« March 10, 2010 | Main | March 12, 2010 »

March 11, 2010

Did you hear about the Midnight Knitter?

Alg_wilbraham_park

Long story short, from Christina Boyle's story in today's New York Daily News: An unknown person is covering tree branches [above and below] and lamp poles with little sweaters under cover of darkness.

Here the article.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Midnight-knitter

Jersey Shore town of West Cape May has a knit fit — and a mystery

Knitters have pulled the wool over the eyes of residents in a small Jersey Shore town.

Dozens of colorful knitted cozies have mysteriously popped up on trees and sign posts in West Cape May, leaving locals enchanted - and authorities on the hunt for the culprits.

The first yarn creations appeared in the coastal town a few months ago and have since spread to stop signs, lampposts and tree branches under cover of darkness.

"Nobody knows who it is," said local artist Diane Flanegan. "We all saw it and started talking about it, and now everyone's just buzzing about it."

The local police unraveling the case consulted town Mayor Pam Kaithern last week to find out if the artistic creations had been given the green light from authorities.

They had not, so officials are now asking for the mystery knitters to reveal themselves.

"It would be helpful if the responsible people even just come to me and say, 'We are behind it; we don't want to cause any trouble,'" Kaithern said.

"It's bright, it's pretty ... but in a community and in law your rules have to be consistent."

One of the rogue knitters contacted the Daily News yesterday, saying a trio of stitchers spend hours knitting with donated yarn.

"It's a form of graffiti and street art," said one of the mystery knitters. "If graffiti is done in bad taste, it destroys property, but we are enhancing stuff instead of destroying it."

The knitter added, "We have no plans to stop."

Guerrilla knitting projects have cropped up around the globe, even in the city. In May, a group called Knitta Please similarly tagged Brooklyn Heights, covering 69 parking meters. But their artwork was commissioned by the Montague Street Business Improvement District.

March 11, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

X-Table

111111

"A cross-stitched table handcrafted with care, the hard wood is softened by the touch of embroidery."

22222

65cm W x 65cm L x 45cm H.

Wood and thread.

Created by Reddish.

March 11, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?

111111

Answer here this time tomorrow.

March 11, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Can Grips

P82010b

"They snap onto any standard 12 oz. can, providing a stein-style handle that also eliminates the need for a coaster."

P82010ab2

"Plus, your can stays cold while your hand stays warm."

P82010ab1

Put me down for a set (of 6): $9.98.

March 11, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OK Go lead singer/guitarist Damian Kulash Jr. disses EMI (his record company)

In a lucid, scathing piece appearing on the February 19, 2010 New York Times Op-Ed page, he explained (convincingly, at least to me) why EMI's locking up his group's videos so they can't be viewed anywhere other than on YouTube's own site is costing both the company and OK Go serious money.

Here's his essay.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

WhoseTube

My band is famous for music videos. We direct them ourselves or with the help of friends, we shoot them on shoestring budgets and, like our songs, albums and concerts, we see them as creative works and not as our record company’s marketing tool.

In 2006 we made a video of us dancing on treadmills for our song “Here It Goes Again.” We shot it at my sister’s house without telling EMI, our record company, and posted it on the fledgling YouTube without EMI’s permission. Technically, this put us afoul of our contract, since we need our record company’s approval to distribute copies of the songs that they finance. It also exposed YouTube to all sorts of liability for streaming an EMI recording across the globe. But back then record companies saw videos as advertisements, so if my band wanted to produce them, and if YouTube wanted to help people watch them, EMI wasn’t going to get in the way.

As the age of viral video dawned, “Here It Goes Again” was viewed millions, then tens of millions of times. It brought big crowds to our concerts on five continents, and by the time we returned to the studio, 700 shows, one Grammy and nearly three years later, EMI’s ledger had a black number in our column. To the band, “Here It Goes Again” was a successful creative project. To the record company, it was a successful, completely free advertisement.

Now we’ve released a new album and a couple of new videos. But the fans and bloggers who helped spread “Here It Goes Again” across the Internet can no longer do what they did before, because our record company has blocked them from embedding our video on their sites. Believe it or not, in the four years since our treadmill dance got such attention, YouTube and EMI have actually made it harder to share our videos.

