B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

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Tumblr Raises $85 Million Without a Business Model

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Silver Time from a Time Strange

Is the tech industry bubbling again? I have a Tumblr account, and like it well enough to keep using it, but there’s not anything compelling enough that I would pay a subscription for a Tumblr blog, and how else exactly is Tumblr going to make money?

Blogging service Tumblr said it has raised $85 million, although the New York-based company has scant revenue and has yet to develop a solid business model.

The lack of revenue kept some major Silicon Valley venture firms from signing onto the deal. But at least two prominent firms—Greylock Partners, an investor in Facebook Inc. and Groupon Inc., and Twitter-investor Insight Venture Partners have joined the investment round.

Other new investors include The Chernin Group, Sir Richard Branson and returning investor partners Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.

Tumblr didn’t comment on the valuation that the investment conferred on the company but in recent money-raising discussions investors valued the company at around $800 million

(click here to continue reading Tumblr Raises $85 Million – WSJ.com.)

and even Tumblr execs don’t have a clue as to where the revenue will be coming from…

“Questions around monetization still exist,” he said. “But the company has absolute scale, massive traction, and huge growth and money-making potential.”
So far, Tumblr’s efforts to generate revenue have been mostly experimental.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 26th, 2011 at 8:37 am

Posted in Business

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The Internet IS The Public Square

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Can t Remember What I Was Thinking Of
Can’t Remember What I Was Thinking Of

Brent Simmons writes about something I’ve been thinking about for the last few months:

My problem with Twitter remains the same: centralized social networking concentrates way too much power in one place.

Twitter is awful in other ways, sure, not just for that reason. (The issues with Nazis and harassment and abuse. The way it treats third-party Twitter developers.)

And Facebook, too, is awful in its own ways.

But, even if it were well-run, centralized social networking is still a deeply bad and unhealthy idea. Josh Marshall writes that we should be concerned about

…ceding so much of the public square to private platforms which really aren’t about free speech in any way and don’t have free speech in any way. They’re all ordered by algorithms designed to maintain time on site and service ad sales. In no sense are they open or free.

Twitter is not the public square. It just wants you to think it is. The web itself is the public square.

(click here to continue reading inessential: The Public Square.)

Ghosting all of my social media accounts is very, very tempting. Especially Facebook and Instagram which I care less about. I’ve already started the process of culling my interactions with both of those platforms. I only log in to Facebook using my Mac’s alternative browser, and since I have two-factor authentication turned on, it is even more time consuming to log on, thus I log on once or twice a month. I am considering removing most of the ephemeral contacts there as I have already done on Instagram. I deleted the Instagram app from my phone, and don’t miss it yet, and maybe never will. 

Defunct Tweets
Defunct Tweets

Twitter is slightly different, as I mostly use my Twitter account as a microblog. I’d guess that 90% of my posts contain URLs linking to a news story, or to my own photographs. If there was a quick, painless way to delete every Twitter post that didn’t contain a URL, I’d do that right away, but I’m not sure if that is possible, or tbh, even really worth it. I’m low profile enough that I don’t interact much with strangers on Twitter, nor do I seek out heated political arguments with the mouth breathers; so I’ve yet to encounter that toxic part of Twitter.

I never found a good method to integrate Twitter with my blog, perhaps I should look for a solution to that. My tweets are archived in a Google Doc spreadsheet; if I use Buffer, my tweets are also posted to my Tumblr, yet I’d rather there was a place on my own domain which hosted this running link history. 

Perhaps the microblog tool will work.

I don’t miss the amount of fiddling Moveable Type required, Twitter’s main attraction for me is the ease with which I can create a link to something interesting I’ve encountered, Twitter is integrated into iOS and MacOS in a way that self-hosted WordPress blogs are not.

 Frostpocket Kitchen

To the bigger question, I miss the character of the web before Facebook et al existed. I doubt we can return to those days. It sort of reminds me of the back-to-the land movement of the last century: folks like my parents eschewing the technologies of the day to go to farms and communes and try to exist with one foot in the future and one foot in the past.

Written by Seth Anderson

August 19th, 2018 at 8:37 am

Posted in Blogtopia,Business

Tagged with , ,

Leftovers – Plate 2

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The best part of leftovers is filling up your plate again…

Frozen Head of Rhaegal
Frozen Head of Rhaegal

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, RodentPro.com® specializes in the production and distribution of premium quality frozen mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and quail.  We are proud to include hobbyists, commercial reptile breeding facilities, raptor sanctuaries, and some of the nation’s largest and most respected zoos and aquariums among our broad spectrum of customers.

(click here to continue reading Online Store – Frozen Mice, Rats, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs – About Us.)

