Blog Page 7

Oops I made some guy delete his Twitter account

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Last night, I used the Twitter search bar to find an older tweet of mine. I typed in “pin two tweets to your profile” and the results were pretty boring, but as I scrolled down the list, I saw that a couple of people had plagiarized my tweet.

The first one I noticed only had maybe 100 followers, and another had a few thousand, but only printed half my tweet, and I didn’t care. I generally don’t care about people stealing my tweets, and I’ve never done anything about it when I’ve noticed it.

As I kept looking for my original post though, I noticed another guy had copied my tweet earlier this year (shortly after it had a big run of retweets among tech people), but what kind of annoyed me was that he had 12,000 followers, he was a professional developer, and he even had some mutual followers with me. You sort of except lame theft from random people, but this for some reason annoyed me.

I replied to him with a link to my tweet and a “??” and kind of expected him to just delete his copied version, but he just faved my tweet. In the meantime, I looked through his timeline briefly and he clearly just stole 50% of his tweets, but had dozens of people who kept retweeting him or saying “lol bro” to him or whatever, and for some reason this irked me.

I find plagiarism to be really bad and dumb, and I honestly can never even begin to understand the mindset behind people who do it, especially when they do it regularly. It’s bizarre how many media people seem to build decent careers on it, and then for some weird reason, even after they’re repeatedly caught, they rarely get totally disgraced, and quite often don’t even get fired from their jobs (see Fareed Zakaria and Margaret Wente).

When it comes to Twitter plagiarism though, I don’t normally get too wound up, because the perpetrators are usually just goofballs who nobody reads, and the complainants often get way too wound up and try to fire up big campaigns against them. The only case I can recall really caring about on Twitter was that guy Sammy Rhodes (aka Prodigalsam) who a completely crazy case – the guy built up a huge Twitter following by stealing tweets, but it took quite a while before people really started making a stink about it, and then when he was totally caught red-handed he acting completely weird about it, like denying it and saying he was “paying tribute” to the people he stole from or something.

It was completely weird, and super, super hilarious for a little while. The guy just got skewered so much, and it was blatantly obvious that nobody bought his story, but he seemed to really believe it or something. What was even funnier was that he’s some sort of religious minister, so he’d also be throwing in tweets about doing right by God, etc. So that was a hilarious situation, and when he finally “stepped away” from Twitter, I ended up getting blocked by him when I did a photoshop to make it look like his goodbye tweet was plagiarized. His “step away” didn’t last very long, he somehow still got a book deal, which is a weirdly common phenomenon with these guys (see Jayson Blair, Josh “The Fat Jew” Ostrovsky, and I’m sure several others I can’t recall).

So back to the other night: I wrote another couple of tweets to this guy saying “Hey could you delete the tweet maybe?” or words to that effect, and he kept passive aggressively just favoriting them. So honestly, I am pretty ashamed of this, because it’s pretty much a really, really, really, really lame move, but this guy was bugging me so much, I did another tweet mentioning the business he worked for (in his bio), just like “what do you guys do?” and he just faved it, and again didn’t delete the tweet, so I wrote again and was like “You’re an SEO business, is mass plagiarism a good strategy?” and cc-ed the business name.

I honestly feel really dumb about this, and I don’t even know why I’m writing this post. It was an extremely weenie move on my part, just soooo lame. Sometimes the dumbest things get me mad though, and then I feel terrible later. A few weeks ago, I was driving home from a grocery store and at this one really tricky stoplight, a driver ahead of me stopped and let about 4 people turn in front of her.. it’s hard to describe the situation, but it was very pointless, she saved them like 8 seconds, but made me and her wait another 2 minutes. I honked at her while she was doing it, but afterwards I felt extremely bad, and then I had to do the thing where I drive slower than her for the rest of the way until one of us turns, because if I pass her it would be awkward.

So my point being, I should be ashamed, but also the guy did delete his account immediately afterwards, so I deleted my tweets and I’m assuming nobody at his business saw them at around 11pm on a Tuesday or whatever.

