Archive for June, 2007

The Dorkiest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

Friday, June 29th, 2007

One measure of an ad campaign’s success, I think: how many YouTube video responses does it inspire? Well, the infamous Mac or PC ads have probably picked up the most of any I’ve seen. And the following video is, in my humble opinion, the best I’ve seen. Somewhere, Diddy is sad that none of his songs have ever been this good.

Jason Alexander

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Independent Jason Meets the Web Grrrl

By Deanna Zandt

Jason Alexander was emceeing a gala at a conference I was attending. After a friend snuck me into the VIP reception room right before the show started, I turned around to find myself standing next to him. He was nothing at all like any of the personalities I’d seen him play. (Remember the smarmy best friend in Pretty Woman? I sure do.) No, instead, he radiated this unexpected aura of hip, friendly, and-yet-you-see-me-ten-times-a-day-now-on-TV celebrity.

jasonAlexanderjpg.jpgOne of my colleagues offered to take a picture of us together, if I had a camera on me. (Of course I did.) Mr. Alexander was more than gracious and agreed to the picture right away, and then asked what I did for a living.

“I’m a media technologist,” I said, handing him my card. “I do web strategy and development for progressive media organizations.” He looked at me curiously, yet obviously a little confused, and with a laugh asked if I was one of those people who could get the network in his house working. Well, IT’s not my strong suit, I explained, but I was sure that I could.

Later, when he came out on stage at the gala, he reached into his suit jacket pocket for the speech. Instead, he pulled something else out. He told the crowd, “I went in for the script, and instead got a card from the web girl, and my Fedex receipt.”

I was so excited to hear my card mentioned, I started smacking everyone’s arms around me. “That’s my card! He’s talking about my card!” My God, the guy that you see on TV ten times a day was talking about my business card. Part of me wanted to be tweaked and righteous that he called me a “girl,” but I quickly convinced myself that he was surely using the correct spelling in his head, grrl or grrrl, and ran outside to call my mom and tell her the thrilling news. My business card!

The next week, I found out that my cousin Mike also met Mr. Alexander a couple years ago at the Chestnut Inn on Oquaga Lake, near where my dad grew up in upstate New York.

It’s really all much smaller than we ever think it is, isn’t it?

Wrong K. Miller

Friday, June 29th, 2007

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Have you ever gotten someone else’s email by mistake? It happens to K. Miller all the time.

“I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried,” writes the blogger, who notes that “Miller” is the seventh most popular surname in the United States. That’s a lot of crossed wires—luckily for those of us who are looking for some midday lols.

The Web for Smarties

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

rule_the_web.gifWhen I go back home and head into the room that was once my bedroom and now my mother’s office, I’m usually filled with dread. Dread because I know the questions are coming: Tell me how to bookmark again? How do you move text from one document to the next? Will you change the printer ink? And then there are the books she buys in a sweet-but-pointless attempt at self-empowerment, or perhaps just to say, “see, I’m trying.” I hate those books, and most “Blogging for Dummies” tomes. Hate’s a strong word. But I’m never going to pick those books up.

Boing Boing maestro Mark Frauenfelder’s new book, Rule the Web, is not aimed at my mother, a woman who would not know 2.0 from Do.Oh. It’s aimed at people like me, and people who read SMITH–folks who aren’t deep geeks, but whose beings tingle with how the new technology has simplified, democratized, and energized media making. The book is also a crystal clean primer for answers to questions about the way we live now: How do I play MP3s through my stereo? Can I extend the range of my WiFi network? Are wire transfers an OK way to pay for something on eBay? (No, by the way.) And, the proverbial fan favorite: How do I start my own blog? (Funny aside: In one of his Mr. Know It All columns in Wired, Clive Thompson once advised encouraging your ma to start her own blog as a place to post all the urban myths she forwards to you and everyone she knows, thus stopping the flow of insane mom-mail.)

bb6_cover_1.jpgI’ve known Mark Frauenfelder, on and off, since the early days of bOING bOING in print, and there’s no one better at making technology fun, smart, and accessible (as just about everyone who knows him, which is just about everyone in tech, knows). Rule the Web is a book that will make your current online experience richer, sharper, and more productive—and crack open a few windows into new worlds. Maybe, eventually, my mom’s.

