fredag, mars 25, 2005

[humor] Early Morning Puzzlements, Some Funny, Some Not (& Some Just Fell Off the Bed)

One out of every four Americans is suffering from some sort of mental illness, says the authoritative anchorman on the telly. So, think of your three best friends. Are they mentally ill? No? Well then it must be you! And do you also suffer through puzzlements like those following, emailed from friends however AndyRooneyesque albeit, um, sane? And is it really five-thirty in the morn? Dear God.

1. Does a clean house indicate a broken computer inside?

2. Why are the colors of bubble-baths so various yet the bubbles are themselves invariably white?

3. Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

4. Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

5. On electric toasters, why the message 'one slice'? How many pieces of bread do people really gonna stuff in that slot?

6. Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

7. Why is it that no plastic garbage bag will open from the end you first try?

8. How do those dead bugs get into those closed light fixtures?

9. Considering all the lint you get in your dryer, if you kept drying your clothes would they eventually just disappear?

10. When you're in the supermarket and someone rams your ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do you say, 'It's okay'? Well, it isn't really okay, so why don't you say, 'That hurt!'

11. Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

12. Is it true that the only difference between a yard sale and a trash pickup is how close to the road the stuff is placed?

13. In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

14. How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

15. If at first you don't succeed, shouldn't you try doing it like your wife told you to do it? (Sorry, old joke. End of the list.) And, if at first you don't succeed, should thou never take up sky diving? (Okay, real end. Come back with answers, if you dare.)
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EDIT. Typos fixed, Q's trimmed & sharpened. And it appears Rooney was at origin. Not the skydiving though. (Not that mentally ill, thank you.)

lördag, mars 19, 2005

[surf] The Commonly Confused, the Real Love, the Surplus, & the FOAF-a-Matic Too

The surfing continues. That commonly-confused-words test I referenced in the last post is the all-time #1 most popular test on that "okcupid" website; over a thousand surfers have taken it yesterday. Well, looks like self-improvement is a most beloved pursuit -- well, good.

Take note, naysayers and mushyminds. Looking down the "ok" list of most-taken test (calling it the "cupid" list would sound silly, as well as inaccurate), I see a Google Speed Test: ooh, intriguing. Information and search engine watching are top interests for me presently, and a google test certainly gets my attention. Maybe I ought to start a sideblog on Google; that Google Speed Test would be posted there, plus all the weekly news alerts I requested in that area.



(Another coinage, 3/19/5. "Mushyminds" as one word. Cute. "Sideblog" as like a sidebar to my regular blog. A capillary to the main stream of this sallied consciousness. "A Sideblog on Google" from August Arrived: wouldn't you be intrigued? Even ye naysayers with mushyminds? *heehee* Anyway.)


But my mind is wandering already. Ought I download a personal picture to go with my test result, so other test-takers could see a kindred --um-- Google connoisseur, if there's such a thing. (Need the um to qualify my late-night silliness.) Compare silly mugs. Or not: anonymity has its advantages, why not stay discreet for now, rather than leap into unknown waters? Don't be stupid, Cupid. And I'm still a fillie, a fillie-pid. Okay, fillie-pid, let's go detached here. The Managing Editor (oh, remember that last gig? we need security to do our best) in me gives this sage advice: Play with pictorial, play with expectationb...

Now Mind is off on more tracks anew, about archetypes and stereotypes and reflexive "blinks," about age & gender, race & faith, knee-jerk portrayals in the media, in the movies and television; and about how I myself size up other people and their websites based on my reflexive "blinks," initial impressions that shape eventual verdict more than they oughta.

"Blink," by Malcolm Gladwell, is marinating the archetypes in my subconscious, now showing a tip or two as I blog an itinerant post.

That's really how you tease up the subconscious, by not actively searching your way there (you can't), but by floating off on silly pictures and sallied sideblogs and even on Google connoisseurs. I don't really know what I'm about to type next, and that's fine; I find such interesting sidestreets this way, it's all worthwhile in the end.


