This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.
No. More? Okay.
Reading the comments here and there about the stadium-area development, you almost get the sense that people have pre-existing ideas about the world they can plug into anything that happens anywhere, and be proven right. This proposal to replace one structure with an expanse of green and some office buildings proves the validity of the political perspective I also offered in the story about zebra mussels. My work here in the comments section is done, at least until there is a story about the TSA or genetically-modified organisms. We’re all impressed, and thanks for playing.
Some have complained that the buildings are bland . . .
.... but I don’t agree. I think they’re perfect for the site. It needs a wall, and that’s what it gets. It has symmetry, which balances the other messy elements it can’t do anything about. In a way, the buildings recall the great 20s and 30s apartment buildings around Central Park, and their conservative design enhances the modern style of the stadium by contrast. Of all the big BIG plans we’ve seen for downtown, this one might be the best.
FOOLED YOU It’s called The Coyote Illusion.Warner Brothers drew blurred lines to indicate speed and activity - also because it was more suggestive than a literal depiction of limbs moving quickly. Mainly because it was easier. As it turns out, “motion blur increases apparent speed.” The proof:
Since I mentioned animation, barely-related good news: there’s a new Toy Story short coming. And it’ll be 30 minutes.
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU There’s been a sudden drought of irritating headlines that use the YOU format - you know, ’36 things you’re doing wrong, Best Solar Flare You’ll See today, etc. I thought the trend was dying, but no. Today’s thing YOU are supposedly doing, from the Daily Dot: “Not Only Are You a Criminal, You’re Bragging About it on Facebook.” The editors must have loved that one! People can’t help but click on that.
It’s an Amnesty International site that analyzes your pictures and contacts and figures out whether you’d be beaten to death in Nigeria for drinking alcohol and associating with unrelated persons of the opposite sex, and so on. There’s a surprise.
FOLLOW-UP The link yesterday about the restaurant owners who took to Facebook to demolish their brand in front of the entire internet? It was all Teh H@XORZ.
Obviously our Facebook, YELP, Twitter and Website have been hacked. We are working with the local authorities as well as the FBI computer crimes unit to ensure this does not happen again. We did not post those horrible things. Thank You Amy &Samy
By all means, read the comments, which include all sorts of speculation about what’s really going on at the restaurant. Forbes piles on some more.
This does seem to suggest someone guessed her password, though. She’s not capable of coming up with lulz-related text like that.
BTW, does it bother anyone that the Facebook comments link says “View Next Comments”? Shouldn’t it be “view more,” or “view additional comments”?
ADS Tweet what’s boring and they’ll make it brilliant! It’s an ad campaign you may have missed with a rather innovative site. By which I mean almost incomprehensibe. Of course, this is fake:
You can tell it’s fake because no one in the waiting room is looking at a phone or other type of glowing rectangle.
Conceptual Art on the Internet: who’s up for some code that makes your browser do amusing things?
You’re right to be skeptical; depends on the concept. If it’s one of those guys who wants to protest against, oh, Google’s omnivorous appetite for your data, then it’s possible he’ll make your browser window go full screen, flash sickening colors at seizure-inducing speed, and make you play tag with a dialogue window that moves when you mouse over it. Has nothing to do with Google, but perhaps it will begin a conversation about data privacy, and provoke us to explore the relationship between two things whose relationship is obvious, and seems profound only to people with an exaggerated sense of their own creativity and intellect.
Then there’s the modern artist with the perfect, and very real, name of Constant Dullart. His website says:
Constant Dullaart (NL 1979), former resident of the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, lives and works in Berlin. With a practice focused on visualizing internet vernaculars and software dialects, a political approach critical to corporate systems influencing these contemporary semantics becomes clear through his minimal and sometimes bricolaged gestures.
Deciding when to bricolage, that’s the tricky part, isn’t it. Well, this page has an account of his work. I clicked on his page. Let me show you what my history looks like after 30 seconds on his site:
Thanks, pal. Perhaps the website will be sold for millions of bitcoins in sixty years. When Ferdinand Leger started painting before WW1, he probably didn’t think his work would be fetching millions. But the Daily Beast says:
How does a Hollywood legend tell the love of his life how he feels? If you are Gregory Peck, you buy her Fernand Leger’s Les deux figures. The intimacy of the contrasting figures in the painting represented to Peck the love he had for his longtime wife, Veronique Peck. The painting, which Peck bought in 1984, is expected to go for between $3-5 million
Here's the work.
Eh. I like Leger’s earlier Cubist work. The latter period: meh. It’s possible his stylization of the human form was brilliant and revolutionary. It’s also possible he just couldn’t draw people.
Good Communist that he was, Leger turned down an offer to decorate Nelson Rockefeller’s apartment, saying he would not eat the fruit of capitalism. Just kidding! He did the job. He also taught at Yale, where students would grapple with statements such as this: "the object in modern painting must become the main character and overthrow the subject. If, in turn, the human form becomes an object, it can considerably liberate possibilities for the modern artist."
