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Celebrity monument photoshopping

Today on Worth1000's photoshopping contest: future monuments to celebrities. Link

Airtexting: a heckler's dream-feature

Joi Ito has a good blog entry about Nokia's new "Airtexting" feature in the 3220 handsets: a string of LEDs down the side of the phone spell out user-defined words when the phone is waved back and forth. Joi ponders the heckling applications:
If they made an airtexting enabled BlackBerry, I wonder if they would allow them in Congress. With the massive penetration of BlackBerries, it would be like a chorus of Hecklebots. Anyway, I want one. Forget night clubs, imaging having one in the audience during talks.

Geek showerhead generates electricity for tiny lightbulb inside

showerheadNifty showerhead has built-in electricity generator.
Water enters the shower head through the flow resrictor (1) then travels through the injector plate (2) which directs the water to the waterwheel (3). The water spins the magnetic waterwheel past the stator (4) of the field wincing (5). This hydroelectric generator develops the 2.5 volts at .31 amps which lights the PR-6 bulb.
The result? "The Showerstar will be sure to light up your evenings as the perfect addition to any romantic setting." I doubt it. The kind of person who would buy one of these would probably prefer taking a voltmeter into the shower than a partner. Link (Thanks, Simon!)

The problem with contextual advertising

Great musings on contextual advertising by John Battelle. He says that they aren't all they're cracked up to be because the advertiser has no control on where the ads will show up, and so they can have a real relationship with the audience, or the publisher, for that matter.
It's this relationship which I find entirely missing in all these contextual, behavioral, paid search networks. Sure, they are "relevant" to either a search, or to the content they match. But they are driven by metadata and the actions of only one of the parties - the content of the publisher for example (AdSense), or the actions of the audience (Claria, Revenue Science, Tacoda, etc.). As far as I know, none are driven by an understanding of the give-and-take that occurs between all three parties in a consensual relationship mediated by the publication. A site which has only AdSense or behavioral advertising fails to value (or monetize) the community connection between audience, publisher, and advertiser. Advertisers in these networks are not intentionally supporting the publication, and by extension they are not supporting the community the publication has created. In essence, they are not being good citizens of the community where their advertising is being displayed.

Japanese Uniforms Book

officeladyWhen I went to Japan a couple of weeks ago, I kind of became obsessed with the uniforms everybody wears there. My friend Todd let me know about a series of Japanese uniform books that J-List sells, like this "Office Lady Uniform Pictorial Book Part 1":
For fans of the sailor uniform books, here's a "Chinkame" format photobook (pocket-sized) photobook of the beautiful uniforms of Japan's OLs (office ladies) -- those dedicated to serving tea and working on copy machines across the country. A super full-color publication documenting the cutest blazers, skirts, outfits and different uniform styles as introduced to you by the hottest current race queens. Famous uniforms of famous companies (NTT Docomo, Seibu Bus Company, BMW, etc) from across the country, with information on the style of the uniform as well as the girl modeling it. This is volume 1 a perfect bound, soft cover book that will look great on your coffee table

Notes from Tokyo Technorati Meetup

When I was in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago, I exchanged email with Sid, a nice guy who recently moved from the US to Tokyo. Here's his report of a Technorati meetup in Tokyo, which has some interesting statistics:
I just moved to Tokyo and saw on Joi Ito's site that he and Dave Sifry, Technorati CEO, were putting on a "Technorati Meetup" on Thursday night at the Marinouchi Building, so I decided to go. It was a fun time, I learned a lot, and they had free Wi-Fi (a rarity in Tokyo), so I was able to update several programs real fast.

Here are some notes from Dave's talk (which Joi translated, although Dave speaks Japanese).

Technorati tracks 2.4 million blogs.

45% haven't posted in three months.

Around 200,000 new blogs are created daily.

About 7 minutes after someone posts a new entry it's indexed by Technorati and searchable

Sifry says blogs are striving for authority, as defined by how many people link to you when you write about things. You may not write the truth or even be correct, but if you're interesting people link to you.

He sees bloggers as commentators on the news and filters on the news, rather than replacing the news ... though blogs are giving big media sites a run for their money on hits and attention (as seen on a chart of hits).

Technorati has an active developers' site with several bindings and sample code of the program for people to use and mutate on their own. "Because if there's one thing I know, it's that you guys are all smarter than me," Sifry says.

An example is a program Joi wrote to send SMS to his phone when someone links to his site. It vibrates every time somebody links to him (and he encourages frequent linking).

