Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Top 5

Frank Zappa on “Crossfire” 1986
This is an awesome segment broadcast during the height of the music censorship wars of the 1980s and ’90s. I wasn’t into Frank Zappa but I really liked the way he stood up for the rights of his fellow musicians and the public in general. I read the Wikipedia pages on the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) the other night, plus about 80 pages of the testimony from the Senate hearings on “porn rock” in 1985. Speakers included Frank Zappa, John Denver, Dee Snider, Senator Al Gore, Tipper Gore, and others. This hearing was one of the reasons why I hated Al Gore for a long time. He was a member of the committee hearing testimony from his own wife, and didn’t recuse himself in the face of an obvious conflict of interests. And he wasn’t the only one: All the founders of the PMRC were wives of influential government officials, including other Senators. This is a big part of why I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton when Gore was his running-mate (although not the only reason, for sure), and didn’t vote for Al Gore when he ran for president. I love what he’s done for environmental awareness in the world, but I detest what he did in 1985. For the record, I voted for Jerry Brown and Ralph Nader (whose platforms I actually believed in), regardless of the fact that they were unlikely to win. I followed the testimony by watching a great segment of CNN’s Crossfire from 1986, where Zappa faces off with three hopelessly out of touch old white men.

Protect yourself
Not exactly safe for work. [via Jenny]

How to bake a car

You are Dr. Tran Fan?

You may not “like” or “do” or even “get” Twitter, but if you have any sense of humor at all, you owe it to yourself to at least read this Twitter stream once. NSFW if you read out loud. You will laugh out loud.

The weekly Thursday Top 5 lists the five most notable, interesting, funny, outrageous, cool, or simply strange things of the week. It is intended for distractionary purposes only. Do not take orally. If ingested, seek a doctor’s advice. If you like it, share it with others, or check out the long list of previous entries.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday top 5+1

Cultural Revolution Artifacts
An awesome Flickr collection.

Surreal photos
by Flickr member yves.lecoq

The Dreaded Question
A short comic by Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon.

Randy Rhoads: Last Train Home documentary trailer leaked
When I was 13 I first heard the song “Flying High Again” and my life was changed forever. I quickly became a huge Ozzy Osbourne fan, and one day I asked my fiend Dave, who had introduced me to this music, who the guitar player was. He told me about Randy Rhoads, who had just recently died in a plane crash. I was dumbstruck. I couldn’t believe I would never hear any more music from this amazing musician. Even after his death, Randy Rhoads continued to be a massive influence on thousands of musicians, and the two classic albums he co-wrote and performed on with Ozzy are two of the most popular rock albums to this day. An indie documentary has been in the works for several years, and I recently came across an early trailer. The producer hadn’t secured all the photo and music rights yet when this trailer was leaked, so it might get taken down. Watch it now, before it’s gone.

I may have posted this video before, but this guy is so rad I had to do it again. You’re welcome.

Burning Man photo policy controversy
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) (which Velma and I support financially and otherwise) has criticized the highly restrictive photo policy of the Burning Man organization (Velma and I are heading to BM in a week or so), which has responded with a thoughtful rebuttal and an honest plea for ongoing discourse and suggestions of ways to evolve the policy. Plenty of comments have ensued over at the BM rebuttal, as well as from the readers of BoingBoing. Strangely, the EFF’s original post doesn’t seem to allow comments. I have been aware of the restrictive photo policy since my first year of attendance, since I read about it in advance. It’s a tad complicated, but amounts to this: You can only take photos for “personal use,” and any commercial use or published use must be okayed by, and will be administered by, the BM org. This is done, so BM says (and I believe), to protect 1) the BM logo, name, et al from being tarnished by commercialization, and 2) to protect BM participants from having their picture unwittingly appear (in the nude, for example) in an ad, magazine, porn website, etc. Some critics argue that an unstated third reason is so that the BM org can be the only one to commercialize the name and therefore reap the financial benefits. I’m generally not in favor of policies that are as vastly worded as BM’s, but this is indeed a special event and a special case, and as I’ve never intended to use any of my BM photos for commercial purposes, it hasn’t been all that important to me to find injustice in a policy that I’m grateful protects me just as much as it inhibits me. I am, however, glad to see the discourse and the sincerity with which BM seems to be asking for help in improving the policy in future while still providing the protections it values.