A few years ago, reeling from plummeting record sales, record companies went after YouTube, demanding payment for streams of their material. They saw videos, suddenly, as potential sources of revenue. YouTube agreed to pay the record companies a tiny amount for each stream, but — here’s the crux of the problem — they pay only when the videos are viewed on YouTube’s own site.

Embedded videos — those hosted by YouTube but streamed on blogs and other Web sites — don’t generate any revenue for record companies, so EMI disabled the embedding feature. Now we can’t post the YouTube versions of our videos on our own site, nor can our fans post them on theirs. If you want to watch them, you have to do so on YouTube.

But this isn’t how the Internet works. Viral content doesn’t spread just from primary sources like YouTube or Flickr. Blogs, Web sites and video aggregators serve as cultural curators, daily collecting the items that will interest their audiences the most. By ignoring the power of these tastemakers, our record company is cutting off its nose to spite its face.

The numbers are shocking: When EMI disabled the embedding feature, views of our treadmill video dropped 90 percent, from about 10,000 per day to just over 1,000. Our last royalty statement from the label, which covered six months of streams, shows a whopping $27.77 credit to our account.

Clearly the embedding restriction is bad news for our band, but is it worth it for EMI? The terms of YouTube’s deals with record companies aren’t public, but news reports say that the labels receive $.004 to $.008 per stream, so the most EMI could have grossed for the streams in question is a little over $5,400.

It’s decisions like these that have earned record companies a reputation for being greedy and short-sighted. And by and large they deserve it. But before we cheer for the demise of the big bad machine, it’s important to remember that record companies provide the music industry with a vital service: they’re risk aggregators. Or at least, they used to be.

To go from playing at a local club once a month to actually supporting yourself with music requires big investments in touring, recording and promotion — investments young musicians can’t afford. My band didn’t sign a contract with EMI because we believed labels magically created stars. We signed because no banker in his right mind would give a band the startup capital it needs.

Record companies, on the other hand, didn’t used to expect that all their advances would be repaid. They spread the risk by betting on hundreds of artists at once, and they recouped their investments by taking the lion’s share of the profits on the few acts that succeeded.

At least, this was all true when we signed our deal in 2000. Today, as the record industry’s revenue model has collapsed with the digitization of its biggest commodities, companies are cutting back spending on all but their biggest stars, and not signing nearly as many new acts. If record companies can’t adapt to this new world, they will die out; and without advances, so will the futures of many talented bands.

In these tight times, it’s no surprise that EMI is trying to wring revenue out of everything we make, including our videos. But it needs to recognize the basic mechanics of the Internet. Curbing the viral spread of videos isn’t benefiting the company’s bottom line, or the music it’s there to support. The sooner record companies realize this, the better — though I fear it may already be too late.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

This just in (12:46 p.m. ET today) from my Pop correspondent Mary Sue: "Yesterday, OK Go split from EMI and formed their own label."

March 11, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Flat-Pack Bike Helmet

Helmet B from Opton on Vimeo.

Created by industrial designer Julian Bergignat.

[via Bem Legaus!]

March 11, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Captcha Redux?

Crazymathcaptcha

Constant readers will recall that for some time, perhaps more than a year, I had a Captcha interface to eliminate comment spam.

Then, in the interest of making it as easy as possible to comment, and perhaps lulled into thinking spam wouldn't be much of a problem anymore and that maybe TypePad had improved its algorithmic screening, last year I lost the Captcha.

Now spam comments are steadily increasing, to the point that over half of all comments are spam.

When I take my first look in the morning, oftimes most of the comments on the homepage are spam that came in under the radar while I was sleeping.

During the day I don't mind flicking them away as they arrive but I don't like that overnight influx.

So don't be surprised if one of these days, all of a sudden, the Captcha's back.

March 11, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Lotus Flower Umbrella

Qasdcv

Handmade, with concealed spokes, double canopy, rouched floral interior and brass shaft.

Dfghbdfsdas

"Marbled acrylic handle accessorized with gold Swarovski crystal and brass chain."

Wewrtgefw

$225.


March 11, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

« March 10, 2010 | Main | March 12, 2010 »