Thursday, February 28, 2008

while browsing through the flickr blog this afternoon, i came across a post about a fire that ripped through one of my favorite areas of toronto.

having lived in the city from the summer of 2006 until the fall of 2007, i was continually reading about the battle between citizens of the area and various city-side housing commissions over this beloved area (read: exploitable area for the city) on queen street. it was, and is (for who knows how long), known for its independent shops, high artist population, quirky nightlife and overall thriving culture.

as a conspiracy theorist (read: someone who's always trying to figure out what the government is up to, since they usually don't have our best interests in mind), i immediately thought back to this ongoing trouble between the people and the politicos upon reading of the fire and the inability to discover its nature. is this a ploy by government to oust the artist population and make way for the big box stores and condos that they'd like to see lining the streets? this article supports the theory, but i don't want to put much stock in anything yet.

as an artist (ha), amateur historian, and man who simply enjoys culture, i mourn for the loss of some of the city's architecture and for the homes of the residents.

Friday, February 22, 2008

hack the planet.

i always enjoy the opportunity to catch up with my other tech savvy friends and see what they're up to, what portables they're sporting, and what approaches they're taking to hacking their lives. last night, i got to do some long overdue catching up with my friend t, who just happens to be one of the savviest of the bunch.

for all those of you who don't speak geek, here we go. portables could be a myriad of things. in my case, my portables are my mp3 player, my cell phone (pictured above, it's a moto w385 if you're curious), and my digital camera. i also have another camera (this one doesn't come with as much, although it should).

as you may be able to tell by the ghosties chasing pac-man across my phone's lcd, i like to customize my gadgets. i carry these things pretty much everywhere, why not make them mine? this may not necessarily increase functionality of the phone, but the fact that i can now store data on the phone certainly does. i guess i should also take steps to point out that these were most certainly not out of the box features. the lcd originally read out the name of my cellular carrier, and the thing didn't even come with a usb cable. i also crammed a gps program on there as well as a few other little goodies.

here comes the really impressive part. one of my friend t's main portables is a nintendo DS, among a few others. he also recently got a nice new digicam, but we'll save that for another day. like me, t likes to customize said portables, and has done so with his DS. after installing a shell on it, he loaded a VoIP client and was well on his way to free long distance phone calls.

had you asked me 10 (or so, i lost count) years ago, upon my first viewing of one of my favorite movies if i thought i'd be taking part in digital phreaking and hacking of my own, i'd have called you crazy, then asked you to pass the popcorn.

Monday, February 18, 2008

they put a story in every ad and and ad in every story.

earlier this evening i was watching a pbs frontline special, downloaded for your viewing pleasure, called the persuaders (you can watch the full program on the website thanks to public programming).
basically, the piece discusses many different facets of advertising and the incorporation of trust, experience, and yes, even love that some companies base their ad models on.
one brief case study was a cheerios commercial using a grandmother and her grandchild, playing with cheerios on a highchair as if they were pins on a map at christmas time, explaining where everyone came from and how far they traveled to be there that year. obviously meant to tug at the heartstrings. close-ups of the baby. you know the drill.
another example that they focused on, the one that caused me to utter the title of this post, focused on the hbo show sex in the city. in the episode, kim catrall's character convinces her latest love interest to appear in a fictitious (read: very very real) ad campaign.