Monday, December 09, 2013
I hope you will try out the new social service I’m prototyping: Will You Please Pull Over. It’s an online citation generation thing, a way to express your indignation and sort of the anti-badge. Let me know what you think.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I spent the morning learning more about Bootstrap. Here's an example of stacked pills that lets you toggle between four different versions of George and Ira Gershwin's "Embraceable You." Thanks to David Cochran for the tutorial.
I couldn't find Joshua Bell's version in a readily embeddable form so the audio is just a sample. You should buy it. The barrier gave me an opportunity to try out another nice open source offering -- Jplayer. I used the circle player. (Except it doesn't seem to be working in IE. Oh well for now.)
I think Bell must be so connected with his violin that it's like his own voice. Have you heard him make it sing when he plays other pieces written for the voice -- like "O Mio Babbino Caro?" Gorgeous.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Thwarted. I haven’t tried to embed audio from NPR for a few months, and unless I’m missing something, they have discontinued the opportunity. What a shame.
I can only guess somebody made a decision that they wanted to support only sharing methods that send traffic to the NPR.org site. If that’s the case, it makes think less of public radio. Certainly YouTube does not suffer from allowing bloggers to place its media on external pages. Is independent blogging so on the wane that the only sharing methods deemed with bothering with are Twitter, Facebook and email? I adore the David Weinberger vision of the web as a collection of “small pieces loosely joined,” but the idea sure loses its idealistic promise when only the big commercial social players can play.
Maybe they’ll surprise me and the feature will come back; maybe they’re cooking up an all-new HTML5 scheme or something that will cheer me up. You think?
Saturday, January 26, 2013
People who used to blog don’t blog anymore. It’s too easy to tweet, but you can’t develop an idea in 140 characters, can’t go deep, can’t really discuss. You just blurt. Somebody might blurt back. You half-satisfy the blogging urge by getting a sliver of the thought you wanted to share out into the world.
What’s the answer? I guess blogging has to be made even easier, or blogging has to be re-imagined, or maybe there’s a cross between microblogging and plain ole blogging. Or a whole new sub-medium has to evolve or be invented.
Monday, January 14, 2013
It has been nice to see Joe Scarborough distinguishing between relatively sensible gun advocates (like hunters) and the contingent that is all too eager to do battle with the government—and they’re not just talking about a war of words. He terms them “survivalists.” I hope it catches on.
Here’s a guy cheered on by some Palin fans. Others in the comments at C4P urge moderation in discussion of armed rebellion, likely for fear of a negative reflection on their object of affection.
Edited 1/21 with the Scarborough clip from 1/16/2013:
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Chris Hayes was cute yesterday morning on his eponymous MSNBC show in discussing the trillion dollar coin game.
Later on Saturday the Treasury Department announced it has discarded the coin option.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
As an aside to my suggestion to journalists when interviewing gun rights advocates, I feel sure Alex Jones’ mien in the Pier Morgan interview was calculated. He “went off” on cue.
It is part of the success formula of the “conservative entertainment complex,” as David Frum termed it. Members of that complex don’t rake in the cash by taking moderate positions.
They don’t care if they don’t appeal to the masses—in fact, they don’t wish to, because they are eager to be vilified. Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and others are masters of the secret:
- You target an audience of maybe a few hundred thousand citizens who already feel put upon.
- You assure them they are due to suffer even more.
- You paint a picture of a despicable enemy.
- They buy your books, listen to your show, visit your website, fund your PACs—and worship you.
- (You also realize more sales when the opposing party is in power.)
Rachel Maddow nailed the recipe for success among the most extreme conservatives on her Jan. 16 show:
(Please MSNBC, can’t you convince advertisers to supply 10- or 15-second spots for embeds? I posted a 19-second clip the other day and felt downright silly that it had to be preceded by a 30-second commercial. I’m not saying no ads, only shorter ones. And advertisers, consider this. When a prospect sees a commercial that’s longer than the content, they’ll likely be more ticked at you than they are annoyed at a blogger for subjecting them to it. You can get creative if you want to, and it would be in your interest to try.)
After Alex Jones’ wild man display on Piers Morgan’s show last night, gun advocates will want to tone it down and try to go easy on the tyrannical government tack. Here’s a gun rights partisan who thinks the exhibition made his camp look deranged.
Check the comments to the “Truth About Guns” blog post. Not all of the commenters agree that the Infowars entrepreneur was over the top. Catch a whiff of the eagerness to join up with a militia if their rights are threatened. It’s this aspect of this debate that timid journalists may feel more comfortable avoiding, but they have an obligation to tease out an interviewee’s affinity to ”2nd Amendment remedies” when they talk to gun advocates. They’ll have to coax it out because the interview subject won’t bring it up.
We hear about hunting and self protection, yet the fantasy of armed rebellion that makes up a share of certain gun advocates’ zeal rarely is mentioned. Let’s know who you’re talking to, journalists. Do you have the courage to ask?
Related post: Alex Jones knew just what he was doing
Saturday, October 06, 2012
Ezra Klein, subbing for Lawrence O’Donnell last night, pointed out how we’ve seen 0.2-, 0.3- or 0.4-percent drops in the unemployment rate in very recent memory, but that dipping below 8 percent is an important psychological shift.
What I think is funny? It’s the anti-Obama camp that made that imaginary line so important. You remember, all that talk—over and over and over and over—about how Obama promised the rate would stay under 8 if the stimulus plan was enacted? The charge always sounds very whiny to me—like a 4-year-old complaining to a parent, “You promised I could have that toy.”
