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  • Science Never Gets Old!
  • 8 Weird Word Trends You Probably Never Heard Of
  • FAKE IT, TIL YOU MAKE IT!
  • Musing on Mix Tapes
  • Really Care! …but not that much.

A mix tape is the original “social media.” The true nature of a mix, is not unlike that of a composed album. It’s goal is to build a connection between mixer and mixee. Whether it’s a random jumbling of favorite tracks, a themed snapshot or a beautifully orchestrated arrangement of tracks with complementary, distinct flow and style, the mix serves as a vessel for the mixer to express themselves.

As television users embrace the adfree environment with TiVo, more premium content, while broadcasters scramble to figure out how to add more ads that are un-”zappable” etc- Music listeners will begin to embrace the ad filled environment in exchange for free content. While labels and big-wigs scramble to figure out the best way to implement. But commercials during streaming? That’s hardly original… isn’t that just what (terrestrial) radio does?

I guess tried and true is what they’re aiming for.

What about required ad viewing during downloads- that will only last as long as people have speeds <T1, or maybe have mandatory “holding” periods like MegaUpload and other sites do, you can pay for VIP access to skip… but what stops people from reposting on their own server?

You could also reward people for looking at ads with bonus content… but that only goes so far too.

What is the world to do?

Ok, this isn’t really anything new necessarily, but it was really interesting thing to see. A picture, good or bad, put a sexy girl in it and people will probably like it, or at least look at it a lot. This can be seen subtly in photo contests, where you have two magnificent photos going head to head, but the winner is probably the one with the attractive girl in it (I see this the most in DPChallenge). This is kind of a massively broad and general statement- but I’m just speaking on what I see often.

Like right now, I’m refilling my Flickr account (after having it deleted for unknown reasons) and posted this picture.
Club Life IMG_5372
Within a minute of posting, it had 6 views and now, within 3 minutes from post has another ten for a total of 16. I don’t really have a popular stream, all my other photos are still at 0 views, even the ones right before and after it in the stream. It’s not in any groups/pools and doesn’t have any leading tags. I’m not complaining really, just thought it was an interesting observation.

Maybe it’s not that our culture hasn’t evolved, maybe its just the contrast of content. When you’re looking through the public stream of sunset after sunset, rivers, fields, some cool lighting, peoples cousins and kids, then BAM! a white girls ass on a stark black background. The feeling of risk, like something shouldn’t be there. Oooo, this is kind of risque, lets click on it… I don’t know exactly- I just think the occurrence overall is worth noting.

This happened before too, and this photo is nothing spectacular, but on my old stream this exact photo had the most views and most frequent views on my stats (I had a Pro account) and was one of the photos with the most comments. But the comments weren’t “sexy girl”, “oh, I’ll fap to this”… They were “great photo!”, “beautiful shot”… people trying to disguise the fact that, hey, this photo is of a hot ass, I like it!

What are your thoughts?


Agreed.

WP 2.7 Coltrane’s one design flaw. The absence of autosaving in the QuickPress feature. :(

So I haven’t blogged in a while due to finals, but I just added something today and noticed wordpress 2.7 Coltrane. First impressions- it’s pretty BAD ASS. I’m using the new, improved Press This function right now. It’s pretty sweet. If you haven’t upgraded yet, you definitely should.

WordPress › Blog » WordPress 2.7 “Coltrane”.

Possibly the Most Epic ride in history: X2

This is not my vid- but this was about my experience. The video does not do the ride justice however. You must experience it for yourself. When I rode, it was around 7pm, it was dark out and the park and city was lit up in the distance. It was amazing.

Discussion:
I cannot think of anything else comparable to the phenomenon that is a rollercoaster. By this, I mean- what else in the world, does someone wait 1-4 hours for, in order to enjoy a 45-60 second ride?

I just got an email about the launching of the Best Buy Instruments Store.

I understand expanding your brand- but you are stepping into a deep and competitive market. I hope to see you fail because frankly, I hate your brand, your store, company policies, shoddy practices and the way you completely sucker middle America into buying shit electronics for too much money and make them think they are getting a good deal. You are the shrine to all that is filler and no thriller, marketing over actual quality. You are the BOSE of electronics department retail stores. But I know how it’s going to end. You’ll be fine. Due to your scale, current brand rep, distribution, you will be a run of the mill, mediocre priced, retailer of average instruments. Nothing special. Fender, Gibson, Yamaha, the basics… Your sales associates will still be under trained and clueless. The warranties will be overpriced and ridiculous. You’ll probably start trying to offer lessons, maybe component repair and servicing. It will all be pretty bland, unspectacular, a cash cow. BUT! Now that 10 year old brat kids parents who NEED to get him the PS3 and Fender Strat he asked for can shop in one place.
best buy wtf

BTW, nice use of black letter, would you like to copy every generic music flier even more?
best buy wtf


Guitar Hero World Tour – by Droga5


The link at the end brings you to this site- So it appears to be just some project, but I would not be surprised at all if it was commissioned by Nike. The easy to spot product placement and BRIGHT YELLOW Nike SHOES! gotta be. (original link via College Humor)

What does Patagonia think they’re doing!??

