Category Archives: The Web

Men need to

(ETA: I have no idea why the template formatting is so screwed up on this entry. Possibly because I had to re-edit the pictures and then re-upload. It’s making me crazy.)

I ran across a fabulous AdWeek story today, about the UN Women campaign using actual results from Google autocomplete searches — which are aggregated from actual Google searches done. 

Unwomen hed 2013

 So I of course said, “Huh. Well, maybe it’s just the same if you do the searches only with ‘men’ instead of ‘women’.” 

Or, not so much:





Yeah, yeah, I know: “Men use the interweebs more, and this is just what they search for.”

Good to know.



Simple rules when using the Internet

I know, I’m probably biting off more than I can chew here, but what the hell.

1. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.

This goes double if you’re going to post as “Anonymous.”

The only possible exception to this: you are whistle-blowing on some egregious, illegal practice that you can’t possibly own up to in real life. In that case: run for the hills, because tracing where a posting originated is as simple as asking Google, “Hey, where did this originate?” (You know Google saves every search made from every IP ever, right?)

2. If you link to it, you own it.

If you offer up a link to something on your blog, on your Twitter feed, or as a Facebook status, you are advertising that you agree with the opinions found therein, unless you very specifically call out that you are disagreeing with it. (NB: if you are a professional comedian — i.e., someone would recognize that you are funny consistently and over a long period of time, not necessarily that you’re getting paid — you can get away with “sarcastic agreement” as your disagreement mode. Only professional comedians.)

Way back in the early days of the Web (when this blog had already been around for several years, nyuk, nyuk) there was a political blogger named Instapundit. I haven’t heard about him so much any more; don’t know what he’s doing, don’t care. But his shtick was to link to something foul, infantile, or race-baiting and then say


When called on how he was clearly promoting these things, he would say, “Oh no no, I just thought it was an interesting point of view.”

In a word: bullshit.

He wanted to link to inflammatory crap without putting his name on it.

If you link to it without commentary, you own it.

The only possible exception to this: you link to a major media site, such as the New York Times. In which case, we probably know why you’re linking. Be a good Internet citizen and add a little commentary so we know where you are with this, okay?

3. Don’t read comments.

Seriously. There’s nothing to be gained from this. There are people who have nothing better to do than sit around all day and argue nonsense from behind a fake name. There are people who are paid to sit around and post garbage. Don’t participate.

There are two exceptions to this:

  1. Horace Dediu’s blog Asymco. That blog has one of the most respectful and curious set of commenters I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t hurt that Horace is bringing his A-game with every post. You can disagree with him…but the usual Internet set up of “My ignorance is as good as your knowledge!” just looks like the lameness it is on Asymco.
  2. My blog.


You’ve heard about these acts. The Internet’s gone dark today. You haven’t called your representatives. Why should you do anything? Well, because you’re not asked to do that much in general, frankly. And sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted.

Call your representatives and say, “This is BAD. Vote NO.” Christ. Just do it, would you? (It’s hard living in an area where my congressman is always against this stuff, but yours might not be. CALL.) If you have zero idea of who your reps are and where they stand, Pro Publica has done the legwork for you.

An analysis of SOPA and PIPA from the right-wing Pajamas media. (Because when lefties analyze stuff, they’re biased.)

Oh, you want balance. Here’s the notoriously left-wing Cato Institute on why SOPA is a con. (The oh-God-don’t-send-me-to-Cato version.)

SOPA/PIPA are supposed to shut down online piracy of movies and other media and save jobs? Yeah, not so much. A Hollywood professional on why SOPA/PIPA are bad.

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”

– Benito Mussolini


Fun Sites For You To Check Out

In case you’re looking for interesting things around the Web this New Year’s (and who, of course, is not?).

  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, who also has a new book by that name (which I haven’t read but sounds very interesting and very much the sort of thing I’ve started doing on my own anyhow right now). A regular gal—albeit one who clerked for a Supreme Court justice—decides to investigate the various bits of advice she’s found hither and yon on what makes for happiness and actually does them to see how well they work. Happiness Project book

  • Tiny Buddha by assorted authors. Yes, we’re back onto the happiness/zen/meditation track here, but hey: that’s what I’m interested in these days! Nice articles about the little things you can do in your every day life to improve your experience and the experiences of those around you.

  • The Great Fitness Experiment by Charlotte Hilton Andersen. Ever read some fitness magazine’s recommended workout and thought, I wonder if that really works? Well, Charlotte doesn’t just wonder; she goes ahead and does it. One experiment per month, undertaken with hilarious and awe-inspiring intensity. She’s a witty, fun writer whose explorations into all things health and fitness will knock you upside the head. Also: she just had a baby. Ever wonder how to get your groove back after having a baby? Imagine you’re on the newest of four young tots. Yeah. It’s good stuff.

  • Cookie Madness by Anna. Seriously, do I need to explain this one? Pictures + recipes + descriptions of COOKIES (and other tasty baked treats) = love. It’s Cookies. It’s Madness. Go. Chocolate chip cookies

  • Bakerella by Bakerella (who’s probably a baker named Ella, natch). Usually when I think “crafty,” I think “manipulative and evil, and can you teach me how to do that?” When Bakerella does crafty, I think “gorgeous, amazing, and tasty, and can you teach me how to do that?” Oh, I want to be able to create the sorts of treasures you find here. Bakerella cake pop

  • Copenhagenize by Mikael. Mikael would like us to Copenhagenize the planet—that is, put everyone on a bicycle and get us out of our cars. They did it in Copenhagen (a city once devoted to its cars), so let’s get out there, folks! Since I feel this is an admirable goal (even as I still drive around in my 8 year old, 100k mile Honda Odyssey), I think everyone should read the inspiring tales of moving to better transportation.

  • The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs by Fake Steve (or Real Dan Lyons). I know, Fake Steve’s been around for years, with a prolonged hiatus during Real Steve’s medical issues. Now he’s back and when Fake Steve is on, he’s on. The whole crusade against AT&T’s annoyingly sucky service? Excellent, Smithers. His series of slams on Tiger Woods? Evil but hilarious. Whenever I see terrible retail layout (I’m looking at you, Borders) or seriously tacky bling (that would be you, teenagers), I hear Fake Steve’s snarky voice in my head. Fake Steve

    Darin, surprisingly, does not find Fake Steve as hilarious I do. I can’t imagine why.

Morning round-up

• So, there is a movement afoot to take next year’s Foothill New Works Festival to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Pretty much the major reason why we wouldn’t do it is if the American dollar goes to, I dunno, 3 or 4 to the British pound. But! Doctor Who as Hamlet! I am so there! Must. Go. To. UK. Somehow. Go, Apple stock!

• Please to watch this absolutely brilliant four-minute-long opening credits sequence for The Kingdom, which manages to cover the salient history between Saudi Arabia and the US. I still have no interest in seeing this movie (despite the presence of the ever-awesome Jason Bateman), but this sequence: Wow. When’s the last time you saw a credits sequence this memorable? (For that matter, when’s the last time you saw a credits sequence? Seems like they’ve been missing from every movie we’ve seen recently.) (Via Making Light)

• Speaking of movies you should see or Netflix immediately: The King of Kong. I have to say, I wasn’t that thrilled about going to see a movie about a showdown between two Donkey Kong players (I don’t even like arcade games), but this documentary about what happens when a guy decides he wants to beat the high score in Donkey Kong is fabulous. I am so happy Darin and I went out of our way to see it in downtown San Jose.

• Have you ever said to yourself, “Self, I need a Hostess cupcake that’s bigger than my head”? Well, if so, Nicole at Baking Bites has felt your pain, made the band-aid, given you pictures and a recipe.

Jon Carroll gets right on the whole no-gays-in-Iran thing, discovers there are some who “believe that Iranians will like any group of Americans that doesn’t try to kill them.”

• There are approximately 8 million people in the greater Los Angeles area, at least 2 million of whom have SAG cards. And the producers of the number one hit show on TV from last year couldn’t find at least FIVE who could do a decent Irish accent for the opening show of the season?