That “promise” was based on projections prepared by administration economists Christine Romer and Jared Bernstein just before Obama was sworn in, right in the middle of the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. According to the best available numbers at that chaotic time, GDP was shrinking fast and something had to be done. They prescribed a remedy only to learn later that GDP was falling off at triple the rate they used in their projections. In other words, things were a whole lot worse than anybody realized—than anybody could realize—at the time.
But that’s too subtle. Better to say “8 percent” a million times. Now they gotta live with it.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
The last stand of the Paulites at the Republican National Convention was pretty interesting stuff from a political standpoint. But the way the word got out about the RNC’s scuttling of its vocal libertarian wing is even more intriguing if you like to track the rise of the web and the decline of the mainstream media.
First, check out this guy’s YouTube channel and his reporting of the voice vote on that controversial rule about delegate standing.
Ben Swann is a local Fox anchor in Cincinnati who started the RealityCheck channel about six months ago. Maybe local anchors are moonlighting like this all over the country or the world; I had not heard of it. The libertarian is a pro at presenting and the graphics and set are quite slick, too.
Second, notice in the report that two bits of vital info about the story came from delegate cellphones. The “nays” for the voice vote naturally sounds quite a bit louder from the middle of the Paul crowd, so that might not prove anything, but it would explain why Paul supporters are so angry about the outcome. The news that the “ayes have it” had been pre-programmed into John Boehner’s teleprompter script also came via delegate phone video.
Third, Twitter was the medium through which you could learn in real time that some Paul supporters were stuck on a bus circling the hall.
h/t: Dave Weigel
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
On my walk yesterday I couldn’t help but read the chalked messages on the trail. There must have been a run or ride over the weekend, and the mile markers and encouraging messages were still there for me.
Not that I didn’t appreciate the little tips and affirmations, but the cynic in me really wants to bring a piece of chalk next time and suggest in my own message that the walkers, runners and riders will never amount to anything.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
It’s nice to see the whole broad failure of institutions idea picking up traction. It has to be a good thing.
Maureen Dowd must be one of the gang of journalists covering the Jerry Sandusky trial in Pennsylvania. She has a thoughtful column today in the NYTimes about doing the right thing, whistleblowing and more.
I’d probably pay good money to see a discussion of this by Dowd, Chris Hayes and David Simon. Though Dowd can be trivial. Maybe swap her out for Lawrence Lessig, who appeared on Chris Hayes’ Up with Chris show yesterday.
I’m reading Hayes’ new book now which discusses many of these ideas and wraps them around the notion of the American meritocracy. I’d enjoy hearing David Simon’s take on that particular spin.
Simon may have started it all with The Wire. He talks about institutions and how they will betray you in this 2009 interview with Bill Moyers. I think Moyers reduces the idea down too far when he tries to make it all about “juking the stats.” It’s way more than that.
Did you know Simon starting blogging a few weeks ago? I know, I know, my pals in the information-should-be-free world think his positions on paywalls and fair pay for trained and skills journalists make him a clueless fool. That’s one thing he’s definitely not. The funny thing is his motivation for blogging sounds very much like blogging pioneer Dave Winer‘s own tipping point. They both had been misunderstood when they gave interviews and wanted an unfiltered forum, a place to get all nuance-y for an audience that cares about the whole idea behind the soundbite. Do yourself a favor and dig into the posts and their comments. Simon invests himself in the comments.
Thursday, June 07, 2012
And oh what a relief it is (that’s a generation-specific reference), because I had myself all steeled to revert to my first-gen phone and wait the however many weeks or months for the iPhone 5. Let me tell you, I was feeling pretty good about that—thrifty, stoic, self-sacrificing, nay even noble.
Anyway, I thought I’d done everything wrong (tried powering on too soon, plugged into a charger before realizing it was too wet), but it turns out the web recommendations to sink your phone in a heap of rice worked a treat. Guy at the AT&T store told me removing the SIM card had been a good move, too. You can learn all of this if you do what I did when I realized too much pool water had splashed on my phone: search and read. The reason I wanted to narrate my experience was to add a small tip to the gathered netwisdom on the topic that I didn’t learn in my search expedition.
The tips: battery will be drained and pick up some slivered almonds
This morning, after letting the phone sit in a Tupperware container full of rice overnight, I tried to start it and believed it was all over. I took both phones to the store at lunchtime, thinking I would probably end up getting a new SIM and temporarily use the circa 2007 phone. The clever employee tried charging the newer phone and darned if it didn’t turn on, but the charge was at zero. That’s something I had not even considered because I almost always keep my phone charged to 50% or more. I don’t understand the physics of it but something that happened in the process completely zapped any remaining charge.
So, the lesson is: maybe you didn’t screw up. Enhance your calm. Don’t rush into a new contract. If it doesn’t turn on, it might not be fried; it might be just drained.
Oh, and if you’re like me and the closest place that sells rice is an Indian grocery, pick up some slivered almonds while you’re there. You’ll pay about one-tenth the price of those teeny packs you impulse-buy just because the supermarkets put them near the produce. I got idly rice there. It’s sort of barley-shaped and used in making dosa.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Radio/TV and web multimedia are getting closer together, but we still haven’t gotten past some of the old conventions, have we?
What made me think of it today was seeing a “Radio-ready PSAs” category on this U.S. Centers for Disease Control podcasts page. CDC is really savvy about the web. They get their message out with widgets. They were early into podcasts, though they’ve podfaded like a lot of early enthusiasts.
Why can’t public service announcements be more a part of the net culture? Audio and video from non-profits could be embedded solo on blogs and other sites like widgets, appended to videos and podcasts. You could even make a syndication network for them for use in podcasts.
Of course, you might want the announce style to be a little more hip than your booming pipes radio guy. I don’t think that necessarily works anymore, at least it’s a turnoff for me.