 Jeff is a Jew

Jeff is a Jew

Vanity Fair and a well written essay:

The author reflects on her lifelong role—above and below the Mason-Dixon Line—of being the only Jew in the room, and how an unexpected declaration by her daughter helped her reconstitute her identity. BY AMY FINE COLLINS

(click here to continue reading Jewish Like Me | Vanity Fair.)

I especially liked this paragraph, and plan to use it in the future :

My habitual muteness in these situations—a reflex of politeness, a journalist’s instinct to listen with a neutral ear, a female tendency to grant the other person the benefit of the doubt—doesn’t make me proud. At these moments—whether I’m “passing,” a fly on the wall, intentionally being provoked, or simply confronted with perplexing ignorance—I wish I had at my disposal the stun-gun comeback, the withering rejoinder that would silence the speaker, neutralize his words, force him to swallow even a micro-pellet of the poison that he is spewing my way.

If only I had this arrow in my quiver (and the balls to fire it) for my college friend’s D.A.R. mom and Fred Flintstone dad: When Clare Booth Luce, perhaps apocryphally, told a Jewish friend, “I’m so sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust. Why can’t you people just get over it?” the Jewish lady replied, “I’m so sick and tired of hearing about the Crucifixion. Why can’t you people just get over it?”

Strong Sound Ideas - circa 1995
Strong Sound Ideas – circa 1995

I never use a hair dryer, mostly because I hate how loud they are…

“There has been zero innovation in this market for over 60 years,” said Mr. Dyson, 68, a billionaire who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.

“Millions of people use contraptions daily that are hideously inefficient, waste their time and are causing them long-term damage,” he said. “We realized that we could — and should — sort this situation out.”

He triumphantly held up what appeared to be a sleek black and pink plastic doughnut on a stick. “Four years, 100 odd patents and 600 prototypes later, I think we might have found the answer.”

Known as the Dyson Supersonic and unveiled in Tokyo on Wednesday, the device is his response to a question many never thought to ask: Is it possible to make a better hair dryer?

This may not seem like a big deal. A few burned scalps and frizz issues aside, people have been doing just fine with the standard hair dryer for decades. But, as Dai Fujiwara, a Japanese fashion designer who collaborated with Mr. Dyson on an Issey Miyake runway presentation, wrote in an email, “Because everyday life is too common, people rarely realize there is a problem.”

(click here to continue reading Dyson Wants to Create a Hair Dryer Revolution – The New York Times.)

Shit Fountain
Shit Fountain, literally.

Microbiome study is going to advance by leaps and bounds in the upcoming years. Here’s one tale from the front lines…

Human feces floated in saline solution in a mortar, on a marbled countertop, in a dimly lit kitchen in Burlingame, California. A bottle of ethyl alcohol, an electronic scale, test tubes, and a stack of well-worn pots and pans lay nearby. The stove light illuminated the area as Josiah Zayner crushed the shit with a pestle, creating a brownish-yellow sludge. “I think I can feel something hard in there,” he said, laughing. It was probably vegetables — “the body doesn’t break them down all the way.”

This heralded the beginning of Zayner’s bacterial makeover. He was clad in a Wu-Tang Clan T-shirt, jeans, and white socks and sandals. At his feet, James Baxter, Zayner’s one-eyed orange cat, rubbed its flank against its owner’s legs. The kitchen smelled like an outhouse in a busy campground.

Over the course of the next four days, Zayner would attempt to eradicate the trillions of microbes that lived on and inside his body — organisms that helped him digest food, produce vitamins and enzymes, and protected his body from other, more dangerous bacteria. Ruthlessly and methodically, he would try to render himself into a biological blank slate. Then, he would inoculate himself with a friend’s microbes — a procedure he refers to as a “microbiome transplant.” Zayner imagines the collection of organisms that live on him — his microbiome — as a suit. As such, it can be worn, mended, and replaced. The suit he was living with, he said, was faulty, leaving him with severe gastrointestinal pain. A new suit could solve all that. “You kind of are who you are, to a certain extent,” he said. “But with your bacteria, you can change that.”

A full bacterial overhaul like this had never been documented before — in fact, it may have been the first time it had ever been attempted. There was no evidence to suggest it would work, though there was a real risk it could make Zayner life-threateningly sick. That didn’t bother him.

(click here to continue reading A Bitter Pill | The Verge.)

Spectators in Ketchikan
Spectators in Ketchikan with sunglasses

Sadly, I couldn’t get this to work:

If you need reading glasses—and if you’re over about 40, you probably do—then the next couple of paragraphs will change your life. You’re about to find out how to read small type, in a pinch, without your glasses.

Maybe you’ve lost or broken your reading glasses. Or maybe you don’t feel like going upstairs to get them. Or maybe you’re naked in the shower, frantically trying read the bottles to see which one is shampoo.

Here’s the trick: Curl up your index finger, making a tiny hole. Hold it up to your dominant eye and peek through it.

