Spam Poetry

This came in via email under the spam filter; I kinda like it:

Garnish the dish with oranges and lemons in quarters there
can remain no important new facts to disclose, there was
movement among the bushes at the far of, ii.hospital, ii.projected
railway, ii.tashil, purchases them the arms of foreign soldiers,


Informatics of Everyday Life

Yesterday I put this video up on Facebook, saying something like "Isn't this amazing?!" And it is. Funny, smart, and all about the information of daily life.

ML then showed me that it is a response to this video by Royksopp called "Remind Me," which is equally amazing.

The "Remind Me" video has a strong element of social critique going on, where as the Little Red Riding Hood story is much more purely about reducing daily life (and I guess narrative) to quantifiable information.

In 1998, I spent the year collecting every set of instructions I could find, pasting them into my offline journal. Instructions on how to assemble things, make things, and do things. Instructions are a terrific genre, with all their 1-2-3 logic; my personal favorites are instructions for doing intuitive things.

Which makes me think that an archive of instructions like this one would lend itself nicely to an interesting take on the informatics of daily living.


USPS Goes With PowerPoint ... Sans Presenter

PowerPoint is usually used for presentions; the USPS is using it to disseminate information online ... sans presenter. This is kinda odd. Instead of going to a website to learn about the new envelope regulations, you can download a .ppt file and flip through the slides, my favorite of which is:


Found Friday

From LN, a dedicated member of the research team here at Found Friday, we present this beauty. (FF Archive #343.34 BN)

Gogle.com, btw, redirects to Google.com, so no need to worry. I tweaked the names at the bottom of the image to preserve the anonymity of the young researcher or researchers who created this document.


Just Cool

Blog Cleaning

Cleaned up the blog a bit today. Lighter. Brighter. All of that. Post a comment if you're having view.problems and I'll try to rectify.


Five-Paragraph Essays for Obama

The headline reads "Eduify Answers Obama's Call to Help Students With New Service." A press release, of course, part of which reads:

Eduify's research also shows that students often get stuck in different places during the typical academic writing process, for example, creating a thesis statement or outlining a five-paragraph essay. Eduify offers a variety of services to tackle these hurdles. These services include teacher-written tutorials and models on a variety of topics which are easily discovered to help students get started or past common problems fast. Additionally, the writing coach service offers tailored help--including proofreading and editing services for a fee--is available to make papers perfect before submission.


Post Conference

Conferences can be fun, they can be interesting, they can be great for seeing and meeting people, but for me, the presentation part of a conference is often underwhelming. People don't show up. I get scheduled at a weird time. Or something goes wrong during the prez. At CCCC.2009, about 15 people attended our panel. In the three days since, three times that many viewers have viewed my presentation online.

A year-or-so-ago I presented at SLSA, and the conference organizers were cool enough to archive presentations after the conference. I like that. A conference, that way, isn't just an event that ends, but a collection of ideas that live on via web publication.

UPDATE: A detailed blog post by Elizabeth Losh covering the session.


CCCC 2009

CCCC 2009 in San Francisco was really great: a wide range of topics, plenty of interesting exchanges, nice people, and food. Oh: walking too.

For me, the highlight of the conference was getting to go to so many panels on video games, mainly MMOs. As I'm just getting into this area of research, I learned a lot from what I heard and saw.

As I mentioned to a few people at the conference, my presentation is now online. It's on YouTube in two parts, both of which I'll syndicate below. I've also updated my web.projects page over at metaspencer.com, so you should be able to find the presentation there as well.

I received plenty of useful comments and questions (both in the panel and later in the hallways), so I post the presentation knowing that, in future iterations, I'll be able to pull the ideas together in some more interesting and robust ways.

Part I:

Part II:

UPDATE: A detailed blog post by Elizabeth Losh discussing the session at CCCC 2009.


The Work that Goes into Conference Presentations

My goodness, conference presentations can take forever to put together. I've been doing the media-part of my CCCC presentation ... for the past three days. Taking fore-ev-or. It reminds me of a video thing I put together a few years ago (for a conference) on Facebook; that one took a long time too.

What I do like about doing media-rich presentations, though, is that they tend to be a bit more durable than a regular old paper. I mean, I guess you can post a conference paper online; but who does?

So anyway: I'll try to post my prez in the next couple of days. Maybe even before the conference itself.


Facebook Suxion

I've been experiencing a good deal of Facebook Suxion lately, defined as that force that Facebook exerts upon bloggers in particular, drawing energy from blogging and redirecting it to Facebook. So this blog has dwindled and spindled.

But in reading a very lively discussion over at D. Hawhee, Private Eye's blog, and in listening to Jeff Rice give an eloquent response (last night) to a question about blogging, I'm back here pushing against that Facebook Suckage.

A bit of history:

Upon learning some html in 2000, I coded a few "blogs" or blogish-type pages. One of them was this Busride Blog; another was called "Attention!" and seems to be lost now. (The only post I vividly remember from "Attention!" is one titled "Auto-Flush Toilets in the Age of Reason.") Anyway, at that point I was convinced that blogging platforms like Blogger were cheesy and that coding your own blog was the way to go. So I coded my own bloggish-type enterprises.

My DIY blogs morphed and changed; I incorporated a few into various homepages up through 2005 or 2006 (using iframes), and then I switched over to Blogger. Whatever, I thought to myself, Blogger is easy to use, so why not just go with it?

This week I'm finishing up work on a conference project that, two years ago, I first blogged about. I also have a chapter in my book-in-progress that began as a blog post on this here blog. This teaches me that to blog is to get going on ideas long in advance ... when they're fresh, new, and can be rough as hell.

So yeah: Facebook Suckage be damned, why not blog?