tom moody

Archive for the ‘computers-R-stupid’ Category

profile in courage

Blogger-turned-mainstream-pundit Josh Marshall writes a long editorial alternately excoriating and sucking up to [Eric Schmidt's company] in the wake of the Barry Lynn defenestration. Apparently he doesn't know that this person named Snowden and certain other critics demonstrated that [Eric Schmidt's company] crossed the "evil" line quite some time ago. Thus TPM, Marshall's magazine, is still dependent on ad revenues and email services from [Eric Schmidt's company]. From the concluding paragraph:

So we will keep using all of [Eric Schmidt's company]’s gizmos and services and keep cashing their checks. Hopefully, they won’t see this post and get mad.

He's joking but not really. Even if you don't take their money or use their cruddy email, they can punish you by denigrating your search cred. Some blogs won't even mention [Eric Schmidt's company] by name. Is this bad? Yes.

- tom moody

September 3rd, 2017 at 7:52 am

zucker-eyeballs valuation

Those hoping that Facebook might actually die have assumed it would happen because "the kids" moved to another platform, as happened with MySpace. Ten years later, here we all are...
Financial pundit Mark St. Cyr thinks it might happen for a different reason -- advertiser disillusionment. He compares turn-of-the-millennium AOL with present-day Zuckerland and sees many similarities on the ad-oversell front.

Facebook is, for all intents and purposes, an advertising tool for advertisers only. It derives nearly all its revenue from advertisers. i.e., If there’s no advertisers buying on Facebook – there’s no Facebook. Regardless of how many free “users” sign up.

Pretty simple construct, but imperative to truly contemplate because it’s not that FB provides anything that people truly need. It’s just an outlet connecting eyeballs. And it is those “eyeballs” which are the product. And as soon as advertisers begin regarding 2 Billion eyeballs as being not worth more than two-red-cents, because nobody is buying? That’s when $Billion dollar valuations begin to plummet.

"Plummet" is a word that looks nice in proximity to "Facebook." Hey, we can dream, can't we?

- tom moody

August 30th, 2017 at 1:27 pm

internet meta-scholarship: ""

Wikipedia's entry on French composer Hector Berlioz contains a footnote (note 16) to support the statement that Berlioz's parents "disapproved" of his abandonment of medical studies in favor of music.

The footnote link takes the reader to a Wayback Machine-archived page on Berlioz from, a quasi-encyclopedic entry with no sources given.

What is A website formerly run by the Karadar Bertoldi Ensemble, a piano and violin duo based in Italy. A bio of the violinist, Sibylle Karadar, appears on another site.

At least one critic satirically complained that was scraping content on classical music from all over the web and passing it off as original. See Brief Outline of How to Steal, by Karadar eventually migrated content to is now a parked domain with a fake blog in Italian; is a portal page for people interested in auto accessories ("car radar" -- get it?).

- tom moody

August 28th, 2017 at 8:26 am

parasitism 2.0


For years we netizens have had the "404" page to tell us a site is down. Now we have Silicon Valley companies such as the above "adding value" to a still completely functional process. Someone got paid to design this page and come up with these pedantic and redundant explanations. An economy of uselessness rides on top of the regular economy.

- tom moody

August 22nd, 2017 at 7:18 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

get a .mov on

My first web video art (2005 - 2009) was posted in the .mov format, I suppose as a concession to the dominance of sleek Apple laptops among the new media crowd.
Suddenly, about a year ago, all those .movs stopped working in Firefox, Chrome and IE. I contacted my conservator, a harried individual who moonlights restoring old broken Cory Arcangel web art, and demanded: "Make these .movs playable!"
Fortunately he had a PC with an older, un-updated version of Quicktime that could be used as a plugin to convert the .mov files to .mp4 (same basic Apple codec, blah blah).
Gradually he is replacing the .movs I posted to the new "friendly" spec (which won't work in five years).
Here's a list of conversions, which will be updated as new ones are added:


"Dancin' (Please Register)" (Quicktime video converted to .mp4) [9.5 MB .mp4 video]


"Exit Maurice" (Quicktime video converted to .mp4) [10.5 MB .mp4]

Guitar Solo Still

"Guitar Solo" [4.5 MB .mp4 video]

I have more recently posted .mov files that function adequately -- it's not the filetype that's the problem, per se. Possibly it's only .movs made from 2005-2009 on a Windows machine, converting .avi or .mpg to .mov. My conservator said, "don't even try to understand the twisted minds of your media new media overlords -- just accept that they have killed your work product and .mov on."


"End Notes" [18.8 MB .mp4]

Sensor Readings Screenshot 2

"Sensor Readings" [27 MB .mp4]

Ninja Elements Screenshot

"Ninja Elements" [16 MB .mp4]

big rock grid movie screenshot

"Big Rock Grid" [12 MB .mp4]

- tom moody

August 15th, 2017 at 5:36 am

yes, they have


Rene Abythe: "The 'share' and 'tweet' buttons on this are especially funny to me."

