Some fun visuals

Presentation Zen offered up a great collection of visuals today I thought were worth pointing to here including this stunning use of typography running in parallel with Samuel L. Jackson’s briefcase interrogation in Pulp Fiction (not exactly work safe…turn down the volume):

For my wishlist: a start page that learns

I had the pleasure of joining Rex Hammock for drinks last night in Potrero Hill while he was here for Macworld Expo.

Rex is tuned in to some interesting aspects of the online world, particularly through his site which is becoming a useful and increasingly powerful wiki. I was amazed to hear that the contributions are no longer coming from his team. The community is making the site work and building it into a resource that matters.

We also talked about RSS and start pages. Rex shares my frustration that start pages are so dependent on custom configurations that the majority of the world will never do. Machine learning and recommendations technology is not new, and it seems like such an obvious direction for the start page to go…

Show me what the world looks like through a global lens, my networks' lenses and my own personal lens. Learn from both my explicit and implicit behaviors and then adjust.

Amazon knows how to use my shopping behavior to create compelling shopping experiences. Why can’t my news reading behavior be interpreted to create a better start page experience?

The Onion understands this, too:

Amazon Recommendations Understand Area Woman Better Than Husband

Pamela Meyers said that her husband, whose gift choices have never reflected any outward recognition of her desire to learn Spanish, nor of the fact that she looks terrible in orange, rarely, if ever, communicates with Meyers while away on any of his frequent business trips.

“I was having some tea from that Nebraska Cornhuskers mug Dean got me for Valentine’s Day, when a little emai from Amazon popped up out of the blue,” Meyer said. “Just completely out of the blue.”

“It was nice to know that on my birthday, someone or something was out there thinking about me, and what boxsed sets I wanted.”

Five things about me

Alright, why not. Thanks, John.

1.) I made my little brother throw deviled eggs into a crowd of people dancing to Emmylou Harris at Steve Wozniak’s wedding to our next door neighbor Candi Clark. He was about 5 and I was about 10. We got kicked out. He should have known better.

2.) I took the SATs twice just so that I could beat my older brother’s score. As older brothers do, he told me after the fact that I beat his score the first time.

3.) I listen to Gordon Lightfoot sometimes. I like it on train journeys for some reason.

4.) I was a nationally ranked water polo player in high school. I dropped out of the sport in college to pursue more important games like foosball, tetris and boat races.

5.) I have no big toe nail on my right foot. It was removed after an injury and the toe basically looks like a stump now. It effectively attracts the pointiest and heaviest parts of people’s shoes right when I’m not looking.

On deck: Bernhard, Don, Mitch, Justin, Micah

Top 10 Top 10 Lists for 2006

In the spirit of my recent obsession with abstraction, I’ll take a meta approach to the annual Top 10 list:

10. Starting with a strong one, the top 10 tips for growing old gracefully. I can imagine some funny variations on this, but this common sense stuff is always worth keeping in mind.

9. I like the Top 10 Animal Geeks from CNet UK which includes one of my favorite stories: Koko the gorilla. I’d also agree with SFGate that a few are missing.

8. Again, the common sense stuff makes for great lists. Here are the 10 business improvement recommendations.

7. Design geeks will enjoy the top 10 newspaper typefaces from 37Signals.

6. Similarly, for those of us watching MySpace mostly from the outside, here’s a nice insight. The top 10 MySpace page layout designs.

5. A sleepy one but definitely interesting to track year over year…the top 10 brands according to BusinessWeek.

4. Now we get into the good stuff. The top 10 sexiest geeks.

3. Green Wombat, the Business 2.0 blog from Todd Woody, is getting good. He recently posted The Top 10 Climate Change Influencers of 2006.

2. A tough call on whether this is number 1 or number 2, but either way, I love the Top 10 Rules for Top 10 Lists:

1. And the winner is…wait, we have a tie… Using rule #2 from the Top 10 Rules for Top 10 Lists which says “Start strong, end strong.”… At number one we have both the Top 10 Best Internet Acquisitions which was inspired by the Top 10 Internet Flops.

Write and hear your own presidential speech

I’m not much for browsing the web for the sake of browsing, but the recent coverage of StumbleUpon inspired me to try it again. It paid off immediately. My second click took me to this site.

Watch how I put together several audio snippets to write a 90-second speech for President Bush:

I’m turning into a mumbling idiot

I was comparing my feed collection with Micah Laaker the other day, and I realized that the scope of my intake just keeps getting narrower and narrower. Looking at other user’s lists in the Share your OPML system, it seems I’m not alone.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about how I can possibly dive into big important topics like Israel or oil the way I want to knowing how much time and energy I put into understanding and acting on the extra-small-sized issues that are in my circle of influence.

It makes me think that the phrase “The more you know the more you don’t know,” was perhaps more pertinent when the universe of knowledge was less fluid. Jay Behr recently captured this problem articulately:

“The older we get the more esoteric our knowledge becomes until nobody understands what the hell we’re talking about anymore. I’m going to age into a mumbling idiot.”

Advertising irrelevance

Lots of laughs this week over the advertisements for hemorrhoid remedies on my site. I don’t know what that says about my posts.

One person asked what that said about my audience. The poor click-throughs suggest people who actually visit this web site must have comfortable chairs.