Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ever had this feeling?

P.S. Speaking of CAPTCHA memes, I have to recommend Inglip. It's already got its own complete mythology!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Google Video is shutting down! Help save the videos!

Google Video will stop hosting videos on April 29 (seen at Geekosystem). It will still serve as a video search engine for other sites, but those remaining videos that are only hosted on Google Video itself will disappear. And that's a tragedy, because there's a ton of amazing things there.

The strength of Google Video is mostly the long-play, timeless videos of talks, documentaries, interviews, and esoteric full-length movies you can't find anywhere else. As soon as you start looking you find gems like the original Nosferatu film from 1922, a talk by the creator of object-oriented programming, a long interview with Stephen Colbert out of character, or a documentary of interviews with the repentant Secretary of Defense who fomented the Vietnam War. And then there's hundreds of full-length interviews by Charlie Rose. It looks like they have almost everyone he's ever interviewed.

I'm going to say it. This is worse than Geocities.

So what I'm hoping we could all do is download as many of the good ones as we can. There's a Firefox extension that makes it really easy, and even a no-install web service that can do it for you. Then maybe we can re-upload to another site those videos that copyright will allow, or in some other way continue to keep them available. Whatever the solution is, I know that the first step is to get these videos into as many hands as possible before they disappear.

I welcome suggestions in the comments, including great videos you've come across. There's a lot to go through.

UPDATE: I've found some like-minded people leading a centralized and organized preservation effort. It requires technical know-how, but follow the instructions on this page if you want to help build a collection for the Internet Archive.

I'll leave you with an abridged list of interesting things I've found.
(Sorry they're mostly nerdy. That's why I need you to help find the other stuff!)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Richard Feynman - The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
Rare interview with Neil Armstrong on 60 Minutes
Richard Dawkins - Nice Guys Finish Last
GoogleTechTalks - Building a computer from logic gates to operating system
amateur video of "Buildering," a combination of bouldering and parkour
The creator of HyperCard talking in 1986
Neil deGrasse Tyson talk at Beyond Belief 2006
Talk by the creator of Narbacular Drop, which inspired Portal

note: I recommend searching general terms like "talk," "interview," "documentary," or any other interesting genre you can think of. And you can specify Google Video-hosted results by including "" as a search term. And don't forget to check it isn't already on Youtube!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Though words in haste be human nature, "orient man" is not preferred nomenclature

Background: If you haven't heard of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, then you've got some awesome learning to do. It's the entirety of The Big Lebowski, written as a Shakespearean play.

I just ran into this video of one of the scenes:

So awesome.
The funniest thing is it's so similar to actual Shakespearean performances I've seen before. It makes me realize that a Shakespearean play is basically a Kevin Smith movie. Most of it is just a bunch of characters sitting around talking about random stuff only tangentially related to the plot. But watching it is nevertheless an interesting ride.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Holy crap, 100 posts

Hey, so it turns out that last one was my 100th post on this here blog. Yeah, that's right, turns out I've actually kept at this for one reason or another. Experiment: ..success? It turns out it's interesting and fun to write things and craft a post now and then. At least, enough to maintain my interest in this.

So yes, to anyone who's stumbled upon this blog and is trying to figure out what this thing is, it's not just a forgotten-about project someone flirted with for a few months. I started it about a year and a half ago, and I have continued posting. There's not exactly a readership, though, don't be mistaken. There's about 30-40 unique visitors a day, almost exclusively drop-ins who arrive via Google searches.

Not that I'm against that model of displaying my work. The creator of Stack Overflow mentioned in his Google Tech Talk that they think of Google as their user interface. It's how people are supposed to find and read their site. And I myself have discovered the joys of producing useful things that are supposed to be found via Google to enlighten those seeking information. For example, there's this post on fixing Firefox's url bar and this one on a Google Voice technical issue. Both times someone was looking for that information and said so in the comments. If editing Wikipedia has taught me anything, it's that contributing information to the internet can be as rewarding as finding it there in the first place. It feels so good!

So I guess this concludes the State of the Blog. I usually don't talk about this stuff, so I thought why not take this opportunity to publish the info. Let the interested know what exactly this thing is. Oh, and don't let that graph fool you. I'm still just writing stuff I find interesting, as if no one's reading.

Image source: this better "100th post" post