lovehate podcast 212: The LHT Hits Lakehead

A long (no, I really mean it - LONG!) podcast which encompasses a talk that I gave on October 26th, 2010 at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. There were questions at the end which I did not gain permission to use others voices, so (instead of assuming) I just chose to edit the questions out and leave the answers. The questions were hard to hear anyway as they did not get up to microphones.

The first question [from a faculty member] concerned the threat to traditional and accepted written language when short-hand and catchy acronyms become part of the communication process.

The second question was a supplemental to the first around the the quality of in-depth thought and expression when communication gets reduced to short social interactions.

The third question was more about what Prezi was all about, but it served to launch me into a final statement on how I gave permission for the university to post the talk on their website and for anyone to remix or otherwise use the words to spread the message.

The link to the Prezi visuals I used during the talk can be found by clicking here.

lovehate: Google Buzz... Now With Twice The Caffeine!

Is it just me or has Google really come up short in calling its latest endeavour "Buzz"?

Sounding more like something you'd mix with Vodka at a party than a segue into microblogging, Google has not only pursued an exercise in redundancy by ripping off the brand of a years' old Yahoo service, but they've reminded me of the evil sound my clock radio makes every morning.

Is it just me, or does someone wish that Google would just prefix "G" onto everything ala Apple's "I" moniker. We could call it Gstatus or Gstate. Isn't that infinitely cooler? The question by your update window could ask "What kind of Gstate are you in?" Instead, I'm expected to revisit Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice by answering "What's the Buzz, tell me what's a-happening?"

You know, I don't throw the word "stupid" around too often, mostly because it's an unimaginative insult that begs for a more creative insult. And so, in considering the best descriptor for Google Buzz, I considered the words uninspired, doltish, inane, puerile, or witless. And the reason I settled on stupid, is because I figured it appropriate to just follow your model and go with the first crass idea that came to head: stupid.

Come on Google. You're more creative than that. I love your products and your flair for the dramatic with brands like: "Gmail, Maps, Videos, News, Books, Docs, Reader... hang on a sec! Other than Wave, Buzz is about the most creative name you've come up with for one of your web services. If this evidence is an indication of what we're to see in the future, can we expect animals, cars, or countries next?

At least I can hope you won't name a service after feminine hygiene product. I mean, I don't know what Google Douche will do to freshen the web, but I imagine it may put some people off.

lovehate: 3 Found Websites, 300 Subscribers

It's not often I just start picking up new websites/services. It's not that I intentionally avoid such things, it's simply that I spend more time writing and recording than exploring. This past week, however, I've jumped in on betas of a few sites that range from the popular to relatively unknown:,,
Brizzly has certainly been the darling of the social media set for the past couple of weeks as every strained to get their invites after being pissed off that they didn't find invites for Google Wave. Combining your Facebook and all of your Twitter accounts into a web interface is fairly cool, although it's been done by sites like Hootsuite and Friendbinder plus others.
I haven't really explored Brizzly enough to find how different it really is from the sites already out there. Maybe that's because I really enjoy the functionality of a stand-alone app for Twitter. I've been using Tweetdeck for the better part of a year now, and I have no real plans to turn back to the browser. I can appreciate the pull toward a browser-based solution by people in Enterprise environments where installing Adobe Air and a Social Networking app is a pipe dream at best. Perhaps in such an environment I would be looking for the best browser solution as well.
I like that Brizzly is doing what it's doing; I just don't know if I want to be doing it.
In looking for an online solution to creating flowcharts, I suppose I should've guessed that would've been a best guess - but I'm not prone to thinking things are that easy and it actually took me a bit of searching to find it. I'm becoming increasingly impressed at the interfaces that are being developed for web applications that create/edit graphics, sounds and video. While this is also a case where a freeware stand-alone app would probably be my first choice. I appreciate that I can do this online. does offer a pretty simple interface that I found it really easy to get used to. Admittedly, I have very rare occasion to ever create flowcharts, but I was thinking of making one for a blog post the other night. I realized that, where 10 years ago I used to have a bunch of apps installed on my PC that I could use for such a task, my lack of need to make flowcharts had diminished my software options. At least if I need to make a flowchart in the future, the URL will not be easy to forget.
Wrapping up my triumvirat of web exploration came perhaps the most appropriate site for the upcoming gift-giving season: For those of you that fondly remember Woot-Offs when a series of deals would revolve around at, the makers have basically added Digg functionality to deals. Users can submit their own deals and rate and rank them. What you essentially end up with is a dynamically-changing deals network. As you start to shuffle through some of the deals, you'll be able to sort by keywords, online stores or users and vote up the deals that you like. They've even aggregated a leaderboard that allows you to check out all of the deals stats that you could want.

