Archive for the ‘Technocentricity’ Category

Emailing Your Friends in Finance/Consulting: A Quick Etiquette Guide

March 28, 2012

If you guys are anything like me and Steve, and have only rarely been held accountable for your actions, then the concept of “email etiquette” will seem to you a very foreign one. Monitoring what you write with an eye toward the receiving party’s professional environment? WHAT? I should be able to express myself wherever and with whatever I please, especially when the “wherever” is your inbox and the “whatever” is Botswanan clown porn with bullet point commentary. I thought we were F**KING FRIENDS, DUDE.

But the world many of us live in is not the idealized one we’d always dreamed about, and sometimes…you can’t just share Botswanan clown porn all willy-nilly. You need to follow some goddamn rules! That’s why we put together this rough style manual for you to use.

Keep reading!

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Gypsies 1, Internet 0

April 8, 2011

While the US Federal Government prepares to go on a vacation from which we all hope they’ll return with t-shirts and souvenirs, it’s important to distract ourselves with less depressing news. Thankfully, there is always someone out there who knows EXACTLY what we need.

Several days ago an elderly Georgian “pensioner” (which in the Caucasus region is of course code for “gypsy”) digging for scrap metal in the town of Ksani accidentally struck a large fiber-optic cable…and summarily cut off Internet connections to both Georgia and neighboring Armenia. It’s a deep, convoluted story, but let’s really try to unpack this thing piece by piece:

1) Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha–

2) “Many Georgians’ Internet connections were also briefly cut in 2009 by another scavenger who damaged the fibre-optic cable.”

3) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA–

There’s something so…achingly perfect in the image of a 75-year-old woman unknowingly hacking away at an entire country’s Internet connection. Especially when it’s a real image, not even dreamt up (who would dream about that……right?) or composed for a Bergman-inspired student film! In a world so dependent on tethered computers that allow us to compare Doodle Jump scores while writing blog posts no one will read, all it takes to bring everything to a grinding halt is a persistent gypsy with a worn-out shovel. Life is BEAUTIFUL.

April Fool’s: ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ in Holiday Form

April 1, 2011

It’s by now mid-day on the 1st of April, which means someone in your office has already dyed the water cooler orange and your homepage has been changed not twice, but eight times to Bieberfever.com. APRIL FOOL’S, Y’ALL! It’s as much in our DNA to prank each other as it is to breathe and urinate, which makes today something of a nationally cathartic experience. We don’t have to hide that part of ourselves, relegating it to chat rooms where we pretend to be hot younger women or fake “dude, my mom’s dead” rejoinders. (Pranked!) We can live our lives OUT LOUD.

But no group gets more out of today than nerds. Or more specifically, nerds who also program web content. (Within the hierarchy of nerds it should be noted that while all nerds are computer experts, some are more expert than others.) Ten and twenty years ago, the guys who are today responsible for everything you do online were getting their heads dunked in toilets and watching their lunch money disappear. “I swear, Mom, the money literally disappeared. What else do you want me to say?” Their moms would give them wedgies before sending them off to karate class, which helped nothing, and again before bed. “You need to learn to HIT BACK, Sergei!” said Mrs. Brin as she pulled and twisted, a look of bizarre pleasure on her face.

Keep reading!

Your Cats on YouTube: A Soup to Nuts Approach

March 16, 2011

DJ Steve and I are bombarded almost daily with questions from people asking our opinion on a wide array of topics. Is this movie good? Should I buy that one album, or the other one? Should I join the military? But we don’t want to tell anyone the best way to do anything. That’s your business, first of all; what you decide is your choice. Moreover neither one of us is an expert on anything practical, what advice we could even sort of offer coated in near-complete ignorance. Mid-20th century doctors would have diagnosed us as “morons.” Let’s say you come at us with something like, I don’t know, taxes: “what service should I use?” A pause, then: “do we do have to do those again this year?” We’re the guys smiling as we wave you into an already-full parking lot. Or over a cliff.