But it’s art. And so were the opening credit sequences of Saul Bass, who’s the subject of today’s Google Doodle. How many movies can you name?
Hint: Here’s the opening to “It’s a 4X Mad World.”
A four-minute credit sequence: those were the days. Bass also redesigned the AT&T logo, of course. The At&T Archives - a fascinating, invaluable resouce, BTW - has his pitch for the logo redesign. This isn’t Don Draper striding in with a sample ad on an easel: it’s a 26 minute pitch that’s not just a piece of corporate history, but an documentary of American self-analysis in 1969.
How bad was the national mood in ’69? The video looks back to the good old days of 1933. Note the use of opening up someone's skull and extracing a piece of paper: did Bass come up with this before Terry Gilliam 's "Python" animations?
At least they were good for the Bell System, I guess.
No. No, no; no no no no. No? No. No no no no, no, no no no. No no no no, no, no - no no, no, no no no no. No no no, no, no.
“No no no no. No no no no, no, no no no. No, no? No. no no no, no, no - no no, no, no no no no. No no no, no, no.”
No no, no, no no no no. No no! No no! No. Just - no.
FILTH: IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER There are two ways to do a story on disgusting, bacteria-laden ground turkey. There’s the New Internet Way, which uses that style You love so much because it’s all about You: Mother Jones says “You Won’t Believe What’s In Your Turkey Burger.” Really? If they say six ounces of gold mined on Pluto, I would not believe them. If they say all sorts of organic contaminants, yes, I would believe it. But it’s not in my turkey burger, because I don’t have a turkey burger. Obviously the article is about someone else.
The other way to write the headline? Go for the stupidest possible cliche. That’s the Consumer Reports approach: “Consumer Reports Investigation: Talking Turkey.”
What does that mean? How does one talk turkey? Why would you even say that outside of the last two weeks of November? Anyway, the answer is disturbing, if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t cook meat all the way through, and licks his fingers after handling raw poultry.
WHOA There is nothing as terrifying and beautiful as space, except perhaps one of those actresses who refuses to age. This week’s installment of implacable gloriousness of inconceivable dimensions: The Rose of Saturn.
It’s a false color image, so it doesn’t really look like that. Explanations and descriptions and other science stuff, as they said on MST3K, can be found here. If you don’t want to click, well, two facts: as wispy as this seems . . .
The windspeed is about 330 MPH. Also, as the NASA page says: “Image scale is 1 mile (2 kilometers) per pixel.” It took that shot from 261,000 miles away. Imagine what we'll see when we get closer with better cameras.
Oh, one more thing: the storm is nestled inside the creepy Hexagonal Wind Arrangement.
Be sure to check the comments, which devolve into politics within the first two responses to the article. People! They never stop finding new ways to disappoint.
TECH Headline in The Week: “5 Ways the Samsung Galaxy S4 stunned an iPhone user.” There is one way you can stun someone with an S4, and that’s to throw it at his head. Literally. At his iconic, literal, stunnable head. You can impress, amaze, instruct, persuade, and a variety of other words that haven’ been ground into paste with overuse, but for God’s sake stop saying things are stunning.
Anyway, let’s see what the editor-at-large says about the stunning S4:
1. I can't really customize the iPhone without jailbreaking it, and so I'm used to drawing within the lines when it comes to designing how I want my phone to look and to talk at me. It still takes me like a half a day to add a new ringtone to the iPhone
As I say to my daughter, do you mean “like” as in similar to, or a sign of affection, or as a lazy like intervention because that’s like how people talk? Anyway, it takes me about 30 seconds to add a ringtone. So like whatevs.
2. It can do several things at once. When I was fiddling with the Galaxy S4 at the store, I wanted to see if I could slow it down by playing a video, taking a picture, using Facebook and another social media app, all in rapid sequence, shuttling quickly between them, and then adding a few more tasks. The iPhone doesn't do this well at all; the Galaxy didn't blink.
It seems as if he is describing the act of doing several things sequentially.
I did all of those things on my iPhone without difficulty. Note: these are things I never do, but if stopping a video to take a picture and then stabbing icons for two social networks is your thing, advantage S4.
3. The Galaxy' S4's internal camera app is brilliant. The sensor (13 megapixels) doesn't make that much of a difference, but the software that greets you when you use it is incredible. I must have six or seven different photo apps on my iPhone. I don't think I'll need to download any on the S4. The way the S4 stores and edits photos is also incredibly intuitive; I still don't have the iPhoto system figured out
Having never seen the internal camera app, I’ll take his word for it. I use the default app because it’s on the lockscreen, and I fiddle with the pix in Snapseed, which is far superior to the default iPhone app. As for not figuring out iPhoto, well, okay. I must profess ignorance about the S4’s “intuitive” photo storage system, but the iPhone automatically stores a photo in the same location, and pushes it up into the cloud and down to all your other devices automatically.
