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2000 Q3

Spin Magazine's 100 Sleaziest Moments in Rock is a good read. Almost as shocking as Led Zeppelin's seafood fetish (#1) is a preview of the rock-porn videos Backstage Sluts 1 and 2 (#8), which recount rock-star conquests reenacted by porn stars. Now I know it was a mistake to quit playing the trumpet in 7th grade.

Attention K-Mart Shoppers! A search for "Backstage Sluts" is a big reason people get to this page. If you're interested in purchasing Backstage Sluts 1 and 2 for the low, low price of just $25 (including shipping), send me an email and we can arrange payment via check or Paypal.

Data input is always cited as the biggest problem with smart phones. NeoPoint's new 2000 series addresses the problem with the NeoPad QWERTY keyboard, which is either pure genius or the Edsel of phone accessories (I'm betting on the latter).

Yesterday Suck hit the bull's-eye on the motivation behind the Great TiVo Giveaway:
"... they're bribing a whole generation of epinion makers. Hand out a box to anybody capable of making a decent argument for its existence, and you've created a zombie army of sales people on the cheap, all of whom will happily set about addicting their friends, neighbors, co-workers and pets."
Feel the love.

FROM: Eric Vaughn
SUBJECT: Flash..Good/Dack..Bad
MESSAGE: You are obviously some old geezer still living back in the early days of the internet where a cool website was one that used color. A good flash site is much more usable than a good HTML site. Aside from usability though, what are your thoughts on originality? You obviously don't believe in it based on your generic, boring, monotone site. Get a life.

It's porn and usability day.

Blink 182 put a porn star on the cover of their album; Kid Rock appears with porn stars to promote his album; Everclear plays a porn party. What's going on here? It's the convergence of rock and porn (of course!), and it's examined on a VH1 show called, um, Rock & Porn. (Next showing: Friday, October 6th, 10:30 Eastern & Pacific)

Speaking of porn, tough-girl mag Bust (tagline: "The Voice of the New Girl Order") suggests viewing porn is a way for grrrls to become as horny as men. Not possible, me thinks, but here are nine other recommendations.

Wichita State University's Usability News is a treasure trove of useful usability articles, many backed by research. A few highlights from the most recent issue:

Just How 'Blind' Are We to Advertising Banners on the Web?
Not as blind as originally thought. Over half of their test's participants recalled seeing an advertisement on the test pages, and many actually recalled the name of the company.

What Size and Type of Font Should I Use on My Web Site?
Conventional wisdom holds that anti-aliased fonts (the fuzzy-edged fonts seen on most GIFs, Flash sites and PDF files) enhance readability compared to the "dot-matrix" font style you're reading now. Not so, according to this study, which scored the hard-edged 12pt Arial higher than its anti-aliased counterpart.

Criteria for Optimal Web Design (Designing for Usability)
"Designing a website that takes into account the human element requires both an understanding of our nature as well as our physiological limitations. Usable websites incorporate human tendencies and limitations into its overall design."

One last usability bit: Mark Pearrow's Web Site Usability Handbook looks like a gem.

It's wireless day.

Good Experience has published a white paper called "The Wireless Customer Experience."

Jupiter's Seamus McAteer is the smartest analyst covering the wireless industry. On Japan providing models for the best m-commerce practices, he writes:
"The notion that the success of mobile services in Japan is wholly attributable to cultural factors is a handy cop-out by carriers in other regions. In launching iMode, NTT DoCoMo set a good example: It adopted an open platform and ensured that consumers' preferred services get primary placement. This open approach, giving the consumers what they want, characterizes the type of transparent business model that others should adopt."
Speaking of iMode, it may be here sooner than anyone thought, as NTT DoCoMo and AOL have announced a mobile internet venture.

Finally, in last week's Alertbox, Jakob Nielsen highlighted a quote from the head of Internet operations for the largest bank in Sweden: "We have provided online banking via WAP to our customers since early this year. [...] You go down, down, down all these menus, and you wait, wait, wait each time. You're straining to read text on this tiny screen on the phone. Eventually, people just give up." Note: If a user has to drill down, down, down to perform common online banking tasks, then the largest bank in Sweden has a wireless application with a poorly, poorly, poorly designed UI.

Oh. One last thing. This site is available on your web-enabled cell phone ... unless you're in a GSM country using a Nokia browser. That version will be ready soon.

Yellingman.com lifted my site design, but there's something about the way he announced it that makes it OK. I like the cut of your jib, son.
FROM: John Galusha
SUBJECT: jack dot com
MESSAGE: In addition to needy women, canned mushrooms and Mexico, you might want to add YellingMan.com to your Suck List. Why? Cuz I jacked your design and made it my own. Ha!
Congratulations to Anders Torgerson who won a dack.com hat by submitting Free Enterprise to the sleeper list. If you like sci fi, the original Star Trek, or William Shatner even a little bit, it's a must see. (Side note: The movie's strange ending is the basis for priceline.com's strange series of ads starring Shatner.)

Beach volleyball is an Olympic sport?! What's next? Greco-Roman fucking?

Friday's post about Microsoft Office 2000's menus generated a lot of email explanations on how to restore the menus to their original state (View --> Toolbars --> Customize -- > uncheck the first two boxes). The idea behind comparing the new MS Office menus with the old ones was to point out that less UI doesn't always make a better UI, at least in my opinion. The fact that lots of readers told me how to restore the menus may be an indication of people's interest in doing so.

