zerode – a sensibility


film, music, text, city, spectacle, pleasure

10 listicles of “The 10 best” from the last 24 hours


(24 hours because I couldn’t be arsed just picking them from the last 10 hours.)

10 Best Beards – The Frisky.

The 10 Best And Worst Cities For Starting A Career – Forbes.

The 10 best NFL player nicknames of all time | For The Win.

10 Best Dressed: Gisele Bündchen, Kate Moss, Cate Blanchett, and More – Vogue.

10 Best Golazos from World Football This Weekend | Bleacher Report.

The 10 Best Bruce Willis Movies You Need To Watch « Taste of Cinema.

The 10 best GTA 5 PC mods so far | TechRadar.

The 10 Best Rooftop Bars in NYC for Summer 2015 |

Top 10 Best Male Celebrity Summer Bodies | Celebuzz.

10 of the best European islands … that you’ve probably never heard of | Travel | The Guardian.

Filed under: Interweb,

Hipster Bingo – a social media win

Sightglass Bingo is a cool little app for playing bingo by spotting items at Sightglass Coffee, a hip and popular café and roaster in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. These kind of social bingo jokes seem to pop up pretty regularly (cf Queen’s Speech Bingo, Amnesty’s Human Rights Presidential Debate Bingo), and when they’re done right they can be quite funny. The iPhone app + Twitter aspect is a very nice upgrade, though.

Sightglass Bingo iPhone app screen

Play bingo by spotting items at Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco.Development by David Kasper. Design by Caleb Elston.Built using parse. (via Sightglass Bingo.)

Some of the bingo entries are going to be practically automatic, they occur so frequently – “Payment w/Square” – whereas some are going to be pretty tricky, like “TechCrunch Article” or “VC” (presumably Venture Capitalist, given the context, and not Vice Chancellor, which was my first, inappropriate context reading).

I’m not sure if this is still active – the app hasn’t be updated since 2011 and there’s been almost no activity on the associated Twitter account (@SightglassBingo) – but I think it’s a great idea. And if it’s not active, let’s get it going again.

Well, actually, you’ll have to do that without me. I never go to Sightglass. (Long story. Short version: I’ve had to divide up the city with an asshole who can’t stand to be in the same place as me – no, not an ex – and he insisted on Sightglass as part of his domain.)  So I won’t be playing this, but it’s easy to see how this could be extended to pretty much any of the other hip, popular coffee spots without much if any modification.

In fact, it would probably work even better at Four Barrel or Ritual, both on Valencia St. in the Mission (and coffee spots that are in my domain).  A few modifications might be in order, though, to improve game play.  You never see them bagging beans at Ritual, for instance, and the roasters are gone. And obviously, you want to make sure that the “cards” are kept fresh – over time, the selection of what’s hip in clothing could change, you can add in the website of the moment, or the newest smartphone or facial hair style.  But the concept is sound, and a hoot.

Sightglass Bingo for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Sightglass Bingo (SightglassBingo) on Twitter.

Filed under: Coffee, Tech, , , ,

Cory Doctorow, Aaron Swartz and Homeland

doctorowCory Doctorow‘s article on Tor/Forge echoes the remarks he’s been making on his soon to conclude book tour in support of Homeland.

I think it’s great that he’s focusing so much on what happened with Aaron Swartz, and also talking about the issues of depression and suicide, though I could wish that there was enough time on his tour to also talk more about the book, which is great, but also a slightly different proposition from Little Brother, the book for which it is ostensibly a sequel.

Homeland seems to take place earlier in time/history, and in an world very much more like our own than Little Brother, which was a cool, near-future dystopian reflection on trends in technology and the “war against terrorism.”

Homeland reads much more like one of Cory’s (excellent) articles or op ed pieces than did Little Brother – or any of his other fiction. It practically feels like non-fiction, and that’s both good and bad. It isn’t as satisfying a read, purely as a novel, as Little Brother, For the Win or Pirate Cinema. On the other hand, it’s extremely satisfying and effective as a political and social intervention. I want to go out and find Joe Noss and work on his campaign. I’m much more attentive to Alameda County’s attempt to buy drones than I might have been. I’ve been thinking about the issues it raises.

That’s great: Cory knows what he is talking about, and the issues that he is addressing are vital ones. But I still wanted a bit more fiction than I got. And along those lines, I certainly feel like the tween girl in the audience for Cory’s reading at The Booksmith on Haight Street last week: is there going to be a sequel to Pirate Cinema? I love Cory’s articles, op ed pieces, and his activism. I also love his novels. We were lucky over the past year to get three novels from Cory in pretty rapid succession: Pirate Cinema, Rapture of the Nerds, and Homeland. And based on his remarks about what he’s working on, we might continue to see something like that output in the future.