But one thing we do know? The Internet. Also cats. And since for many people those two are today virtually synonymous, we thought it would be fun and more importantly SELF-AFFIRMING to take you step-by-step through the process of conceiving, shooting, editing, and marketing your very own viral cat video. Yesterday you were consuming; today, creating. With our method, in no time at all YOU’LL be the one grandma singles out as her favorite. And of course raking in those FAT YouTube views.

Cats! Keep reading!

BDA: #BarfoedDoesAmerica

February 23, 2011

I am not what you would call a masterful Tweeter. DJ Steve? With his pictures of snack packaging and philosophical musings (sample: “I dare anyone to not want Wendy’s right now”)? Practically Twitter’s poster-child. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, advertising Lifting Fog posts (when available ROFL) and complaining about library noise. On occasion I might link to a video from 2006. I’m a premature grandparent struggling to figure out what the buttons do.

And yet…fate so often conspires to throw us headlong into those very arenas we’re least skilled in. Woefully unprepared, we just make do. Bratty teenagers get pregnant; I’m driven to Twitter to collect my cross-country thoughts.

More apt wordplay after the jump!

Pop Culture Nostalgia: A National Concern

October 29, 2010

I’m gonna strap on this guitar here and just JAM for a second. Feel free to pick up that bass and join in!

Leafing through my “Junk” feed on Google Reader this morning, as I do every morning, I clicked on a post featuring fan-made Star Wars posters. This is pretty standard — the sites I subscribe to means new Star Wars posters pretty much every day — and in most cases, something I look forward to. The Internet has only democratized creativity, to the point where anyone, anywhere can share their work and expect some kind of feedback (even if it’s from a family member). A good thing! But then Glass-Half-Empty Henning perked up, remembered some questionable developments of the past few months, and considered the posters in another context. An ALARMING context. The bullet points came all too quickly:

– Back to the Future celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new Blu-ray release, videogame, and…Playboy spread.
– The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 35 years old, recreated for no real reason on Glee. (Editor’s note: …And it is — shockingly! — still NOT VERY GOOD.)
– The Sound of Music (45!) cast reunited on Oprah. Because that’s just something the people want? Okay.

It only gets worse after the jump!

YouTube No Longer The People’s Republic of Video?

July 28, 2010

In the last week  I’ve been reading more than I’ve been watching videos. Lord knows, I’m no bookworm: the last book I successfully read before I plugged myself into the Matrix was assigned to me by a teacher. Instead of watching videos, I’ve been reading cease and desist notices, and “content removed by ____”. This past week I had a hard time enjoying videos I’ve come across on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, et al. because it seems as though YouTube is no longer the fountain of free content that I, along with the billions of other people on the web, have come to trust. Exhibit A:

Click for bigger version

Two weeks ago I attended a tremendous concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Kings of Leon did more than just impress me and my set of low expectations, they played a few new songs from a forthcoming album. New material from a band that’s been touring on the legs of a platinum selling album for several years is always worth noting. One track in particular, called “Immortals” was the highlight of the entire set for me. I was excited to upload my first HD video, shot on my new iPhone 4 because the audio quality came out great. Several days after uploading, I received an email and when I tried to visit the video’s page, I saw this (above). Don’t worry, I posted it on Vimeo instead. See below for face melting rock:

As someone who still avidly pays for music, something most of America can no longer say, I am in support of artists’ right to profit as the next 75 year old music industry executive. But let’s consider the facts on this: the song HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED in any form that requires money to obtain. Therefore, all I am doing, by publishing a live video of Kings of Leon KILLING IT on a new track, is providing the band, it’s record label, its management company, etc. FREE publicity at my own expense. If, let’s say, the video becomes popular (not double rainbow popular, but popular), there are hundreds of thousands of people watching a free promotional video of the Kings of Leon doing what they do best. Not to mention if someone sees the video and says “I wasn’t going to go to see Kings of Leon on this tour but if they are playing new material it will definitely be worth it!” You’re welcome, LiveNation/Ticketmaster/Budweiser/t-shirt vendors.