- tom moody

August 3rd, 2017 at 8:40 pm

Michael Galbreth, One Million Points, 1983


Artist Michael Galbreth tells a story of an artwork. When he was an MFA student in the early '80s, he collaborated semi-officially with a computer science teacher to create a drawing visualizing the random number generator in the department's PC. If a million random dots were printed on a plotter would the field of dots be uniform or would some stucture be revealed? How random is random, in other words?

Galbreth and the teacher estimated the printout on the Technology Department's plotter (above) would take several days. After only a few hours, and 28,440 points printed, the plotter broke:

The strain placed on the arm of the plotter was just too much. It over heated, or something, and one of the small cables that drove the stylus snapped. Scott was gracious and forgiving about the whole thing, smiling as he explained what had happened. But I could tell he wasn’t happy. Losing a plotter was a real loss. One fewer plotters in the class created a log jam for the other students who needed to make drawings for their assignments. And because the significant devotion of time and energy to this plotter had no relation, relevance, or use to the goals of the Technology Department, it was irritating. There would be no continuation of this experiment.

Galbreth explains his private reaction to the catastophe:

I felt bad and responsible for the broken plotter. But at the same time, I was secretly delighted. I thought that the entire affair was fascinating. My time in the Technology Department using the computers, doing seemingly useless art experiments, felt like an invasion, as if I were in a place I wasn’t properly supposed to be and doing things that I wasn’t properly supposed to do. Whatever I was able to accomplish seemed like a coup. Yes, the experiment to graphically portray a random number formula failed, but I considered the attempt at the endeavor a success. In the end, there was a result. Something did happen. A drawing was made. Built into that drawing was the intent, the idea. That idea was to experiment with and challenge a system, or perhaps, rather, to reveal it.

- tom moody

August 1st, 2017 at 6:21 am

egregious e-book errors: Routledge

From David Walley, Teenage Nervous Breakdown, 2d edition, Published in 2006 by Routledge, © 2006 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
The e-book retails for $24.69.


(page 78 of the e-book)

For a few seconds you could be forgiven for thinking there was a form of art-rock you missed called "rocfe." The word was supposed to be "rock."
It appears again later in the book: "Along with the new paradigms for sexual behavior came an inordinate amount of discussion about sexism in rocfe music among the females who’d formerly been the objects of lust and/or veneration, love or repulsion, but really (as always) approach and avoidance among the men." (e-book, page 373)

Walley's book is practically unreadable for a different reason: intermittently throughout the book the letter "k" is scanned as "b" -- this error occurs dozens of times. Thus you have "boob" for "book," "the bids" for "the kids" -- it's nerve-wracking to beep encountering these mistakes. Yes, "keep" appears as "beep" eight times in the text. Possibly these are mistakes that an algorithm doesn't catch because they aren't misspellings, just the wrong words. Thank you, Routledge.

- tom moody

July 15th, 2017 at 2:00 pm

egregious e-book errors: Pickle Partners Publishing

Have been spending quite a bit of time reading e-books lately, and the quality is pretty horrendous overall.

Main errors:
Typographical errors
Layout/formatting glitches
Lack of font uniformity
Poor handling of illustrations and "special characters" such as math symbols.

Main reasons for errors:
Widespread use of OCR (supposed "smart" character recognition within a scanned text) without subsequent human proofreaders
Conversion mistakes (changing one electronic format to another)
Lack of uniformity in fonts and word-processing applications
Change of corporate culture from giving-a-shit to laying-off-and-praying

I'm trying mostly to read .epub books and avoid Amazon/Kindle but occasionally I still have to resort to Kindle/mobi/azw and the situation is no better. Surprisingly, I've found public domain works from to be of better quality than many offerings from "respectable" mainstream publishers, although there are no guarantees.
This will be a series of blog posts (I hope) that document egregious e-book errors.
Let's start with a doozy, from Richard Ellman's Yeats, The Man and the Masks, 1948, e-book (c) 2016 by Pickle Partners Publishing. Ellmann is discussing an early draft of the poem that became "To his Heart, bidding that it have no Fear" (1896):


Astonishing, indeed. The word is supposed to be "part" -- only a demon would introduce such an error into such a lovely poem.
Also, note the weirdly italicized third line -- the text is supposed to be in italics from that line to the end. Pickle Partners, get thee hence to the typesetters.

- tom moody

July 15th, 2017 at 1:26 pm

spudoogle video loop

screenshot of spudoogle twitter video thumbnail -- with one small correction


Have been enjoying Spudoogle's twitter account recently but still have a problem with the way the SVS (Silicon Valley scum) appropriated GIFs to their commercial platforms. It's like in the movie Barton Fink where the cigar-smoking producer tells the East Coast populist playwright he wants "movies with that 'Barton Fink' feeling," then later says "get out of my office, I can get 100 writers who can give me that 'Barton Fink' feeling."
One imagines an SVS getting a neck massage and saying, "we need something like those GIF things the kids are exchanging." And then the tech slaves come up with a typical, locked-in proprietary video format with the word "GIF" superimposed. 100 guys can give them that animated GIF feeling.

It's not spudoogle's fault, he accepts conditions the way they are and rolls with the shoddy resizing, rounded edges, and fake labeling. That's twitter's price for providing an audience for your GIFs.

- tom moody

July 11th, 2017 at 12:48 pm