The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

Jennifer § Two songs from The Muppet Movie / 2021-02-12 15:53:34
A few notes on daily blogging § Stock and flow / 2017-11-20 19:52:47
El Stock y Flujo de nuestro negocio. – redmasiva § Stock and flow / 2017-03-27 17:35:13
Meet the Attendees – edcampoc § The generative web event / 2017-02-27 10:18:17
Does Your Digital Business Support a Lifestyle You Love? § Stock and flow / 2017-02-09 18:15:22
Daniel § Stock and flow / 2017-02-06 23:47:51
Kanye West, media cyborg – MacDara Conroy § Kanye West, media cyborg / 2017-01-18 10:53:08
Inventing a game – MacDara Conroy § Inventing a game / 2017-01-18 10:52:33
Losing my religion | Mathew Lowry § Stock and flow / 2016-07-11 08:26:59
Facebook is wrong, text is deathless – Sitegreek !nfotech § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2016-06-20 16:42:52

Retail Politics

Jay Bookman tells it like it is:

Think back a little more than a year ago, to the political campaigns of 2004. One of the hottest issues in presidential debates and congressional campaigns was the threat to traditional marriage posed by gay people seeking the right to wed. …

But a year later, it seems pertinent to ask: Have you heard or read a single word about a federal gay-marriage amendment since the election?


'Pedia Still Astonishingly Awesome


Many of you may have already caught this Nature article posted on Boing Boing. Nature conducted a peer review of 42 entries from Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica. The results:

Only eight serious errors, such as misinterpretations of important concepts, were detected in the pairs of articles reviewed, four from each encyclopaedia. But reviewers also found many factual errors, omissions or misleading statements: 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively.

I’m pretty darn awed by that.

If you’ve been watching Romenesko’s letters this week, you might have caught Karen Heyman’s letter about Wikipedia’s problems. A snippet:

Unless you already know a field, you can have no idea that an apparently definitive entry presents only one side of an ongoing fight between specialists. That it may be changed, and changed back again, hardly helps matters. This, btw, is the best explanation as to why simply sitting back and saying, “It’s okay now, it’s changed,” ultimately would not have worked for Seigenthaler. Chances are high that later somebody would have come along to “fix” the correction.

Wikipedia is a fantastic idea, a wonderful service, with entries that often reflect great effort and care. Unfortunately, inevitably, as it’s grown, the flaws built into its original design have become more obvious. Egalitarian editing may be a noble goal, but the reality is that if Wikipedia is to truly fulfill its promise, it needs a way to vet contributors, to let users know whether an entry on neuroscience was written and edited by a senior professor, a student who just took Psych 101, or a layperson who’s paraphrasing an old issue of Scientific American. Certainly prankster Brian Chase’s initial belief that Wikipedia was a joke site says a great deal about how some of its entries appear to the general public. If Seigenthaler’s complaint actually leads to more accountability, far from hurting Wikipedia, he may ultimately have saved it.

I’ll cross-post my reply to Ms. Heyman below:

Read more…


Great Philip Roth Interview

I’m totally scared of this dude. (Via 3quarks daily.)


A Yahoo Company

I’m keeping this Greasemonkey script installed for at least a day. I don’t know why I get such a kick out of seeing every site I go to labelled “A Yahoo! company!” but I’m milking it while the humor lasts.


Google Comics

Search Web comics! (Via Google Blogoscoped.)


The "Web 2.0" Design Aesthetic

Browse through a gallery of the ever-more-crowded world of Web applications released in beta. Good Lord, our Web design is becoming homogenized. Almost everything looks like the love child of a Google application and OS X. Predominant color scheme: secondary colors on a white background. Font of choice: almost invariably a rounded sans serif, usually in lowercase. Rounded edges and gradients are the new black. Talk balloons are everywhere (exhibits a, b, c, d, e, etc.).

Much of this stuff is Good Design, but it’s so ubiquitous that it’s become visual static. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good gradient or a rounded sans serif font. But if those are the only hallmarks of the design, please try again. I say this not as any sort of a self-styled designer (I’m totally not a designer), but just as someone who sees a lot of websites. I’d guess that much of the Web 2.0 backlash is a reaction to the pre-fab*, lifeless aesthetic it’s spawned.

* Not that prefab is always bad. I’m definitely going to this exhibit this week.


Beautiful Barf Bags

A few years ago, Virgin Airlines held annual barf bag design contests, and posted the best entries on Some of them are pure genius. How much prettier a place would our world be if companies routinely held design contests for mundane things?


Turkish De-lame

I may never have empathized with an article more than this one. I had the exact same motivation for trying Turkish Delight, and the exact same reaction. How many of us poor youths did C.S. Lewis scar with that “candy”?



Dudes. Our Googling monkeys tell us that more than half of Snarkmarket’s cosmopolitan, discerning, tastemaking audience still uses frickin’ IE. I don’t know if IE is still the hellish experience it was before I switched over, leaving you in constant peril of attack by nasty viruses and annoying popups. But I do know from the occasional moments when I’m forced to use it that it remains a far inferior browsing experience than Firefox for several reasons. Chief among those: 1) tabs, 2) extensions, 3) configurability, 4) display.

Watch the Rocketboom entry of Dec. 2nd, note the responses of the IE users surveyed, decide you don’t want to be in such company, and sacrifice the one minute and thirteen seconds it takes to install Firefox.


The End of the Internet

Here’s a scary, thought-provoking essay by Doc Searls, spinning out the implications of this exchange between a BusinessWeek reporter and the CEO of SBC:

How concerned are you about Internet upstarts like Google (GOOG), MSN, Vonage, and others?

How do you think they’re going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain’t going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there’s going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they’re using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?

The Internet can’t be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! (YHOO) or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!

It’s on the backs of these “pipes” that all the content on the Internet is delivered to us, Searls points out. And the companies that laid these pipes did so at considerable expense. And Searls draws together comments from industry execs and drafts of legislation to show these companies gearing up to collect on that investment:

The carriers have been lobbying Congress for control of the Net since Bush the Elder was in office. Once they get what they want, they’ll put up the toll booths, the truck scales, the customs checkpoints–all in a fresh new regulatory environment that formalizes the container cargo business we call packet transport. This new environment will be built to benefit the carriers and nobody else. The “consumers”? Oh ya, sure: they’ll benefit too, by having “access” to all the good things that carriers ship them from content providers. Is there anything else? No.

Searls imagines three scenarios: 1) The one where the telcos get their way. 2) The one where municipal WiFi and private investment (like GoogleNet) carries the day. 3) The one where we users of the Internet reframe the debate from being about “pipes” and “packets” and “carriers” to being about “markets” and “worlds” and “places.” In other words, the Internet isn’t just a lot of bits of content (“property”) going from one end to another. It’s a place where people go to create and connect. “We go on the Net, not through it,” Searls says.

This is a vast simplification of Searls’ argument. Much good stuff is in there, including his pointers to, where he and David Weinberger have written up some fascinating thoughts on things like why the Internet is stupid.

Go read it, and also read the if:book entry that pointed me to it. Since running across these, I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to what the telcos seem to be fighting for, and Searls’ guess doesn’t seem very outlandish at all.

PS: I can’t imagine any developments, no matter how fiendish, would actually herald the End of the Internet, but it makes a nice attention-grabber. Sorry. 🙂

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