This was just brought to my attention by one of my clients looking for SEO. They were curious whether they should implement a technique they saw on a competitors site. When I followed the link they sent me, I tried not to laugh.

It appears that Patagonia has gotten some bad advice. If you visit their homepage and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see what they are calling a “Search Index Page Description”. However, this looks remarkably like one of those cheap attempts at SEO manipulation you saw back in the early web days when sites would list tons of key words and links at the bottom of the index page in a font color the same as their background color. This would make the jumbled mess of words invisible. Now search engines can look for that- so it seems that Patagonia has tried failed to go about it in a more clever way.
Look here:

It’s interesting to see a reputable company and essentially a company with enough money to hire good, knowledgeable web/SEO people stoop to such a low level and implement such a low brow, brute force SEO tactic.

It’s possible that this could help them get a quick ranking spike. However, in the long run, this will only hurt them. Especially if their site is flagged for manual review. This would no doubt be seen as an active attempt at SEO manipulation. Their lame excuse of providing the customer with an index page description or whatever wouldn’t hold any water.

On top of that, even without manual review, with that amount of link and keyword density, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Googlebot/algorithms haven’t already discounted that section of their page. You can definitely tell they are trying the way they’ve placed and phrased the anchor text of all these links. Then they attempted to make it look less like mumbled garbage by tying the links together with regular words in order to form a loose paragraph. The result however, is only somewhat intelligible.

My favorite part is their lame (but the most creative of the whole deal) way of including misspellings in this hunk of garbage. At the very end of the “description” appears:

If the whiskey bottle gets passed around the campfire too many times, folks might try and spell Patagonia like patigonia, pategonia, padagonia and pantagonia.

I mean, its possible that the one liner about whiskey would be more than acceptable and even outright clever ON ITS OWN, as a way to get misspellings on the page- however, any merit it had is completely canceled out by the rest of this catastrophe.

I think the Patagonia web team were ones passing around the whiskey bottle on this time.

And of course, on top of all the technical stuff- not only is ineffective and possibly detrimental, but it looks ugly.

You have a very messy, unprofessional, garbled mess sitting at the bottom of your home page that causes unnecessary scrolling for the user. Total Fail.

However, in order for this to be an Epic Fail, they need to get caught or penalized by google. If only I could get a hold of their analytics reports…


via Jess3 blog

P: I’ve read most of them…
Reporter: Which specifically?
P: All of them…

FAIL.

Headline: Sarah Palin reads a lot of various “sources”. All of them actually. Safely from her microcosm of America.

Bonus: Check out the reporters totally disgusted expression at the end of the clip- she tries to look away because she knows that with each word she hears she’s probably getting dumber.

This merited a quick trip to photoshop.

The short: Those “handmade” Hockey Mom signs weren’t actually made by the people holding them. They were most likely made by someone on the campaign staff, then placed on potential “Moms”. The author (Yamuna Ramachandran) argues the sign design negatively impacts the GOP and the perception of women within the political environment in general. You can check out the full article at AIGA Voice Magazine site. Worth the read, only about 950 words.

After the jump- a formal reflection on the article (I did it for class, but it isn’t that bad).
Read More

The quick answer: Pretty decent actually.

An Overview

Get past the shameless excuse to push the iTunes music store on you, asking you to download related music you’ll probably like and tracks you may be missing from a particular album or artists discography- the actual playlist creator is pretty decent. I imagine it uses the category/genre, artist, featured artists, producer, label information combined with related purchase history of customers and ratings of that song. UPDATE: I found an entry by Ryan Faas who seems to have more detailed information about how the Genius feature works- basically inline with what I previously thought. One interesting thing I found is that it seems to evaluate each track individually. I found this with the Steel Pulse playlist (viewable at that bottom of page), all the tracks looked legit except you got Mims in there… But, if you listen to the track, that specific track actually is a remix that features Reggae style artists Cham and Junior Reid.

Here’s an example of the first one I tried. Built off the Postal Service – Nothing Better

And here’s one for Portugal. The Man – Gold Fronts – not too bad either…

And One for Saves the Day – Jesse And My Whetstone

So How Smart is a “Genius”?

Now, it’s not perfect, as repeating artists in a playlist is typically a no-no. Especially repeating artists twice in a row. Unfortunately I could not find an option to keep it from repeating artists, however you can use the “refresh” button to regenerate a playlist until one you are happy with is created. All the ones I’ve posted here are the initial playlist generated for each track, I did not press refresh.

