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, March 11, 2010

Thursday Top 5+5

My Internet connection was down for almost nine days so I’m a bit behind in posting this Top 5. To make up for it, here’s an extra helping of interestingness, lols, and shenanigans.

TED Talks: Juan Enriquez shares mindboggling science
This is why I love science. “Even as mega-banks topple, Juan Enriquez says the big reboot is yet to come. But don’t look for it on your ballot — or in the stock exchange. It’ll come from science labs, and it promises keener bodies and minds. Our kids are going to be...different.”

Captain Kirk deals with a strange alien culture

Adam Carolla Project, Episode 1
I miss Adam.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot at Barbican Centre, London
Very interesting art installation. Olya will like this one. I bet she’s never seen such musical birds before. [via Jason]

Time Traveling Geek

Dry ice bubble
Fun with science! [via Jason]

Tales Of Mere Existence, “God”

Dante’s Inferno
Amusing review: A scholar of medieval literature wonders if feminists wrote the video game Dante’s Inferno.

On the Media: Facing the (Free) Music
This was a really great OTM on the state of the music business (MP3 available): “For 10 years, music execs have waged a war against digital file sharing — and software like Napster and websites like The Pirate Bay — which have decimated the industry’s profits. But recently, there are signs from Europe that the battle over free music may be changing.” I haven’t mention it in a while, but this is one of my two favorite radio programs; I hate to miss an episode and often listen to them twice.

Top 10 funniest books according to the British
Abebooks asked their UK customers to name their favorites, and now I’m going to have to add some of these to my Wish List.

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, February 04, 2010

Thursday Top 5

Women in the world of gaming
Interesting presentation on how women are treated by the games industry.

Boop beep boop boop
Big things have happened for Meekakitty/Tessa since the last time I listed one of her videos in the Thursday Top 5. She won $100,000 in a competition on YouTube (which she said she’ll use for college and to take her mom on a vacation to Prague) and she just recently produced this video sponsored by and featuring Google’s Nexus One.

Five-star hilarious. [via Jenny]

“Welcome to Canada”

Two of my all-time favorite comics artists
All Bloom County strips are being reissued with lots of notes and extras, in five new volumes (here’s volume 1). To celebrate, here’s an interview with Berkeley Breathed in Vice magazine. And I’ll throw in a brief interview with Bill Watterson.

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, December 17, 2009

Thursday Top 5

I’ve been too swamped to post the Thursday Top 5 on time for two weeks. Fortunately, no matter how busy I am, people still keep sending me funny and interesting stuff. A few of these below are recent finds, and a few are from the Top 5 archives. So here’s two weeks’ worth in one post, and I’ll try to be on time next week. Enjoy!

Please design a logo for me. With pie charts. For free.
As a follow-up to last week’s “How a Web Design Goes Straight To Hell,” James sent me this classic piece of humor.

How Twilight Works
In case you want to know what the whole Twilight hoopla is all about, The Oatmeal has explained it for us.

The FlatPak house
A cool prefab system. About / Photos.

Coca-Cola's Quest for the Perfect Bottle Starts with Plants
Coca-Cola has introduced the PlantBottle, a bottle made of PET plastic, 30% of which is sourced from Brazilian sugar cane and molasses. The company’s marketers will no doubt spin this as near to 100% “green” as they can safely get away with, and the vast majority of consumers will no doubt fail to note the difference between a bottle’s claim of “PlantBottle! 100% recyclable!” and the preferable goals of 100% renewable and 100% compostable. After all, the bottle is still 100% plastic, it's just that it’s partly plant-based plastic, instead of 100% petroleum byproduct. But, as GreenBiz columnist Marc Gunther notes, it’s a start. And a pretty good one.

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody

Carl Kassell is retiring as the voice of “Morning Edition”
Thankfully, he’ll continue as judge and scorekeeper on “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!”. Carl is awesome. Enough said.

Rachel Maddow explains Washington D.C. gangs
Wait it out until until about 1:20. You will not be disappointed. PS: I loathe the poseur Joe Lieberman and hope he dies a horrible, burning death.

Beware the Death-Dealing Cockney Weasel
From the bizarre mind of illustrator Ryan Abegglen.

The Tetris God
I knew it. Bastard.

Breakdancing robot

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, October 29, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Pixar Intro Parody

Stormtroopers’ 9/11
“You want another round.”

