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With a little help...

Some mail from the past couple weeks in basically chronological order.

Good morning,
I just wanted to let you know that the new Medical Blog Grand Rounds has been
posted at Blog, MD.

I'd appreciate it if you could share the news with your readers.

Thanks,
Sam Blackman

Good Morning Will:
Channels.com is launching Tuesday with a revolutionary new Web video guide that provides both consumers and programmers a central and neutral location for the discovery and promotion of the best video on the Web.  For consumers, Channels.com is an all-in-one video guide where they can view videos from the best of TV, cable, and broadband programming.  For video programmers and rights holders, Channels is the most effective tool on the Web to increase the number of viewers of their broadband video.

Best regards,
Amy

Will replies:  Amy's note is an introduction to a press release but still worth sharing since we were just talking about a site like this a couple days ago.  This site pulls copyrighted videos from their legal source.  Their database is pretty thin but they're still in beta so you have to give them a little room for growth.  Ironically some of their channels are TV clips hosted on YouTube as part of a legal agreement, but the Viacom clips are from Viacom properties.  I found a few MSNBC.com clips and they open in new windows.  I had figured a search engine would do the job of finding copyrighted videos on their respective sites, but a site like this that surfaces stuff in channels is probably more inviting.

Speaking of press releases, I also got one for something called Amie Street.  It's a DRM-free music service.  What's interesting is that the price per song is based on how popular that song is.  It could be as high as 98 cents or as low as zero.  I'm finding that also serves as a recommendation system.  It looks like the site also has a kind of tour-management function, presumably networking bands who are participating in the system.  My criticism so far is that even the "radio" channels only play partial samples of songs.  I even signed up for an account but I still don't get to hear a full song (if I'm misunderstanding something let me know).

I'm sure you have heard about the USPS promotion involving Star Wars.  Here's a Frapper map of the R2D2 mailboxes.

-Marjorie Carvalho
Star Wars Action News

Will notes:  The New York City box is a little off the mark but I imagine the map will correct itself as more people access it.

Hey Will,
Hope all is well with you. Just thought I'd pass along the feel good video of the day:
a baby hysterically laughing as his dad plays golf on his Nintendo Wii.  I seriously watched this probably about 10 times already. Enjoy!
-Scott

Will replies:  Thanks Scott.  That baby laughing for any reason would be worth watching.

Michael Crook sent over a dozen fake copyright notices to trick webmasters into removing an embarrassing photograph of him.  The EFF sued him for interfering with the free speech of web site 10 Zen Monkeys, and as part of their settlement, they've required Crook to record a video apologizing to the entire internet!

Crook also has to rescind all his fake copyright notices, refrain from sending more, and take a remedial course in copyright law!

Here's a funny first-person account of the entire case.  (With legal commentary from "The Joker"!)

Will adds:  I think the best part of the video is the heavy sigh and look in askance off camera when he's done.

Will,
I  thought you'd enjoy playing the winning game of the recent jayisgames.com "GROW" themed competition:

Sprout

It's a fun little game, with quite lovely graphics.  I like the way it relies on a bit of knowledge to progress, not just finding a random spot to point-n-click.

Cindy W.
Redmond, WA

Will replies:  Thanks Cindy, that's a great game.  I was expecting something like the Eyemaze grow games. (More here.)  I didn't get to complete it because my boss is visiting from Redmond and she was sitting in the next cube.  After a few minutes I got VERY self conscious so I'll go back and play again later.

Speaking of the boss looking over your shoulder, you don't want that to be the case if you follow the links in this next one.

Thought you would get a kick out of this:

It was an eventuality you knew was coming: YouPorn! The latest imitator of You Tube is precisely what it sounds like: a Triple X version of YouTube. They cater to all those people who have been getting busy videotaping themselves, well, getting busy.  (link is safe for work, but after that, you are on your own!)

Barry Ritholtz

Will replies: Thanks Barry.  I'll reiterate Barry's warning: He's talking about a porn site, so if you click the link in his entry, it takes you to a porn site.  A real one with naked people.  The link to Barry's post is clean, however.  That said, I am baffled by the people who contribute to these sites. I know some are hidden cameras or personal videos that were never meant to "get out," but I would be surprised if there are this many of that type.  Since the site Barry points to is free, I'm thinking most of them are either small time porn operators basically advertising themselves online or else maybe just old fashioned exhibitionism.  (?)  I'm open to any other explanations.

Hi Will,
I found a couple of interesting links while you're having fun on vacay.
 
I've always found the concept of time travel to be exciting, yet terrifying at the same time. This new
article from LiveScience says it just ain't gonna happen. (I'm paraphrasing of course).

Humorous lists such as this one (40 things that only happen in the movies) have been floating around the net for a long time. But for a more scientific take on Hollywood's improbable (or impossible) take on reality, this list (9 laws of physics that don't apply in Hollywood) is a good read. Thanks for writing such a great blog!

em,
Saginaw, Mi

Dear Will,
Thought you might find this of interest...My local police department is
using MySpace to help identify a bank robber who has hit at least four times in the area...

As police continue searching for a suspect in four bank robberies across Arkansas, one local department has taken the unusual step of creating the man a profile on the social networking Web site MySpace, hoping someone will recognize him.

Thanks, Love your blog!
-Jennifer

Will replies:  Thanks Jennifer.  I like this idea but I wonder if it could scale.  Should every criminal on the run have a MySpace page or would that create too much noise?  I'll be interested to see if this works.

Hey Will, I didn't want to perpetuate the conspiracy theme on the message board but couldn't pass up sending this to you-

"Was the Death Star attack an inside job?"

-Sean

Will laughs:  "Bush knew."

This isn't me, self-promoting, so only share this if you get the joke, and think your readers will, but I thought it was curious they chose King Crimson's eponymous late-60's hit for music for that promo.  So my reason for writing, is that about 15 years ago, I realized that the lyrics to the "Gilligan's Island" theme fit pretty neatly into that song.  The idea sat with me, until about a year ago, when I finally had the wherewithal, and time to record a moderately-decent version of it, here. [Will points out: it's an mp3 link.]

For Crimson nerds, yes, I didn't do the calliope solo.  No I don't care.

Keep up the great work,
-Davin

Hey Will,
I thought you'll be
interested in this. You'll find the first and last paragraphs quite salient.
- A. Eteraz

Will expands:  It's a discussion of the difference between Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Theology.  It's not often we see Islam represented/defended in English speaking blogs, so this is indeed an interesting read.

Here's an affordable click I bumped into today.

Fly it with total abandon,  night would be very cool. Video here.

-1hen2ducks

Will replies:  Leaving aside the question of whether a kite with no string that doesn't need wind is still a kite, just make sure you don't fly it at night in Boston.  I can only imagine the amount of panic that would be caused by flying LED lights.