Environmentalist Bullies?

This is an interesting article about how Microsoft is changing it’s packaging due to threats from an environmentalist group called the “Center for Health, Environment and Justice”.

CHEJ says that “When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems. Studies have shown plasticizers such as phthalates have migrated out of PVC consumer products, exposing people to toxic additives linked to reproductive defects and other health problems.”

And on the flipside…

Despite more than 40 years of use in medical equipment such as IV bags and medical tubing, there have been no reports of such phthalate use causing human health effects, according to a 2002 report by the Food and Drug Administration.

He also sarcastically references the “unsafe” levels of dioxin in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Why Jakob Nielson Sucks (Most of the Time)

Ok, I guess he doesn’t really suck most of the time, but his recent alertbox was half amusing and half ironic. First, as he mentions at the bottom, it was a near clone of an old article he wrote about frames. Although, realisitcally, I think we can all think of a bunch of times we’ve been pissed off at frames on a website, but probably have some trouble coming up with a similar list of sites that use AJAX. In any case, despite the fact that he makes some good points, he lists this near the bottom: “Next month: Micropayments will take off in 2006.”

For god sakes, will he please stop talking about Micropayments? He started yammering about them in 1998. In his 5 year retrospective in 2000, he said that “I repeat my prediction from 1998: micropayments will happen in about two years (of course, this now means 2002, not 2000).” In his 10 year retrospective in 2005, he doesn’t mention them at all. Now I guess he thinks they’ll be hitting the scene big in 2006. Well, I admire him for sticking to his guns but he should really give up. Micropayments never took off, and never will, for the reasons Clay Shirky outlined in 2003. And now, with the dawn of Google AdSense, I think it’s fair to say that Micropayments are dead. If my content is really good, I’ll charge a subscription to see it (ex. the new york times). If it’s not great, I’ll give it away for free (ex. this blog), and if it’s pretty good but I’d like to make a few bucks off it, I’ll set up Google AdSense (ex. digg). Someone tell Nielsen to drop the micropayments talk before we start treating everything he says as irrelevant ( even though most of it is pretty good).

Free Gumballs

Digg posted a link about how you can score free gumballs out of a gumball machine… a lot of the sites were taken down but I found this one still up.

“First step… locate a machine where you put the coin the slot above the handle turn and drop the coin….Once you have found your victim buy one piece of gum chew it

Once the gum has gotten soft…. tear off a small bit and stick it to the quarter… then take the quarter and smash the gum in the slot and turn the handle…

If done right once all the way around your quarter will still be in the machine ready for round two… Now keep turning till you get your fill of gumballs… ”

Basically you buy one gumball, use a piece of chewed gum to stick your next quarter to the machine in the coin slot, and supposedly you’ll be able to turn the handle repeatedly and score gum, because the quarter will never drop into the machine.

The PriceRightPhoto Story

Unless you didn’t get the memo, Digg is the new Slashdot. They proved how many users they really had with the fairly incredible PriceRightPhoto adventure. The whole adventure starts here with Thomas Hawk posting a story about how he tried to buy a camera that this Brooklyn retail.er.

“I will make sure you will never be able to place an order on the internet again.” “I’m an attorney, I will sue you.” “I will call the CEO of your company and play him the tape of this phone call.” “I’m going to call your local police and have two officers come over and arrest you.” “You’d better get this through your thick skull.” “You have no idea who you are dealing with.”

These are all direct threats that I received today from an individual who identified himself as Steve Phillips, the manager of PriceRitePhoto in Brooklyn, New York when I called to inquire about my order with them. My crime? Telling him that I planned to write an article about my unfortunate experience with his company regarding the camera order I had placed with him yesterday.

That post got picked up on Digg, and was voted all the way to the front page where lots of people saw it. If you read all the way down his post you’ll find out that ultimately he got an apology from the store owner, and the guy who threatened him was fired. It’s a crazy story though. Good to see the power of the internet community doing some good.