Archive for April, 2006

YAPCABP

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Yet another purple coneflower and bee picture. I like this one the best, though.

The picture above links to a full size crop of it.You’ll have to click on the image after it loads to view it full size from the camera.. I had to clean some gunk off in PhotoShop, and sharpen it up in spots. Now I see that I can still see where I took the gunk off. That sucks. I’ll have to fix it.

I will not smoke.

I will not smoke.

I will not smoke.

Bulletins

Monday, April 24th, 2006

If Tom™ and his friends at the FBI were really worried about MonkeyMan935 raping and killing you, they’d just have a program alert them whenever a similar nickname popped up, record the IP address it was last accessed from, contact the ISP to translate to a physical address, and then go to that place and arrest him/her. They would not send a bulletin around MySpace that would only scare the guy off and make him harder to find. Any bulletins you receive that say otherwise are just hoaxes designed to generate lots of calls to the poor schmuck at the phone number invariably included at the bottom. Same thing for Timmy and his goddamned puppy in Biloxi, Mississippi or wherever.

If Tom™ wanted you to know who had been visiting your profile, he™’d put a link on your home page that said something like “Profile Activity”, or just make the number of profile views on your home page a link with that information. He wouldn’t ask you to post it to your bulletin board, because there’d be no point in it.

If Tom™ were going to delete unused accounts, he™ wouldn’t need to have people post a grammatically-challenged message to their bulletin board–they’d just use the same thing you use when you want to know the last time somebody logged in, i.e., the “Last Login” date on the profile.

As a matter of fact, Tom™, or, more accurately, Rupert Murdoch, knows everything about you, or at least everything that touches MySpace. Tom™ knows how old you are, where you live, what movies and books you like, what God you believe in, what your hobbies are, your marital status, how much money you make, whether you smoke, drink, have children, want children, where you went to school and when, where you’re from, who your friends are and how many you have, along with all this other information about them as well. He™ knows whose blog you read and how often, and who reads yours and for how long, what bulletin board messages you read, whose profiles you browse.

Tom™ knows who your Internet Service Provider is, what operating system and web browser you use (and it should be Firefox), how often and what time you get on the net (or at least, check out MySpace) and how many hours you spend there*, and how many different MySpace customers use your computer.

It’s a pretty safe bet Tom™ runs your About Me section and blogs through Bayesian and keyword filters to learn additional things about your from your writing style and the words you write. He™ looks for filters you score high on, then determines the ads with the highest click-through rates from people who also scored high on those filters (or had other similarities to you, based on the vast quantity of other information Tom™ has about you), and then shows you those advertisements, in the hope that you’re more likely to click on them.

For instance, I’ll bet there are people out there who get MySpace ads for something besides scantily-clad teenagers on the True™ dating service, but that’s all I get, because I’m a 32-year-old single male who doesn’t have children and hasn’t decided if he wants to have any. I’ll bet the cool kids all get ads for fucking Fox sitcoms or some shit.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any reason to suspect that MySpace doesn’t abide by its own privacy policy, and they’ve got a pretty good one that says they don’t sell any of this information to third parties or transfer it without your permission. I’m not even implying that they’re doing anything wrong. I’m just saying that nothing in this world is free, and the price you pay for MySpace is sharing your information with them so they can help you consume like the good little consumer you are. In retrospect, the words Scott McNealy got so much flak about seven years ago seem like nothing more than a simple statement of truth: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.”

If I might meander back to my point, the next time you get a bulletin telling you need to repost something to send a message to, or get a service from, Tom™ and his crack team of MySpace info-goons, remember this: it’s bunk. They already know everything they need to know, and they routinely send you messages on your home page. They knew you were going to read that bulletin from the second you clicked on the link, far before you actually got around to doing it. There’s no need to forward it.

*–He™ knows when you are sleeping, and knows when you’re awake.

Miscellaneous rumininationatory.

