Web Recommendations

Ain’t No Grave: The Johnny Cash Project

The video for "Ain't No Grave", a cut from Johnny Cash's last album is pretty amazing, in part because everytime you see it, it's never the exact same video.  It's also amazing because you can contribute to it.

The Johnny Cash Project is an Herculean effort to create a music video for that song from an huge number of drawings — each done by a different person — traced over simple frames that, strung together, become what you see below (or similar to it).

Visit the website to add your own frame.

Ricky Gervais Scares Elmo?

This is one of the best things I've read on the Intertubes in a while.

Basically, it is an article on a parenting website called Parentdish.  The author focuses on a Sesame Street skit in which Ricky Gervais appears at Elmo's bedside to sing him a lullaby.

Read the article, watch the video, and then read the comments.  Here.

Finally, The Web Becomes Useful

Only remember a few lyrics, but can't think of the song's name?

Go to Lyricrat, type them in, and LyricRat will tell you the song.

Or twitter the lyrics to @LyricRat on Twitter, and it will respond with the song title.

It does pretty well even if you don't know the lyrics.  "Wrapped up like a douche, another rubber in the night" will probably still get you "Blinded By The Light"

Landlord Of The Flies

It's rare that a blog is worth reading from start to finish, but this one is the exception.  Less than two months old, the blog Stranger Than Eviction, tells the account of one man's recent struggle with his landlord.

It's a quick read, and an amusing one.  Start from the first post (at the end) and go forward.

Google Maps With Webcams

A pretty cool new feature to Google Maps was added today.

Go to Google Maps, click "More", and check "Webcams".  Now Google Maps will be embedded with live webcams.

UPDATE:  Hmmm.  A few bugs perhaps.  For example, if you go to Google Maps and zoom in to the webcam just southeast of Louisville, Kentucky……

Google 2001 And The Erotic Me

Want to search Google as it was (and as the Internet was) in January 2001?

Now you can.

UPDATE:  I searched my name to see if I had any Internet presence way (way?) back then. 

I didn’t, really. 

Well, sort of.  My name ("Ken Ashford") appears in this NSFW erotic story that somebody wrote. 

I first appear in Chapter 6, with this unflattering character description:

Karen also advised me about Ken Ashford.  I’d better explain about Ken. Ken was one of the boys in my class. He was small, thin and wore glasses. The other boys used to make fun of him and bully him, and I felt really sorry for him. They called him "The Weed" and "Nerd", and they’d bump him accidentally on purpose, and make him drop his books, then knock him over when he tried to pick them up. You know what kids are like. Nothing serious, just enough to make his life an utter misery. I used to look at Ken and think about how my step-father used to treat me. I felt sorry for him, and I just wanted to protect him.

Ken retreated into his books. He used to get really good grades, which made things worse for him, of course. He didn’t suck up to the teachers, but because he knew all the answers, all the boys thought he was a creep. The girls did too, so when I asked Karen about him, she thought I was insane. "He’s just a weed, Sandi. You could get Tod if you wanted to."

And here’s an excerpt from Chapter 7 entitled "Ken Gets Rescued":

Then I bent over Ken, took him in my arms, and gently helped him stand up. I kept my arms round him protectively as he stood, holding him while he cried hysterically into my shoulder. I stroked his hair, and said "There, there", and cuddled him till he stopped crying. Then I led him into the cafeteria, and bought him a glass of milk, and kept my arm round him while he drank it. He leaned into my shoulder, still weeping slightly. I felt like I’d just won a lottery – I knew that after this, getting off with Ken would be a doddle.

He told me that he couldn’t take the bullying any more, he was planning to leave school and get some kind of menial job. I told him he was much too bright for that, and he should stay in school and go on to college. But, he said, the way the boys picked on him was too much for him, he simply couldn’t go on.

I put both my arms round him and held him close, feeling his soft body trembling against my breasts. We were sitting down, so he didn’t feel as short as he usually did. I dried his eyes with a tissue serviette, and gave him a little kiss on the lips. He didn’t respond, but neither did he shrink away, so I kissed him again. I called him "Little Kenny", I told him not to worry so much about those dumb boys, that I’d take care of him, and I stroked his hair and made reassuring noises. Gradually, he stopped sobbing.

