Thursday, February 26, 2015

Awful Reviews: If movie posters used the worst reviews

The website Awful Reviews takes movie posters and replaces positive reviews from film critics with 1-star reviews from customers on Amazon.com.
The results are often hilarious as average Joes and Janes miss the point of many classics or are offended by swear words and other content.
The best posters on the website are for universally acclaimed movies featuring remarks from clueless bumpkins.
Sometimes the scathing amateur reviewers make an interesting point about a movie, even if their arguments are crassly written.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Interesting news media websites: Retro Report, Emergent

Some say the Internet has fostered a golden age of journalism. The Internet supports a host of new media outlets, niche-subject websites and miscellaneous blogs on writing and reporting.
What follows are several websites I have yet to spotlight on Tech-media-tainment, but are worth visiting.

Retro Report

Journalists on average are good at breaking news, but not so great with following up on those stories after their initial coverage.
Retro Report does video segments on old news stories that deserve a second look.
Launched in 2013, Retro Report is a documentary news organization that provides forward-looking coverage of older news stories. The Retro Report team includes veterans of the CBS news show “60 Minutes,” the New York Times and other prestigious journalism outlets.

Emergent

Social media is rife with false news reports. The website Emergent is trying to be the Snopes.com of breaking news.
Emergent describes itself as “a real-time rumor tracker.” The website “focuses on how unverified information and rumor are reported in the media. It aims to develop best practices for debunking misinformation.”
Emergent is a research project of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

Couldn’t Be Reached

A blog entitled “____ couldn’t be reached” documents the many times public officials decline to make themselves available to discuss important issues.
“Whether it’s an investigative, nonprofit newsroom like us, an international outlet like the New York Times, or newer media like Politico or BuzzFeed – when journalists call, officials are choosing to comment less for stories on the record,” the website says.

Where Bloggers Blog

Where Bloggers Blog shows photos of the workspaces of notable bloggers.
My reaction: their desks are way too tidy.

Thomas Wolfe Was Wrong

Author Thomas Wolfe wrote the famous adage, “You Can’t Go Home Again.”
The blog Thomas Wolfe Was Wrong documents the many times people think they’re being clever online when they write that Wolfe was wrong, you can go home again. It’s now an annoying cliche.

BuzzFeed Articles Without the GIFs

BuzzFeed has been an enormous success with its stupid quizzes and click-bait lists. It also runs a lot of articles with animated GIFs.
The website BuzzFeed Articles Without the GIFs shows how terrible those articles are without the GIFs.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fun websites: Honest corporate slogans, repurposed Pizza Hut buildings

I come across a lot of interesting websites in my travels online. Over the next few days, I plan to list some of them by category. Today I’ll review a few business-related websites.

Used to Be a Pizza Hut

Used to Be a Pizza Hut documents the many shuttered Pizza Hut buildings that get repurposed for other uses.
“These beautiful structures, most likely now devoid of the table-top Pac Man machines, dot the American landscape,” the website says. “Some provide ethnic food, some, used cars, and a rare few are now municipal buildings. Whatever their current purpose, we can always be reminded of the mediocre pizza that was once served in these establishments. That, and those red plastic cups.”
Mike Neilson, a mobile software designer in Bethel Park, Pa., created the website in 2008 and has documented more than 500 former Pizza Hut buildings since then.
The website was discussed on Brandflakes for Breakfast.

Honest Slogans

Honest Slogans is a funny website that features rejiggered corporate logos and slogans. It portrays products and companies as how they are actually perceived.
Honest Slogans is the work of graphic designer Clif Dickens. He posted some of his favorites on Huffington Post.

Our Incredible Journey

Our Incredible Journey is a blog that documents when one company buys another and then shuts down its services. This happens all the time with Internet companies. The blog is the work of Phil Gyford.
The website was discussed on Laughing Squid.

Friday, February 20, 2015

LFL wardrobe malfunction photos moved to new website

In the summer of 2013, Tumblr unceremoniously deleted three blogs I had created and managed, including one on Lingerie Football League wardrobe malfunctions.
I recently posted almost all of the LFL photos that Tumblr erased on a new service, Soup, based in Vienna, Austria. Hopefully Soup is a more trusted entity than Yahoo’s Tumblr and can respect “fair use” exemptions to copyright.
Since Tumblr deleted my research on the photos, I had to recreate descriptions for the photos, which was difficult. It’s something I put off doing for a year and a half.
In November 2010, I boasted that Tech-media-tainment had become “the Web’s leading aggregator of Lingerie Football League wardrobe malfunction photos.” This website generated a lot of traffic because of that distinction.
But the torch has long since passed to the Italian blog Very Special Girls, which is the now the top aggregator of LFL wardrobe malfunction photos worldwide.
TMT posted LFL wardrobe failure photos, including nip slips and bare butt exposures, to show the absurdity of the players’ uniforms. The LFL flaunts female sexuality to the detriment of the sport. If it wants to be taken seriously as a sport, it needs to provide uniforms that fit.
My curated photos were copied by a few other websites for their own LFL photo galleries.

For an archive of LFL wardrobe malfunction photos, check out LFL Wardrobe Malfunctions on Soup.io.

Photo: An LFL player flashes a nipple pasty while high-fiving fans. (Photo from Flickr user Feric89.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Yahoo fails continue

Yahoo is one of my daily go-to resources on the Internet. I use MyYahoo, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Mail every day.
So, it’s disturbing to me that those services are so buggy now. Perhaps Yahoo is spending too much energy chasing mobile Web users and not enough on its traditional desktop services.
In the photo up top, the RSS feeds on MyYahoo homepage went down recently.