Also, in terms of goal, it is definitely a success, although you may do things slightly differently when manually trying to create that “perfect playlist”, part of the stated purpose of Genius Playlists is to

help you discover songs in your library you never knew you had — and rediscover forgotten favorites.

Source: Apple.com

Being a music horder/packrat/scavenger I have a relatively massive library with many tracks I’ve never even listened too yet, it definitely has assisted me in that aspect so far. It also helps me discover specific tracks from artist they did in a style not typical to their own (just a raw example, Mims). It’s great for artists like Broken Social Scene who have a huge variety of styles.

You can also regenerate a playlist anytime along the line- so for example say you started with everything based off of RATM – Bulls On Parade and it gets to Incubus – Wish You Were Here, and you think, hey, that’s a decent mood change, just make sure Incubus is highlighted and click the little atom/genius button again and it will recreate a playlist based on Incubus – WYWH. Pretty cool. You can also do that with any track within the playlist without it actually playing, just select it- but note, pressing the genius button will switch to the selected track (and create a new playlist).

So What’s the catch?

Now remember, for the actual playlists (not the suggestions) you actually have to have the music in YOUR library (I was unable to get it to pull in music from any shared libraries I was connected to). So the accuracy, variety and general decency of your generated playlist will probably be related someone directly to your music library size.

Another catch, to generate a playlist off a song- that song needs to be available in the iTunes store- so tough luck for all you fans of The Beatles and AC/DC. I also imagine that for a song to be indexed by Genius and thus included in a generated playlist it needs to be available in the iTunes music store as well.

When saving the playlists it creates, they remain dynamic- this is good and bad. Good, meaning you can still refresh it and use the dynamic genius options- Bad because, unfortunately, once you refresh it, you cannot revert back to the one you originally saved/generated.

Do you have a good playlist Genius generated? Post it in the comments! Or, have a track you want to see a playlist generated for, let me know, I’ll do my best to get it up.

The IQ Tests

Here are some more playlists I generated for additional examples/reference. I tried to show a variety of music genres.
NOTE: I believe the queries I ran to be pretty fair representations as it was pulling the songs from a library of 21,011 tracks, over 105 Gigs of music.

PS- on the topic of new iTunes 8 features, I’d just like to say, that although an improvement, the “New” iTunes visualizer, is not that visually impressive. I’ll still take Leopard’s Jelly any day.
UPDATE: I partially take that back. Although Jelly, appears “smoother”- it seems I was using the wrong music to truly see the new improved responsives and upgrades. I put on the new visualize to some chiptune (Stu – chiprape) and it was actually pretty sweet. Really cool.

GATTACA movie posterCan anyone say “creepy”? I mean, it is cool too. But imagine being told all the diseases and disorders you have or will/could have- along with a bucket full of other genetic info that one could argue is best left unknown…. the movie GATTACA anyone? Enter 23andme, ScientificMatch.com and a few others. See the full story here (Wash. Post). But ScientificMatch.com says

that its $995 genetic test will help clients find DNA-compatible mates who will smell sexier to them, have more orgasms and produce healthier children.

really now…. and by year 2023 this will be a government mandated approach to reproduction.

Oh, and you probably guessed as I joking thought to myself before I clicked the “about the founder” page and realized it was probably no joke: Some awkward engineer who probably never got laid in high school or much in college started this company after his frustration with “normal” dating sites and own efforts. I’m sure after endless nights staying up to watch reruns of “Love Potion Number 9″ on Comedy Central drove him to devote his personal time to “love” research either scientific or psychological he decided why not make a profit out of the work he was already doing for himself… and get more money to put further research into giving himself an unseen advantage… ( I can just see him at a dance club secretly swabbing sweat samples off attractive women, sending them off to the lab, finding out the genetic code to make them attracted to him and with some chemistry create a specific pheromone enhancing cologne- then approach her the following weekend) through work, entrepreneurship and meeting some equally hopeless biotech/chemist people in college he created what you see now. The assumptions about him at least are further reinforced through the lack of any picture and none script signature (not like that’s a bad thing, I hate cursive). Now all this be satirical and speculative I still find i amusing that it was in fact created by an unmarried, presumably single male engineer.

At same time, good for him- I wish I could say I created something this cool- despite the creep factor.

You know, my upbringing is something I probably often take for granted but there are always these little things which blow me away that remind me how lucky I’ve been and how much better I was raised than even people double my age, let alone my fellow 20 somethings.

What I’m talking about here is Please and Thank Yous. Namely, in the scope of the food service and customer service industry. Just because someone is standing behind the counter does not revoke their right to common courtesy.

