September 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
I just moved into an apartment and set up a new wireless router. Here are the 11 WiFi router names I considered most strongly:
11. JOSHUA PLEASE. The router name at my parents’ house for a few years. Mom yelled this at me after I threatened to name the router something vulgar.
10. Password is Guest. A classic. Hint: The password is not “Guest.” The password might be “The Password is Not ‘Guest.'”
9. NSA Surveillance. Temporally relevant, but probably wouldn’t be funny anymore in like a week.
8. Kevin Bacon. Forget six degrees of Kevin Bacon; I’m connected directly. This joke is probably terribly dated.
7. Facebook. Alternatively, “TheFacebook.”
4. Our Router is Broken.
3. StarbucksWifi_FREE. Seriously, I’m an internet troll.
2. TrojanHorse.exe. An Eleven Magazine classic.
1. The Internet. Really, the only correct answer. Which nobody ever thinks to use. And the one I’d use myself, if I didn’t cherish the fact that it’s Kevin’s baby and the router from our old home in St. Louis.
August 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Sometimes on this blog I’ll need to link to an image. From the archives in 2008, for example, a list of my 10 Favorite Video Games. Many of the linked images are broken at this point – the source was taken down, or moved, or who knows what.
Here’s a thing I learned to do: If I need to share a link to a specific piece of media, rather than hinging my hopes on the server status of an individual blog, I’ll use a link to the relevant Google Results page. So, for example, if I wanted to share an image of Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, I’d link you to here instead of here. Check back here in 5 years and see which link is still relevant.
This idea was validated when XKCD’s What If? series applied the technique to help visualize attaching a car to a plane via grappling hook. The author had a specific video game clip in mind, but rather than linking to any particular video which might get pulled down for copyright/whatever reasons, the corresponding YouTube results page will stay relevant though its specific menu of video options fluctuates.
August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
Here’s a trick I use for birthdays.
YouTube search query for “Happy Birthday Zach” (due on 7/31)
YouTube search query for “Happy Birthday Ken” (due on 8/2)
This might feel a little weird at first. The people who make these videos are clearly not creating them with the intended Ken or Zach in mind. You might initially think that it’d take the recipients’ understanding that the videos are sent from a perverse mind like mine in order for the humor to be effective. Why do I want a birthday message from some complete strangers?
But…when you think about it, isn’t this the exact same experience that you achieve by sending a card from Hallmark? The message is still designed by, and intended for, complete strangers. Only now, because it’s the internet, you’ve got a much broader selection and greater opportunity to find something meaningful or downright hilarious.
January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
Whoops, I’m in Mumbai & Goa for two weeks. Everything is gorgeous. But internet will be sparse.
Incidentally, I missed the entirety of January 7th due to travel. 27 consecutive hours of airports, airplanes, layovers, and meals in tin foil. What a beautiful holiday from the world. And it probably helped everything come out all the more regal on the other side.
September 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
GMail is widely touted as the best free email client on the web, with a clean, easy interface, and ridiculous amounts (7.6GB, and growing) of storage.
Amazingly, at the beginning of August, I found myself hovering near 94% capacity. Once that caps out, I’d need to (eep!) start deleting my old files. Imagine the prospect—e-blast letters from four and a half years ago, never to be seen again!
Surprisingly, (or rather, unsurprisingly as I’d later find) GMail makes it remarkably difficult to delete old messages and free up space.
“Sort by message size” seems like it’d be a rather intuitive function to include, and yet, it’s entirely nonexistent. Without it, one might have to delete messages individually, or by page/date, rather than simply cherry picking the bundle of emails with Adobe Creative Suite attachments and freeing up inbox space 5% at a time. You’d have to weigh reading every individual email to make sure nothing important is lost, or deleting everything (slowly) and risk losing your mom’s secret family soup recipe to the ether forever.
It’s also difficult to mass-forward your emails to a different account. I don’t have a problem removing everything from immediate reference in my primary account—as long as it’s somewhere to potentially look up later.
You can’t even explicitly bulk-delete your emails. If you’re just working off of the “Delete” button, you’ll have to go one page / 20 messages at a time. I ended up with roughly 26,000 emails, or 1,300 pages of messages in my inbox. Not an option.
Why would a program that’s famed for its ease of use make these processes so startlingly difficult? Well, duh. Buy more storage. This much is incredibly easy. (I’m fascinated, by the way, that the 1 Terabyte option is viable.)
In any event. GMail is great and all, but I’m not about to spend $5 on things. Here’s how I worked around this.
