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May 27, 2012
What should we do for a living?
Some comments on "The Facebook Illusion"
There's an interesting opinion column in today's New York Times by Ross Douthat, The Facebook Illusion. The gist of the article is that the Internet economy is not capable of producing the economic growth, prosperity, and support of previous economies. ...the problem is not that Facebook doesn't make money. It's ...
November 20, 2010
A Personal Appeal from Cow Clicker Creator Ian Bogost
We are soon entering our 6th month online, and I want to take a moment to ask you for your help in continuing our mission. Cow Clicker is facing new challenges and encountering new opportunities and both are going to require major funds. Cow Clicker is based on a ...
August 31, 2010
It's This for That
The Inflation of Absurdity
A website has been making the rounds over the past few days, called It's This for That. It's one of those simple, satirical text generators, of which there are dozens by now. This one target's today's technology startups, answering the question, "Wait, what does your startup do?" with a simple ...
July 12, 2010
Social Games on Trial
NYU Video Game Seminar IV
Jesper Juul has been organizing videogame theory seminars at NYU. This week, I'm going to be participating in the sixth iteration of said series, "social games on trial." Aki Järvinen will take the pro-social games position, and I will fill my court-ordered role as naysayer. The official announcement appears below. ...
June 1, 2010
Dropping Out to Enroll
A Question About Academia.edu
I've been noticing a lot more activity via Academia.edu (it's a social network for academics, for those of you fortunate enough not to be one and who might not be familiar). I wonder if folks are creating new accounts or reanimating old ones partly because of recent dissatisfaction with Facebook's ...
May 20, 2010
Endless String of Meaningless Buzzwords
The Onion on Foursquare
Leave it to The Onion to say what we're all thinking, or should be, about Web 2.0 "social games" like Foursquare. "Foursquare is a little bit of everything—a friend-finder, a local city guide, an interactive mobile game," said company cofounder Dennis Crowley, as if reading from the same tired script ...
April 30, 2010
To Twee
I'm still using Twitter, for better or worse. But I realized today that I quite frequently abort my tweets before posting them, usually due either to mounting ennui or anticipatory shame. Therefore, I hereby coin the following: "To twee" is to type something into Twitter but then not post it. ...
January 2, 2010
Please Stand Clear of the Closing Rights
How Disney and Zazzle conspire against me (and you)
I've reported twice on my experience selling things on Zazzle, the custom on-demand online print service for apparel and paper goods. First, just over a year ago, I mentioned the t-shirt designs I had made to riff on the Disney World monorail announcer notice, "Por favor manténgase alejado de las ...
October 29, 2009
If You Follow Me...
Twitter and Subtlety
In June 2007, Ian McCarthy and I started performing Wandering Rocks on Twitter each Bloomsday. My original explanation of our project began with the phrase "I do not like Twitter." I hadn't realized it until today, but back in June (almost exactly two years after our first effort), my name ...
October 15, 2009
Art on Spec
Thoughts on Kickstarter
A relatively new service called Kickstarter, which describes itself as a funding platform for artists. Writers, filmmakers, musicians, and other creators can post projects to the site with attached budgets, which visitors can fund via pledges. If the budget is met within the specified time, the project gets funded. Otherwise, ...
October 12, 2009
Disney: We Own the Concept of the Castle
Fun with Infringement
Almost a year ago, I wrote about my modest success selling t-shirt designs on Zazzle.com that artfully depict the Disney World monorail announcer's characteristic Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas. In that piece, I also drew attention to the ways products like this exert fandom by commercially exploiting holes ...
October 3, 2009
Material Permanence
Or, atoms are more memorable than bits
I read this article about alternatives to paper business cards yesterday. It mostly covers electronic alternatives to business cards, from social networking sites like LinkedIn to iPhone apps like Bump. It made me think of when I first met Jouni Mannonen, a Finnish game entrepreneur. We met at the 2003 ...
September 18, 2009
Buy Me
Cashback available
I've been trying out Microsoft's new search engine Bing, mostly out of curiosity, and partly to see how alternatives to Google feel for everyday use. Naturally, one of the first queries I conducted was an ego search. The results are reasonable enough, but what really caught my eye is that ...
August 2, 2009
Tantrum Capitalism
Thoughts on Skype and Ebay
If you follow technology news—or even if you don't—you couldn't have missed this incredible story about Skype. Apparently when Ebay bought Skype for $2.6 billion back in 2005, they didn't acquire all of the latter's core product. Specifically, Skype's founders sheltered key peer to peer subsystems for the service in ...
July 11, 2009
Engineering the Closet
How personal manufacture fixed my wardrobe woes
Like many homes in what we locals call "in-town" Atlanta, mine is an older one, built over half a century ago. There are many charms and challenges that come with owning an older home, but it's the unexpected trials that prove the most onerous. One of the unusual features of ...
June 18, 2009
Blogging Stops Unplanned Pregnancy
The joy of the bad analogy
Today I read Social Media Trader's article How to commit social media suicide. It included the following tidbit in a section about avoid making the same mistakes again and again when targeting social media for web traffic. When I got my girlfriend pregnant, her dad clearly saw I was distraught ...
December 21, 2008
Elizabeth Bennet promises never to dance with Mr. Darcy.
Jane Austen on Facebook
In the vein of Hamlet in Facebook, here is Austenbook, a version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in Facebook News Feed format. Like Hamlet in Facebook, Austenbook is a hypothetical adaptation of literature for social media; it adds the look and feel of a newsfeed, but the latter's writing ...
December 18, 2008
Por Favor Manténgase Alejado de las Puertas
Fandom and Detritus
One of my gripes with Henry Jenkins's book Convergence Culture was its tendency to privilege pop cultural fan activity to other sorts of attention. Appealing though they may be, I wondered if Harry Potter and Survivor really sat at the pinnacle of human creativity in the way that the ...
August 28, 2008
Ophelia joined the group Maidens Who Don't Float
Hamlet on Facebook
Ian McCarthy just showed me I was happy to learn of Sarah Schmelling's version of Hamlet in Facebook newsfeed form. You can read it over at McSweeney's. Given my interest in Facebook and in adapting literature for the computer, I found it particularly nice to see how Schmelling's Hamlet made ...
July 18, 2008
Learning from Amazon Associates
Referral reports and privacy, insight, surprise
Like many, I use the Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program when linking to books and some other products from my websites. It's a simple referal service. Users can create links and when readers on their websites follow those links and make purchases, Amazon pays a referral fee. There are lots ...