there are 11 posts from May 2004

May 27, 2004

every two years

Sped through the Whitney Biennial yesterday. It was impossible to do anything else but speed through it; the crowds were too thick, the rooms overly hung and the floorplan too mazelike. Nevertheless captured a couple of decent pics with the camphone, and made a quick list of the work I think is worth seeing at the show…

  • Kim Fisher’s abstract paintings.

  • Richard Prince’s wall sculptures

  • Alex Hay’s paintings of wood grain patterns

  • Robert Mangold’s column paintings

  • Golan Levin’s digital piece The Secret Lives of Numbers

  • Robert Longo’s charcoal drawings of breaking waves (why does it seem that so many people are commenting on Vija Celmins?)

  • And, of course, Hockney’s watercolors

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a sucker for painting. Had very little time / energy to engage with the video work, and most of the installation work screamed “I wanna be Sarah Sze!” To which the obvious reply is “Of course you do, sweetheart. Don’t we all?”

May 24, 2004

what do you mean it's not in your records?

Dear Mercury News / Realcities,

Why do you insist on telling me that “my email address is not in your records” when I subscribe to receive (and regularly open!) three of your email subscription products? All I want to do is click between this story and this story without going through yet another poorly designed “log in or register” experience.

In other words, you should invest in a single sign-on system – the excuse that “our email address database is managed separately,” is not an acceptable excuse, especially since you use email address as the user ID.


May 24, 2004

declan reasoned on privacy

The issue of Reason previously mentioned in this space has hit the newsstands. Declan McCullagh pens the cover story, “Database Nation: The upside of ‘zero privacy.’” It’s a remarkably balanced look at the costs and benefits of “the databasification of American society.”

Markets function more efficiently when it costs little to identify and deliver the right product to the right consumer at the right time. Data collection and information sharing emerged not through chance but because they bring lower prices and more choices for consumers.

It’s simple economics. Information sharing systems requiring opt-in consent create costs (direct costs related to management overhead and indirect costs related to more expensive product development and marketing efforts); costs which are eventually shouldered by consumers in the form of higher prices or reduced choice.

May 20, 2004

email and attention management

Esther Dyson’s speaking at Inbox (hey, I’m in good company!). Despite all the hoo ha about the supposed death of email, Esther posts today about the future of email

More fundeamentally, as the world becomes more real-time and connected, the virtual and increasingly the actual configuration of the system is changing. There’s a rich, complex, shared data store in the cloud, and mail is simply the passing of notifications and alerts that tell you to pay attention to/download specific items in the cloud that are new or changed or that someone wants to share with you. this creates huge challenges in version control, updating and permission management.

Outside the realm of person-to-person correspondence, email is about notification, information flow, and as Esther points out later in the post, attention management. Esther’s right on the money that clients will evolve to help individuals manage that flow, and make sure that they’re paying attention to the right stuff. But it’s a two-way street – the senders that get it right will win good will, incremental business and long term loyalty from their readers / users / customers.

May 18, 2004

licensing answers

Google service idea: they should license the Google Answers platform on a hosted basis to third parties. Knowledge heavy communities (large consulting firms, technology user bases, travel enthusiasts or even hobby groups) could develop their own FAQ base on a branded answers platform, and provide an economic (or points-based rewards) incentive to boot. I’m an iPod fanatic and looking for the best way to sync Outlook contact data to my device? The discussion forums at iPodLounge are great for roundabout discussion on preferred headphones, but not so great at task-oriented problem solving. Meanwhile, the mother ship Google Answers site isn’t topic specific enough to attract the loyal readership of hard core iPod fanatics. Sites would pay a hosting fee, revenue share on the Answer fees, and Google builds higher quality content for indexing. (This was all Judith’s idea.)

May 18, 2004

geico v. google

Let the conspiracy theories begin: [Geico’s suing Google]( “Geico sues Google, Overture over trademarks CNET”) (and others) over their use of trademarks in search-based advertising. Geico’s a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and Buffett’s a good friend of Gates, so there’s gotta be some good (and pointless) punditry coming our way…
May 18, 2004

apple sdk for windows

Interesting news from Ars Technica: Apple opens up iTunes interface on Windows. I’d love to see all the little iTunes hacks start coming to Windows. Support for Bluetooth remoting, “now playing” widgets like there are for WinAmp, etc. What I’m hoping, though, is that this could enable some enterprising Slim developer to enable Fairplay-protected AAC playback on the Squeezebox.

May 17, 2004

placing archive

Matt Webb pointed out to me that the wayback’s archive of might not be so safe, given what the new owners of have done with their robot excluder. so unless my pal objects, placing has another home at

May 11, 2004

supermodel personals

More like this, please: Supermodel Personals:

We are Natasha and Svetlana. We look for kind, generous men to give endless love faithfulness. We come to United States to be pop stars. You know Tatu? We better than them. We give good show, no just kissing. We promise you be happy and want to take us shopping.

May 11, 2004

what are you doing there, anyway?

Can’t believe I hadn’t seen this before, an excellent essay by Michael Chabon on Berkeley.

The result, perhaps inevitable, of this paralysis of good intentions, this ongoing, floating opera of public disapproval and the coming into conflict of competing visions of the path to personal bliss, is a populace inclined to kvetching and to the wearing of the default Berkeley facial expression, the suspicious frown. Bliss is, after all, so near at hand; the perfect egg, a good night’s sleep, reconciliation with one’s mother or the Palestinians, a theory to account for the surprising lack of dark matter in the universe, a radio station that does not merely parrot the lies of government flaks and corporate media outlets—such things can often feel so eminently possible here, given the intelligence and the passion of the citizens. And yet they continue to elude us. Who is responsible? Is it us? Is it you? What are you doing, there, anyway? Don’t you know the recycling truck won’t take aluminum foil?

May 09, 2004

placing is available now for the low low price of $6000.

“i’m having trouble finding enough hot air poppers,” i told louis. “popcorn?” louis asked. “popcorn,” i replied, “for the road show prevue.” louis raised his eyebrows. i smiled. “you could always get a shitload of microwave stuff,” he answered. “yes, that’s true,” i said. “although i’m not sure it would be the same.” “that’s true,” louis said.

Thank God for Wayback.