Posts Tagged as: blog

January 13, 2013

The Scariest Musical Instrument Ever

I’m all for encouraging proficiency in a musical instrument, but if my son grows up and wants to play the whatever-the-hell-this-thing-is, I’m buying him a drumset.

January 11, 2013

Sammy Sosa Flickr Tags

Recently on the web these’s been a flurry of news about Sammy Sosa’s Pinterest page. Most of the attention has been about the quirky photos and repetitive stiff caption adorning every single photo:

Sammy Sosa. Yes, I’m the real Sammy Sosa, and this is my Pinterest.

Fine, I get it. Sammy Sosa took a few awkward photos and his social media team isn’t too savvy. No big deal.

But what I find especially bizarre are the tags on some of the photos on his official Flickr page. Tags like these: “Sammy Sosa Before and After”, “Sammy Sosa Skin”, “Sammy Sosa Bleached”, “Sammy Sosa Bat”.

Here’s an example photo with those tags. I’m surprised because these tags reference recent Sammy Sosa scandals, such as speculations that he bleached his skin and he cheated using a corked bat. Why would these tags be on Sammy’s official Flickr page?

My guess is the photographer was trying to boost page views by including popular keywords. But why would a professional photographer risk alienating one of his clients just for a few extra page views? Not too savvy indeed.

January 9, 2013

Badass intelligence and counter-terrorism terms

After seeing “Zero Dark Thirty” I found myself looking up some terms and found some pretty cool stuff on Wikipedia.

Tradecraft:

Tradecraft is skill acquired through experience in a (typically clandestine) trade. Within the intelligence community this means the techniques used in modern espionage and generally, the activity of intelligence.

Dead drop:

A dead drop or dead letter box is a method of espionage tradecraft used to pass items between two individuals using a secret location and thus does not require them to meet directly.

This modern example of a dead drop is particularly badass:

On January 23, 2006, the Russian FSB accused Britain of using wireless dead drops concealed inside hollowed-out rocks to collect espionage information from agents in Russia. According to the Russian authorities, the agent delivering information would approach the rock and transmit data wirelessly into it from a hand-held device, and later his British handlers would pick up the stored data by similar means.

Black bag operation:

Some of the tactics, techniques and procedures associated with black bag operations are: lock picking, safe cracking, key impressions, fingerprinting, photography, electronic surveillance (including audio and video surveillance), mail manipulation (flaps and seals), forgery, and a host of other related skills. The term “black bag” refers to the little black bag in which burglars carry their tools.

Wetwork:

Wetwork or wet work is a euphemism for murder or assassination, alluding to spilling blood. […] Assassins are referred to as “wet boys”.

I’d already known that “Wet work” involved assignations and other bad stuff, but had no idea its name was derived from the spilling of blood. That’s pretty gross. And awesome.

January 8, 2013

Hidden Flasks

If you ever find yourself doubting the determination and ingenuity of the human spirit, just do a Google image search for “hidden flask”.

January 4, 2013

A Brief History of This Website

I thought it would be fun to take a look at this site as it’s developed over the years. Thanks to archive.org, I was able to find some screenshots.

Let’s start backwards from today. Here’s how the site looks now:

The version before this endured since 2008:

Back in 2007 I was going for a very “2007” look. Note the classic pixel stripe patterns and gradients. Very Web 2.0:

2006 marked the start of the gradients and reflections. I also took some flowery/asterisk patterns from the previous design to add some texture to the top of the site:

Back in 2004 I was going for kind of a grungy look:

In late 2001 the site looked like a shitshow. Puke yellow and musty orange? Sure, why not!

Early 2001: Using images for corners before it was cool, and then not cool.

In early 2000 this site lived at solomania.com, which is now my portfolio. Believe it or now, this was a cutting-edge table-based layout.

And from early 2000, here’s the earliest design I have on record. I still remember how hard it was to figure out those colored borders.

December 30, 2012

My Steve Jobs Email Story

As an Apple fan, one of the greatest thrills I’ve ever had was when I emailed Steve Jobs and he wrote back.

