Sunspots: The acquired taste edition 37signals 15 Aug 2006

14 comments Latest by z

Steven Soderbergh on clarity
"The hardest thing in the world is to be good and clear when creating anything. It's the hardest thing in the world. It's really easy to be obscure and elliptical and so fucking hard to be good and clear. It breaks people. Because you don't often get encouragement to do that, to be good and clear."
A business model checklist for web apps
A checklist of the various business models available to developers of web apps & services. Related: But, seriously, what IS your business model? [HorsePigCow] and Business Model, Schmizness Model [Peter Rip].
Web 2.0 Not A Game-Changer -- Yet
"Coursing through the veins of this Web 2.0 movement is the same narcotic hyperbole that drove Web 1.0 over a cliff...Until these companies can show consistent profits, they're just clever contraptions."
3D Painted Rooms
Optical illusion rooms. They're painted so that they transform when looked at from a certain angle. [via Bog Brush]
Jason Kottke on vertically focused blogs vs. his "acquired taste" model
"Many blogs, including the most visible ones, are vertically focused on things like Web 2.0 (TechCrunch), politics (Instapundit), gadgets (Gizmodo), or celebrity gossip (The Superficial). isn't like that; the only unifying factor is I write about and link to whatever I find interesting. Not that I don't focus mainly on a small groups of topics I'm interested in (technology, photography, food, design, economics, science, etc.) but the day-to-day or week-to-week focus varies widely. Which makes the site an acquired taste; you actually have to read it for a bit to get the gist."
Are we being rational about terror?
Ze Frank: "Terrorist attacks on Americans are now part of the global reality. They will continue to happen. Many places around the globe have had to deal with a similar reality for years...Like disease and the forces of nature, [terrorism] is a risk we have to rationally come to terms with. The government's responsibility is to make sure that fear and terror are not disproportionate to the reality of the situation." [via cynical-c]
Put simple javascript slideshows of Flickr photosets on your site
"Flickrshow provides you with the simplest way of displaying your Flickr photosets on your own website. It is simple to install, free and doesn't require Flash or any server side programming knowledge."
Celebrity Soundboards
Collection of audio clips featuring famous movie lines by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leslie Nielsen, Samuel L Jackson, Jack Nicholson, etc. Interesting prank phone call opportunities abound.

14 comments so far (Jump to latest)

fh 15 Aug 06

Wow - liked that interview with Soderbergh very much.

“A lot of people who write about art don�t understand the importance of failure, the importance of process.”

gwg 15 Aug 06

Thanks for forcing me to waste my day trying to find a tutorial on how to paint rooms like that.

mike swimm 15 Aug 06


I was wondering the same thing myself when I saw the link on Coudal the other day.

Then it occurred to me that you could probably use a projector and then trace the image onto the room.

dmr 15 Aug 06

Ah hah, a projector! Sweet. Why couldn’t I think of that…

Aaron Blohowiak 15 Aug 06

Some US stats for you.

Tobacco kills 435,000 people a year.
Alcohol Consumption (including DUI): 85,000
Motor Vehicle crashes (including DUI): 43,000
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 19, 2005, Vol. 293, No. 3, p. 298.)

9/11 Deaths:
Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819

There are about 20,000 homicides each year.

‘Responsibility’ and other beliefs satisfy emotional needs, as do explinations for actions. Governments, as all institutions, exist but to serve a) the members that constitute them b) the systems that empower them c) those who they serve (the ‘customers’)


3d rooms are friggen sweet.

indi 15 Aug 06

Aaron, I’m not sure what you’re getting at with the death statistics and �Responsibility� and other beliefs satisfy emotional needs, as do explinations for actions.

Terror attacks are nothing like dieases, accidents or acts of nature except for the fact that people die. They are not random and if we downplay them they will by their very intent get worse.

indi 15 Aug 06

mike - the projector idea is golden, I can’t think of an easier way. Does anyone have a clue how this guy who draws on the sidewalk does it?