Incredibly, you’ll discover that the small type you couldn’t read a moment ago is suddenly crystal clear! You can read the date on a penny, or the serial number on a product, or the instructions on a medicine bottle. It doesn’t matter if you’re nearsighted or farsighted.

(click here to continue reading Life Hack: Instant Reading Glasses – David Pogue.)

Your Choice
Your Choice?

Ted Cruz was almost nobody’s favorite:

[Ted Cruz] spoke out of both sides of his scowl, itching to be the voice of the common man but equally eager to demonstrate what a highfalutin, Harvard-trained intellect he possessed. He wed a populist message to a plummy vocabulary. And while the line separating smart and smart aleck isn’t all that thin or blurry, he never could stay on the winning side of it.

He wore cowboy boots, but his favorites are made of ostrich.

Two peacocks in a pod, he and Trump, and what ghastly plumage they showed on Tuesday.

Trump somehow saw fit to bring up a National Enquirer story linking Cruz’s father to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Cruz exploded, branding Trump a “pathological liar” and “serial philanderer.” He also brought up an interview from many years ago in which Trump told Howard Stern that his effort to steer clear of sexually transmitted diseases was his “personal Vietnam.”

Where was this rant six months ago, when the Republican field was crowded and Cruz played footsie with Trump? Back then he was wagering that Trump would fade, and he wanted to be in a friendly position to inherit the billionaire’s supporters.

But by Tuesday, Trump was the main obstacle between Cruz and the Republican presidential nomination, and Cruz has just one true compass: his own advancement.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz’s Bitter End – The New York Times.)

You Look Amazing Today
You Look Amazing Today!

How mentally ill do you have to be to want to poison strangers via fresh produce? Damn…

A man accused of sprinkling mouse poison and hand cleaner on produce at several self-service food bars in Michigan grocery stores over the last two weeks has been arrested, the F.B.I. and local police said on Tuesday.

Images taken from surveillance video at a supermarket and published online by the F.B.I. showed the man carrying a red basket in a grocery store, walking past a display of avocados and down aisles.

The man was identified by members of the public and arrested by the agency and the Ann Arbor police, but his name had not been released as of early Wednesday.

The authorities said the man was suspected of contaminating food in several Ann Arbor grocery stores, including a Whole Foods Market, a Meijer and a Plum Market, over the last two weeks

(click here to continue reading Man Is Accused of Putting Poison on Food at Michigan Stores – The New York Times.)

AniMoog screenshot
AniMoog screenshot

I will probably purchase this app late one night, I already own Animoog, and it is fun to play with:

Moog Music has been known for producing some of the most popular synthesizers since the 70s— we reviewed a couple of the newer models in our Logic Pros series and noted that iPad/Mac synths still can’t quite capture the experience of even a $1,000 Moog. But today Moog is releasing its own iPad and iPhone version of its popular $10,000 Model 15, aiming to offer a similar experience in a $30 mobile app. 

Moog’s own techs helped program the app at the Moog Factory in Asheville, NC, according to the company, with the app both resembling the look and sound of the original 1970’s Model 15 hardware:

Each facet of the Moog Model 15 modular synthesizer has been meticulously recreated in this application to ensure the power and transcendent sound quality of each module remains intact. The character, harmonic complexity and mystique of the Moog Model 15s modules, from the legendary Moog 921–series oscillators and 904A Low Pass Filter, to the coveted 907 Fixed Filter Bank have been painstakingly preserved.

That means you’ll find both monophonic and 4-voice polyphonic modes with four controllers, and you can also pull up an on-screen keyboard in the traditional Moog style and layout, as well as a “1150 ribbon controller, 8-step sequencing arpeggiator and the award-winning Animoog keyboard with 22 built-in scales and polyphonic modulation capabilities.” Animoog is the company’s other very popular iOS app that it designed specifically for iPad and touchscreens. 

(click here to continue reading Moog brings its $10,000 Model 15 synth to iPad and iPhone w/ new $30 app | 9to5Mac.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 5th, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , , ,

Delicious Spam – and Shutting Down of Delicious

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 Stringing Along

Stringing Along

Briefly: if you are one of the folks who receive a daily email from this blog, or subscribe to its RSS feed, or its Twitter feed, my sincere apologies for the recent delicious spam. I’ve disabled delicious, as I wasn’t using it much if at all. I’m still expecting feedBurner to cease working at some point, but it hasn’t yet…

I don’t think the Tumblr was affected

Written by Seth Anderson

February 24th, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Posted in blog

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Christmas Request

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https://i0.wp.com/farm1.staticflickr.com/625/23510428129_dc73773e18_n.jpg?resize=239%2C320&ssl=1
I may have mentioned this before, but maybe not publicly (including automatically posting to Facebook, et al), but my Christmas wish list is this: donate something to someone who needs it more than you do. Whether you give your change from the coffee shop plus a banana to a street beggar, or whether you send a few dollars to a food bank like Feeding America,  ((sending $50 to Feeding America will help provide 550 meals)) whatever you feel is appropriate for your situation. I’d suggest to avoid donating to The Salvation Army as I think they are an anti-gay rights organization, but if you want to, that’s your decision, I’m sure the Salvation Army does some good for some people. Planned Parenthood always needs money, or if you are low on cash, maybe just volunteer to ladle glop at a local soup kitchen for an hour or two. You get the idea.

