Category Archives: Internet

Nothing is a Secret

There are no secrets in the Internet age. Everything you’ve ever done can come to the glaring light of day.

That can either be a blessing or a curse.

Marketing guru Seth Godin describes a friend who googled the applicants for a housekeeping job, and those Google results made nixing applicants easy. Pictures of binge-drinking, your police shoplifting record or a blog post about how you’ll quit this menial job as soon as you can aren’t encouraging to potential employers.

Of course not showing up in Google at all (unless you’re cursed with a common name) can be just as worrisome.

And if you’re an employer, imagine the potential harm in not Googling. That quick search could reveal that your perspective rock star employee was fired from their last job for indescretions, a detail they carefully evaded in the interview. Oops.

Godin sums up the solution:

“Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are.”

25 Things About Billy Graham

The ’25 Things’ note has been spreading on Facebook like a computer virus. Or one of those lame forwards from 1998 about Microsoft charging a fee for every e-mail sent. An estimated five million people have taken part, and it’s made some people more than a little annoyed and they show their determination not to take part in it by taking part in it (in mockery, of course).

I find the whole thing kind of funny.

Unlike an annoying e-mail forward, the notes in Facebook are much easier to ignore and they don’t gum up my inbox. Nobody is forcing you to read them. I can understand annoyance if people are harassing or threatening you to list your own ’25 Things,’ but that’s just stupid.

Who cares if people want to tell their friends 25 random things? It it narcissistic? Yeah, but blogging and twittering can be just as narcissistic. In many ways the general Facebook crowd is made up of relative web newbies who don’t have blogs or Twitter accounts. This is a new platform for them to talk about themselves. In that sense it’s like explaining to people what blogging is all over again and as always you get people who whine and complain.

Live and let live, people. I’ve completely ignored some ’25 Things’ lists and others I’ve read with curiosity and interest. Some were insightful, others were stupid. It’s just like anything else in life.

I’ve decided to deal with it (aside from blogging about it) by writing my own list of 25 Things—about Billy Graham. I think that’d be an awesome new trend. Let’s all write 25 things about someone else.

Updating My Squidoo Lenses

I’m not exactly the lensmaster I used to be, but I’ve been working on some of my Squidoo lenses lately (what’s a Squidoo lens?). It’s kind of a weird little distraction, but I’ve got a few fun lenses going:

And there are more. I’m still not exactly sure what the point is, but it’s kind of fun, especially when you pick a topic narrow enough to be interesting and not covered elsewhere (like, um, Anne Lamott, who doesn’t have a web site).

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is Here

Josh Whedon (of Buffy and Firefly/Serenity fame) has finally released his online superhero musical spoof, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. It comes in three installments that will be released today, Thursday and Saturday. Then on Sunday night it will be taken down and you’ll need to wait until the DVD comes out (how diabolical!).

For now you can watch it at the Dr. Horrible site or buy it on iTunes.

This little musical bit of entertainment was conceived during the writer’s strike and put together on the cheap. And it’s pretty funny. It’s also receiving a lot of attention for something that amounts to 42-minutes of entertainment: TV Guide, Wired, MTV, Entertainment Weekly, Gawker. But we’ll take it.

I Want to Write a Fake Twitter Character

OK, we all know that I’m a geek. But the latest and greatest proof of that is that my favorite posts on Twitter come from fictional characters. Darth Vader, Cobra Commander, Fake John McCain, Fake Barack Obama. I don’t know what it is, but I’m a sucker for the fictional updates (as long as they’re good–G.I. Joe’s General Hawk kind of sucked).

There’s something about getting an update from Cobra Commander that makes me laugh. Maybe it’s the thought of an evil character doing something as mundane as text messaging. Or maybe it’s just the burst of something over-the-top funny and short. Sometimes life gets a little too serious and you need a little funny.

Anyway, I love the fake Twitter characters. And I want to write one. I’m into too many things that don’t pay the bills, so if I go this route it’ll have to pay. I haven’t figured out how to make Twitter pay (neither have they, so I’m not alone), so if anyone has ideas I’m game. Or if anyone would like to hire me to create their fake Twitter character, I’m so there.

McCain vs. Obama: Getting Answers on the Adoption Tax Credit

About a week ago I was talking to a friend about the adoption tax credit that offers a $10,000 credit when you adopt. This friend claimed the credit was George W. Bush’s idea and lamented that if Barack Obama gets elected the credit will vanish. So I decided to sort out some facts. Which is harder than I thought.

To start with the basics, the adoption tax credit started in 1997 as a $5,000 credit and was raised to $10,000 in 2001 as a part of Bush’s tax cuts. Bush didn’t start the tax credit, though he did raise it. It’s also not clear if this is something Bush pushed for or if it was just part of the package. It’s also slated to expire in 2010 if it’s not renewed.

And this is where it gets tricky. Where do the current presidential candidates stand on renewing the adoption tax credit?
Continue reading McCain vs. Obama: Getting Answers on the Adoption Tax Credit

Twitter Recap

A friend commented the other day that I don’t blog anymore, I just twit. He’s right, the blogging has dropped off lately. Partially it’s from being busy, partially it’s from having Twitter as a release valve. But I haven’t forgotten about you. I do have several blog entries in me, they just haven’t happened yet.

Until they do, how about a little recap of the best stuff from Twitter…

  • Wondered why Barack Obama’s web site has no search function. Either I’m dumb and can’t find it, or their web team is dumb and didn’t include one. The way campaigns pack their sites with info, I don’t know how you get away with not having a search function.
  • Watched a couple episodes of Cleopatra 2525, a half hour, Xena-quality, sci-fi TV show, solely because it starred Gina Torres from Firefly/Serenity. Cleopatra has to be the campiest thing I’ve seen in a while. It was pretty bad.
  • Pointed people to Cookie Monster’s appearance on the Colbert Report. Hilarious.
  • Realized that Sandy Patti Cover Band and Steal My Catchphrase would be awesome band names.
  • Noted more lost public art in the Twin Cities. This time around it’s the mural on the old St. Paul police station at University and Dale.

10,000 Flickr Photos

So this weekend my Flickr account surged past the 10,000 photo mark. Yes, I’m addicted. Currently I have a total of 10,098 photos that have been viewed 127,872 times.

  • 4,018 of those photos feature my daughter.
  • 1,880 feature art.
  • 1,133 feature my wife.
  • 914 feature me.
  • The most popular all time picture is The Wife Who Needed Spanking, which isn’t technically a picture (it’s a scan of an old newspaper and proof that the Internet is full of sickos—then again, I posted it).
  • The photo with the most comments (6, I don’t get many comments) is also not a photo, it’s a scan of a newsletter. After that it’s a tie for 1970s in-laws and the reviled Spruce Tree Building.
  • 1,476 of my photos have never been viewed (at least “viewed” as Flickr counts it).

Yay for online photos.

Rapture Notification System

I saw this mentioned earlier this week but didn’t pay any attention to it until I saw the url:

For $40 per year you can join a rapture notification system that will notify your heathen friends and family that Jesus has returned and taken you back to heaven with him and those punk sinners have a second chance:

We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the “Rapture” of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system.

Wow. I know Christians are wacky, but come on. All that’s missing is the Timothy LaHaye endorsement, maybe a free copy of Left Behind when you sign up.

My favorite part is that the whole thing is triggered when their team members fail to log in. I can just see the rapture false alarms that will cause untold panic (and laughter). Or perhaps “This is a test of the emergency rapture system…”

(link via wide_awake)