And: you can ask Mark a question on his Rule the Web blog.

Beautiful Pregnant Women: You Can’t Stop Progress

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Fetish? Obsession? Unstoppable appreciation of women in their many shapes and forms? Where does the passion behind the beautiful pregnant women series come from? Who knows? Who cares? Just behold the latest addition, the glowing Suzanne. Click here and scroll down for the backstory.

Speaking of backstory, I just found this.

Talk Is Cheap. What About Music?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

It seems like everywhere I look lately, a Friend o’ SMITH is launching an internet radio show. Bolgstein.jpgFelicia Sullivan covers books in her thoughtful and funny Writers Revealed; Romi Lassally and Rebecca Woolf address the underbelly of motherhood with a vengeance on True Mom Confessions.

Last night I got an email from Miles Beckett, the LonelyGirl15 genius I met at SXSW, about internet radio in trouble. It’s more about music than talk shows, and intellectual property issues are never easy, but it’s certainly worth checking out

Then you can enjoy netradio with Dr. Blogstein. His “radio happy hour” is a quirky take on news and culture with guests who are famous (sometimes) or weird (always) and usually plucked from interactive media. The newest show features Ryan Block from Engadget on how the iPhone will or won’t be the bestest-estest-estest invention in the history of the world. Me, I’m saving my camp-out-outside-the-store-overnight energy for
Harry Potter 7.

Killing Us Softly: The 21 Best Karaoke Videos Online

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

It was a mission that we wouldn’t wish on anyone else, but attacked with feverish delight: find 21 great homemade karaoke videos. After scouring the approximately 4.2 billion online, we found a few gems, a lot of near brilliance, and three that are so bad that they are good.

What do you think? Vote below.

After you vote for your favorite, send us your karaoke chronicles’ unforgettable nights, songs that rocked the house with a link to your own video, or someone else’s that the world needs to know about.
—Rich Knight

Vote now!

home alone

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head

I Just Died in your arms tonight

Saving All my love for you (my personal favorite)

Another one bites the dust

Bellied Up To The Bar

Girls just want to have fun.

I got you, babe

It’s not unusual

Rock Lobster

Dream On

Welcome to the Jungle

Money For Nothin’



Burnin’ down the house

Rapper’s Delight

Killing me softly

Somebody to love

Good Vibrations


More than a Feeling

Private Eyes

What’s your Net obsession?

Nervous Breakdown

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Some days, or weeks as the case may be, you can’t get anything to go the way it’s supposed to. Perhaps the unmoderated, occasionally comical, sometimes thoughtful community of bloggers who are having a Nervous Breakdown can help?

The Big Ugly Review’s Body Issue Is Hot

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Knee.jpgLongtime friend of Smith (me) and SMITH (us) Elizabeth Bernstein has just published her sixth issue of her excellent mixed media magazine, The Big Ugly Review. The theme is “The Body” and the body of words and images is excellent. Laura Fraser writes about her ass. Mimi Ghez (née Marissa) delves into her first Reiki experience. Joe Loya’s story about pondering a facial while in prison is unlike any you’ll ever read. Photographer Stephanie Morgan asked subjects to describe their favorite body part and then shoots it. The new issue of The Big Ugly is a big, bold body of work.

Next issue: “Fight or Flight.” Deadline for submissions is December 1. For details go here.

Knee photo from Stephanie Morgan’s fantastic photo essay as noted above.

Billy’s Balls

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

No, it’s not what you think it is. Get your minds out of the gutter, people. Instead, it’s a demonstration of what must surely be the real purpose of YouTube: documenting, and sharing with the world, our insanely cool stupid human tricks.

If you don’t see or hear from me for a couple months, it’s because I’m locked in a basement somewhere trying to learn how to do that.

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