It's a way to expend my surplus energy while I'm on the net, and right now it's better to be by myself on a blog than get caught up in the snark of so many 'net forums I've checked out lately, in the childish putdowns and dismissals that seem common currency but yet diminish the mind and soul. If not immediately, then ultimately, eventually. I could almost say inevitably, but not quite.

My subconscious is reaching for something here, and as I type without purpose I think it knows something about love: that real love is derived from surplus energy, and it is derived from strength. False love, or bad love, on the other end, is derived from a sense of surfeit in energy; and it is derived from weakness. Real love proffers vitality; fake love sucks it away. And right now, blog-love proffers for me vitality; snark-love sucks it away. Avoid the snark, it diminishes the soul.




Went off the track again, sorry. Now back on: my latest discovery is this thing "FOAF-a-matic," found when I searched for a Similar Page to the Google Speed Test. (Right-click, get menu, scroll down to Similar Pages; the option appears with the Google toolbar. No toolbar, no Sim. Pgs., then. Wonder if this feature appears if I download toolbars for Yahoo or MSN? Would they conflict? And if they do, how resolve? Ayyy! Maybe that's why I resisted downloading the other two toolbars, nor yet others like the MyWay toolbar, even though they don't really take up much space. I just don't want any confusion here, potential hassles that these search providers don't know how to provide against.)

FOAF-a-matic is a simple Javascript application for creating your FOAF, which is short for "Friend-of-A-Friend." The function of FOAF is, I reckon, to facilitate social networking.

From its author, Leigh Dodds: "FOAF is a way to describe yourself -- your name, email address, and the people you're friends with -- using XML and RDF. This allows software to process these descriptions, perhaps as part of an automated search engine, to discover information about your and the communities of which you're a member. FOAF has the potential to drive many new interesting developments in online communities. Ben Hammersely's "Click to the Clique" article for the Guardian Unlimited website further explores these ideas.

The FOAF-a-Matic is being provided as a quick and easy way for you to create your own FOAF description. Simply work through the forms on this page and complete whichever details you'd like to add to your description. As a minimum you'll need to supply your name and email address, and similarly for any friends you might add. It's worth adding a few friends to your description (but feel free to add as many as you like) because then when FOAF harvesters index your FOAF description, they'll be able to tie you all together as a network of individuals.
Note: none of the information you enter in this page is used or stored in any way. The processing is entirely client-side, so your privacy is assured."


In addition to English, this form is available in eleven other languages: [Japanese] [French] [Spanish] [Danish] [Swedish] [Greek] [German] [Italian] [Korean] [Trad. Chinese] [Dutch]

More about FOAF in "XML Watch: Finding friends with XML and RDF" (from a developer at ibm.com), in the FOAF homepage, and at this FOAF vocabulary description. Also check FOAF Hackery.

I'm not sure how this would play out, and indeed the author himself is uncertain: "The 'discovery' aspect of FOAF (i.e. how FOAF compliant applications find your description) is still an area under discussion."

Here are three avenues for exploration he suggests. Please replace my [] with the angle-brackets <>, the latter I cannot produce in print here.

A.) Point the HTML Link tag to FOAF descriptions, the way bloggers point to their RSS feeds. Here's how it should look, but replace my [] with the angle-brackets <> : [link title="FOAF" href="foaf.rdf" type="application/rdf+xml" rel="meta"]

B.) Get referrals from a Friend. Have him point to it. A FOAF spider can then traverse all FOAF files. You can do this by making the following changes to your FOAF description:

1.) Alter the rdf:RDF element to add the RDF Schema namespace, as follows:
[rdf:rdf rdfs="http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#" foaf="http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/" rdf=http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#]

2.) You can then add links to other FOAF descriptions by adding one rdfs:seeAlso element for each additional file, as follows:
[rdfs:seealso rdf:resource="http://www.example.com/friends.xrdf"] [rdfs:seeAlso rdf:resource="http://www.ldodds.com/webwho.xrdf"/]

If your friends already have a FOAF description, then include it in the 'seeAlso' field given in the form above. You can also Refer a Friend to the FOAF-a-matic.

