WoW polled on Presidential Election

I love the fact that the interviewer is in a bikini. Via Metaverse Journal.

Says Metaverse Journal:

Obama polled 62% across the whole Azeroth population, with McCain been favoured by Alliance whilst Obama is the pick of the Horde.

Are Night Eleves Democrat?

To the L to the H to the C

So just in case we do get sucked up into some black hole from CERN tomorrow at 8.30am, I thought it only right I blog after radio silence for some time.

And it is only right that I share this explainer to what happens in the LHC. If only for my sister’s sake. Go Hawking.

I really wish physics lessons had been more like this when I was at school.

Sales Guy vs Web Dude

This hit me via a mailing list I am on. Absolutely ace. It also gets funnier towards the end so stick with it. I wonder: which one are you more like? Courtesy of The Website is Down.

Dipping with Google maps

I love this. This is the impact of digital media. People are scouring Google maps to locate posh pools in order to party in them at odd hours – often when the owners are asleep or out. Called “Dipping” (no shit), they are obviously and quite practically using Facebook to organise their events. Hilarious.

The dippers often bring a bike, says The Telegraph, to make a quick escape and they like to dress up. Which seems a bit odd since you are supposed to be swimming. Hey ho.

Furries hit the mainstream?

So I couldn’t help smiling reading the Metro* on the Tube this morning** when I came across this piece on Furries. Yes, Furries in the Metro.

It neatly explains and quite successfully normalises the motivations behind the human desire to dress as an animal and hang around with others who like the same.

It even gives readers some tips on furry lingo. Says the piece:

A common misconception about furries is they want to have sex with real animals. This confusion often comes from hardcore sites which contain sketches of a half-man, half-zebra figure having sex with a lion or orgies of lesbian wolves. Others describe the beauty of busty cows and curvy, doe-eyed donkeys. However, this is an unfair reflection – furries are far more interested in the idea of humans and animals ‘as one’.

Of course, Furries have been a big part of online cultures for a long long time, and they are very visible in places like Second Life.

But I am tempted to check out the furry meets, especially the world’s largest furmeet which, according to the article, takes place in Pittsburgh. Around 4,000 furries are expected at Anthrocon, next week.

I especially like this comment from one of the contributors, FoxB:

I know of relationships that evolve in the furry community between two people but I just like dressing up and looking like a prat. It makes me happy.

Nice to see the Metro shining a light on the furry fellas.

*The Metro is the free newspaper every commuter in urban areas across the UK know and sometimes love.

**Despite many irritating delays today.

***Image from the Metro. I love the bunny at the end fiddling with his/her head.

Old technology making music

Two videos have caught eye this week, both of which use old gear to (re)create music. The first was a late entry to a Radiohead competition to remix “Nude” from their album In Rainbows. James Houston’s video was too late to qualify, which is a great shame. Says Houston:

Based on the lyric (and alternate title) “Big Ideas: Don’t get any” I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they’re trying their best to do something that they’re not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

The second is Stars Wars played on a floppy. Yes, played on a floppy. Wonderful.

Beat that Banksy

Wow. This is one of the most amazing things I have seen in a long time.* MUTO is made by Blu in Buenos Aires and Baden.

*I think I may say that quite often. So be it.

Spammers and Youtubers

Don’t ask me why I deliberately searched for the most boring videos on YouTube, but I did, and this is what I found. Actually, it is pretty good and made me chuckle wryly.*

You might enjoy it – Youtubers can be so boring from superdogdoo.

*Seesmic+irritating Youtube spammer=timeline fun

Human Snake

I love it when games are taken into the world like this. This human version of Snake by Get Out and Play (which is an ngage thing by the looks of it) must have taken a bloody age to do. Great stuff.*

*Go to the site and see the making of…

An Engineer’s Guide to Cats

Classic. Loving the cat yodeling. I could play the cat. If I had one.

No to videos in Flickr campaign

I was looking for suitable Calico cat pictures in Flickr when I stumbled across one of the most popular tags which happened to be “say no to videos in Flickr”.

I can see why. To be honest, I don’t really need to use the service for videos. Although they do seem to be good quality, and I don’t mind the time limit, I have had problems playing every video I have tried. Hence, I have given up.

I do have a very good connection.

Anyway, thought it was interesting to see a lot of strong feeling against the development.

Rent-a-cat at Cat cafe

Now why is it that Japan has all The Good Ideas?

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Cat Cafe Calico where you can hire a cat to stroke while you sup on your latte (via Stylist Stuff).

Says Stylist:

In Toyko there are now 3 cafes were you can rent a cat for about £3 for an hour or £9 for 3 hours. Takafumi Fukui is the founder of the first and very popular Tokyo’s Cat Cafe Calico. There are 14 very clean cats to pet – they are shampooed and brushed regularly and you must have a thorough hand wash before entering the lounge.

What I wouldn’t give for one of those here.

*The cat in this photo is Sibsy, who belongs to Zanypurr.

YoungNow challenge

I am liking the new Colorwars (sic) challenge of YoungNow. You have to recreate an image of you when you were little.

There is a gallery and prizes.

