Recently in Web Finds Category

Aluminum Falcon

I’ve mentioned Robot Chicken before. Some find its humor puerile, but I look forward to every episode (although their sketch “Golden Girls in the City” just went too damn far).

I laughed out loud at last week’s Star Wars-inspired bit, which someone encoded and put up on YouTube. Not sure how long the link will last, as it is copyrighted content posted without permission.

What's your domain name worth?

Not sure how accurate this is, but LeapFish.com has this analysis tool that assigns your domain name a score based on a number of factors such as search engine hits, length, whether it’s in the dictionary, etc (via digg).

Of course, something is only worth something if someone else is willing to pay that amount.

Apparently, the “estimated actual value” of notmike.com is $12,696.00. Hell, I’d be willing to part with it for only $12,000. Or not…I have grown a bit fond of this domain.

Branded

So you are working on a poster or a website for a client. The design incorporates a few well-known corporate logos that you need to place against a custom background. You ask the client if they can get you a vector version of a logo you are missing, and they send you back a low-resolution GIF matted against white, right-click-downloaded off the website of the company in question. Gee, thanks.

The best brands of the world is a useful website that contains an immense collection of thousands of high-quality versions of the official logos for a wide variety of companies, products, movies, sports franchises, TV stations, etc. Most logos are in Illustrator or EPS format, giving them infinite resizability, transparent backgrounds, etc. Warning: a few logos are evil “dot CDR” files, so you have to download a 30-day demo of Corel Draw to convert them to a format that the rest of the professional world uses.

CTU logo

The logo above is one I found on the BBotW site that should be familiar to fans of Jack Bauer’s day-long, sleepless, foodless, bathroom-breakless, traffic-jamless adventures (link to vector version).

Pandora

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As the myth goes, opening Pandora’s box was kind of a bad thing. Opening Pandora’s site, on the other hand…a damn good thing.

I frequent so many tech/trend sites (digg, LifeHacker, Slashdot, Engadget, etc.) so I was rather surprised that Pandora had slipped under my radar. Fortunately, I work closely with college students, and not much that is techy, trendy, or flat-out cool slips under their radar.

Pandora is a killer Flash app that is an offshoot of the Music Genome Project, a brilliant database that categorizes the fundamental qualities of a vast number of songs—”everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony.

You type in a song or artist that you like, it queues up a list of songs with similar qualities and streams them to your computer in their entirety. You can further nudge the app into offering up better suggestions. Everyone I have seen use this thing (myself included) is amazed at what a great job Pandora does at suggesting songs that appeal to an individual’s tastes—even my own eclectic tastes.

Many of the suggested songs were by artists I had never heard of before. You can just leave this thing playing for hours in the background. You can have up to one hundred suggestion lists (“stations”) at a time.

One immediate drawback is that my expanded exposure to artists I like will result in many more impulsive “Buy Album” clicks at the iTunes Music Store.

(BTW, Pandora asks for registration info after about an hour of hassle-free listening. Their privacy policy seemed reassuring enough, though, for me to sign up straight away.)

Odd New Year’s tradition

Slate had an article about how the viewing of an obscure eleven-minute 1963 British skit has become a New Year’s Eve tradition for more than half of Germany.

The slapstick is a bit dated, but somewhat amusing. If you have nothing better to do this New Year’s, or need a break from Dick or Regis, here’s the direct Google Video link to Dinner for One.

Arrrrrr!

Avast me hearties, the 19th of September be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. So I guess anythin’ that I post today has t’ be written in Pirate-speak.

Want t’ play along, ya scurvy dogs? Smartly, get ye over to the English t’ Pirate Translator.

Links and such

It has been forever and a day since I posted a list of cool web sites that I had del.icio.us bookmarked, etc., thinking that they would make a good blog post. So here goes.