C.) Visit the FOAFWiki, and edit the FOAFBulletinBoard page and add your name and a link to your FOAF description.

The author adds, "Applying the magic of HTML Tidy and XSLT means that applications such as Edd Dumbill's FOAFbot can process this index. Visit the FOAFBot home page for information about how to see it in action. " Note this work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Its author Dodds is now working on a FOAF-a-Matic Mark 2, a desktop application for creating and managing FOAF data, and maintains a mailing list. So if you've surfed beyond the commonly confused, yet enjoy a surplus of real love, you may wanna sign up for this FOAF thingamajig. And let me know how it turns out.

fredag, mars 18, 2005

[test] The Commonly Confused Words Test

Some blogger just exulted over his/her "English Genius" rating from taking this Commonly Confused Words Test from a site called okcupid.com, which I've never heard of -- but then there's a lot of good stuff on the net I've yet to find out about. Who knows, this may be one of them, hence this bookmark to come back to later.
From the intro: "Good communication is not necessarily about using an expansive vocabulary. It is about properly using the words and punctuation you already know.
The results of this test will reflect your level of appropriate word usage, with a little bonus test on commonly confused punctuation in one question. "

onsdag, mars 16, 2005

[blog] Apple Peels Itself with Blogger Lawsuit

A company so high on its success may get arrogant and loses its shine, as is the case with computer-maker Apple. With its new lawsuit against bloggers, it is just "asking to be loathed and subverted," says the U.K.'s Guardian this morn (3/16).

Via Macworld UK: "The report points to the Cupertino computer maker's renowned secretiveness (it calls this 'corporate paranoia'). Apple's instinct favours 'opacity', it says, adding, 'none of this sits comfortably with those achingly hip, design-conscious products.'

Such criticism follows the decision by a Californian judge that supports Apple's attempt to force Apple Insider, PowerPage and Think Secret to reveal their sources. Sources (apparently numbered at 25 individuals), who have fed fillips of Apple's future plans to an excited audience of Mac users."

In addition, "Was Enron's off-balance sheet funding structure a "trade secret", for instance?" queries the Guardian report. No, of course not, and deep-pocketed corporations in America (and elsewhere) ought not suppress individual critics simply because they do not like their critical opinions. Apple enjoys such a beautiful shine; it would be a shame for this ignomous lawsuit to have that... peeled. (Sorry, couldn't resist. *Teehee*)

tisdag, mars 15, 2005

[verite] Nicole Richie is Not Stupid! & That was Not a Drug Deal! (So What's in the KissyPouch?)

OK, so *This Set of Candid Photos* looks awfully -- shall we say -- suspect, soupçonneux, even méfiant. But it's mid-street in broad daylight! Dear Nicole, so sophisticated and worldly, réaliser, um, l'photographes, will go *snap-snap-snap* wherever she goes, eh?

May we presume, then, PorscheMan was just handing her his ancient Oriental remedy for overzealous weight-loss. (Well he does look chinoiserie in a silk 'Wood sort of way --Hollywood, that is, swimming pools, movie stars. The Beverly Hillbilly with the sorcerer's stone n' pouch. It's a prop for the next Simple Life. Right. And that's really a '86 Hyundai with a radical trim.) AncientRemedy also most efficacious for big-h addictions. Y'know, big-h and extreme weight-loss, they just go arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand. But let's not needle her, eh, shall we?



"Quote (from EZboard link):
What is Nicole Richie doing? This set of pictures displays suspicious behavior on a desolate street between Nicole and an unknown older man. After reaching into her bag while looking around for onlookers, he hands her a pouch. Following this, she quickly gives him a kiss and walks away. 03 14 05"
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EDIT. chinoiserie:: "reflecting Chinese artistic influence." Not just droll, but cut-on-the-bias silky droll. Nicole'd appreciate it, y'know. Pouched or not.
UPDATE. As of 2pm, the EZboard photos are down, reason unknown. If you can't see them there, try this gossip site Popdoh!, who says, "look at the Porsche. Who said crime doesn't pay?"

måndag, mars 14, 2005

[character] James Bond the Certain Insider, Jason Bourne the Trudging Outsider

James Bond and Jason Bourne seem like men cut from the same cloth, heroes adapted for the big screen from the same Cold War espionage genre novels, but they emerge very different characters, embodying contrary values systems.

