1. AppAfrica: The Future Exists for Africa, Too

    Nothing here in this post but a fanboy’s love for Mr. Jonathan Gosier‘s always interesting blog AppAfrica.  May I nudge you all to go and pick up one of the above t-shirts?  (Naturally, it’s on Zazzle so you can get it customized.)

    Appfrica facilitates, mentors and incubates entrepreneurs in software in East Africa. Entrepreneur projects are refined and prepped to help them secure funding and launch sustainable, profitable businesses. This project is loosely modeled after Paul Graham’s Y Combinator, providing small amounts of seed capital to startups. Appfrica Labs has also started an International Fellows Program which brings developers from all over the world to work alongside local Entrepreneurs as peers and mentors. That program can be learned about here.

    Combine that with Afrigadget and AfroCyberPunk and you’re .071% of the way to countering the mass media impression of Africa as a hopeless eternal backwater.  More on that thought coming along…



  2. First Impressions of My Second Life

    secondlife-postcard

    It could be said I have a hard-on for obsolescence.  Maybe it’s in gratitude for the wrecked and decrepit giving us the gift of seeing enduring efficiency by contrast.  Maybe it’s a desperate grasping for something to be nostalgic about as things are birthed and flame out over and over through life’s journey.  Maybe I’m just petty and like to laugh at failure.  All these are good reasons to take a trip into Second Life.

    Second Life is the past’s vision of the internet’s future, back the internet was always capitalized and sometimes likened to a highway made of Al Gore’s divine gleaming seed.  Go thumb through the bits of Snow Crash that talk about the Metaverse and see if it sounds familiar.  Yeah, that was 1992.  Second Life is the fulfillment of the cyberpunk dream of ditching the flesh and having an avatar functional enough to really live a life with.  Unfortunately, Second Life, being a virtual World, faithfully reproduces all the boredom, tackiness and ennui of the meatspace.

    Reports of Second Life’s heat death piqued my interest.  A massive virtual world abandoned with vast collections of corporate property and whimsical user creations lying about unused?  Cyberspace depopulated by all but virtuafurries and corporate shillbots?  I was too young to fly Aeroflot in to watch the groaning death spasms of Soviet planned economies in real life so getting to watch the decline and fall of a virtual economy seemed to be a  hot ticket.  The burning question was “what would a virtual market utopia look like without customers?”

    SnapshotLadyTower_007

    The immediate answer was Pretty Vacant.   And sorta tending towards goth.  Basically like how I remembered the internet back in the AOL/Geocities days of wiggly flashing GIFs and Welcome pages, just 3-D and spacial.  Little flashing paywalls mark forcefields on various islands, letting you know that merely standing on certain properties is a rental arrangement.

    I will say, when trolling through the virtual construction of other people’s fantasies, it is nice to be able to fly.

    SnapshotLadyTower_001

    Here’s me as a bald Egyptian teenager (the form I was born in) aiming headfirst at a tower of vaguely pornographic glamour faces.  It reminds me a lot of walls in the all-porn version of Wolfenstein 3D my friend made back in middle school.

    On the depopulated islands cheap thrills can be purchased in attendant-less shops, virtual trinkets or new skins, assless chaps and all that.  I pretty quickly ditched everything I could easily ditch, ending up looking like the Silver Surfer with neon seams.  In a land where the point for your time and money is to assemble prettiness on your avatar and land and castles to keep people off of, having nothing and wearing nothing seemed to be the only natural punk thing thing to do.

    (Then again, using that word, how much do bondage pants cost in real life these days and how long does it take to sculpt a nice set of liberty spikes?  Is being punk like being in Second Life in real life?  Discuss.)

    SnapshotLadyTower_002

    Evetually I just started seeing what was possible to do.  So here I am sitting on an elk.

    This struck me as something of a flaw in the Second Life ideal.  There’s no quest, no mission, no point beyond those you make yourself.  While this is freedom, it’s the freedom of a Sunday afternoon in which all your plans have been canceled and no one’s picking up the phone.   There was a big word out there for someone with endless patience or Linden dollars, but showing up with no motivating purpose or idea of what to do beyond sitting on wildlife, it gets kind of boring.  This is where I think the appeal dies for the casual user, making one’s First Life appear much more charming in comparison.

