Archive for July, 2010

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This Just In: Mel Gibson Is Mean

[ Comments Off ]Posted on July 10, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Leaked Phone Recording of Mel Gibson Screaming at Oksana Grigorieva

Someone just sent us this audio clip. Not for the faint of heart, nor Mel’s few remaining fans:

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How SEO, Google, and Facebook Are Ruining The Web, And Ruining You

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on July 9, 2010 by admin in Technology

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Has the web become a big Wordpress linkfarm driven by social networking?

I loved it the other day when Prince said “the internet’s completely over”. Like that statement, and the headline above, much of what I’m about to say will be hyperbole, opinion, and oversimplification. Which is ironic, because that’s kind of what the web has become as a result of some of what I’ll be talking about. Do you remember when there were more than three search engines? When grandma didn’t have a blog, and your mom didn’t ask you “how do I set up a Facebook?” Or when small business owners who can barely use e-mail didn’t ask their web developer questions like “we’ll be be implementing SEO and social media tools when you build my website, right?” I would argue that Google’s domination of search and the ease of installation of WordPress blogs have done nearly irreversible damage to the web. How? Back when there were a half dozen or so competing search engines – Lycos, Hotbot, Excite, MSN, Yahoo, Altavista, etc. -they would have ups and downs and shortcomings, but competition would drive their evolution. And perhaps more importantly, an interesting cycle would drive part of that evolution: a popular search engine would attract SEO experts, which would slowly erode the engine’s organic results, which would cause a migration to a new search engine, which would inspire the top dog to clean up their index, or fail. Then Google came along. They did so many things so well in the beginning that it was almost magical. And slowly their competitors faded into oblivion, so that now, according to stats like this, Google has about 70% of the market, Yahoo 15%, and Bing 9%. So why is that bad? Although a disruptive technology could always come along, for now, there’s little incentive for developers and VC’s to say “hey, let’s start a search engine“. And with Google as basically the only portal to the web for most people, their search results have become so “spammed out” and infested with WordPress-driven linkfarms in general results, and Yelp-like listings in local results, that random searches can often be utterly useless. And Google can care less about that for awhile, because where will you go? It’s sort of like if you were frustrated with your cable TV service. What are you gonna do, call the other cable company? Add to this mix an attempt to cash in on the myth of the wisdom of the crowd, and you get a real mess. Rather quickly, any site that is based on natural networks of user trust will fall apart. Think of something like Yelp. Who bothers to offer up reviews on sites like Yelp? Mostly either opinionated egoists, or angry people. Real experts are too busy doing whatever they do as experts. Which is an idea summed up nicely in this piece by Amber Naslund, which talks about “confusing ego with influence”. And when Facebook becomes the second most visited site on the web, you get an interesting new phase. Google vs Facebook. Google keeps going after Facebook, while Facebook enters the search market. I can’t wait ’til all my search results are based on “Like” buttons that were clicked in e-mail spam campaigns. How about you? Oh I don’t need to ask. Facebook’s Edgerank will keep me informed of what you’re thinking and doing if I need to know. Which is another piece of this e-pocalypse. We already know that Google is making us stupid, but once we’re stupid, is it really such a good idea to make Facebook the very first thing we do each day?

The Reality Of Green Realty

[ Comments Off ]Posted on July 8, 2010 by admin in Clean & Green

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

When location, location, location might translate to off the grid, underground, in a shipping container.


I might draw the line at
actually living underground.

