Category Archives: Web/Tech

Saturday Odds & Sods: End Of The Line

Rivera

Man at the Crossroads by Diego Rivera.

The image you see above began life as a joke at a rich man’s expense. Nelson Rockefeller commissioned the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera to do a fresco at Rockefeller Center. Big mistake: Rivera was not only a lefty, he was a Communist. If you take a closer look at the image you can see Lenin, Trotsky, and Karl Marx among the figures. The future Governor of New York was not amused and had the mural destroyed. Mercifully for art lovers, Rivera had a friend take pictures of the Rocky mocking work. He later did a second version in Mexico City. Take that, Rocky. There’s a lesson in this story for our times even if Rocky’s politics weren’t as odious as those of the Insult Comedian.

This January is a time for sad songs. End Of The Line is a rock torch song. It was written by Bryan Ferry for Roxy Music’s brilliant 1975 album Siren. I listened to Siren obsessively during the bleakest time of my life and it helped me get through it. Thanks, Roxy.

We begin with the studio version; sung by Ferry as if his heart was ripped out of his chest. It’s followed by a swell but less overtly emotional 1993 cover by Concrete Blonde:

I’ve also been known to sing End Of The Line under my breath when taking the bus or streetcar downtown to Canal Street, which is the you know what. I don’t think I’ve been caught in the act but ya never know. I suppose this is as good time as any to insert the break thingamabob. See you on the other side.

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#NeverWingnuts

Watching otherwise intelligent people make common cause with scumbag assholes just because they both hate Trump is going to be the thing that ends me this election cycle. Jude and I have been texting this GIF back and forth to each other for like a year now:

varnish

Example one:

This deliberately stupid motherfucker was mocking Katrina victims AS THE HURRICANE WAS HITTING THEM. His mom made her bones convincing women to rat out other women in order to get likes back when likes were just dollars, and then he got a job appealing to the people even he thought were gross. And now, NOW, he wants to know who will speak up for him?

Buddy, you made sure anybody who would have been on your side was already six feet under politically. We tried to tell you this would eventually turn around on you, but you looked at the spreadsheet and called hippies smelly, called liberals fascist, called John Kerry a traitor and when called on your snide shit thought only of your sacred reputation.

Supposedly intelligent people should not be moved by pleas for sympathy from the likes of this. Jonah up there is the equivalent of those fratbros who buy a tiger as a pet and then are absolutely astonished when it grows up and rips their faces off.

Example two: ANYTHING Little Green Footballs tweets or posts regarding the unhinged-ness of Republicans and how awful and racist and crazy the party is now. I see people who are not otherwise idiots approvingly retweeting this site and again, forever, INTERNET GRANDMA, but  back in my day LGF was not something you went near without garlic and a big bag of sharpened stakes.

NEVAR FORGET: 

The man who was almost president shares a stage in Davos, Switzerland, with a rogue’s gallery of enemies, including the former president of Iran and his Iraqi puppet.

Nearly beyond belief. But this is John F. Kerry, doing what he does—giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America during wartime.

When reporter Jill Carroll was captured, then freed, by terrorists, this was LGF’s measured response: 

Note that even after her release, Carroll maintained that she had been treated well by her captors—so it would appear that this journalist for the Christian Science Monitor made these anti-American comments voluntarily.

Jesus H. Cuttlefish Christ. The “leftist-Islamist axis?” I almost forgot how fucking stupid everyone talked back in those days.

You don’t get to walk back from that and get anything other than a shortened wait time in purgatory. Like good for you for figuring it out before approximately 65 percent of your other wingnut friends, but I don’t think you’re due a parade. You certainly don’t get a cookie from people who at the time were looking at you and saying, “the FUCK, dude” while you were smearing your own poop on the walls and yelling about ISLAMOFASCISM.

I’m not saying people can’t come to Jesus. Plenty of them do and that’s fine, apparently, with Jesus. But I’m not Him and I don’t have to forgive, and with the Internet being a permanent record of everything ever, I’m certainly not willing to let anybody else forget.

A.

ANNIVERSARY PARTY CRACK VAN

Donate and join the fun below! 

Update: Thanks to all for joining in!

Annual Fundraising Drive: TEN YEARS MAN

We are ten years old. We are in fourth grade. We need new corduroys and school supplies.

Ten years ago this weekend, Holden and Tena and pie and I decided we'd had a stellar time guestblogging over at the Crack Den while Atrios was off, I dunno, becoming famous and respectable, and we'd set up shop here at this web site that I had that was basically some password-protected Buffy fanfiction and ranting about people who don't turn their radios down at the drive-thru window at Taco Bell. 

Those were, of course, good and awful times. Awful: We didn't have to look far to chronicle the malfeasance of the Bush administration, gay people couldn't get married just about anywhere, John Kerry was about to lose the election, and there were perhaps a couple hundred liberal political blogs up against a mass media narrative dictating that the president was epic and everything was fine.

Good: The 2004 election felt like a big fat party a lot of the time, and a good fight the rest of the time, and there's nothing I love more than a fight that feels like a party. Dissent had begun to have a voice, however small. Plus, there were perhaps a couple hundred liberal political blogs, so we could basically love everyone in this bar. 

(I basically still love everyone in this bar.)

I don't know what I expected to happen ten years from then. I didn't think about whether we'd still be here. I just thought that there was a here, and people seemed to like it, so we laid down some shag carpeting in the crack van and fueled that sucker up. 

(That carpet smells like goat vomit now, TOMMY.)

In preparation for this glorious anniversary of ours, I've been putting together an anthology of the best and most favoritest posts we've done, and in doing so I've read basically all our archives going back to August 2004. We were not as good as I thought we were, but in some cases we were better, and we managed to do some real work at a time when everybody who writes here has a day job or two, or is looking for a day job or two, or is otherwise somehow in a position where it would be totally acceptable to curl up underneath the quilts and not come out.

I'm proud of what we've built and it would be nothing without all our readers who come here every day. I'm so grateful to all of you, and I hope you've found something of value here. If you have, I hope you'll contribute to the drive. We didn't do one last year, because I was distracted by twenty things including the baby, and this one's our tin anniversary. Hallmark suggests you give us a lunch box full of popcorn. The Paypal button up there might be easier. 

In the coming year? I'm hoping this anthology finds a publisher home, and we will be moving to a newer, shinier, spiffier site that looks more like the Internet of this decade (minus the pop-up ads and frequent requests for customer feedback). 

Oh, and Friday night? Friday is our CRACK VAN BIRTHDAY PARTY, BITCHES. Old-timey Happy Kerry Photos, ponies, punch3 kitten chainsaw, re-posting Jude's gumbo recipe, and a very special message to all of you from our newest van passenger, callsign Kick. 

Give if you can. Party whether you can or not. 

A. 

Technology is Neat: Clustering Consoles Edition

As a lady in the computer sciences world who still operates mostly in academia, I actually don’t encounter a lot of people who assume I don’t know how to computer. This makes it particularly annoying when I DO encounter such people, though, so when I had someone try to tell me that the reason the Air Force had made a cluster out of PS3s back in 2009 was because the PS3’s CPU “does math”.

For those of you who aren’t computer people, the CPU in your microwave does math.

Trying to tell a PhD student in computer sciences (who has, by the by, taught introduction to systems) that it’s particularly remarkable that a CPU does math is roughly one of the most professionally insulting things I’ve experienced so far, and I got ragey. But I am interested in the whole “why are consoles good for clustering” thing, so I dug around yesterday to see if my initial suspicions (specialized instructions and a predilection for networking) had any merit. Put on your learnin’ hats and follow me over the jump, kids, it’s time for some tech talk!

Technology is Neat: Clustering Consoles Edition

As a lady in the computer sciences world who still operates mostly in academia, I actually don’t encounter a lot of people who assume I don’t know how to computer. This makes it particularly annoying when I DO encounter such people, though, so when I had someone try to tell me that the reason the Air Force had made a cluster out of PS3s back in 2009 was because the PS3’s CPU “does math”.

For those of you who aren’t computer people, the CPU in your microwave does math.

Trying to tell a PhD student in computer sciences (who has, by the by, taught introduction to systems) that it’s particularly remarkable that a CPU does math is roughly one of the most professionally insulting things I’ve experienced so far, and I got ragey. But I am interested in the whole “why are consoles good for clustering” thing, so I dug around yesterday to see if my initial suspicions (specialized instructions and a predilection for networking) had any merit. Put on your learnin’ hats and follow me over the jump, kids, it’s time for some tech talk!

Technology is Neat: Clustering Consoles Edition

As a lady in the computer sciences world who still operates mostly in academia, I actually don’t encounter a lot of people who assume I don’t know how to computer. This makes it particularly annoying when I DO encounter such people, though, so when I had someone try to tell me that the reason the Air Force had made a cluster out of PS3s back in 2009 was because the PS3’s CPU “does math”.

For those of you who aren’t computer people, the CPU in your microwave does math.

Trying to tell a PhD student in computer sciences (who has, by the by, taught introduction to systems) that it’s particularly remarkable that a CPU does math is roughly one of the most professionally insulting things I’ve experienced so far, and I got ragey. But I am interested in the whole “why are consoles good for clustering” thing, so I dug around yesterday to see if my initial suspicions (specialized instructions and a predilection for networking) had any merit. Put on your learnin’ hats and follow me over the jump, kids, it’s time for some tech talk!

Technology is Neat: Clustering Consoles Edition

As a lady in the computer sciences world who still operates mostly in academia, I actually don’t encounter a lot of people who assume I don’t know how to computer. This makes it particularly annoying when I DO encounter such people, though, so when I had someone try to tell me that the reason the Air Force had made a cluster out of PS3s back in 2009 was because the PS3’s CPU “does math”.

For those of you who aren’t computer people, the CPU in your microwave does math.

Trying to tell a PhD student in computer sciences (who has, by the by, taught introduction to systems) that it’s particularly remarkable that a CPU does math is roughly one of the most professionally insulting things I’ve experienced so far, and I got ragey. But Iam interested in the whole “why are consoles good for clustering” thing, so I dug around yesterday to see if my initial suspicions (specialized instructions and a predilection for networking) had any merit. Put on your learnin’ hats and follow me over the jump, kids, it’s time for some tech talk!

Technology is Neat: Clustering Consoles Edition

As a lady in the computer sciences world who still operates mostly in academia, I actually don’t encounter a lot of people who assume I don’t know how to computer. This makes it particularly annoying when I DO encounter such people, though, so when I had someone try to tell me that the reason the Air Force had made a cluster out of PS3s back in 2009 was because the PS3’s CPU “does math”.

For those of you who aren’t computer people, the CPU in your microwave does math.

Trying to tell a PhD student in computer sciences (who has, by the by, taught introduction to systems) that it’s particularly remarkable that a CPU does math is roughly one of the most professionally insulting things I’ve experienced so far, and I got ragey. But I am interested in the whole “why are consoles good for clustering” thing, so I dug around yesterday to see if my initial suspicions (specialized instructions and a predilection for networking) had any merit. Put on your learnin’ hats and follow me over the jump, kids, it’s time for some tech talk!

Technology is Neat: Clustering Consoles Edition

As a lady in the computer sciences world who still operates mostly in academia, I actually don’t encounter a lot of people who assume I don’t know how to computer. This makes it particularly annoying when I DO encounter such people, though, so when I had someone try to tell me that the reason the Air Force had made a cluster out of PS3s back in 2009 was because the PS3’s CPU “does math”.

For those of you who aren’t computer people, the CPU in your microwave does math.

Trying to tell a PhD student in computer sciences (who has, by the by, taught introduction to systems) that it’s particularly remarkable that a CPU does math is roughly one of the most professionally insulting things I’ve experienced so far, and I got ragey. But I am interested in the whole “why are consoles good for clustering” thing, so I dug around yesterday to see if my initial suspicions (specialized instructions and a predilection for networking) had any merit. Put on your learnin’ hats and follow me over the jump, kids, it’s time for some tech talk!

Technology is Neat: Clustering Consoles Edition

As a lady in the computer sciences world who still operates mostly in academia, I actually don’t encounter a lot of people who assume I don’t know how to computer. This makes it particularly annoying when I DO encounter such people, though, so when I had someone try to tell me that the reason the Air Force had made a cluster out of PS3s back in 2009 was because the PS3’s CPU “does math”.

For those of you who aren’t computer people, the CPU in your microwave does math.

Trying to tell a PhD student in computer sciences (who has, by the by, taught introduction to systems) that it’s particularly remarkable that a CPU does math is roughly one of the most professionally insulting things I’ve experienced so far, and I got ragey. But I am interested in the whole “why are consoles good for clustering” thing, so I dug around yesterday to see if my initial suspicions (specialized instructions and a predilection for networking) had any merit. Put on your learnin’ hats and follow me over the jump, kids, it’s time for some tech talk!

Technology is Neat: Clustering Consoles Edition

As a lady in the computer sciences world who still operates mostly in academia, I actually don’t encounter a lot of people who assume I don’t know how to computer. This makes it particularly annoying when I DO encounter such people, though, so when I had someone try to tell me that the reason the Air Force had made a cluster out of PS3s back in 2009 was because the PS3’s CPU “does math”.

For those of you who aren’t computer people, the CPU in your microwave does math.

Trying to tell a PhD student in computer sciences (who has, by the by, taught introduction to systems) that it’s particularly remarkable that a CPU does math is roughly one of the most professionally insulting things I’ve experienced so far, and I got ragey. But I am interested in the whole “why are consoles good for clustering” thing, so I dug around yesterday to see if my initial suspicions (specialized instructions and a predilection for networking) had any merit. Put on your learnin’ hats and follow me over the jump, kids, it’s time for some tech talk!

Malaka Of The Week: Google

It’s institutional malakatude week here at First Draft. This has nothing to do with Google’s desire to conquer the cyber world, that’s what big ass tech corporations do. I have a more specific lament: they’re 86-ing Google Reader effective July 1. I’ve used it for years and really like it so I’m pissed.

Do any of you lot have any suggestions as to what a poor boy can do to replace this service?

I’ll let Split Enz have the finally word. Why? Why the hell not?

Malaka Of The Week: Google

It’s institutional malakatude week here at First Draft. This has nothing to do with Google’s desire to conquer the cyber world, that’s what big ass tech corporations do. I have a more specific lament: they’re 86-ing Google Reader effective July 1. I’ve used it for years and really like it so I’m pissed.

Do any of you lot have any suggestions as to what a poor boy can do to replace this service?

I’ll let Split Enz have the finally word. Why? Why the hell not?

Blame It On The Tweeter Tube

The Turks are acting like their Greek cousins and rioting. Yes, I said cousins, they may not be kissing cousins but the Greeks are more like Turks and vice versa than either will admit. Some of my ancestors may have just rolled over in their graves but what can I say? I’ll send you some Turkish Greek Coffee and baklava…

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is having a bad week and he knows what’s behind the street violence in Istanbul

“There is now a menace which is called Twitter,” Erdogan said. “The best
examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst
menace to society.”

Lies on Twitter? Sure, but snark and hyperbole are really what the Tweeter Tube is all about. That, and instantaneous communication. Turkey, of course, has a “free press” problem:

The dramatic events also exposed the complicity and almost complete
government control of mainstream Turkish media, which has largely failed
to report the protests.

“The Turkish media have embarrassed
themselves,” Caliskan said. “While the whole world was broadcasting from
Taksim Square, Turkish television stations were showing cooking shows.
It is now very clear that we do not have press freedom in Turkey.”

Human
rights groups have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the lack
of freedom of expression in Turkey, and Erdogan routinely criticises
media outlets and journalists who do not agree with his views and those
of his ruling Justice and Development party (AKP).

State dominated media inevitably leads to a social media explosion and there’s not a helluva lot that can be done about it even in a more authoritarian country than Turkey. The Turks have been flirting on and off for years with joining the EU, which takes a dim view of repression. Erdogan should suck it up and stop acting like a Sultan in the glory days of the Ottoman Empire. If he doesn’t, Turkey may regain the title of the “sick man of Europe.” The Greeks would like that: they’re the current title holders…

Deep Ransomware Thought

I’ve been a hardcore Mac person most of my life. From the Mac Plus to the boxy Quadra to the Blueberry iMac to the tidy whitey iBook I’m typing this on, I’ve had ’em all. When I bought my retail business it came with a PC that had a kick ass POS system. When I closed the business, I brought it home and made it our main home computer since it’s newer and more powerful than the aformentioned lap top.

I’d never had a trojan horse virusy thing until today. The HP PC went berserk and was seized by a message telling me that the Feebs were coming to get me if I didn’t race out and buy a cash card at CVS. I was allegedly an internet scoflaw being punished for scofflaw-itude. I needed mybusiness PC guy to help me regain control from the Ransomware virus. He did it from Denver too. Thanks for logging on, Dave.

Now that the bastard has been vanquished I’m using that anti-malware scanner thing a helluva lot more often. Hmm, I wonder if I can somehow blame Carly Fiorina or Meg Whitman for this…

Deep Ransomware Thought

I’ve been a hardcore Mac person most of my life. From the Mac Plus to the boxy Quadra to the Blueberry iMac to the tidy whitey iBook I’m typing this on, I’ve had ’em all. When I bought my retail business it came with a PC that had a kick ass POS system. When I closed the business, I brought it home and made it our main home computer since it’s newer and more powerful than the aformentioned lap top.

I’d never had a t rojan horse virusy thing until today. The HP PC went berserk and was seized by a message telling me that the Feebs were coming to get me if I didn’t race out and buy a cash card at CVS. I was allegedly an internet scoflaw being punished for scofflaw-itude. I needed my business PC guy to help me regain control from the Ransomware virus. He did it from Denver too. Thanks for logging on, Dave.

Now that the bastard has been vanquished I’m using that anti-malware scanner thing a helluva lot more often. Hmm, I wonder if I can somehow blame Carly Fiorina or Meg Whitman for this…

Hacked Off Vatican

The Italian branch of Anonymous has put the Vatican web site in limbo or is that purgatory? In short, they’ve gone didatic on the papal ass. What that means beats the hell outta me but it sounds good:

In a statement on its Italian-language website, the collective accused the Catholic Church of being responsible for a long list of misdeeds throughout history, including the selling of indulgences in the 16th century and burning heretics during the Inquisition.

“Anonymous decided today to besiege your site in response to the doctrine, to the liturgies, to the absurd and anachronistic concepts that your for-profit organisation spreads around the world. This attack is not against the Christian religion or the faithful around the world but against the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church.”

It also accused the Vatican of being “retrograde” in its interfering in Italian domestic affairs.

True dat. The Vatican was quite fond of Silvio Berlusconi until he insisted on walking about with his dick hanging out. Silvio shoulda zipped up both his pants and his mouth.

Speaking of Silvio’s enablers, it remains astonishing to me that men who are supposedly celibate make the sexytime rules for their flock. Most Catholics ignore them unlike a certain Presidential candidate who wears sweater vests and talks about man-dog sex. (Do you think any sweater vest clad men have had sex with a dog similarly attired? I certainly hope not.) Anyway, I don’t know about you but I rarely listen to men in dresses except on Mardi Gras when I have no choice. It’s the price I pay for living in New Orleans…

You know what else hacks me off about the Vatican? The fact that real life Popes are as not as entertaining as Tony Quinn inShoes Of The Fishermanor Rex Harrison inThe Agony And The Ecstasy. Rex was so awesome in that film that he made one *almost* forget the huge piece of wood that he played his scenes with. Hmm, can ham be wooden? If so, Charlton Heston is either the hammiest piece of wood or the woodiest piece of ham ever. Take your pick.

Rex pope

Some day I’ll have to tell y’all about my fleeting encounter with Quinn in a bar in the Plaka in Athens longer ago than I care to admit. End of teaser. Here’s Pope Zorba:

Quinn Pope

I didn’t think it was possible for me to like Heineken any more than I already do

We’re going to open an old wound here, so get ready. It will be worth it.

Remember thosesexist Super Bowl ads that pissed us off? That’s a rhetorical question becauseI know you do.

Of the six car ads run during the Super Bowl, that chauvinistic Dodge Charger “Man’s Last Stand” ad was scored as the least effective across the board. It also, surprising no one, came in dead last in with female viewers, per the2010 Hoffman/York PURSEuasion Report on Super Bowl advertising effectiveness to women. According to a report from Kelley Blue Book, while the ad got very high ratings on a quick poll asking Bowl viewers to name favorite ads, that didn’t translate into increased traffic on kbb.com’s model information pages, which is used as a measure of ad effectiveness in generating auto sales. On that scale, again theDodge Charger came in on the bottom.

Keep that in mind as we take a look at this.


1136 victims in total were snagged, with over 1.5 million users watching their reactions live on SKY Sport. The two weeks following the event, the Heineken subsite received over 5 million unique visitors, plenty of blog and news coverage, and some seriously heavy YouTube/socnet love.

Okay, so beer and cars is maybe an apple/oranges comparison. Generating interest in buying a car is a different proposition than making people spend money on booze, sure. And what about the question of further the “domineering women controlling their men” stereotype in advertising? Well, Heineken’s approach with its American advertising has leaned toward the less offensivemen and women sure are different stereotype but remember the “soccer swindle” ad was aimed at an Italian market where sexism is more entrenched. Even still, though, the Italian ad “punchline” not only relies on a feel-good surprise, it turns the tired “us vs. them” conflict on its ear, saying, literally, “Let’s all enjoy this together!” This, as opposed to the reinforcement of chauvinistic resentment that fueled the Dodge ad fail.

So, hey, if you’re going to spend a gabillion dollars on a single ad, why not end up with something that’s not only massively effective, not only twists a stereotype, but leaves everyone involved with a smile on their face?

Real change in the real world

This is the most interesting thing I’ve encountered all week. I’m fascinated by how people have an effect, how they move events and issues toward a discernible goal, how they produce, how they are viable, what lessons they can teach.

It’s true: we need all kinds of minds.
Temple Grandin‘s TED talk:

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