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21 Sep 2019 20:01


About: For the first time in seven years, the old ShortFormBlog

I missed having the old SHortFormBlog archives online. The Tumblr site is great and all, but this is just where it all started. And in that spirit, I’d like to leave the first three-plus years of ShortFormBlog publicly accessible for anyone who wants to read them, wants to do research, or remembers having them around back in the day. It’s part of the blogosphere trend that I came in on the tail end on, just before social media took over the world. Anyway, if you see any issues, email me and I’ll do my best to get them fixed. Thanks!

05 Mar 2012 20:57


Music: Michael Jackson’s musical output reportedly stolen by British hackers

  • 50,000 of MJ’s song files reported stolen source
  • » Two British dudes are facing trial over the alleged heist: You have to be a dedicated MJ fan to steal tens of thousands of Michael Jackson songs — including unreleased songs that Sony planned to milk by releasing over 10 albums in the next seven years. James Marks and James McCormick, the suspects in the musical heist, deny having done so, but that may not be enough to sway prosecutors. Sony, by the way, is basically a broken record when it comes to hacking, so this latest incident comes as no surprise.

05 Mar 2012 11:04


Biz, Tech: The bloodshed begins: Yahoo will reportedly lay off thousands

  • 14,100 current Yahoo employees source
  • » Word is that a major restructuring is happening: New CEO Scott Thompson (no relation) reportedly plans to cut back heavily at the company, which analysts see as a key example of tech company excess, in an attempt to focus on the things the company does well. While the company has had some recent success (their Open Graph collaboration with Facebook has been a boon, for example), the company has not undeservedly built a reputation of acquiring other companies (for example, Delicious) and letting them languish under the corporate structure. It used to be mentioned in the same breath as Google, but now it’s more likely to be mentioned in the same breath as AOL. Would cuts bring Yahoo back to life?

05 Mar 2012 10:36


Politics: Three analytical takes on Rush Limbaugh’s current controversy

  • one David Frum asks an important question: “Are we being fair to Rush Limbaugh?” Frum’s answer: “Even by the rough standards of cable/talk radio/digital talk, Limbaugh’s verbal abuse of Sandra Fluke set a new kind of low.”
  • two James Poniewozik of Time suggests that the moment could become Rush’s Imus moment: “Limbaugh’s situation may not be exactly parallel, because all analogies break down at some point, but there’s a lot of basic similarity.”
  • three Columnist Joel Mathis of Philadelphia Magazine loosens the focus on Rush and suggests that the reaction shows a major problem: “We stopped talking about the issues. And we focused very deeply on our own hurt feelings.” Hm.

04 Mar 2012 10:55


World: Iran: Ahmadinejad looking like lame duck after parliamentary elections

Roughly 75 percent of the votes went to backers of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a contest between conservative factions, leaving Ahmadinejad looking a lot weaker ahead of next year’s presidential elections. source

04 Mar 2012 10:08


Politics: Super PACs aggressively spend ahead of Super Tuesday. Super.

  • $10 million in Super Tuesday ads bought by Super PACs source
  • » Four states getting strongest focus: Ten states are holding primaries and caucuses in a couple of days, but the ones that the GOP candidates are really focused on? Ohio, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Much of the advertising seems to be focused on trashing other candidates, with both Mitt-and-Newt-affiliated Super PACs attacking Rick Santorum — who is currently leading in Ohio. In other news, Mitt won a caucus in Washington on Saturday with Ron Paul scoring second place, though the caucus is non-binding.

03 Mar 2012 20:46


Politics: Rush Limbaugh apologizes for language, sticks by Fluke argument

  • good! A couple hours ago, Rush Limbaugh apologized to Sandra Fluke for calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute” for speaking about contraception funding to Congress: “My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”
  • however The apology didn’t avoid tough words, though including a series of lines attacking the thrust of what Fluke said in front of Congress: “I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress.” Is his apology good enough? source

02 Mar 2012 17:45


Politics: Sandra Fluke vs. Rush Limbaugh: What you need to know, in a nutshell

  • cause Last week, a Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, testified in front of Congress on the Jesuit school’s policy on contraception, an issue which has drawn many emotions of late.
  • reaction Many on the right attacked Fluke for her testimony, but none as harshly as talker Rush Limbaugh, who called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his radio show. Yeah, that’s not cool.
  • result Limbaugh’s comments drew strong reactions from the left especially. Republican House Speaker John Boehner criticized Limbaugh. The president even called her up today. Really. source

02 Mar 2012 15:15


Tech: Out come the haters: The Pinterest backlash intensifies

  • one MacLean’s writer Lisan Jutras criticizes it for being strongly feminine, but only on the surface: “This domain is sort of like a girls-only clubhouse, but it’s not about expressing innermost desires, just surface desires—for hair, shoes, nail art, a boyfriend that exists in soft-focus black-and-white.”
  • two Thought Catalog narrows down the appeal of the service in a single damning line: “It’s the first Nora Ephron movie that you have to log into, and yep, you guessed it, there’s a wait list to join.” Their problem is stated plainly in the headline: “Pinterest: The depths we will go to not read.”
  • » A couple quick thoughts of our own: It’s possible that the success of Pinterest may reach a little bit of a plateau at some point because of the shape it’s already taken. It’s growing quickly, but the best social networks are formless in terms of the content. Anything goes on Tumblr for the most part, for example; same with Twitter and Facebook. With Pinterest, the culture has kind of limited what can work there, at least for now. It feels like, even if it hasn’t been spelled out, the parameters have been partially defined. And for businesses, minus a few obvious verticals (say, you sell clothes or artwork) Pinterest is not necessary or even desirable for building a strong brand. It could be, though, if it was repositioned slightly. These are some of the things the site will struggle with as it tries to grow. if we were them, we’d figure out ways to encourage shapelessness, so as not to scare new users off.

02 Mar 2012 11:22


World: Pakistan’s building a controversial wall around its internet access

  • $10 million to build a “great firewall” around Pakistan’s interweb source
  • » And they’re being open about it: Unlike China and other countries that have national internet censorship policies, Pakistan is discussing the issue openly, going so far as to take proposals to build a wall and putting ads in the country’s newspapers. It’s drawn a lot of controversy, however, partly as a result of the ads. “The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem of the activist group Bolo Bhi. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.”