Kind of reminds me of Robbie Cooper’s Alter Ego.

Room on the internet for all puppets

Alcat, a very good friend of mine, has had his YouTube account for more than 2 years now. He was born in SF and was a wannabe video blogger after being inspired by the likes of Bre Pettis and Steve Garfield at Gnomedex 2005.

He never quite got his act together, however, and languished behind the scenes, licking his paws.

Until he found Seesmic. It was easy to post quick, often rude and argumentative videos there and he liked it. He liked to mime. People seemed to like him. He performed for them. He answered their questions. He joined in their conversations whilst feeling slightly “luckier” than the other cats there because he, unlike the rest, had the power of speech. And he wore wigs well.

He went to SXSW and there he found he could at the same time delight and frighten people. Was he real? Why was he talking? He collected stickers. He ignored those who stared as they passed him talking into the laptop in anticipation of sessions. He marvelled at the people and their geekery. He liked what he saw.

Now, it seems, he is not alone. And he is pleased. When once people scoffed at his video ambitions, taunting him with cries of “but you are a puppet”!, now people are paying for other such felt fellows in video form.

Even Flickr is doing it to launch their video service because they have realised that humans are essentially boring.

Alcat welcomes this. The internets is a big place. There is enough space for all the puppets in the world.* He has even encountered the Feldman man on Seesmic and he looks forward to more encounters of the felt kind.

Except he is furry. Superior to felt.

*Never must he be called “puppet” to his face.

If Facebook actually happened…

A fine take on what would happen if Facebook was actually real.

Nice one – courtesy of The Wall, coming soon to BBC Three.

Billy Bragg nag

So stumbled upon this piece in the NY Times today by Billy Bragg about Bebo’s sale to AOL and the buzz at SXSW music – how musicians can make a living in the Age of the Internet (sic). My immediate thought was, well, you should have come a week earlier to the SXSW interactive bit… My second thought was about something more troubling.

In the piece, Bragg muses about the time Bebo’s co-founder, Michael Birch, came to see him shortly after he had That Spat about residual rights and his music with MySpace. Bebo wanted him help and advice on building an “artist centric platform”.

Bragg is bemoaning that the artists still have had no offer of payment as “thanks” for attracting the community and helping to build something worthy enough of the millions. But I am getting really bored of this.

The reason why is because these platforms, services and “communities” are not all about the professional artist. Yes, music and other parts of popular culture give people social objects to talk around and to build conversations and groups upon. But it is a complex ecosystem. Without the people themselves making the ties, the conversations, the fan art or wom tributes around these artifacts, there would be very little value.

So where do you draw the line? I am reminded of Cory Doctorow’s proclamation that content isn’t king – conversation is. Content just gives people something to talk about.

If Bragg feels he has the right to gain financial reward why can’t the other “sharecroppers”, as Nick Carr puts it?

We hear again and again that service a, application b would be nothing without the cast of community characters who make it so and give it its flavour. Well then, isn’t it about time we/they were recompensed too?

“It’s all Ze Frank’s fault”

Indeed, yes, as Rachel C commented on my post below, the Colour Wars of Twitter* are indeed All Ze Frank’s** fault. See his explanation which he just Tweeted.

Seems it is a leftover from Summer Camp, an American phenomenon of which I have been eternally jealous. Let the wars begin. GO OFFWHITE!

*I refuse to spell it the wrong way.

**I interviewed him once at TED Global. Always regret not having published it. He was lurvely.

Twitter team games?

No idea what it is about yet, but I think there are some team games brewing on Twitter. No one would actually tell me anything, but people on Seesmic have started talking about it too, recruiting for team members for @yellowteam etc.

I decided to join the offwhiteteam. It sounds petulant enough for me and I am liking the updates. Ze Frank is brewing some challenges, so I suspect this has something to do with him, although I have not bothered to check that bit out yet. Too busy eating parsnip crisps and houmous.

But I will, and I will report back.

I like the idea of making Twitter even more playful than it is and I think it will work in quite interesting ways given the integration of Twitter with other services, apps and feeds.

Jordan’s forgotten refugees: Documentally’s project

This week is the 5 year anniversary of Iraq War II and there are so many stories of suffering still going on it is sometimes difficult not to feel removed from them all.

Christian Payne, or Documentally as he is better known on Twitter and Seesmic, has just published a really moving photographic/don’t really know what you might call it, account of the plight of thousands of Iraqi refugees who are living in limbo in Jordan.

He was asked by the UNHCR to document their lives through his great photographic work and he teamed up with Emmy Award winning editor Bill Cammack, through the power of social media, to create a really compelling visual story. Now he is encouraging people to shine a light on these forgotten people through social media.

What is amazing to me is how much we take for granted “who” refugees are. These are people who were vets, accountants, shop keepers, who now have nothing to speak of and can’t seem to move back or forwards. What is also great about this is to see the power of photography being used in an innovative way creating a far bigger impact imho than video would have. It suits the topic and the sentiment of the stories so well.

Check it out, share it and join the conversation here.