I was able to link my Facebook, Picasa, and Dropbox photo feeds to the Galaxy in less than two minutes
The iPhone can ship your photos to Twitter or Facebook in the default app. Picasa and Dropbox take some fiddling. Advantage: S4, if this matters to you.
4. More room for podcasts. I never really knew how much my podcasts sucked up storage memory on the iPhone. But I've got about 12 gigabytes worth, and I'm not considered a super-user. The S4 comes with 16 gigabytes, of which about 12 are free, but of course, you can buy 64 gigabytes worth of storage on a micro storage drive for a hundred extra dollars.
Again, if you’re the sort of non super-user who has 12 GB of podcasts, advantage S4. Then again, from BGR News:
Geek.com discovered that nearly half of the internal storage for the 16GB model is used even before the device is powered on for the first time. Samsung has bundled together a number of preloaded applications on the handset such as S Health, S Travel and its ChatOn messaging service, among others, that take up a total of 45% of the 16GB Galaxy S4. Despite the fact that it is advertised to include 16GB of internal storage, in reality users are left with a mere 8.82GB of available space.
You can buy an extra card to add more storage.
The last point is the replaceable battery, which matters to some, and hence is something you should keep in mind when you decide words best for you.
In short: if you like the S4, great! If you like the iPhone, great! Whichever meets your needs. This isn’t intended as a tearful defense of the iPhone, by the way - stop picking on it! My self-worth and personal identification is tied up in a software platform, and I insist you reject your preference! No, I just enjoy questionable Apple-bashing. There’s so much room for legitimate Apple-bashing, and when people say “more room for podcasts” you suspect they’re reaching for things that might not be tops on the list of most people’s needs. Apple’s iCloud non- hierarchical scheme is vastly insuperior to Dropbox, and its native apps look, well, silly nowadays, compared to the clean flat design of Google’s offerings. The latter will change; the former, I don’t know.
Remember when we didn’t argue about phones, because it was just, well, the phone?
It appears the weekend’s warm weather was not the end of the war, just a lull in the shelling. Being outside right now is like that moment in “Flowers for Algernon” when then the effects of the experiment began to reverse, if that’s not too obscure a reference. I wonder if this will kill the tulips. They’re coming up fast. They have no idea what they’re getting into.
So you’re feeling bad? Quick! Emergency compliments needed STAT. Here.
GAMES This is brilliant: game developers write a game about being . . . a game developer. They release a cracked version of their game and strew it amongst the pirate sites. One small detail makes it different than the one people have to pay to play. Their blog says:
The cracked version is nearly identical to the real thing except for one detail… Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy, but instead we didn’t want to pass up the unique opportunity of holding a mirror in front of them and showing them what piracy can do to game developers. So, as players spend a few hours playing and growing their own game dev company, they will start to see the following message, styled like any other in-game message:
At the developers’ site, they post the sad bleatings of people who stole the game and want to know how they can get around all the people in the game who stole the game. This is usually where someone insists that this cost the developers nothing, since the people who were playing the game probably wouldn’t pay for it anyway - and besides, maybe some of those people who downloaded a cracked version would pay for it later, because it was so good!
Suuuure they would.
The horrifying stat: 93% of the people who played the game were using the stolen version. Not everyone earned the developers’ ire:
I’m not mad at you. When I was younger, downloading illegal copies was practically normal but this was mostly because global game distribution was in its infancy. To be fair, there are still individuals who either can’t make a legal purchase because of payment-issues or who genuinely cannot afford the game. I don’t have a quarrel with you.
He concludes by noting that people who hate DRM / always-connected games should deonstrate that their preferences have heft in the marketplace. Buy the games so everything doesn’t end up like SimCity!
But everything will.
HISTORY Welcome to the World Wide Web: the first site ever created has been reupped to the original URL.
Hundreds of mysterious spheres lie beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, an ancient six-level step pyramid just 30 miles from Mexico City.
The enigmatic spheres were found during an archaeological dig using a camera-equipped robot at one of the most important buildings in the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan.
"They look like yellow spheres, but we do not know their meaning. It's an unprecedented discovery," said Jorge Zavala, an archaeologist at Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute.
Uh oh. Be very, very careful.
PSY WEPT Until he cashed the check, anyway. Remember: Samsung will eventually beat Apple because they understand the appeal of well-designed, minimal things that are not derivative. Yep.
TV Imagine you’re the guy who had momentary internet fame because you started cursing on camera on your first day at work, and you see there’s a compilation of April’s best TV News Bloopers. You might think great, it’s time to see someone else fail. And then you’re the first thing. Aw man. Obviously that’s NSFW if you have the sound up. There’s much more. If all local TV news was like this, I’d watch it.