Monday, April 24th, 2006

I googled “i like pie”, and the first page that came back was this. I like it.

I saw The Notorious Bettie Page last week down at the drafthouse, and it was damned good. Gretchen Mol does a helluva job making Page believable without making her a lightweight. The whole film is pretty and well-shot, with moderate good talkin’-lines, but Mol has great presence and a lack of self-consciousness so total it really sucks you in.

MySpace is, obviously, The Devil™, but it occurs to me that it’s become successful because it does a damn good job of taking things that were around before: web logs, home pages, contact lists, and a community searchable by affinity–basically a personals site. It’s the last two items–the bits that connect the people together–that add so much more value to the first twol. It’s a kind of peer to peer site for…peers.

I read this Wikipedia FAQK at Wired a few days ago and it made me laugh. Wikipedia is famous because it’s like a peer to peer site for knowledge. Of course, your peers are occasionally dumbasses, so the wisdom of that is occasionally debatable.

I love Wikipedia though.

Digg is cool because it’s like peer to peer for cool shit. The genius of it is its simplicity. Anybody can digg a page, and those that get the most diggs show up at the top of the list. It’ll be great until it’s worth somebody’s while to pump up their digg, and then it’ll go all PageRank-y.

Google is cool because it’s more peer to peer than you realize. The essential idea behind Google–and this is seems rather passe now, but all the parts had been laying around for years before Google put it all together–is that pages that a lot of other pages link to is more likely to be informative than one that few do.

That is to say, if you and I both write up a page about, say, the joys of sex with kittens, and 900 people link to my page, and only 10 link to yours, then it’s a good bet that I’ve written a better kitten-boinking page than you did.1

That’s PageRank™ in a nutshell. In practice, of course, it’s almost infinitely more complex, but the theory’s the same.

What all of these technologies have in common is that they take something that any individual person has–knowledge, opinions, acquaintances–and takes advantage of the network’s ability to connect them together to create additional value through aggregation (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts style). In other words, people network effect = value = peace and prosperity for the world = money.

Yup, I’m bored.

I missed you this weekend.

-k. ^-^

1–This blog does not encourage or condone kitten-boinking, and in fact is sickened by the very thought of it. Poor little kittens. Makes you wanna put ‘em out of their misery, fry ‘em up and eat ‘em.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

I went out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center today. It was nice, although it had fewer, uh, wildflowers, per se, than I expected. It did have some nice gardens with Texas wildflowers, and I got a few decent pics. There were some crazy emerald green bees out there, too. I don’t recall having seen them before.

Bull Creek and Arboretum, with sunset.

Friday, April 21st, 2006

I went up to the Bull Creek greenbelt today on my way to the Arboretum to have dinner (note: Chipotle chicken pasta=good). I also stopped at the 360 bridge overlook on the way home, and took some pictures at all three places. Some of ‘em are okay. I wanna go back out to Bull creek and go swimming sometime soon. It runs fast right now.

Some pics of Sculpture Falls and the Capitol with my new camera.

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

Hey, I didn’t end up going to Sculpture Falls last Saturday, but I did go the day before that and took some pictures. It’s looking pretty good, kinda crowded. Hopefully Twin will fill up and the frat boys’ll go there.

I also took yet another trip to the Capitol yesterday to take some pics with my new camera and see what I could accomplish with it that I couldn’t with the old. Quite a bit, actually. It’s a lot better in low light.

I’ve got it all figured out…

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Figuring it all out: overrated. You figure it all out, and then where are you at? Somewhere new with new shit to figure out. Fuck that. Vicious cycle. It’s pretty clear in any given situation what you need to do, what you owe yourself and others and which is more important, if they’re not the same thing. Everything else is just mind clutter and wants. Do what you need to do and everything else falls into place. Wei wu wei, baby.

‘Course, what the fuck do I know? :)

Oblivion.

