Ye Olde Archive Archived Posts: 2004-2009



Today's comic over at Penny Arcade is both amusing and topical. Buzz marketing and fake viral advertising is the most worrisome and morally corrupt way to get at consumers, ever. As always, Tycho's comments are also incredibly worthwhile.

Opinions on the internet are huge. They're powerful. When I want to buy something on Amazon, the choice is made or broken by how people have rated it and how they've reviewed it. I bought a new digital camera recently, and a large part of the decision process was other (assumed) camera owners describing their experience with the camera. I was aware the entire time that people get paid to do this (I have been ever since I read William Gibson's Pattern Recognition), and I would be lying if I said that it didn't make me uneasy, but the fact remains that user reviews are the most current, unbiased, and broad-spectrum way to learn how worthwhile an item is in the hands of your average user.

Thankfully, the FTC is moving on the issue, or at least taking some tentative first steps. Force needs to be brought to bear on both advertising and product companies to let them know that marketing via anonymous, paid comments will not be allowed. The internet is a large conversation, taking place simultaneously among thousands of people across the world. Between folksonomically-tagged content, sites ranked in relevance to the number of people talking about them, and user-ranked consumerism, the voice of the individual stands out more, day after day, in this global conversation. It's important then, in terms of this conversation, to know exactly who is speaking, and what agenda they're harboring.

Filed under: game, internet, news 1 Comment

Shushing the librarian

Brownout at the EPA

The agency shuts down five public libraries full of environmental data, and employees and activists question the Bush administration's motives. (link -

According to the story, these closures are not only ethically, but also fiscally irresponsible. So what gives!? Oh, right ... our president.

More info available on the PEER website (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility).

Filed under: libraries, news No Comments

For those of you …

... who really, really want to get me something shiny for Christmas, but have no idea what such a thing might be, I've created my annual x-mas wishlist, linked over there on the right. It comes with the usual disclaimer: I don't need any presents, and I don't need these presents, but if you must, and if you don't know ... well, I like to be helpful.

In other x-mas-ey news, I'm making a Christmas mix CD to give to people. If you'd like a copy, let me know. 🙂

Peace to your 'nog, -A

Filed under: personal No Comments

Goddam it’s cold!

I think that may be the first time in my life that as soon as I got home I felt I had to peel off all my clothes and immediately take a warm shower. It's below freezing outside, it's windy, and it's raining. What the hell kind of weather is that!?

On the plus side, it's neat when every branch of a tree looks like it's been attentively wrapped in a little, clear blanket of ice.

Filed under: montreal, personal No Comments