MySpace Beautification Front

Myspace Beautification Front Template image Do you use Have you noticed that it’s unbearably ugly? Or maybe that attempts to personalize it tend to go horribly wrong? “Why?” you ask. “Does the internet have to look like this?”

The answer is no. The problem is that the coders who put MySpace together don’t know the difference between the markup they get paid to write and the string of characters generated by a baby mashing a keyboard looking for bugs. Also that most of them are probably colorblind.

Luckily there’s a solution at hand. Conveniently I am it’s leader.

The Myspace Beautification Front

Check the link for details, but in a nutshell I teased a plain-jane white-based template off another website to look half decent, then posted the code in a convenient format on the site. The idea is that everyone switches over to the simpler, more elegant style so that it becomes like a new default. It’s not for the people who want to customize and be different. It’s for the lazy people who also hate ugly things. It’s for you.

A spectre is haunting MySpace, the spectre of elegance!


che guevara sporting a nike logo, get it?Asked why I listed my religion as “other” on my myspace profile today I said that the only even closely suitable choice, “atheism”, didn’t really get at what I think, leading me to guess that maybe “semioclasty” was more up my alley.

Semioclasty, referring to semiotics (the study of signs), could be defined as the practice of debunking and clarifying the functioning of signs and signification, making a semioclast someone who tries to smash the illusion created by our associations between signs and ideas (i.e. someone who points out that “security” often means being controlled, or that needing Nike swooshes to perform well at sports will always be for the biggest losers of all). But that’s not really the point.

The point is that in googling for a defnition of semioclasty, my friend noticed there were only 7 references to the word online.

The point is also that in googling for the related and entertaining word “semioclash” (which I would define as a conflict of semiotic understandings of some kind) I discovered that there were NO references to it anywhere online. Not that it’s really a real word but I would have guessed there’d be a book, a conference, that someone would have used it at some point.

Really though, the point is that I’m adding it to the list of awesome words that I said first on the internet (currently it is in company with artbusting). You’re welcome, the internet. Enjoy it.

Hollywood Goes Hypercommercial – amazing film about product placement (free)

tom hanks pimping starbucks in you've got mail, the ultimate product placement film
My former professor of digital communications and boss (when I was TAing the introductory class) has released a film he made a few years back for free on his website BrandHype (the site is a database of movies and the products that were inserted into them as advertising).

I first saw the film, Hollywood Goes Hypercommercial, when I was in cegep and a professor showed it to our class. It totally blew me away. I mean, we all know the ads are there and that they aren’t even close to legit, but somehow this vid manages to make the commercialism of the relationship extremely visceral, to the point where I now really do feel kind of sick when I notice placements in films. I can’t recommend this enough. It’s short, interesting, relevant and free.

You can download it in five chunks from the BrandHype front page here.

Grey Zone CopyTheory – Yes.

Image of the copyfightDude at a european conference about digital creativity and collaboration made a that’s – exactly – what – I – was – thinking – but – couldn’t – say – properly speech about how digitality exacerbates and complicates the relation between “works”, “creators” and “copies” to the point where a complete overhaul of our understanding is necessary. He also points out how the network and the bits make current copyright policy look like a laws against player pianos or VCRs (both of which, of course, were narrowly dodged when the technologies emerged and sound as ridiculous now as the idea of a law against file-sharing will sound in fourty years).

The text can get a bit theory-heavy at times but is definitely more rewarding than difficult if you like this kind of stuff.

Read it here.