I know I haven’t updated in a while. I’ve been insanely busy the last couple of weeks (business is good) and just haven’t had time to write anything. Rest assured though, I’ve been bookmarking a few things to post about. And more importantly, the site I’m passing along in today’s post will make up for my recent absence.
Last night I was catching up on Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur’s net@night podcast while burning the midnight oil plugging away on some code. As I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love it whenever you can get a peek into the “hive mind” of the internet and simultaneously get a glimpse of both the macro and the micro of what a community is thinking. On episode 52 Leo and Amber discussed something that I knew I had to check out:
What it does is scan the latest posts on Twitter for each of those six words on the left of the screen. Then it just displays those posts in a continually updating feed. It’s mesmerizing to watch. Some of the posts will be hilarious. Some will be deeply personal and serious. Looking at this evoked a bit of the same emotions I had the first time I saw PostSecret.
Anyway, I just thought this was exceptionally cool and beautiful.
Oh, and they even made a screen saver out of it. (I think it’s Mac only, though.) What’s especially nifty about the screen saver is that I have a dual monitor setup, and it will start the feed in different places for each monitor. So I may have “love” on one screen and “hate” on the other. And come on, that’s just totally wickedly cool.
One of my top 5 favorite movies of all time is The Big Lebowski.
I’m sure that my loyal readers, both of you, are shocked to hear this.
I absolutely love the scene which generates the following dialogue, resulting in the dude indeed getting kicked out of the cab he had hired:
The Dude: Jesus, man, could you change the channel?
Cab Driver: Fuck you man. If you don’t like my fuckin’ music get your own fuckin’ cab!
The Dude: I had a rough…
Cab Driver: I pull over and kick your ass out!
The Dude: Come on, man. I had a rough night and I hate the fuckin’ Eagles, man!
Personally, I love the Eagles. But I can totally relate to the way The Dude is feeling here.
You see, deep within every music lover resides a deep hatred for one or two acts that everyone else might seem to believe are the quintessential examples of rock and roll perfection. Usually you tolerate them on the radio, or in social settings. You may even know all the words to their songs, after all, as well-loved as they are you may have heard them with enough frequency to commit them to memory.
Then, one day, when you’ve had a particularly rough go of things, you’ll find yourself in a mood where you’re just NOT GOING TO PUT UP WITH IT TODAY.
Today Merlin Mann posted something on Twitter that unleashed my inner Dudeness.
Seriously. Click through on that link. I promise it’s not a Rickroll. I’ll be here when you get back.
OK, did we all make it back? Good.
SWEET JUMPING JEHOSEPHUCK, WHO THE HELL GETS A BOB FUCKING SEGER TATTOO?!?!
Did they know this was Bob Seger and not Bob Saget?
Bob Seger is at the top of my list of “get kicked out of the cab” artists. I’m not sure exactly what it is about his music that particularly irritates me. It’s OK. I just don’t find it particularly good. And maybe that’s it — that he has squandered his fame with dizzying volumes of mediocrity.
(I’ve always found that song title to be a bit ironic, since you could probably name any song on any of his albums “Still the Same” … every one of them feels like it’s the same as the one before to me.)
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who think that not liking Bob Seger probably makes me a communist or something. Just to reassure those people, let me state for the record that I prefer Coke over Pepsi (and will take RC if you’ve got it), I pull for Dale Earnhardt Jr., and I drive a bigass American pick’em up truck.
Are we cool? Good.
So who else is on my list? Who else might you be wise to avoid putting on the iPod if I’m carpooling with you? I’ll give you two:
1 – Eddie Money
To be perfectly honest, I find Eddie Money more objectionable than Bob Seger. He may be the nicest guy in the music business for all I know, but I just find every song I’ve ever heard of his to be absolutely dreadful. I think it’s no coincidence that “Two Tickets to Paradise” is the theme song for the most retarded show in the reality TV genre: Paradise Hotel.
2 – Jackson Browne
I know I’m supposed to like Jackson Browne. I just don’t. And he’s a good songwriter. I can objectively admit this. In fact, I love “Take It Easy,” which he co-wrote with Glenn Frey for The Eagles. And I understand he had a hand in making America’s “Sister Golden Hair,” which is a total hit with me as well. Both of those songs get very high marks from me.
I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about Jackson Browne that seems to irritate me personally. It’s like he’s that guy everybody knew in high school who was overly friendly with everybody. So much so that it was kinda creepy. Then you find out at your high school reunion that the guy grew up to be an anesthesiologist and lost his license for taking pictures of his patients’ naughty parts after he’d knocked them out. I dunno. There’s just this vibe about him that weirds me out.