Kitty Kate is back. May the phone lines in the Milwaukee/Waukesha area never be severed again. Damn the incompetent backhoe diggers to hell!

In The Importance of Simplicity, Microsoft UI guy Scott Berkun writes that "less UI is better UI." While that's probably true most of the time, Microsoft's own implementation of drop-down menus in their Office 2000 suite proves that it's not always the case.

There is minimal UI in this design, but important functionality is hidden:
Sucky Office 2000 Drop-Down
So if a user wants to create a new file in Microsoft Word, and hasn't done so lately, he has to click on the down arrows to get this:
This is Progress?
Meanwhile, the old-fashioned drop-down interface shows all the options and doesn't move them around. The old design isn't as minimal as the new one, but in this example it's faster, less confusing, and involves one less mouse click:
An Oldie But A Goodie
I wonder if Microsoft performed usability tests on their new menuing system, or if they implemented it only because they could. Everyone I've talked to dislikes the new drop-downs and wishes they worked as they did before.

Ted Baker Online won the Flash Usability Challenge. But you can't see it because the store is closed (no development server?!). You can see some of the other entries at WebWord's "Flash Usability Contest Aftermath" page.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, "Jaws" is now playing on your cell phone (http://dack.com). Here's a scene:

Today's tip: Don't bother submitting Stride Shoes' site to the Flash Usability Challenge (prize now $200). The site is "wall-to-wall" Flash, but the designers didn't hide the browser's toolbar in a new window, so no matter how deep you go into the site's hierarchy, if you hit Back you start at the splash screen.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's 120seconds.com does the same thing.

Do real users tolerate this? Or do they just leave, like me?

Both sites bring back memories of Netscape 2's implementation of frames, which Jakob Nielsen said was "one of the worst usability problems to be seen on the Web so far."

Speaking of Nielsen, the master says that "CueCat is clueless," and points to a savage attack on CueCat by Salon's Scott Rosenberg. The maker of the CueCat, Digital Convergence, had their systems hacked a couple of days ago, probably by one of those really pissed off Slashdotters.

Ad-mail. "So many marketers are making miniature versions of their commercials that almost all Internet users will find ad mail in their e-mail in-box soon."

Your boss's agenda for the day: Get up. Go to work. Download porn. Go to sleep. 70% of all porn traffic in the US occurs between 9am and 5pm; and employees earning between $75k and $100K are twice as likely to download porn at work as those earning less than $35K.

Whew. Ironminds is not dead. In fact, they're alive and kicking quite vigorously: "We're prolific and hopeful and we're publishing 30 stories this week ... how many are you publishing, fucker?" One's got to wonder, though, about their revenue model. Do banner ads even pay the bills anymore for anyone except Yahoo?

Some of you are surely bored to tears by all the Flash discussion lately, but the Flash vs. HTML usability test has generated some excellent email. Here's Joe Wheeler's point of view:
"... gimmicks like Flash are, pardon, a 'flash in the pan.' When a new medium comes along, there is the "toy" phase, which is the dumb golly gee stuff. The next phase is the "mirror" phase, where, to use (Marshall) McLuhan's phrase "rear-view mirror," the medium dredges up that which has been seen before in predecessors, in this case animated ads on television. The final phase is the "art" phase, in which the medium, in this case the Internet/Web, comes into its own as a medium with its own creative means of furthering human communication. That maturity will not have much to do with what Flash produces."
WebWord's John Rhodes is running a Flash Usability Contest (aka Mission: Impossible 3). Submit an example of an effective and usable web site using Flash, from a company generating a profit, and you win $150.

FROM: A fellow from Healtheon | WebMD
SUBJECT: Bullshit generator
MESSAGE: A month ago our CEO sent out an all-staff email in which he wanted "to realize cost synergies across all assets" — meaning, of course, that there will be a new round of layoffs. Until the axe falls I'm doing my part on a go-forward basis to generate a goal-oriented attitude in order to repurpose my results-driven resume!

Separated at birth? Healtheon's 2-year chart and the Fucked Company logo.

I knew the Republican ticket looked familiar.

The award for worst use of Flash for an e-commerce site goes to ... the envelope please ... MAC Cosmetics. (Applause) Trying to click on their product navigation is kinda like playing a very challenging video game. What fun! (via Jason Kottke)

Gino from Design is Dead sent me a note saying I suck. HARD. But nothing sucks quite as hard as Design is Dead's portfolio site.

Speaking of hard, it's hard to believe, but here's a real article from the META Group:
E-Priorities For Infrastructure Consolidation

With e-business infrastructure imperatives exposing potential brand vulnerability, users must tie operational centers of excellence to infrastructure development. A derivative effect of this dynamic is reprioritizing consolidation drivers. TCO and resource utilization management are becoming less critical than enabling infrastructure agility and robustness. Users should focus on enhancing storage-centric availability, scalability (uncertain workloads), and increased integration to support diverse points of interaction. Consolidation should also include exiting less adaptive legacy platforms that impede flexibility. Through 2001, users should incrementally grow server and storage infrastructure capabilities while maintaining robust backup/recovery methodologies and operations. Complex nonmainframe disaster recovery capabilities will remain immature and costly. Bottom Line: E-Business requirements are reprioritizing infrastructure consolidation drivers; developing and replicating operational centers of excellence must take precedence.
dack.com is now available on web-enabled cell phones. All your favorites are there: the daily weblog, the suck list, and the bullshit generator; plus there's a new feature called Cell Phone Theater that I'm very proud of. You can email your favorite movies to your friends ... and enemies. Just point your phone's browser to http://dack.com

Dotcomfailures.com is a dot com failure. 140 bucks down the drain.

