Microlog entries posted in August 2011

How To Fix Horror
A four-part series by Jason Zinoman, author of Shock Value. Can’t say I agree with everything he suggests, but at least someone is making an effort. #   ·

‘March Backwards Into the Future’ — Marshall McLuhan’s Century
Notes on The Medium Is The Massage. Which reminds me, I’ve still to read Understanding Media. #   ·

On Bookmarking, Dog Ears and Marginalia
I can’t bring myself to dog-ear or scribble on my books, but technology (note-keeping apps such as Notational Velocity and the like) is making things easier for people like me. #   ·

Orange you glad you got your Nickelodeon?
An epic MeFi post on the history of the kids’ TV channel. I haven’t even begun to delve into it yet. #   ·

There’s No Wrong Way to Play Monopoly
I already knew about those ‘original’ rules, and they’re needlessly complicated. Andy is totally right here; the best rules for any game are those that make it most fun for the players. #   ·

Spray Tissues with Air Freshener and Layer Them in Luggage for a Fresh-Smelling Arrival
A very smart idea, this. And it might help get that garlic/onion smell out of my backpack, too. #   ·

Discovered via the previous link: a handy recipe search engine. Lots of explore here. #   ·

The UX of Learning
On designing for learnability: “Think of the last time you ordered a book, booked a flight, or bought a car. How did you choose which book to read, where to go for vacation, or which car was best for you? You may have searched online, read reviews, or asked others for advice to help you make an informed decision. In a word, you learned.” #   ·

Rock-Paper-Scissors: You vs. the Computer
This is great fun! The computer quickly learns your patterns to anticipate your next move — and it’s also smart enough to figure out when you’re predicting its own moves [c/o @qikipedia]. #   ·

Catch the London Underground (and London Buses) with Google Maps
Very nifty interface for tourists and locals alike. The bus directions are especially useful. #   ·

The Tastes of Drinking Water
So algae made New York’s drinking water taste of fish or cucumbers? Now I’m kind of glad our tap water tastes only mildly soapy sometimes [c/o Kottke]. #   ·

Slide To The Train
Dutch rail bosses have installed a so-called ‘transfer accelerator’ at a train station in Utrecht. It’s basically a slide. Looks like fun, but the potential for having one’s clothing ruined (or worse) is quite high. #   ·

Making select boxes better
Chosen is a JavaScript plugin that turns drop-down lists into much neater text-completion boxes. Nice. #   ·

Google+ Identity Crisis: What’s at Stake With Real Names and Privacy
Google is overreaching with this ‘real names only’ thing. It’s not about combatting trolls; it’s about making money out of ‘knowing’ its users as individuals. Yet they could still do this while allowing users to keep their real names hidden; why they haven’t is a mystery. #   ·

South Africa rights groups condemn Jacob Zuma’s choice of top judge
How someone who holds such prejudiced beliefs can even be a regular judge, let alone chief justice, is beyond me. #   ·

Overtime in Soccer City
A year on, and South Africa’s stadiums lie mostly empty. Can’t say this was unexpected. #   ·

The news coverage of the Norway mass-killings was fact-free conjecture
Charlie Brooker bang on the money, here. #   ·

Alexis Petridis on heavy metal and the Mercury prize
For sure, much metal is bombastic and silly, and ‘important’ prizes like the Mercury don’t tend to include artists like that. But metal is a broad church, maybe even more so than other genres; there’s much more to it than bombast and silliness. #   ·

BLDG BLOG: Twisty little passages
On the discovery of mysterious underground tunnels in Bavaria. #   ·

Somaliland: The former British colony that shows Africa doesn’t need our millions to flourish
Typical Daily Mail headline, that. But a very atypical story. So nice to read some good news from Africa for a change. #   ·

15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent
I particularly like ‘zhaghzhagh’; it’s very onomatopoeic. #   ·

Hidden features of Google Search
Lots I didn’t know here, especially the conversion options. #   ·

MetaFilter Memories
Celebrating 12 years of MeFi (that weird URL is a tribute to the first ever MeFi post). #   ·

Manual Photography Cheat Sheet
This is very useful, but that grungy look? Could really do without it. #   ·

Kill Screen: How to Play Ninja
I don’t think I have the dexterity for this one. #   ·

9/11 Ground Zero: why has its rebirth turned sour?
The story of what happens when egos, business and bad politics get in the way of good intentions. #   ·

Paul Krugman: The President Surrenders
Indeed. Obama has messed up in trying to keep the moral high ground; if everyone else is cheating, you don’t get anywhere trying to stick to the rules. #   ·

The Sunscreen Smokescreen
Is there a reason why sunblock manufacturers don’t provide this kind of detailed information as a matter of course? Even if it was just a URL on the bottle? [c/o Kottke]. #   ·