Future directions for Technorati: Open reviews, subscribe to keywords and Cosmos filters, discovery & filtering of subscription lists, vote links and geographic search & filtering, which is hard because people have to put in GPS coordinates (applies more to phone blogging). There currently are 11,000 blogs in the geographic database.

John Shirley reports from BayCon

John Shirley wrote a good, funny report about going to BayCon.
...what's new (to me) is the presence of more goths and rave-types, and parties in dark rooms where the beds are pushed together and the walls are draped in black velvet under black-lights and electronica thumps...And DJs playing goth dance music...What would Poul Anderson have thought? He'd have liked those topless girls with their breasts painted up, though...

William Hung sings at a Jays game

William Hung is the nerdy Hong Kong-born engineering student who had a disastrous and very brave appearance on American Idol. The video of that audition made him into a net-celeb, and landed him a record deal, despite his off-key singing (his disc has sold over 100,000 copies!). His latest gig was singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at a Blue Jays game:
Hung's presence brought a gaggle of media usually indifferent to baseball to the game, including staff from Rolling Stone magazine. A team official said more media credentials were issued Sunday than on opening day.

I'm nominated for the Sunburst Award!

My short story collection, A Place So Foreign and Eight More, has been shortlisted for the Sunburst Award, a juried prize that goes to the best Canadian science fiction book each year. I am pleased as PUNCH. Link

Adrian Mole: the text-adventure game

The Adrian Mole books are my all-time favorite English kids' books. When I was in junior high and high-school, they were practically Bibles to my friends and me -- we could quote whole long passages of them Imagine my delight when I found out this week that there was a text-adventure game based on them for the Commodore 64, and that the game is now downloadable froplay on your favorite C64 emulator. Link

Gadget fits inside bugle, plays music for you.

bugleElectronic bugle implant makes it so you don't have to learn the instrument in order "play" it.
The device ... slides snugly deep into the bugle's bell. The device plays a high-quality recorded version of “Taps,” taken from the 1999 Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery. The resonating tones inside the bugle create a realistic horn quality.
And here's a related article:
"Facing critical shortage of musicians for military funerals, the Pentagon has approved the use of a push-button bugle that plays taps by itself as the player holds it to his lips"

..."With a small digital recording devise inserted into each bugle's bell, a member of the honor guard at the funeral simply presses a button on the devise. A five-second delay give the guards time to raise the instrument to their lips as if they are going to play it"

Link (Thanks, Simon!)

Mark and Vaughn Bode in the NYT

The NY Times has a good piece about Mark Bode's plans to complete his father's comic epic, The Lizard of Oz. (I posted something about this on Thursday.) Link

Guestblogger Russ Kick interviewed on NPR

BoingBoing guestblogger Russ Kick (yep, that's him over in the right-hand column!) was recently interviewed for the NPR media analysis show 'On the Media" about freedom of information -- and your power to use it. Link to archived show in Real Audio. Transcript should be available on Tuesday. (Thanks, Jeremy)

Bollywood ad takeover, part three: Peugot ad, and TV ad satire index

BoingBoing reader Manish Vij points us to his list of Bollywood-themed TV advertisements for western products, which includes a popular ad for Peugot.

Manish's website includes terrific liner notes -- for instance, pointers on where to download copies of songs you hear in the ads. And here's his capsule review for "Jabhi Khushi Tabhi Tennent's" (8.9 MB), shown at left: "Ad for Tennent's, a UK beer. A "Mulit" derivative. Boy meets girl, complications, climax (so to speak) and denouement in sixty neat seconds. Catchy music. Rajasthan. Pigeons. No elephants."
Link to Peugot ad, and alternate link; Link to "TV Satires on India"; Previous BoingBoing posts on Bollywood spoof ads: 1, 2

Harry Potter cinemas outfitted with night-scopes

The new Harry Potter movie is out in the UK and the cinemas are filled with minimum-wage ushers with night-scopes to hunt-and-destroy people videotaping the flick. I'm seeing it this morning at Leicester Square, and I plan on taking a flash photo of the copyright warning, as is my wont. Wonder if they'll deport me?
Staff at the Vue will be "very discreet" with their potentially frightening cyclopean attachments, Mr Graham said, but action against offenders would be swift.

Much like the battered young wizards on screen, who are constantly being whirled about by baddies, pirates will be "hauled out of their seats and reported straight away to the police".

Link (Thanks, Diane!)