Thanks for helping.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 21st, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Personal

Tagged with

Instagram Purge Hits Brands Who Artificially Built Up Follower Numbers

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Stop Following

Stop Following!

I am no self-described expert in social media, just a sometime user of it, but from I sit, obsessing about follower counts is stupid, and a waste of everyone’s time. I guess certain digital agencies sold the concept to their clients, and then cut corners in building up follower counts by utilizing sleazy tactics and spam-bots.  Follower counts are a nearly meaningless number to be used on a PowerPoint presentation to clueless executives. As the poet sang, numbers add up to nothing.

Instagram in recent days has revealed “corrections” in the number of people following many users, after announcing last week it had removed a significant number of fake accounts from the Facebook owned photo-sharing service.

Celebrities including Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Selena Gomez each lost more than a million followers, according to Zach Allia, a Boston photographer and Web developer who tallied the losses in this chart. Each of those celebrities still counts more than 18 million followers. Allia estimated that the average Instagram user lost 7.7% of his followers from the purge.

The purge reflects a persistent problem for social networks: separating real users from computer-generated “bots.” Instagram conducted a similar purge in May. Twitter says fewer than 5% of its 284 million monthly active users are fake, though outside researchers think the number is higher.

In an interview last week, Instagram founder and CEO Kevin Systrom declined to say how many accounts the service deleted. Systrom said fake users are most often created “for commercial reasons.” Users are either “paying to buy followers” he said, or “trying to get attention for some product they’re selling or some email subscription.”

(click here to continue reading Instagram Users Finding They’re Less Popular Than Thought – Digits – WSJ.)

from Adweek:

National Geographic, Nike, Adidas and Forever 21 were among the top 100 Instagram accounts that saw their follower counts pummeled after the spam hunt. The photo- and video-sharing app said last week that it would cull fake and inactive accounts, and it did its best to prepare brands and fans for the worst. Today, Instagram users were lamenting their fallen following with memes and jokes to cover the hurt. The shock of a diminished audience is just a short-term hit for marketers, who ultimately want to know if their fans are fake, said Eric Brown, head of communications for social influence measurement tool Klout and its parent company, Lithium.

(click here to continue reading Instagram Purge Hits Brands Like National Geographic, Nike, Forever 21 the Hardest | Adweek.)

Numbers Add Up to Nothing
Numbers Add Up to Nothing

For myself, I stopped caring long ago how many Twitter followers I have, how many people follow my Tumblr feed, or my Instagram account. It  means nothing, it isn’t as if I get a financial incentive to have more followers. Neither does Nike, or any other brand. It is nearly meaningless number to be used on a PowerPoint presentation to executives basically.

Defunct Tweets
Defunct Tweets

Adweek reports that these are the brands that should fire their digital agencies, or at least ask a few hard questions to their digital team at the next social media meeting.

  • National Geographic: 229,000 followers lost. New count: 9.75 million
  • Nike: 257,000 followers lost. New count: 8.75 million
  • 9Gag: 120,000 followers lost. New count: 8.38 million
  • Victoria’s Secret: 215,000 followers lost. New count: 7.7 million
  • The Ellen Show: 270,000 followers lost. New count: 7.47 million
  • Forever 21: 245,000 followers lost. New count: 5.33 million
  • Real Madrid Club de Fútbol: 159,000 followers lost. New count: 5.36 million
  • FC Barcelona: 133,000 followers lost. New count: 5.33 million
  • NBA: 196,000 followers lost. New count: 4.15 million
  • GoPro: 94,000 followers lost. New count: 3.64 million
  • Adidas: 101,000 followers lost. New count: 3.6 million
  • Louis Vuitton: 107,000 followers lost. New count: 3.55 million

Amusingly, I noted the problem with Instagram followers being spammy right away:

As a side effect of this growth, there are a lot of spammers who take advantage of Instagram’s audience, and offer to sell you “likes” or other sleazy tactic

(click here to continue reading Notes on Instagram after Using It for A Month or So at B12 Solipsism.)

Written by Seth Anderson

December 22nd, 2014 at 11:21 am

Posted in Advertising

Tagged with , ,

Sign in To YouTube Using an iOS Device Like an iPhone

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Illinois Central

Electric Shocking Power!