FROM: Andrey
MESSAGE: I'm a freelance web designer and run my own company and let me tell you I love doing Flash projects for clients. Why? Because these fucking morons don't know anything and think Flash is the thing to have right now and are paying HUGE amounts of money to me to design it for them. I don't use any Flash on my sites nor will I in the near future, (maybe if there are huge improvements to it) but hey, if a client wants to waste several grand on a Flash animation, I will not object.

More stills from Cell Phone Theater:

Rear Window
"Rear Window"
Indiana Jones
"Indiana Jones"
Karate Kid
"Karate Kid"

Why bother actually writing your company's press releases when you can just copy/paste from the Press Release Generator?

I'll be a little light for the rest of the week ... busy making cell phone movies. Here's a still taken from the first production, called "You've Got Mail!"
You've Got Mail!

Coming later this week to a cell phone near you: "Rain Man," "Rear Window," and "Dial 'M' for Murder."

nurse-betty.com launches a new browser called WebScape. (Note: A reader emailed me and said nurse-betty.com so frustrated and angered his girlfriend that they went to see "Original Kings of Comedy" instead.)

I got all this year's Christmas shopping done at bodyperks. "Nipples are in!"

Mary Carillo has no business being in the same booth with Dick Enberg and John McEnroe. Yesterday she invented a new word: bombarged. Sample usage: Pete Sampras is being bombarged by Marat Safin.

Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, is out, but gaming on wireless handhelds is in. (Side note: a mini version of dack.com will be available for web-enabled cell phones starting sometime next week. No games yet, but there will be movies!)

FROM: Chris Dyer
SUBJECT: Burton.com
MESSAGE: Love their boards, hate their site. All I want to do is find some fucking boots!* K2, love their boards, like their site.

*Emphasis added. Go ahead and compare for yourself. (When you get to Burton.com, make sure you set your browser to the "Optimum Browser Width." It's much better that way.)

It's hard to tell if Interelate is parody or the real thing. All the telltale signs of parody exist:
1. Obnoxious Flash splash screen. Check.
2. Home page copy written by Bullshit Generator. Check.
3. Three. Word. Tagline. Check.

Grant Hutchinson of Splorp.com on turning FC usernames into domain names:

I wasn't surprised that bitchslapper.com was already registered, but what on earth would somebody want with crackwhoreceo.com? The mind boggles. On the positive side of the sliding scale, the rest of your data sampled from the site proved clean. These attractive domains are ready for the taking:

Breaking News: Linux Developer Gets Laid . "This is the third such occurrence for Linux developers since 1991."

Separated at birth?* (via Gary Cline)

It's kinda fun scrolling through the IMDB's list of 100 worst movies as rated by their users. The biggest vote-getter on the list is, of course, "Battlefield Earth."

*4 out of 5 IT policemen recommend this link.

From the Juicy Irony Department: The folks who run the Jakob Nielsen parody portal have decided to redesign their site because, well, it just wasn't very useable.

The FuckedCompany message boards are worth a visit if only for the amusing (and indignant) member usernames. Here's a sampling:

Barbie, like you've never seen her before:

Exotic Dancer Barbie
Barbie Got Back
Gangsta Bitch Barbie
Goth Barbie
Sorority Slut Barbie
Transgender Barbie
Oringe Interactive has built their site in Flash, but with an interesting twist: it's only navigable with the keyboard.

Check out Writers Block. (Highly recommended. Via Joshua Schnable.)

Good Experience's Mark Hurst took one look at DrMartens.com and wrote a column about it.

This site turns 1 year old today. Thanks for reading.

After spending too much time reading the teachings of Jakob Nielsen, four Icon Medialab employees have actually mutated into Jakob Nielsen.

Cell phone ring tones are about to get a lot more annoying. Yesterday Nokia and EMI inked a deal that will allow those with Nokia cell phones to download songs from EMI artists like Spice Girls, Sting, and Puff Daddy.
     Nokia spokesman Keith Nowak: "This is a big thing. People like to be stylish and doing things their own way, this will allow them to do that. Imagine, if your girlfriend is named Barbara ... when she phones you could have the Beach Boy's (sic) 'Barbara Ann' song [as your ring]."

FROM: Dr. Donna Shannon
SUBJECT: Flash is evil and can cause seizures
MESSAGE: Flash can initiate a seizure in people who are prone to having seizures. Flashing lights have been known by the medical community to initiate seizure activity for years. This only occurs in an individual with a lower seizure threshold but some individuals that have never had a seizure could experience on when exposed to Flash.

DrMartens.com. Cool to look at, but is it functional? (Warning. May cause seizures.)

Forbes' latest "Best of the Web" is out, which will keep you busy for hours. My hard copy came in the mail yesterday, along with a box from Forbes that contained this really goofy thing called the Cue Cat Reader.
     Here's how it works: you hook the Cue Cat up to your computer, and when you see an article or advertisement of interest, you scan a bar code with your cat-shaped device and you're taken "to the specific web page, deep within a site, that has the information you want."
     Forbes is calling it "a new era of communication." I'm not so sure. I put mine in the trash.

Dack asleep at the stick: 7676.com, which "spells" porn.com, was available until September, 1999. Now the owner probably wants like $50 or $100 ...

