Now you're blazing!

I can already tell that Glenn Beck's new website ("we hired some actual journalists"!) is going to be one of my favorites. Here's a sub-header from today:

"Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque, claims to be a Jew, Christian, and a Muslim. But some say that's impossible."


Might just be crazy enough to work

Via Daring Fireball, I submit to you Google CEO Eric Schmidt (not pictured):
 “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
"Would you prefer someone else [gather and store all this information about we the people]?” Schmidt shot back – to laughter and even greater applause. “Is there a government that you would prefer to be in charge of this?”
Gruber replies,
"Maybe the question isn’t who should hold this information, but rather should anyone hold this information."
Yeah, it's a little late for that. Despite the fervent wishes of some of this blog's readers, it seems highly unlikely that we will reverse the penetration of the information age into our lives. First, more of us would have to want to. People gotta have their facebooks.

As I've been saying for some time, the task now isn't to try to stop the inevitable leaking of information, but to build social institutions and norms for coping with a world bereft of privacy.
"[Schmidt] predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites."
Gruber says this makes Schmidt "creepy," but at least it's acknowledging the real problem and proposing a solution.

I think that solution is somewhat fantastical and naive, but I'm sure the rest of you think that my hazily defined "politeness" standards are equally unrealistic.

What do you think? If you've got kids, do you want them avoiding adult embarrassment by changing their name  when they get out of high school (or, if they were like us, college)? And won't Google just create a widget for collating your two histories.


Episode IV, Now We're Really Screwed [Updated]

If you think about Star Wars episodes 1-3 (which I tried very hard not to do, because they were traumatic enough without me applying my brain) there are some serious inconsistencies between the back story alluded to in the original films and the same story revealed in the new ones.

Via Kottke, Keith Martin finds a way to reconcile the differences. And in his version, R2D2 and Chewbacca are master spies who are ready to assassinate either Luke or Leia without mercy if they show the slightest tendency towards sithiness.

On first seeing R2, Obi-Wan has a twinkle in his eye and calls him "my little friend". Well, he is. However, when Luke wakes up and says that R2 claimed to be owned by an Obi-Wan Kenobi, he blandly says "I don't seem to remember ever owning a droid." Ben has in fact owned several but the remark is aimed at R2 and translates as "You keep quiet. I'm not about to tell him everything just yet." Obi-Wan thinks fast and tells Luke a version of his past that does not involve a father who became a dark lord of the Sith. He wants to examine Luke a lot more closely before he risks telling him the real truth. 

img via

UPDATE: Here's the link


Son of Return of Dumb Games

Sorry for the lack of posting. I'm fixing it.

To get things going again, I invite you... GO TO HELL!


I brought in some marketing guys to whip up a social media strategy for this blog

... and here it is:
Increase organic growth by exposing audiences to the brand through breakthrough viral communications 

via WTF is my social media strategy? Making it up so you don't have to.


Also, my wife never answers her phone

Clive Thompson reports that we (we the people, not he and I) are making fewer phone calls, and the length of the calls is also going down. He explains this as follows:

This generation doesn’t make phone calls, because everyone is in constant, lightweight contact in so many other ways: texting, chatting, and social-network messaging. And we don’t just have more options than we used to. We have better ones: These new forms of communication have exposed the fact that the voice call is badly designed. It deserves to die.
Consider: If I suddenly decide I want to dial you up, I have no way of knowing whether you’re busy, and you have no idea why I’m calling. We have to open Schrödinger’s box every time, having a conversation to figure out whether it’s OK to have a conversation. Plus, voice calls are emotionally high-bandwidth, which is why it’s so weirdly exhausting to be interrupted by one. (We apparently find voicemail even more excruciating: Studies show that more than a fifth of all voice messages are never listened to.)
The telephone, in other words, doesn’t provide any information about status, so we are constantly interrupting one another. The other tools at our disposal are more polite. Instant messaging lets us detect whether our friends are busy without our bugging them, and texting lets us ping one another asynchronously. (Plus, we can spend more time thinking about what we want to say.) For all the hue and cry about becoming an “always on” society, we’re actually moving away from the demand that everyone be available immediately.[)]

Much of this has been so obviously true for some time that Thompson shouldn't need to write it and I should not need to blog about it. 

I'm interested in the next step here, though. Tons of my friends and virtually all of my coworkers have iPhones. But many do not like to enable instant messaging or their work email account on the phone. For them, it crosses a line in terms of their availability to the man. But having all of those tools available makes it so much easier for the rest of us to creatively cope with workload that depriving oneself of that flexibility seems absolutely insane to me. 

In old movies, people would take the phone off the hook when they didn't want to be reached. These days, we just don't answer every chat. 

What about you, dear readers? Does your smartphone keep you tethered to work, or help you get free?

img credit
eXTReMe Tracker