Archive for August, 2008

Mozilla Labs’ Ubiquity: The Future of the Web

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I’ve seen the future of the web, and it’s right here in this video below. The web used to be static. Then, it got filled with dynamic information, and “web 2.0″ brought all this dynamic information together with web-based services. That was cool for a while, but Mozilla Labs’ Ubiquity prototype shows us the next step. Forget about words, just watch this video. Be amazed.

Now, I was thinking: drag-and-drop might be one of the most important functions to the user since the GUI, or multiple windows. Making the drag-and-drop function ubiquitous was probably one of Windows 95’s greatest contributions to the GUI. You might scoff, since drag-and-drop is rudimentary; well, that’s because Windows made it ubiquitous, mainstream.

Think about it: Want to open something in Photoshop? Before drag-and-drop, you had to a) open Photoshop, then b) locate and open the file(s) from within Photoshop. Now you locate the file(s), and drag them to the Photoshop icon to open the program and files with a single action. Want to attach a file attachment into an e-mail? Drag it into the e-mail window.

Ubiquity aims to make the web that simple. This user-focused simplicity does not exist on the web…yet. Ubiquity aims to change this. And I can’t wait! For a much more in-depth post on how this works, check Aza Raskin’s blog (he’s the dude behind this project).

Smile guy

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008



Smile guy, originally uploaded by ASurroca.

Graf I saw today on a dilapidated convenience store around Winter Park.

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The AFA’s Latest Boycott: Hallmark Cards

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

I love how thinly veiled almost-hate-groups use names that make them sound all warm and fuzzy. Take the anti-gay organization American Family Association for example. Hallmark decided to start making greeting cards for same-sex couples to go with their five billion other hyper-focused greeting cards. The AFA has decided to set their targets on Hallmark for doing this, so Hallmark can now join the laundry list of other major brands who have been boycotted by the AFA. Bravo.

Here’s the fun part. The AFA has a form on their website right here for people to send complaints to Hallmark’s chairman, so you should know where this is going: subversion, obviously. Here’s the letter I sent:

Dear Chairman Hall:

I’m pleased to see that Hallmark is offering greeting cards for same-sex couples in an effort to reach this burgeoning market. It makes sense from a business perspective, but some people outside the mainstream might think otherwise.

I encourage you to ignore the glut of form letters you are no doubt receiving from the American Family Association, and I’m fairly certain that their boycott will not affect your business. After all, they’ve already boycotted basically every other major brand to little effect.

In addition to being an anti-gay organization promoting intolerance against this group, The American Family Association is trying to restrict a private business from operating in the free market as they see fit. Don’t let them dictate the way you run your business, Mr. Hall.

Note that their form seems to be down, so you’ll have e-mail Mr. Hall directly (the form has a handy link to his e-mail though). And I encourage you to do so.

Also, a quick note on the whole gay marriage issue: Why is it that I am a believer and have no issue with gays, and know that God loves gays the same as he loves all his creations, and yet so many people see it as such an affront to God that gays don’t deserve the same human dignity as anyone else? Replace “gays” with “blacks”, or any other race/gender/orientation/affiliation/etc. and the same applies.

Trout

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Next time you get a message from someone you don’t recognize with the word “trout” in their name, expect to be confused while confusing a third-party. See, there’s a flood of AIM bots running around lately.

What these bots do is troll for AIM screennames, then send apparently send a message to a random AIM user from its list. When this user responds, it sends that response to another random AIM user from its list. Neither “victim” will see the screenname of the other person—each will think they are talking to one of the trout screennames. Much confusion or anger will then ensue. And then people will post memorable conversations on LiveJournal.

So, what was my conversation like? Once I realized this was not a person I know, I started telling them to fuck off and blocked them. Perhaps I was impolite.

P.S. If you think this whole “trout” thing is more annoying than humorous, you can send the code $optout to opt-out of communications with them.

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Category humor, technology | Tags: Tags: , , , ,

Tropical Storm Fail

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

I’ve lived in Florida long enough to live through enough bad-ass hurricanes to have had enough of bad hurricane reporting on the part of the local news. As soon as the possibility of a threat of anything beyond a breeze looms over the state, news agency go into Emergency Ratings Mode.

Picture a war room with frenzied people running about, klaxons blaring, and red lights flashing; now replace that picture with a one of a news room filled with news people who are, instead of eschewing important news for celeb gossip, eschewing important global news for sensationalized hurricane gossip. That’s Florida during hurricane season.