DaVinci's notebooks, a page a day

Matt Webb is a real Renaissance geek, and as such he's too busy to actually read the great and defining works fo the Renaissance, such as DaVinci's imposing 1,565-page Notebooks. At least not all in one gulp. So Matt's poured all of the Notebooks (scarfed from the Project Gutenberg site) into a script that sends out one page a day as RSS. This is not unlike Phil Gyford's Page-a-Day-Pepys'-Diary thing. Link (via Kottke)

Tokyo shop windows

Wonderful gallery of Tokyo shop-window displays. God I wanna go to Tokyo. Link (via Waxy)

Law-and-Order-inspired art

Law and Order: Artistic Intent is a collection of fine art pieces inspired by the Law and Order franchise. Which reminds me of the Law and Order song, as written by the WELL's inestimable tpy:

Law and Order's on
Time for Law and Order
Law and Order's on
Time for Law and Order
Lenny was a drunk
Now he beats up pu-unks
Law and Order's on
Time for Law and Order

Link (Thanks, Mitch)

Bollywood spoof ads, continued: mullet pseudo-history

BoingBoing reader Chris points us to this blast from the online past:

"Another corporate '70s Bollywood spoof, this time by Absolut Vodka. ~10 minute film, made in 2002, filmed in India. It's a Bollywood pseudohistory of the mullet. Entertaining enough story (a little long...) - but really well-crafted, with awesome songs and dancing. Low-level product placement - no actual bottles or mention of vodka - but the familiar Absolut shape makes subtle appearances."

The film's hilarious, but -- OMGWTF! Do my own eyes betray me? Look closely at the faux promo poster screengrabbed at left. Is the male lead in Absolut Mulit not wearing a shirt with the exact same pink vomit print that Vivek Oberoi wears in the aforementioned Vanilla Coke Bollywood ad? Perhaps this is a secret, ironic reference to pink vomit couture featured in a real Bollywood film -- and I'm not enough of an Indian cinema buff to get the joke. If any intrepid BoingBoing readers know the answer, do tell.
Link to Absolut Mulit (Flash required), more background on the making of the 12-minute short in this 2003 issue of Fast Company magazine (scroll down to bottom of page).

Update: Reader Manish Vij says, "My brother and I found over 20 Absolut bottle shapes in the Absolut Bollywood parody! They cut the scenes at high speed so you can't tell unless you look carefully. Someone really had fun with this. Go frame by frame in the film. You can grab the play arrow in the QuickTime player and watch it at your own speed." Link to Manish's bottle deconstruction.

Update 2: Regarding the pink shirt enigma, Simon Fodden of Toronto replies, I can't tell you about the vomit pattern, but pink is no big deal in India, for men and for women. Diana Vreeland famously said (back in '62) that pink is "the navy blue of India." And "Pinky" is a name (more of a pet name, really) that both men and women choose or are given. Heck, one Pinky N. Patel got his name (along with a million others) put on the NASA Stardust spacecraft."

Bollywood Vanilla Coke ad which kicks ass

BoingBoing reader Vishal points us to a spectacularly cheesy Indian TV ad starring yet another one of my future husbands (look, any fella who eschews SMS for pigeon as preferred love-note carrier is alright by me).

Vishal says, "This Ad is really popular in India, and I was surprised to find that the good people at Coke have it online too (RealPlayer). It features one of the hottest young actors in Bollywood, Vivek Oberoi, and features many in-jokes to '70s Bollywood films (note, especially, the lightbulb dress in the 3rd segment, a direct lift from a classic 70's movie)."

Footnote to menswear trendwatchers: take a tip from Vivek, at left -- pink vomit prints are the new black.

Update: BoingBoing reader Berklee totally harshes my mellow by saying, "Excellent choice for a future husband, but you'll have to wait until he's done with Aishwarya Rai, I'm afraid. Meanwhile, I recommend [a 2002 film starring Oberoi titled] Company. Go rent it (or download it) and enjoy this un-Bollywood-like gangster-movie!"

NYT: E-Voting will only work if it's open source

A thought-provoking piece on cures for e-voting woes, from today's New York Times
Electronic voting has much to offer, but will we ever be able to trust these buggy machines? Yes, we will -- but only if we adopt the techniques of the ''open source'' geeks.

One reason it's difficult to trust the voting software of companies like Diebold is that the source code remains a trade secret. A few federally approved software experts are allowed to examine the code and verify that it works as intended, and in some cases, states are allowed to keep a copy in escrow. But the public has no access, and this is troublesome. When the Diebold source code was accidentally posted online last year, a computer-science professor looked at it and found it was dangerously hackable. Diebold may have fixed its bugs, but since the firm won't share the code publicly, there's no way of knowing. Just trust us, the company says.