When it happened in 2010 I debated whether to talk about it online, and decided that as personal correspondence it wouldn’t be right to publish. But now, as more and more “Steve Jobs stories” bubble up to the surface more than a full year after his death, I thought it’s worth sharing as a reminder of his persona.

Here’s how it happened. Back in the summer of 2010 I was trying to take a photo with my iPhone 3Gs and the damn thing froze. It was completely frozen – not even the home button would work. Of all the years I’ve endured a sluggish iOS experience as an early adopter, this was the first time I was holding a completely frozen iPhone. This was huge, I thought. This needed to go straight to the top.

After restarting my iPhone I opened up the Mail app and fired off a friendly complaint to sjobs@apple.com. I’d heard that Steve Jobs used that email address, but I was skeptical about whether it was actually him. But what the hell – I was just venting.

I got a response in less than one minute:

What’s wrong?

So I wrote back with an accurate description of the bug. And when I got a reply it contained an apology, but with some classic Jobsian misdirection:

Sorry. Lots of bugs fixed in upcoming software release. Plus some cool new stuff too.

Very rarely did Steve Jobs apologize for anything. In fact, he’d only publicly apologized a handful of times. So at this point I was skeptical about whether this was Jobs, so to mark the occasion (and, a little bit, to mock the PR person I thought might have been emailing me) I wrote back that I accepted Steve Jobs’ apology and that we were still cool.

In retrospect I realize this comes across as kind of dick, so for that I owe the apology. But how often have we all regretted what we’d said (or hadn’t said) in important situations? You always think of a better line when you’re walking away.

So was it really Jobs? At the time my assumption was that emails to sjobs@apple.com got filtered through some elaborate system of public relations experts, secretaries, assistants, and other Apple staffers. Maybe, I thought, a tiny portion of those vetted emails would eventually make their way into Steve’s inbox. But I assumed the majority of the Emails from Steve Jobs that were out there had been written by PR folks, or at least initially drafted by them. Why would the CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies be responding to random customers?

But now I realize it must have been Jobs for a few reasons.

First, Steve Jobs was a control freak. Would he really allow anyone other than himself to send an email from sjobs@apple.com where it could be quoted and attributed directly back to himself? Not likely.

Secondly, the fact that I got a response in less than one minute (accounting for the 3 hour NY to CA time difference) should have tipped me off that it was Jobs. There’s no way any sort of multi-person filtering/vetting system could process and reply to my email that quickly.

And lastly, I usually subscribe to Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

Anyone who’s curious or still doubtful can download the raw email source here.

So that’s my Steve Jobs story. It’s not incredibly exciting or informative, but I’m proud to have had an interaction with such an important man.

And every so often just for kicks, I’ll search my email for “Steve Jobs” and find this thread. For me it’s a more personal reminder of what’s true for us all; that as long as we have these slick little pieces of technology in our pockets, Steve Jobs will never really be gone.

December 6, 2012

Dave Hill’s Erotic Short Stories

Comedian / musician / author Dave Hill has been tweeting some erotic short stories. They’re pretty gross, which means they’re pretty great.

November 6, 2012

The difference between “Its and It’s”

Seeing this typo is without a doubt my single biggest pet peeve. I literally see it everywhere. Hopefully this post will be seen by people searching for when to use “its” vs “it’s”. It’s dead simple:

Never use “it’s” unless you mean to say “it is.”

Boom.

Done.

I never want to see this typo again. Thanks for reading.

July 4, 2011

Adam Richman Looks Like Riki Rachtman

Just wanted to go on record saying Adam Richman from The Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” looks like MTV/VH1’s Riki Rachtman. Only fatter.

August 18, 2010

Zack Miller’s World of Jenks

The only thing that makes this closeup of Zack Miller‘s new forearm tattoo by East Side Ink more badass is the fact that his brother is, among other things, a professional poker player.

Look for them both in an upcoming episode of MTV’s new series World of Jenks. You heard it here first people.