A set of fantastic pictures of Christmas customs around the world. Better late than never, you might say. In fact I only came across this blog, The Big Picture, when it was suggested to me by the SuggestRSS service which I linked to earlier. I thoroughly recommend digging around the whole Big Picture site—there are some remarkable photos, displayed at satisfying sizes.
From the Blog
In case you haven’t got enough content to wade through in your feed reader, this new service suggests other sites/feeds which you might find interesting based on your current subscriptions. It works by analysing an OPML file (a portable file you can export from your feed reader which lists all of your subscriptions) which you upload to the site, and then making suggestions based on the subscriptions by other users who are subscribed to the same things you currently are. I suppose that makes it a bit like Amazon’s ‘Other people who bought this item also bought…’ feature. The more people who upload their OPML files, the more accurate the service will become, supposedly.
Since 2005, Nicholas Felton has produced an ‘annual report’ giving lots of statistics about his life over the course of the year. The statistics he gathers are at once mundane and fascinating: average number of miles walked per day, relative cost per mile of different modes of transport this year, number of books read, number of photos taken, etc. What is really excellent is the presentation of all of this information in a concise and decidedly not-mundane manner. Felton has been developing software to gather daily statistics, but even so the mind boggles that he should have kept so much information throughout the year about his every-day life.
Speaking of The Wire, I’ve been recommending this article by Merlin Mann to people when encouraging them to try that series out. Merlin’s article is slightly abstract inasmuch as he’s really writing about the act of writing, and uses The Wire as an example of good writing, but what really comes out is how much he loves the series for being a lot more complex and engaging than the vast majority of TV drama. Apparently The Sopranos, another HBO-produced and -broadcast drama, is of a similar calibre, but I haven’t yet watched much of that.
In fact, it was Merlin Mann’s ravings about the quality of The Wire on MacBreak Weekly (back when he appeared regularly on that podcast) that encouraged me to try the series out and to give it the benefit of the doubt during that near-universal experience of bewilderment about what’s going on when you first begin watching a few episodes.
The Wire was a really brilliant TV drama-series which I got into thanks to iTunes just after the fifth and final season had been broadcast in the USA. A LiveJournal user was somehow able to explore and photograph the derelict sets from the fifth season just before they were definitively destroyed.
In the article referred to by the linked article I just posted, Jessica E. Vascellaro in the Wall Street Journal cites some examples of the clash between the online and the real-world definitions of ‘Friendship’.
Michael Arrington (on TechCrunch) briefly reviews the cultural implications of social-networking systems, especially the evident differences between real-world friends and online ‘Friends’. I wrote about this distinction in my original anti-Facebook piece.