Porn art-remixes part deux: Safe For Work

Those French "pornotuning" remixes aren't the first time someone with a pinch of snark and a penchant for pr0n got jiggy with Photoshop. For instance, this somethingawful riff from a couple of years back: "Make Porn Work-Safe." Results included the bizarre goatse-esque mashup shown here, which suggests a rollicking three-way between Man Ray, Terry Richardson, and Betty Crocker. BoingBoing reader Phil points us to the archived gallery and says, "Basically, they hacked pornopix just enough to make them (at least theoretically) safe for work."


Along the lines of Semacode, another "use your phonecam as a meatspace remote control" project -- Spotcode. Developer Anil Madhavapeddy says:
I've been working on some software that lets you use your existing camera phone as a virtual mouse by locking onto tags and physically rotating it around and so on. It's most easily explained by checking out the videos. In particular, the volume control one (MPEG) is fun.
Link (Also spotted on Warren Ellis' blog)

French art-remixes of porn photos

From France (natch), "pornotuning" -- odd little visual remixes of hardcore porn images. Sexually explicit, not worksafe.
Link (merçi, Jean-Luc)

Audio tour of the MacPlus

Patrick sez, "Digging through his cassette tapes last weekend, this guy came across 'Macintosh Plus: A Guided Tour' and decided he should archive it onto CD for posterity (being a pack rat by nature). It's especially interesting in that it gives a good glimpse of the level of user education necessary at that point in Computer History: it patiently goes over how to interact with icons, how to use the mouse, etc..."
Put the floppy disk into the internal disk drive. Put it in with the metal end first...and the label up. Push it all the way in.
"For a real today-meets-yesterday experience, throw this on your iPod." 4.6MB MP3 Link

Ukioye Flash animations

Flash animations of Ukiyoe prints. This one, screengrabbed here, is my favorite.
Link (via Geisha)

NOTCON: cheap, fun tech conference in London on June 6

I'm speaking Sunday week (June 6) at NOTCON, an NTK-sponsored tech/politics/culture conference in London. Also on the bill: Brewster Kahle, Bill Thompson, Richard Jones, and many others. Four quid at the door, and if it's anything like the Festival of Inappropriate Technology, it's going to be a scream. Link

Update: Danny adds, "the full price is four quid, but there's a quid off if you're a blogger (and not already under 18, a student, unemployed, a journalist, an old age pensioner, or any combination of the above). what more reason do you need to finally kick up that livejournal account and start selected your 'mood'?"

Massively multiplayer thumbwrestling

Last week in Vienna, I attended Monochrom's first-ever massively multiplayer thumbwrestling competition. Now the Monochromers have posted detailed descriptions for running your won MMTW events.
By forming a star, it is also possible to play the game with three or four participants. The left hands are also free to hook up with even more players. Again a connection with up to 4 players is possible. By Massive Thumb-Wrestling according to the rules described above unlimited amounts of players can connect to join a Multiplayer Thumb-Wrestling Network. As the number of players is unlimited, global thumb-wrestling may emerge through self-sustaining peer-to-peer networks and ad-hoc socializing.
Link (Thanks, Johannes!)

Free copies from Canon copiers

On Kuro5hin, a good how-to for hacking Canon copiers at copy-shops to give you free copies -- and to get them to do fun stuff.
The copy machines you are using are configured in a certain way to use a coin operated slot, key card, or service key (such as those that Kinkos has). Through an interesting "feature" in the firmware, if the copy machine is configured to accept coins or keys, and no machine is hooked up for this, it will give copies for free. Unfortunately, this isn't as helpful as it sounds; anyone with a remedial amount of intelligence who wants to get free copies will try unplugging the instrument first and foremost. As such, it is often impossible without a service key to unplug the apparatus.

Fortunately, there is a work-around. Go into "Service Mode" (using star-2 and 8-star), and push the "Option" tab. Underneath it, push "Acc". A new menu will pop up. Hit the "Coin" button, and enter "0" on the keypad. Once you are done, hit "Enter" or "Apply" (you MUST do this after you change any field; otherwise it will reset the next button you push). Once you are done, hit reset until you are on the main screen. Voila - free copies!


Saving Phone Messages as a Living Memorial

The most sublime, beautiful radio segment just aired on the NPR show "Day to Day" (I'm a contributor to the show, but had nothing to do with this piece). You can replay the audio online (Real or WM). I laughed, I cried, I blogged. Synopsis:
The month of May marks the two-year anniversary of the death of Dmae Roberts' mother. Every 100 days, Dmae re-saves her phone messages from her voicemail as sort of a living memorial -- and she shares some of those messages with Day to Day.
Link to online audio from NPR's "Day to Day" (scroll down for direct audio link), and Link to transcript of Dmae Roberts' report, audio and discussion boards at