Gongol.com Archives: June 2011
Brian Gongol

June 30, 2011

Computers and the Internet MySpace, we hardly even remembered you were there
It wasn't that many years ago that everyone on the Internet wanted a friend named "Tom", the guy who founded MySpace. But the site shuffled its way from wild popularity straight into history by essentially arming monkeys with machine guns: Anyone could post just about anything on MySpace to make their own page, well, "theirs." But that led to pages full of animated characters, flashing text, and annoying background music. That's a large portion of what led so many people to migrate to using Facebook instead: While MySpace was much freer for individual experimentation, as a whole it was just terrible to look at. News Corp bought the site for $580 million a few years ago -- and now it's been sold again, for just $35 million. They sold it Specific Media, an online advertising firm...which begs the question: What will happen to the millions of people who have MySpace pages who might've forgotten those were there? Now may be the time to tear down those old pages, or at least to watch them carefully, since Internet advertising companies aren't precisely known as the world's most-scrupulous firms. To help run the show, they're bringing in Justin Timberlake, a guy who -- to his credit -- has turned out to be a much sharper and more perceptive guy than his boy-band beginnings might have suggested. The site is supposed to be re-imagined in about two months, so the new product will be interesting to see. But it's hard to imagine that even a marquee entertainer like Timberlake will be able to turn MySpace cool again. Websites -- particularly the social ones -- tend to be a lot like musical styles. They start with small groups of fans, who become apostles to their friends, and soon enough something that was once underground becomes a phenomenon. But they also have a shelf life -- the disco craze ended in the Disco Demolition Night, remember? -- and once a musical style (or a website) becomes passe, it's going to take a long time for it to come back around again, if it ever recovers. Heard any ragtime on the radio lately?

Aviation News Unintended consequences of tighter air security
Since airline security has been tightened, drug smugglers -- and their cash smugglers -- have taken to the Interstates instead. It's well-known that one of the problems with making air travel more complicated and unpleasant (one of the things contemporary security measures assuredly do) is that it causes parents to take their children on long highway road trips instead of traveling by air. This exposes children to much greater risk of being killed or injured en route. Thus it is counterintuitive -- but logical -- not to require individual seats for small children on airplanes. The risk that one will be killed or injured in an aircrash because they didn't have an individual seat is far, far less than the risk that they'll be killed in a car wreck with a parent behind the wheel.

Business and Finance Federal Reserve imposes limits on debit-card fees
Retailers: Happy. Banks: Really unhappy.

Computers and the Internet You, too, can register a .XXX domain soon

Computers and the Internet Don't try to doctor photos
Getting it wrong can make the culprit look like an idiot -- as it has for someone who cut-and-pasted some government officials onto a photo of a new road in China. They can and should be mocked for the fraud.

Business and Finance Good publicity for a good cause
A Hy-Vee store is setting up a partnership with a homeless shelter to produce vegetables from an adjacent plot to be sold directly in the grocery store. The miniature farm will then be able to pay the workers a wage and, more importantly, help them to establish a job history with references.

Humor and Good News Apparently Steve Irwin wasn't the first nut to make a career out of harassing dangerous animals
(Video) Ross Allen got there first

Humor and Good News Whoops...you can't see me...
(Video) A TV weather forecaster shows up when he shouldn't have on-camera...then makes an attempt at a subtle exit. What's interesting is look of the station's graphics and studio -- totally different from most of what's seen on local television in America. In fact, it's quite European in styling.

Water News Another levee breach in southern Iowa

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