Friday, March 21st, 2008

Back home in Positively Atlanta, having missed by mere hours a downtown tornado that not only caused all kinds of urban mess at the city’s core, but messed up some in-recent-years-reborn neighborhoods just south of here. I’m sad for the folks with trees on their houses, in part because it seems like just the other day (but no, 1991) that a tree split this very house in half and landed us on the front page of the AJC (in color! Above the fold!)

So we’re catching up and adjusting schedules for the next sixty days or so. I can tell I’m in catchup mode because I have about a zillion browser windows open and I’m reticent to close any of them, because in the mixmaster that is my brain on limited attention spans, I keep thinking about this or that for just a few seconds.

nuance.jpgTake ‘fail,’ for example. Or perhaps FAIL, as it’s usually in all caps in the indigenous language of the Lolcats. Huh? Wha? I’m as almost as lost as you are. Start with what this guy says:

In the modern age, we’ve found a much more efficient way to express disdain, distilled into only four letters: FAIL. This usage as a standalone interjection has been around for years, since at least 2003, but its recent explosion in popularity comes from 4chan and the Lolcats memes.

Now, I know about the Lolcats thingie, but apparently 4chan is just some damn site where people post images and then blow them off in vast clouds of succinct jargon. Okay, fine. We’ve reached the point where the quality of interaction online has, in many nooks and crannies, devolved to “here, look at this” followed by “LOL” or “FAIL”. Meme or site X is new, it’s promising, but hey, it has a flaw, so it gets the big ‘FAIL’ rubberstamp and it’s off the desktop, never to be parsed again.

Wow. I’m not criticizing a critical eye (hey, had one myself for years,) but the sensitivity on that way-too-binary rubber stamp has been set way too high in most corners, and it’s kinda sad to see so many promising ideas being strangled in their respective cribs. I can only hope that a bit of greyscaled nuance makes it back into the land of “DO NOT WANT”.

So, I mentioned browser windows. Probably most of these are of interest only to me, but I’ll list a few here, to give you a sense of what I’m distracted with:

  • Use Mac APIs to suck things out of the vast Google brain.
  • Parse how signed certificates will allow cool new programs to be installed on iPhones starting June-ish.
  • Len Lye, an early animator “convinced that motion could be part of the language of art.”
  • A new Panasonic camera with a very wide lens.
  • One of the guys who worked on the original OS X interface.
  • A book of vintage 1970s print logos painstakingly scanned, preserved, shared.
  • Which DTV stations appear over the air and on Clear QAM cable in our neighborhood (you can search your own.)
  • A blogger for The Atlantic says that the Barack Obama ‘race speech’ was written by Obama alone. Dozens of commenters immediately pour skepticism onto the page. Me, I believe it.

And those are just the browser tabs I’m not too embarrassed by. Have a güd Friday.