Zippo.com — a completely fucked-up disaster that's killing their brand.

A new "feature" of Flash 5: small banner ads can inflate to a full-page product specification sheet or an entire catalog. Macromedia calls it "WYPINWYS" (What You Print Is Not What You See). Weblogger Kevin Fox has coined a much more appropriate term: "bannerspam."

Summer Forty-Niner, the student newspaper at California State University, is making waves by quoting a Sony Vice President as saying some not-very-nice things about Napster: "Sony is going to take aggressive steps to stop this. We will develop technology that transcends the individual user. We will firewall Napster at the source - we will block it at your cable company, we will block it at your phone company, we will block it at your [Internet service provider]. We will firewall it at your PC." (via Eric Taylor)

Cool shirts from the guys who brought you Enormicom. Hey 37signals! You got an affiliate program?! I wanna be rich!

Trying not to completely miss the reality-TV meme, NBC has bought the rights to "Chains of Love," where four women will be chained to a man for a week (fun!); and ABC has acquired "Jailbreak," a show set in prison where inmates, er, contestants will try to escape.

Speaking of Survivor, there are similarities between the speeches of the four remaining Survivors and those of George W. Bush, Al Gore, John McCain, and Ralph Nader.

A single guy's refrigerator, according the New York Times. Not enough beer; too many condiments. Is it really necessary to have anything else besides ketchup? I think not.

Excellent excerpt from a good-looking new book that helps explain why James Cramer is so thin-skinned about criticism of TheStreet.com, which Business Week aptly dubbed TheDive.com. (via Carlos Montaner)

New bookmark: Kitty Kate's Weblog. Some highlights from the past few days of Kate's life:

» "Not feeling good again. Got the poopies and it feels like someone has my stomach and twisting it. Uggh!"

» "I lead a boring life. Made dinner for once tonight. It was alright. Going to try something else. Tell me what you think, I might make cubed beef on top of rice with green beans and melted cheese, it sounds good to me but then I am on PMS and anything sounds good."

» "Was a wonderful day except for the fact that I got my period but made love in the morning and didn't get it till ten o'clock so hey I feel great!"

» "... sometimes I do feel like throwing something usually a punch or a fist towards someone but I am not going to let anyone's opinion bother me! End of story."

This site looks surprisingly familiar. (Damn. It keeps changing. It used to be a much closer copy, right down to the HTML comments.)

Get your Skylab crash helmet down from the attic! Here come 66 Iridium satellites!

Ralph Nader's controversial campaign spot that borrows heavily from MasterCard's "priceless" series is available at AdCritic.

At least one reader doesn't mind gratuitous nude links:

FROM: Rhinestone
MESSAGE: I, for one, appreciate a little tit in the morning. And your taste has been impeccable thus far. And as for the "warning" business, I have learned - as any reasonably astute DACKer would have - to read between the lines of your authorial tone for signs of that telltale rambunctiousness which says, "Hey, guys: tit shot comin' at ya." Yesterday, for instance, I simply made a mental note to review the link when I got home.

Amazon unleashed their new navigation scheme yesterday ... but does it really matter? I don't think I've ever clicked on one of their tabs. They didn't move search box, so I'll be OK. Maybe Nielsen is right after all. Maybe navigation just isn't that useful.

Mark my words: the Next Big Thing will be porn on your cell phone. But first you'll need one of these*.

Some good mail was sent in yesterday:

FROM: Wesley Thornberry
MESSAGE: You are a dork! Get off your butt and stop wasting your time putting up this website that nobody cares about. My god man! Go find yourself a woman or a man to spend some time with before you can't get it up anymore! Booze and Golf? This is what your life consists of? So your (sic) a drunk golfing computer dork-way to go!

FROM: Maryse F.
MESSAGE: The site has been very technical and testosterone orientated of late. The tit shot today (August 22) was an unwelcome continuation of this trend. Seeing as we access this stuff from work and our net stuff is monitored, could you warn us of any "IT police" dangerous links?

*This link certified 100% tit-free.

Even though its purpose is to push IBM product, IBM's Expert Perspective mini-site has a handful of worthwhile articles, including Jakob Nielsen on usability engineering, and Grady Booch on the collision of designers and developers on web development projects.

If you have a big pipe and the patience to endure several splash screens, heavy.com has added a bunch more artists to their Behind the Music that Sucks series. Recent additions include Billy Joel, Oasis, and Smashing Pumpkins.

I'm not a fan of gold necklaces, but sometimes exceptions must be made.

After seeing Friday's post about entigo.com's splash page, Neale Talbot made an excellent parody called Wendigo. "Flagellate Your Clients. Murder Then Cannibalize." Neale is tired of doing all the parodies himself, so he's launching a splash page parody contest called Slash the Splash. If you're interested in competing, there's excellent source material available at espeed.com.

Heathrow airport announcers tricked into saying some funny stuff. Asking for foreign passengers Arheddis Varkenjaab and Aywellbe Fayed, actually sounds like: "I hate this fucking job and I will be fired." (via Gregor Mittersinker)

Everyone loves picking on poor ol' Jakob Nielsen. Kottke designed UseitAmp, Peterme sells the WWJD (What Would Jakob Do) Mousepad, and Steve Champeon and Jeff Veen wrote The Jakob Nielsen Drinking Game. The latest to poke fun at the Web Usability Guru are Seth Neilson and Rik Abel, who have created a Jakob Nielsen parody portal. Be sure to check out some of their own work, like the short film entitled "The Many Moods of Jakob Nielsen."
     Neilson and Abel's site is pretty smart, which is in stark contrast to August Bourré's inept useit.com parody.