Dave Mustaine on the BBC’s “Never Mind the Buzzcocks”
Proof that the UK has way better TV game shows than we do.

As if Mustaine wasn’t enough, here’s Lemmy

“I know you’re not telling the truth...”
What do you get when you put three of the biggest names (and at least two of the biggest egos) in modern radio on the same show? A pretty fiery conversation ensued when none other than Howard Stern called in to confront FCC Chairman Michael Powell on KGO AM’s Ronn Owens show. This happened in 2004, but this week was the first time I’d ever heard a recording of it. [link goes direct to MP3]

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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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thursday Top 5+2

Last night of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”
I haven’t watched Leno for years, and he was never my favorite, as I preferred the wacky ’80s and early ’90s era of Letterman, but Leno’s not bad at all. Last week was his final night on “The Tonight Show” before Conan takes over the reins in L.A., so I decided to watch it for history’s sake. They did about ten minutes of “Jaywalking,” the man-on-the street comedy segment where he just asks simple questions of normal, everyday Americans on the streets of L.A. (assuming there is such a thing in L.A., I suppose), such as “Who was the first president of the United States?”. This segment has always struck me as funny and excrutiatingly painful at the same time, as it shows just how terribly stupid Americans are. Worse yet, on this last show Jay tells us that they don’t even have to work hard to compile the funniest/dumbest moments after each outing. They only go out for about an hour, he says, they talk to a dozen or so people, and they use nine or so. That means over half the citizens of the republic are so retarded they can’t tell you which countries border on the U.S. or name any of the Founding Fathers. Oh, cry for our future! [43:29, 5 commercials]

First night of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien”
Meanwhile, across town at the Universal Studios lot, the finishing touches have been put on a new studio for Conan, who took over the reins from Leno the very next week. Andy Richter returns as the show announcer, Max Weinberg and the band now get to call themselves The Tonight Show Band, and Conan was in fine form for his first time hosting the legendary show that’s been around since 1954. Musical Guest was Pearl Jam. [43:31, 5 commmercials]

Schwarzenegger answers real people’s questions
The member communities of’s iReport and Digg Dialogg teamed up to interview CA Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger on May 27. In an unusual example of democracy, the Republican actor-turned-guv answers questions posed by and voted on by the Digg and iReport users. Showing a little more moxie than even the traditional press can sometimes muster, there were a few hard-charging queries, leading off with “Do you support same-sex marriage and do you think the GOP should become more gay-friendly?” Of course, there were some softies too, like “Does the term ‘Governator’ bother you?” All questions and video here [30:31 min].

BART swingers
Apparently a few weeks ago somebody surreptitiously installed swings on a BART train. And thus the fun did ensue. More pics...

New Yorker cover created on an iPhone
Artist Jorge Colombo painted the cover illustration using the Brushes app on his iPhone.

Beatles come to Rock Band
Apparently Microsoft has been able to make inroads where Apple hasn’t, since the two remaining Beatles and the widows of the other two members joined various tech and gaming notables to announce that the Beatles are coming to Rock Band this fall. The animation sequence at the beginning is cool enough to merit watching in HD, but the rest of the long presentation isn’t probably interesting to you unless you’re into gaming. I watched the whole thing, though, and as a non-gamer I’m always impressed at the continually-improving, nearly-cinematic quality of the visuals in today’s games. In fact, if you’re really into seeing where the entertainment and social media technology is going in the next few years, there are some pretty amazing things unveiled in the last 25 minutes or so; look for Steven Spielberg’s appearance to tip you off.

“We Didn’t Start the Flame War”
Warning: nsfw. Gotta hand it to the CollegeHumor folks, they nail the ridiculousness of the internets (including self-satire) in this one. [2:44 min]

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday Top 5+1

The Making of Little Big Planet
Alex Evans, Co-Founder of developer Media Molecule, visited the Wired Store to talk about the creative process that led to the making of Little Big Planet, and the way the game has unleashed the creativity of players.

Christoph Niemann on coffee
Pretty funny; I had a similar late start at drinking coffee, although I’ve always been a caffeine fiend. You should spend some time perusing his excellent illustration portfolio, especially Gallery 6.

Chip Kidd
Chip Kidd is possibly the best modern designer of book covers. He’s prolific and I’m sure you’ll recognize at least a couple of the covers in this short profile video.

