Thursday, 28 May 2009

United lose it

Barcelona 2 - 0 Man Utd

This was supposed to be one of the best United team ever, if not the best. One that took the fight to Beautiful Barca.

So after a day of high anticipation, it was disappointing (okay crushingly heart-breaking) to see them outplayed so. Especially after a stellar season that deserved more.

But instead of saying what's been said in every pub from South Korea to South Ken with Rome on the way, how the defence wasn't working, nobody ran fast enough, Rooney didn't do nothing all game, Park was nervy, where was Tevez, Messi's a genius, Iniesta and Xavi didn't give Utd a chance... (defeated sigh)... I'm going to say Well Played Barca and get around to dealing with footie season withdrawal symptoms.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

It's a pirate's life for me

I finished re- reading Free Culture by (well,) free culture cheerleader Lawrence Lessig.*

Just in time to hear old arguments from the entertainment industry all over again. This time, it's Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton dissing the internet for ruining the industry.

This post is not arguing what he says. That's what TechDirt did brilliantly.

I'm just here to take exception to this:
And my point is this: the major content businesses of the world and the most talented creators of that content -- music, newspapers, movies and books -- have all been seriously harmed by the Internet.
'Most' talented creators? Who, the ones at Sony? The ones who last made Angels & Demons which was, if I'm being complimentary, average at best?

The ones signed on by the big names are not always the most talented, just that they sell better.

Talent's very much on display elsewhere online and it doesn't need to have a million dollar marketing price tag on it.

*Yes, I did download a free online copy to sample before I picked up the printed version. See, I just proved his point.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Playing with words

It never ceases to surprise me, how many options a fast Internet connection offers for distraction and procrastination.

This is what happens when I put my blog into, the winner of the Best Use of Typography award at the Webby Awards 2009.

Wordle created a tag cloud of the most commonly used words in my blog.

Really? These? How awfully dull. Little green mango might just decide to go down the sex-drugs-rock 'n' roll way to inject some drama into any future word cloud.

(Image from

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Watching and listening

I found myself at the Science museum, London this weekend, for two very interesting exhibitions.

First - a newly opened exhibit on F1 technology in everyday life.
I was missing the race at Barcelona anyway, and this was my way of consoling myself. The technology on display, which included millimetre-thin dining tables, wheelchairs and high-tech fishing lines, is a far cry from the 'everyday' that happens everyday in your and my homes. It remains however a testament to the engineering superiority of Formula 1.

Second - the Listening Post.
I don't know enough about art to be able to adequately describe this exhibit. It is, at the same time, a work of art, technology, a mirror to society and an astute observation of the philosophies of human conversation.

Made of many (the booklet says 200) tiny electronic screens suspended like a grid and with an accompanying Sci-fi voice soundtrack, this displays fragments from Internet conversations across the world in continually changing patterns and themes.

The creators - Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin say that these are part of 'real-time', 'unedited' and 'uncensored' Internet chats and emails. I can't figure out how that works.

The pace and manner in which the bits of words come together, accompanied by a voice reading out the texts to me is lyrical. Indeed, the artists have divided their work into movements that seem to rise and ebb.

It's brilliant. I spent a good half hour staring transfixed at the blinking screens. Voyeuristically following thousands of thoughts - nonsensical, profound, funny, banal, personal.

It felt exhilarating, to be part of this world, to consider the possibility that someone somewhere might be listening to those thoughts and feelings let loose into cyberspace. Why, they may be sharing the same thoughts.

I think the Listening Post is more attractive because of the anonymity offered to all these conversations.

I've mentioned in previous posts how the idea that I may be getting an audience who can identify me and hold me accountable for all I do and say online has taken some getting used. But something like the Listening Post seems to suggest that my every little blog post or microblog is only part of a larger discourse that is taking place online. Who I am doesn't matter. What I say matters little. That I say it has a significant impact in making me part of a larger community and is my contribution to human communication.

Even if it sometimes feels like I'm shouting in the dark.

As a post script, I must add that there was a third special I went to - a Wallace and Gromit something-something. I crashed in on a kiddie party and probably was the only adult there who stayed for the show despite having no child to distract for half an hour.
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