Archive for October, 2009

13
Oct
09

10/GUI: The Mousekiller?

10gui

Rethinking human-computer interaction (HCI) is a good thing, if for no other reason than to remind the computers every once in a while who’s in charge.

A video for the 10/GUI interface came to me by way of Reddit (discussion of the 10/GUI here) , and I for one am impressed with the way it rethinks clicking and window management.  I’d like to wager that something like this is the future of the graphical user interface.  In short, it keeps all the benefit of multi-touch screen computing (pinching, multiple click-points) and leaves behind its problems (fingers and hands aren’t transparent, neck strain).

Unless you’re nerdier than I am, you heard it here first.

Check out 10/GUI video from C. Miller on Vimeo.

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12
Oct
09

The Unusual Flavor Of Thunderbird Wine

James Mason dips his ‘stache in the “unusual flavor” of Thunderbird in a 1950s TV commercial.  Quite a discovery, given the way I learned about Thunderbird’s advertising history was from my saxophone-playing Dad, who often sang:

What’s the word?  / Thunderbird!

What’s the price?  /  Fifty twice!

In keeping with the commercial’s Masonian tone, the soundtrack’s expected saxophone bleats have been replaced with pinkies-up vibes and vague jazz flute.  Mmm, unusual!

05
Oct
09

FTC Cracks Down On The Shills Of The Blogosphere

thou shalt not shill

Image by duncan via Flickr

Very little irritates me more about online life than undisclosed consideration. This is the practice of marketers passing out free products, services or money to bloggers who then favorably review the product without disclosing the freebie. It poisons conversation, distorts history and lends precious credence to the braying of marketing chumps and others who treat everything on the Internet as an exercise in “brand building”. Those of us who’d rather not adopt the habits of bullshit purveyors as we conduct our own lives and pursue our own tastes and interests don’t play around with our reputations by omitting potentially coloring circumstances from our writing. The problem is, undisclosed consideration makes it difficult to identify who is crapping in the well and who isn’t.

This practice wasn’t invented in the blogosphere. I saw it for years, albeit with more transparency, working behind the counter at Pravda Records in the late 1980s. Every month, writer after writer for local and national music magazines came into the store to unload their promo CDs to us for a couple of dollars apiece. It was widely known that the records they reviewed weren’t something they paid for, and that the extra dollars we paid them for their Guadalcanal Diary and Slammin’ Watusis CDs were part of the perks of their job. The arrangement didn’t necessarily ensure positive reviews (who could suffer through Concrete Blonde and not cry for help in print?) but neither was the process presented as “I’m a guy who bought this and this is what I think”.

Today’s blogosphere has compelled trillions of words and indulged hundreds of millions of motivations for those words, not all of which can be trusted, but practically all of which enjoy a benefit of the doubt purely because they’re on blogs and blogs are individuals writing opinions, right?

The Federal Trade Commission seems to think so, and have moved to do something about the problem of undisclosed consideration on blogs. Starting December 1, the FTC will fine bloggers up to $11,000 for failing to reveal material connections to what they write:

“The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that ‘material connections’ (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers–connections that consumers would not expect–must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other ‘word-of-mouth’ marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.

Of course this won’t catch 90% of what goes on out there, but that’s not the point.  It’s a bulwark against a burgeoning shillocracy and it will turn some heads that need turning.  Any move to bring greater media literacy is a move welcome in these parts, even if it comes almost  twenty years too late to disclose, say, Bill Wyman at the Chicago Reader’s “material connections”.

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02
Oct
09

Letterman Discusses Nailing Interns in ’87

The past presages the present. Tip of the hat to Ben Schwartz for the heads-up and new addition to the venerable RW370 NBC Letterman video post category.

02
Oct
09

The 2016 Olympics Mascot Will Be Full-Breasted With Many Feathers

Carnaval at Rio 1 Feb 2008

Congrats to Rio De Janiero for acing out Chicago for the 2016 games. Check out a new humor piece on True/Slant: 8 Reasons Chicago Lost The 2016 Olympics

I saw a video clip this morning where a stunned Jesse Jackson interviewed in the downtown location of the embarrassing non-party lamented that we had “sent our A-Team – the Mayor, the Governor, Oprah” yet it made “no difference.”

Yeah, I bet it made a difference.




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