Confess Your Crushes

December 1, 2007

Did David Cassidy get you twitter-pated? Was Phoebe Cates your first boyhood love? Did you write Mrs. Corey Haim over and over in your spiral bound notebook? If so, here’s your guilt-free chance to tell it to the world! That’s right, it’s Childhood Crush Confession 101 where Internet bloggers of all generations can give a shout out to all those people you thought you were in love with as a kid. The rules are simple. Select at least five of your favorite celebrities that you went ga-ga over when you were growing up, and post them this coming Thursday, December 6th on your blog. Tell us why they lit that special fire deep inside your soul and provide pictures to the crushes in question if you can. Send me a permalink to your post (or your blog in the interim) and I’ll provide a running list here of all the bloggers that are participating. Feel free to cross-link to your fellow confessors if the mood should strike you. Thanks to Twitter, we already have David Miller and Dave Caolo joining in, so don’t just stand there! Dig out those notes you passed around in class, and dust off those old VHS tapes of Family Ties and get writing people!

List of Participating Blogs:

gedblog
Living In the now
• Kaylow
Cocoia Blog
nergalicious
Momisodes
Russian Mafia Babe

You Know, for Spite!

November 11, 2007

This is the true story of how MarbleofDoom.com was born. Those of you with weak constitutions should look away now because it’s not going to be pretty. As any artist knows, the creative process can often be sparked by a number of things; a bit of music, a friend’s comment, a favorite photograph or even just the desire to fill an empty niche. However, in the case of the MOD, no such nobel pursuits came into play. Nope, what we have here is a good ‘ol fashion case of spite. Yes, spite.

Before I get into all that however, I should back up just a little bit. If you don’t know what MarbleofDoom.com is, go check it out. It’s basically a fun, website where Mac users can enter how much time they’ve collectively wasted waiting for the spinning beach ball of death cursor. Users enter time and the site reports on the total number of hours wasted. What’s the point? I’m glad you asked.

The spinning beach ball has been something that Mac users have been dealing with in one form or another since the platform was launched. Back in the early days, Mac users knew it as the dreaded wrist watch cursor that would spin until a process had finished loading. When Mac OS X came along, Apple decided to spruce it up. I guess they figured if you had to wait, why not wait in style? With the advent of the Adobe CS suite of apps, Mac users saw the frequency and duration of the beach ball increase dramatically. I know what you’re thinking. MOD was created to spite Adobe, right? Nope, not by a long shot cupcake. Now sit back down and let me finish the story.

Back in June, two of my long-time friends, Bob & Jiffy Burke, told me via Twitter that at Jiffy’s office, they referred to the beach ball as the “Marble of Doom”. The name really struck a chord with all of us at the Iconfactory and we started referring to it by its new name all the time. We loved the name so much that in September, I decided to add the lexicon to the official Wikipedia entry for the spinning beach ball of death. This is the part where the spite comes in. I was so proud of contributing to the mythos of the beach ball, that when my addition was removed a little over an hour later by a user named Sdfisher, I could hardly believe it. I mean, it was just another name for the cursor, what harm could there possibly be in adding it? According to Sdfisher:

“marble of doom” has 10 google hits, only one of which is Mac related. Removed.

Ask any one of my friends and they’ll tell you I’m not a vindictive person. I don’t fly into fits of anger or wish ill-will on anyone. But when I read that Wikipedia edit from Sdfisher, something inside me snapped. I immediately formed a geeky plan to leverage Mac users everywhere and get “Marble of Doom” back up on Wikipedia. After all, I owed Jiffy no less. Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself.

Months earlier, I had decided to actually record marble spin time using the excellent time tracking utility, On the Job. Every time I’d see the Marble of Doom, I’d immediately add the time to the fake MOD project. After one month of tracking the cursor, I was shocked to find that I was kept waiting a grand total of almost 1 hour. This experience gave me the brainchild for what would eventually become MarbleofDoom.com. All of the guys at work got excited about the project and I even enlisted the help of the talented Wolfgang Ante, our Frenzic and xScope partner, along with our own Craig Hockenberry, to help code the back end. The MOD website became a fun side project that we worked on in the down time between client work. We launched it on 10/19/07 and its popularity soared as Mac users everywhere could finally vent their frustrations with their glassy overlord.

“Marble of Doom” now has over 40,000 Google hits and has given more than a few people a good laugh while they wait for their Macs to return from la-la land. The best part however, was that on 10/30/07, a user named Rory O’Kane re-entered “marble of doom” as one of the names for the spinning beach ball cursor on Wikipedia. Take that Sdfisher! I told you this wasn’t going to be pretty, and now you know. God, I love the Internet :-)

Lean On Me

November 7, 2007

My long-time friend from college, David Miller, has written a wonderful post about Twitter, the internet and blogging in general. His post goes to the heart of why so many people enjoy sharing their thoughts and experiences online. I’ve often read that some people don’t “get” why individuals blog or why someone would express themselves on Twitter in 140 characters or less. Dave hits the nail on the head with this bit:

“I think that it helps us not feel alone in the situations whether they are good times or not so good. That there are others out there who have had these experiences that make us human. It’s also cathartic for me to help express whatever feelings I’m having at the time.”

In a world when people can sometimes go days or weeks without talking or interacting with friends and family face to face, it’s comforting to know that you can reach out via the “tubes” and feel connected instantly. Blogging allows people to express themselves to those who might never have ever met in real life. Twitter goes one step further and distills these expressions down to ultra-concise nuggets of internet gold. It parses whole conversations into manageable chunks that we can either pay attention to or completely ignore.

I liken it to when I was in college, hanging out in the dormitory lounge for hours on end. People would come and go, things were happening all around me. I could either choose to participate in the discussion by throwing out my own occasional 2 cents, or I could sit back, watch TV, and eavesdrop on those over my shoulder. I knew friends like Dave were only an arm’s length away and would be there for me if I needed them. In a very small, and important way, Twitter is a lot like that. Think of it as a social, technical and professional support system for the digital generation. What’s not to “get”?

Webb > Congdon

August 3, 2007

Yesterday marked the launch of Internet maven and G4 host, Morgan Webb’s new video blog, aptly named WebbAlert. Webb intends the show to be a short 5 minute breakdown of the Internet’s top stories of the day, parceled in bite size chunks that are both informative and geek-worthy. The format was popularized a few years back by Amanda Congdon on one of the web’s original video blogs, Rocketboom. Congdon recently left Rocketboom in a minor broo-ha-ha with her producer. After a short stint of dancing across the country, she settled into a new video blogging job with ABC. The difference between these two ladies of the net however, is quite striking. Webb has talent, street cred and a genuine interest in geek culture. Congdon on the other hand has smugness, a penchant for seeming annoyed while reporting, and of course, her boobs.

Ask anyone who watched Rocketboom in the early days and they’ll tell you the only reason why the show became successful, and Congdon gained mild Internet popularity, was because of her seemingly endless wardrobe of tight t-shirts, blouses and sweaters that she paraded in front of the camera on almost every single episode. Now, I’m all for using one’s God given talents, but thanks in part to these blatant attempts at sex appeal, IMHO Congdon jumped her shark years ago. I thought that when she moved to ABC she might actually pay her audience some respect and let us watch the news instead of her chest, but it didn’t happen.

Of course I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t mention that Webb has done her share of, shall we say, “self promotion”. She’s starred in spreads for Maxim magazine and has spawned thousands of geek-based crushes all across the Internet with nothing more than a wink and a few PSP cheat codes. The difference between Webb and Congdon however, is that when Webb is doing her job of video blogging, or hosting G4’s X-Play, she’s actually reporting without pandering. She knows her shit and could take down a hard core gamer any day of the week. Congdon can barely string two sentences together without batting her eyes at the camera like some lost puppy pleading for attention. Webb also knows that smart and informative ultimately wins the day. Her video blog is short on cleavage and long on personality, immediacy and wit.

Webb may stroll into the red light district late at night, but she’s figured out that it’s her day job that pays the bills and gives her credibility. Very rarely do the two worlds meet. So while Morgan Webb walks a fine line to win the hearts and minds of geeks everywhere, Amanda Congdon gets ready to board her rocket powered sled and make the weekly jump over Buxom Canyon. I just wonder when she’ll stop crashing and burning.

Freaky-deeky

August 2, 2007

Mindy turned me onto this cool page of mutant, animal Photoshop mash-ups. Sometimes these things can be overblown and just plain cheeky, but I have to say the folks behind these elaborate and fictional beasts did a pretty good job. My favorite has to be the Griffindog with the Batguincat coming in a close second. He kind of reminds me of Batboy, may he rest in peace. Forget lame attempts at merging Yoda and Mr. T, and give me more of this kind of stuff. God, I love the Internet.

Long Winded = Good?

July 9, 2007

This guy uses 2,200 words, 41 paragraphs and 3 über-spiffy graphs to tell us that long, thought out articles are better than short, snarky nuggets of blogginess. I agree.

Spock’s iPhone Wisdom

June 28, 2007

I’m a firm believer that all things in life eventually lead back to Star Trek. So with all of the hype leading up to tomorrow’s launch of the iPhone, and given some people’s frenzic state of mind regarding the gadget, I’m reminded of this wonderful Original Series quote from everyone’s favorite vulcan:

“After a time, you may find that having, is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” – Spock, Amok Time

I’m sure that the iPhone will live up to the hype, and the gadget-lust is more than well deserved, but there is something to be said for wanting something so bad that it makes you dizzy. Spock is right on the money on this one, just try to keep that in mind while you wait in line. :-)

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