Vallywag on MySpace

Recently, a few articles hit the blogs fairly hard because they were from reputable newspapers and talked about the decline of MySpace. One was MySpace, ByeSpace at the Wall Street Journal, and the other was In Teens’ Web World, MySpace Is So Last Year at the Washington Post.

Valleywag did a great job of trashing both articles, since in both cases the articles are based around individual anecdotes with minimal facts or statistics: 20-Year-Old Cancels MySpace Account, Site Folds and The Washington Post is so last January.

There was a downturn which is apparently seasonal and common, but other than that the statistics aren’t very compelling. Valleywag’s summary “BREAKING NEWS! SEVERAL STUDENTS AT FALLS CHURCH HIGH SCHOOL AREN’T ON MYSPACE AS MUCH AS THEY USED TO BE!” is pretty much accurate.

Washington Senatorial Debate

Last night there was a debate between 3 of the candidates for Senator in Washington state – they put the full debate online here. I enjoyed it, mainly because for once a Libertarian candidate was able to put together enough money to get into a televised debate alongsinde a Democrat and a Republican. Bruce Guthrie had to mortgage his house and donate that money to his campaign in order to meet the criteria for inclusion.

To my surprise, he didn’t come off as sounding crazy, like so many Libertarians do. He approached the issues fairly moderately, effectively saying we’d take steps to gradually move towards Libertarian ideals (decriminializing drugs, lowering spending, etc). He appeared a little nervous and not as polished, but I was still impressed. He called out both Democrats and Republicans for their failures – both being big spenders, playing politics with every issue, etc. He joked that rather than testing people on welfare for drugs and alcohol (as McGavick wants) they should be testing congressmen.

From one article:

But if anyone “won” the televised exchange — Cantwell’s and McGavick’s second and final formal debate — it was a third candidate, Libertarian Bruce Guthrie, just by being there.

Cool Color Trick

My dad sent me this link. It’s pretty cool, and one of the few cases where he can relate part of his work (as a color scientist) to something I can understand.

The colored image that you stare at has the color chroma data reversed. When you bring the mouse into the field you will suddenly see a full color image appear, and then fade to B&W as your eyes adapt to black and white image. The color you see for a short instant is based upon the eye locally adapting to the previous negative color image.

Nerd Restaurant

I always wanted to open up a restaurant that appeared, to the patrons, to be fully automated. Lights on the floor would indicate what table to sit at, ordering would be done via touch screen, delivery of food would be done via conveyor belt. No waiting for the check, no waiting for refills, no tips necessary at all.

It appears that someone is doing something similar at uWink in California. There is a multipart review that’s pretty interesting (summary: it’s not ready for prime time yet). They’ve chosen a video game theme and targeted gamers, which makes a lot of sense. I had always struggled with what type of restaurant it would be – a pizza place? burger joint? It couldn’t be a bar, because bars should be more social and human. uWink hasn’t gone as far as I was envisioning… they appear to have a fully human-staffed bar and I think you’re still seated by a human. They call their waitstaff “runners” because all they do is bring you the food you’ve ordered via the touchscreen at your table – they don’t actually wait on you. Kind of interesting… definitely nerdy.

Google Reader – Sharing Articles

One of the reasons I’ve stuck with the Google Reader over Bloglines is the ability to star and share articles. As Fil pointed out, someone should eventually write something that will integrate this sharing feature with In the meantime, the articles that I’ve shared are here.

The starring feature is kind of cool because sites like craigslist let you bookmark searches as RSS feeds. For example, I used an RSS feed from craigslist to keep an eye on apartments for rent in Seattle. I then used the star feature of Google Reader to remember which ones I wanted to go back and look at. It worked quite well (aside from the fact that I didn’t switch apartments). It’s also a prototypical experience of the new web. Craigslist may not need to build a starring feature, or a sharing feature – they just need to expose their content in RSS, and let other applications layer on additional capabilities.