I stumbled upon the niftiest thing this morning on Boing Boing Gadgets. I’d summarize it myself, but Joel Johnson did a much better job than I could possibly do myself at 7am on a Sunday…
Despite having nothing to do with Cheap Trick at all â€” except for the cheap trick we all play on ourselves believing there is anything unique or selfish about the need to love and to be loved â€” “I Want You to Want Me” is an interactive art project built from data mined from various dating sites, organizing into a heart-achingly beautiful touchscreen presentation where each person is represented as a balloon.
I find this serendipitously wonderful for so many reasons.
I’ve had ideas of doing something akin to this even before I took my first of two jobs in the online dating industry about five years ago. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of “the wisdom of crowds” and this project appears to have elegantly portrayed both the strength of the collective and the significance of the individual. Usually I’d be bummed out thinking, “DAMN! Somebody’s taken my idea before I could do it!” But this looks so darned wonderful I’m happy they did it first, because they certainly appear to have done it right.
I’m especially drawn to the way they related the fundamental human emotions back to the underlying data. One of the biggest challenges faced when making decisions in the online dating business is that the people making those decisions are inherently clouded by their own experiences, philosophies and emotions about relationships. It’s not uncommon to hear things such as these in meetings:
“Women always prefer a man in a nice suit.”
“Since this product is for women, we should make it pink.”
“I like guys who are athletic and I think most women would agree with me, so…”
“OK, so it’s agreed that we’ll build this so it matches up men with women 1-5 years younger than themselves?”
Undoubtedly, statements such as these do rely heavily on “majority” opinions of the populations they are analyzing, but at the same time, they could lead to decisions that possibly alienate certain segments of the population which may not be all that insignificant. I’m sure we could each come up with a pile of examples of people whose relationships wouldn’t fit within the classifications outlined above. (And I’m sure all of the Bruce Springsteens and Mia Hamms and Zach Braffs and Ashton Kutchers of the world are relieved.) It’s virtually impossible to strip those biases out, so I love the idea of relying strongly on objectively collected data about highly subjective subjects such as these.
Also, the Cheap Trick reference makes me giddy in a totally geeked out way. There’s something really humanizing and individually touching about the sentiment it portrays, despite being such a mass-market arena rock pop song. (And a damn fine one at that.) It fits the concept in a way that’s just too damn perfect. Personally I found a way to sneak a shout out to that line into just about every variant of my profile I ever filled out. (And gals who picked up on the reference were immediately about 10X cooler right off the bat.)
Yesterday there was an interesting post on Boing Boing about the bizarrely icky mating practices of giant squids, and as one would expect, the URL was promptly forwarded to a few of my friends. Inspired by the post’s title, Den wrote back, “‘Violent, Tangled and Deeply Weird’ – I think that’s a great t-shirt slogan.”
And so it was.
So what else could I do but whip up a design and throw it on CafePress?
The print-on-demand stuff makes this pretty easy, so I went ahead and tossed together a whole store with a plethora of “Violent and Tangled” products on there. I think the boxers and thongs are especially funny.
I set the markup on everything at a buck, and any dough CafePress sends my way from these things will be donated to Creative Commons, so I hope other people find it as funny as I did.
So I’m now laying claim to the hexadecimal number “C6 8C 14 E1 9F 29 2A 6B 9E 6C C7 38 D2 80 9E 27” and if I wanted to, I could sue any of you bastards who decided to use that number for whatever dastardly purposes your evil little minds imagine. I could probably also go after you for using the base 10 equivalent of 17,859,592,074,240 if I felt the desire to do so.
You see, there’s currently a lot of hoopla going on about the movie industry claiming that it can own certain 128-bit numbers like the one above. They used one of these random numbers as a “key” on the encryption system on HD-DVDs to keep you from making copies of your favorite movies or watching them on DVD players they don’t like. Then someone figured out what that number was. So the “owners” of this key got really upset. They say they’ll sue or maybe even bring criminal charges against anyone who tells other people what that key is, because to do so would be a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
So the combination is one, two, three, four, five? That’s the stupidest combination I’ve ever heard in my life! The kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!
— SPACEBALLS (1987)
Unfortunately, they’re pretty much right. The DMCA made it illegal to circumvent (or tell others how to circumvent) any copy protection scheme, regardless of whether you own the rights to that protected material or not. It’s kind of like how it’s “breaking and entering” to pick the lock on someone else’s house and open the door, regardless of whether you actually go inside or steal anything. Except in this case, it would also be illegal to break into YOUR OWN house if you accidentally lock your keys inside. The way the DMCA reads, you can’t use your own stuff, stuff you legally bought with your own money, in whichever way you see fit. You can only use your stuff in whichever way the maker of the locks on your doors says you can — even if that means not at all! For them, it’s more important to their business that their locks remain secure than it is that you be able to legally use your own door to enter and exit your own abode as you please.