For perhaps the five hundredth time this decade, I spent a long time trying to login to YouTube to upload a video, and my password was not accepted, even though I’d copied it right out of 1 Password. After wasting about ten minutes trying to figure it out, I remembered that because I have set up a 2-Step Verification for my Google account, I have to generate an App specific password for logging into YouTube. I’m not sure why YouTube is different than other 2-Step Verification services, but at least the solution is easy enough, once you remember that is why your password keeps failing. You’d think Google could update YouTube to at least give a hint that enabling 2-Step verification means a user can’t login simply with email and password. I mean, would it be that hard for the YouTube iOS App to add a footer to the login page? Or at least a suggestion to look to the App passwords page if a password fails a few times?

Anyway, after I did the proper Google search, I ended up here, with these instructions.

Sign in using App Passwords

An App password is a 16-digit passcode that gives an app or device permission to access your Google Account. If you use 2-Step-Verification and are seeing a “password incorrect” error when trying to access your Google Account, an App password may solve the problem. Most of the time, you’ll only have to enter an App password once per app or device, so don’t worry about memorizing it.

  1. Visit your App passwords page. You may be asked to sign in to your Google Account.
  2. At the bottom, click Select app and choose the app you’re using.
  3. Click Select device and choose the device you’re using.
  4. Click Generate.
  5. Follow the instructions to enter the App password (the 16 character code in the yellow bar) on your device.

 

(click here to continue reading Sign in using App Passwords – Accounts Help.)

That’s pretty clear, and simple, once you know that is what you are required to do.

Perhaps since I’m writing a post about this procedure, I’ll remember next time I’m uploading a video from a new iOS device, or a new app that uses YouTube.

Also, the video was pretty dark, I’ll have to retry with better lighting next time I have a can of Nuclear Winter beer by Finch’s Beer…

My app specific list looks like this

Screen Shot 2014 12 03 at 9 22 36 PM
Google App specific passwords, a partial list

Vimeo version…

Nuclear Winter Boilermaker- Finch’s Beer from Seth Anderson on Vimeo.

With a name like Nuclear Winter, what else could I do?


update, damn, this post became a spam comment magnet so we’re disabling comments for a while. Sorry.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 3rd, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Apple

Tagged with , , ,

Portfolio Clipart

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National Library of Medicine

Miarihuana – Weed With Roots In Hell! – An ad for the 1930s film “Marihuana.” Credit National Library of Medicine

Bile Beans Doped Youth Spock trim

My Lips Are For Blowing

My Lips Are For Blowing

worstalbumcovers08 Miles Davis and Jeanne Moreau

Life August 4 1921

Life August 4 1921

phillips_berkshire_stockings

1890 ad from the U.K.

1890 ad from the U.K.

Marilyn Monroe as an archer This Is a Job for Superman crap Bob Dylan and Obama johnbelushi.jpg

It’s the Future

It’s the Future

Groves Tasteless Chill Tonic

Groves Tasteless Chill Tonic

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon, Traitor

Bush Shoots Nation the Bird Enraged

Fascist Threat and Commie Lies

Fascist Threat and Commie Lies

Truth and Mister Rogers

Truth and Mister Rogers

Blizzard of Liars - McCain and Palin

banker

banker

fashionsense.jpg

Ted Is Organized

The Cars - Panorama

The Cars – Panorama

chainsaw-sculpture.jpg Santa-Anna-Prosthetic-Leg.gif Guy Clark Old No 1 On-The-Internet-Nobody-Knows-You-Are-A-dog.gif

Untouchables

Somewhere in Chicago under the El

Upper Yurtistan

courtesy of the Minister of Color and Rhetoric

Frostpocket

Frostpocket (click to embiggen)

Louis Armstrong with Gage

Louis Armstrong with Gage

m03_23095341 m15_25181215

Afghanistan Kush

Afghanistan Kush

m25_23743519

Keep Your Eyes Open

Keep Your Eyes Open

Life Stinks - I Like the Kinks

Life Stinks – I Like the Kinks

Written by Seth Anderson

August 5th, 2014 at 10:31 am

Posted in

IFTTT Recipe Acting Strangely

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Chainsaw sculpture
chainsaw-sculpture – source unknown

If you’ve noticed, in the last couple of days photos have appeared here that have already been posted; duplicate entries from weeks ago. I don’t know why this is happening, but I do know the cause – https://ifttt.com/wtf

I have a recipe that works like this: if I add the keyword “blogged” to a Flickr photo, the photo gets published on this blog with the author being “eggplant”.  I find this recipe to be a fairly easy way to add photos – all it takes is adding a tag, which can be accomplished even with a mobile devie – the main complaint I’ve had is that the photo has to be fairly recent. It doesn’t work with any image uploaded more than six months ago, give or take.

