Archive for February, 2011« Older Entries |
[ Comments Off ]Posted on February 28, 2011 by admin in MusicMonday, February 28th, 2011
Not so Goo Goo over the latest Ga Ga? We have some alternative moves for you.
Check out those implants. No, not THOSE
implants, the ones in her cheeks and shoulders.
I was really looking forward to Lady Gaga’s new video for the song Born This Way. And then, well, I saw it. I guess it’s pretty hard to follow up videos featuring your crucifix-clad vagina and jail time with Beyoncé. After a while, even sparkly unicorns in triangles, skullface dancers, uterine galaxies, and zippered nipples don’t have the impact they once did. On the bright side, we have a new word. “Zipple”. Say it. It’s fun. Zipple! But does this sound like criticism? It’s really not. It’s just mild disappointment. When an artist has millions of dollars to spend, and nearly unlimited resources at their disposal, you just expect more. Sort of like the movie Avatar. Come to think of it, Lady Gaga does look kind of like a Na’vi with those cheekbone implants in the video. Anyway, we said we had some alternatives to the new Lady Gaga video, and we do. If you’re looking for videos with cool music and skullfaced dancers, look no further than this dubstep-driven dance clip (also below) by French dance crew La Preuve par 4. Even Lady GaGa’s font of inspiration Madonna was willing to acknowledge her debt to dance moves from the club and the street, so why not go closer to the source? The music is more interesting, the moves are more compelling, and the whole thing costs us all a lot less. More vids below. Read the rest of this entry »
[ Comments Off ]Posted on February 27, 2011 by admin in Popular MediaSunday, February 27th, 2011
Finally, the Swedes get some comedic revenge for all those Swedish Chef clips on The Muppets, with an hilarious look at American courtroom drama, viewed through European eyes.
A typical American. At least through the
eyes of Swedish comedy group “Grotesco”.
I’ve always found it interesting that Swedish Chef – one of the liberal progressive Muppets who were otherwise best known for touting the virtues of political correctness and equalism – mocked the real Swedish tongue using a pidgin Swedish vocabulary consisting mostly of variations of the words “dirga” and “doinga”. Words which may have the same root as the Pidgin Arabic phrase “dirka dirka” from the movie Team America: World Police. A phrase which Urban Dictionary explains is “…one of the 3 words in the islamic [sic] language …’Dirka Dirka’, ‘Muhammad’, and ‘Jihad’…” As ignorant, monolingual Americans, we have a long history of comedy based on what we don’t know about other cultures, so I derived a perverse joy yesterday by seeing the tables turned in The Trial (also below), an episode of the Swedish comedy show “Grotesco”. It’s a brilliantly hilarious look at American courtroom drama viewed through Swedish eyes and ears. Although it’s subtitled in Swedish, the mock English dialog consists of dramatic courtroom moments in which an attorney might ask “why aren’t we at home, with our mammals, watching raceball?” But I’ve said too much. The episode “The Trial” is featured below, along with a music video by “DJ Trexx”, a regular on the show, which according to the Google translation of the site Grotesco.se, was aired in 2007. I hope we see more of Grotesco; even subtitled, a lot of their routines are hilarious, presented in a style that falls somewhere between Mad TV, Living Colour, and Kids in the Hall. They have a YouTube channel, but many more clips can be found simply by browsing YouTube. Read the rest of this entry »
After some high-profile tech industry grumbling, Google has finally tackled the problem of content farms like Demand Media. Now if they would just remove Huffington Post from their index, we’d be all set.
I would have been even MORE pleased if the top
result for “content farm” were now “Demand Media”.
Let’s all take our hats off to Google for a moment for finally tackling the problem of their own crappy search results. If you have to do a lot of web research, you’ve probably noticed over the past few years that Google’s search results were getting spammier and spammier, thanks mostly to content farms like Demand Media, something we already belly-ached about a while back. Okay, now lets put our hats back on. Why did it take them so long to fix this? This was definitely a problem as long ago as 2006. It’s inconceivable that the Search Quality Team at Google hadn’t noticed it, and their recent fix seemed to come hot on the tails of the article by Michael Arrington on high-profile tech blog TechCrunch called Search Still Sucks , in which he said the thing many of us have thought for quite some time. So why did it take so long? The reasonable inference is that since Google’s largest revenue stream is ads, and content farms generated millions of page views with Google ad content, it would be a bit awkward to proactively blacklist them all. But that’s what Google has finally done; if you review lists like the ones at Search Engine Land and SYSTRIX, it’s immediately evident that the big losers in Google’s fix are mostly “Demand Media” sites. Which I find vaguely gratifying. If you’re not familiar with Demand Media, check out the PBS MediaShift series about companies like theirs. One of the most telling things about Demand Media is simply who the CEO is. While one has to acknowledge the drive and accomplishments of Richard Rosenblatt, about the only positive thing I can say about a guy who developed a company like MySpace is that he then managed to screw Rupert Murdoch by selling it to him for over half a billion dollars. In creating Demand Media, he’s shown that while he has incredibly savvy, drive, and management skills, he’s either entirely driven by the bottom line at the expense of any benefit to the human race, or utterly delusional. In this Business Insider piece about how Google’s algorithm change “hasn’t hurt their business at all” his EVP of Media and Ops says “We have built our business by focusing on creating the useful and original content that meets the specific needs of today’s consumer“. Yes Demand Media. I’m sure today’s consumer has been clamoring for more crap content to dig through to find any actual useful information. And while my greatest complaint about Google remains more about what I’d call their “imperial overreach” – in that their near-total domination as a portal to the web is the worst thing that’s happened to search in its relatively short history – we still have to give them an incredible amount of respect. The fact that you can dip into a global library of information and extract relevant information in seconds with relative ease borders on mystical. The unfortunate thing is that if we’re using a library as the analogy here, I think we now have the problem that everyone in the world is going to try to shove their book onto the shelves, and there are no librarians on duty, just an algorithm and an advertising department. A friend asked me the other day what I thought the solution to Google’s search problem was, and I said something I’ve said for several years when answering the question: “human edited content“. While the Open Directory Project (which was based on this concept) bit the dust ages ago from internal “link whoring” corruption, it doesn’t mean that the idea won’t work. Wikipedia is a great example of fairly reliable human-edited content. Why couldn’t this work with search? In any case, although I’m suspicious – as others are – of the continued presence of crap eHow.com content in results, I’m already relieved to see fewer “HubPages.com” and “Examiner” results. I just wonder if they’re going to fix that “bookmark site that links to a blog post that links to an article on HuffPo that steals an article wholesale from another site” problem.
