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Ah, fun, fun, fun -- it really does work along the lines of electronic paper, but on a huge, kid's-toy-like scale. Well, that's because it IS based on a kid's toy. Combine a magna-doodle with a magnetically-tipped plotter, and you've got a flexible, durable, state-saving computerized display. #

You know the part in Fight Club where Ed Norton's character explains his job as a claims adjuster: "Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one." It's based on a real memo, passed around Ford, regarding the dangerous nature of the Ford Pinto. It's funnier when you think it's made up for a movie. #

Dude -- this was my first car: A 3-cylinder(!) hatchback called the Subaru Justy. Mine actually was the 1987 version, which this article doesn't even admit exists. The 1990 version changed a significant number of engine parts, incompatible with my era's Justy, and that might be the version their complaints were about. Mine ran great, went through one alternator and a clutch cable, and got me all over the place. It was my parent's first, but I got it when I got my license. Those of you from my past who read here, no doubt, have fond memories of the Justy. It must've flavored my taste in cars: the next car I want to buy is a station-wagon Reliant. #

Look out -- R2D2 may be waiting to accept your important messages, possibly ones including top-secret plans for a moon-sized battle station to be delivered to an aging Jedi knight. If you've got any of those. #

I'm sure she's glad she paid for the Red Cross classs for her dog: this lady was choking, summoned her dog, who then performed a puppy-form of the Heimlich maneuver. All hail our doggy paramedics! #

Shotcode is another attempt to turn advertisements into complex multi-step activities to get the info you want -- take up valuable adspace with a pattern, expect people to have a compatible celphone set up to send photos to Shotcode and recieve information back, actually get the visitor to stand still long enough to take the picture, hope that their internet connectivity is not down, and then expect that they'll wait long enough to get the relevant information back. My pupose here is not to complain about how ugly and useless magnified barcodes in public are, but to point out that out of most encoding methods, Shotcode is actually rather pretty...pretty enough to be a good-looking tattoo. Just make sure you get the URL right...the young lady in that last link now endorses Sprite, en español. Not that incorrect text in arty tattoos is unusual or anything. #

While I'm one to accept that there's things we cannot understand or measure scientifically, so long as empirical observation is exhausted, I'm all on board with Skeptico's comparison of proving psychic ability to proving to the blind that photography exists. My answer: three fingers. #

Don't giggle (although most do), but I've added a page to the Infomercantile commemorating the Big Spunk Rest Area. We stopped there yesterday on our way to Minneapolis, and I knew I had to write it up. #

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I didn't participate in last week's Illustration Friday because the theme, "total," did nothing for me. Or, rather, I couldn't think of any way of drawing it, but that's OK. This week's theme, "I Spy..." was a little better, and I went creepy with it:

I even did it in color this time! It was part of a deal with Destiny, because I wanted her to try something more than a pencil sketch, and her response was that I do mine in black and white, so why should she use crayons? Touché, Des.

Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii was a Russian photographer who documented his land with color a time where color photography was a rarity. Most of his pictures were of general Russian life, buildings and churches. Photographers returned to those same locations recently, and found that very little had changed in the past hundred years. #

I just want to point out, in my grand swath of self-aggrandization, that I did it first.

Twitter is the new end-all-be-all of online blogging, with advocates everywhere -- you get the barest of minimum space to enter a quick comment, maybe a link, and then move on.

I suggest you go read this, written by me in 2001 or so; The I Am... credo. You've probably noticed the button over there, on the right, and maybe you've gone and looked at the site and gotten confused and left. Two blanks, and you can only put so many characters in there? What could I possibly write, completing the sentence "I Am..." If you can imagine, Twitter took the minimalism of I Am and made it even more minimal by making it one blank long, and that probably made it more usable. They make you create accounts and all, which maybe helps, but it's their site. Maybe it's the cute Web 2.0 name. Parallel evolution or blatant copying, I can still say I did it first.

Note that Twitter's front page says,

"A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing? Answer on your phone, IM, or right here on the web!"

I am writing about my visionary status.

Derek, your sysop.