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Heya all. If you haven’t seen me, it’s because I’ve been spending time hanging out with my drunken-ass friend Dan Mobley, who’s only in town every coupla years or so, then goes back to Guam, where the whores are cheap and the liquor’s cheaper. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I’ll have to ask him.

When I haven’t been hanging out with Dan, drinking like a goddamned drain, I’ve been playing Oblivion, or hanging out at the Greenbelt or taking pictures or some combination of the above. These are important things.

If I promised I’d come over to your place and haven’t, then I will. Someday. Soon. Soon-ish.

If I said I’d take you out for dinner, well, I didn’t so much forget as stay up drinking until eight in the morning and then pass out for the rest of the day. I’ll make it up to ya.

If I said I’d help you walk your dog, then I’m a goddamned liar.

That said, none of this would be an issue if you were hanging out with me all the time in the first goddamned place.

Goddamnit, I sure am saying goddamned a lot.

Goddamn.

Anyway, you know who you are, and I’m sorry. I’ll do anything to make it up to you.*

You should come out the Greenbelt next Saturday, earlier this time. Going to Sculpture falls if it’s running good and hard. Longer walk, easier trail. Fewer rattlesnakes. Still aiming for food at 3p though.

Talk to ya soon,-k. ^-^

*–”anything” should not here be construed to mean anything that I don’t like doing to begin with. I am an asshole, after all. :)

Holy shit today was fucking crazy!

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Yeah, so we went out to the Greenbelt today and had one helluva time. If you didn’t show up you fucking lost! Check out these pics for scenes of nature’s beauty, man’s folly, and shamelessly exploitative pictures of children.

We partied until the sun went down, and then headed back up the hill of life. We hadn’t gone more than a third of the way when Kim started having a seizure and fell straight over backward down the hilll. It was a crazy few minutes until we brought her back around, and then a lot of sitting and waiting for paramedics, who had to hike a quarter-mile down to get to her. They decided they needed to back-board her out because she fell, so they had to send down eight firefighters to put her in a big people-wheelbarrow that holds a backboard, called a big wheel. It’s got a big wheel, you see.

It was starting to get dark, and we weren’t, strictly speaking, necessary, so I gave my headlamp of handiness 1 to Kelsie and started hiking back up and out with Chris Tally. It was getting pretty dark, and I walked with my attention about ten inches in front of my feet.

This worked fine until I noticed, ten inches in front of my feet, a large wedge-shaped viper head drawing back and panning around to face me. A microsecond later I noticed that it was attached to three or four feet of coiled rattlesnake. My sandaled feed had decided that going backward was a good idea before they even got to the second part. I fell backward for several small eternities while the snake continued to get his head in positions I didn’t want it to be in. My back foot finally came down and the front one decided to show it how to really get downhill.

When my back foot landed, the world snapped back to normal, although I couldn’t tell you exactly what it snapped back from. Chris said something along the lines of “Oh Shit,” and the snake decided it was outnumbered. It made for the briar patch to the east, with, I’m told, a pathetic, belated rattle along the way. Fucking cheater. I engaged in more war whoops and bouts of uncontrollable, cackling laughter than were, strictly speaking, necessary, called for, or even seemly. I laughed all the way back to the car.

I’m still smiling.

Today was a good day.

-k. ^-^

I got a new camera!

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Sculpture Falls is flowing. It’s nice. I’m gonna have a thing with food there next Saturday, maybe there. Everybody’s invited. Let me know if you’re coming, so I’ll know how much food to get. Gonna get a Hibachi or something.

I got a new camera, a Rebel XT with an 17-85mm IS lens. It takes pictures in the fucking dark. I posted some pictures of the Greenbelt from Sunday . There’s also some test shots. Some of the pics are kind of grainy, because I was basically walking around in the dark or shooting in my living room, and there’s not much light there.

I love this camera.

I love oblivion, too, but it’s 3:34, so I’ll write about that some other time.