Update: The guy waited 2 days, reactivated his account, blocked me and didn’t delete the tweet hahah. These guys are so weird, it honestly just puzzles me, it’s just so odd. Like if I got caught doing this, I’m sure my first move would be like deleting the tweet, and then I can’t think of what else I’d do, because who spends their life just stealing tweets of all things haha, it’s soooo weird.

Camp Bongopix – 80s Retro Camping

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This is kind of interesting: Up by Algonquin Park (Ontario, Canada’s oldest provincial park, quite historical), there’s a new business, Camp Bongopix, that rents out cabins, and their theme is to recreate the 1980s cottage experience. They have rooms with N64 consoles and VHS equipment, and things look decorated in a pretty convincing 80s style.

It’s a pretty novel idea (that I know of), and I could imagine it taking off and doing quite well (maybe it already has). It seems like something that would really hit the spot with a lot of Toronto people I can think of. There’s also a hostel lodge thing that’s part of it, looks like a lot of fun for the right crowd.

Their FAQ says they only book through Airbnb, which is different. I’d like to keep my eye on this thing for a couple of years and see how it does, I’m curious.

Cinnamon Scrambled Eggs

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I invented a new dish yesterday, although someone may have already done it. I’m not googling to check.

The dish is cinnamon scrambled eggs. I was going to write out the recipe, but what it really boils down to is that you make scrambled eggs, but you put cinnamon in there. You have to stick in a decent amount it seems like. Mine smelled great while it’s cooking, but the actual taste was more subtle.

I’m a foodieblogger now.

The ‘Let 40 Horses Loose At Burning Man’ Campaign

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Three days ago, on a whim, I started a joke Gofundme campaign called “Let 40 Horses Loose At Burning Man” and then linked it from Twitter for a few laughs. I was surprised how smooth and easy it is to set up a Gofundme campaign, they really have their act together.

After setting it up, I made two donations myself, one for $10 and then one for $6. My assumption was that I could just refund them, or withdraw most of the money when the campaign was over. This morning, I decided to reverse them, before I forgot about them. The Gofundme support team was insanely fast at reversing them, and they also shut down new donations to the campaign, so a big “Donations have been turned off” pop-up came on when you visited the page.

Wouldn’t you know it, maybe 30 minutes after that was set up, people started to retweet the campaign on Twitter. A couple of people with a lot of followers retweeted it (@bro_pair and then @drewtoothpaste), and it got a bunch of action. I hated wasting a good joke, so I wrote back to Gofundme and asked them to turn donations back on, so that the warning thing didn’t pop up across the web page and ruin the joke.

They re-enabled it, and when I went to check it out, I realized a pretty cool thing about Gofundme: You can enter an ‘offline donation’ yourself just by typing it into their admin area, and it’ll show up alongside the other donations to your campaign, although it’s clearly designated as an offline donation.

Since I had stuck in a $50,000 goal for the campaign, I decided to make an offline donation of $15,000, and then I decided to do another, of $23,456. This made it instantly look like the campaign had raised over $38k, which I found kind of amusing.

A Vice website called Thump wrote a short article about it, and I just noticed that it’s marked as “trending” on Gofundme. A couple of people wrote messages on Gofundme saying that animals aren’t allowed at Burning Man.

A few people throughout the day expressed concern for the horses on Twitter, and at first I did jokey replies to them like “Anything is allowed at Burning Man!” but then I instantly felt kind of mean, like I was mocking them, so I just wrote back and said something like “In all seriousness this is just a joke”. I didn’t really want to screw around with some random people who just love horses – those are really good people.

So right now I guess I’m just going to leave this thing up for another day or two and then close it off. A couple of people have donated $5-$10, and I really want to refund them sooner than later.

So I have a few thoughts about what I’ve learned about Burning Man, crowdsourcing and the power of social networking – just kidding, I don’t care at all, this was a pretty dumb joke and the important part was I got a short blog post out of it (which you are reading, it’s this post).

Ice Life Hack

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Here’s a little trick I try to do during the summer, maybe it’ll be useful to you:

A while ago, I went to the dollar store and bought 4 cheap ice cube trays. I fill them regularly and put them in the freezer.

I try to remember every day or so to go get them and then empty them into a plastic bag, and then refill them. It doesn’t take very long to accumulate quite a lot of ice this way.

