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Twitterture March 6, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, Fun.
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As much as I love Twitter, the sad truth is that its strict 140-character limit is both its strength as well as its weakness. The trick is learning when to use twitter and how to use it.

It truly has evolved into its own form of communication with its own unique rules of grammar and spelling. This whole process is called Twitterture, which is the fine art of microblogging on the twitter platform. Think of it as a hybrid language of instant messaging mixed with text messaging.

I think a good way to demonstrate twitterture is by translating a well-known piece of work into twitter-verse. Let’s use Lincoln’s reknown Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln’s “few appropriate remarks” summarized the civil war in 10 sentences and 272 words. It is considered a masterpiece in brevity so what better test for twitter and its ultra brief 140-character limitation. Keep this in mind, Abe Lincoln’s powerful and memorable speech took only two minutes and will be remembered forever. However, Edward Everett gave a two hour long oration before Lincoln and no one ever remembers anything he said! Thus, another victory for Twitter and the beauty of brevity. Yes, sometimes less is more!

TheAbe: 4 score & 7 yrs ago r fathers brght 4th a new nation in liberty. All men created equal. New freedom, govrnmt of/by/4 the people wont perish!

Note: Obviously, shrinking the powerful 272 words of the Gettysburg Address down to 140 characters loses some of its luster and brilliance, but you now get a taste of twitter.

In the real world, Abe Lincoln wouldn’t have used a microblog to share this message. He might have used something like utterz or seesmic.

Here’s the complete original oratory work of art.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth

Pirates of Silicon Valley January 15, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Fun, Movies.
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In honor of Steve Jobs’ keynote speech today at MacWorld 2008, let’s watch Pirates of Silicon Valley !

One of my favorite geek movies! Noah Wyle (ER) is an excellent SteveO and Anthony Michael Hall (Sixteen Candles) is a good Bill Gates.

Sure, the writers took major liberties with the truth, but it’s still great fun! Here are some resources if you need to more fact from fiction: Wikipedia.

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s a great scene from the 1999 classic where Steve Jobs confronts Bill Gates and calls him a thief for stealing their idea for windows. I love it when Steve says “Our stuff is better” and Bill Gates replies with “You don’t get it. That doesn’t matter!”

Here’s “Pirates of Silicon Valley” in its entirety plus a few special treats such as the trailer, Steve Wozniak discussing the validity of the movie and Noah Wyle impersonating Steve Jobs at the 1999 Mac World.

Morbid Fascination January 14, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Fun, Reference.
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I don’t know how or when this started, but I’ve always had a strange morbid fascination with the famous last words of people and I’ve always wanted to know whether certain celebrities or historical figures were dead or alive. Yes, I know, very weird. Thanks to the web, satisfying these odd curiosities have become extremely easy! There is almost nothing you can’t (pardon the pub) dig up on the internet!

Read on if you dare! Here are the best sites that will quench anyone’s morbid fascination.

Dead or Alive has the largest and most accurate database of famous people’s health status, if you will. It has been around since 1998 so it has built a solid reputation and deep collection of information.
It lists the recent passings of famous people on the front page in chronological order as it happens. The site also have a wide array of categories to view this data. Here is just a taste of some of them:

Died on this Date, Died Before 30 and Lived to 100 . There are many more, some of them creepier than others such as how they perished and even, get this, an Dead of Alive RSS feed ! No thanks.

There are even some quizzes such as the Dead or Alive game where you guess who’s alive or dead.

Who’s Alive and Who’s Dead is similar to Dead or Alive but it has a very unique method of displaying its information. For example, if you click on the name of TV show it will list everyone from the cast and display each individual’s health status along with birthdate, date of death and their age. Checkout their morbid icons in a sample listing below for the cast of All in the Family:

What a Character is unique because its niche is simply character actors, not the big name stars. Their slogan is “The Names you don’t remember, the Faces you can’t forget!” How true is that! I think it’s cool that there is a site for all of these unsung heroes. It reminds of a wonderful movie I love called memories of me starring Billy Crystal and Allan King who played his dad who boasted about being the “King of the extra’s”. Obviously, it was a funny movie, but it was also a very touching story of a father and son. The ending is one that you will never forget.

FindaGrave does exactly that, finds the final resting places of famous or infamous people. Many times it will include a photo of what it looks like too. Why would you want to see this? Once again, morbid fascinations. Here is an example grave listing for Jim Morrison from the Doors. Visitors of the site can actually leave virtual flowers and a note!
FindaDeath is similar to FindaGrave but with a greater sense of humor about things and lots of YouTube videos of the dearly departed in much better times, of course.

Famous Last Words started their huge library of the final utterings of famous people in history in 1997. I’ve always been interested in this topic for some reason, even as a kid. I’ve always wanted to know what so and so might have said in their final moments on Earth. Did they say something profound? What did they do? Well, this place will share not only that information but many other interesting tid bits as well such as their obituaries and epitaphs (favorite is Emily Dickenson’s which simply says “Called Back” on her grave). They also have things like Famous Farewells where you can read how these people left their respectful careers and Last Stands which recounts famous final moments in history such as the Alamo or General Custard’s last stand.

This site always reminded me of a book by the late Malcolm Forbes called “They Went That-a-Way: How the Famous, the Infamous, and the Great Died

Whatever Happened To? is a bit more cheerie and upbeat than the other sites because most of the celebrities are still with us, perhaps not working in entertainment anymore but still alive and kicking. If you just want to know whatever became of someone famous or infamous, then this is a good place to look. You can even contribute to it if you happen to know anything.
InfoPlease offers an excellent catalogue of biographies and obituaries. Here is their special Deaths section listing the passings of all famous folks in chronological order.

Life in Legacy is another site that lists the deaths of famous and not so famous individuals, but what makes them different is their massive collection of photographs and detailed obituaries of those people.

Wikipedia naturally has an incredible biography section that contains a tremendous amount of information that grows every day.

Last Rites..er…I mean Final Thoughts: Yes, I understand that all of this is kinda creepy and morbid, but so it life! There is nothing wrong with learning the truth, no matter how sad or unsettling it might be. Sure, we learn about the lives and times of famous historical figures in history classes, but we rarely get much information or facts about the actual endings of their amazing journeys here in this world. Some of these sites will shed light on many of those mysteries as well as allow us to honor their lives by remembering what they contributed to the world while they were here.

Voicethread & video doodling November 25, 2007

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Audio, Fun, Video.
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Here is a new service that is interesting. VoiceThread offers video doodling which allows you to share audio and text comments as a group while viewing the same photo’s or videos. It’s all part of the trend towards more collaborative multimedia social networking services. Watch for this to become a common part of all websites and blogs.