  • Opus - This first one is a rediscovered treasure. Back when Berkeley Breathed announced that Opus the penguin (of Bloom County and Outland fame) was finally returning to the funny papers, some controversy arose because the strips weren’t available online, and the Washington Post’s lawyers tenaciously pursued those who tried to post them. Anyone remember the “DRM ink” urban legend? After most of the scofflaws gave up, I forgot about Opus until I stumbled upon the flightless waterfowl by accident. Apparently, the Washington Post had finally relented and started posting Opus online.
  • Statler & Waldorf From the Balcony - Speaking of flashes from the past, those two acerbic, crotchety geezers from the balcony of The Muppet Show have a new career as movie reviewers. The webcasted reviews are actually kind of funny as they rip on the movies, pop culture icons, and each other. Pepe the Prawn reviews DVDs.
  • Top Secret Recipes - Speaking of shellfish, have you ever wondered how to make your own Red Lobster Chedder Bay Biscuits, or Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, or Soup Nazi’s Mulligatawny Soup, or a Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino? Author Todd Wilbur has made it his life’s mission to figure out these food concoctions in his laboratory and expose them to the world. To pay the bills, he sells his books, his spice rubs, and many of the individual recipes. However, dozens of the recipes are free (a new limited-time free recipe each week). One downside to this site is that the Flash interface is a bit slow-loading, but you can print the recipes to PDF.
  • Before & After magazine - Speaking of giving away free samples to sell content, Before & After (an expensive but amazing design magazine) has this page of incredible design tutorials. You can view each one as a slideshow or print them to assemble into a booklet. Only three of them are free to non-subscribers. However, they provide a form for subscribers that allows them to send an e-mail link for any of the individual tutorials to a friend or colleague. So if you knew of such a person, and you asked him nicely about one or two specific tutorials, he might fill out that form on your behalf. Refreshingly, these tutorials are not product-based; they are based on design fundamentals like color-theory, negative and positive space, etc.
  • Lynda.com - Speaking of product-based tutorials (and free samples), Lynda Weinman, who has legally changed her name to Lynda dot Com (no, not really) has an extensive online training library. If you check out the pop-up menu in the left column of the main page, you can browse the titles. The full titles require that you whip out your credit card, but almost every single title has the first half-hour to an hour of video content for free. I think when I get back from vacation, I’ll convince my manager to buy the new PHP one.
  • The Post Office - Speaking of going on vacation, I just found out that you can fill out this online form and the Post Office will hold your mail until you come back. This one comes thanks to LifeHacker (one of my daily reads) and Eszter Hargittai, who is doing an awesome job as guest editor of LifeHacker all this week (and she was the very first non-spam commenter besides me on notMike.com over five hundred comments ago). Cool. I will be filling that form out this afternoon!
  • Speaking of filling stuff out, I have a few more bills to pay before I go to bed.

Update: No cheesy segue or anything (okay…uh, it has a PDF version), but I realized I forgot a link. This “public service pamphlet” about What everyone should know about Blog Depression made me laugh out loud. This skillfully executed homage to those colorful pamphlets that once adorned every high school guidance counselor office is genius.

Hero

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I had played a bit with the first version of UGO’s HeroMachine, but never posted the results. The avatar I created with HeroMachine 2.0u was more to my liking. [via Rob]

cartoon hero Michael at Kualoa Beach Park

I decided to go for realism, although my chest is not quite so defined, and my chi aura is a slightly different shade of yellow. There is a shark’s tooth on a black cord usually around the neck of the real world version. Thanks to Photoshop, cartoon Michael is visiting Kualoa Beach Park in the pic above. Per usual, click on the highlighted thumbnail for a larger version.

...uh...um...o-k-a-y...

…and now it’s time for something completely different. Lots more pics from the Aloha State in the pipeline, but for now…yes, we’ve got a site that features outfits that you can print, cut out, and use to “dress up” a certain male body part. [Durex Dickorations]

I’ve never really considered it as something that really cries out for adornment, esp. not a red cape, but…uh…never mind.

The site is probably SFW, but laughing out loud uncontrollably when you see this might be NSFW.

By the way, at the entry page, pretend you are under 18 for just a moment. Shudder.

Daily Tao

I’ve gone a little crazy with the OS X Dashboard widgets lately. One of the more useless, but fun, widgets I recently installed displays a new chapter of the Tao Te Ching each day (from DailyTao.org). I really liked today’s…

 
When taxes are too high,
people go hungry.
When the government is too intrusive,
people lose their spirit.
 
Act for the people’s benefit.
Trust them; leave them alone.
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