Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Research Sites; Web redesign; NYT on Cannes; NYT on Coulton et al.; Slave Leia

  • Via Rebecca Blood, here's a whole bunch (119) of links to non-Google research resources on the Web.
  • Help Me Redesign the Web -- Article from Technology Review. Excerpt: Like singing a song or writing a story, designing a printed page is a craft that is fundamentally uni­directional, or one-to-many. The flexibility of Web structures confounded and then humbled many traditional designers as they started trying to make Web pages. The whole thing had been developed to let the readers--the users, software developers confusingly called them, as if they were addicts--have control. How could that be good? For these reasons, and others, most magazines' websites until very recently were dull, repurposed versions of their print editions. Thus, a new crowd took on the design of websites. These enthusiasts assumed that the print crowd didn't get it, that what they saw as the "new paradigm" would last forever. The two-way flow of information, the Web's flexibility, immediacy, and cheapness, deeply appealed to them.
  • Good NYT article on the Cannes Film Festival. Excerpt: Its international scope is part of what makes Cannes so unmistakably French. No matter how wide-ranging their selections, American festivals — New York, Chicago, San Francisco, even Sundance — remain parochial events, but Cannes is bigger than the city that bears its name. It is a French affair, a source of national pride and a reminder of this country’s cherished, and perhaps vestigial, status as a capital of world culture. The covers of the glossy magazines cluttering newsstands are divided between Nicolas Sarkozy, the newly elected president, and Cannes, and it is not always clear which — affairs of state or affairs of cinema — are more important.
  • Another good NYT article, this one on the web-based efforts of musician Jonathan Coulton (Wiki, 43 Folders Pt. 1, 43 Folders Pt. 2, NPR) and others (OK Go, Jane Siberry Issa, The Hold Steady). Excerpts: The universe of musicians making their way online includes many bands that function in a traditional way — signing up with a label — while using the Internet primarily as a means of promotion, the way OK Go has done. Two-thirds of OK Go’s album sales are still in the physical world: actual CDs sold through traditional CD stores. But the B-list increasingly includes a newer and more curious life-form: performers like Coulton, who construct their entire business model online. Without the Internet, their musical careers might not exist at all. Coulton has forgone a record-label contract; instead, he uses a growing array of online tools to sell music directly to fans. He contracts with a virtual fulfillment house called CD Baby, which warehouses his CDs, processes the credit-card payment for each sale and ships it out, while pocketing only $4 of the album’s price, a much smaller cut than a traditional label would take. CD Baby also places his music on the major digital-music stores like iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster. Most lucratively, Coulton sells MP3s from his own personal Web sites, where there’s no middleman at all... ...Will the Internet change the type of person who becomes a musician or writer? It’s possible to see these online trends as Darwinian pressures that will inevitably produce a new breed — call it an Artist 2.0 — and mark the end of the artist as a sensitive, bohemian soul who shuns the spotlight. In “The Catcher in the Rye,” J. D. Salinger wrote about how reading a good book makes you want to call up the author and chat with him, which neatly predicted the modern online urge; but Salinger, a committed recluse, wouldn’t last a minute in this confessional new world. Neither would, say, Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, a singer who was initially so intimidated by a crowd that she would sit facing the back of the stage. What happens to art when people like that are chased away?
  • LBNL, here is a site of fangirls who like to dress up like the Jabba-enslaved Princess Leia.

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Blogger Get A Life! said...

There's a website?!?

Which reminds me... I have to go put some Rustoleum in my Coppertone...

Love those metal bikinis!

2:11 PM  

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