    I’m ready to be proved wrong, though.  On the Second life blog, they say business in booming with around 750,000 unique repeat users in a month.  I personally never saw more than seven users on the same island in my travels.  As for digital ruins, my quest was stymied by the inability of virtual places to decay, a somewhat uncanny idea.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll dip back in to the Metaverse but only after I figure out why.


  3. Huh? Viral campaign for Japanese biotech company

    First go to http://174.133.240.117/ which looks like Google. Type “alfa tsentr” and you see some Russian characters that translates to “she is the beginning” (ona nachalo). Clicking around gets you to “The Junsui Project” which features Junko, the child of all man-kind. I know some Russian and Japanese but I have no idea what I’m supposed to buy.


  4. Everything I Know About Computers I Learned From Movies

    Do you fancy yourself a computer home computer enthusiast? Or would you like to become one? Rest assured, everything you need to know is in retarded movies.

    Access Denied & Hacking

    access-deniedAnytime anything wrong happens it will inevitably lead to a full screen flashing text saying Access Denied. Period. Oh and passwords are really easy to figure out and usually as I learned from Watchmen or The X-Files are the names of objects located near the computer in question. It’s also quite easy as in WarGames to accidentally get the username and password for thermodynamic weapons or some vast conspiracy.

    Wondering how you will be able to obtain anything through this “hacking” nonsense like bank cards, video confessions or someone’s DNA? Luckily, NASA and other agencies have easy to use high-tech user interfaces with well thought buttons indicated “LAUNCH SHUTTLE” or “NUKE THE SOVIET UNION.” These functions are all accessible over the World Wide Web. Anytime you need access at the last minute to a nuclear power plant, NORAD, or a car’s engine hacking is on your side.

    You may need to use a computer virus to do some super good or harm, just as long as it has a countdown sequence. Alien spaceship or home computer: viruses can do anything. They also cause physical damage such as smoke, screen glitches, or elaborate bitching graphics with skulls and crap off of a Lisa Frank folder.

    Planning is not necessary: just jam on your keyboard and that sad Access Denied will become a giant green Access Granted!

    Everything is VR

    disclosure-vr-douglas

    VR Michael Douglas

    The single best way of using a computer is not through a mouse and keyboard. If you want to get real work done, slap on a VR helmet. Also you know how Google makes it easy to find things by there being a convenient search box? No, there should be virtual file cabinets to hide and misfile information.

    jurassic_park_macintosh_quadra_700Michael Douglas does this in Disclosure. When he’s not getting raped by Demi Moore he invents VR. He’s able to find dirt on Moore way quicker than with Google or any of those kids toys. It’s like Halo mixed with Altavista from 1997. This is typical of movies like Lawnmower Man, Virtuosity, and Johnny Mnemonic they make computer seem magical and less utilitarian– as doing mundane tasks like opening Outlook should be. Insert virtual reality and anything can happen– even sex!

    If the computer does anything involving the security depart they must have a 3D wireframe model of the entire building allowing the security guards to zoom in and out a lá Jurassic Park or Ocean’s 12. Otherwise they are fucked.

    In short, this is how the Internet works. Or at least how it works for Keanu Reeves.

    Never Make Backups, Ever

    Great, so you discovered that the President is sleeping with, literally sleeping with the Soviet Premier. Save the information on one floppy disk or one laptop and never make a backup, physical copy, or email it to anyone. This is extremely important. This is imperative. Otherwise you will never have a final showdown with your enemy who thought he won on top of a skyscraper as he’s about to crush the floppy disk. Don’t believe me? Watch Fled, Mission Impossible, The Net, or any movie made in the 1990′s.