Toward Better Master Passwords
Very good advice here, specifically for users of 1Password but in general too. #   ·

Errol Morris: Did My Brother Invent E-Mail With Tom Van Vleck?
Part one of five, and every one worth proper digestion. #   ·

The Eternal Shame of Your First Online Handle
I made the switch to just my own name pretty quickly — it’s unusual enough on its own — but only recently removed the last vestiges of ‘mac2pointoh’. Sigh. #   ·

C64 Yourself
Convert images to 8-bit pixelly versions. Neat. #   ·

‘Like watching paint dry’
On Norwegian state TV’s 24/7 live broadcast of a Nordic coastal voyage, and a refreshingly positive, understanding attitude to public service broadcasting. #   ·

Glitchbot’s photostream
Posting a new corrupted image every day. #   ·

Why is DC Comics canceling and restarting all its superhero lines?
Because they’re mad? Also, 52 separate series? WTF?! What comic shop on earth would have shelf space to stock all of those? #   ·

Nachos, anyone?
The OED dips into the history of the ubiquitous Tex-Mex snack. What a great story. #   ·

Bangor Daily News: A complete publishing system on WordPress
I suppose something like this could be done with any extendable CMS. An in a few year’s time there’ll be dedicated software to do everything in one fell swoop. #   ·

Super Play Archive
Only the first six issues; hopefully the rest will be added soon. This was a bloody great magazine, even for someone like me who wasn’t/isn’t a gamer per se. #   ·

Walled Gardens and the Instrumented City
On the encroachment of private spaces in the nominally public ‘instrumented cities’ of cyberspace. #   ·

Mike Watt and the Missingmen live on KCRW, 23 June 2011
Playing a truncated version of the third opera hyphenated-man, which is great on record but kills it live, too. #   ·

Pitchfork talks to Louis CK
“When I say awful things, I think it’s clear to the audience that I just stumbled into a terrible part of my brain. It’s just where my brain goes first. The difference is that I said it out loud. That’s all.” #   ·

Wikipedia entry on spherification
Or, the culinary process of shaping a liquid into little spheres. Craziness. From the tasting menu at Interesting 2011, which also included sweets made from miracle fruit. #   ·

Arm Joe
A 2D fighting game based on Les Misérables. I’m not kidding. #   ·

The 100 greatest non-fiction books (according to The Guardian)
Filing this for future reference. #   ·

A List Apart: Fluid Images
This is such a simple remedy, I should have done it ages ago! #   ·

What 9,000 TV Channel Logos Looks Like
For all fans of the Look-in listings pages out there. #   ·

Remembrance of links past
“Since Pinboard has collected a lot of bookmarks at this point, I thought it would be interesting to actually run the numbers on link rot — the depressing phenomenon in which perfectly healthy URLs stop working just a few years after appearing online.” Link rot is the bane of the web. #   ·

10 Modern Movies That Are Better in Black and White
Following from Steven Soderbergh’s media diet. Some interesting suggestions here, though I disagree with the horror choices: they’re better in colour. #   ·

‘I was Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage’s next-door neighbor for a year’
Among the tributes to the late Macho Man on MetaFilter is this gem of an anecdote. #   ·

Iain M Banks: Science fiction is no place for dabblers
Personally I don’t mind dabbling in sci-fi elements; it’s when some authors are at pains to distance themselves from the genre that really gets my goat. See also: The stars of modern SF pick the best science fiction. #   ·

Nearly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism
More longform reading to file for later. #   ·

Twitter SMS Commands
Discovered these recently; I didn’t realise texting with Twitter was so versatile. #   ·

Twitter sparklines
Filing this for future reference. #   ·

Steve Albini — yes, that Steve Albini — cooks for his wife Heather. #   ·

‘One of the things I did at writing school this year was write a fake blog’
Just read it. #   ·

Why don’t more people live in liveable cities?
Because ‘liveable cities’ lists are bullshit; they often confuse ‘aesthetically pleasing’ for ‘interesting’. #   ·

The Net Generation, 1974-83
This is where I fit in, I guess. I think I got caught between two stools as I didn’t even have a computer till the very late ’90s. #   ·

All Programs Considered
The New York Review of Books on the state of American public radio, an institution that much of America doesn’t even deserve. #   ·

Aerotropolis: An Interview with Greg Lindsay
BLDGBLOG’s Geoff Manaugh chats with the co-author of a book that posits airports and their environs as the cities of the future. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but there’s some interesting ideas here. By the way, the book is on my wishlist, hint hint. #   ·

Timeline of the History of Information
Only goes up to 1998. I think quite a bit has happened since then. #   ·

This page is a reverse chronology of Microlog entries by MacDara Conroy filed under August 2011. You will find many more in the Archives.