So why such flagrant acts of corporate tyranny these days? Just the other day I went to check out the iPhone 4 vs. EVO videos that have a BestBuy employee in hot water and got a similar message. I’m not surprised by these messages, they’ve always been there every time I went to watch a classic Will Ferrell SNL sketch, but I have definitely been seeing them rear their ugly heads more frequently than usual. These might be glitches in my browser or the Google servers, but if Chrome can’t load embedded YouTube videos on the regular, there’s no hope for anything working correctly. This is just another example of how completely misguided major entertainment companies are in their quest to make a profit off of YouTube. They want  to charge people for something they are accustomed to getting for free, if they can’t charge them for it, they take the content down. Despite what they might think, this is not a business model.

He Gave Us His iPad So That We Might Have Eternal iLife

January 27, 2010

Apple, iPad, Steve Jobs

I’m on an island right now 2500 miles from the continental United States, where Internet access is conducted via pineapple modem and news of Paul Newman’s death has only just reached people’s ears, but everyone — from the lowliest hula dancer to the kingliest pro surfer — is talking with the fervor of any young urban professional (that’s YUPPIE) about Apple’s latest God device, the iPad. IT’S HERE! AND WE’RE ALL ABSOLVED OF SIN!

While Apple is no stranger to idolatry, the amount of attention paid to this thing is just sort of staggering. We’ve spent the morning following Steve Jobs’ presentation. Then summarizing all that we’ve learned. And now, over on Twitter, we’re practically convulsing with our need to share those complicated emotions we’re feeling.

Some nerds are ecstatic.

Others are skeptical.

More nerd musings after the jump!

Nintendo: So Many Fans, So Little Time Spent Rewarding Them

October 19, 2009

Wii is Boring

My guess is that by this point in time, anyone still bothering to read the Fog is either looking for porn in the wrong place (sorry!) or a Nintendo geek… or both. In case you haven’t noticed, the Nintendo loyalty around these parts is nothing short of unending. SPOILER ALERT, this post is going to be about Nintendo, but before you 360 whores turn your attention elsewhere, hear me out: this is not a puff piece. In fact, as a dedicated Wii user and longtime Nintendo fan, it breaks my heart to have to write such harsh things about a company I have grown to love over the years. But I’ve gone quiet for too long. Despite containing a market share of nearly double any of its competitors, the Wii platform has done little to stimulate its fan base on any sort of level. What was the best game you played on the Wii? Oh yeah, Twilight Princess… a LAUNCH title.

The Nintendo Wii was released to eager consumers in the prosperous time of 2006 when people still trusted banks and CNN was still a “news” outlet rather than a mere pawn of social networking websites. Yes, those were the days. On that fateful November day, I waited in line in the freezing cold at Walmart with people like this, anxious to get my hands on some new, exciting video game hardware before the rest of the waking world. And boy was it sweet, taking control of Link in an epic, 40+ hour game that I had yearned to play from the time it was promised to be released on the GameCube. But what have you done for me lately, Nintendo?

Not a whole lot, as the post title suggests. Find out exactly how little after the jump!

Lifting Fog: A Look Ahead

September 21, 2009

In which we (I) fail once again to produce an actual post, but talk about posts that are coming soon. I swear. I’m really not kidding, guys.

It’s easy to talk. We all say absurd things we can’t possibly back up; make outrageous claims that, given a quick Google search, will most assuredly be proven false. The bulk of us are liars and snake oil salesmen, wrapping our fiction in pretty bows and winking to the audience as we sell a load of crap to naive, trusting townsfolk.

But that is not Lifting Fog*!

We may not be much for consistency — I think I wrote eight times this summer? — but we are truth-tellers through and through, dedicated to fulfilling our promises no matter how long or hard-fought the road to publication. And now, with summer bottling up its last golden rays, the time seems more fitting than ever to let you in on our forthcoming stabs at blog satisfaction. A look ahead:

Haiku Reviews of Inglourious Basterds, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Funny People, and Up. “But aren’t all of those movies, like, out of theaters?” Umm, aren’t the DVDs coming out soon? TIMELY.

“The Great NYC Burger Tour,” first announced…half a year ago, will be kicking off with write-ups of M2M, Corner Bistro, and Shake Shack. A feast for the eyes! Or something!

But wait, there’s more! (After the jump!)