The Motherload of Linkdumps, Pt. 4

Previously: Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3

Sly Stone News

The original Woodstock soundtrack only has a few songs from Sly & the Fam’s legendary set, and for the last several years
I’ve been listening to a Woodstock bootleg that comes from a pretty crummy board mix (still interesting to hear the differences in the performance from the edited official release and the bootleg release). BUT FOR NO LONGER: On June 30th, Sly & The Family Stone: The Woodstock Experience (2CD) will be released featuring the best live performance ever (TRUTH).

Also, somehow KCRW was able to coax Sly out of hiding for his first on-air interview in over a decade. Interesting bits in the interview: If You Want Me To Stay is a literal edict to fans that he’ll stick around as long as people want him around; and that he used to get into arguments with Charles Manson at Doris Day’s place around the time he recorded Que Sera Sera. Listen below:


Previous thoughts on Sly & the Family Stone

NYTimes on the Making of Zach Galifianakis

Great six-page article on my favorite stand-up comedian. He single-handedly made a poor movie watchable. Good call on Todd Phillips’ part on letting Zach be Zach for this film, which is more than can be said for this piece of shit.

Tetris Planting Pots

These will be mine.
Tetris Pots

John Lennon Does Cheap Trick

By 1997, Cheap Trick had become so disapointed with the quality of the recording for In Color that they decided to re-record it with producer Steve Albini. They’re right. Think about it: The version of I Want You To Want Me that everyone loves is from their live album and not the original recording.

Someone posted this unreleased re-recording and also somehow came across a great cover that John Lennon did of I Want You To Want Me around 1980 that is a touch more minimal (w/ clarinet!):

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Is This New Beyond Good & Evil 2 Footage?

Looks like someone got their hands on some footage for the sequel to my favorite video game of all time:

A Real Life Dougie Bendle!

It’s just like Dougie Bendle in reverse! In ’86, his parents took him at the age of 14 months to see the Dalai Lama. He was enthroned as the reincarnation Lama Yeshe, the reincarnated lama of a spiritual Buddhist leader. Now he’s 18 and has escaped. Now wants to use his Kiss tickets and make out with Patty Matthews.

Alan Clarke Graphics

I’m jealous. Great poster proposals for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Alan Clarke's Olympic Poster Proposal

On Twitter & Sitting On Your Ass.

Twitter. Media darling.

Apple is definitely going to buy. Google wants their “real-time semi-news.” The media won’t STFU about it. We’ll all be using it by this Christmas. And as Rand in Response says:

Twitter seems to be on the front page of everything but, curiously, has done nothing functionally interesting. They’re just sitting there keeping the lights on.

Not everyone is just sitting there. Some are wondering, “What’s next?”

That’s exactly what I’ve been wondering. The market is being flooded with innovative features by third party clients and the only innovation that Twitter has added to the fold — search — wasn’t even theirs: it was an acquisition. In fact, according to their blog they’ve only had five user facing updates in the past year, none of which would be deemed as “lighting the barn on fire” by a user.

So what gives? You could make the argument that their growth is because of their lack of innovation, rather than in spite of it. Keeping it simple allows users to focus explicitly on Twitter’s core value instead of unnecessary bloat, and allows the owners to focus on being swooned by the big boys. Even VIPs within the company want new features but seem unwilling to build them.

I get the impression that Twitter knows that the money is in search and is putting all their eggs in that basket. And they’ve done a good job of it: their search implementation is pretty damn slick. But that doesn’t stop me from pining like the biggest geek ever for something new out of them. I want a “groups” feature integrated into Twitter.com. I want drafts. I want threaded replies in my timeline.

But the feature I’d like the most is data interpreters. I’d love it if a link to a TwitPic is not counted against my 140 character count and is called out after my tweet. If a URL is from an approved source, strip out the link and treat the data appropriately. This would work great for video, audio, pictures, and locations. I’m dying to post a tweet from foursquare and not have half of my 140 characters taken up by the venue’s address.

Data Interpreters

Twitter could keep it simple and just provide a link to the appropriate data; but with the right API calls, third party clients could take the ball and run with this type of info. Maps, audio, video, and photos could be displayed inline or expanded with a click. In fact, Tweetie already visually indicates when a tweet includes a link to a photo.

And don’t worry about the redheaded stepchild in this discussion — SMS. This wouldn’t (and frankly, couldn’t) make that experience any worse for the 5% who still txt than it already is. Twitter could simply append the tweet with a “See More” link that routes the reader to the status’s page. People who get their tweets over SMS aren’t going to be clicking to view a TwitPic anyway, so a status link is just as efficient.

A feature like this would help bring the focus back to the message instead of the message being a URL. I have a hard time imagining the folks at Twitter doing anything close to standing still. The company seems to have the understanding that the premise of “140-character-messages” has a ton of milage and doesn’t need new features, so why change something that’s not broken? But features like this will reaffirm that in this medium, Twitter is the message. As Marshall McLuhan once said:

You should totally bake these features into Twitter.com. Now give me a massage…

So Twitter could continue to sit on their ass and they’ll still be the startup darling that’s perfect for many a company’s portfolio. But a little attention to the users might help with this retention problem that people are suddenly talking about. …actually, it probably won’t, but I’ll go ahead and try to convince you otherwise…

Friendship!

I had a bunch of people get together for my birthday three years ago and we all played a few rounds of my favorite board-game, Hoopla (seriously, I’ve played this game with the same set of cards for about 6 years and I still love it; and yes, I understand it’s technically *not* a board-game). For people who gave a unique performance during the game, I let them draw from a hat a description on a strip of paper of a fake prize that they had won. Examples include free slumber-parties at a mutual acquaintance’s that we barely knew (who had no idea he was involved in the prize) to a dance-off between two friends of the winner’s choice.

Hidden amongst all these fake prizes was a slip that looked just as made-up as the rest of them, but I actually had prearranged to make it into a reality. Some of my friends own a documentary company (Open Road Media, makers of fine films such as Pun Smoke and the Human Hambone) down in LA and I contacted them earlier in the day: Someone at the party would draw a prize of “A Free Documentary Of Your Choice By Open Road Media.” A choice would be made by the winner and I would discretely txt my friend, who would have a team of folks ready to take the chosen topic and turn it into a “documentary” as quickly as possible. They would then send me the result over the internet and I would play the video on the living room television for the winner and the rest of the party at the end of the evening.

Well, the winner of the documentary prize chose the topic of “Friendship” and the wheels were set in motion. About two hours later, I presented the documentary and had a very confused party, who were struggling to figure out what just happened.

Here is the 2min. 40sec. documentary on “Friendship”:

The Motherload of Linkdumps, Pt. 3

Word Balloon Shelves

Love this idea from Fusca Design. Must remember this for Future-Brummel for when Future-Brummel has a “need” for a shelf like this.
Word Balloon Shelves

Cow DNA Now Fully Mapped

And what have we found? That over the years of domesticating cows and selective breeding, we’ve ended up with a mentally retarded version of the species former selves. GREAT FOR BUSINESS!

Both types of cattle show evidence of natural selection in genes that appear to be involved in making the animals — large, horned and potentially dangerous — docile. In some breeds, specific variants of behavior-related genes are “fixed,” or seen in essentially every animal. Curiously, some of those genes are in regions that in the human genome seem to be involved in autism, brain development and mental retardation.

Bill Moyers Interviews the Wire’s David Simon

Great for any fans of the Wire. BONUS: Also great for fans of inner city crime and bureaucratic mess. BONUS BONUS: A fan caught Simon before his appearance with Moyers and took him out to lunch. I like this David Simon character. If you haven’t started the Wire yet, start now. And you can’t stop until you at least finish a season; they start off decidedly slow.

Pt. 1:

Pt. 2:

M.S. Corley Re-imagines His Favorite Movies With Classic Penguin-Like Covers

Penguin-Like Book Covers
I love this trend of design reinterpretation that’s been going around. Kottke did a nice roundup of some of the better redesigns, some noted previously here.
UPDATE: Here’s some more – Blue-Note Wu-Tang
UPDATE UPDATE: The Magic continues!! – Classic records as Pelican Books.

In Defense of Eye Candy

Stephen Anderson makes a great case that good looks in design go more than skin deep:

The more we learn about people, and how our brains process information, the more we learn the truth of that phrase: form and function aren’t separate items. If we believe that style somehow exists independent of functionality, that we can treat aesthetics and function as two separate pieces, then we ignore the evidence that beauty is much more than decoration. Our brains can’t help but agree.

The Royal Tenenbaums Prologue, Annotated in Video

An in-depth look into Wes Anderson’s style and choices through the first few minutes of The Royal Tenenbaums. Some of the analysis is a little manufactured, but most of it is pretty interesting. Make sure to pause often. If you’re an Anderson fan, be sure to check out parts one, two, three, and four.

Play Foursquare!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of helping Maddie attempt to be the King of Seattle. Inspired by the week’s previous King, Maddie decided to give it a go and I decided to support her. The title of King is awarded every Monday at 12am to the winner of that week’s foursquare competition.

foursquare!

foursquare is a location aware webapp for your phone that awards points for various activities that involve going out & about. The reason I “play” is because it gets me out of the house and acts as a great friend-finder. Alice Tiara just posted a great write-up of what makes the game interesting:

For example, on Monday night, I went to dinner with a friend. After dinner, I saw that two of my closest friends were at a local bar. We met them there, and over the course of the next four hours, about 10 other people showed up, all of whom found us through foursquare.