A splash screen to rival KPMG.com, except that entigo.com has lots of 1 pixel-wide lines moving around. Those are cool. And lots of zeros and ones, like this: 0001001110010100. Neato! (via Kevin McGrath)

<golf tip>
If you're planning on teaching your wife (or girlfriend) how to play golf, you'll need to provide her with the following three things:
1. A bucket of balls
2. A 1-iron
3. A downhill lie
</golf tip>

Ilovebacon.com. I laughed. I cried. I wasted an entire evening looking at porno bloopers. (via Rich Sutter)

Ironminds defines five things that turn men on, and apparently big boobs are out:
1. The Back (not the butt, silly; the back)
2. Glasses
3. Unique Fashion Sense
4. Similar Appearance (men are narcissistic, ya know)
5. Boldness

Yoda-like wisdom from Morningstar's David Kathman after the collapse of living.com: "Living.com's failure makes one wonder ... whether people really want to buy things such as patio furniture or weed whackers over the Internet at all." The grim reaper is now sharpening his scythe for the next in line: Furniture.com.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the next president of the United States. Did he really give up booze?

At the Phone.com conference a couple of weeks ago, one of the speakers mentioned a useful email service offered by PhoneFish.com. What's interesting is their choice for a URL: jgjg.com. It's a smart choice for the smartphone market not only because it's short, but because the 'j' and 'g' are the initial alpha characters on the 4 and 5 buttons, respectively.
     Similar combinations have already been gobbled up, of course. Englishman John Glendenning has even bothered to register ghi4.com (pushing the 4 button 4 times), jkl5.com, mno6.com, and tuv8.com.

Separated at birth? A parody of Amazon's tab navigation in 2001, and Amazon's self-parody of their tab navigation in 2001. "Our customers love our tabs."

Some fun wireless numbers. Thanks to iMode, Japan now has more people connecting to the Internet with a phone than with a PC.

There's a new music magazine on the stands you should avoid: REVOLUTION. Don't get sucked in by the "two free CDs" offer (like I did); one contains a few crappy MP3s, the other has only a single Flash movie that I still can't make heads or tails of. For about the same price you can buy Muzik, a magazine with better CDs and excellent reviews from critics with a clue.

Ironminds is simply one of the best sites on the Web. An essay from yesterday's issue that's well worth a read: Why We Hate Bush.

For all you mooks out there, check out Da Ebonics Page. Be sure to listen to your first ebonics language lesson (MP3), where "You are beautiful. I would like to make love to you." is translated into "Damn, bitch, you stupid fly. Let me pull up to your bumper and smack that monkey."

Rudy Park pokes fun at the size of the New Economy magazines: "Medic! Business 2.0 fell and crushed my leg!" (via Peter Lawrence)

Gates Poses Nude for Fortune Magazine. "Microsoft shares rose ¾ of a point to 74.25 with the news."

This site is mentioned in the September issue of Talk magazine. Tina Brown herself sent me a copy of the mag, and even enclosed card with a real copy of her signature.

www.flash.tv is available for only $1,000,000 per year. Vaat a bargain.

Remember the post about 'Rage Culture' a few days ago? Turns out all the rioting and violence at Limp Bizkit shows is, well, manufactured. After "all hell broke loose" at a Napster-sponsored Bizkit concert in July, a music industry insider concluded, "Limp Bizkit wanted a fucked-up mess, and they got a fucked-up mess." Maybe the mooks aren't so genuinely angry after all.

Uh oh. dotcomfailures is reporting that IFILM is laying off "redundant" employees. I really hope they're not fucked because I just sent them a movie.

This spring amazon.com was denied a request to renew its domain name. Read why. (via Steve Ulrich)

Check out some of the funky DHTML going on at U2's site. Brought to you by good technology, the British equivalent of Kioken.

For years anecdotal evidence has suggested that staring at women's breasts is good for men's health. Now there's scientific proof: "Our study indicates that engaging in this activity (ogling women's breasts) a few minutes daily cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack in half." (via Chris Roth)

Highly Recommended: Among the Mooks, an NYT Magazine article exploring the confluence of rap-metal, professional wrestling, and porn into something called 'Rage Culture.' A better name might be 'White Trash That Acts Black and Has Nothing to be Angry About.'

Seattle has a real gem in Rewind with Bill Radke, a superb political satire radio show. Saturday's show reported that Colin Powell was furious when he found out he was given the wrong speech for his address to the Republican National Convention. It was actually meant for Ted Kennedy. That's funny. See if it's playing on your local public radio station.

This site's been nominated for a Golden Apple Award. Wow. I'm speechless.

Last week Inside published a follow-up to the content-publishing piece that they were recently forced to correct. It's kind of a rehash of the original article, but they added a choice quote from a tech manager discussing his less computer-literate bosses:
"It takes a long time to convince people that all the marketing they've heard (from the likes of Vignette and Open Market) is crap. A lot of these executives who don't know much about technology, don't know what you mean when you tell them that proprietary templating languages are dead or something like that. When it comes to understanding these systems, a lot of them are asleep."
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
— Benjamin Franklin

More evidence that the backlash against conspicuous cell phone use is real, and turning violent: "Doctors at a Toronto hospital report treating mobile phone talkers and irritated bystanders for black eyes and even a cracked rib after eruptions of 'cell phone rage.'"
     At last week's phone.com conference I was amazed at the rudeness of some cell phone users. It's a mobile phone conference, after all, but that's no excuse to have your ringer on during speakers' presentations. Contrary to your own belief, you're just not that important.
     Be discreet. If you're not, someone might just kick your ass. Or, at the very least, your phone will be destroyed by two guys dressed as giant cell phones.

