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Grinding the gears

I had a great vacation but reengaging the work gears has been a hard slog.  I spent most of Monday swinging the e-mail machete and today was devoted to the things I'd foolishly placed on the "I'll deal with it when I get back" pile.  I need one of those how-to bloggers to write a "how to go away for a week and not send yourself into a shock spiral when you get back" entries.  Trying to catch up on my Web reading I remembered seeing headlines about "news rivers" and thinking at the time that they might be useful to someone who needed to catch up.  Some searching reminded me that Memeorandum has one for each of its channels.  I scrolled through the one for news and the one for tech.  I also found one from Megite.

Basically they list the headlines that have passed through their aggregator.  Megite even displays them in different sizes depending on their popularity.  Unfortunately I think the idea backfired because I ended up with a million tabs open, more overwhelmed than enlightened.  That said, this is what I clicked:

What was only a rumor that MySpace was going to launch a news site was confirmed when Wired came into possession of some images of what's in the works.  It sounds like they're planning a mix of mainstream news and user generated news organized with a Digg-like vote up/vote down social system.  The question to wonder:  Is 'Social News' the new trend?  (I don't think so but I do like the idea of community policing of news discussion.)

I've also noticed from the news rivers that everyone is going crazy for Twitter.  Even couched in the familiar context of cat blogging I don't understand what makes Twitter such a hot item.  You build a friends list and when you send a message to Twitter, all your friends receive it automatically or can retrieve it when they're ready.  All the messages you send also end up on your Twitter page.  It's like group instant messaging mixed with mobile devices and blogging.  It's probably most useful to people who are trying to coordinate groups.

In Union Square they sell Homeland Security t-shirts with Native Americans on them so I thought it was funny to read that Native American trackers are being used in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

For reaction to today's news that Viacom is suing the pants off YouTube/Google I clicked over to Mark Cuban's blog because he's a well established critic of YouTube and its associated hype so I thought for sure he'd have a strong reaction.  I wasn't disappointed.  In the past I've argued that if copyright holders would do a better job offering their video online themselves then there wouldn't be a need for uploading it to YouTube.  Eventually we'd only need a good video search engine and we could watch copyrighted material on the site of the copyright holder.  For example, today I happened to click this embedded video of Stephen Colbert talking about the Libby verdict.  It looks like Comedy Central has finally found a way to provide the clip people want to see with the functionality that allows it to be shared easily. 
What I don't understand about today's lawsuit is how they come up with the dollar amount.  How do they show what a YouTube clip is worth and how do they show that the clip isn't worth more as advertising on YouTube than it is locked in their TV vault?

The trick of insulting upward - I'm not familiar with the specific drama Ann Althouse is addressing in this entry but the strategy of picking fights as a means of raising one's blogging profile is well noted.

The 2007 Pig Book has been released, looking at the year in Congressional pork.

Does it suck or rock?  Enter a term and the site searches for positive and negative context online and then gives a rating based on how the term is portrayed online.

Listening to Against Me. MySpace.  I lost track of where I picked up the link to this punk band. 

A wire model of a Subaru - It wasn't until I saw the third photo that I was able to adjust my eyes to see the wire.

"The extinction of the dinosaurs was most probably caused by an asteroid hitting the Earth - but what would have happened if the giant space rock had missed?"  Is that a news article or a creative writing assignment?

WaveBubble is the invention about which "someone ought to invent..." is most often uttered.  It's a self-tuning portable RF jammer, which means you can block the cell phone signals of people around you.  Apparently it's illegal to actually operate, and if you know enough to follow these instructions you probably already knew it was possible, but the rest of us can rest assured that yes, someone actually has invented that. 

With a relatively easy joke, "Starhawk" illustrates why teaching religion in school would snowball into a bad (worse?) idea.

Sloog is a tagging system for Second Life.  It's still brand new, but eventually it could be a good way of actually finding something interesting in Second Life.  I've had a hard time going in there cold and just looking around.

Weird search engines

Getty buys Scoopt - It's been a while since we heard about Scoopt but when there was a lot of buzz around citizen journalism and whether mainstream media would pay regular people for their snapshots of news events, Scoopt's plans to broker the licensing of such photos drew a lot of interest.  The question on everyone's mind is whether all the news outlets are going to have to pay for user submitted media or whether brand loyalty and a desire to share will continue to be enough to draw contributions.

Developers aim to lure women to adult games - This story, and especially this line:
"'Make me think I'm hunting'--every woman I talk to, that's what they say," Brathwaite said. immediately brought to mind a recent article I'd read that users of online dating sites are mostly women.  If most online gamers are men and most online daters are women, the winner is going to find the way to mix the two.  (Not that that necessarily helps the "adult games" industry, which seems like a completely different animal to me.)

A Note To Employers: 8 Things Intelligent People, Geeks and Nerds Need To Work Happily - This could also be flipped to be 8 ways to know if you're a geek, nerd, etc.  See how many match up to your work preferences.