Living in Canada, there are many of these deals that I can't take complete advantage of, but that's what snowbird parents and VISA are for. Not a brilliant trio of websites for sure - but certainly functional for the right reasons at the right times. I don't regularly "review" websites anyway... I know, a pretty weak lovehate right?

Actually, all this is a prelude to saying thanks to my 302 subscribers on Posterous. I had to wait a week to break 300, but I've been busy and beat and bereft of ideas when I get home most nights. (I hope at least some of you are enjoying the eclectic video embeds.)

I know that when radio stations get one caller for a contest, they have the market research that establishes the ratio of callers to listeners. I have to say that the community here at Posterous has been a joy to share ideas with and to gain so much knowledge from. Thanks Garry and Sachin for kicking things into gear a year and a half ago. Thanks to the new team members for the great additions. And thanks to everyone who has read even one full post from lovehatethings.

I've got to keep writing for sanity alone. If someone enjoys the reading, that's an added bonus. There are plenty of other communities out there. I'm glad I found this one when I did.

lovehate: Social Search and the Law of Diminishing Discovery

Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for Serendipity.

While I've posted on a similar topic before, I found last week's announcements regarding Google's social search and Bing's full pipe search of Twitter and Facebook APIs cool, yet, at the same time, also a bit disconcerting.

In as much as one the greatest downfalls of early search algorithms was the assault of flotsam that was returned with every query, it is precisely an aspect of that muddled result that I fear losing. A great characteristic of the early graphic web was serendipity. 

We're talking Web 1.0 here. It was a time before the great permeation of referral engines and aggregators, when a reader had to scour through fathoms of muck and mire NOT to find something good, but often just to find something of interest. If it was good, that was an added bonus.

There were regular occurrences of finding fantastic useful and interesting stuff, that enabled you to expand your horizons and knowledge, which had nothing to do with your original search term. Such is one of the great benefits of raw research; you don't only hope to find what you're looking for, you hope to find a whole bunch of other bizarre, eclectic, and brilliant knowledge as well. Click this webpage randomizer link five times and tell me that, by the end, you haven't learned something.

When Social Network algorithms become integrated into your average Google or Bing query, your results will be throttled tighter than they ever have before. And I'll be the first to acknowledge that's probably what most people want. We love the idea of not having to wade through the morass of Web 1.0 where it sometimes took hours to find what we wanted. We lust after authority-based aggregation and recommendations that will point us in the right direction so that the content-drenched world of Web 2.0 won't swallow us whole.

There is a little part of me, however, that enjoyed the search and the discovery that went along with it. There is a piece of my brain that expanded by being forced to make connections in wondering why, when I queried one term, would I get a result that included this specific link. Don't we all have a small part of our brain that yearns for the open road, not caring where we're going or how we get there; productivity be damned! Don't we wish that upon being asked "where you goin'", we could just say "not here"?

One of the things I love doing is going to a site like StumbleUpon and doing random "stumbles". But, even then, they aren't completely random. They are a subset of the users of service, who, by themselves, are a generally pretty savvy group of web users. It is still fun nonetheless.

The search tools are necessary. There are plenty of times that I need to really find something, and swimming around in the trillions of bits and bytes of information trying to find one piece would be useless and foolhardy. It's the evolving pattern that is beginning to scare me a bit. The pattern dictates that as information multiplies, search results become more focused.

When static web pages ruled, results were more widely varied, partially due to the fact that web communities were less automatic and SEO was above the head of the average Geocities or Lycos user.

When social networks emerged and blogging ballooned, subjective content resulted an exponential explosion that threatened to muddy up you average search, but, conveniently enough, technology allowed the results to get even better. SEO, easy tagging, and a more educated internet-savvy content creator was being bred, and we found what we needed easier.

As "social search" and like-minded approaches start to filter into user habits, every search will now pass through yet another filter, distilling the purest result to the end user. This is great for answers. This is a boon to productivity. This is what everyone wants when they search for something. This is what I want when I search for something. But has serendipity died online? Does filtering a search through ever-increasingly effective algorithms which factor in popularity, and adding a filter of authority based on a list of people I have on Facebook or Twitter allow me to expand my horizons or does it effectively quash them.

If you walked into a bookstore and in the first room there was only one shelf with "Books You Will Like", would you be tempted to forage beyond the curtain at the back of store to see what's being hidden?