Flash Gordon wasn't pleased when he read that "Flash is Evil." (This won't be nearly as funny to people who aren't familiar with Flash Gordon, or Queen.)

TO: dack@dack.com
FROM: Flash Gordon
SUBJECT: Flash is Evil???
BODY: Dack ... you are an ignorant dickhead. Everyone knows that Flash is the "... savior of the universe." Didn't you listen to the goddamn Queen song, you neophyte asshole? It's common knowledge amongst advanced, intelligent code-writers that Ming the Merciless is Evil ... BY THE NATURE OF HIS FUCKING NAME, MORON !!!

Shit is to Smelly as Merciless is to Evil

Get a clue buddy.

-Flash Gordon

What is the deal with toe rings? Icky Bacteria Collection Devices in sterling silver and 24K gold. Sexy!

A baseball, even a major league baseball, just isn't worth this price.

A July 3rd Forbes article wondered about Virgin: "Las Vegas, cell phones, the Internet. Is Richard Branson pushing his brand too far?" We have an answer: yes. Yesterday James Lileks asked if I'd been able to hook up with a hot Virgin-Atlantic stewardess, and added: "In Borders today I saw the goddamndest book title & brand extension I'd ever seen: the (Virgin Logo) Book of Infant Names."

Business 2.0 editor James Daly on the idiocy of the RIAA: "The mass screeching and clawing over the recent court action against Napster is just one more example of how startlingly stupid the recording industry continues to be."

A few weeks ago Inside published an article stating that some of Vignette's top clients were jumping ship and creating their own content management systems. Under pressure from Vignette, Inside published a correction:
"Contrary to a report in the July 5 column 'The Ugly Secret Behind Top Media Sites,' which explored the frustrations creators of media Web sites have with custom content-management applications, chicagotribune.com and CNET are not moving off Vignette to home-grown platforms. Inside regrets the error."
Even if Vignette's top clients are not leaving, the article (which is kinda broken) makes a very strong argument for not relying on middleware applications like Vignette's Story Server:
In the long run, it's likely that more and more media sites will build (or contract out and supervise) their own solutions, built around standards like Java Server Pages that aren't dependent on one company for development and support. Since all the packaged systems need so much customization, you might as well build your system in your own idiosyncratic image from the start. It's where you're going to end up anyway.
Australian troublemaker Neale Talbot has created an amusing parody of the KPMG splash page. Go, Neale, go!

Kottke! What have you done?! (Point of Interest: There was a time when every weblogger and his brother was jumping on the epinions bandwagon. The link to epinions is gone from Jason's navigation menu, Cam hasn't written one in almost a year, and even epinions employee peterme has removed the direct epinions links from his home page.)

A sure-fire way to keep the gals away: wear this watch. (via Steve Ulrich)

The Maxim 2000 Girlfriend Remote.

A Virgin Atlantic flight crew is staying in our hotel. Richard Branson clearly requires that his flight attendants are at least 5' 8", less than 125 pounds, and hot. England is simply lovely in the late summer, or fall.

Ever since Annabel Chong had sex with 251 men in one day, many have tried, and broken, the gangbang record. An article in this week's SF Weekly examines the follies around the "Who Wants to SHAG to be a Millionaire" contest. One of the biggest problems: not enough guys showed up to participate.

A few people have emailed me with the news that KPMG has removed the Flash splash screen from their site. Nope. If you've visited kpmg.com, there's a cookie on your machine that tells them you're a repeat visitor, and they spare you from again enduring a spectacular example of Flashturbation.

Phone.com Conference: Cheers
To Sprint PCS for demonstrating the forthcoming LGI-3000W, the best example yet (in the American market) of the phone/Palm-like-device convergence. If you're in the market for a new phone, you may want to wait until this gem is available. It'll retail for between $250 and $350, and will be available, according to the Sprint guy, "very soon."

Phone.com Conference: Jeers
To Phone.com's Director of Usability Paul Smethers, who managed to turn what should have been a very interesting presentation (showing off 40 new phones hitting the global market) into a plodding, self-indulgent, and ultimately intolerable piece of shit.

As you prepare for life After Napster ('A.N.'), read yesterday's eye-opening Wall Street Journal article about the company. Headline: "When Its Own Assets Are Involved, Napster Is No Fan Of Sharing."

6 warning signs that your job is toast (or that your company might soon be featured on Fucked Company).

San Francisco Guardian's Best of the Bay. From the very amusing category "Best Place to Dump a Dead Body:"
Tired of those messy wash-ups on the coastline? Embarrassed over unsightly floaters at the surface of Lake Merced? We've all been there. You need a surefire spot that will keep your corpses submerged long after they'll be missed. Solution: Directly underneath the Golden Gate lies the deepest spot in San Francisco Bay, 280 feet straight down. With just a dab of concrete for weight, you can rest assured that whoever ratted you out will be sleeping with the fishes for a long, long time. Remember, it's not just 280 feet of watery grave — it's peace of mind.
Worth the Price of Admission:
Phone.com's Dave Weinstein demonstrated very cool communications portal onebox.com (acquired by Phone.com in April), and very cool voice portal technology by @Motion (acquired by Phone.com in January). Mr. Weinstein recorded a voice message that was translated to text and then sent as an email. Voice recognition for phones overcomes some of the data-input issues that have been raised.