Stash as much as you can in any empty spaces in your freezer (especially if you have an extra chest freezer). Then one day, when you need a bunch of ice, maybe for a last-minute beach trip or camping, you don’t have to stop at a store and pay 2 or 3 dollars for ice.

Over one summer, maybe you’ll only save a few bucks this way, but over a lifetime, you can save dozens of bucks.

VR Photography (Ricoh Theta S)

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Earlier this year, I got this VR camera, the Ricoh Theta S (amazon). It lets you take 360° photos or video. This isn’t a review but let me start with a few thoughts on the camera itself

It’s pretty cool for a bunch of reasons:

  • It’s quite small, so it’s very portable.
  • It has a very high quality feel to it.
  • Connecting it to a smartphone is way easier than other digital cameras I’ve tried.
  • Of course, it takes 360° videos and pictures.

Downsides I’ve run into:

  • At first glance, the Theta S has decent resolution: 14MP for still photos and 1080p for video. But what you might notice if you’re picky is that those pixels are spread over an entire 360° view, so when you’re looking at your pictures/video later, every subsection that you look at is lower resolution than those specs might suggest
  • Because the camera is so small, it uses a very small sensor (actually 2 sensors, to allow it to do 360°). This means it’s not great in lower light situations. They do have some low light shots that look good on the official website, so I guess it’s possible with tweaking and going into manual settings, but if you just pull it out somewhere darkish, it’ll be pretty gritty.

Anyway so I didn’t actually start writing this as a review, I was just going to talk about one specific point about VR Photography:

I love this camera, and it’s fun to use, but one thing I keep noticing when I watch 360° videos (filmed by me, or other people), is that so many situations and scenes just don’t suit themselves to 360° VR video.

In a lot of situations, traditional photography is all you need to capture what is actually happening. I’ve watched quite a lot of VR video where you have to spend the first 2 or 3 seconds orienting your view to whatever the main action is, and that covers the rest of the video.

Capturing a 360° field is cool in theory, but that includes a lot of fairly extraneous stuff. The sky is a big example actually – for most of these videos, you could orient your view to just be looking at the sky for the length of the video, but nobody is ever going to do that, nor should they. But probably more than 10% of all the pixels/scene in lots of VR videos is just a blue sky with some clouds.

Anyhow, I have no big point, I just thought I’d write this down somewhere. I just had a tech video open where someone was raving about how great the Theta S is, and I agree, but I don’t know, I am not so sure it’s going to catch on with actual normal people – doesn’t seem likely to me. A couple of years ago, I got a Sony 3D camera that is one of the greatest things, but those never caught on, and I’d argue that they provided way more utility and cooler/more fun images.

If you do get a Ricoh Theta S or other VR camera, maybe get it from somewhere you can return it if you’re not into it, that’s probably the smart move.

Names

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You should never make fun of any kid’s name you find dumb online, even if you think the name is terrible. Even if that person doesn’t see it (maybe they won’t), someone else could read what you said, and that person might have a kid with the same name, and it could make them feel bad in a pretty deep way. They might worry about if they really messed up and hurt their kid’s future by giving them a bad name. Pretty mean.

Now this is not really related, but I really like the concept of some guy naming his kids Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but not explaining it to his wife. Or maybe he names the first two Emerson and Lake, and then his wife realizes what’s going on and gets super mad. Or what if someone just thought Emerson, Lake and Palmer were great kids names (they’re pretty normal), and didn’t even realize there was the band. That would be crazy! But I’m sure it hasn’t happened. But dang, just imagine it.

Important Note

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Everybody without a blog is lazy or a coward.

Yell At Brands

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I had an idea a while ago for a site called Yell At Brands. The basic idea was that you’d go to it, pick a brand, and write your complaints, and it’d stick them all into categories or sections or whatever.

Here’s why I think this would be a good site: People love yelling at brands. People complain to them on Twitter all the time, it’s just a natural reflex when some company makes you mad. Sticking all the yelling in one place would be.. I don’t know, but I’m sure some people would use the site, and it’s very hard to make anyone use any website these days.

Mongers

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Almost every monger is bad: Warmonger, Gossipmonger, Hatemonger.

But nobody has a problem with the Fishmonger. They’re good really. Something to think over.