Archive for July 2008

Noises That Sound Like Gunshots But Could Be Fireworks. (at all times of the year). One of the first times I heard this, I actually called some police line. (Yes, I grew up in the ‘burbs.) (Oh, don’t worry parents, they really were fireworks…err…firecrackers?)

Crazy Drunks and Impromptu Music Sing-Alongs at Louie’s. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy a cocktail or two or three or…and I love music. However, I don’t love being kept awake until late into the night by drunks intent on keeping the party alive outside my window. And, a few late-night acoustic performances are OK, but what’s with the wailing?

Loud Conversations That May or May Not Require Police Involvement. Like any curious planner, I enjoy eavesdropping. (Who doesn’t? You don’t even have to be a planner to enjoy this guilty pleasure. Am I right?) I suppose eavesdropping stops being amusing when you hear your neighbor yelling at his girlfriend, “I KNOW you’re messin’ around and I’m gonna find out!” peppered with a few “f**kin”s. (Thankfully nothing ever got too heated where I had to make a call.)

Weird Guy Who Tries to Sell Me Crap. 1st time – A few weeks ago I was on my out the door to my parking lot when the guy who lives right next to the door, comes out with his bike. Instead of letting me pass first, he squeezes through as I try and do the same. For some reason, he’s carrying a white women’s purse. (He was not the type to carry a women’s purse as his own accessory either. And by ‘type’ I mean drag queen, creative/artist, etc.) He asks me if I want to buy a “luxury handbag” and rubs the bag against my arm. Fairly creeped out, I politely say no and hurry to my car.

2nd time – This morning as I was just getting into my car, I hear him shouting, “Hey! Hey!” As I sit in my car, he runs up and tries to unsuccessfully entice me with a few suit jackets. I say I don’t have a boyfriend or brother to give them to and he says he thinks they’re ladies’ suits. Clearly they were not, so I say no again and slam my door.

Cuil, a new search engine from the start-up Cuil, Inc., has big plans to compete with the likes of Google. Cuil co-founder, Anna Patterson, says Cuil will be capable of searching across 120 billion Web pages, vs. Google’s estimated 40 million.

“In addition to looking at the popularity of a Web page, Cuil also analyzes the concepts on the page and their relationships — grouping similar results under different menus. A Cuil search for “Bruce Springsteen,” for example, pulls up a section for results on the artist and a section for results pertaining to tickets.

A search on Google for “Bruce Springsteen” pulls up similar results — including the same homepage and some fan pages — but displays them in one long list of links.”

I gave Cuil a test-run by searching for “French bulldog”. (Currently, there are no ads as the company is determining whether to sell space or work with a third party.) So for now, my results appear clearly, ad-free. The results show:

  • content appearing in 3 columns, but can be changed to 2 (lower-right hand corner)
  • paragraph descriptions of sites including small images
  • and, where Cuil differs most from Google? It organizes results into potentially user-relevant categories. Since I searched for “French bulldogs”, I am shown 6 categories, ranging from Bulldog Breeds to Kennel Clubs. Each category also shows sub-categories.

see WSJ.com for full article

If you’re a Minnesota resident, you’re well-aware of the precious summer time we have. Now that it’s almost August (and I’m thinking, but summer just began), I realize I still have not gone to an outdoor movie. For the past few years I’ve put this summer activity on my list of ‘to do’s’ and so far I have never followed through. This summer I’m going to really try and do this. Here’s a list of family-oriented movies, from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, with park locations: park_movies_schedule1

Find park locations here.

Also see Loring Park’s Summer Music & Movies calendar. The theme is politics, so catch “Hollywood’s take on politics–from scalding satires of authoritarian regimes by the Marx Brothers to the romantic squabbling of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Music by local and national artists begins at 7 pm, movies at dusk/8:45 pm.

All this visual goodness thanks to co-presenters the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board; sponsorship by Lunds; additional support from The Hotel Minneapolis—a Doubletree Hotel, and Elizabeth Redleaf; and media partners City Pages and 89.3 The Current.

Yesterday I spotted Mygazines.com via PSFK. This seems like a great resource for people who:

  • are magazine junkies (like myself) – Perhaps you can’t give up any more space in your office/home/bathroom to another stack and it pains you to toss out your 2005 VOGUE collection. Though the physical experience of reading a magazine is lost, Mygazines.com offers the content, including ads (benefit to advertisers!)
  • work in advertising, marketing, media, etc – though the quality isn’t perfect, this might be a handy tool for quick competitor reference (if you work in print)

Basic features of Mygazines include:

  1. browse – choose from 17 categories (arts & culture, home & garden, travel, etc.) And, for specific titles, try searching the sub-categories.
  2. upload – not necessary in order to browse, but helpful for sharing purposes
  3. archive – save an article, entire magazine, or bookmark (Del.icio.us, Digg, Technorati, etc.) However, there seems to be a bug with the saving option. At least, that is my user experience thus far.