"It’s all right for you, Sandi. You’re so big and strong, everyone’s scared of you. They wouldn’t bully me if I were strong like you, but I’m just a little weed, so they push me around." Ken was just over five feet tall, wearing shoes, and he weighed well under a hundred pounds. As I held him, I felt his arms, and they were like pipe cleaners. There was no muscle at all, and hardly any flab. Just bones, covered with skin. I just wanted to protect him from the cruel world. "Oh, Sandi, you’re so powerful. I’ve seen your muscles; if I had half your strength I’d be happy."

I moved my big strong hands over his small, helpless body, gently massaging his chest with my hands. He winced a bit when I rubbed his body, and I tried to be even more gentle with him. I pulled his head down to my breasts, and let him feel how soft I was there. He turned his head sideways and closed his eyes. I held his head to my bosom, and stroked his hair, and I felt him gradually relax as the terror of the fight drained out of him.

We must have sat there for an hour. I was missing my regular work-out, but I didn’t care. Little Kenny needed me to cuddle and soothe him, and that was what I wanted to do. Eventually it was time to go home.

It gets worse from there.  By Chapter 16 — well, I don’t want to talk about it.

Mostly Male

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 37%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 63%

That’s me.

It comes from a place on the Internet which reads your browsing history, and determines whether you are a man or a woman. 

Thank God I’ve made a few visits to mlb.com…..

Everyman Photo Contest

The annual Everyman Photo Contest is a photo contest exclusively for non-photographers, operating on the assumption that every person has one taken one really excellant photo at one point in their lives.  I may be the sole exception to that rule, which is probably why I’m attracted to the site.

Anyway, I finally went to the site of the 2007 Everyman Photo contest winners.  It’s a good way to get wisked away for a few minutes.  I especially like the fact that they award prizes in an "From The Attic" category — photos taken long ago.

7onherwaycongerj

Pictured above: "On Her Way" (1946)

The Web’s Largest Webpage

The largest webpage is 9 quadrillion pixels wide by 9 quadrillion pixels tall.  If you could see it laid out without scroll buttons, it would be 17 billion times the surface are of the Earth.

And if you were to repeatedly click (or hold down) the right arrow on the scroll bar, thus moving the image from the left hand side to the right hand side, it would take you half a million years to reach the end.

That’s one big page, and it’s right here.  (No, it doesn’t take long too load at all….)

JC Penney Catalogue From 1977

You really should read the whole post:

Here’s how to get your ass kicked pretty much anywhere:

I’ll bet these guys do ok with the ladies. If you look at that picture quickly, it looks like Mr. Bob "No-pants" Saget has his hand in the other guy’s pocket. In this case, he doesn’t, although you can tell just by looking at them that it’s happened – or if it hasn’t happened it will. Oh yes. It will. As soon as he puts down his color-coordinated coffee cup.

LOLCat Bible

If you aren’t familiar with LOLCats or Icanhascheezburger by now:

(1)  Where have you been?; and

(2)  Don’t bother to read further.

it seems that some intrepid timewaster is translating the Bible into LOLcat-eze.  Here’s a sample from Genesis 1:

1. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat was invisible, and he maded the skiez and da earths, but he did not eated it.

2. The earths wus witout shapez & wus dark & scary & stufs, & he rode invisible bike over teh waterz.

3. & Ceiling Cat sayz, i can has light? and & light wuz.

4. & Ceiling Cat sawed teh light, to sees stufs, & speraratered the light form dark & stufs

5. & Ceiling Cat sayed light Day & dark no Day. Teh evning & morning was teh first day.

6. & Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh ceilingz of waterz, with waterz up & waterz down. & he maded hole in teh Ceiling.

7. & Ceiling Cat doed the skiez with waterz down & waterz up, & stuff.

8. & Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint, so evning & morning was teh twoth day.

