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April 21, 2007

ePodunk says U.S. residents need not apply — and I'm jealous!


Why should you have to live in a nowheresville town in Canada (sorry, Greg) to qualify for a listing on ePodunk?


Charlottesville, Virginia Podunkers want to know.

April 21, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sole Bag


Created by Naoto Fukasawa, one of the world's most renowned designers.

"A 9.5" x 10.5" canvas bag with a real shoe sole from a shoe (Uwabaki) commonly used in schools in Japan. This is one bag you can place on the ground without worrying about getting dirty."


Blue or





If you prefer Red or Green then you'll have to order one from the UK.


April 21, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fiction + Twitter = Flits: Adam P. Knave doesn't bother talking about the new new thing — he invents it


He sent me the following email yesterday:


    I just thought I'd share this bit of madness with you: You have probably/possibly heard of a site called Twitter.com and what it does. In case not, it is a mini-blog site, a place where you can post things with 140 characters or less, and read the posts of friends doing the same. You can have these things sent to your phone or IM or whatever. And it seemed to me to be a huge bother. Who wants to get txt messages all day saying "Had pizza. Like it."?

    But then a friend of mine came up with an idea. Fiction + Twitter = Flits. Short stories. Really short. 140 characters to tell a complete fictional tale.

    So I took the idea and ran with it: twitter.com/adampknave

    And I thought you might enjoy the idea, in the raw, even if not in the specific. Using a tightly controlled environment and adapting art to fit it, instead of forcing it to adapt to the art. Which, I feel, is how a lot of art gets made.

    Adam P. Knave
    Freelance writer


I'm with you, Adam (that's him up top): what fun would tennis be without a net?

April 21, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Octopus USB + Firewire Hub


Too cool 4 school.

From the website:

LaCie USB & FireWire Hub

Experience the art of connectivity with this fun, stylish USB & FireWire combination hub for your PC or Mac.

Designed exclusively for LaCie by Ora-Ïto, the Hub’s round shape, glossy white polycarbonate finish and flexible cables give it a distinctive, modern look.

Add 4 USB ports and 2 FireWire ports to your computer system and connect up to six devices simultaneously.


Bundled with 8 flexible, twistable cables (5 USB 2.0 & 3 FireWire 400), a USB fan, a USB light, a USB extension cable and a FireWire 400 extension cable, it comes fully equipped for easily making all of your connections.

• 8 flexible cables, 8 colorful LEDs, USB light, USB fan

• Easy-to-use; plug & play; hot-swappable

• 4 USB 2.0 ports & 2 FireWire 400 ports



April 21, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How much is your town worth?


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania went for $300 and some cities cost thousands but there are plenty of virtual towns for sale for as little as $5 on weblo.com, a Montreal-based company which offers you the opportunity to become mayor as soon as you close the deal.

The site has 17,000 registered users and so far has sold 6,000 cities around the world, about half in the U.S.

Here's Jennifer Reeger's story, from the April 5, 2007 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    Internet investors' cash buys virtually nothing in area

    Suzanne Calpas has never been to Pittsburgh, but she rules it — virtually.

    Calpas, 39, of Prince George, British Columbia, just bought Pittsburgh — and the title of mayor — for $300 on March 23.

    Soon, Pittsburgh's citizens will be paying her taxes. And, one day, she might turn around and sell it for a profit.

    But so far, she's happy with her purchase.

    "There's a lot of other cities that are for sale for thousands," she said. "This was a good price for a good city."

    Across the globe, people are buying and selling buildings and
    landmarks, cities and states of Weblo.com — a virtual copy of the real world in which investors spend real money on Internet real estate and earn cash through Internet advertising and "property" resale.

    In this region, virtual replicas of real towns —
    Greensburg, Latrobe, Murrysville, Apollo, Tarentum, Beaver and Beaver Falls — have all been purchased. Other virtual towns are waiting for a mayor to take over for as little as $5.

    Weblo.com is part game, part investment because people use real money to make purchases.

    Sean Morrow, director of marketing for the Montreal-based company, said people build profiles on Weblo.com much like they would on other social networking sites such as MySpace.

    "People have been building profiles for ages, and it's only been companies making the money," he said. "Our whole model has been based on why can't people do that and be paid."

    Morrow said the idea is that people should be paid for their user-generated content.

    People can purchase towns and famous landmarks. or register a celebrity site for free. They can purchase real Web domain names on Weblo.com as well.

    The site, which began last year, has about 17,000 registered users. More than 6,000 cities around the world have been sold, about half in the United States.

    What buyers do with their sites is up to them, but many people are putting up photos, videos and blogs. They're posting information about the city and even putting up ads from businesses.

    Towns start out at $5 but depending on real world population statistics and hits on the town's site, the price can go up.

    Las Vegas recently resold for $2,300 — a $1,970 profit for the original owner. The state of California just sold for $53,000. Virtual Pennsylvania is still up for grabs at about $17,000.

    Mayors of towns and governors of states earn money based on the number of Weblo.com members who live in those areas in the real world.

    They can also make money on ads the company funnels to their sites.

    "There's a lot of people that are doing this from an investment perspective," Morrow said.

    Business is the reason John Roden, virtual mayor of Apollo, Murrysville, Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Rugby, England, decided to join Weblo.com.

    Roden, 50, is chief information officer for Pittsburgh advertising agency Blattner Brunner and is responsible for its interactive Web counterpart, bbdigital.

    He bought towns on Weblo.com that he is familiar with. He lives in Washington Township, Westmoreland County, and has an Apollo mailing address. He grew up in Rugby, England, and lived in Stratford for a time. He frequently visits Rehoboth Beach.

    Roden said his company is always looking at new technology, particularly social networking.

    "I want to use it as a business tool. So for our clients, it would be nice to buy the town they're in, buy the building they're in and use it as a tool for advertising," Roden said.

    He bought a few towns he knows to try it out. He hasn't done much with his sites yet.

    "I was more interested in what Weblo was going to grow into so I've been waiting for it to grow more," he said.

    For Calpas, Weblo is a hobby — one she hopes to make money with.

    Her $300 purchase of Pittsburgh was her largest. She was looking for a major U.S. city to add to her collection of 45.

    "It's a good hockey city, it's got some major league ball teams, some Fortune 500 companies, so there's a lot of potential for people to build in Pittsburgh," Calpas said

April 21, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ismael Ax in Second Life?


It's impossible to avoid the swirling speculation in the press about the Virginia Tech tragedy last Monday.

Libby Copeland, in today's Washington Post Style section front page story, explored the many theories about the words found on the killer's arm.

BoingBoing's been there too.

What I haven't seen noted anywhere is mention of the fact that "Ismael Ax" — or the variant "Ishmael" — is a prototypical Second Life name.

I visited the virtual world just now and found no one there by that name, which, some five days after the Blacksburg event, doesn't mean there wasn't such an identity that was quickly taken down and referred for further investigation.

Just a thought.

April 21, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

fora.tv — 'Eggheads on the web'

Lee Gomes, in his April 18, 2007 Wall Street Journal column, called fora.tv and its brethren "YouTubes for wonks."

Long story short: Serious stuff like C-SPAN but with a much wider net, including business, technology and the arts.

There's also the Seattle-based Research Channel, now ten years old and featuring over 3,000 programs in business, the sciences and the humanities.

In the clip above from fora.tv, science-fiction author Neil Gaiman reads his poem, "Instructions."

Here's the Wall Street Journal piece.

    Suddenly, the Web Is Giving Eggheads Something to Watch

    It was bound to happen: just as the Internet was settling into its role as haven for videos about car crashes, Britney Spears and teenage confessions, people had to come along to ruin it all by trying to be serious.

    A number of Web efforts are under way to provide for more cerebral alternatives to television on the Web. Call them YouTubes for wonks.

    One is called Fora.tv. It's an ambitious for-profit effort based in San Francisco and funded by angel backers, including Will Hearst, the publishing heir and frequent tech investor. Fora's intent is to establish relations with all of the lecture series from the nation's scores of think tanks, civic groups, bookstores and the like, and then put tapes of their speeches and panel discussions online in an easily searchable fashion.

