Sunday, August 12, 2007

Netflix Community Blog: Todd Speaks: 1/2 Stars

The tyranny of choice in action on Netflix: “when we make the ½ star options possible, we get fewer ratings. […] Our best guess is that the complexity of doubling the number of choices from 5 to 10 deters many people from rating, so they just give up.”

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Scripting News: What to do?

Three 3.5+ magnitude earthquakes in Berkeley in the last 3 days. We got a light rattling here, but Dave Winer’s on-the-spot description is a lot more evocative: “felt like a truck hitting the house […] quick but loud.” (But at the risk of sounding callous: if you hate quakes so much, why buy a house so close to the Hayward Fault?)

Saturday, September 16, 2006 On the design of American State flags

Tom Coates casts a quizzical eye on some of the state flags: “the flag for Arkansas reminds me of the label of a sardine can.” Bonus link from the comments: Snopes’ “no, I meant a pearurban legend. Believe them? Check here.

Boing Boing: Amazon Unbox to customers: Eat shit and die

Cory Doctorow dissects the Amazon Unbox user agreement: “Amazon Unbox takes away your privacy and every conceivable consumer right you have, and then tells you that the goods you buy from them don’t belong to you, and they can take them away from you at any time, or change the deal you get from them without any appeal by you.” Even filtered through Doctorow’s evangelically anti-DRM stance, this is strong stuff.

Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine

The abstract alone should scare the willies out of you; the full paper just gets scarier and scarier. Election-stealing voting machine viruses: glub.

Monday, September 04, 2006 New Stamps Misspell 'Motorcycle'

USPS finds a typo in a first-day cover postmark. Response: “[buyers] can still order the version with the incorrect postmark”. Very clever: most collectors will want both versions.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Guardian Unlimited Books: Hoax love letter fools Betjeman biographer

Nicely done: fake letter contains coded insult to A.N. Wilson. (Update: warring biographers.)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Boing Boing: Animation historians blast SF Chron movie critic

And on the subject of Monster House: the Chron's Mick LaSalle doesn’t understand animation; animators respond eloquently. (via Boing Boing)

By Ken Levine: Pirates of the Caribbean

Ken on the what-the-hell-was-all-that Pirates sequel: “If only the movie was six minutes and the ride took two and a half hours.” (Monster House was a much better cartoon…)

Workbench: Finding Good Soundbites in Bad Podcasts

Rogers neatly sums up why I dislike podcasts: “Content that sucks in two dimensions. A bad podcast suffers both in quality and in the amount of time required to find this out. I could’ve back-buttoned 60 bad blog entries in the time I listened to one Gillmor Gang.” The comments and correction also identify another problem: sometimes it's hard to tell who’s speaking...

Thursday, August 17, 2006 'Hybrid' Creature Is Just a Dog

Somehow this story strongly reminds me of The League Of Gentlemen: “Some form of monstrous basilisk, the like of which the world has never seen.” / “You haven’t seen a goat, a pig and a chimp anywhere?”

Sunday, August 13, 2006 RICE-A-REDUX / After a 7-year hiatus, it's billed once again as the San Francisco treat

Rice-A-Roni was traditionally “The San Francisco Treat”: why? The Chronicle on the possible return of the slogan; and asks “when was Rice-A-Roni ever the civic pride of San Francisco?”