9. & Ceiling Cat gotted all no waterz into ur base, so no waterz wus not wetted

10. & Ceiling Cat called no wather Earths, so tehre.

11. & Ceiling Cat sayed, wants grass and stuff! so yield seedz & stufs, and fruitzors & vegbatels.

12. & Ceiling Cat sawed that weedz ish teh good stuff, so, letz tehre be weed. (& catnipz 2, so wen i makes kittehs they can getz hai.)

Well, DIP-Something, Anyway

DipnoteThe United States State Department, those geniuses who brought you the War in Iraq and Blackwater and all, have suddenly discovered the Internet phenomenon known as the "blog".

That’s right, the State Department now has a blog, and given it the totally unmockable name, DIPNOTE.

Virtually unreadable with its small-white-on-black text, it has already become a comical failure.  Some actual comments I culled in response to the blog’s very first post:

Andrew in Pennsylvania writes:
Let’s hope that we can engage in a real dialogue, and not just re-hashed press releases. To be honest, your initial comments on the Blackwater incident are not particuarly forthcoming or current – there is far more info available from the Wash Post, NYTimes, or that great new milblog site, www.uscavonpoint.com. Posted on Fri Sep 28, 2007

Edward writes:
If the U.S. decides to bomb Iran, will the President seek a declaration of war first or will he just go ahead and start the war on his own authority? In my view, the President should obtain a declaration of war before bombing Iran.
An American Citizen Posted on Mon Oct 01, 2007

Brian writes:
Uh, guys. The DipNote name is a shining example of your serious disconnect from the world of public discourse. Believe me, "Diplomatic" is not the word that springs to mind when hearing/reading "Dip".

It’s "Dipstick". Look that up in "The Urban Dictionary".
" dip
A rip to use on a person who is confused, or looking stupid in a situation. Also a person who is dim, moronic, or a simple minded ass-hole."
"Dipstick
One who has the intelligence of an oil dipstick in a car. Usually the oil is dirty and "not too bright" much like the person being described.

I see that the sun doesn’t shine on your field you dipstick!
_______
Dipstick
a loser, idiot " Posted on Mon Oct 01, 2007

Sandra in Virginia writes:
I hate to post such a mundane first comment, but the color scheme of white text on a black background will keep me from coming back to see what is posted. Please change it. My eyes aren’t 20 years old any longer, and they are only going to get worse over time. Posted on Tue Oct 02, 2007

Dave in Virginia writes:
Please change the color scheme! The white on black is VERY hard to read. Increase the font size as well, if you will.

Thank you! Posted on Tue Oct 02, 2007

Don in Virginia writes:
Excellent Idea. BLACK text and WHITE background. Communications 101 – Your computer folks could make the change in minutes. Don’t call an inter departmental or inter agency meeting, don’t bother with feasibility studies or focus groups. "Just do it". Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007

Alan in New York writes:
I agree with earlier comments – great idea, horrible name. Dipnote is a fine term within the context of diplomatic jargon – as a blog title, it sounds way too close to "dipshit." Brainstorm for a new title.
Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007

Corine in Washington writes:
Hello. I am a journalist. Do you think it will be easier to get replies to inquiries if we ask questions on the blog than over the phone to State Department Officials ?
Thank you
Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007

Jason writes:
This blog is great. It will allow the world to keep track of your pretending to engage in diplomacy with Iran while your "administration" plans to bomb them without Congressional authorization, practical justification, the support of the American people, international legal support, or even the most basic sense of right and wrong.

Thanks for keeping us safe by radicalizing half-a-million Muslim citizens. Great work! Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007

Jagorev in New York writes:
…I CAN’T READ ANY OF THE TEXT
Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007

B writes:
Will Condi be posting periodically, sharing tips on diplomacy and negotiating and what not? You guys still do that, right? She still works there, right?
Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007

Jennifer in Michigan writes:
You have GOT to be kidding!! I’d tell you what I really think of your circa ’99 great blog experiment, but I’m afraid of being wiretapped and put under surveillance. Or worse. I’m sure this will be a smashing success, just like every other single thing this administration has gotten its hands on.
Posted on Wed Oct 03, 2007

Timewasters

QuickstackSome online games with a low-learning curve.  No downloads.  Nothing to install. Perfect for the 20 minute office break, we’re told:

10. QWERTY Warriors – If Mavis Beacon’s typing games got you all hot and bothered, you’ll love QWERTY Warrors. You play the role of a little guy in the middle of a field as all kinds of robotic enemies advance towards you. To kill them, you type their “name” and hit Enter.