Clicking on a Yahoo Finance news article occasionally takes me to a blank page.


My Yahoo Finance portfolio page is all sorts of messed up here.

See earlier posts on the subject:

Yahoo errors continue, but web portal spruces up its oops page (Oct. 17, 2014)

More Yahoo error messages: A portfolio of fail (Sept. 13, 2014)

Long-time Yahoo user sick of website’s buggy services (Sept. 3, 2014)

Monday, February 16, 2015

10 things doomed to go the way of the dinosaur

1. The U.S. Postal Service

The independent government agency will be in a period of decline for years to come, but the future is clear. The U.S. Postal Service as we know it will gradually fade away. And along with it, so will go postcards, the hobby of stamp collecting, disgruntled postal workers with a gun fetish, and other things.
(See “Mail boxes, stamp collecting threatened by Post Office demise.”)


2. Pennies

Americans finally are wising up to the fact that pennies are unnecessary and wasteful. One-cent coins cost 2 cents to manufacture, creating a money losing-proposition for the U.S. government. They also are a drag on productivity and a hazard to children and pets if swallowed. Plus, they are becoming irrelevant as financial transactions increasingly switch to electronic payment options.
(See “Time is running out for the U.S. penny.”)

3. One-dollar bills

The issue of eliminating the $1 bill from U.S. currency in favor of $1 coins comes up every few years. Old coots clinging to the past have saved the paper bill for now. But eventually the federal government will do the right thing and ax the $1 bill. Doing so could save taxpayers $4.4 billion over the next 30 years.
(See “U.S. needs to stop printing $1 bills.”)

4. Business cards

Business cards are being replaced by LinkedIn. The personal information on business cards can quickly become out of date. People change jobs, job titles, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email accounts. The beauty of LinkedIn is that the user keeps his or her contact information and career data current themselves. Business cards are joining Rolodexes in the dust bin.
(See “Business cards becoming passe, replaced by LinkedIn.”)

5. Phone books

The clock is ticking for phone books. Most people today get phone numbers for businesses, government agencies and persons by searching the Internet. But there’s still money to be made selling advertising for yellow page directories, so phone books persist. But not for long.
(See “Phone books deserve to die.”)

6. Newspapers

Newspapers in print form are fading fast as more people get their news online. Some pundits are predicting that newspapers in the U.S. will start disappear en masse within a few years as circulation declines and production costs increase.
(See “The end of newspapers threatens paperboys and kidnapper props.”)


7. Magazines

Like newspapers, print magazines are declining in circulation, because of the rise of the Internet. Print magazines are likely to become a niche media as opposed to a mass media in the years to come. The cachet of being a magazine’s cover subject or cover model probably will diminish as well.
(See “Magazine sales continue to slide; Format’s future in doubt.”)

8. Copy editors

To save money, many publishers have cut the ranks of copy editors and fact checkers. The results have been a lot of Internet LOLs as the public shares the latest typos, misspellings and other embarrassing errors copy editors presumably would have caught.
(See “Copy editors are an expense some publishers don’t want.”)

9. Ownership of music, movies, other software

First it was physical media (CDs, DVDs, etc.) that were threatened by the shift to digital, now it’s ownership of entertainment and software. Consumers are shifting from owning digital media files to using subscription and ad-supported streaming media services. Plus, people are beginning to subscribe to PC software instead of owning it outright.
(See “Ownership of music, movies and software slipping away.”)

10. Concert and sports tickets as memorabilia and collectables

As more ticket sellers switch to electronic tickets that can be printed at home or scanned from a mobile device, collecting concert and sports tickets as mementos is likely to wane. A cheap printed ticket doesn’t have the same allure as a glossy, souvenir ticket. Plus, since they can be easily copied, they have no collector value. (See “Concert and sports tickets disappearing as memorabilia and collectables.”


Photos:
Post office comic by Marshall Ramsey (Postal Cartoons on Pinterest);
Mailbox as endangered species by Carmichael Lynch (See Carmichael Lynch Flickr page and article by Laughing Squid.)
Newspaper Road is a dead end (See article by Romenesko);
Concert Ticket Album for sale on Amazon.com.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Concert and sports tickets disappearing as memorabilia and collectables

When I was a kid, people liked collecting matchbooks. In those days smoking was prevalent in bars, restaurants and hotels and a lot of those establishments would leave baskets of matchbooks at the checkout counter for people to take.
Now with smoking banned in most such businesses, matches have been replaced by mints at the checkout counter or reception desk.
Another collecting trend likely going by the wayside is saving concert and sports tickets as mementos. That’s because thick glossy souvenir paper tickets are giving way to cheap print-your-own tickets or e-tickets.
The benefits to event companies from the shift are obvious. The self-printed and e-tickets have bar codes that can be scanned at the gate, preventing fraud from counterfeit tickets.
But such tickets have no collector value since they’re typically unattractive and can be easily photocopied.
I still have tickets to some concerts that I went to the 1980s and ’90s. But young people today probably aren’t keeping their tickets. Instead, they’re more likely to use cellphone photos of the events as their mementos.

Photos: “Just the Ticket: Ticket Stub Organizer” by Peter Pauper Press sold on Amazon.com.

See also:

Is It The Death of the Concert Ticket?! infographic by Authority Tickets.

The Death of the Concert Ticket (The Presurfer; June 3, 2012)


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