• Speaking of the fall season, is there anything out there that I absolutely, positively must catch amongst the new shows? We watched Moonlight because of Jason Dohring (he of Veronica Mars fame), and our JD love remains intact because he was the only good thing in this amazingly horrible pile of dreck — he managed to deliver unsayable dialogue with panache. The rest of the show was poorly written, poorly acted, and poorly stitched together. We had to turn it off halfway through, and we never turn off shows.

We’ve also watched Reaper (yay, Ray Wise, but we liked this show much better when it was called Brimstone) and Chuck (yay, Adam Baldwin, but sorry, dude: you’ll find a better show eventually).

Darin really likes Mad Men (the portrayal of women’s roles in 1960 gives me the heaves — let me just put it this way: I hate it when I hear a woman mutter that she doesn’t believe in feminism, and this show perfectly dramatizes why).

• My God, Torchwood is silly stuff. The big mystery to us is how Captain Jack kept his American aviator’s coat in such perfect condition for the past 60 years — perhaps he had one made up in alien fabric.

• Have you ever said to yourself, “Self, I need a wrist rest that’s both useful and funky”? If so, the people at the What On Earth catalogue have felt your pain and produced the Baguette Wrist Rest. (Via Nicole at Baking Bites.)

• The ever-fabulous Otto passes along the best of Craiglist Boise:


Reply to:
Date: 2007-10-01, 11:32PM MDT

CALL xxx-xxxx

Free Llamas–You catch, you haul

Reply to: see below
Date: 2007-10-02, 10:00AM MDT

We have three llamas that we don’t have time for. They’re free, but you need to catch them (in a corral) and haul them. One young male, one adult male and one adult female. These llamas have NOT been trained for packing. Please call Tony at xxx-xxxx.

Statistically improbable phrases

Things I never thought I’d type into the Google search box (but did, yesterday):

Dr Who livejournal icons

(Turns out there were a lot to choose from, too.)

Feel free to post your own strangest Google searches ever. (Except for pornographic ones, because, like really, who cares? Nothing about pornography is statistically improbable, unfortunately.)

One side benefit of RSS feeds

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m addicted to RSS feeds now — if a blog doesn’t have a feed, I don’t read it. I currently have something like 320+ feed subscriptions, and I’m trying to get it under control, but it’s such a great way to keep up with blogs.

One great side benefit is that, with NetNewsWire at any rate, I can see editing changes between versions of the posts. It’s interesting (to me, at any rate, the queen of minutiae) to see how some writers go back and reword their entries. I was just reading Glenn Greenwald (the go-to guy for info about the NSA Scandal) and his entry “Erasing the Cold War from history” had several edits. The substance of the post didn’t change, just the phraseology. It’s neat to see the editing part of the writing process — a big, important part that’s not taught nearly enough — in action.

Let me show you a short example:

But beyond the these self-evident factual errors in Captain Ed’s post argument is a more fundamental and pervasive falsehood which is being peddled with increasing frequency to justify the Administration’s law-breaking. It is the notion that restraints on the Executive Branch generally, such as those mandated by FISA or ones prohibiting the incarceration of Americans without due process, are now obsolete because they were the by-product of some sort of peaceful, enemy-less utopia enemy-less, utopian era which we no longer enjoy.


It’s a little hard to read, but if I found it too distracting I could always open the entry in Safari or something.

Of course, sometimes this side effect of RSS feeds can be hilarious, when you see giant swatches of a post that have been crossed out, complete with secret information that obviously the writer thought twice about sharing with the world. In case you didn’t know? Caught by an RSS feed once, caught forever.

The MarsEdit test

This is a test of MarsEdit, the weblog entry editor from Ranchero. They also do NetNewsWire, which is my new favorite app, as I’ve just discovered RSS feeds. (Yes. I am behind the curve on everything. I am still trying to figure out ringtones. I am an old fogey.)

I don’t know if I really need an automatic entry writer/uploader — isn’t that what BBEdit is for? — but maybe it’ll be the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Update: Hmmm. Needed to do some editing of the posted entry, because there’s no “Title” on the MarsEdit menu. (Same problem I had with MacJournal.) Off to see if there’s a fix somewhere…