For people worried about privacy, don’t worry; you only check in when you want to be found and only tell who you want to. The more places you go, the more points you get; and if you’re creative with it, you can rack up the points. Here are some tips that I’ve come up with that will help you to be the King of your burg:

  • Only check in at new locations:
    You get 5 points for every new location checkin and zero points if it is a duplicate checkin within the week
  • Rack up bar-hopping bonus points:
    You get a travel bonus point for every subsequent checkin during the night (after 4pm). I.E. 6 points for first unique checkin, 7 for second, 8 for third, 9 for fourth, etc.
  • 7-Day Bender:
    Start the Tuesday before your championship run and hit a place each night. By the time the next Monday hits the starting line, you’ll get 7 “Bender” points for the first time you check in each night.
  • If you’re bar-hopping, drink a pony glass of a dry stout:
    You could just not buy anything, but that’d be shady. Buy something that has nutrients, like a Guinness. Otherwise, you’ll succumb to alcohol madness (or so I’m told).
  • Mind games:
    If your score is within striking range, people *will* compete with you.

    • Either come out of the gate on Monday and establish such a daunting lead that people won’t attempt to compete, or
    • Pull an eBay – Stay just below the top 5 for most of the week so that you’re not noticed, then swoop in on the weekend to claim the crown.

Part of playing a game is the necessity of agreed upon rules. foursquare doesn’t have any defined rules at this point, other than “Don’t lie about where you are,” and even that isn’t very defined. In an effort to get people playing under the same rules, I would suggest something along the lines of the following (please alter or append any of these in the comments):

  • Must have intent to stay at a checked in location longer than 30 min.
  • The checked-in location must be a public place.
  • The checked-in location must be someplace in which you are capable of being social. (i.e. Not @ your coffee shop job or while running errands)
  • Strong suggestion you buy from the establishment if it is a bar/restaurant.

The rules would only be necessary if you’re interested in competing in foursquare. You can still get use out of foursquare, even if you’re not competing for Kinghood. I would suggest that competing is opt-in for users who’ve read “the rules” as defined and agreed upon by the userbase (ticket).

Other ideas for foursquare that would make me dork out:

  • Allow users to optionally enter home address and places of work – I’d love to let people know when I’m at home and at work, but don’t want to collect points for these locations. (ticket)
  • Mayoral voice – Give the mayor of a venue the ability to write a welcome message when a user checks in at their location. (ticket)
  • On the users “History” page, show which users who were also checked in with you when you visited. I’d love this page to act as my social diary. (ticket)
  • Add the ability to optionally display your Twitter username. There have been times in which I’d wished I was able to communicate with another user, but couldn’t. (ticket)

All this being said, this only works when you have friends using it. I’d have a lot more serendipitous moments if I had more friends playing the game with me…

The Motherload of Link Dumps, Pt. 2

Little Red Riding Hood Told In Info-Graphics

Great student project by Thomas Nilsson

The Loudness War Analyzed

The music industry makes records louder and louder and have pushed beyond reason in an effort to stand out amongst the rest of the radio. This drives me nuts. Every time I listen to a Lily Allen record, I can’t stand the fact that the drums are distorted to make a buck; and I particularly can’t stand the fact that the people who perpetuate this problem know about it, but deny that it’s a problem in the first place:

“Somebody told me about [people complaining that the Guitar Hero version of Death Magnetic sounds better]. Listen, what are you going to do?… …The Internet gives everybody a voice, and the Internet has a tendency to give the complainers a louder voice. Listen, I can’t keep up with this shit.” – Lars Ulrich

I don’t know how he can honestly mean that when they guy who mastered it is embarrassed to be associated with the album. Make sure to also check out the Wikipedia entry on this topic.

Fez

Ohhh! This looks fun

LEBRON!

Lebron James may end up having the greatest basketball season in the history of the NBA this season. And the funny thing is, he’s still got flaws in his game: His post-up game; Spotty outside shot; Stands still and dribbles too much. I’m betting that he’s going to end up being the best player to ever play in the NBA. Case in point:

I guess Jimmy Kimmel is pretty good at it too…

Takeshi’s Challenge: The Meanest Video Game of All TIme

Back in 1986, actor/director Beat Takeshi, a man who doesn’t like video games, wanted to show people how foolish they were for liking video games by making the most annoying video game of all time for the Nintendo. For example: A level where you must sit in front of the TV and hold the select button for 60 minutes. Apparently it’s coming to the Japanese Virtual Console on the 31st of March.

In a similar vein, Penn & Teller created a video game for the SegaCD in which you must drive across the Nevada desert in real-time for 8 hours in order to get “1 point”. There’s a torrent available for the brave.

Concept for Energy Consumption Visualization on the iPhone

Dear Future, please make this for me. I just had a $600 energy bill and need your help.
house_thumb

Old Growth Media and the Future of News

After Clay Shirky’s great write-up on the death of the newspaper, Steven Berlin Johnson of outside.in wrote a nice peice on a posibility for the future of news. If only someone could figure out this investigative reporting and war correspondence problem…