We don’t do a lot of cat stuff here on the blog, because experience has taught me that the internet is perfectly capable of filling the aggregated Cat Video Needs without my help. But no one seems to be coming up with vintage cat videos. So:
This was filmed in the mid-40s, and has been languishing in the databanks of the Prelinger Archive. It was discovered anew by Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic, who was testing out a new Prelinger app that lets you plumb the bottomless expanse of the archives on your iPad. Three bucks: cheap.
TUMBLR DU JOUR Controversial: Minneapolis summed up in one judgmental map, with every neighborhood described through the perceptions of people who don’t live there. Come for the satire, stay for the humorless attacks in the comments. Contains a jot of profanity and broad stereotypes employed to indicate nonresident misperceptions, so if either annoys or troubles, click not.
ARCHITORTURE Once again, I have to wonder what I’m missing. Whether new shapes and forms are so brilliant my archaic sense of aesthetics cannot comprehend them. Architizer notes:
Wang Shu, the renowned Chinese architect who won the 2012 Pritzker Prize, was included on the “Time 100,” Time Magazine‘s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Shu’s visionary architectural projects are celebrated for their contextual relevance, which infuse historical Chinese traditions into distinctly contemporary structures.
Okay. Here’s the building.
TECH This piece at Giz by a new parent speaks for everyone who remembers the tech of the 90s.
When I was growing up, my parents would tell me about all the ancient technologies they had to use in their youth. Whether it was a car with a manual choke, a phone that required you to ask an operator to connect you, or a record player with a hand crank, mom and dad experienced a ton of tech frustrations I would never know.
As my 1-year-old upgrades his speech capability, I expect to tell him about these 10 awesome tech frustrations that he'll never experience. I hope he feels sorry for me, at least a little bit.
No. He won’t. It’ll never occur to him. Yesterday I reminded my daughter that when I was her age, there was one phone in the house, bolted to the wall. “Back in the olden days,” she sang with blithe disregard. Our privations are irrelevant. But here’s one of the tech frustrations the next generation will suffer: losing their entire digital life for reasons no one can explain. Which leads us to . . .
A few minutes into my Google-less existence, I realized how dependent I had become. I couldn’t finish my work or my taxes, because my notes and expenses were stored in Google Drive, and I didn’t know what else I should work on because my Google calendar had disappeared. I couldn’t publicly gripe about what I was going through, because my Blogger no longer existed. My Picasa albums were gone. I’d lost my contacts and calling plan through Google Voice; otherwise I would have called friends to cry.
There’s a moral to this story, I’m sure, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Let me think. I’l get back to you.
One of the comments introduces a word we must stop:
Loved this. Very thinky. Glad to hear you got your access back. I must look into backup options — I could live without many Google services but a mass loss of my Drive would be horrible.
No one should ever say “thinky” unless they are seven. Please make a note of it.
So what’s the alternative to trusting the cloud? Local storage, of course. But we’re told that hard drives fail, so you’d better back up into the cloud. But if you use those free services, you’re limited to 5GB in most cases, and that hardly covers 2 eps of your pirated Game of Thrones HD files, to say nothing of all that music with which you cannot part.
I’ve been working on my personal desert-island-disc type of project. That term used to mean the albums you’d absolutely have to take if you were going to be shipwrecked on a desert island. I don’t know why it had to be a desert island, and not a tropical one, and I don’t know why if you knew in advance you were going to be shipwrecked, you wouldn’t avoid it. Or at least make arrangements for later pickup, after you’d gotten tired of the records. I’m pretty sick of “Revolver” now, you can rescue me. Hello? Hello?
Sorry. Babbling. The project is simple: if I had to fill 1 TB with the most important things, what would go on the disk? One TB will be cheap and portable soon - it’s about eighty bucks now in an external drive, but eventually a TB drive will be thumb-sized and cheap. Once you start to winnow you realize how much digital junk you have that you don’t need - and how the ease of storing allllll those pictures means you’re less likely to ever look at them.
When I was a kid we had a few photo albums of family trips and holidays, with the occasional candid shot. My contributions were few, because film came in cartridges of 12, and the costs involved made you choose every shot with care. Those days are gone and that’s good for most of us, because we can fire away, and select later. But I’d bet no one does. You end up with four versions of every moment, and you can’t decide which is the best; one has a certain detail you like but someone’s scowling, and in the next one the dog is funny but that detail is missing, and so on.
However: I’ve found that if I select, say, 150 pictures per year I have a clearer idea of things than if I had a folder with 1,3,42 shots. Just a suggestion.
Different rules apply when you’re shooting the sun, though.
Imagine looking at the film at the end of the year and discovering that someone knocked over the camera and there’s two shots of the parking lot at night.