Posts Tagged Dan Lyons

The Vortex: BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos

On my way to DEMOfall in San Diego this morning and loving/loathing the American Airlines onboard wifi. I can write The Vortex I missed Friday but then again… I can write The Vortex I missed Friday. Also the dude in front of me just reclined his seat. My keyboard is now embedded in my chest.

News from the Social Media Vortex

–Dan Lyons finally snapped and unleashed his fury on Twitter, though as regular readers know, I don’t necessarily disagree with him. As proof of his perceived stupidity of the service, he quotes tweets from Dane Cook. Come on, Dan, try a little harder.

–The much-anticipated rollout of MMS for iPhones supposedly started last week. I’m not sure if/how users will be notified of it though. Can someone make an app for that? (I’m joking. I think.)

–Hey! Somebody finally won the Netflix prize! BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos (that’s the name of my next child) won $1 million for developing a smarter algorithm to power the rental service’s recommendation system. Congrats BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos! God that’s a great name.

Apps on the Radar

–Google Labs has a fun new way to read the news, Fast Flip. Better emulating the experience of reading a printed magazine (pay attention, Kindle), Fast Flip is still an experiment but hopefully signals new attitudes toward digital content.

–And on that subject, I meant to tell you last time about News Dots, an interactive map of news stories from Slate that visually shows connections between people, places, and things in the news. To see the precursor to this technology, check out the Network Maps on Silobreaker, one of my favorite news sites (and a DEMO alum!)

–If all that news is getting you down, try The Onion’s new iPhone app, which includes no news at all, just ironic headlines.

–Two totally unnecessary but completely fun iPhone apps for you: an Army of Darkness app (!) complete with sound clips, and Pirate Tweets, for those times when, well jeez, when do you not need to talk like a pirate?

Tweet of the Week

–It’s a Facebook status rather than a tweet so no link. My college friend Abe has some of the best status updates around, though he does get a bit dark occasionally. He probably wouldn’t friend you if you asked (he’s bitter), so I may compile his truisms into a book one day. I’ll leave you with this to ponder today:

[Don’t] remember exactly, but figure we all liked each other just a little better before it was possible to read an unending stream of each others’ inane bullshit.

Amen brother.

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A Tale of Two Communities

If you’ve checked out my FriendFeed stream in the last few weeks, you may have noticed the emergence of a glaring theme in my online activity. Its name is Facebook and it has commandeered my life.  There are pages upon pages of Facebook status updates in my FriendFeed and not much else. (Excepting the glut of old YouTube favorites that just popped up yesterday. That’s an odd bug.) Though I can’t pinpoint precisely when this shift occurred – some time over the last month my time on FriendFeed has dwindled to zero while Facebook has become an always-open tab – I can tell you precisely why. My friends are on Facebook.  My real-world, send-Christmas-cards friends. For the most part, they’re people with which I share history. I want to see pictures of their kids and reminisce over embarrassing high school pictures. While it can be fun to argue politics with strangers on FriendFeed, at the end of the day it’s simply more fulfilling to connect further with people I’m personally invested in. And I’m reasonably sure I’m not alone in this sentiment, particularly among mass consumers.

What’s more interesting, though, is that no one on FriendFeed comments or likes my Facebook entries. They sit forlornly on the FriendFeed page, a sure sign that my attention and energies have moved elsewhere. It’s like a tacit acknowledgment among FriendFeed users that Facebook is an entirely separate world unto itself. Or perhaps my status updates are just boring.  The point is that these two worlds, so similar in so many ways, seem to be at war with each other. To FriendFeeders, Facebook is a sheep-filled home of tech noobs and FriendFeed is, well, no one on Facebook seems to understand the point of FriendFeed. Read the rest of this entry »

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