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Back in the loving arms of Ana Log

My colleague Gary Krakow was telling me about seeing a recent performance by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and passed me a few links describing their production philosophy. Most striking to me was a line in this Mtv interview in which one of the guys says they've sold over 30,000 7-inch records. I wouldn't have guessed that many people had the equipment to play 7-inch records, never mind a single band selling that many. I imagine there are a lot of people who never made the digital jump. Is there also an anti-digital backlash in the works?

Even as Best Buy ceases to sell analog TVs, the White Stripes have lent their names to a limited edition line of analog cameras. NOTE: Site automatically plays music.

And one good reason for the analog revolution is the consistent pattern we've seen in news about ignorant security officials arresting, confiscating or tasing anything technical they don't understand.  If the Death Cab for Cutie guy had used an analog means of keeping his music, the courier might not have frightened security agents with that scary hard drive. Of course, going too retro might also have been a risk. Wax cylinders might easily be mistaken for nuclear reactor parts. ADDING BEFORE SOMEONE CORRECTS ME: The Seattle PI does more thorough reporting. No good explanation, but a) he did have analog back-up as well as digital back-up and b) speculation is that security was looking for kiddie porn in confiscating the hard drive so they weren't at all ignorant about what it was. And yes, the confiscation by Homeland Security does seem like a pretty handy publicity lever.

And while analog card playing is hardly immune to cheating, the scandal currently rocking the online poker world doesn't speak well for the digital wave: "The Absolute Poker controversy keeps getting more wild by the day." ... "The prevailing theory in the poker community? Potripper was a dummy account, and ID 363 had access to hole cards, and was relaying them to 'Potripper.'" Freakonomics has a good current round-up and draws this conclusion: "The real lesson of this all, however, is probably the following: guys who aren't that smart will figure out ways to cheat. And, with a little luck and the right data, folks who are a lot smarter will catch them doing it." Pardon me for finding that weak consolation. What happens when guys who are that smart figure out ways to cheat?

Also analog: Customized Pez dispensers.

Meanwhile, I was over at the Coudal site finding out what Layer Tennis is and saw the words "refreshingly analog" pointing to a video of a poster being made with a good old fashioned silkscreen. (By the way, Layer Tennis is utterly non-analog. It's a game Web designers play where they start with a pair of images and take turns making changes by adding photoshop layers. There may be more to it than that, but you get the idea.)

Speaking of artists and designers, even though I'm not a big gamer, I often admire video game trailers. The trailer for Street Fighter IV is very artfully done and unlike movie trailers, I don't feel like I needn't bother playing the game because all the good parts are already in the trailer.

Speaking of trailers, the new Hellboy comes out in July of next year. Looks like the site has a lot planned.

Kind of speaking of trailers, Sci Fi gave Tin Man an infinite site. I watched for a while without seeing the end of the loop but it moves pretty slow. Disclosure: Sci Fi is owned by NBC which is part owner of MSNBC.com. As I've mentioned before that means depressingly little in terms of this blog. However, in about a month I'll be moving offices to the same building that headquarters Sci Fi Channel and I hope to make some contacts there so I'll actually have something to disclose but I'll also hopefully have more insight into their shows and maybe like a Farscape mouse pad or Doctor Who coffee mug.

A Vision of Students Today - It feels like they're trying to sell some kind of collaborative educational software or something, but it's just a creative way to show survey results.

B.S. is the most important issue for 2008 voters - Another home run from The Onion - but NOTE: they don't use initials to say B.S.  Guaranteed to produce at least one good guffaw.

Speaking of B.S., here's a funny story worth following. In a nutshell: A company sells audio cables for $7250. James Randi bet a million bucks that no one could tell the difference in sound between the expensive ones and their cheaper Monster Cable equivalent. The company, Pear Cable found a music journalist to accept the challenge. Stay tuned!

Improv Everywhere mocks the shirtless male motif at Abercrombie & Fitch by showing up at their NYC store without shirts. Improv Everywhere is kind of a spin off of the old Flash Mobs idea.  You get on their mailing list and they let you know when a mission is coming up, where to meet and what to bring. Hilarity, social commentary and art ensue.

Commuter Click: Gawker and the rage of the creative underclass. I knew as soon as I saw it that this story would see a lot of link attention online.  It's this week's main story in New York Magazine, so it's long.  I'm going to read it, but not because I care about Gawker or need to know about "the rise of new media" but because of the last part of that subtitle: "the rage of the creative underclass." I don't know how the article treats that topic, but I definitely recognize that there's a creative underclass and I agree that it's often permeated with resentment and frustration that sometimes feels like rage.

Speaking of Commuter Clicks, I finally forced my way through The Structured Web - A Primer. It's very "sausage factory" and more technical than what I usually post here but if you can grasp the general idea you'll feel real smart for a good 15 minutes afterward.

Speaking of online sausage making, "Here are some of the key lessons the BBC learned from their Web 2.0 experiment."

How to make money by pulling scams - Not really instructions but it's a funny round-up of the various scams out there and it's a nice twist on boring warning advice.

Upon learning of the most searched terms on Google, this blog wrote a quick entry about Tom Cruise, marijuana, hangovers and burritos. Judging by my referral logs, "those naked harry potter pictures" is also quite popular. (You'll recall Google Hot Trends is where they publish daily top search terms. [And OMG I just looked at it and saw that Vinnie left OCC?!? Ack! {and by the way, I agree with this guy about the way the show has changed l} Cody is also leaving. I hope they're both rich at least. And who is Missy Higgins? {Oh, very nice.}])

Where was I?

Why commercials before movies is worse than piracy - "When we download a movie without giving the movie industry anything in return, they call that a crime (and it is). But when the industry takes our time (sometimes up to 15 or 20 minutes) without giving us anything for that time in return they call it 'smart marketing'."

11 USB toys your boss is sure to hate - I'm not sure why a boss would hate these, they're not sexual or even really all that disruptive. They are pretty cool though.

China's reinvigoration of Web censorship has some wondering if it's a reaction to the Dalai Lama event yesterday.

Is there a secret plan in the works to impeach (or something) George Bush after he leaves office? This raises the larger question of how long after Bush's departure Democrats will try to score points with his unpopularity. I had sort of figured the country would just move on but it occurs to me there's going to be a lot of backward finger pointing after he's gone.

What does it mean to anti-abortion activism if keeping abortion legal is more effective at preventing abortions than banning it? Without having to delve into the specific abortion debate, the question of whether activist groups can effectively adopt counter-intuitive or asymmetric strategies to pursue their goals is interesting -especially given our current national inclination toward straightforward, often ill-conceived confrontation.

"Freeze them, boil them, dry them, expose them to open space & radiation - after 200 years they'll still be alive!" Tardigrades.

Bike Hackers Get Whimsical With Two-Wheelers

I can't believe I'm mentioning Rush Limbaugh again but this seems like something that could spark a trend. Democrats recently tried to exercise some outrage over something Limbaugh said and some members of Congress ended up writing a letter to ClearChannel. I don't know if they seriously thought that was going to do anything but now Rush is selling the original letter on eBay with the money to go to charity. Current bidding is at $1.2 million. (?)