web

Your marriage is just distracting us from the real issues!

rageaholEver find comments on the Internet that are so delusional, so full of unfocused rage, so wacked-out that you simply have to share them with the world?

Welcome to Rageahol, inspired by the great Homer Simpson line: “Ohhhh, it’s true, I’m a rageaholic! I just can’t live without rageahol!!”

Our first entry comes from a Bruce Sims of Pensacola, Fla. (or someone who hacked into his Twitter account), who reacts to the news of Duke hoopster Ryan Kelly’s engagement to Bill Cowher’s daugher thusly:

So….when I married the love of my life, It never got on the news, because it was not news! what makes people think this is news when we have all that is going on in this country, and the Homosexual mess in the scouts and the govt going rampant etc and this is news! Yeah news that will take peoples sights off the danger to come! Oh will it come!

Full story and surely a few more rageaholic comments: Former Duke hoops player is engaged to Bill Cowher’s daughter | For The Win.

personal, web

How I ditched the smart phone

I’m officially a former Blackberry user. I fell in love with the devices while covering the Olympics, where USA TODAY would set us all up so we could communicate from everywhere. Snapping pictures and Tweeting from Beijing was a new and wonderful experience.

My older cell phones had their charms. But without a keyboard, texting was virtually impossible. The tiny screens weren’t good for the “mobile Web.” And so I was thrilled to get a Blackberry — emailing, Tweeting and using Facebook any time I was otherwise idled.

But my Blackberry also had annoying habit of freezing at inopportune times. It was a decent email device but a terrible phone. And obviously, the iPhone and Android phones had overtaken my old semi-reliable companion.

Then Verizon introduced its “Share” plans. Unlimited talk and text! And data plans that were … ridiculously expensive!

The idea is to capitalize on the masses’ demand for smart phones and tablets, apparently so we can go out into the woods and watch silly videos on YouTube or something like that. They’re not even making a pretense of productivity any more. If you can’t share your kids’ origami project in 2.3 seconds over a 4G network … well … you’re just lame.

Hi. I’m lame.

I noticed that the “basic phone” today is not the same keyboard-less wonder I had in 2004. Today’s “basic phones” have touch screens. Wide screens. Slide-out keyboards.

So when Verizon called and told me I could get a discounted “basic phone” and a reasonable data plan, I made the call. Blackberry out. Brightside (Samsung) in.

So far, it’s a little disappointing. The ad copy made it seem that I could do everything I was doing with the Blackberry — email, Twitter, Facebook and occasionally GPS. Sort of.

The GPS is the real aggravation. Like the old days, Verizon offers voice navigation — for a fee. If you’re thinking you’ll just get around that by using Google Maps, think again. Go to Google Maps through the ever-clumsy Opera Mini browser, and you’re prompted to download an app. Then the phone won’t support a download.

And that little hitch prevents me from doing a lot with Twitter and Facebook as well. The app market for non-smart phones has basically died. I was able to get more apps back in the old days — even had a playable EA Tiger Woods golf game. Today, I can’t even find Freecell.

The upside: You can still do a lot through texting, and now that I have unlimited texts, that’s a viable way to keep up with Twitter if I’m not at a laptop.

But the bottom line is this: What do I really need? I need email and phone. These days, I need more texting as well. I can reach a lot of sources that way. Parents can contact me if their kids are running late for soccer.

The biggest difference between my new phone and my 2004 phone: I can easily text and keep up with email. Easily. It runs Gmail with no hitches at all.

I don’t need games. I don’t need Facebook. I only occasionally need Twitter. I never go on long hikes and stop to watch Hulu. And so I really can’t justify the expense of a smart phone.

Now if someone wants to get me a Kindle Fire for Christmas …

cynicism, web

Want to get famous? Sue The Oatmeal!

It’s an old story:

1. Lawyer reviews Aggregation Site, finds that Creative Site has complained about Aggregation Site’s copyright infringement.

2. Lawyer demands Creative Site send Aggregation Site $20,000, or else we’ll all to court.

3. Creative Site tells lawyer to stuff it, deciding instead that he’s going to raise $20,000 for charity. He ends up raising 10-11 times that much.

4. Lawyer sues Creative Site, not on behalf of Aggregation Site but on his own accord, claiming “cyber-vandalism.”

5. Entire Internet convulses with laughter.

6. Lawyer drops suit. (Ars Technica | TechCrunch)

7. Lawyer claims victory, saying he’s now famous. (By that standard, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton worked extremely hard to gain their places in the public eye.)

There was a hint of Lawyer Charles Carreon’s strategy in this Washington Post blog post June 18: “Carreon tells Comic Riffs one of his goals is to become the go-to attorney for people who feel they have been cyber-vandalized or similarly wronged on the Internet.”

As we’ve seen in the media, it doesn’t matter if 98% of the people who know your name think ill of you. As long as the other 2% give you money.

So should we mention that Carreon’s site includes a questionable framing of the Mercury News site?

comedy, creativity, web

The Oatmeal doesn’t take the law into his own hands – he takes it to charity

It’ll be difficult to sum up the case of FunnyJunk v The Oatmeal any better than The Oatmeal does. It’s your standard “cartoonist complains about work being stolen, accused content thief gets all huffy, cartoonist laughs a little and lets it go, accused content thief threatens defamation suit” story.

That post is a must-read, mostly because it contains The Oatmeal’s entire defense (in one word, truth, but that’s not as amusing, and The Oatmeal includes things like “evidence” and “rebuttals that show a basic understanding of how the Web works”). Instead of paying the $20,000 that the lawyer demands, The Oatmeal decides to hold a fund-raiser to get a bunch of money and split it between the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. Those two charities must be ecstatic today.

So how have the titans of new media responded? Let’s see who sides with The Oatmeal: Boing Boing, Uproxx, Gawker … and FunnyJunk commenters. That could hurt.

The second must-read in this case, though, is from the TODAY show’s Digital Life blog. They got comments not only from The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman) but FunnyJunk’s lawyer, Charles Carreon. (Shouldn’t the lawyer in this case be named Vulture rather than Carreon?) Mr. Carreon has carved out quite a career in Internet law, and yet he is stunned by the legions of people who have sent him nasty email.

(Even though, if you read the original Oatmeal summation of this case, you’ll find that FunnyJunk readers did exactly the same thing to Inman.)

Does this sort of legal reasoning, which seems peculiarly ignorant to those with an ounce of knowledge in this area, hold water in court? Don’t ask me — I covered the Borislow-WPS case.

(Please pardon the shoutout to The People’s Court in the headline. Yes, I know it’s a stretch.)