IFTTT Recipe: New Flickr photo with tag “blogged” gets a WP post connects flickr to wordpress

I’ve used this recipe 183 times as of this morning, but starting yesterday, duplicates started appearing. I’ve deleted them all so far, but since this is an automated process, I don’t notice the duplications until later, which means they get pushed out to my Tumblr blog, Twitter, yadda yadda. Irritating, but not happening frequently enough to turn off the recipe. Yet.

Apologies.

Written by Seth Anderson

June 14th, 2014 at 8:51 am

Posted in blog

Tagged with

Corporate Christian Taliban Attempting to Ruin America

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Sprang from Shame and Pride
Sprang from Shame and Pride

Historians of the future may very well date the decline of the American civilization to the outcome of this Supreme Court ruling. I’m actually not kidding: remember this phrase? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. If the Roberts Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, they will have contradicted this amendment.

This week, the owners of two secular, for-profit corporations will ask the Supreme Court to take a radical turn and allow them to impose their religious views on their employees — by refusing to permit them contraceptive coverage as required under the Affordable Care Act.

The showdown will take place Tuesday when the Supreme Court hears arguments on two consolidated challenges to the Affordable Care Act. The owners of Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts-and-crafts stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinetmaker, want to be exempted from the sound requirement that employer health plans cover without a co-payment all birth control methods and services approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

These companies are not religious organizations, nor are they affiliated with religious organizations.

(click here to continue reading Crying Wolf on Religious Liberty – NYTimes.com.)

How exactly will corporations practice their religion? Will this be a requirement on quarterly statements to Wall Street investors? Who decides which sect the corporation adheres to? Is it a shareholder vote? Set by the Board of Directors? By the CEO?

And what about the employees – are they automatically enrolled in whatever religion the corporation follows? What if the employee is a non-believer? Will they be fired? Burned at the stake? What about potential customers of religious-affiliated corporations? Will shoppers have to prove their loyalty to the deity-of-choice before being allowed to complete their purchase? to enter the establishment? What if a Mammon-worshipping Ohioan became president of a large news and entertainment conglomerate? Would he be able to forcibly convert his minions into evil creatures? Oh, wait, that already happened.

Wages of Sin and a Pink Caddy
Wages of Sin and a Pink Caddy

And another thing: there are all sorts of crazy commandments in the Christian Bible, can a corporation pick and choose which to follow? Maybe if they are granted this birth-control dispensation, they would also be required to follow all the rules suggested in Leviticus. Such as Leviticus 19:19

19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

or Leviticus 25:24

25:23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.

Hmm, that might change Hobby Lobby’s real estate plans…

What Do You Do for Money?
What Do You Do for Money?

What about Matthew 6:1, which seems to directly contradict the Corporate Christians public gnashing of teeth:

6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Getchyer Kitschhere
Getchyer Kitschhere

More from the New York Times Editorial Board:

There are several reasons why the court should find that the law does not apply, starting with the fact that secular, for-profit corporations are not “persons” capable of prayer or other religious behavior, which is a quintessentially human activity. Also, as an amicus brief filed by corporate law scholars persuasively argues, granting the religious exemption to the owners would mean allowing shareholders to pass their religious values to the corporation. The fundamental principle of corporate law is a corporation’s existence as a legal entity with rights and obligations separate from those of its shareholders.

Thomas Jefferson is rolling in his grave that this is even being considered a question…

Written by Seth Anderson

March 23rd, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Ten of Barbara Stanwyck’s Best – As Chosen By Margaret Talbot

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Barbara Stanwyck as Lily Powers in Baby Face

For your next holiday viewing party, a list of ten great films that Barbara Stanwyck shone in…

The qualities that made her great, that made her, as the film critic Nell Minow says, the most eternally modern of Golden Age actresses, were evident from the beginning. Stanwyck believed in being as natural on screen as the Hollywood glamour machine allowed, and it extended to her appearance: as Wilson makes clear, the actress was not vain. She described herself as just “average nice-looking”—no Greta Garbo or Carole Lombard or Hedy Lamar—and felt it was “a good thing” that she could “crack through with honesty.” She excelled at playing women with their own best interests in mind, tough women with hard shells, but she was also gifted at playing on the edge, where anger and defensiveness part to reveal a glinting vulnerability.

