An Assortment of Random Updates, Volume 1

I’m working on redesigning Waxy today, so no huge article. Instead, a roundup of brand new updates to posts from my first week of full-time blogging.

Colin’s Bear Animation

Colin emailed to let me know that his inadequate former professor no longer works at the school. “They’ve hired a new professor this semester and he actually works at Alias,” he wrote. “In only two weeks it has become very clear that we now have someone worth our parents’ hard-earned cash.”

Also, by request, I found a full-length copy of the song from the video. Here’s an MP3 of Funky Monkey Dance from the Mother 3 soundtrack. (The good part starts at 1:20.)

Personal Ads of the Digerati

Surprisingly, the only people that seemed to care about Dave’s personal ad were Valleywag, Eye on Winer (the newest in a long line of obsessive Dave Winer watchdog sites), and Dave Winer himself. He commented on it a few times on his Twitter account, but that was about it. (Related, Eye on Winer posted this Knight-Ridder article from 1986 about American bachelors, with Dave Winer in the lead story.)

Many more people took note of the bit about Richard Stallman’s extremely unusual web browsing habits, culled from this post I dug up from a discussion list late last year. That link ended up on Zawodny’s blog and, later, the top of Reddit. I emailed RMS some questions, to ask him more about this, leading to the shortest interview ever:

I’m fascinated with a message I read about how you read the web with a wget demon. Could you elaborate on it?

It is a program that runs wget and mails me back the result.

Do you then convert the HTML to plain text and read it by email, or do you load the retrieved file in a browser? (If so, which browser?)

I can do either one.

Finally, is it free software, or something that you’d be willing to release?

I did not write it, but our sysadmins say it is kludgy.

Thanks for that elaborate explanation, Richard! As Philipp told me, “He answers like a programmer. If you stopped him on the street to ask, ‘Do you know the time?’ he’d say ‘Yes’ and leave.”

The Times (UK) Spamming Social Sites

As I noted last week, The Times and Sitelynx both absolved themselves of responsibility. The Times claimed they weren’t aware that social media spamming was going on, which I tend to believe, and Sitelynx blamed Piotr completely for promoting articles on social sites — not because that’s a practice Sitelynx opposes, but because he wasn’t “properly trained” to do it and that’s not what he wasn’t hired to do. He was removed from The Times account.

Another Sitelynx employee, Sibylle Bernardakis, modified her StumbleUpon profile the day after the story broke to disclose her affiliation with The Sun, another Sitelynx client. I asked Graham Hansell, founder of Sitelynx, about this last week:

Graham responded, “She has followed our policy for submissions — Disclaimers where possible, latest news only, direct linking (no redirect) to valuable content, no hidden links or promotional content.” I pointed out that it appeared Sibylle never disclosed her affiliations before she modified her profiles earlier today. Graham replied, “That I am not aware of and will investigate. I don’t believe that to be true and we are obviously reviewing our internal policy for greater transparency.”

Some commenters noted that Chris Deary and Ilana Fox at The Sun also use Delicious extensively for promoting their articles. This doesn’t seem problematic because their affiliation with The Sun is transparent and disclosed, while Piotr and Sybille were not.

Brent Spiner’s Ol’ Yellow Eyes is Back

I just found out that a couple days before my post, Brent Spiner launched his new personal site and released a video on YouTube about his long-awaited concept album, Dreamland. Inspired by Broadway musicals and old-fashioned radio shows, the album is available for pre-order on Brent’s site. Did I mention it features the voice acting of Mark Hamill?


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