figured I might as well compile them all in one of those posts full of random stuff.

So, without further ado ...

  • I'm out in SF. Drop a line if you're around. Will be hitting up likemind sf this Friday.
  • Benjamin passed this on to me this morning and it's too good not to share: Back in 2002 a waitress at hooters in Florida sued the restaurant for giving her a "toy yoda" as a prize instead of a "Toyota". You can't make this stuff up.
  • In the "you can't make this stuff up" (YCMTSU) camp, McCain is being accused of plagerizing a speech from Wikipedia. Furthering the YCMTSU, The Onion was the mainstream news outlet that broke the story.
  • Totally awesome pictures of appliances taken apart (via swissmiss)
  • I was having a debate over Facebook comments about Obama's decision to (and subsequent promotion of) announcing his running mate via text message. The argument was whether it was too sensationalist and made the very important process of choosing a VP seem as trivial as choosing a winner on American idol. I was on the side of no: Why shouldn't his supporters be the first to know? The New York Times picked up the story and explained his likely rationale for this: "A study conducted during the 2006 elections showed that text-message reminders helped increase turnout among new voters by four percentage points, at a cost of only $1.56 per vote — much cheaper than the $20 or $30 per vote that the offline work of door-to-door canvassing or phone banking costs." Overall it's an interesting decision, obviously the mainstream press will pick up whatever his decision is (likely prior to the official announcement), but he's decided that getting all those phone numbers is more valuable that whatever incremental coverage he might have gotten (which likely isn't any, since it will be followed with a big press event I'd imagine).
  • My friend Naveen announced a new side project called Novels in 3 lines (link is to the Twitter feed). "Novels in Three Lines is a collection of more than a thousand anonymously-published blurbs that appeared in the French newspaper Le Matin in 1906. They were all penned by Félix Fénéon who worked as a clerk in the French War Department." You can also buy the book if that's more your style.
  • Awesome post over at The Barbarian Group blog by Nick about his recent experience with data security at a doctor's office (it wasn't good).
  • Really interesting New York Times article about trolls on the web.
  • Why Microsoft and Intel Tried to Kill the XO $100 laptop: A good in-depth piece about One Laptop Per Child.
  • No link here, but has anyone else tried to watch video of the olympics on NBC's site? Beyond having to download Silverlight, I found the experience awful. Things weren't buffering right and I had to keep pausing the video. Eventually I went to YouTube and watched camcorder video of people recording their TVs. Quality sucked, but at least it played with jumping around. (I even watched one video that someone had recorded off the NBC site ... which was funny.) Anyway, why couldn't they get this right? Has anyone else had this experience?
  • Turns out the iPhone has a kill switch that allows Apple to disable an application. Jobs explained, "Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull." It's been quite interesting to watch this whole app thing play out. Kottke wrote an interesting piece about Apple's decision to pull the $1000 I Am Rich app that I totally agree with. Jason wrote "App Store shoppers should get to make the choice of whether or not to buy an iPhone app, not Apple, particularly since the App Store is the only way to legitimately purchase consumer iPhone apps." Basically, Apple's decision to pull the app was an editorial one, not a technical one. The app worked fine, but they just didn't agree with what it did. If I were a developer and thinking about developing for the iPhone this would scare the shit out of me. Are there guidelines for how Apple is going to make these decisions moving forward or are will it just happen randomly? As Kottke wrote, "Imagine if Apple chose which music they stocked in the iTunes store based on the company's taste. No Kanye because Jay-Z is better. No Dylan because it's too whiney. Of course they don't do that; they stock a crapload of different music and let the buyer decide. We should deride Apple for that type of behavior, not cheer them on."
  • While we're on the Apple tip, have you seen the new iPhone commercial that's all about speed? No? Well, basically it paints a totally ridiculous picture of how fast the device connects to the internet. Check out this side-by-side comparison. Speaking of iPhone, someone should do one of those homemade commercials about the battery life. Yesterday I had to stop in an Apple store for like 20 minutes to charge the damn thing. WTF?
  • Kenji helped me rediscover this awesome McSweeney's piece: E-mail Addresses It Would Be Really Annoying to Give Out Over the Phone. Highlights include "One1TheFirstJustTheNumberTheSecondSpelledOut@hotmail.com".
  • Nike stock does really well during the olympics: "the world's biggest maker of athletic shoes rose in New York Stock Exchange trading during each of the six Summer Games going back to 1984, gaining an average of 8.7 percent in the two-week period from the opening to the closing ceremonies."
  • The always enjoyable year in logo trends.
  • An interesting take on the message sent by the architecture and spectacle of the olympics in China: "The opening ceremony is sending the same message, then, as the Games architecture: cultural and technological leapfrog. The Water Cube and the Birds Nest don't simply display China's modernity, they claim a jump into a digital, sustainable, mega-scaled future."

Phew, that was a lot to say. Anyway, I'll try to keep on top of this stuff a little better so a post with this many links isn't necessary.

PS - don't forget about likemind this Friday.

August 13, 2008
Noah Brier | Thanks for reading. | Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk.