actsofvolition.com access may have been somewhat intermittent for some of you over the last week or two. We apologize for the annoyance. Things should get back to normal this weekend.
Speaking of defining oneself with material goods (as I was a few posts ago), I have found my dream vehicle, the Audi A2. The Audi site calls it “Discreetly distinguished - not attention-grabbing”. Just like me.
I recently was shown a site which has an AMAZING ability. It's not in english, but cows don't speak english anyway. It's not hard to stumble through. This jewel of a site amazed me for two reasons. First of all, it's amazingly cool to watch the quality claymation cows rock/hiphop/disco around as you design a music video for them. But if you look at the interface, it's very slick. Nice easy drag and drop onto the timeline (Premiere users don't mock me, I think it may be called a timeline), and easy to preview the samples before throwing them on.
All of that information is required for simply to set up one of the better descriptions of Ebay that have read. The following is quoted from the FuckedCompany.com newsletter for Wednesday, Sept. 13th:
You might notice I took the auction down. Ebay was created in 1995 to auction Pez dispensers. And it's really good for auctioning Pez dispensers. If you're interested in buying the site, drop me an email.
Why is it that every time Apple releases a new product their site goes down? I realize that they must have an enormous spike in traffic, but it should be completely predictable and can't be near the kind of traffic Yahoo get's on an average day.
While I'm picking on Apple, at last Apple expo, when Steve released the supercomputer in a 8" by 8" box (excluding the enourmous external power supply never shown in the media), the streaming video broadcast using QuickTime was crap. Through barely audible audio and nothing but still frames of video every 10 seconds (even on a fast DSL connection), I could barely make out Steve bragging about how he was being broadcast live to the world with QuickTime and Akamai.
Style + Shitty Products = Stylish Shitty Products.
Akamai, which claims to be “delivering a better internet” by mirroring popular content on their ‘bleeding-edge’ servers, seems to be a lot of non-sense to me. Sure, I don't know what I'm talking about, but here is my anecdotal evidence: Two sites I know use Akamai, Apple.com and CNN.com. Apple.com crashes with traffic spikes and the streaming video feels like 1996. CNN.com has the worst video offerings of any significant website (in fairness to Akamai, this is partly do to poor encoding of video and audio).
After stomping all over Apple in a previous post for what I maintain are completely stupid problems with their website and receiving a flood of angry emails* from Apple fanatics drunk from the broth of marketing genious, I will grant Apple these points:
- They do have beautiful and large product photography.
- Putting a handle on a laptop is absolutely brilliant.
Apple fanatics are almost to the point where I wouldn't want to be seen using a Mac for the same reason I wouldn't want to be seen in a Porsche. The reason being that people would natually assume I use the product in an attempt to project certain stereotypes. In the case of the Porsche: I'm a cocky rich bastard with more money than I deserve. In the case of Macs: I'm a fancy-pants graphic designer and I went to @$%#ing art school.
For the record, I am not above lusting after after material goods or using products to impress people. For example, I want a Silicon Graphics 550 and an Audi A6 so people will know how smart and sophisticated I am.
* Only one nutty email was received and it was from someone I already know. I also received one positive email.
Thank you Salon for this.
It's an article about how OPEC's website was defaced with a message that would be shown for several seconds. Salon did a great job of choosing words, as the title of the story was Vandal defaces OPEC Web site. None of this ‘hacker’ nonsense which drives a small percentage of the population crazy.
My favorite part of the article was in this last paragraph:
The written statement disparaging the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is different from a “hack” in that it is neither technologically difficult to perform nor particularly harmful to a Web site.
“Jeremy arrives thirty minutes later and leans against the wall with a slouch so extreme that he appears to have left his skeleton at home.”
Steve Martin's third book will be hitting stores soon (yes, that Steve Martin). The novella, titled Shopgirl, follows Mirabelle through her lonely job, budding relationships - you know the sort of thing people write about. I'm not sure what I expected from a work written by Steve Martin, but from the excerpts which I have read so far, it seems quite good.
An excerpt from an excerpt:
Six days after their first date, which had cut Mirabelle’s net worth by twenty percent, she runs into Jeremy again at the Laundromat. He waves at her, gives her the thumbs-up sign, then watches her as she loads clothes into the machines. He seems unable to move, but speaks just loudly enough for his voice to carry over twelve clanking washing machines, “did you watch the game last night?” Mirabelle is shocked when she later learns that Jeremy considers this their second date. This fact comes out when at one abortive get-together, Jeremy invokes the “third date” rule, believing he should be received at second base. Mirabelle is not fooled by any such third date rule, and she explains to Jeremy that she cannot conceive of any way their Laundromat encounter, or any encounter involving the thumbs-up sign, can be considered a date.
Two excerpts from Shopgirl are available at Contentville.com and at Previewport.com. It should be noted that Contentville is an ugly site and will require a (phony) email address before giving you access to the excerpt.
I like that I can choose my font and color scheme (I recommend verdana with the default colors). Other nice options include being able to turn off basically every feature (spelling suggestions, etc.) and choosing what info is displayed with the results (URL, date, size, etc.).
All in all it is quite a nice search engine with nice results. I do, however, feel a pang of guilt for using what is so obviously the result of a board meeting in which AltaVista execs decided they needed to be more like Google. I doubt they have the balls to make the enormously popular but cluttered altavista.com point to virtually advertising-free Raging Search.
May the simplest win.