Stanwyck was one of Hollywood’s hard-working pros—a trouper who always knew her own lines, and often everybody else’s as well, was always on time, who learned the names of all the crew. She probably wouldn’t have appreciated a lot of psychologizing about her work, but it seems clear that she drew on her own rough upbringing to play many of her finest roles. Born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn in 1907, she was four when her pregnant mother was killed by a drunk who pushed her off a streetcar. Her bricklayer father soon ran off to Panama, abandoning the family. Young Ruby was raised by a shifting cast of relatives, and supported herself from the age of fourteen as a switchboard operator, a pattern cutter, and a chorus girl. “I’ve known women who plodded through life,” Wilson quotes her saying, “but the women I knew did their plodding on the pavement, not the soil. I know very little about the simple life. I’m a product of crowded places and jammed-up emotions, where right and wrong weren’t always clearly defined and life wasn’t always sweet, but it was life.” That life, with all its ambiguity, is what you always see in a Stanwyck performance, flickering across her uncommonly intelligent face like light dancing on water.

“Steel-True” has inspired several Stanwyck retrospectives, including one at Film Forum, in New York, playing through December 31st. It inspired me to make a list of my favorite Stanwyck performances, all of them available on DVD. Here they are, in chronological order:

(click here to continue reading Barbara Stanwyck’s Best : The New Yorker.)

Click through the link to read thumbnails about each of the ten.

I’ve seen: Baby Face; Stella Dallas; The Lady Eve; Ball of Fire; Double Indemnity; Meet John Doe; and There’s Always Tomorrow

and have yet to see: The Miracle Women; Ladies They Talk About; and All I Desire.

Of the films I’ve seen, Double Indemnity is my favorite, I’ve seen it multiple times, but all are worth watching methinks. The links go to Netflix, if available. I was unable to find There’s Always Tomorrow, except at Amazon as part of a collection including All I Desire, and contrary to Ms. Talbot’s assertion that all of these are available on DVD, I could not find several films. Perhaps there are other sources.


Baby Face – Directed by Alfred E. Green

Written by Seth Anderson

December 27th, 2013 at 10:04 am

Posted in Film

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Jason Kottke: The blog is dead, long live the blog

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No Ego
No Ego

The blog-father, Jason Kottke opines that the blog has died…

Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs. Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium.

In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids. Instead of launching blogs, companies are building mobile apps, Newsstand magazines on iOS, and things like The Verge. The Verge or Gawker or Talking Points Memo or BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post are no more blogs than The New York Times or Fox News, and they are increasingly not referring to themselves as such.

The primary mode for the distribution of links has moved from the loosely connected network of blogs to tightly integrated services like Facebook and Twitter.

(click here to continue reading The blog is dead, long live the blog » Nieman Journalism Lab.)

Yikes! G4 - still chugging
Yikes! G4 – still chugging

As an aside, though I’ve never met Mr. Kottke, he had a lot to do with how this humble blog exists. I always had a website, since first getting a floppy-disc copy of Mosaic way back in the Stone Age, but never knew what to do with my site until I discovered Kottke.org. Ahh, blogging, I could do that. I never learned how to code HTML beyond the basics, but blogging only required basic HTML and CSS skills. Sadly, I’ve become an increasingly lazy blogger, posting less and less frequently, but I haven’t thrown in the towel yet. 

He does have a point though, Twitter and Facebook and so forth consume an ever larger percentage of our collective online energies. Unfortunately, in my opinion, but then I’m over 40. Facebook especially is troubling to me as too often I hear of some arbitrary deletion of posting privileges, with minimal recourse. If you own your own data, you have much more control. Also if we only use Twitter and Facebook to communicate, we lose a large portion of our individuality – there becomes a vanilla plainness to the online world. On one side of the equation, no blink tags – yayyy; on the other, boring, shallow sites like BuzzFeed and HuffPost become the norm – meh.

I took the opportunity to clean up my blogroll, removing a few blogs that have died, and keeping a few dead blogs with the hope they resurrect. If you are reading this, and you have a compelling reason for me to add you to my blogroll, leave me a comment, and I’ll consider it.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 19th, 2013 at 10:58 am

Posted in Blogtopia,News-esque

Tagged with ,

Remember all those Obamacare horror stories

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Doctor of Thinkology
Doctor of Thinkology

Shocking! Shocking, I say…

Statisticians dismiss the practice of using personal stories to argue about an objective reality as “anecdata”, but it might be more accurate to call the “Obamacare horror stories” that have taken over social media “urban legends”. There are urban legends about a lot of things – from spiders in hairdos to red velvet cake. Some are funny, some feature a satisfying come-uppance, but folklorists agree that the stickiest of them, the ones that last for generations and resist debunking are the ones that live off ignorance and feed off fear. As one researcher put it: It’s a lack of information coupled with these fears that tends to give rise to new legends. When demand exceeds supply, people will fill in the gaps with their own information … they’ll just make it up.

I can’t think of a better description of the conservative media ecosystem at the moment.

The failure of the exchanges created an information vacuum as far as Obamacare successes went; in rushed the individual stories of those who claimed to have been hurt by the changes to the market. It didn’t matter that these stories are, even without enrollment numbers from the exchanges, demonstrably unrepresentative! Only a fraction of Americans, 5%, even have the kind of policies that could have been cancelled – these were the people who could claim to have been “lied to”… or worse. Their stories became part of an Obamacare horror story canon.

