Did You Get That Thing I Sent You?

Stuff to make your work day just a bit more bearable.

Archive for December 2009

Stored Transmissions from a Slower World

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Getting a hell of a lot of press these days, and rightly so, is an excellent blog called Letters of Note.  Some British blokes decided to post historic and/or notable letters from or concerning famous people and events, and offer little background blurbs.  Very simple, like many good ideas.

It’s a bit odd, glorifying a dead medium on the medium that killed it.  Like a murderer making a shrine to his victim.  But the value of the blog comes through instantly and powerfully.  Seeing the handwriting or typewriter impressions of famous hands stirs something up.  These letters would cover much space and time before reaching their desired audience, and so their words were chosen very carefully.  Like with a painting, there’s much more of the author’s vague, intangible presence in the letter- than say, in an email from a coworker, which can be copied, and forwarded, and archived, and instantly retrieved.  It’s almost tantamount to the difference between poems and simple utterances.

If I’m talking too big I apologize- I suffered a minor head injury this morning.

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Written by Peter Kelly

December 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Face Detection & The All-New, All-Marketed World

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Scott McCloud recently linked an entry from James Gurney’s blog (he’s the guy who wrote Dinotopia (which –  holy shit, remember Dinotopia??)) about the power of face recognition technology, which most know as those little boxes over people’s faces that appear on certain digital camera LCD screens.  He spoke thusly:

Popular Mechanics hints at what’s coming: “Sometime soon, face detection may even give way to facial identification, discerning one subject from another. For instance, the camera could retain an image tagged ‘Mom’ in its memory. Later, the camera would automatically recognize each subsequent picture of your mother and add the ‘Mom’ tag to it.”

Facial identification or recognition is a fast-growing technology that uses 3-D scans or interpolates various 2-D scans to assemble a knowledge of basic structure. Wikipedia says that some of the new algorithms are “able to outperform human participants in recognizing faces and can uniquely identify identical twins.”

To wit: if your mug is tagged in Facebook next to a bottle of vodka, expect to gets ads from Grey Goose.  If this isn’t here yet it’s coming very soon.  The ramifications are huge.  We’re in the middle of a sort of Perfect Storm of privacy invasion conditions: brand new ways of culling marketable data on people are appearing everyday, while at the same time the old means of generating ad revenue (newspapers, tv, radio) are become increasingly irrelevant.  Media outlets are desperate to lure advertisers, and advertisers are desperate to ensure demographic accuracy; the tending path of both seems to be towards closer and closer monitoring of all aspects of a consumer’s life.  I should know, I work in marketing.

Written by Peter Kelly

December 15, 2009 at 3:23 am

Back in action, yo

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No excuses, just an article about a guy who’s reviewing 1000 albums before the end of 2009.

Best to take his words re: how & why.  I will say though – we need things like this, even if it is just an internet stunt.  Weingarten’s project is like performance art; its statement is much larger than the albums its reviews.  Music criticism, like all criticism, is being crowdsourced by the internet, and tastemakers are now expected to deliver lifestyle rather than commentary.  We’re losing true expertise as a cultural value, and the @1000timesyes project is protest against this.

In a world of foxes, maybe we need more hedgehogs.

Written by Peter Kelly

December 5, 2009 at 8:02 pm