James Bond is the consummate insider; he lives to serve "Queen and Country," he needs to protect the Powers that authorize him to kill and wreak havoc. Man in control, very safe with his emotions. "Shocking, very shocking." But nothing to let go there.

Jason Bourne, on the other hand, is very much an outsider; he's betrayed by those he served; he needs to question everything and everybody or he will not survive. He must also kill and wreak havoc, but now against the Powers that gave him target and objective. He's in turmoil almost always, man not in control, who needs to seek always. Bourne must find the hidden truth, the right answers. "What is Treadstone? Who is planning the missions now? What do you want with me?" I killed two people in Berlin? Very perplexing. Trudge and treachery, watching Marie die. Dilemmas and doubts in an agnostic universe. Are "they on to Neski?" Moral Genevas, conveying the uncertainties of our times.

Of the two, the latter appears to be more in tune with our times. A character study in self and authority.


My advice: Tear off the Bourne saga from its Robert Ludlum origins (in many ways already done), make it a long epic, a saga of many chapters. Get on the money train there.

lördag, mars 12, 2005

[easter egg] "Bourne Supremacy" Alt. Ending/Berlin, Unref'd. Ask Bono, or Colin Powell?

Where the heck is the easter egg to The Bourne Supremacy DVD? Anyone w. info on this, please let me know. There's a free Gmail acct invite for ya, if that helps! My search found just about nada. And am not waiting for the extended director's cut, or the eventual trilogy box-set! (Oh you know that's comin'!)

Only lead is from DVDtalk, reprinted entirely: "I don't know how to access it with a stand-alone player, but if you open the disc with the DVD shrink utility you will notice 60MB of unreferenced material. Then you can click on it to watch the alternate ending in Berlin. No reference of it when I did a google search."

There's an easter egg section at DVDtown, but it's empty. Comment section has 38 entries, but nothing about said egg.

A good tech comment from an user there (YCH): "though the colors on the DVD were consistent with what I saw in theatres, the transfer really is fuzzy. However, most scenes have high contrast and are jerky to boot, so it's not that noticeable to the regular eye. There are often halos around edges and most of the grainy film structure has been overfiltered and softened for the DVD release."


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Now that I'm posting, here something else: a ref on Malcolm Gladwell. Find it in Letters: Debut issue of 'Points'. From Dallas Morning News (subscription: gotta register, or use http://bugmenot.com/!): "... elitism, the Institute for Interesting People, salon discussions, public intellectuals like Virginia Postrel, the significance of Malcolm Gladwell's long hair ... "

Also of interest (yes I'm gettin' to Colin Powell of post title!): Bono the U2 lead-singer may be shortlisted to be the next head of the World Bank! "He's somebody I admire," says U.S. Tresury Secretary John Snow. Selection by White House by June. (AP, via "The Week.") Angelina Jolie is on "American Perspectives" (C-SPAN), and says of Bono: "Great guy, family man. Great passion to do great things."

But she is not seconding this idea of him being head banker, apparently. What she does say is this, tellingly: "I guess you could say it in this room (National Press Club) and it gets out there." How right she is. "So I'd say Colin Powell."

Hmm, Colin Powell to head the World Bank. Angelina has the right idea. But let's settle this in a fair, if not balanced fashion: whoever find the secret Bourne ending first, wins the post. Who's mo' intrepid with the easter eggs, Bono, or Colin, or ..even long-hair Malcolm?! *Blink, blink* The Bunny knows!
More on this later (on Ms. Jolie, not the Bunny).