If Minneapolis had even one bar like Toronado, I would be a very, very happy man.

It ain't The Onion, but The Satyr is worth checking out. Man Seeks Federal Aid for Mid-Life Crisis: Bald 40 year-old Aaron Pottsfeld "asked Congress to allocate approximately $355,000 to help subsidize the growing costs of a 24-year-old girlfriend, a cherry red 2000 Porsche Cabriolet, and hair plugs."

Even away from home, I need my Robot Frank Diary fix. A few days ago a neighborhood kid fell down a hole, and Robot Frank's idea to save him was to fill the hole with water so he would float to the top.

Report from the Phone.com Conference:
The first thing Phone.com instructor Alastair French asked everyone to do was turn off their cell phones and pagers, so as not to disturb his UI class. Phones rang, beepers beeped, phone calls were made, and people hammered out short email messages with their numeric keypads. Unreal.

From Monday's San Francisco Chronicle: Let Your Fingers Do the Fumbling, a critical look at the Internet-enabled phone as a web browser and email client. The phone is not a web browser. The phone is not an email client. The phone is a tool to perform a surgical strike at information.

The Latest Fashion: Fear-of-Crime Design. Psychological consumer research whiz Dr. Clotaire Rapaille ...
"... contends the United States is in some ways becoming a medieval society, in which people live and work in the modern equivalent of castles -- gated communities, apartment buildings with doormen and office buildings with guards -- and try to shield themselves while traveling between them. They do this by riding in sport utility vehicles, which look armored, and by trying to appear as intimidating as possible to potential attackers."
I'm going to be in San Francisco next week for phone.com's Unwired Universe conference. If you live there and want to grab a beer (or two) please let me know.

Karmavore.com is a fine collection of chick flicks. Nuts to that! More like it is Maxim Magazine's list of the Top 100 Guy Movies. "Slap Shot" takes top billing because Paul Newman and the rest of the Charleston Chiefs "drink beer, get laid, play sports, gamble, watch TV, avoid relationships, and successfully put off adulthood." Woo-hoo!

Speaking of movies: moviesthatsuck.com. There's not a single movie in their sucky vault that does not suck.

I wonder if epinions is a viable business. Well-read Weblog King and Highly Recommended Reviewer Jason Kottke gave Burger King a good grillin' (pun intended), and cannot even recoup the cost of his crummy meal in epinions payments. He's made $1.87 for a 313-word review, which works out to a very pathetic .6¢ per word; and his rate is probably a lot higher than most other epinions contributors. Who will bother to write high-quality reviews when the payoff is so small?

Every once in a while I'll pick up a copy of Playboy ... for the articles, of course. The August issue has a fascinating interview with John Malkovich, an insightful Q&A with pop star Aimee Mann, and a mention of the BSG on page 171. And there's a great pair of cans on page 100.

The designers of the new realtor.com have forgotten the three most important things about real estate: location, location, location. People come to this site to find a list houses they can afford in an area they'd like to live. Inexplicably, the new realtor.com removes houses' addresses and map links on the list page, forcing the user to drill to the detail page to find out where the hell the house is located. As I scrambled to find another real estate site, it occurred to me that there might be a lesson here: Promote skimming. In a list/detail scenario, provide as much information and related links on the list as feasible; reserve the detail for the, um, detail.

KPMG.com really needs a skip intro. (Check this out if you haven't already.)

Razorfish, the designer of KMPG.com, is being sued by talent-casting firm IAM. IAM says Razorfish delivered a site that was "flawed by grave technical and navigational problems" and that IAM's buy-side tool was "unusable." Juicy stuff.

Someone recently told me I have an affinity for the Amish community. Amish e-commerce site lehmans.com is where I buy all my straight-edge razors, Victorian oil lamps, and whirligigs and weathervanes. (via David Fedosiewich)

I get a lot of Flash-related email. Some people point out horribly designed Flash sites and Flash-critical comic strips, or tell me to either (i.) go to hell or (ii.) go fuck myself. Or both. Others, like Josiah Gordon, cc me on emails sent to the barneys.com webmaster:
Do you know that Flash is not fully compatible with Windows 2000 and that many users (myself included) cannot see any part of your site? I get the error "An error occured inside a plug-in on this page" and then get a blank gray screen. How do you expect me to shop your site if I can't see it?

I just checked at the Macromedia site and I have the newest version of the Flash plug-in "sucessfully" installed (I can see the little Flash animation on their site). I have the same problem at work using IE 5.5 on Windows 2000 Professional.

Please don't take the Boo.com route (which also didn't like Windows 2000). Make a site using any combination of the following technologies already accepted by web browsers: HTML, CSS, DHTML, JavaScript, XML and any number of other web application servers and scripting languages! If you use these you will have less compatibility issues, more standard user interface design, a faster loading site (less bandwidth costs), easier maintainence, support for people with disabilites, support for people whose primary language is not English (text translations), a much wider audience, and the ability to support WAP and other wireless ecommerce technologies in the future.

With Flash you get incompatibility, un-standard user interface design, less accessibility and less scalability in the future. Oh, but you do get pretty graphics and animations.