Ed Knittel 15 Aug 06

indi, although I don’t speak for Aaron I think the point he is making is a valid one. The fact that tobacco kills nearly half a MILLION people a year and the 9/11 terror attack killed not even 3,000 people should alarm people (as do the other stats that Aaron provides).

For all the effort and for all the money and for all the death that this “war on terror” has given us there are other more extreme and more deadly things that we most people just accept as fact and say “Eh, it’s not me. I don’t smoke so why should I care if 435,000 people want to kill themselves every year.” Except that those smoking related deaths effect everyone - from insurance rates (on the bad end) to “sin taxes” that the cities and counties tack on to each pack of cigarettes sold which ultimately fund our schools, police and other social services (on the positive end).

Ze Frank did a *wonderful* job of articulating our very unnecessary and completely misplaced anger and outrage and support all in the name of the “war on terror” when in fact the consequences are far less then those other items for which Aaron mentioned. Not ONE of things Arron mentioned were, as you said, “dieases, accidents or acts of nature”. No one said cancer (disease) or being hit by a bus while crossing the street (accident) or by death from a hurricane (act of nature) so “I’m not sure what you’re getting at”. Tobacco use, “accidents” caused by DUI, and homicides are all acts of terrorism to some extent and they cause so much more damage than any plane hijacking, subway bombing or liquids/snakes on a plane ever would.

However, we work with those facts and we live and we don’t shut down the highways or the bars or the cheap tobacco shops across the border in Indiana which avoid the high City of Chicago taxes because those 435,000 people DEMAND an inexpesive way to kill themselves.

Governments don’t shut them down or outlaw the source of these problems even though they kill so many people - simply because they pay for the schools, police and other public services that we use every day.

indi 16 Aug 06

Ed - Point taken. BTW, Ze Frank is the one who mentioned disease and forces of nature.

Perhaps the anger and outrage over terror attacks is a bit over the top fueled by our sensationalistic media. But I don’t think it’s really misplaced since there are actual terror attackers. We can point to someone and say they did it … when and where will they strike again.

Also I’ve seen in my lifetime a great change in how smoking and drinking is viewed. Now in most public places smokers are seen as pariahs and outcasts (at least inCalifornia). Drunk drivers no longer get away with a night in the drunk tank to be sent home in the morning. Now a DUI will get your license suspended or revoked on the first offense. Killing someone while DUI is being prosecuted as murder and not manslaughter.

Anyway, I do hope we can begin to minimize our overt reactions so as not to allow terror attackers a sense of accomplishment while we still work to neutralize their future actions. Unlike the cumulative death tolls of tobacco, alcohol and I’ll throw in disease and nature, the terror attackers have a psychology that thrives on getting a reaction. If they get none they are more likely to try harder rather than go away.

indi 16 Aug 06

meant to say “We can point to someone and say they did it � and we have to wonder when and where they will strike again.”

Aaron Blohowiak 17 Aug 06

Ed, I would say that’s a pretty fair treatment of what I intended with the statistics.

The ammount of money being spent on the ‘War on Terror’ is disproportionate to the actual threat to the health and well-being of Americans.

Likewise, .5% of Americans are in prison, with 3.2% of Black males CURRENTLY incarcerated. 20% of people are in prison for drug offenses. At an average cost to the taxpayer of 35-45 k/year to keep someone incarcerated, there appears to be gross failings on behalf of the American government.

There are better ways to spend money than perpetual war, domestic and foreign.

How about desegregated schools? How about a healthcare system fit for a first-world nation? How about remission for student loans for people in social services professions? How about decriminalizing personal production of inebriants, thereby undercutting criminal organizations which only benefit from the outlawing of plants.

I’m not suggesting that the US should become a welfare state, but a free economy requires balances to keep the system healthy.

Extremism of any sort rarely turns out well for anyone in the long term.

estephan500 19 Aug 06

hmm… I was looking at that optical-illusion-paintings collection of photos you have.

of course it’s cool, a cool concept — but doesn’t it seem clear that those images were photoshopped? not that they’re not possible… just that those images seem really fake when you look at the pixels closely.

z 29 Aug 06

Just a test