May 4, 2006

Bebo muscles in on MySpace in UK

Posted in Technology at 9:27 am by antonello

Different regions gravitate towards different social networks.  Orkut is supreme in Brazil, Bebo makes a move in the UK.  What is recipe to reach critical mass in a region?  Friendster initially attracted many of my friends from abroad, but it never became a stop of them online the way it was for my New York circle.  Article from the Guardian:

Social networking website Bebo is threatening to overtake News Corporation's MySpace as the most popular online community destination in the UK, according to new internet usage research.

Bebo ranked third most popular among all UK internet searches for the month to April 29, compared with MySpace, which ranked just 24th, according to figures from Hitwise UK.

May 3, 2006

Colbert

Posted in Comedy, Criticism, Politics at 2:44 pm by antonello

I love Stephen Colbert. Have for many years, even since dare-I-mention Exit 57. He has a fantastic delivery, excellent characterization and can be very very clever.

His performance this weekend at the Press Correspondents' dinner was a tour de force. Many disagree how much laughter it may or may not have stimulated in their laugh generators (quite a lot in mine, but that really is, besides the point). Some have mentioned that it wasn't any material that was that new, and that very well may be true.  But that ain't the rub: Colbert was playing his character, his O'Reillian blowhard, in the belly of the beast, quite literally steps from W and an often self-congratulatory press.  

The irony was from being there, playing the shill with every bit of shrill, in the home of the shrill shill.  Max Sawicky compared it to A Modest Proposal and I think that gets at it.

Chris Lehmann has a good piece in the Observer about it too.  Were the people there mortally offended?  I agree with Lehmann here:

The President’s turn at Rotarian-style “look-at-silly-me” spoofery was comforting to most of the grandees on hand, to be sure. But that didn’t mean they took mortal offense at Mr. Colbert, as has been widely alleged by the flying wedge of blog-style commentators on the left.

Any attempt to take apart the evening joke for joke, I think, misses a grander point. His conclusions, which are better than mine and helped me focus my ideas:

In a 60 Minutes profile that aired Sunday night, Mr. Colbert explained to Morley Safer that he doesn’t allow his kids to see his eponymous Comedy Central show. “Kids can’t understand irony or sarcasm, and I don’t want them to perceive me as insincere. Because one night I’ll be putting them to bed and I’ll say, ‘I love you, honey.’ And they’ll say, ‘I get it. Very dry, Dad. That’s good stuff.’”

And that may have been Mr. Colbert’s biggest problem. The media kids he was babysitting that night were not even remotely equipped to calibrate irony, intentional or otherwise.

Kudos to Lehmann for the most Musto aside I've seen this week

(I, for one, found neither act [ed. Colbert or Bush impersonator] of the evening uproarious: Who, I must plaintively ask in the high ardor of pop-cult disenfranchisement, speaks for me?)

May 1, 2006

Just MSFT bein’ MSFT

Posted in Technology at 11:57 am by antonello

Google is getting ready for a rumble about a search box in the new IE:

The new browser includes a search box in the upper-right corner that is typically set up to send users to Microsoft's MSN search service. Google contends that this puts Microsoft in a position to unfairly grab Web traffic and advertising dollars from its competitors.

That's just what MS does: it appropriates successful innovations.  Usually with a lot more stuff thrown on and a good dose of cross-promotion 

Not surprisingly, the new IE also got on board with tabs.  Well, better late than never.   

April 26, 2006

Yahoo Go

Posted in Technology at 5:06 pm by antonello

Good move by Yahoo. This allows Yahoo to use its partnerships, brand name and tech firepower to bring a viable alternative of DVR for free. THat's hot. I wonder who this will attract. Anyone proficient enough to consider integrating their tv and their computer would probably just got for the DVR or have their own solution. Present company excluded.

April 21, 2006

This so isn’t going to work

Posted in Politics, Technology at 4:08 pm by antonello

Web site operators posting sexually explicit information must place official government warning labels on their pages or risk being imprisoned for up to five years, the Bush administration proposed Thursday.

from cnet via boingboing.net 

Seriously?  This is going to enforceable, enforced and do anything to attack the problem it is supposed to address?  Brother, please. 

Chernobyl Brimming With Life

Posted in Random at 10:55 am by antonello

An unexpected twist: 

Amazing how quickly natural environments can bounce back.

April 20, 2006

Mark Schmitt gets there first again!

Posted in Politics at 1:26 pm by antonello

More McCain talk.  Authentic? Fake? Conservative? Liberal

Mark Schmitt gets it just right:

Politicians are aggregations of their instincts, values, and political circumstances and conditions, the pressures put on them and the niches that are available… 

…"[A]uthenticity" is an important political tool in its own right. And voters are malleable as well, supporting a political candidate they view as genuine, even if the candidate’s views differ greatly from their own, as I discovered in New Hampshire in 2000 where some number of independent, socially liberal voters chose to vote for the hot McCain in the Republican primary over Bill Bradley in the Democratic. Likewise, pro-death penalty voters supported Tim Kaine in Virginia because they felt that his opposition was authentically rooted in his religious belief — it actually strengthened his sense of authenticity. But as McCain demonstrates, authenticity is itself a pose, one he adopted and has now discarded.

McCain’s latest move is necessary, if he wants to be president, but it’s awfully daring. Live by the cult of authenticity, perish by the cult of authenticity. 

Via Washington Monthly, where Kevin Drum also has an important 2 cents: 

But Mark is right about the "cult of authenticity." That's been McCain's real bread and butter, and it's tiresome. McCain is no more a straight talker than George Bush, but both are terrific at manipulating our supposedly cynical and world weary media into thinking they're straight talkers. My fervent wish is that McCain's recent pandering to Jerry Falwell will at least disabuse them of this notion and finally earn him the coverage he deserves: that of an ambitious politician willing to work with whatever interest groups it takes to get him elected president. That's the real McCain.

Take that, Julia!

Posted in Criticism, Theater at 11:15 am by antonello

Ben Brantley is one tough mofo to please, but damn can that man boil down his thesis to a couple of punchy sentences.  

In Richard Greenberg's "Three Days of Rain," the existential enigmas and conundrums of faith that always pepper this playwright's work assume a tantalizingly dichotomous form that. … Excuse me, I was talking. What? How is she? How's who? Oh, her. O.K., if you must know, she's stiff with self-consciousness (especially in the first act), only glancingly acquainted with the two characters she plays and so deeply, disturbingly beautiful that you don't want to let her out of your sight. Now can we go back to discussing Mr. Greenberg's play?

Brantley often calls attention to his subjectivity which is a fascinating device for a critic.  Usually a critic hides beneath big 'O' Objectivity.  Brantley uses his bias, acknowledges his preconceptions and then uses this to bolster his objective observations. I don't always agree with him, but I always enjoy reading it.

April 19, 2006

McClennan out

Posted in Politics at 12:33 pm by antonello

The incest runs wild in this administration.  First promoting Portman, Kaplan taking over for Rove as policy director.  Ditching McClellan feels something like shooting the messenger.  The issue for the administration, and has been for a long time, their message and morever their execution.  

April 17, 2006

uterus weekly

Posted in Ha at 3:47 pm by antonello

via panopticist (I'm in a real re-blogging state of mind today). Actual picture forthcoming when wp.com decides not to hate me.

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