Maybe it's just the adventurer in me, but sometimes I like the open road, even with the occasional undercooked Stuckey's chicken and glaring billboards for adult stores and firework warehouses.

thinglets: The United Colors of Facefeed

With news today that Facebook has fed on Friendfeed, I suppose the only question left to ask is will everyone FINALLY hear about Friendfeed now? At least I’m sure the cable news will report it… if they can tie it to Twitter.

Our hope: that the new amalgamation will be called Facefeed, because Facebook has essentially become the junkfood of social networking anyway (I would say MySpace, but they’ve dropped to the dollar store canned food of the genre). And since we love nothing better than to FEED OUR FACE, I propose we all bow down to our new Lord of Timesuck: FACEFEED!

DyscultureD Podcast Thirty Eight: The Double Down

This week's episode!

My other web outlet is at DyscultureD where we do a weekly podcast on all things right and wrong with pop culture. Follow the link above to this week's episode... show notes below.

Full Dysclosure

  • The scratch ticket affair that is the MJ memorial
  • Bell buys Virgin Mobile and The Source
  • BNN buckles on IP and copyright video clips
  • Pirate Bay sells short
  • Alternate Bit Torrent options
  • Browser Wars Part @?$#%
  • Canadian made TV hitting US Big 3
  • Cheap Trick’s not-so-cheap trick in music promotion

Websites of the Week

  • Mike - - a simple recommendation engine for your NEXT read
  • Anth - - ever lost a user manual for a gadget or appliance? Find it here.


Laura Smith - I Spy a Monster -

lovehate: Tension and Release in Social Media


In exploring the archetypes of any media (and especially entertainment media) I like to think that there are fairly common standards in which my emotions are tugged at for enjoyment's sake. Though the paradigm can be exercised in many ways, depending on the medium, I like to simplify the pattern by commonly calling it "Tension and Release".

In music, tension and release can occur in many ways. Sometimes it's a musician simply playing with volume. Think of the grunge standard of the quiet verse followed by the loud chorus ala Smells Like Teen Spirit or Creep. While these examples are very basic approaches to tension and release (T&R) volume, made effective by immediate contrast, slow builds culminating in auditory climaxes have been around from early drumming to classical to jazz to rock. But music also allows for T&R through harmony and dissonance, varying speeds, rhythmic complexity and simplicity, and varying tonal densities. How many people have had cerebral orgasms upon hearing the cutting single guitar bend that breaks through repetitive vamp of a chord progression?

The basic concepts of T&R extend to novels, films, poetry, visual arts, and basically any other sensory media. It's why the action film often inserts comic relief. 120 minutes of non-stop action eventually becomes wallpaper without contrast in the same way that thrash metal bands have to consider some sense of dynamics if they don't wish to become redundant.

So, I ask myself the question. If most (maybe all) of enjoyable entertainment consumption contains T&R, where does paradigm fit, if at all, with Social Media or Networking. While set pieces like songs, films, and novels have, at their core, a sense of time constraint that contributes to the anticipatory set that one comes to the medium with, what which set do we approach Social Media?

The problems that arise in applying such parameters (and I'll fully admit the marriage of this paradigm may seem forced with SM) lie in the multi-pronged creative approach to the content output. It's kind of like a freeform jazz odyssey with musicians from virtuoso's to drunken karaoke performers. But I think the tools have offered some parallels that help to form the T&R of Social Media.

Twitter is the noisy, fast, guitar solo full of notes that run the gamut of multi-octave scales. Facebook is the dissonant amalgam of everything we want and don't want at the same time. Seesmic is the sample ripped from another artist and dropped in to the pastiche of sound. Youtube is the brief respite leaving the cacophony of sound behind for a time... well, to be replaced by other sound anyway. And blogs are the deep sweeping textures and swaths of sound that allow us to escape for periods of time and consume by... reading. How can all of these content creators possibly orchestrate anything so intentional as an artisitic process like T&R? They don't - you do.

In the ultimate vindication of "reader response" theories, we inherently mix or consumption to achieve appropriate T&R. I could just use Twitter all day or watch Youtube clips or sift through pictures of people's kids in Facebook. I can, however, mix and match, often by instinct to achieve the ebb and flow that best suit my sensibility. Because like anything, there is an "artistic" component if you fly high enough or zoom in enough.

And if you haven't bought any of this, consider the experience of reading it nothing more than the the long sustained notes of a Klaus Schulze composition or the outer movements of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. You may now return to the metal solo.