Except that every so often, the 24/7 hurricane “threat” coverage turns out to be true, and we get hit with a real storm. Actually, we’ve been getting hit with real storms a lot lately: In 2004 Florida had to deal with four nearly back-to-back hurricanes—Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne—in the span of just over a month. Then, six more in 2005, including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma. That’s in addition to dozens of tropical storms and tropical depressions.

Which brings me to Tropical Storm Fay. With the hype machine broadcasting warnings about Fay for about a week (it felt like a month), T.S. Fay zig-zagged around the state with all the speed and energy of an octogenarian. I think it’s finally passed over central Florida by now, but I stopped paying attention to the weather updates yesterday.

P.S. Don’t forget to click those links for a bunch of sweet hurricane photos.

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Ghost-sex

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

So, a friend started drawing ghosts today and I thought they’d make a good comic. This is me putting my money (mouse?) where my mouth (Photoshop file?) is.

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Webpage Farms?

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

I have the following comments: 1. These folks couldn’t come up with a name that better represents their business? 2. Has anyone even said the word “webpage” after, say, 1997?

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Walmart Misplaces its Asterisk

Thursday, August 7th, 2008


First off, I’d like to welcome WAL*MART—er, Walmart—to 2005! It seems the neighborhood-munching behemoth’s nearly two decade old logo wasn’t friendly enough to represent the company in this brave new world. Second, I wonder how long it took to develop this logo. Ten minutes? Fifteen? It probably took a year of focus groups consisting of old people who think lowercase proper nouns are cutting edge.

Business Week had the details on this change last month, and Brand New had a more snarky take—e.g. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

At least Walmart kept the capital; the same can’t be said for AT&T’s 2005 logo change. Hey, Walmart is working on being more environmentally friendly. All they have to do now is stop mistreating their employees, and destroying small-town America, and they just might back up their friendly new logo. In the same way that AT&T stopped being evil the moment they changed their logo. Oh, wait, never mind.

Golf VI, From Photoshop to In-the-Flesh Photos

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

It must really suck to make a computer-generated guesstimate at a future car model just days before the real deal gets leaked onto the internet. If your Photoshop handiwork is pretty close to the real deal, that helps lessen the blow, but still….

Here’s what Autobild came up with, seen just a few days ago at The German Car Blog:

Golf MkVI render from Autobild

Golf MkVI render from Autobild

Cool, so they basically started off with a bodykit-wearing MkV Golf/Rabbit, added the front end of the new Scirocco, and the rear tail lights from the Touareg and called it a day. Anyway, literally the next day, I see leaked photos of the MkVI Golf in the flesh on Autoblog. And a few more photos popped up on World Car Fans the day after that.

Golf MkVI

Golf MkVI

Now, as for the design, I’m happy to see Volkswagen’s design language taking a step back from gaudy chrome to the glory days of the MkIV generation. You might remember that as the generation that started with the then-iPod of cars, the New Beetle, and basically brought Volkswagen from a near-defunct brand in the US to its former yuppie glory practically overnight. Basically, I’m already sold on the design.

Glasses.com

Monday, August 4th, 2008

I bought a cheap pair of glasses when my last pair broke because I needed new glasses ASAP, but I wanted to look for a pair that really suited me. See, when you’re buying eyeglasses because you actually need them and not for fashion reasons, you walk into one of several eyeglass stores and you’re fed upon by salespeople like you’re at a car dealer. Except, it’s glasses, and you can still see without having a car.

At any rate, I decided to start looking for a set of specs that suit me, and decided to use the internet the same way I do when making any purchase—check out reviews, compare specs, look for deals, etc. I’m just fine going to blogs for tech info, furniture info, etc., but eyeglasses? Clothing and accessories are a new frontier; everything I wear came with a Target price tag.

Innocently enough, I started by typing glasses.com. Which promptly redirected me to 1-800 Contacts. Well played, 1-800 Contacts, well played. Next, even though the term made me want to puke, I googled “where can I find fashionable eyeglasses?” and basically ended up with LensCrafters and Amazon.com listings. Damn, I could’ve thought of that without Google’s help.

The thing I like about eyeglasses: they’re the only item where the price disparity between no-name, brand name, and designer brand is next to nothing. No-names? Under $100. Ray-Ban? Oakley? $150-$200. Dolce & Gabbana? Burberry? Ferragamo, Prada? $200-$250. And then there’s the issue about insurance covering a good percentage on frames.

And in conclusion, these are the two frames I kind of settled on, after my exhaustive (15 minute) search. Kind of partial to the Burberry specs at the bottom for the Gordon Freeman look….