Posts Tagged ‘google’

10 things I googled over the break

In Fun things, Uncategorized on October 9, 2010 at 11:55 am


An example of a British-style crossword puzzle.

Image via Wikipedia


Freed from focusing on an actual topic for a few weeks, I found myself googling with far more enjoyment than I have for a while.  I hesitate to call the following list a top ten, and some of the items, it’s true, arose organically during a stream-of-consciousness-type surf than from a search, per se: a search implies purpose. Please enjoy, and don’t feel bad if you are so entertained and distracted by these links that you don’t come back. I’ll never know.

1. Bulgarian currency (googled to answer a crossword clue): it’s the lev. This means I must have misunderstood the key word in this particular clue. Damn. Double damn as I’ve already thrown out the crossword. Though the Web can give me instant responses to such crossword queries, I don’t use it for this much at all: in fact crossword-doing, a gravely important part of my morning routine, is performed during one of the few computer-free times of my day, the commute. This being said, once the crossword is done, I’ve taken to reading the daily publishing news from the British site The Bookseller on my mobile, tiny and unsatisfactory as it is.  In fact, that’s where I found

2. This article, about the end of the beginning, middle and end in books. Nothing I read here particularly surprised me, but it did prompt me to check out

3. Stephen Fry’s new e-book which, of course, I haven’t bought, being far too used to having free Fry. BTW, did anyone watch his Opera House show on ABC the other night? And did anyone notice how much traditional story-telling the show consisted of? Perhaps narrative isn’t the dinosaur we think it is.

4. Next, the Tippex ad. It’s great, though the writers show an unfortunate misunderstanding of grammatical subjects and objects.  (If you haven’t tried this, clearly you haven’t been watching

5. Gruen (nobody hip – that is, nobody on the show – calls it ‘The Gruen Transfer’ anymore). I never seem to manage to watch it at the time it’s on (whenever that is). Spent a lazy weekend morning watching the Gruen Sessions, in-depth discussions on advertising themes like making ads for charity.)

Anyway, after I had giggled about the Tippex ad for a full 20 minutes, my partner, noting my liking of interactive Web stuff, directed me to

6. This ‘choose your own adventure’ Zombie-pizza-delivery movie/ advertisement, shot by one of his NZ acquaintances. While I was there, I checked out

7. How to make a grand piano out of an upright. It’s good to know this stuff, but I’d especially like to  know if it’s possible to have, and play, a real piano, grand or otherwise, in a duplex.

8. One day, I was observing pigeons on a railway platform, and noticed that while they bob their heads when they walk, other birds don’t.  I found out why here. After that, my curiosity about avian head-bobbing was spent.

9. Somewhere (can’t remember where) I heard of Stephen Colbert’s roasting of G. W. Bush. Here’s the transcript.

I was shocked, upon visiting

10. Stuff White People Like, to find that liking Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart mark me out as white (and so do half a dozen other things evident in this post alone).

You’ve still here?  Wow. Okay, so…

How about you – did you find anything great online during the break, and more importantly, is it greater than any of the above? If so, please share!


Being in control

In Coming to terms with the Web, The Web and the arts on August 7, 2010 at 4:34 pm


Well, another week is over, and I have a chance to get back to my Web re-education. This post is a little discursive, so please be patient (if you get bored, you can follow the fun links).

This morning, my partner and I were watching Rage.  Sometimes I like to do this: it gives me a chance to catch up on all the 80’s filmclips I missed because I was too busy doing other things during my idyllic childhood (learning embroidery, polishing up my French, playing sonatinas on the fortepiano…) Often I find I’ve missed the music, too. This occasional reorientation to my youth helps me participate in nostalgic conversations about a pop-culture I was only dimly aware of when it was happening, much as my current exploration of Web 2.0 helps me converse intelligently about Twitter (err… give me a few more weeks and I’ll understand it). Anyway, Prince’s Musicology came on, and we were arguing about when it came out. (We were discussing how the fancy lighting effects behind the stage were achieved, and said partner opined that they were remarkable, given how old the film clip must be – ie. pre-LCD).  The dispute was resolved after I challenged him to a google-duel. It turned out I was right: despite my woeful lack of pop-culture knowledge, I tend to be able to pinpoint when things happened (the album came out in 2004). We googled further, and read about Prince’s repudiation of the Internet.

The article I’ve just linked to is hardly worth your while visiting, but if you want to be distracted by it, feel free. For those more linear readers, the gist is: Prince is annoyed at having his music illegally downloaded, and sued YouTube and the like for copyright infringement (yes, I know this is old news, but there is some interesting commentary on the matter here. In particular, go to the comments).  Prince has also cancelled deals with iTunes and other legit distributors.   Oh, and he thinks the Internet is ‘over’  (does he mean the Web is over, perhaps?)

Prince looking schmick at 48. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Now when you’re famous,  whingeing is a great way to attract some column space (as did the free distribution of his latest album via The Mirror – see here for more whining, from rival paper The Guardian). Many have contended that illegal Web-based distribution of his work has only increased Prince’s renown.  Nonetheless, I think Prince’s anger is real. What’s more,  I can understand it – he is a man who lost control, after all, and however you might argue that this loss of control benefits him, he is entitled to the very human reaction to losing control: frustration and anger. Perhaps this is why he has lashed out against the Web in general, because it’s hard to argue, as he has, that it has had its day.

Anyway, Prince’s motivations, copyright law, and the death of the Web are all topics for another day. I’d like to link two other ideas my post has touched on: rounding up knowledge, and the lack of control people may feel when faced with the Web. What I’d really like to know is:

  • Do you feel a loss of control when confronted with the mass of information and opinions that is the Web? Do you feel like you have lost control of your self-identity? Or do you suspect that you have lost touch with what is important in your life? Are you unsure as to what is important, even?
  • How important is it to you to  ‘know’ something deeply, or are you happy having a finger in every pie?
  • Do you link deep knowledge or wide knowledge with power? Is there a balance we should have of both? How can the Web help with this?
  • Are you in control of the Web, or is it in control of you? And do you care either way?

This is fairly deep stuff – it’s not life, but metalife, which is why I’m going to go for a walk and clear my head.


NB I had found a YouTube clip of Musicology (well, just the music and Prince’s airbrushed visage) and linked to it, but then wussed out. Just thought I’d let you know it’s there, in case you want to reminisce.