A reality check. They’ve got a great website. This should be an interesting campaign to watch.

Please Don’t Divorce Us
Proposition 8 was a travesty that makes me ashamed to be a Californian. If you don’t know any families who are affected by this, it may be difficult to imagine what it feels like to have your human rights infringed on this way. The Courage Campaign’s community photo pool on Flickr attempts to put a human face on the controversy with moving portraits of those affected by Prop 8. Please consider a donation to the Courage Campaign.

Watch out Microsoft, here comes the iTable
It’s not a Mac and it doesn’t run OS X (it runs WindowsXP, meh) but it’s a lot less expensive than Microsoft’s Surface.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday Top 5

Lies, lies, and more lies
Sadly, I predict the BushCo administration will fade quickly from the minds of Americans who wish that it had never happened and have been yearning for a new start for so long that they’ll revert to the sort of apathy that allowed it to happen in the first place. I don’t think any of the BushCo cronies will ever be impeached or prosecuted. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want it. Articles of Impeachment, drafted by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

Chris Dane Owens
This man shines on me with the power of his awesome. [via Jason]

Incredible-looking PlayStation game.

NASA JPL Climate Time Machine
Great site. Scary, but great.

Cool! Design and print your own fabric. No minimum order.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Bombs away

GiantBomb relaunched Monday, blossoming from a simple video game blog into a full-featured wiki-style site with user-powered content already adding loads of content to the underlying relational database. Alongside the member content are videos, reviews, and podcasts from the small team of mostly ex-Gamespot and -CNETers (you may have heard about Jeff Gerstmann's unceremonious firing from Gamespot last year).

I spent a few hours perusing the site today, mostly watching the videos. They've come a long way since the March soft launch, and the new site boasts magnitudes more features; it's going to be exciting to watch how it progresses, and I'm not even a gamer.

To give you an idea of how powerful the platform is, and how well the user experience has been thought out, watch this how-to video from their Help section.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday Top 5

Celine Dion is amazing
Ay. May. Zing.

Punk Family Values
SF Weekly introduces us to the Rosenthals. I think I found my role models.

New Wheels On The Block
A big, gigantic wtf for this.

Cool illustrations by Jörg Block

The Phone
If this takes you more than ten minutes to solve, you're a twit.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008


Need some new games to fill your time? SFZero (SF0) is sort of an "open source" game where players both invent the tasks and complete them. One of my favorite tasks, trespassing in Cherokee Cave, uncovered some details about the Lemp brewery, a place Velma and I had wondered about when she first showed me around St. Louis.
Some of my other faves:
Specialization Is For Insects
Bus Stop Seating Conversion
Public Sign Makeover

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Unearthing the story of Milliways

Twenty years after the fact, Andy Baio has uncovered the story of "Milliways: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe," the unreleased sequel to Infocom's interactive fiction computer game, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." More interestingly, his post has garnered over 200 comments, including a number by the people described in Baio's article, many of whom debate the appropriateness of releasing personal emails without prior consent. It's a fascinating, if long, read.

I always wondered about that sequel game. I met Douglas Adams as a kid, at a poorly-attended autograph session at an American chain bookstore in a shopping mall (which in and of itself should have been unbelievably absurd to me at the time, but sadly, wasn't), and I effused to him about — among other things — the Infocom Hitchhikers' game, having spent hours baffling out how to just get a damn fish out of a machine (among other baffling things).

I asked him if there would be a sequel game, and he told me that indeed there would. I probably effused some more, but my young mind quickly ran out of things to say to an adult whose books (and radio shows, and TV shows, et al) would turn out to have a lasting effect on the evolution of my young sense of humor and indeed my whole way of viewing the universe.

Much later, when the new Douglas Adams game was announced by Infocom, it was called Bureaucracy, and it didn't really seem to have anything to do with the Hichhikers' Guide, nor any of the H2G2 characters. I was confused by this until now.

By the way, the Infocom game still features prominently among my Douglas Adams collection, and I still have my Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses and Microscopic Space Fleet. And the pocket fluff too, of course — can't ever get rid of that stuff.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday top 5 + bonus 5

I didn't have time to post a Top 5 last week, so here's a double dose.

Because games should be educayshonal.

The Black Sabbath Show
I think every 1970s metal act should've had a cartoon.

Desktops for true web dev geeks
If you don't know what a div tag is, you're not going to get these at all.