9. The Like Better Game – This is the kind of “game” that appeals to people who sit around taking personality tests and posting them to their MySpace profiles. The site shows you a series of pictures and you just click on the one you like better. Every so often, the little pink brain will light up to let you know that it knows something about you (based on your choices).

8. Word Puzzles – If you like getting headaches, you’ll love the lateral thinking and logic puzzles at Folj.com. They offer hints and solutions, so you won’t go through all that suffering without the sweet release of knowing the true answer.

7. Web Sudoku – Unlike pencil and paper version of the game, Web Sudoku has a feature called “How am I Doing?” that allows you to check your work at any time.

6. Shuffle – All you have to do with this one is use your red balls to knock off the opponents yellow balls. It’s incredibly simple and totally addictive.

4. Dice Mogul – Dice Mogul is like Monopoly with a mean streak. In addition to buying properties and adding buildings, you can get bonuses that allow you to steal properties or delete an opponent’s bonuses.

4. Sim City Classic – Unfortunately, you’ll have to register for this one. It’s worth it, though. If you grew up with computers, you’ll almost definitely feel a bit nostalgic playing the original SimCity.

3. Trivial Blitz – They supply the category, you select the boxes that fit in the category. You get more money with each selection, but you risk it all with each move.

2. BoomShine – Deceptively simple. You click the dot and it expands, setting off a chain reaction of expanding dots with each one it touches. Your goal is to include as many dots as possible in each chain reaction.

1. Quick Stack – Quick Stack is quick, simple, colorful, and highly addictive. The upside, though, is that you’ll probably get sick of in less than 20 minutes, so it won’t distract you from too much work.

Crime Spree

Clever idea for a book.  I love it.

Two guys go on a crime spree across America, and write a book about it.  It’s entitled "You Can Get Arrested For That".

The laws they broke?  Stupid ones.

For example, it is illegal in Chicago to go fishing in your pajamas.  So….

Fishing 

In Pittsburgh, it is illegal to sleep on a refridgerator.  So….

Fridge_2

You get the idea….

LOL Cats

Time magazine focuses on the web phenomenon, icanhasacheezburger.com:

Take a picture of a cat doing something cute. Then make up a caption–something witty that the cat would be saying if cats could talk. Bear in mind that cats can’t spell all that well and that they’re not so hot on subject-verb agreement either. Photoshop the caption onto the image, and post your creation on a blog. What you get is lolcats: lol for laugh out loud, cats for cats.

It’s easier to show lolcats than to explain it. The oldest known example–which probably dates to 2006–is an image of a chubby gray kitty looking at the camera and asking plaintively, I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER? Later came a shot of a kitten in a state of feline outrage, standing over a plate of what look like clementines and meowing DO NOT WANT. A ginger cat caught in midleap, hind legs pedaling furiously, appears over the words INVISIBLE BIKE. A fierce-looking tabby crouches in a well-stocked refrigerator: IM IN UR FRIDGE EATIN UR FOODZ. You get the idea.

Here’s the one that started the whole thing:

Cheezburger_410

Mental Floss has more on the origins of the lolcats phenomenon.

Anyway, it’s a very cute site.

Newshoe2big_2

Yerputterizreadynow

Whatchumeani2sml4chzbrgr

It’s even spawned a few spoofs, like LOL Trek:

Wehastrouble21

Glenn’s Book

51tuynjb29l_aa240_In November 2005, I read a post by a what-was-then-new voice in the progressive blogosphere, that of former civil rights and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald.  The blog was called "Unclaimed Territory".  We had a few nice email exchanges at the time, initially prompted by the fact that we both went to NYU Law School in the early nineties and had a couple of classes together (he was a year behind me). 

