You may have noticed (or you may have been blissfully indifferent to) the fact that Web Curios has been absent for a while. So much has happened! I went to Rome! The visit of an old German man in a bulletproof car led to a rash of increasingly lazy and unfunny paedophile jokes! It was discovered that Bono’s not really making AIDS history, but is instead carrying out really, really crap (not to mention crass) direct marketing campaigns! Pea-headed footballer Stephen Ireland did wonders for the reputation of footballers everyhere by opening the doors of his lovely, tasteful, understated home! Truly, it has been a time of wonder and miracles, and it is a wonder we are not seeing rains of fish or frogs as a harbinger of the coming end times.
Ach, who am I kidding? September’s been a horrible month, webmongs, and I for one can’t wait to see the back of it. All I can say is that I hope the past few weeks of your lives have been better than the past few weeks of mine. Anyway, enough maudlin whinging; I’ve got nothing this week, ‘comedy’ intro-wise, so on with the webrubbish. ‘Enjoy’.
Shiny New Internet Things! – Well, not so much ‘new’ as ‘tweaked’. I know The Man will probably frown on my linking to another agency’s blog, but, frankly, given The Man is unlikely ever to read this, or to know of the fact I exist, I am going to respectfully disregard The Man’s opinion. The link takes you to an excellent precis of the recent changes made to Facebook (with the introduction of ‘Places‘), Twitter (with the advent of ‘New Twitter‘, which basically makes the website approximately 9000% less rubbish and more user-friendly), and Foursquare (a new version of the app is basically prettier and lets you do some of the same stuff to Facebook places, particularly when it comes to seeing where your ‘friends’ are – or ’stalking’, as it might also be interpreted). Facebook Places is obviously the big one here – though until I start seeing those people who currently clog up my wall with Farmville-related updates using it, I will reserve muy judgement on its mass-market appeal.
A Useful Twitter App - Tweetnest looks like an interesting, and practical, solution to managing one’s Twitter archive, making it more easily searchable by date, etc, and allowing you to back up your archive on a separate server (what was that? Oh, it was the sound of most of you failing to care). It’s geeky, but it’s potentially very useful – particularly for those like @LukeMackay who only yesterday was asking me when they were going to invent Google Brain.
A Useful YouTube App – This is brilliant, if almost certainly in violation of every copyright law in the Western world. ClipConverter allows you to take any YouTuibe video and rip it onto your computer, in any file format you can imagine. Genuinely useful.
Notes On A Suicide, Part 1 - I put this out on Twitter earlier in the week, but if you didn’t see it then, please read it now. The saddest, and yet most oddly beautiful, piece of writing you will read all week.
Notes On A Suicide, Part 2 – The It Gets Better Project was set up by (in)famous sex advice columnist Dan Savage in response to the suicide of American teenager Billy Lucas, who killed himself after suffering repeated bullying as a result of his sexuality. The project is designed to try and tell LGBT teens that their lives can, and will, improve, despite the fact their adolescent years might be painful and hard. It’s a lovely, worthy idea, but it’s utterly horriffic that it still needs to be done in 2010.
The Best Video Which I Can’t Embed This Week – Bit of a puzzle, this one, as I have no idea whether it’s an official music video for Scratch Perverts, or being showcased as part of some sort of campaign. Either way, click the link, click ‘play film’, and enjoy.
Racially Stereotyped Maps – The most retweeted thing I posted all week, these maps take Europe and rename countries / areas according to national stereotypes / prejudices of other nations. The Italian example is particularly accurate…
Six Minute Stories – A simple, but lovely premise: this website encourages people to write a short story in just six minutes – you type, based on a few prompts given to you at the start, as the timer ticks down. Once the six minutes are up, no more typing. A wonderful creative exercise, some great stories, and best of all noone involved is trying to sell anyone anything.
Looking back at all the above, I have the feeling that this week’s Curios has been less than sparky. Sorry about that. Have some frivolous video (well, mostly frivolous) by way of minor compensation:
1) Actually, this first one’s not frivolous at all. Sorry. This is actually a facsinating tech / concept demo by Ideo, an American ‘Design and Innovation Consultancy Firm’, about some options which they perceive to be ‘The Future Of The Book’. You can read an intelligent, discursive piece on it by The Guardian’s Keith Stuart here, but do take the time to watch the below and think about what it might do to the way we interact with information and, crucially, what it might do to the manner in which we make connections between thoughts, concepts, narratives, etc. Personally I’m uncomfortable at the idea that this is effectively putting stabilisers on intellectual curiosity. But maybe I’m just a luddite.
2) Right, enough ‘highbrow’. The video for Foals’ new single “2 Trees” contains melancholy puppets, which is reason enough to include it here:
3) This week, Vimeo announced the finalists of its inaugural video awards. There’s some wonderful stuff on there across a variety of categories, but this animation about bears was my personal favourite:
4) People who are OLD like me will remember Soundgarden from the mid-90s. People who are YOUNG like you will probably hate the music, but the video’s worth checking out. It’s got LASERS and ROBOTS and MONSTERS and stuff.
5) I have no idea who Benjamin Francis Leftwich is (or at least I didn’t til this week, and then I found out that this is him), but he’s made a rather lovely video for his Death Cab-tinged song Atlas Hands:
6) If you like videogames at all, watch this. If you like animation at all, watch this. The most impressive piece of video I’ve seen all week, imho:
7) The last one’s not new, and it’s not a video, but franklyI don’t care. It’s my blog and I’ll put what I like on it (sorry, The Man). Adem – These Are Your Friends: