#Joiito and The Vagina Game

#Joiito on irc.freenode.net is a pretty close-knit community, and as with any group of people who spend a great deal of time with each other, much of that time is spent joking around.

This evening, Nick Douglas introduced us all to The Vagina Game, in which one replaces words in film titles with the word “vagina.” Collective credit for the examples presented below goes to the channel as a whole. As the game progressed, the rules were bent to allow for the inclusion of television shows, video game titles, and podcasts.

Continue reading #Joiito and The Vagina Game

Airbag Blog Advisory System

Blog Advisory System

In these troubled times, it’s important for internet users to have an easy way to determine whether the content on a given site is age/sensibility appropriate. In the past, one would be forced to actually read things to determine their content, but no longer will unsuspecting pussies be placed in this vulnerable position. Introducing the Airbag Blog Advisory System

Built by people who have read about scientist from NASA, the Automatic Rating System scans your site for certain words that might otherwise scare good people away from reading or commenting on UR website.

A quick glance at the sidebar indicates that Geek Friendly is currently at threat level Blue, which indicates the use of strong opinion, and not-quite-as-strong language.

This has been a Geek Friendly public service announcement.

Kathy Sierra Situation Commentary

I, like many others in this community of bloggers, feel compelled to comment on the recent situation involving blogger, author, and customer advocate Kathy Sierra.

I’m not going to spend much time addressing the “facts” or specifics of the situation– that has been done ad-nauseum by many far better versed in the issue than myself. From what I’ve read, a group of individuals took some online bullying way too far, and caused Ms. Sierra such emotional distress as to cause her to cancel her trip to, and presentation at, the ongoing O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. This caused many in the blogosphere and related communities to call for the outing of the anonymous (for now) bullies and their criminal prosecution. Others feel Ms. Sierra is perhaps being a bit too sensitive about the issue.

Bullying and the making of threats against others is certainly nothing new, nor is it uncommon. Electronic manifestations of these actions have likely been around since the very early days of the internet. Seemingly unaware of this fact, many have begun sprouting nonsense about how the internet has suddenly become violent and dangerous.

To say that this sort of thing is common is by no means meant to condone the activity nor to discount the effects it can have. I myself have been the victim of some pretty significant targeted online harassment, and it certainly put me on edge and made me feel vulnerable. Being that I was younger and still in school, and that the perpetrators were classmates of mine, I was able to deal with the issue through parental intervention. I had no illusions however about my chances of resolving the situation in a satisfying way had this not been the case. In the real world, there is not much that can be done about this sort of thing. If the threats do not cross certain legal lines, vigilanteism– either by the victim or by others acting on their behalf– is often the only recourse. As hard as it is to do, the best course of action in most cases is to ignore any attempts to get a response out of you. These bastards feed on the rise they get out of you, and if you cut that off, they’ll quickly become bored and move on.

In the end, I think there has been a bit of over-reaction in both camps. As tough as it is, Ms. Sierra needs to realize that these are likely nothing more than the rantings of a few disturbed individuals with no intention to act. Unless the threats, as bad as they are already, escalate in medium (phone calls, snail-mail, etc) or severity (statements of intent to commit criminal acts including some substantiation of this intent), the best thing to do would be for everyone to just try and ignore the whole thing. I’m sure it would be easy for these individuals to be tracked down and punished by the mob, but then we are no better than they are.

Keeping Score

Keeping Score Interface

Produced by the San Francisco Symphony, Keeping Score is a project designed to, show that classical music can speak to everyone and instill a lifelong love of music through the use of pervasive media.

Part of the Keeping Score initiative are interactive flash websites showcasing selected classical masterpieces, and the history and music theory behind them. The works of Aaron Copland, Beethoven’s Eroica, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring are brought to life through companion sites featuring embedded audio and video, as well as interactive musical notation, wrapped up with an elegant design.

The Keeping Score companion sites are, in my opinion, some of the best examples of the proper way to use flash technology. Many designers use flash in places where it is truly un-needed and simple javascript or CSS would do. Others use flash as an excuse to create awkward non-standard interfaces that are not only hard to navigate, but hard on the eyes. With great power comes great responsibility, and Rolling Orange, who produced the Keeping Score site, wielded the power of flash to stunning ends. Mixing classic typographic design and digital-multimedia, these sites have earned a prominent place in my personal design archive, and I would argue they deserve a place in yours as well.

Rob Levin, aka “lilo” Dead at 50 after Hit-and-Run

Rob Levin

Rob Levin, (aka. “lilo,” “somegeek”) died this morning after being involved in a tragic hit-and-run accident while riding his bicycle on the night of September 12th. He had sustained serious head injuries and was in a coma at the Neuro Trauma Intensive Care unit at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston in the days since the accident. Rob is survived by his wife Debbie and 8 year old son Benjamin.

Many of you will know Rob as the Director of the Peer Directed Projects Center, a 502(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Open Source, Free Software, and peer-directed projects around the world. In addition to handling the administrative duties of running the PDPC, Rob was the head caretaker of the Freenode IRC network, which has long been the center of collaboration for many online communities and projects.

Rob sacrificed a lot to work for PDPC and Freenode. For the past few years, he and his family lived in a trailer park outside of Houston, TX. As the trailer they lived in was nearing the end of its useful life, Rob set up Spinhome.org in hopes of raising money to purchase a new home for his family. Unfortunately, some in the Freenode community took offense to this and accused Rob of using network resources for personal gain. What these small brained imbeciles failed to realize is that without Rob, Freenode, as well as countless widely used Open Source projects would not be what they were today, if they still existed at all.

I can’t say that I knew Rob well, but I can say with confidence that he was my friend. In the few conversations we had, he confided in me the fact that his son Benjamin suffers from quite severe ADHD. On this point he and I connected, as I have had to grow up with the trials and tribulations of having ADHD. All I can hope is that some of the advice I gave him about possible treatment for Ben did some good.

Robs wife Debbie has requested donations be sent to the PDPC to keep Freenode going strong, as Rob would have wanted, or given to your local bicycle safety initiative.

You did a great deal for a great many of us Rob, and you will be sorely missed. Rest in peace my friend.