He is a very elucidating writer, a thorough researcher, and is gifted with incredible analytical skills.  Everything I’m not.

Glenn’s star quickly rose, as anyone who reads him (and his readers number in the millions now) can understand.  In 2006, he won the Koufax Award for best new blog.  In early 2006, he broke a story on his blog regarding the NSA scandal that served as the basis for front-page articles in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, all of which credited his blog for the story.

In May 2006, Glenn published his first book, "How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values From a President Run Amok," which critiqued the radical theories of executive power used by the Bush administration to justify everything from lawbreaking powers to the use of torture to indefinite detention of American citizens. The book was an instant bestseller, rising to No. 1 on Amazon’s Best Seller List and remaining there for almost a full week. The book also debuted at No. 11 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and remained on the list for the next two months.

He has sinced moved his location to Salon (who hired him) and is widely recognized as one of the most important voices of the progressive left.

His second book, "A Tragic Legacy: How A Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed The Bush Presidency" goes on sale today.  Already, it is #26 at Amazon.

Buy it.

Counting To One Million

Not sure why, but this guy is counting to one million, live, on his webcam.

It will take him quite a while.  He started Monday and he’s up to 55,000.  He’s not doing it non-stop — he sleeps, answers viewer questions, and so on.  A few radio interviews.

It’ll take him about 3 months.

Oooh.  He just started up again.  He wants to know out another 1,000 (from 55,000 to 56,000) before another interview.

Google Snooping

If you ever use Google maps, you may have noticed an interesting new feature: Google Streetview.

Most online maps nowadays (including Google) now have satellite images which can be superimposed over the map.  Streetview goes one step further — click on the map, and you get a picture of what the street looks like from street-level, facing any direction.

Obviously, most streets in the world won’t have those images on Google map, so don’t bother looking for your house/street.  But right now, there’s a Google truck driving all around New York, Oakland and other places, taking constant images from all angles for loading onto Google Maps.

What Googlephiles are finding are lot of interesting images — like people entering porn shops, some public displays of affection, etc.

Here’s a site that keeps an ongoing list….

I Used To Believe

UsetobelieveNot to be confused with This I Believe, I Used To Believe is a charming little website that collects childhood beliefs submitted by contributors.  Some examples:

"I used to believe that there was a magical ingredient in birthday cakes that allowed you to age another year, and that’s why you had to eat it."

"I used to think that vanilla was the absence of chocolate, not its own flavor."

"Once, when I was 8, I told my Mom about this weird experience I had where the exact same thing happened to me twice. She explained that it hadn’t happened twice, but that I had déjà vu. The next day at school, I told all of my friends that I had this weird French disease that made me get stuck in time and repeat things I’d already done."

"When I was a kid, I was very afraid of chicken pot pies, and wondered why anyone would ever eat any such thing. It was probably because I wasn’t yet clearly hearing a distinction between ‘chicken pot’ and ‘chicken pox’. So I must have been thinking of them as ‘chicken pox pies’."

"I used to believe that whenever I went into the restroom in public, everyone outside instantly stopped whatever they were doing and all paused to listen to the speakers which were placed all around the store so that everyone could listen to me in the bathroom. Of course, everyone went back to normal once I came from the bathroom."

"I used to believe that when the judge sentenced a criminal to an impossibly long sentence (like 100+ years) that they kept his body in prison after he died until it was there for the whole sentence."

"when i was a little girl i believed that the veils on a nun’s habit were nailed to their heads and that they were all bald underneath it and that they slept in it and never took it off! that is what my brother told me. at religious instructions class i asked a nun if it hurt when they pounded the nails in. she took me aside into a cloak room and took off the veil to reveal her beautiful long hair"

"As a four-year-old with a very large vocabulary, I decided the ‘Civil War’ was the one war where everybody pretended they were nice to everyone else. For example, a soldier would offer the enemy a cigarette, shoot him when he least expected it, and then pretend to be sad about it."

