Saturday, November 26, 2011

There are no free lunches on the internet

There are no free lunches on the internet, article.

...the thing to note is that the business model of all these free services involves exploiting what they know about you. Or, to put it more crudely, if you use "free" services then what you have to accept is that you (or, more precisely, your identity) are their product.
The penny drops for most suckers, er, users when it occurs to them that the service is, somehow, becoming more intrusive...

I find it interesting that investors will continue to pour money into companies which month after month, year after year have ever-growing and huge expenses and no income in sight. Apparently enough people will bet that if a company becomes big enough, some kind of profitability is sure to follow eventually. I guess we'll learn more about how that goes.

But interestingly, I doubt Twitter (not that I value it a lot, as you know) would have become a world-wide communications phenomenon if it had not been free. 90% of people just find "free" to be an intensely attractive thing. Many find it essential, and will work for free for hours to get something "for free".

It's just about impossible to imagine Twitter disappearing by now. But if it never finds an income source, then what?

Stony Kill Falls

Photos by my friends Jeff and Laurie, taken by Stony Kill Falls in New York, yesterday. (In New York state "kill" often means river/stream, especially in place names.)

I think these are great, I especially like the blue one for wallpaper.

Funny thing: my instincts, from all my early training as photographer, is to adjust the contrast of the angel photo, to get out the shadow detail (as below). But when I do it, it actually seems wrong, the composition falls apart and it becomes messy.
It's amazing how hard it is to learn to not take technique too seriously, that all the rules are only in the service of the picture, and not one of them is true always.

Art lessons

Art Instruction Blog, a site with lots of free lessons in painting and drawing. Thanks to my artist friend Zeppelina for the link.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

iPhone lens dial

New kool toy from Photojojo: a three-lens dial for iPhone. Fish-eye, wide-angle, and short tele (portrait).
I wouldn't expect high-range optical quality, especially in the edges of photos, but it should be fun to use, and it looks awesome, reminiscent of an ancient movie camera. I'll bet it's a geek- and babe-magnet.

René Goscinny

I was just wondering what happened to the wonderful comedic comics which warmed my childhood and youth. Then I looked things up and realized that René Goscinny created and wrote Luky Luke, Asterix, and Iznogoud. And he died in 1977, so there went the neighborhood! It's just incredible that a single man could create and write three of the very best long-standing comedic comic books ever. I miss him.

Admittedly Asterix is the most complex and full-rounded of them, and I can't honestly say how much I'd love the other two if I hadn't enjoyed them as a kid.

(It'll be the name of my next band: "Admittedly Asterix".)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Homer's achievement wisdom

"All my life I've had one dream: to achieve my many goals." 
- Homer Simpson

By the way, when Homer hears the advice "live every day like it was your last," he heeds it and obeys by sitting down and wailing, "Woooaaa! I don't wanna die!"
Makes sense. Somebody else might get four call girls (or men) and the most expensive hotel suite they could find, and put it on credit cards.

Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power

Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power, new novel by David Pogue.

I've bought it in the audio version, I expect it to be good fun like most of David's writings. So far as I know it's his first new novel since Hard Drive about 20 years ago. But considering his standard output in nonfiction (his two NYT columns and managing the Missing Manuals book line), just the fact that he has found time to write even one more novel is almost enough to make one believe in magic. (Wow, cheap line. Well, you take what you find.)

WILDRZ: A Kids Graphic Novel

WILDRZ: A Kids Graphic Novel, Kickstarter project.

I only really noticed this thing because of their funding goal: one hundred thousand dollars! Jeepers! For one thing: what do they need that much money for, for making an app? Secondly, as I understand it, if a Kickstarter project does not reach its funding goal, they don't get any money at all. So it seems stupid to set such an unrealistic target. Big funding on Kickstarter (a brilliant idea in itself) has been known to happen for a outstanding hardware idea (like the Glif) which people really wanted, but 100k for an entertainment app? I really doubt it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Egypt Activist Poses Naked, Sparks Outrage

Egypt Activist, Poses Naked, Sparks Outrage, article.

A supporter, who identified himself as Emad Nasr Zikri, wrote in a comment on Elmahdy's blog, "We need to learn how to separate between nudity and sex." He said that before fundamentalist influence in Egypt, "there were nude models in art school for students to draw."
Some 100 people liked his comment, while thousands flooded the site with insults. Some denounced Elmahdy as a "prostitute" and "mentally sick" or urged police to arrest her.

Its shocking to see such extreme and irrational rage, particularly to somebody who grew up in Denmark, which was the first country in the world in 1968 to legalize pornography, and where the worst you'll see in case of nudity is somebody going "harumph!" and turning their back.

Writer Jed McKenna said that "sanity is a numbers game". Meaning that if enough people have an idea, it is no longer considered insane.

Elmahdy's blog post is unbelievably brave.

Update: Pascal wrote to me:
It's probably a good thing you don't understand Arabic. The Facebook comments on her blog page are mostly a furious hailstorm of religious anathema and highly crude insults.

Update: cross-border support.


Sometimes I'm an Early Adopter, sometimes not. I've not seen any 3D technology/movies which really worked for me, so I'm not overly eager for that. On the other hand, it might be great for some movies.
So I've made this decision: I will get a 3D TV when My Dinner With André is released in that format.