For the majority of us, our online connections with friends, family, colleagues and internet celebrities are managed through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When YASN (Yet Another Social Network) comes along and asks us to rebuild those social connections from scratch – but this time in "their" sandbox – most of us simply change the channel. Instead of asking you to re-create your social sphere, the new Outlook.com preview connects to the social networks you already use – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (and even Google) – to take advantage of the connections and relationships you’ve already created and use every day.
"In a new memoir, Wyclef Jean, the Haitian-born hip-hop celebrity, claims he endured a “crucifixion” after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake when he faced questions about his charity’s financial record and ability to handle what eventually amounted to $16 million in donations."
A landmark fair use ruling: a judge in the Southern District Court of New York has ruled that Google's program of scanning books for libraries, and giving them copies to use for full-text search is fair use. The suit was brought by the Authors' Guild against the Hathitrust Digital Library, which holds the digital books for the library. Timothy B Lee does a good job summing up the judgment and its implications for Ars Technica:
"The use to which the works in the HDL are put is transformative because the copies serve an entirely different purpose than the original works: the purpose is superior search capabilities rather than actual access to copyrighted material," wrote Judge Baer. "The search capabilities of the HDL have already given rise to new methods of academic inquiry such as text mining." Similarly, Judge Baer noted, the scanning program allows blind readers to read the books, something they can't do with the original.
Also key is the fourth factor: the impact on the market for the works. While a book search engine obviously doesn't undermine the market for paper books, the authors had argued that a finding of fair use would hamper their ability to earn revenue by selling the right to scan their books. But Judge Baer rejected this argument as fundamentally circular. He quoted a previous court decision that made the point: "Were a court automatically to conclude in every case that potential licensing revenues were impermissibly impaired simply because the secondary user did not pay a fee for the right to engage in the use, the fourth factor would always favor the copyright owner."
Etsy's Lameasaurus Awesomesauce makes and sells these custom nerdy dresses, including R2D2, Tardis, Dumbo, Vader, Mickey, Snow White, and many others: "The dress is fully lined dress with a semi-fitted bodice and elasticized back, circle skirt that twirls and swishes beautifully. It is made of 100% cotton with the exception of detailing. The dress can be ironed and washed."
Jeffrey sez, "Because there aren't enough things to be sad about in the world.
Behold, a once-glorious attic full of books falling victim to entropy and vandalism.
I don't know the real story behind this, but I know a sad sight when I see it."
McLaren, a cheating Formula 1 team, got caught and fined £34M, so they deducted it from their taxes. The British tax authority objected, but they appealed, and won. Ren Reynolds has a gamerly perspective on this on Terra Nova:
In short McLaren argue that the fine was an expense related to the trade that they were engaged in. That there are exceptions to this such as statutory fines, but this was not such a fine, it arose out of the contract between them and the sporting body and it was not a 'punishment' but a commercial deterrent as such it was a risk of and thus an expense of trade.
The way that this has been presented in some elements of the UK media is a some what popularist version of the dissenting opinion in the case by Dee. This opinion holds that the fine was a punishment and that 'fines and penalties' of a similar nature are not allowable under tax law. What's more "the conduct of McLaren fell way outside any normal and acceptable way of conducting their trade, as found by the WMSC."
The problem with this view is that it misunderstands the nature of games / sport and in particular their relationship with law.
To put it simply the sort of conduct that is accepted as part of a gaming or sporting practice is not just that set out by the rules but also a wide set of acts that are within the tradition of the actual practice of that game or sport. That is, there are types of cheating that while outside the rules of the sport are still seen as being within the bounds of that sport.
On the LJ Vintage Ads group, the always-reliable Man Writing Slash has assembled a collection of some of the finest illustrated peanut butter ads this writer has had the pleasure of seeing. It's a slice of idealized simulacrum straight from the collective unconscious of the American appetite.
I've found that having big stretches of time where I don't frequently check my email boosts my ability to accomplish things. A service called AwayFind gives me the peace of mind to ignore my inbox.
In a nutshell, AwayFind lets you add selected email addresses to a Priority Inbox. When someone on your list sends you an email, a notification appears on your phone. That way, you don't need to check your email inbox every few minutes. I've added my family members, my book editor, my coworkers at MAKE and Boing Boing, and a few other people to my Priority Inbox list.
Does this sound like Apple's new VIP feature? Yes, AwayFind and Apple's VIP share some of the same functionality. However, AwayFind goes beyond Apple's VIP feature, making it much more useful. Jared Goralnick, the founder of AwayFind, wrote a blog post that describes the features in AwayFind that VIP doesn't have. For instance, AwayFind determines the 25 people that you reply to the fastest and makes it easy to add them to your Priority Inbox (this list is regenerated every month). It also notifies you when someone you've scheduled a meeting with sends you an email before your meeting, even if they aren't in your Priority Inbox. These examples just scratch the surface. Check out a list of the other differences between VIP and AwayFind here.
You can try AwayFind for free for 30 days. After that you can subscribe to a personal plan for $4.99 a month, which includes 100 alerts a month, or a pro account for $14.99 a month, which gives you 1000 alerts per month.
Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Fiona Apple have all been famously busted for possession of cannabis at Texas' Sierra Blanca border checkpoint. But Nelly, who was detained last night, could be in a little more trouble than his fellow musicians. When his bus was searched, officers found 36 bags of heroin, a loaded pistol, and a duffel bag with 10 pounds of cannabis.
One of the passengers, a man named Brian Keith Jones, has fessed up to owning everything and was arrested. A dubious claim, sure, but Nelly and the remaining five people were released.
Yesterday, I posted my interview with Adrian Tomine on the Gweek podcast. We talked about his new book, New York Drawings, which has every illustration he's done for The New Yorker. Below are some of the illustrations we talked about at length in the podcast. I like the way Adrian tells a little story in a single illustration. Don't miss Adrian's funny autobiographical one-page comic strip about getting into a heated discussion with his relatives about his dislike of e-books.
His book also includes many of his sketchbook drawings and watercolors.