Filed under: Literature, Tech, ,

Fake TV, Fake Fireplace, Fake…


FakeTV FTV-10 Burglar Deterrent

The FakeTV simulates the light from the screen of a 27″ LCD HDTV, with simulated scene changes, color changes, and on-screen motion.  And it comes with a light sensor and timer, and it can be set to run for 4 or 7 hours after dusk, etc.

As a burglar deterrent, this seems brilliant—much more effective than leaving a light on, or even putting a few lights on timers and maybe a radio.  Everyone has seen the flickering of TV lights in apartment windows in the evenings.  I imagine this would be utterly convincing.

So why do I find it, the whole idea of it, depressing?

Since this is meant to protect your home when you are away on holiday, I thought I’d look into other holiday-oriented fakery.

More depressing—really, really depressing:


Realistic Holiday Fireplace Fiberboard:

Now every child can have his or her Christmas stockings hung with care. This unique 30 tall by 38 wide artificial fireplace is crafted of sturdy fiberboard and is easy to assemble. We even include a burning Yule log inset sure to warm your heart. This great holiday 3-dimensional decoration will become a cherished Christmas tradition for your family!

I don’t know about you, but my kids would go back to bed in tears if they came out on Christmas morning and found their stockings hung from this thing. When we haven’t had a fireplace or mantle, we’ve hung them from the tree if it would handle it, from a window, or just laid them beside the tree.

And it’s not the only incredibly crass, cheap and cheesy one of these things on the marketplace. Amazingly, just when you thought you had plumbed the depths of awfulness, you come across this:


Cozy Christmas Scene Setter — brought to you by “Party America.” Even Wayne and Garth would not say “Party on” if confronted with this:

The Cozy Christmas Scene Setter features warm, holiday images of a fireplace with a burning log, stockings hanging, candles on the mantlepiece, and a wreath above. It measures 33 1/2″ wide x 65″ tall, and can be used alone or with a scene setter roll (try the “Deck the Walls” Room Roll for example).

If they’d go back to bed in tears with the other one, they’d probably run away from home if we tried to put this thing over on them.

Not quite as bad:


Fireplace DVD: Real Wood Burning Fire (Anamorphic – FullScreen Edition)

If you must have something on the TV during the holidays—other than White Christmas, Bishop’s Wife, Grinch, etc., with the kids in the evening—then you could do a lot worse than this.

Fireplaces are nice, although there are the carbon footprint and air pollution issues to consider.  But nicer… a genuine, heartfelt Christmas where what matters are the traditions and experiences created out of love and togetherness, not matching some impossible, middle class ideal from a hundred years ago—or really from books and movies and television.

Filed under: Gadgets, , , , , ,

The Tumblr-ization of Pinterest: Fish Fingers and Custard!

There’s a board on Pinterest called Fish Fingers and Custard!. If Pinterest is your first major foray into social networks beyond FaceBook, it will look a bit strange.  But if you’ve spent any time on Tumblr, it will look very, very familiar.

And I think that’s a good thing.  To a large extent, Pinterest feels like the product pages and ads from House Beautiful, Martha Stuart Living, Cosmo, Fine Cooking, FHM and… wel,l all those other magazines that are little more than glorified catalogues.

The intrusion of a quirkier, less product-placement mentality from the world of Tumblr is a welcome development.

What is still lacking, though, is an intrusion from the world of journalism – with all the stunningly pictorial events happening around the world, from tornadoes and other climate change catastrophes to war and famine (and even the odd nice thing) this is a still a lack of boards and pins reflecting any kind of political or social awareness and interest.

For more…

Filed under: Feel Good, Interweb, , ,

You know that thing in movies where women take off their glasses…

You know that thing in movies where plain looking women take off their glasses and suddenly become beautiful?  My favorite example of it comes from The Big Sleep when Humphrey Bogart is hanging out in a bookstore and the schoolmarmish clerk…  Well, watch:

These TUMBLRers have explored the truth behind the myth. If you only look at one TUMBLR post this year, it has to be Magical Deductions ⚡☂:

And why? Because “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

For more…

Filed under: Feel Good, Interweb, Movies, , ,

Social Media and Loss

In my Google+ stream this morning, one of the people I follow posted of losing a friend.  Comments that followed were from other people who knew this same friend, and included references to her Twitter feed, and her last tweet, which seemed desperately sad.

It’s a strange thing… I don’t know these people, but suddenly I am caught up in a grief-stricken conversation.  And I wonder… is this the peril or the power of social media?

