Megnut

The story of the Pill

I caught the second half of a great American Experience the other night on The Pill and it was fascinating. Being able to control my fertility is something I don't think I fully appreciated until now. The accompanying website is also really good, with a wonderful timeline of contraception and explanations of the female menstrual cycle both on the Pill and off. For those that have forgotten the lessons of 7th grade sex ed, or attended schools that didn't teach it, there's a lot to learn from the program and the site. Also worth revisiting, Malcolm Gladwell's March 10, 2000 New Yorker article, John Rock's Error: What the co-inventor of the Pill didn't know about menstruation can endanger women's health. There's a lot to be thankful for in life, but it's the work of the early feminists -- the suffragists and birth control advocates -- for which I am especially grateful.

A Hollywood movie blog

A Salon article examines the weblog from the set of the upcoming movie I Love Your Work. While I think it's a really neat idea, I've been thinking since I was interviewed a few weeks ago for this piece that it's not much of a weblog if it's not released in real-time, or nearly so. (Also, links? There are no links.) Something about holding up all the content for weeks for the director's and Christina Ricci's publicist's approval seems decidedly unbloglike. But then again, it's Hollywood -- I supposed we have to start with babysteps. A movie web site with actual content is a good start.

And of course, by "first" I mean the first Hollywood-on-the-set blog, not the first movie blog, since Jason's Adaptation blog came before. Yeah, enough about that.

Croque Madame

Last November while we were in Paris, Jason came up with a little ditty for le croque monsieur. Tonight, inspired by an episode of French in Action and Jason's burst into song, I came up with my own version of the tune for the venerable croque madame.

Croque Madame, Croque Madame

Avec un œuf sur le pain

(repeat)

The croque madame is just like the croque monsieur with the addition of a fried egg on top. It kind of rhymes, if you speak French with as bad an accent as I do.

Another Pyra/Google article

The New York Times takes a deeper look at the Pyra/Google deal, Questions About Google Acquisition.

And if you're coming here today from the New York Times article, welcome! More about me and the site can be found here.

How clothes should be

I have found a new love and his name is Paul Smith. Shopping this weekend with Choire (at an undisclosed Manhattan location) we stumbled across of hoard of Paul Smith's women's clothing at deep discount. Feminine and lovely yet wearable, Smith's designs had all the little details that drive me crazy when it comes to clothing: beautiful satin polka-dot lining inside a plain black coat, red seams and satin floral lining inside a plaid suit coat, and little pink bows on skirts and dresses. Delightful stuff, if only his website weren't such a Flash monstrosity, I could see what he's been up to lately.

Lomo-rific

Inspired by Jason's foray into Photoshop Lomoization, I tried this morning to improve on my often dull and uninspiring photos. I used one from last fall taken in the Dahlia Dell in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park (located next to the Conservatory of Flowers). In the fall the Dahlia Dell contains the most amazing display of dahlias of all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Here's the before:

pre-Lomo effect dahlia photo, SF CA fall 2002

And here's the Lomo'd version:

post-Lomo effect dahlia photo, SF CA fall 2002

So cool! I can't wait to play around with this more.

Trying to understand Google/Pyra

Why Did Google Want Blogger? Wired News' Leander Kahney talks to Dieselpoint CEO Chris Cleveland, whose company worked with Pyra Labs last year, for the answer.

Cleveland said Google's acquisition of Pyra would, quite simply, help Google create a more accurate search engine by adding rich new sources of data gleaned from weblogs...The secret, Cleveland said, is in the scores of links webloggers create every day to content on the Web.

Color Danger Hiptop

Yup, it's true. The Danger is coming out with a color hiptop, but not in the US until, "stocks of the monochrome one fall," according to this article. Rumor, according to an email from a person who talked to a rep, is that you'll be able to remove the monochrome screen and replace it with color once it's available. Now that's be pretty cool...

Update: Ben Brown says the rumor about being able to swap in the color screen is untrue and that Danger have been trying to squash it for months. Drat.

Happy birthday Mike

Today is my brother's birthday. Holy crap! I just realized he's 28. Can that possibly be true? I guess it is. Anyway, happy birthday Mike. Hope you have a great day!