[ Comments Off ]Posted on February 25, 2011 by admin in TechnologyFriday, February 25th, 2011
Sex toys for the Wii? Not really my speed, but I imagine there’s a wiimote possibility that I have a FRIEND who’s a customer. C’mon and ‘fess up with a product review.
Look, I’m no prude. I mean, not only did I go to a progressive grade school where we received exceptionally explicit sex ed in first grade, but I was also a teen in the era when your folks were considered puritanical freaks if there wasn’t a copy of The Joy of Sex casually but strategically placed on the coffee table along with a copy of I’m Ok, You’re Ok and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. But in spite of this – or perhaps, to be more honest – because of this, I’ve never really understood the desire to introduce a lot of gadgets into the lovemaking experience. Especially the kinds we’ve featured as scary holiday workplace gifts. I mean, if one puts their existing digits, limbs, and lips to good use, the possibilities are quite extensive. And sure, the occasional oil, restraint device, or provocative apparel is a no-brainer. But will someone please explain to me who the people are in the target market for the Wii controllers and games Mojowijo and We Dare? I’m sure this customer is silently lurking amongst my friends; a couple of years ago I was amused to discover that an otherwise rather conservative female friend was staging regular sex toy parties and was into bondage. No biggie. Just kind of funny, to be frank. If you haven’t heard of them, Mojowijo is a controller that sends the gesture from your device to a remote recipient. Or wiimote wiicipient, as the case may be. And We Dare (it took me a while to get the “Wii Dare” pun) is a complete multiplayer game. A game that the developer Ubisoft apparently deemed too sexy for the prudish American market. Something that they’re so adamant about that as of this writing, they block the ability to even view the ad on YouTube in the states. We managed to embed it below anyway, thanks to IGN.com. To tell you the truth, at first we thought it was just a viral campaign; there’s no reference to the game on their main site. But here it is on their UK site . And about that “MojoWijo” device: Is it just me, or does it look more like a tool for alien probing or dental work than a sex toy (see below)? If you’re a Wii sex toy enthusiast, feel free to explain yourself in the comments. Wii won’t judge you. Wii just don’t get it. MojoWijo image and We Dare clip below. Read the rest of this entry »
I would have never discovered the disturbing similarities between Facebook and the Borg if I hadn’t tried to escape “the collective”.
Have you been assimilated yet? You may not have even noticed it happening. Do you have shadowy memories of a previous life in which you didn’t check Facebook every morning when you woke up? When you didn’t think in status posts, putting yourself in the second person to construct clever phrases like “John or Jane Doe is [insert comment-baiting one-liner]? When you didn’t feel vulnerable and afraid when the hive mind was not humming around you sharing their thoughts in a constant stream intermingled with your own? My little joking analogy here isn’t so far off base. We’ve asked before if the internet is actually a giant flesh-eating robot, but we think it may be worse. Facebook may actually be controlled by the Borg. If you’re a normal human, with your life firmly rooted in the real world, you will have no idea what I’m talking about. But if you’re a person who spends a fair amount of time on the web, you have almost certainly at some point found yourself – and perhaps still are – spending an awful lot of time interacting with Facebook. Early on, we would wonder to ourselves: “am I weird? Am I the only person who feels like some kind of Facebook addict? Personally, when I validated this feeling with my friends who pondered the same question, it only made me feel like they were weird too; it didn’t provide much comfort. But the results are in, so we can stop second-guessing ourselves. Yes, it’s a problem. We now know that a third of women 18-34 check Facebook when they first wake up, even before they go to the bathroom . We know that serious addiction sites label it a problem, as do PhD Psychologists. As far as I’m concerned, this is a moot point. What concerns me is the fact that Facebook bears such a disturbing resemblance to the Borg, and there may be NO WAY to escape the collective. Recently I thought I’d at least give Facebook a rest, but still found myself unconsciously logging on, to find that nothing new of interest awaited me – the same banal stream of commentary, the same pleas to support liberal or conservative causes from my friends. And nobody commenting on my crap. That’s the killer. When the little red number is low, and only indicates comments on other people’s stuff. How depressing. So why the hell was I reflexively logging in for more letdowns? Probably because I’m a Faceborg Drone, that’s why. I thought to myself “Wow, I think I’m going to have to actually de-activate my account for a few days, and go back when I feel more rational about the whole thing“. But no-OO-oo. Facebook tried to scare me with images of the fellow drones I’d be abandoning, and actually wouldn’t LET me de-activate unless I assigned another person (who is on Facebook) to manage a couple of apps or pages connected to my account. DIRTY TRICK, Facebook. But I expect nothing less from what I now know is an alien collective that intends to “add my biological and technological distinctiveness to its own“. Below are examples of how Facebook is like the Borg, and how hard they make it to escape the hive. More soon, I have to go share this piece on Facebook now. Read the rest of this entry »