Kottke reported on a report (hm) that pointed out how men tend to look at other men's crotches, as shown in a newsmedia-related eye-tracking study. Cadenhead, who has newmedia origins, "used" the eye-tracking software on a photo of Kottke. Hilarity ensues. #

Ingenuitive Soviet Eastern Bloc DJs found a way to get western music during the 1950s and 60s, despite limited imports, by re-printing the few albums that slipped through. Printing a vinyl record can be an involved process, but they found a worthy substitute: engraving music on used X-ray film. The disks have a beauty of their own, and would look very classy simply mounted on the wall. While the link above has quite a few comments from people who've seen or listened to these albums, they don't appear on eBay, and the only online links go to this article. Either this is hoaxy, or it's a very overlooked collectible. #

NoteToMyself.Net is a new contender in the found art category, like Found, FoundSecret, and the Receipt Site. Notes and scribbles, uploaded and commentable. Good luck to them! #

If you haven't checked out lately, you should. Destiny has been on an ordered regimen of daily writing, and her blog is filling up because of it. On top of that, she's reviewing books at Destiny's Book Reviews. That girl is busy these days! #

It's friday again, which means I put stylus to Graphire for Illustration Friday once again. Not exactly pleased with this week's contribution, but, remember, I'm still practicing. It ain't bad considering I haven't really drawn anything in quite some time. This week's theme: wired.

That's either the hugest cat or the tiniest toaster ever.

As an exercise in learning how to run a Wikimedia website, I have converted Infomercantile to a database of obscure information that I've got in my head. So, you're allowed to visit my documentation of the Pioneer Mutual Building in Fargo, a building I spent several years in when I worked for Lincoln Mutual. It was for sale last fall, and I so, so, wanted to buy it. Blue Cross was asking just under $3 million for it, and I could only finance the first twenty dollars of the purchase price. No, not twenty thousand; twenty dollars. My pockets aren't very deep. Oh, well. NDSU bought it, and will be doing something nice with it I think. My worry is that they'll mess up the marble-and-gold lobby; the rest of the building could be gutted, especially the green-tiled-walls of the third floor. That hallway feels like the longest, most public toilet stall in the whole 1970s. #

Remember when I spent a hundred bucks and bought naming rights for the street-level floor of Random Hall at MIT? No? Refresh your knowledge here, then check it out...Destiny and I are in their Wikipedia entry because of it. No, I didn't put it in there (although I updated my name) -- the entry was already there when I was looking for information to link in this wierdest eBay thread at Fark. Who knew, almost 5 years later, they'd keep the name and people would still remember where the name came from. #

We recently registered for a Gracie Passette project; we tried to get, and were quite surprised that it was registered by somebody else that very day. I thought it might have been a bug in the system, but, no, it was actually registered several hours before we had even thought of registering it. So, we were not particularly surprised when we got an email offering to sell the domain to us. We declined, not wanting to spend thousands for a .com extension (not that it makes much difference.) The last email we got directed us to visit for more information on buying the domain. It's quite clear this guy is not the average domain-squatter, and therein lies the charm. While I can attribute a HST-esque gonzo quality to it, Gonzo is pushed to his limits as it were. #

Last week, Lileks researched various people from comic books and recipe pamphlets, finding out a variety of interesting things. It proves that pretty much anyone, including that grainy pre-teen from the comic book ad, can be found online. So, I thought, the same would work for 1970s game-show contestants found on GSN. Watching Match Game '75 tonight, we met Katie Heintz, a 19 year old journalism student from California. She did quite well, until she said that Dumb Darlene put a wool sweater on the leg of lamb. It appears that Katie stuck with journalism, eventually becoming Katie Heintz-Knowles (photo, center), expert on media's effects on families and children. In this time of cable reruns and the internet, nobody can escape their time in the limelight, it seems. #

The moral is, if you're going to deface public property as a prank, do it with the utmost of quality. The Father Pat Noise memorial is a nicely-done bronze plaque, commemorating the untimely death of the aforementioned cleric, mounted snugly into the surface of a Dublin bridge. Problem is, it's a fake; some claim the plaque has been there for years, others say it's much more recent, but nobody knows the origins at this time. While not exactly a public service, like the Guerilla Public Service's projects, it is similar in its attempt to appear as though it's always belonged that way -- more whimsical, like the playing card crossing button signs. My suggestion, for what it's worth: painting railroad cars to appear clean and new, but emblazoned with the names and logos of non-existent cargo carriers. #

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Whadda ya know -- it's Friday again! School's out for weather, so Destiny is working on her Illustration Friday project, too, which will show up over at later today. I've got to be at work in 45 minutes, but I had almost a half hour to work on my Illustration Friday project, so it's a bit better quality than last week. This week's theme: Hide.

Seeing as it's the Lenten season, I picked something related to this time of the year. Drawing a kneeling/prone child is tough to pull off...well, tough to pull off for a guy with minimal art training and the smallest Graphire ever made. Maybe I should put pencil to paper, see if that helps. I really do like the ability to have layers in Photoshop when drawing, though -- lets me move things around without erasing and redrawing.

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