I went and read the tweets, and followed links to the friends and family of the person who died.  I read of their loss and grief and sadness.  And sitting here now, I feel a sense of grief myself—over someone I never met, never thought of before, who is being mourned by people I barely know, and that only as text on my laptop screen and small photos in the corners.

Is this becoming part of a larger community? Oversharing on their part?  (I think not.) The ability of strangers to listen in on, and even kibbitz/intrude on, what should be private exchanges?

I’ve mentioned no names, but if you want to follow the trail that I did…

Filed under: Interweb, , ,

Warholize or Obamacize

First their was the handy Obamacizer, Obamicon.Me, which let you turn any picture into a version of the famous Shepard Fairey poster from Obama’s presidential campaign, designed to be used as a web icon:

Now comes the Warholizer, which lets you transform your picture into something like some of Any Warhol’s work, in a fairly large size and high resolution so you can print it out. But it’s not free…

Filed under: Interweb,

The Strangeness that is Twitter: Clint Eastwood and the UK Riots

Hollywood director and movie star Clint Eastwood doesn’t seem to have a Twitter feed. Too bad: the pithy one-liners he’s known for in movies such as Dirty Harry seem well suited to the medium. “Go ahead—make my day.”

But there is a Clint Eastwood on Twitter. Actually more than one, but the first one that turns up if you do a search is @Eastwood_, with a handsome black&white photo and a locale of California. It’s actually the account for a fan website, as is fairly readily apparent if you follow the posted URL – But significantly, that URL isn’t giving much away, and clearly many Twitter users have been fooled into thinking this account belongs to the real Clint Eastwood. Many Twitter users:

Without ever posting a tweet, @Eastwood_ nonetheless managed to accrue 13,000 followers.

It says something about the meaninglessness of so much of Twitter—the lists of followers and following, the number of tweets, the desire for glimpses into celebrity lives, the willingness to be marketed to…

On the other side, speaking to the possibilities for meaningfulness in Twitter—and very much in the news this past week—the riots in the United Kingdom have also had a social media angle, with rioters and looters reportedly using social media networks—including Twitter—to call people to action.

One teenage has been charged with a crime for her use of Blackberry Messenger to encourage friends to join in the mayhem:

UK riots: teenager charged with BlackBerry incitement 

The 18-year-old, from Clacton, was accused of intentionally encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007, Essex police said.

She allegedly sent a message on BBM on Monday Aug 8 encouraging friends in the seaside town to copy scenes of violence and looting that were spreading across England.

(via The Telegraph.)

In the face of this and similar reports coming out of the riots, the British Prime Minister is reportedly considering restrictions on Twitter and other social media services (UK riots: tougher powers could curb Twitter – Telegraph).

There’s a savage irony at work here, though. When Facebook, Twitter and other social media systems were being used during the upheavals in Egypt and Iran, they were hailed by Western politicians and newspapers as tools for democratic change:

To be clear: the visionary products created by Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and Evan Williams at Twitter are foundation stones of what is becoming a regional revolution. (via Sharon Waxman: How Egypt’s Social Media Revolution Could Spread Across the Middle East.)

Now the shoe is on the other foot and it is pinching.

Taken together, @Eastwood_’s 13,000 followers and the use of Twitter for encouraging looting in London (or democracy in the Middle East) suggest both the power and some of the perils of this strange new form of communication.

For more…

Filed under: Interweb, , , , , ,

A bit OT, but… Google Plus invites

I have available a number of invitations to Google+. It’s not even clear to me at this point if you need one to sign up, but if you haven’t yet joined and would like to, leave me a comment with your email address and I will send you one. (Of course, I won’t post or share your email address, store it, or use it for any other purpose.)

Filed under: Interweb, ,

Why Half the Noise is Twice as Annoying…

One of the mysteries of modern life solved..

Annoyed by cellphone users? Scientists explain why: “Ever wonder why overhearing a cellphone conversation is so annoying? American researchers think they have found the answer. Whether it is the office, on a train or in a car, only half of the conversation is overheard which drains more attention and concentration than when overhearing two people talking, according to scientists at Cornell University…(via Reuters.)

Well, it’s nice to have an explanation for why those clowns on the bus or in the cafe are so annoying, but what we really need is some way to get them to shut up.

Filed under: Stuff, Tech

RIAA’s list of best websites for music downloads…

In an abrupt and unexpected shift in policy, the RIAA provides a guide to the best sites for downloading pirated music and videos:

Axis of P2P Evil? Congress, RIAA call out six worst websites in the world: “This morning, the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus held a press conference along with RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol to call out the six worst websites in the world. Think of them as an “Axis of P2P Evil”… (via ars technica.)

North Korea is apparently outraged at being left out of this axis of evil, and are currently at work on a juche P2P system in response…

Filed under: Interweb



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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.


What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.



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