Fart in the duck
Oh, those wacky Dutch.

Robots playing Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy"
"LEV the thereminbot and his newly-built pal thumpbot play "Crazy" with help from a 20-year-old MT32 synthesizer. OK, Lev's a bit out of tune, but hey, ROBOTS..."

New funny stuff from the Duncan Bros.

"BBS: The Documentary"
Anybody remember dialing up to BBSes before the Web? I guess everybody needs a hobby: Some guy spent four years filming a documentary about BBSes.

"Planet Earth"
This is a spectacular series from the BBC. I will second my friend Olya's recommendation too: Get the BBC version featuring David Atetnborough as narrator, not the Discovery Channel version featuring Sigourney Weaver. I mean, I like Sigourney and all, but she ain't no Attenborough. It's available in HD btw.

A flickr group for Robert Heinlein fans
Okay, so I'm a dork, but I started a group on flickr.

The Green
I wish I had cable so I could watch programming like this. In a poll ten years ago, almost 80% of Americans said they'd call themselves environmentalists. Yet most people do very little to make the environment better or raise awareness. Programming like this makes me optimistic.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thursday top 5, double dose!

"Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Muppets"

Taking transit advertising to the next level

'80s video game Joust to be a movie
Two words: Awe. Some.

Ron Paul. Hmmm.
This video makes him out to be the kind of conservative I almost like. Notice I said conservative, not Republican (although he's that too). He's also an MD — an OB/GYN no less — but he's against a women's right to choose. Meh.

This could be me in a few years
I just need to work on my Proust references a bit.

Extreme funny
It starts off a little slow, but half-way through it does actually get really funny.

Definitely NSFW (or little kids)
Pulp Fiction Fuckin' Short Version

High Tech Noon

Funny cats
Because what's a Top 5 without funny cats?

Iggy Pop's entertaining rider
A rider is a document that spells out what a band requires a venue to provide for the artist. There have been some legendary strange requests over the years, but this one's just plain fun to read.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Interactive fiction

Back in the mid-'80s, a then-famous computer game company named Infocom put out a game version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Notice that I called it a "computer game" company, not a "video game" company. This was well before video games took off. Not before they existed, just before they exploded and turned into the huge industry they are now.

Infocom made what they termed "interactive fiction" games. Perhaps you remember (or at least have heard of) Zork. Or, if you're really cool, (or just really old and were a geek like I was when I was 12), you remember the game Adventure, which started on mainframes. Yes. Mainframes. This was pre-personal computers, people. Yes, I'm that old.

I was in high school when the Hitchhiker's game came out. Infocom was huge at the time, and it was huge that they were putting out a Hitchhiker's game. I remember pilfering a copy and playing it with my friend Jim Stickney on his Apple II. Yes, this was pre-Macintosh. Yes, I'm that old.

This was a role playing game. I know some of you have heard of that. You played the role of Arthur Dent, the hapless human whose house gets knocked down at the beginning of the book. And the radio series. And the record album. And the play. And the movie (but more about that later).

Unlike the RPGs of today, there were no graphics in this game. That's right, none at all. It was all ugly green text on a black screen (you did click on the Apple II link, didn't you?), almost as enjoyable to look at as a DOS startup screen. But it didn't need to be good-looking, because it was written by Douglas Adams. And it was brilliant. It contained all of his wit, all of the absurdity of the now well-known novels, and step after step it kept you guessing and anguishing and making mistakes and ending up dead and pulling your hair out (explains a lot, doesn't it?).

You see, the plot of the game, while based on the characters and events in the books, didn't exactly follow the storyline of the books. That's right, as usual, Douglas threw his fans into a tizzy by changing things around again, as he tended to do in each and every iteration of the infamous Hitchhiker's series. So, while it helps a lot to be familiar with the books, it doesn't mean you'll actually win the game.

Jim and I played that game to death. I think we finally solved it, but we certainly had to use the Hint Book (sold separately).

I still have the game and its cool packaging, or most of it anyway (it came with a Don't Panic button, some pocket fluff, and Vogon-signed orders for the destruction of the Earth, among other things). I even have the 5-inch floppy disk it came on, although you'd have a hard time finding anyone who still has a computer that can play it.

But the great thing is, now I don't have to.

The BBC has brought back the game, put it online, and even added a graphical interface so it's actually interesting to look at as well as frustrating as hell and completely and utterly enjoyable to play.

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