"I used to believe that speedbumps were actually there for the blind to drive, and they read it like braille. Thanks to my older brother and sister of course."

I suppose I — like everyone — had some crazy beliefs as a child, too.  I just can’t remember them.

Do My Stuff

DomystuffI find this appealing — an eBay-like service where people post their chores they don’t want to do:

Whether is cleaning out your gutters, buffing your car or being a good father to your children, you can post it up. People then bid down on your task, until you select someone to do the work. You then place your money in escrow with the company, until the task is accomplished and your new slave assistant gets paid. It’s possible to limit bidding by location, and, well, that’s it.

It’s called domystuff.com and if it catches on (the way eBay has done), it could become one of those indepensible things of daily life (for some).  One wonders, however, how far people will take the phrase "do my stuff".

Book-A-Minute

Yesterday was Movie-A-Minute; today is Book-A-Minute.  Some examples:

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Ebenezer Scrooge

Bah, humbug. You’ll work thirty-eight hours on Christmas Day, keep the heat at five degrees, and like it.

Ghost of Jacob Marley

Ebenezer Scrooge, three ghosts of Christmas will come and tell you you’re mean.

Three Ghosts of Christmas

You’re mean.

Ebenezer Scrooge

At last, I have seen the light. Let’s dance in the streets. Have some money.

THE END

TAMING OF THE SHREW

Katharina

Spit. Hiss.

Petruchio

Shut your mouth before I hit you.

Katharina

I can be civilized now that a man has bossed me around. I love you madly, Petruchio.

THE END

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

(Charlie gets a TON of Willy Wonka chocolate bars.)

Charlie

Hooray. I’m an instant winner.

Willy Wonka

Hi kids. Four of you will undergo severe physiological distress that in the real world would get me sued, and one will be picked to be the Special One.

(Charlie gets picked.)

THE END

ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN

Someone

Alas. Something is wrong.

Encyclopedia Brown

Never fear. I will solve the mystery by employing my repertoire of obscure facts as a thinly disguised device for teaching kids educational information.

(He does.)

THE END

Twitter

TwitterI have to confess — I never really understood Twitter.

For those of you who don’t know, Twitter is a website — one growing in popularity — that allows users (no fee, it’s free to join) to post what they are doing right now.  This isn’t like a blog, where the user might write lengthy posts about what they’re doing now generally.  No — this is a site where people write (or text) short sentences with things like:

quiz after lunch, and i have no lunch to eat, o well

and

On my way to the health club

and so on.  And then, anyone who wants to know what you’re doing, just signs on and reads.

Now, my mother, like most mothers, has an interest in how I’m doing and what I’m doing with my life, but even she doesn’t need that much updating.  Isn’t this the height in vanity to think that anyone really gives a crap what you ate for lunch ten minutes ago?

I know what you’re saying.  You’re saying "Dude, what makes you think I give a crap about the things you blog about?  Isn’t that the same thing?"

To that, I respond — listen, "dude".  I blog for me.  Yes, I have in mind that some people read this, and I am equally confused and flattered as to why.  It’s nice (or it will be, I hope) to look back at what was going on 2, 3, 10 years ago.

But this Twitter thing is a little extreme and self-indulgent.

That said, I gotta hand it once again to the Edwards campaign for making use of Twitter.

Maybe sometime I’ll see the need/use/fun of Twitter.  Right now though, I just scratch my head.

PostSecret – Blog Of The Year

The winners 2007 Bloggies have just been announced and it’s all very interesting.  The Blog of The Year is a site I’ve mentioned before: PostSecret.

PostSecret is an ad-free community weblog in which anybody, even you, can send in your anonymous secrets by postcard (or, in these days, electronic postcard).  The site has proven so popular, it has inspired a book.

To give you a taste, here are some submissions to PostSecret from the past few days:

Costco_1

Christian

Racist

Nicekickboxing

Sometimes uplifting, sometimes funny, sometimes depressing, but always compelling, site.

