Inhuman Swill : Internet

Louis C.K. gets it

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Louis C.K. is one smart dude. He's not just one of the best standup comics working. He's also a writer, producer, director, and entrepreneur who's been making films for a long, long time. His FX series Louie—essentially a tenuously related string of short films—is the logical culmination of that interest. He even edits the series himself.

But standup is his main bag, and today Louis started offering his brand-new concert video, Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon, at his website. Exclusively at his website. Streamable or downloadable. Completely DRM-free.

For five bucks.

This shouldn't seem like such a revolutionary idea, but for the movie and television industries it is. With all the hysteria over piracy in those quarters, it takes a smart, iconoclastic guy with the power to do his own thing to do something so simple and obvious.

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First, let me say that most of you aren't going to care about this.

To the few of you who do, let me say that my long LiveJournal nightmare is over.

Not that I have as bad an opinion of LiveJournal as some, but the fact that it had been my primary blogging platform for so long was holding me back from bringing all my blogs together under one roof. As I posted on Saturday, I'd written scripts a long time ago to let me crosspost my LiveJournal entries to my Movable Type blog, but now I wanted to switch that around and go the other direction. I wanted to be able to use Movable Type's superior content management system to work on more than one entry at a time, and to schedule them for automatic posting at future dates. It was only once I began looking into my options that I realized finding a solution would mean I could crosspost to LiveJournal from all my blogs. Bonus.

Interestingly, it was people I know who led me to the answer. My very first Google search led me to this 2008 post from Ben Rosenbaum, who was looking for a similar solution, and Tempest Bradford served it up in the very first comment. She pointed me toward a Movable Type plugin by Chip Marshall called ljcrosspost that sounded perfect. Several other sites praised it highly. The only problem was, site where the source code was archived no longer existed.

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RerunJournal

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I've been on LiveJournal a long time. I joined in October of 2000, more than eleven years ago. I've posted more than 2,000 entries. If you go to my profile page, you'll see that my user ID (17832) is in the low five digits. If you were to create a new account today, you'd get an eight-digit user ID. I obviously haven't been here since the very beginning, but I've been here long enough. I have a lot invested here. But I'm thinking hard about abandoning LiveJournal as my primary blogging platform.

I'm not going to rehash all the changes in management and ownership that have plagued us here over the years, the privacy concerns, the outages and denial-of-service attacks. That all contributes, but the biggest problem I've come to have with LiveJournal is simply the lack of some basic features that most other major blogging platforms feature. And two of the biggest of those are the inability to save more than one in-progress blog entry at once, and the inability to schedule completed entries for future posting.

Over at my personal site, I'm running a Movable Type blog. I know it's not the best choice out there, but it's the one my hosting service offers, and I've customized the hell out of it and even built some of my own widgets. I've written a script, also, to scrape my entries from here at LJ and repost them over there. But now I'm thinking seriously about reversing that polarity.

So here's my question. I know that a lot of you blog elsewhere and have your entries reposted to LJ. What process or service do you use to do it? How do like the results? I seek your wisdom.

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U QT!

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Sometimes as I glance through my website's server logs, I see the anonymous messages people have sent through my little Scrabble-izer. Here's one of the sweetest I've seen, which just caught my eye:

If you were a Scrabble tile, you'd be a Z - one of a kind and worth more than everyone else
Or see it in Scrabble tiles.
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On Tuesday I plan to sit down and watch The Oprah Winfrey Show for the first time, ever. I've seen bits and pieces before, but this will be the first time I watch the whole thing in a premeditated fashion. Hey, I want to hear Roger Ebert's new/old voice.

Ebert's new voice has been synthesized (and is being further refined) from DVD commentary tracks he recorded for a handful of movies. The Scottish company behind the voice is CereProc, which specializes in text-to-speech synthesizers that speak in a variety of accents. It's fun to play around with their live demo and make voices from all around the British Isles say vulgar and juvenile things.

As more and more of us litter the intertubes with extensive examples of our speaking voices, the easier it will be for convincing artificial versions of our voices to be cobbled together. I suppose the technology will have matured when it can pass a sort of text-to-speech Turing test—when someone can call your close friends or relatives by telephone or Skype or whatever and fool them into thinking they're talking to you.

Damn, I just got an idea for a story.

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Shamrock sharks

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Lest anyone unfamiliar with the phenomenon assume I am overstating the fanaticism of Shamrock Shake devotees, let me direct your attention to...

      ShamrockShake.com

...a message board for confirmed Shamrock Shake sightings around the country. Believe.

(One of the saddest recent reports from Illinois, echoing Laura's disappointment, reads: "got one with whipped cream...it was only half-full of the glorious green stuff...I was very sad.")

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Missing the mark

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I end up with some very interesting Google Ads showing up on the page for my Accidental Terrorist podcast. Just now there was a big splashy banner ad for the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute ("Gunfights don't give second chances"). Apparently the Googlemind doesn't want you potential terrorists going out into the world without firearms training!

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I love Google for its geeky in-jokes. If you haven't noticed this one before, search for "recursion" and see what the result page offers as a suggestion under Did you mean.

I'm also reminded of Inglourious Basterds, which I saw yesterday morning, in which one instance of the word "Merci" was translated in the subtitles as "Merci."

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If you're reading this, I assume you have at least a passing interest, if not a full-blown stake, in the future of online journalism. Most saliently, how can the business of news-gathering and distribution be monetized? Can it ever make money? How will the news business survive in the future, and what will it look like? How will readers consume news?

If you live in Chicago and care about these questions, you owe it to yourself and your community to attend the Chicago Media Future Conference. Organized by Mike Fourcher, Barbara Iverson, and (my friend) Scott Smith, this FREE conference will be held Saturday, June 13, at Columbia College's Film Row Cinema (1104 S. Wabash) from 1:30pm to 4:45pm. The program consists of two moderated 90-minute panels, each with a 10-minute introduction.

I hope you'll take the time to attend, but don't do it just on my say-so. Organizer Scott Smith was a guest this past Friday evening on WLUW's Out of the Loop Radio, and you can hear him discussing the conference in this audio stream, starting at about 2:01:

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Listen to my station on Blip.fm!

http://blip.fm/invite/shunn

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William Shunn

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Internet category.

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