Son of Patriot Act

Anita Ramasastry, a professor from the University of Washington School of Law, has a commentary on the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (aka Patriot II), Patriot II:
The Sequel Why It's Even Scarier than the First Patriot Act
. There are a lot of scary things highlighted in this article, too many to even know which to select as an excerpt. But do note two things: this document wasn't publically released, it was leaked, and apparently Congress has played little to no part in its drafting. [via Dan]

Local farmboy does good

The Omaha World-Herald is running the AP story about the Google/Pyra deal, which is unfortunate because they're missing the local angle here. Co-founder Evan Williams is from Nebraska, as were Blogger's first two employees Paul Bausch and Matt Hamer. For nearly a year, Pyra Labs was 3/4 Husker. Football games were one of the few things that interrupted our weekend working. Lincoln Journal Star, here's a scoop for you! Or better yet, the Columbus Telegram. Go Big Red!

French Laundry via OpenTable.com

Two of the French Laundry's 17 tables are now bookable via OpenTable.com, according to this SF Examiner article. The phone reservation process is still in place for the remaining 15 tables. [via Sauté Wednesday]

NY metro needs blood

The New York Post reports that the New York metropolitan area is in critical need of blood donations. There's been a decrease in donations due to the blizzard. "Donors are asked to call 1-800-933-BLOOD (2566) for the nearest donor location or blood drive."

Gerry

After nearly three months living in New York City (and recently scoring a lowly 41% on the Hipster quiz) it was time to take advantage of the City's breadth of cinematic offerings so we went to see Gus Van Sant's Gerry last night at the Angelika. The story of two friends (Matt Damon and Casey Affleck) who get lost in the desert, it was full of sweeping panoramic shots that were gorgeous. What dialogue there was (not much) was pretty entertaining as well. But about 2/3rds of the way through, it lost me. mob61uk says it best in a comment at IMDb,

[T]he film loses itself in existential an[g]st, as it hammers home its "indie" credentials.

Ultimately it was a little too slow, a little too self-indulgent, and a little too strange to leave me feeling anything but annoyed at its conclusion. Well, annoyed and longing to go hiking again in the desert, with proper supplies.

Not too cool for (Old) School

I'm not even kidding when I say I can't wait for Old School to open tomorrow night. Why? I love Luke Wilson and Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn aren't too bad either. The best cure for war/orange alert anxiety? Silly movies.

Forbes on Google/Pyra

Forbes has an article on the acquisition, Google Goes Blog-Crazy. Blog-Crazy? Um, ok. [via Dave]

Free T-Mobile Sidekick

The T-Mobile Sidekick with Camera Attachment is now free at Amazon (via rebates, with service activation). I'm enjoying mine quite a bit, though I haven't yet started using it as an actual phone. I much prefer the AIM, email, and photo capabilities. If you were thinking about picking one up, you can't beat that price. But if they're now giving them away for free, makes me think a newer model might be on its way. Caveat emptor.

Are you an Amazon Associate?

I'd noticed that my Amazon Associate fees this quarter were much lower than average. Then I notices that I wasn't getting any referral fees for some items readers emailed to say they'd purchased. Jason dig some digging and discovered that Amazon's URLs have changed. Apparently only one style of URL results in Associates fees. If you're using an Associates code on your site, be sure to read his post and double-check your URLs.

Health care in the free market

Matt's got a good essay on the current state of health care. When the focus is profits, not care, patients lose out.

When I was a kid, I knew my doctor personally, he watched me grow up, and took an interest in his patients' lives. Today, going to the doctor makes me feel like a carton of milk on a supermarket checkout lane.

Beware the false blog software

With the news of Google's acquisition of Pyra Labs, watch software makers scramble to include a blogging feature in their products. Microsoft-Watch reports that Microsoft Tests the Blogging-Tool Waters with their Community Starter Kit. The article quotes Microsoft developer division product manager Shawn Nandi,

You could use this (Kit) to build a Weblog."

You can also use Microsoft Notepad and an FTP client to build a weblog, but that doesn't mean they were designed for that, or that it's easy to do.

Ask yourself when looking at "blogging" software: Was it designed with weblogging in mind (i.e. easy updating through simple posting interface, archives for posts, permalinks, templating control, comments, RSS output, etc.) or has the label "blogging" been slapped onto an existing publishing system designed around outputing web pages? That is, can your content be chunked up into posts, so that content can live in many places at once (your front page, your archive, your by-category page) or is the tool outputting pages, trapping your words in the page paradigm? (For more on posts vs. pages, see my megnut column, What We're Doing When We Blog.)

The answer to these questions is the difference between a tool designed for weblogging and one that's simply trying to capitalize on blogging's current popularity.

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