For the complete list of other Bloggie nominees and winners, go here.

The Nietzche Family Circus

I like this site: it pairs random Family Circle drawings with random Nietzche quotes.

Example:

166famcir

"To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence."

Another one:

52famcir

"There are no facts, only interpretations."

Okay, one more:

84famcir

Has a woman who knew herself to be well dressed ever caught a cold?

Uh, whatevs.

Name That Tune

Got a tune stuck in your head, but can’t identify it?

Go to this site, hum 15 seconds (you’ll need a microphone hooked up to your computer), and it’ll tell you the song.

Of course, your results may vary depending on how well you hum.  Still, it’s a cool idea.

A Better(?) Search Engine

Google is boring.  Yahoo search is boring.

At least compared to Ms. Dewey.  CNET explains:

A sultry woman who makes wisecracks related to the keywords that are typed in. The search results appear as a long, scrolling list in a window that pops up on the upper right.

Set against a futuristic cityscape background, Ms. Dewey–with her hair pulled back–probably represents a digital-age librarian. Her name refers to the Dewey Decimal classification system used for cataloging books in libraries.

Her quips relating to keywords range from mundane and silly to provocative. For instance, during a search for "George Bush" she mentioned how easy it was to make jokes about the president. For a search for "sex" she picked up a yellow ergonomic exercise ball and said "Safety first, and make sure you get it on film." And when I searched on my CNET News.com colleague Greg Sandoval’s name, she said "Oh Greg, you do give good search."

She turns obnoxious when the user isn’t typing in keywords, though, saying things like "Helloooo, type something here," while pointing to the search box, and tapping the "glass" screen and asking "Anyone there?" She also pretends to lasso the user and reel him or her in. But most of the time she stands around alternating between looking bored or being coquettish.

I tried her.  She’s slow to load, and slow to give search results, but …it is kinda fun.

Msdewey

Facebook Open To All, Starting Today

Go there.  Here’s why it’s better than myspace:

Facebook is clean; you can’t add stupid music videos or sparkly lights or huge text to your profile. It’s much more professional-looking, and the features are quite useful. MySpace, on the other hand, feels like the internet circa-1997. Sure, the kids love it, but it’s uglier than anything else on the net.

I tried MySpace for about a week and gave it up. All of my friends save one or two are on Facebook anyway. I just don’t see MySpace having a future in three or four years, but Facebook could be an internet staple if they play their cards right.

Another testimonial, talking about Facebook’s decision (effective today) to open up registration to everyone:

Well, as an avid facebook user, I think it’s a good move. I think it will become a good alternative to the other social networking sites on the web. Opening up to the public will just help facebook because it has a lot of the privacy features that MySpace lacks. Plus, I don’t have to worry about having an epileptic seizure everytime I go to someone’s profile as with MySpace, and it just a great way to keep in touch, so why not let everyone in?

Or read this testimonial of why Facebook is better than myspace (ironically, it’s on mySpace)

And yes, Facebook is faster and easier to navigate.

I’m telling you people.  MySpace is the afro and bell bottoms of the Internet.  In 3-4 years, nobody except little kids will be using it.

Something Which May Make MySpace Bearable

There are a lot of reasons I hate Myspace, but mostly I hate the idea of it.  It’s like one huge crowded online pickup bar, except with tacky decor, no booze, and a high school cafeteria mentality.  It’s easy to understand why college students abandon Myspace and go to something like Facebook.  And why adults prefer Blogger or Typepad or LiveJournal.

I mean — sure, it’s nice to visit "friends" on Myspace — if you have to — but it’s all the same.

Sure, some people try to individualize the "look" of their Myspace space, but mostly what you end up looking at (assuming you can navigate through to their space) is tiny unreadable words against a LOUD backdrop. 

People, people, people — you don’t need to take a class in website design to know what is and isn’t crappy looking.  If you want me to visit your Myspace, make it an enjoyable experience for me — don’t throw buckets of flashing neon pixels in my face.  It gives me seizures.

