February 28, 2006
Windows Live Local adds street-side views — the maps arms race escalates with this crazy driving mode
iPod Hi-Fi — I just found my new stereo
Years ago, I’d heard about a mythical unreleased videogame developed by Penn & Teller for the Sega CD and 3DO. The game was supposed to be an oddball adventure game, with some cruel magic tricks and minigames thrown in for good measure. This Absolute Entertainment press release from March 1995 sums it up nicely.
Zonetag, upload cameraphone pics to Flickr with real-time location tagging — neat hack for Series 60 phones, uses cell tower IDs to infer location
NetJaxer — treat web apps like Windows programs, with desktop, tray, and quickstart icons and startup launching
Yahoo Music exec says labels should sell DRM-free music — a breath of fresh air to hear this; Ian Rogers agrees
Google To Become Portal — silly 2002 April Fool’s article predicts the future
Kottke.org switches from micropatrons to skyscraper ads — the parallel universe Kottke
Google Pages — Google’s Geocities 2.0 offers a simple CMS, free hosting, and 100 MB storage
Kottke reviews first year as a pro blogger — 1,450 people donated a total of $39,900, but almost entirely in the first three weeks
All Google's Roads Lead to Kansas — with ground photos of the farm at the default center of Google Maps
30 Boxes releases their API — they have serious momentum
Technorati launches Favorites — an RSS reader that never mentions RSS
Woman loses custody of son for participating in Subgenius holiday — anyone familiar with the Church knows it’s religious parody and performance art
Techcrunch previews Flyspy, historical airline ticket search — like Zillow, blows up industries by making hard-to-find information widely available
Gelf interviews the Smoking Gun on the aftermath of their Million Little Pieces expose — excellent interview on the history, media coverage, and a potential followup (via)
Bizarre "Contract of Wifely Expectations" emerges in Iowa kidnapping case — the text may be offensive
NBC demands YouTube remove "Lazy Sunday" video — biting the hand that feeds you; they should have paid for that kind of amazing promotion
Bradley Horowitz on Creators, Synthesizers, and Consumers — only a fraction of a community needs to be active for everyone to benefit (via)
Anti-piracy poem hidden in Mac OS X source code — the AP got a quote from Apple about it
Googler Matt Cutts photographs Jeeves, and vice versa — don’t miss the followup (via)
In the past, I’ve never been a big fan of advertising. It’s very often irrelevant, obnoxious, and almost always diminishes user experience. While there are clever TV commercials, print ads, and outdoor campaigns that win worldwide acclaim, I’m not sure any user would shed a tear if every ad banner disappeared overnight. (It’s no wonder that the Firefox Adblock extension is downloaded 100,000 times weekly.)
The rapid rise of contextual advertising takes a step in the right direction by attempting to recommend ads related to the page you’re currently reading. I’ve been minimally running Google Ads on the Waxy.org archives since May 2004, and I’ve generally been happy with the results. The ads themselves were still a bit ugly and only occasionally relevant, but it was an acceptable sacrifice since they covered my hosting bill every month. (About $150/month, if you’re curious.)
First, every advertiser must offer a product or service that the Deck members have used or paid for, and we’re very picky people. Second, the ad slots themselves are very limited (currently only six slots), forcing us to choose best candidates. And the ads are cleanly designed and unobtrusive, without animation and limited to one per page.
I’d like to see a world where online ads are meaningful, representing the ideals of the writer and the interests of the reader. Careful moderation and unobtrusive presentation will hopefully lead to a better experience for everyone, which in turn means better results for advertisers. It’s an interesting experiment, and I’m proud to be in the company of net legends like Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Fried, and John Gruber. Neat guys with very good taste.
Anyway, I’ll report back in a few months with the results. For more information, read John’s explanation of why he switched, and Mister Snitch’s analysis some trends in blogger ad networks. And if you have something to advertise you think we’d like, get in touch.
RIAA attacking AllofMP3.com — the Russian grey-market MP3 site is great, but not long for this world
Video: Oprah grills Tom Cruise — great mashup of two famous Oprah moments
Daily Candy may be sold for $100 million — not bad for a daily newsletter that found its niche