(click here to continue reading Remember all those Obamacare horror stories? Not looking so bad now | Ana Marie Cox | Comment is free | theguardian.com.)

 Turns out in nearly every case, the reported facts were erroneous, or there were significant details left out. I’m sure you are as surprised as I am that there is gambling in this casino…

and the really scary part of this story is how quickly these fake stories spread, even on the so-called corporate media. For instance, CBS, Yahoo, and Mediate all reported on Ashley Dionne’s complaint without fact-checking it.

There is the one about Ashley Dionne, who claimed that Obamacare “raped” her generation:

I have asthma, ulcers, and mild cerebral palsy. Obamacare takes my monthly rate from $75 a month for full coverage on my “Young Adult Plan” to $319 a month. After $6,000 in deductibles, of course.

It turned out that her own Tumblr post contained evidence that she would be eligible for a low-cost, “silver” plan for $22.17 per month, with out-of-pocket spending capped at $2,250. (Also, with her medical conditions, it’s hard to believe that she ever found a company to cover her pre-ACA.)

Written by Seth Anderson

December 5th, 2013 at 9:28 am

Posted in government,health

Tagged with , ,

Tim Maia – Nobody Can Live Forever

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Tim Maia

Picked up a fun, buoyant new-to-me album of Brazilian funk and R&B, called The Existential Funk of Tim Maia, put out on the great Luaka Bop label in 2012. As a side note, I wish all music labels made web pages for every album they release, complete with liner notes, photos and lyrics.

In the early 1970’s, Brazilian popular music was approaching a high water mark of creativity and popularity. Artists like Elis Regina, Chico Buarque and Milton Nascimento were delivering top-shelf Brazilian pop, while tropicalists Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Os Mutantes (see World Psychedelic Classics 1) were entertaining the college set with avant-garde fuzz-pop poetry.

Enter Tim Maia with a massive cannonball into the pool. It was the only dive Tim knew. Standing just 5’7 (6′ with the Afro) Tim Maia was large, in charge and completely out of control. He was the personification of rock star excess, having lived through five marriages and at least six children, multiple prison sentences, voluminous drug habits and a stint in an UFO obsessed religious cult. Tim is also remembered as a fat, arrogant, overindulgent, barely tolerated, yet beloved man-child who died too young at the age of 55.

Painted Trees Overlooking LSD
Painted Trees Overlooking LSD

From the liner notes of the Tim Maia compilation, we laughed at this:

In 1971, fresh from the big hit of his first album, Tim went to London and spoiled himself. He smoked, inhaled, drank, traveled on acid, listened to music, argued with his wife and returned to Brazil with 200 doses of LSD to distribute amongst his friends. As soon as he arrived, he went to (recording company) Philips’ offices, which he called “Flips,” where he visited various departments, beginning with those he considered most “square,” like the accounting and legal departments, where he acknowledged the boss and repeated the same introduction, in a calm and friendly voice: “This here is LSD, which will open your mind, improve your life, and make you a better and happier person. It’s very simple: there are no side effects. It is not addictive and only does good. You take it like this . . . ”

He would place the acid in his mouth, swallow it and leave another at the front desk. Since he was one of the best-selling artists for the company, everyone thought it humorous. In the production and journalism departments, the gifts were a success. Even Andre Midani, the president of the company, received his.

Tim returned home in his jeep, certain that he had saved “Flips'” soul.

(click here to continue reading Tim Maia – Nobody Can Live Forever.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 17th, 2013 at 8:53 am

Posted in Music

Tagged with , ,

Reading Around on June 26th

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Life Stinks - I Like the Kinks

Life Stinks – I Like the Kinks

Some additional reading June 26th from 17:22 to 17:22:

  • Interviews > Moby: Wait For Me – I love a good old Clash record and I love listening to Pantera, I love listening to the Rolling Stones but the music that I adore the most is Nick Drake or Joy Division or Sigur Rós, quieter records and music that really aspire to be beautiful.I tend to think of it in terms of there’s social records and personal records. I love the Clash, it’s very social. If you had 20 people over on a Friday night and you’re all drinking beer put on a Clash record and it’s great. Lying in bed at 9 o’ clock on a rainy Sunday morning you want something that is more personal, and, as much as I love social records, it’s those personal records that I tend to really cherish. I listen to a lot of classical music, a lot of quiet electronic music, everything from Nick Drake to Leonard Cohen. I mentioned Sigur Rós, some Radiohead songs, songs where you really feel the artist, whether they are or whether they aren’t, but you feel as if the artist is making themselves vulnerable through their work.

Written by swanksalot

August 3rd, 2013 at 8:00 am

Posted in Links

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