- Start a new GMail account (I went with the handle peterselj.backup; this seemed appropriate). It may help to work out of a separate browser, so that you can stay logged in to your primary and backup accounts at the same time.
- Go to Mail Settings in your new backup account. There’s an option for “Import Mail and Contacts.” Haha! Google caught that one too. You can’t import your mail from other GMail accounts. (In the future, feel free to skip the second half of this step).
- Instead, while in Mail Settings, go for “Check Mail using POP3.” Fill out your junk for your primary account. This will allow Google to check all of your mail—and because it’s Google and wants to know everything in the universe about you, it’ll take the liberty to download all of your old emails too.
- Wait a while. Again, I had 26,000 emails. The transfer didn’t happen instantly.
- Great! peterselj.backup has everything!
- Now, about memory dumping the primary account: Go to Mail Settings in your primary account, and head to the Filters tab. You’re going to need to create (at least) two filters, temporarily. First: make your search criteria “To: email@example.com” (with your information instead of mine, of course). Hit “Next Step.” Then, “Delete it.” Although before you hit Create Filter, be sure to check off “Also apply to 13,000 emails below.”
- Delete the filter created in step 6. You don’t want any new emails showing up to go directly to the trash.
- Repeat step 6, but instead of “To: firstname.lastname@example.org,” fill in “From: email@example.com” as your filter criteria. Repeat step 7, too.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 again for any other email accounts with which you currently have GMail set up to send/receive emails.
- You’re done…but wait. It still says you’re at 93% storage capacity. That’s because all your old junk was only moved to your Trash—which still counts against your storage space. This is okay. You can easily empty your entire trash immediately. Or, better yet, leave everything in your trash. Google will get around to emptying your the folder in about 30 days; meanwhile, in the transition period, everything in your trash will still be searchable. And any email threads you discover that you’d like to save on your primary account can still be recovered.
- I don’t know, I just like having things with eleven steps. I guess, start over at step one with “firstname.lastname@example.org” in another half dozen years.
November 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
An interesting case study (could you call it that?) on how a brand and product ages with the passage of time: www.collegehumor.com . Feels like I’ve been a fan for a thousand years—I think my first memory of the site was this video. Though it’s ironic, and a sign of both my and the site’s age, that I can’t manage to find the on-site version.
CollegeHumor has evolved with time into a much different monster today than it was back then. And with good reason. Streaming video wasn’t really universal—or even all that realistic—back when the website launched in 1999. You couldn’t create content that parodied Facebook before Facebook existed. But that’s not the interesting stuff.
What’s interesting to me is that CollegeHumor is very slowly and sneakily becoming less and less of a college-based humor website. For now, much of the content still applies to collegiates. But if you look closely, you’d notice that much of site’s original content—video series such as “Hardly Working,” “Full Benefits,” “Phantom of the Office,” and even their (arguably) most popular series, “Jake and Amir”—are all office-based comedies.
CollegeHumor is (or at least, soon will be) faced with a difficult dilemma: the staff is getting old; as good as they’ve been at putting it off, Father Time always manages to make his rounds. Already, you don’t really see the once readily-available vulgar language, drug abuse, or nudity on the site anymore—and it’d be impossible to argue that these aren’t significant facets of collegiate life. In fact, according to their Media Kit, you’re not even allowed to advertise on any pages that feature content of that nature.
What could you do? As CollegeHumor, you couldn’t create classroom-based sketch comedies with a staff that’s probably largely 5+ years removed from being in college, or else you’d fast run into an authenticity problem. You couldn’t cycle your personnel as they age, or else you’re faced with a staffing nightmare—and plus, you lose out on all the branding and loyalty developed by your current team. Very risky.
For now, the characters, sketches, and content created are all still relatable to anyone in the pre-, current-, and post-collegiate demographics. But how long until CollegeHumor.com becomes OfficeHumor.com—either in effect, or in execution?
I think CollegeHumor has taken the right path. Keeping old customers is far easier than capturing and nurturing new ones; that’s not rocket science. And for now, that means that the website and content have to age accordingly. I’ll be interested to see if and when the website reaches a true breaking point where it’s largely irrelevant for the current crop of collegiates. The creation of other assets that aren’t tied to a stagnant age demographic, such as sister sites Dorkly.com, TodaysBigThing.com, and BustedTees.com, was an absolute must—and I think they’ve managed to successfully leverage the popularity of CollegeHumor into the development of the rest of the CH Media product portfolio.
Eleven may face a similar predicament in the near future / today / last year. Does the magazine grow up with its editors? Stay tuned.