Fortunately, there may be a solution.  This program, a script for Greasemonkey, removes all the "style sheets’ that Myspace users force on you.  Instead, everything appears in Myspace’s bland (but readable) default style.

Unfortunately, Greasemonkey is an add-on program for the Firefox browser, and not Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.  Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

Oral Fixation

ToothpasteryflickrOn Flickr, the photo-sharing website, some user named "toothpastery" is publishing photos of her toothpaste.

Twice a day.

Every day.

Along with a description of the toothpaste.

Apparently, it’s art.  The profile of "toothpastery" (which identifies her real name as "Joanna") explains:

For the most part, I’m probably just objectifying toothpaste in an unhealthy way.

These images are methodically captured, lovingly hand-tagged and uploaded daily.

This is more boring for me than it is for you.

Yes, I imagine so.

[Via Boing Boing]

What We’re Surfing For

These are the top viewed pages at Wikipedia for the past 4 days.  It sort of serves as a good bookmark of what people are interested in as they surf for information on the internets.

My only question is: why all the interest in Irukandji jellyfish?

Views per day Percent Title
1700750 ± 20% 4.1629% 1. Main Page
56000 ± 114% 0.1371% 2. Wikipedia
51250 ± 119% 0.1254% 3. United States
49750 ± 121% 0.1218% 4. JonBenét Ramsey
37000 ± 140% 0.0906% 5. List of big-bust models and performers
35250 ± 144% 0.0863% 6. Pluto
35000 ± 144% 0.0857% 7. Irukandji jellyfish
34000 ± 146% 0.0832% 8. Hurricane Katrina
32000 ± 151% 0.0783% 9. Wiki
29500 ± 157% 0.0722% 10. Jeff Hardy
29250 ± 158% 0.0716% 11. List of sex positions
28750 ± 159% 0.0704% 12. World Wrestling Entertainment roster
27750 ± 162% 0.0679% 13. Wii
27250 ± 163% 0.0667% 14. List of female porn stars
26000 ± 167% 0.0636% 15. Pokémon
25750 ± 168% 0.0630% 16. Pornography
24250 ± 173% 0.0594% 17. Celebrity sex tape
23250 ± 177% 0.0569% 18. Neighbours
22500 ± 180% 0.0551% 19. Volkswagen Type 2
22500 ± 180% 0.0551% 20. Priyanka Chopra

“Beautiful Dead Girls”

Since the media is once again obsessed with the death of adorable little Jon-Benet Ramsey, Kos diarist "hrh" thought he would shine the spotlight on some other beautiful dead girls — the ones the media doesn’t talk about.  Read it.

RELATED: Juan Cole has thoughts of his own, comparing the saturation news coverage of Jon-Benet Ramsey with another case:

But although I mind this pollution of the air waves with something that is not, whatever it is, news, the main thing I mind is the racism.

The case of Abeer al-Janabi, the little fourteen-year old Iraqi girl who was allegedly raped and killed after being stalked by a US serviceman would never be given the wall to wall coverage treatment.

That is frankly because the victim was not a blonde, blue-eyed American, but a black-eyed, brunette Iraqi. Both victims were pretty little girls. Both were killed by sick predators. But whereas endless speculation about the Ramsey case, to the exclusion of important real news stories, is thought incumbent in cabalnewsland, Abeer al-Janabi’s death is not treated obsessively in the same way. In the hyperlinked story above, CNN even calls the little girl a “woman” at first mention, because the US military indictment did so. Only later in the article is it revealed that she was a little girl. The very pedophiliac nature of the crime is more or less covered up in the case of al-Janabi, even as looped video of Ramsay as too grown up is endlessly inflicted on us.

The message US cable news is sending by this privileging of some such stories over others of a similar nature is that some lives are worth more than others, and some people are “us” whereas other people are “Other” and therefore lesser. Indeed, it is precisely this subtle message sent by American media that authorized so much taking of innocent Iraqi life in the first place. British officers have repeatedly complained that too many of those serving in the US military in Iraq view Iraqis as subhuman (one used the term Untermeschen). Where did they get that idea?