Okay, before I extend and mix up this crazy analogy any further, I best move on…
I read on Boing Boing (link) a little while ago that a professor at Princeton thought this whole thing was rather messed up, so he created a page to help people stake claim on their own randomly generated 128-bit numbers before all of the good ones are gone. (link) After all, there’s only 2^128 numbers available to go around! So I’ve gone and grabbed a few for myself, and it couldn’t hurt for you to ring up a few of your own, too.
You may say, “what in the world would I need a 128-bit number for?” Well, do you have a wireless network in your house? Do you have a WEP key (one of those funky jumbles of numbers and letters) on there so your neighbors can’t leech off your connection and download dirty pictures using your internet account? If so, you’re likely already using a 128-bit number. (You better hope your number’s not the same as the one that the movie industry doesn’t want you to know, or you could be in big trouble!)
And like I said before, if I wanted to I could decide to be a real jerk and not let anybody else use that number ever again without paying me a bunch of money to get my permission.
But you know me, I’m a nice guy. I’ve decided that I’m going to print my number at the bottom of this post as a pretty line of text. And I’ve decided to share this work with the world by publishing it with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. This means that you’re free to share, copy, distribute and transmit the number, as well as to adapt the number to suit your own purposes. The only conditions are that you have to credit me as the original author of this number, and you have to be willing to share your new creation just as I have.
So if you want to use this number as the key to your own encryption system, you’re more than welcome to do so.
Do you want to put the number on a t-shirt? Go ahead!
Want to spell it out in your Alpha-Bits and take a picture of it? Knock yourself out!
Think it might be fun to multiply it by two? Sure, if you’re one of those dorks who likes maths, have at it. Just don’t forget to credit me, Bo Nash, on the bottom of your paper.
I know I’ve been bad. I haven’t posted anything other than a few random camera phone shots in several weeks. But there’s a reason for my recent radio silence.
I finally took a cue from Johnny Paycheck (as written by David Allan Coe) and shoved the day job so I could go into business for myself. My last day at the hoochie factory in the online relationship business was January 27th and I’m now officially on my own.
Quitting your job can be a great feeling if you’re leaving on good terms, and this was just such an event. Scott even gave me a trophy!
The last day in the office was like a birthday party. I actually received several other gifts from my friends on the team, but unfortunately (for you) most of them aren’t exactly appropriate for public viewing. While I don’t miss the daily grind, I already miss my office friends. They’re A+ in my book.
So what am I doing? Two things, for now:
I’m helping start up a textbook publishing company. I’m mostly doing web work for them for now, but will be editing and probably doing a little marketing magic as well. We’re still pretty early in the game on this one, so there’s nothing to show off yet, but I’m really excited about it.
I’m also helping my friend Carol grow her wellness center, Integrated Healthworks, through a little more of that marketing magic. (Step one: Website version 2.0 coming soon!) If you’re in need of a good headshrinking, therapeutic massage or advice from a registered dietician give IH a call. (And if you tell them Bo sent you they probably won’t hang up on you! You might as well take advantage while I still have a good reputation!)
So … since I’ve been getting the working from home in gym shorts gig up and running, you can understand why things have been a little hectic … hence the limited posting activity.
Now that I’m a little more settled in (and stir crazy) you can expect the updates to arrive with greater frequency. So hooray for blogging.
So outside of the work stuff, what’s going on? Here are some random anecdotes about my last couple of weeks:
1 – A Call to Action
Last Saturday the phone rang and I looked down at the caller ID to see:
“I better answer this!” I said to myself. “Superman may be in trouble and his sidekick/photographer immediately thought to call me because the only thing that can save Supes from Lex Luthor’s latest dastardly villainous plan is my keen recollection of pop culture trivia!”
It turns out Jimmy just wanted me to vote for some local schmoe for county judge. It was a big disappointment to say the least.
2 – Delivery at the Drive-In
I drove to Sonic to grab one of those tasty Tuesday night half-price burgers. While I’m munching away on my #2 cheeseburger with jalapeÃ±os a Domino’s driver parks in the spot next to me and runs a couple of pizzas inside.
I have two thoughts on this:
It’s cool that the fine folks at the local Sonic are getting rewarded for good service with a pizza dinner.
Even though I know I wouldn’t want to eat at the same place every day, it’s still somehow a bit disconcerting that people who work at a restaurant have to order out for food from somewhere else.
When it comes down to it though, it doesn’t matter. Sonic’s Strawberry Limeade is crazy delicious. It’s addictive. It’s like crack, but cheaper, tasty, and a lot less bad for you.
It’s like a Magic 8 Ball, but when you turn it over, the advice is all Jesusy.
But you’ll also notice this:
I have to wonder how the Chinese government justifies itself on stuff like this. It’s a good idea to repress religious expression, unless you can cash in on it? I wonder if these are legal for sale in Lhasa.
4 – The top 4 search terms that brought people to my website in January
snl weiners wmv
thrifty nickel vicksburg ms
If you actually read this far, you have way too much time on your hands.