I mentioned recently that a friend had scoffed at my dream of building a fully wired, off the grid home. Well, I figure if the US government can do it, anyone can. And I won’t be building a 222,000-square-foot facility like the one in that article. I’m shooting for something much smaller, though certainly not as small as say, an Ecopod, as cool as prefab and container-based designs like this can be. I’m planning to build from the ground up, which runs the risk of having a greater initial resource footprint, something I hope to offset by making the home so amazingly zero energy and integrated into the local environment – though not so integrated as to be literally underground – that this will be irrelevant in the long run. I have the good fortune to be on a ten year plan, and very willing to relocate, so I don’t anticipate this being an insurmountable problem. But obvious important factors will include finding the ideal location, selecting the best materials, and working with the best designers and builders, things I will definitely take the time doing as I assemble a business plan to seek funding. If you’re thinking about pursuing a green building venture yourself, there’s a wealth of information out there. For some starting points check out GreenYour.com’s How to Choose a Green Realtor, which has some good basic info that can help you assess if a realtor is really green, or just using green as a pitch. For a really in-depth look at whether you want to build new or renovate, where to build, materials to use, and even advice about considering the local community as much as your actual building site, check out this EPA Green Building page. And to find certified professionals and learn more about what their certs mean, check out Green Home Guide’s Find a Pro If you have any tips of your own, feel free to share. I have more daydreaming to do.

Two Heels Good

[ Comments Off ]Posted on July 7, 2010 by admin in Technology

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Peter Treadway’s motorized shoes would probably be a lot more appealing if he pitched them as fun recreational footwear instead of as serious urban transportation.

What do you get when you cross a pair of Heelys with a Segway? Why, Treadways, of course. Yes, in America’s relentless pursuit of obesity – we’re probably the only country on Earth that considers walking to be a form of exercise – even this grueling physical activity will soon be unnecessary, thanks to Peter Treadway’s ingenious fusion of a shoe and a wheel. Or a track. Or whatever. I jest, but the design idea Treadway is working on is actually pretty cool. It’s one of many entries in the James Dyson Award design and engineering competition, so let’s wish Treadway luck. If in fact he is successful enough to create a nation of sedentary blobs that don’t even walk anymore, he should consider offering a self-lacing version as well. On a serious note though, I think Treadway may really be on to something if he stops talking about the concept as some sort of serious urban transit solution and pitches it as recreational footwear. Read the rest of this entry »

Prince: World’s Leading Social Media Expert

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on July 6, 2010 by admin in Music

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Thousands of websites made fun of Prince today. You might want to take note of that “thousands of websites” bit.

In my book, Prince remains a marketing genius on par with Steve Jobs, James Cameron, or Seth Godin. The number of serious news and pop media sites that took the bait today and belittled him for saying things like “The internet’s completely over” in this exclusive UK Mirror interview was mind-boggling. It was a bit reminiscent of when he changed his name to O(+> , and the media took it as a sign of insanity rather than the perfectly rational symbolic protest against an oppressive contract with Warner that it was. Oh. And let’s just pause for a moment and realize that we’re still talking about that little trick almost twenty years later! Which is – aside from his obvious musical talent – probably Prince’s greatest gift: an understanding of the social object . In my opinion the only really crazy things that Prince has said or done would be partnering with Walmart for the exclusive release of his triple-album “Lotusflow3r”, or suing 18 month old babies for dancing to his music . I personally was a fan of prince beginning with “Dirty Mind” (amazingly still available on the Internet), and kind of drifted away around the time of Raspberry Beret. I honestly haven’t listened to a single release by him since about 1993. Which doesn’t mean I don’t still admire him, his legendary solo in this video (also below) of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” will be with me forever, and although I may never buy all of his ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles, I’m revisiting his last fifteen years of music as I type this. Mostly because of that silly UK Mirror ploy. And I’ll probably like something. And probably buy it. On the Internet. Which is hilarious, because I’m one of the few people I know that agrees 100% with Prince. The Internet IS completely over in the same way that MTV was over years ago. Oh, and if you doubt the success of his little marketing stunt, we checked Google’s Insights for Search and terms related to Prince were either classified as “breakout” or up 500% this week (see below). Although that will certainly mean a lot of free downloads, it’s also certain to convert into a lot of sales that would never have occurred otherwise. Read the rest of this entry »

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