    In Conclusion: There is Nothing A Computer Can’t Do

    CSI and Bladerunner shows that any camera has infinite resolution. You must be a horrible photographer if you can’t get a perfect shot of the ‘perp reflecting in the teeth of a witness from a MacDonald’s security camera. All software is compatible with any other software, just slide the disk in an the file will pop up. Also, note that even over a payphone in Hackers its possible to have unlimited Internet speeds. DARYL in the aptly named DARYL had unlimited wireless bandwidth. Just remember whatever it is, whatever plot hole, computers will fix it.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, tell ‘em Keanu:


  5. Raw Materials: Social Networking Bookmark Icons

    Scouring the web it was hard to find social networking icons that were not 3D Boxes, bottled shaped, or otherwise irregular. So as the cliché goes sometimes if you want a job done you have to do it yourself. These basic logo icons for Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Twitter, and Delicious are suitable to use as is or modify for a more custom look.

    Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Twitter, and Delicious Icons

    Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Twitter, and Delicious Icons

    The file is a vector EPS version 3.0 file so it should open in most graphics programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Inkscape and many more. They will be used as part of a redesign of this very site (coming soon). If you find these icon logos useful let us know!


  6. Friend Request From the California Prison System

    twitterbird_cuffs

    Hell yes you can friend the California Department of Corrections on MySpace!  A quick look around their homepage reveals that Corrections is earning their 2009 Gold Award from SiOC for Best State Website with more social networking than you can shake a stick (presumably smuggled in a cavity) at.

    Sure, their Twitter usage is a bit rudimentary, mostly highlighting press where they’re mentioned.  (Sample headline: ‘Oldest Youth Offender Paroled’) But think of the thrill of becoming Facebook buds with the U.S.’s largest state-run prison system. (165,000 adult offenders and rising)  Keep them in the loop with your changes in maritial or parole eligibility status.

    There’s also a few gems on their YouTube Channel, such as a COPS Lite look at SNAG that makes me dream of being the California Department of Corrections official drum machine operator. Also, don’t miss the somewhat Cash-centric Folsom Prison Museum clip, featuring both behind the scenes footage of Joaquin Phoenix and an inmate-built toothpick ferris wheel.

    @philspector yo room for 1 mo, no wig tho kthx


  7. NATO Makes Raves Happen

    Did you know the North Atlantic Treaty Organization loves ravers? Neither did I, but for 60 years they have been making them happen. What the hell?

    So next time you pop so ecstasy, thank NATO. There are more equally surreal attempts at viral marketing by our forced military alliance overlords on their 60 Years of NATO propaganda public relations site.


  8. The Internet is Pictures of Cats: Weird Science

    Yes, that’s a video of a man jerking of a rhino. With good intentions. On the BBC.

    There is no Pop Science linking gold like the words “penis” or “sperm“.  Sure, nine times out of ten it baits and switches with some barely multicellular organism’s sex habits but every now and again there’s a linked video of two moose exchanging handjobs with an orca for a carton of cigarettes.  The write-up is to die for on that one.

    But I swear I had a point.  I think it was…

    Somewhere along the way, loving Pop Sci stopped being something you’d whisper at the newstand and wrap in a plain brown wrapper.  It’s not hard to know what did it: same as porno, the internet sloughed the shame off the sticky, nerdy surface of loving reports of animals banging and new non-lethal weapons that make a guy shit himself.  In the privacy of our own homes, finally we could all admit to each other that we secretly wished we paid attention during biology.

    So glory, glory be, to all the half-pervy come-ons from the Discovery Channel, telling me through my Gmail news ticker that prehistoric swizzle sticks made from juvenile raccoon penis bones have been carbon-dated to prove that Neanderthal man was an alcoholic inter-species pederast. (Wait for it… they’re still factchecking that one)

    And ancient peeFake rabbit wangThe DaVinci Cones!


  9. Tin Foil Hats Are Sexy: Barack Obama prepares for UFO arrival, open alien contact

    From All News Web:

    a_blackberryBarack Obama is in almost daily contact with SETI and is communicating with the aliens directly.

    The aliens indirectly contributed to the development of internet search engines and they are in limited contact with Google through SETI. They are able to access the internet currently and their involvement in search engine research is for the purpose of allowing them to understand as much about earth as possible prior to their next arrival.

    Awesome. Not only is Barack Obama in constant contact with them but they both contribute and learn from the Internet.

    Just keep that in mind whenever you spread a meme: cultural emissaries from several light years away will be basing every picture of a cat as what it means to be human.

    a_nutpoda_fail