The Different Flavours of SXSW

It’s amazing how much a place can change in the space of 24 hours. The geeks have gone to be replaced by the Different Cool music crowd for SXSW. It is what the festival is *really* known for I guess. I wish I could stay for a bit longer but I didn’t bring my skinny jeans so I guess I have to leave.*

Note to self: the music crowd wear their badges hanging off their belts. The geeks stick them around their necks. What does that say about them?

Anyway, roll on next year: check out Jemima Kiss (Guardian), Chris Vallance (BBC) and I as we take a stroll down Cool Strip Number 6.

*The likelihood of me ever fitting into my skinny jeans again is oooohhh ZERO after all the animal flesh and hops I have consumed this week.

Jane McGonigal saves SXSW for me

Just when I was starting to wonder what interesting thing I had really seen at sxsw (apart from a couple of sessions friends participated in), along came Jane McGonigal’s keynote. I knew it was The One I Must Not Miss while I was here. It did not fail to please. She has been the only one I have seen who has actually introduced some fresh(ish) academic theory into her talk – that of Happiness. She talked about 10 skills that games can give you which ultimately give you a better quality of “life”. Hence, why there is a mass exodus to virtual worlds.

  1. mobability: ability to coordinate at large scales
  2. cooperation radar: ability to attach who would be perfect collaborator for any given mission
  3. ping quotient: how good you are at reaching out and are good at responding to others’ engagement
  4. influencey: ability to adapt persusive ability: motivating people
  5. multi capitalism: monetary and social captial: recognising diff capital systems: getting people to trade those
  6. protovation: rapid, fearless innovation: failing is fun. fail quickly and a lot means you learn the most: gamers do this a lot
  7. open authorship: giving content away and acknowledging it will be changed: how to design content to make sure people can modify in positive ways
  8. signal/noise management: knowing what is signal and what is noise
  9. longbroading: zoomed out view of higher level systems
  10. emergent sight: you can spot patterns – things you weren’t expecting: being comfy with messy complexity (eg lost ring – multiple languages): seeing opportunities in messiness.

The thing about games and virtual story worlds – no matter how graphically sophisticated (or not) they are – is at least they give you feedback and points for doing things. That way we know instantly what our strengths and weaknesses are, and how we are doing. We don’t really get that in everyday life.

Then of course, she ended the session with a spontaneous Soulja Boy dance. As you do.

Facebook and Lacy Bitstripped

Courtesy of newly-launched and very cool Bitstrips.

Seesmic art

What I love about philosophically web 2.0 applications and services is the creativity they inspire or help to display in the people who don’t just “use” but who are part of the fabric of those applications and services.

Take this from a very talented Seesmic member, Till, as an example. These Seesmic portraits are simple really, but just fun.

He (I think it is he and others) has also done some great sketches of some of the community’s characters.

Check them out on this Flickr stream.

Surveillance Screensaver: desktop voyeurism

This seems like an interesting little screen saver: apparently SurveillanceSaver is not spyware in itself, which would be ironic wouldn’t it. It is however, a feed of 400+ webcams/cctv/security camera images from around the world. They are supposed to be live images. Via Slorker.  Highly addictive (if I could get it to work).

Head in a bag. On the Tube.

This is just about the only kind of good thing that happens on the London tube.*

Wish it had not looked like I was taking a snap of the people’s crotches.

*By that, I don’t mean to suggest that heads in bags are necessarily a good thing, but that when you see things like this, it makes the Tube A Good Place.

Thriller on the Tube

Classic British reaction to Thriller dance on the London Tube. Even down to the polite applause at the end.

Upstaged and YouTube teams

Now this is exactly what I want to be seeing. *This* is participative entertainment. Check out BBC’s Upstaged.

Hateful London Tube

In honour of my hateful Tube journey this morning, I have some lovely snippets of overheard, real life Tube Gossip from the one and only Manwhofellasleep. I started blogging about him before he got famous. So there.

Anyway, here…

3 January 2008:

1. He seems to have found his niche. He’s wearing converse and hanging out with indie kids.
2. …and I told him I didn’t care how many tea towels he had I wasn’t letting him rub it on me…
3. She’d actually left the tops on the carrots. Perhaps that’s how they cook them in Brazil.
4. East Ham and West Ham are just two sides of a village called Ham.
5. You just want to kill me, innit?
6. All i said was, if your girlfried was pregnant and, like, lactating, right, would you not find it kinky to milk her?
7. Who spells Jack with an I?
8. To be fair mate, it’s your call. Just don’t tell her I told you.
9. Why isn’t there a universal shoe size measuring system?
10. Have no fear, Graham’s here.

Hitler explains Second Life

Saw Dave Winer Tweet this and had to repost here. As he says, “Hitler is not funny” but this is. If you don’t speak German and if you know Second Life, that is.
(From CrystalStudio).

20 top images in Google Maps

I never cease to be tickled by satellite images and the ingenuity of some people (and, ok, some brands) when it comes to playing around with Google Earth, the land, and the like.

Here is a nice little collection of the top 20 (one top 20 I imagine) “Awesome” images found in Google Maps, from Search Engine Land.

Also loving the Ghenghis Khan in Mongolia and the Icarus impact crater.