It blows my mind when I’m waiting in line and someone comes up to the counter and says something like, “gimmie a bagel” or “I want a muffin”… and I stand there waiting, not only in line, but just waiting for a… “please”, saying it to myself.

Depending on the situation, I’ll glance at them with somewhat a questioning or disgust ridden look and say “please?” but unfortunately doing that seems to be pretty dickly and I don’t feel like ostracizing myself in addition to the fact that calling someone out like that (unless you’re training them, see below), I think overrides the courtesy in itself- they missed their chance to be nice and were a dick, but that’s no reason you should use it as an opportunity for you to be a dick (of course their are exceptions).

The whole time this is going on I hear in my mind my mom, my aunts or dad repeating the word for an eternity in my past as kid. Recounting every time I made a request without it. Whoever I was with would stare me down and say in a firm tone, “please.” And I would then, shamed and guilty, look at the person who I just ordered from and repeat, typically with a frail, embarrassed tongue, “please”.

Just like you teach a puppy not to bite, you teach a child his please and thank yous. It’s elementary and standard. No one likes a dog that bites, so who would like a person that didn’t have those standard social building blocks?

It kills me sometimes. It’s interesting too. Because typically I dislike the person who lacks the etiquette than feel bad for their lack of training. I think even if you missed the boat at home, by the time you’re in college you probably should have picked that up. Then, I really don’t like adults who miss out on the words, sometimes sensing a disproportional and unjust sense of entitlement in their face and air. You do know the person you are talking to is human. You remember the golden rule right? Do onto others…

Another excuse that doesn’t fly with this lapse is not being in a good mood. I heard this from someone once, I don’t know from who, but I know I heard this- something along the lines of, Taking out your bad mood on other people shows a lack of character- or to translate to a positive. It takes a strong, solid character to not take out your misery on others. E.g. You are having a terrible day and then getting short with the cashier at your local Dunkin Donuts. = Poor Character Maybe they got your order wrong? Ok, people make mistakes. Deal with it in a respectable manner and get over yourself. If you need to look at it in another way- no one is important enough to ruin your mood.

Another thing that this kind of tales towards is my theory behind food service (and customer service, but mostly food). It’s echoed a bit in the movie Waiting… ha, but none the less, here are some basic principles briefly outlined.

1. People who serve food or work are just as human as you are. = People are people too.
2. Never fuck with anyone who handles your food.

Using those two principles you should never have any problems, spit in your food, over priced meals or extra waiting time. Gathered there is the occasional rotten apple on the other side of the fence- meaning people with crappy courtesy serving you. But honestly, in my experience, that’s rare. People like that typically don’t find themselves in, or at least don’t last long in, the service industry.

So-
Don’t be a dick
Start a conversation
Say please and thank you
Ask how they’re doing
Use common freaking courtesy… just think

And although you shouldn’t expect anything in return, because you should be nice regardless. Who knows, keep that up and you could end up with free meals, an extra scoop of ice cream or a new friend.

So, thanks mom and dad and aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins from brining me up right.

(I see my up bringing as a kind of communal experience with a medium size family as I have (3 older cousins, 3 aunts, 3 uncles, 4 grandparents, 2 parents) This whole talk about training also brings back those memories of the white stucco house and the steep back staircase going up into my Grandma’s house, it was so easy to run up the stairs in excitement and leave that now far away door open, just to be greeted by Zaidy, or aunt or cousin who would then ask me- “Hey, do you live in a barn?”)

It’s all about the small things (IAATST).

I feel as though a stopper in my mind has been released. As though, my chi can now flow freely. Specifically, I’m talking about today when my violin teacher suggested a small change in my shoulder rest. As if a damn was broken or a magical key opened a door. Everything about playing became easier, my bowing felt better, my back, shoulder and neck felt more natural and relaxed. It was fantastic. Now, I’m not saying I can play a concerto all of a sudden. I’m just saying that that one gesture/suggestion allowed me to play more comfortably and thus better. Then giving me a certain sense of accomplishment, ultimately putting me not just in a better mood temporarily but a whole new mindset almost. As if a giant weight had be lifted from more than just the violin aspect of my life. But everything was a bit clearer.

Now, honestly, I’m not always or usually all this revelationy mumbo jumbo-y. But it was fantastic, I just feel so much better all of a sudden.

It could also be in contrast to how completely off I’ve felt the past few days as well, but regardless.

Anyway. My point is this, nothing new, but worth repeating-

Never neglect the small things.

Nor take for granted or disregard. The small things are the keys for everything big. They typically are what make it happen. So take care, slow down for a second if you can, and re-evaluate, look at each little piece and build it back up. If you can make the foundations stronger, than the entire building will be better for it.

Unless noted otherwise, all media and content copyright 2014 Adam Dexter. All rights reserved.