I have always found your company to have great customer service in its physical stores, please don't let me down in your virtual one.
Kioken, the design firm responsible for the current barneys.com site, was recently featured on CNN's Business Unusual (Quick Time movie). Kioken designer/developer Joshua Davis recounts a web-site-related conversation with co-founder Gene Na:

JD: "This site doesn't work on Netscape."
GN: "This is a prototype. Forget about Netscape."

JD: "It only works of Internet Explorer on Windows."
GN: "Great. That's fine."

JD: "What about Mac?"
GN: "Forget about Mac."

I can't wait for my mullet to grow in. Not only will it help me score with the hot mullet-loving chicks, I'll also be getting a dollar off each purchase at Massive Records in Milwaukee. (They rule.)

More from mixmag: When asked which celebrity he would most like to shag, pop musician Moby said, "Hillary Clinton." Ewwwwww!

TO: dack@dack.com
FROM: Chris
SUBJECT: Re - Flash is Evil
BODY: Hello

1 - I think you have a problem with your modem... maybe it is time to upgrade your 14.4 to something more capable.

2 - I think you have developed an affinity with the amish community. You know the type of thing, technology evil, stop progress.

Just think, if you were a friend of David Filo and Jerry Yang of Yahoo, I am sure you would have tried to convince them that categorising the internet is a waste of time as people have better things to do.


Sign of the times: DonkeyHumper.com Running Out of Cash

The voting is open for Wired magazine's second annual Readers Raves (Flash required), and the nominations are as clueless as Wired magazine is irrelevant. To wit:

» Napster.com is nominated for best music site. No one goes to napster.com except to download Napster software.

» The New York Times is nominated for best news site. That makes sense. But how on earth can cnet.com or drudgereport.com (?!) be mentioned in the same breath?

» Kosmo.com is nominated for most innovative web start-up. Innovative, maybe. Fucked, absolutely. Kosmo.com is in the Fucked Company hall-of-fame, with 6 or 7 fucks since FC went live.

Forbes is out with its 3rd annual E-Gang issue. Gone are the leaders of splashy startups like Covad, Emusic, Idealab, and Ebay. They've been replaced by leaders of (profitable!) old-school companies like GM, Wal-Mart, GE, HP, Delta, Merck, and Schwab. GE's Jack Welch: "The productivity and [market] share gains of the Old Economy companies dwarf the growth of the New Economy companies." Uh huh.

A couple of days ago Jason shared his thoughts about tunes purchased at the SF Virgin Megastore. I spent the better part of Saturday in the Chicago Virgin Megastore browsing the aisles, hogging the listening stations, and suffering at the hands of the über-annoying in-house DJ who kept saying "If you can't find a CD here, chances are it doesn't exist." What bullshit. They didn't have a single one I was looking for. Thank goodness for the Brits and a site like audiostreet.com.

Critics are spraining their ankles jumping on the "Croupier" bandwagon, calling it one of the best sleepers in years. It's not. Remember how you felt at the end of "Body Heat," "Spanish Prisoner," or even "The Usual Suspects?" The chills, the goosebumps, the tingling? (I don't think I'll ever forget Kathleen Turner sipping a fancy drink on the beach while William Hurt rotted in jail.) "Croupier" provides none of that. Like its lead character (the Bond-esque Clive Brown) the movie is too cool for its own good, and doesn't deliver any suspense or "zing" viewers expect from a good noir.

Speaking of noir, The Coen Brothers have released the director's cut of their classic "Blood Simple," and proudly announce that "the boring parts have been taken out."

Flash day today.

1. "Broken By Design," a Flash-critical comic strip from an old Web Review. (via Nir Dagan)

2. "Making Sure Usability 'Fitts' Flash," by Chris MacGregor.

3. Boo.com, Down Under style? K-Grind, a Flash-rich broadband site, goes back for more cash to "continue development of its software to allow the vast majority of Internet users with ordinary dial-up modems to access the site." (via Anthony J. Hicks)

4. Boo.com, The Sequel? ZDNet predicts failure for barneys.com if they stay on their present course, because they "emphasize technology over the customer experience." Meanwhile, barneys.com has been nominated in the "Best Business" and "Best Design" categories for this year's Flash Film Festival. Who is right? Consider this: there is a "Best Business Site" category at a film festival.

Those damn Brits. First they burn down the White House. Then they give us fish-and-chips. And Phil Collins. Now they're about to turn the mullet into an acceptable hairstyle. (From British mag LATER)

<word to your mother>
Vanilla Ice is on the comeback trail, baby. He's playing to pretty big crowds and the babes are diggin' him again. Ice sez in the June mixmag (a worthwhile British export):
"The last gig I played was to 12,000 people on Daytona Beach, Florida. The weather was gorgeous and some girls at the front started stripping off. This had a domino effect and everyone else started to get naked.

I had girls jumping on stage whispering, 'Take me back to your room Ice, baby. I'll let you fuck me hard.' But I've been that route before: waking up with a different woman every morning is meaningless. I'm far happier being with one woman I dearly love."
Meaninglessness has never sounded like so much fun.
</word to your mother>

That Steve guy on "Sex and the City" is a disgrace to all mankind. He needs to be written off the show immediately. Hopefully he'll be killed. Tortured first, then killed. That's what should happen.

lyrics I dig
"I got a girl, she lives up on the hill. She ain't good lookin' but she's got a whiskey still."

— Al Smith

email: dack@dack.com© 1998-2023 dack.com