    C-SPAN, the cable public-affairs network that focuses mostly on Washington politics and policy, is an obvious model. Brian Gruber, Fora.tv's founder and chief executive, is a cable-TV executive who worked at C-SPAN during its early years. He said, though, that Fora.tv will be casting a much wider net than C-SPAN, including business, technology and the arts.

    Happily for folks with broadband connections, other outfits have similar ideas. One example is the Research Channel, a 10-year-old consortium of some of the country's best universities that is based at the University of Washington, Seattle. It started life as a public-access TV channel dedicated to presentations by college researchers. But it, too, now has a thriving Web presence, with more than 3,000 programs in business, the sciences and the humanities.

    These shows aren't for viewers with short attention spans, or who come expecting glossy but dumbed-down packages, like those increasingly found on the commercial cable channels that profess interests in history, science and the like.

    The typical Fora.tv offering is someone giving a speech and then taking questions at the end, with one or two cameras to record the scene. The topics are the sort that ought to interest anyone with a passing familiarity with the front page of a newspaper. One program last week featured speeches and panels on developments in the Middle East and on the conservative Christian movement in America.

    Among Fora.tv's channels are those for business, environment and religion. Mr. Gruber said Fora.tv aims to span the spectrum in its politics; it already has relationships with the rightist Hoover Institution and the center-left Brookings Institution.

    Of course, the unbounded horizons of the Web offer opportunities for niche players. Anyone who wants to create a TV channel just needs a computer and a Web address. As a business model, Mr. Gruber cites the profitable Weather Channel, saying it never would have been possible in the limited-channel world of broadcast television.

    On TV, in fact, new niches continue to crop up. Link TV, for example, is an international-oriented channel available on most cable and satellite systems. It's best known for its nightly "Mosaic" show, which features newscasts from the Middle East. There is also the recently launched Documentary Channel, which hopes to the tap the country's growing interest in the genre. The Documentary Channel is currently available on Dish, but would love subscribers to other services to write in to their provider and request it.

    Sites like Fora.tv are still in their early stages, and haven't yet attracted enough attention to be considered even niche players. Timothy Lorang, director of programming at the Research Channel, said an average show might attract 5,000 viewers.

    Their goals are ambitious. Fora.tv's is to be for ideas what ESPN is to sports. In some areas, like the upcoming presidential election, it will have a lot of competition, including from big players such as Google and Yahoo, which are themselves trying to connect with an interested public.

    Mr. Gruber says Fora.tv is mindful that it can't just dump a bunch of videos on a server and expect the public to be entranced. Instead, for each presentation, viewers can see a list of chapters, like those on a DVD movie, showing what the speaker is discussing at any particular point. You can skip to the section that interests you.

    You can also download sections, and whole presentations, for later listening as a podcast. In fact, sitting in the car or panting on the Stairmaster may be the best way to experience many of these visually plain offerings.

    In an ideal world, so-called serious programming on the Web wouldn't be limited to this species of plain-vanilla videos of academics and authors giving speeches. Many of them are, to be frank, rather dull.

    Great, gripping documentaries, such as the PBS "Nova" series or some of the latest BBC imports are expensive to produce, which is why we see them so infrequently on television and not at all online, at least not as original programming. But the Web is supposed to be all about boundless choice. For folks who get tired of short clips of dogs chasing their tale, their choices are beginning to multiply.

April 21, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Major League Baseball Mr. Potato Head



From the website:

MLB Mr. Potato Head

This MLB Mr. Potato Head slides into home wearing new MLB team uniforms and 11 grand-slam accessories!

Choose Red Sox, Cubs, or Yankees!


Accessories include interchangeable arms (with bat/glove/baseball), faces, team caps and jerseys, plus shoes.

In 1952, Mr. Potato Head became the first toy sold via national TV ads and garnered over $4 million in sales!

Unique collectible for fans.


6" tall.



April 21, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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