Archive: April 2nd, 2008

Welles

In the latest episode of the Rissington podcast a listener asks What Podcasts do you listen to regularly? The panel answer with some top-notch listening recommendations. I’d just like to chime in with my own number one choice: Radiolab. Yes, technically it’s a radio programme rather than a made-for-Web podcast but that’s also true of my second choice, Mark Kermode’s film reviews.

The latest episode of Radiolab is somewhat special: the whole thing was recorded live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The subject matter is also pretty special. The episode is devoted to War of the Worlds; not the book, not the many film versions, but the classic Orson Welles radio dramatisation. There’s a lot of resonance with more recent phenomena like ARGs. While we can’t quite place ourselves in the mindset of 1938, it’s still pretty thrilling to listen to that original broadcast. A recording of the radio broadcast is available on the Internet Archive.

Ah, Orson Welles! Most people will remember his best film work as being Citizen Kane but we really know that Touch of Evil (but not the studio cut) is his real meisterwerk. And while everyone remembers his War of the Worlds broadcast, who knows of the genius that is :

We know a remote farm in Lincolnshire, where Mrs. Buckley lives. Every July, peas grow there.

As for his renowned acting talents, surely his finest work was revealed towards the end of his life when he poured his soul into this Paul Masson wine commercial.

Grubbin' - Garlic Prawns

This recipe from Ted looks like a keeper.

Next to Last.fm

I’m listening to Jessica play some music on iTunes and I can’t help but think what a shame it is that Last.fm has no knowledge of this. The MyWare of Last.fm only works for my devices; my iTunes, my Mobile Scrobbler. It would be nice if I could somehow let Last.fm know that I’m currently listening to the music of another Last.fm user. It would be even nicer if I didn’t need a computer to do it. Suppose I could just use my mobile phone to send a message to Twitter. Something like:

@lastfm listening to @wordridden

or:

@lastfm scrobbling @wordridden

There would need to be some corresponding method of switching of the link-up. I haven’t really thought it through that far. I’m just jotting down this idea in case anyone out there wants to try using the respective APIs to give this a whirl.

No fooling

There are two problems with April fool’s day on the Web.

Firstly, there’s the curiously timeless nature of online publishing. Google has a habit of preserving everything we write in amber so that long after a joke has been published in the context of April 1st, it resurfaces in search results where it may the taken at face value.

Secondly, it becomes very difficult to separate “real” stories from the japes. Remember a few years back when Google launched their GMail service? Remember what day they launched it on? I recall quite a few people who refused to believe the veracity of the announcement.

With that in mind, here are some tidbits that are most definitely pranks:

  • GMail adds time-travel support using an e-flux capacitor to resolve issues of causality.
  • John Resig releases Class Query for developers who are sick and tired of brevity and simplicity. This one is only funny if you a total code nerd but if you are a total code nerd, it’s very funny indeed.
  • The Web Standards Project follow up their bookmark campaign with hyper-localised social tagging.
  • Moo announce the MightyCard.
  • The latest World of Warcraft character is the bard with damage effects like “epic solo” and “shoegazer”.
  • The BBC show flying penguins.
  • And finally, every single featured video on YouTube is a winner today.

These bits of news, on the other hand, are for real:

  • Joe launches Captioning Sucks in an attempt to bring sanity and standards to the worlds of film and television. Any garishness you may experience is intentional.
  • The good people over at Flickr have resurrected Game Neverending—the game that many years ago served as the genesis for Flickr itself (that’s why you’ll still the .gne extension to this day). The message announcing the resurrection is, of course, very much a joke.

There was one other announcement from Flickr but they managed to get it out right before the dreaded day of foolishness. The site now has a flawless import feature that has completely scrapped the password anti-pattern. Instead they’re using authentication APIs from GMail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail (that last one is actually a bit of a cheat as Yahoo do not offer any export API for external services).

Needless to say, I’m over the moon about this (although Lachlan is less pleased). First Dopplr, now Flickr. And I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t even put Flickr in the running in the race to do the right thing. Consider me suitably chastised.