When reading a story, actions you can take:

  • zoom (only once)
  • rate
  • comment
  • send/share

I’m using Mygazines.com on Firefox and the magazines pop up in a new window. Zooming is helpful, though sometimes it isn’t the best quality (even when enlarging text, it’s fuzzy). Depending on how careful users are when uploading magazines, the pages may or may not be cut off a bit (or crooked). One very smart feature is the “pages” option, which can be found on the right vertical toolbar, third icon down (specific direction for those of you, like my dear mother, who have difficulty turning on a laptop). “Pages” allows you to go straight to the articles you want to see, versus paging through the entire magazine including ads.

In reference to legality, PSFK writes that though it’s questionable, there is potential. “Mygazines could really provide a useful alternative outlet for publishers looking to reach more readers. When it’s free, your’e going to attract an audience.”

Overall, in my second day of browsing, Mygazines feels useful and fairly user-friendly. As far as the experience goes, it may greatly differ for users who are looking for visual stories (fashion/design inspiration) versus those needing a financial reference in a cut-and-dry article. But, you be the judge, as always.

“Facebook in Reality”, amusing and fairly spot-on in its humanized interpretation of the social interactions possible within Facebook. (This was on the BBC Three show The Wall.)

Specifically, it paints a straight-forward story of the questionable actions we seek to make with our Facebook friends. For example, do we need to associate with our neighbor kid from five years ago, who said less than ten words to us when we were neighbors? Just because you and I share twenty mutual friends, should you accept my friend request according to this so-called social/digital connection? Because we’re within the same circle, is it a given that I be granted access to your private (or not-so-private) digital life?

These questions are not new, and they’ve been asked in various formats (face-to-face conversation, blogs, videos, etc) for years, but it seems they’re being asked more frequently now that more people are joining social networking communities.

I’ve been somewhat M.I.A. (no, not that M.I.A.), and for various reasons. Obviously, there are millions of things to talk about, so I haven’t been silent for lack of material. Lately I’ve been thinking about a certain event that has happened in my life and I’m undecided as to whether I should, or even want to, write about it. I’ve tried, for the most part, to keep this blog about ideas/events/things reflective of current trends in design, marketing, and social media. Sometimes I stick to these categories, and sometimes I go way off course. This recent event in my life does not fall into the marketing/design, etc category…although I do not think people would find it uninteresting, I’m just not sure whether I can share it…yet.

I ask myself if sticking to a so-called blog format/purpose even matters? Does it? If you have a blog, do you find yourself self-editing as you find interesting content that feel should be shared, but you think maybe it doesn’t quite fall into what your blog stands for?

[Sometimes I wonder who reads Digestion. (I know my mom does, bless her. The other day she asked why I haven’t been writing because she checks it every day. I thought, ‘Wow, my mom reads blogs, even though it is her own daughter’s.’ Well, this is from a woman who has a cell phone, yet leaves it off 99.9% of the time. And, once tried turning my MacBook on by delicately pushing the apple on the top. After glaring at her with incredulous eyes, I had to point her in the right direction…of where the top opens up.) When I look at the search terms people have Googled, and have clicked to my blog, I’m surprised — and sometimes amused. Most of the time, I’m surprised to see more than 5 people read my blog each day. (Oh, I suppose they could have mistakenly found my blog, and then decided to backtrack to continue their search for, say, “sexy jokes” — yes, this is one search term that leads to Digestion!).]

About a year or so ago, I had a chat with a respected and savvy communications strategist. We were talking about blogs and blogging. Said strategist gave me some insights as to why his blog exists, for him. I think he said (in general) that it’s about having fun. If you’re not having fun, why do it? This sounds simple, really easy to understand and implement, doesn’t it? I have a good friend who enjoys writing and is now on her 3rd (?) attempt at keeping a blog. So far, it looks like she’s having fun, as she’s posted six stories this month. I believe this is my only, and lonely, post for July.

I ask you, whoever you are, wherever you are, why do you blog? Why write? How do you know when to write? I am probably over-thinking things, as I am prone to do. But really, share with me, what keeps you writing?

As for that thing that’s been on my mind lately, maybe I’ll get around to writing about it…


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