The weekly Thursday Top 5 lists the five most interesting, funny, outrageous, cool, or simply strange things of the week. It is intended for distractionary purposes only. Do not take orally. If ingested, seek a doctor’s advice. If you like it, share it with others, or check out the long list of previous entries.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hire a better lawyer than the other guy

I heard about this case a week or so ago, where a woman is being sued by the rental company that manages the apartment she used to live in, because she tweeted that there was mold in the place and they didn’t seem to be doing anything about it.

In a perfect world, she would clearly win on first amendment grounds, but this is a defamation suit, where “proof” depends more on who has the better lawyer than who’s telling the truth. If she can “prove” better than the realty company that she had a moldy apartment when she made the statement, she wins. If she can’t, she loses. If her lawyer can paint her as more trustworthy than the shyster realty guy quoted in the papers, she wins. If their lawyers paint her as a flaky tenant who was late with her rent half the time, she loses.

So the first lesson for people who blog, use Twitter, etc., is the one stated at the end of the article: Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face, and don’t lie. But the unstated — and arguably more important — lesson really is: Anyone can sue you, regardless of how frivolous their suit or how it impinges your right as an American to speak your mind, regardless of how factually wrong you might be when you do it. So hire a better lawyer than the fucker who sues you.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thursday Top 5

Worst. Day. At. Work. Ever.

“He’s doing it all wrong!”
Holy shit.

Um, uh oh. Uh oh! UH OH!
I’m not sure if this guy is the most dedicated or the most stupid radio announcer ever.

Repower America
Al Gore is advocating a U.S. goal of 100% carbon-free electricity in 10 years (New York Times Op-Ed: “The Climate for Change”). So am I. If you agree, sign the petition, or write a letter to the editor.

Kevin Rose interviews Al Gore for Digg Dialogg
Gore takes questions from the Digg users on subjects ranging from marijuana legalization/regulation to Net Neutrality whether he would accept a position in the Obama cabinet or heading the EPA.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Battle In Seattle

Next month will see the debut of an independent film about the 1999 demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle. The movie looks like it will be pretty good, not the average Hollywood tale in which the “terrorists” all have foreign accents. Independent director Stuart Townsend has taken pains to present the story from many points of view, including lead characters from amongst the protesters, the media, the police, and the general Seattle citizenry who got caught up in something they didn’t understand.

While the the film’s official site features the normal marketing pieces about the cast, et al, it also features three very personal and extremely interesting short clips in which Townsend talks about his impetus to write and make this movie. Even more interestingly, the site features a great deal of information about the issues the demonstrators were trying to bring to light (see screenshot below).

There’s even a separate site, Who Controls the World?, which acts as sort of a historical archive of the 1999 protests, featuring short video interviews with protest organizers and participants, a day-by-day timeline, participant memories, and much more about the pitfalls of globalization.

The film opens September 19 in San Francisco and a few other cities. For a higher quality version of the trailer, go to IMDB entry for Battle in Seattle.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Corruptibles

Take action against the Broadcast Flag, Audio Flag, and Analog Hole.

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Is your cable company blocking your Internet?

SF Weekly featured a cover story last week about Comcast blocking subscribers who are using peer-to-peer programs like BitTorrent.

Regardless of the potential for copyright abuses by P2P, BitTorrent and digital advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) make the valid point that Comcast, as the nation's second-largest internet service provider, has a duopoly on bandwidth and therefore a stranglehold on a public utility that shouldn't be subject to the whims of a single corporation.

This is core to the recent concerns raised about so-called "net neutrality," and SF Weekly's piece is a good primer. The EFF also has some additional information on Comcast's abuses of their subscribers.

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