Month: April 2005

iPod shuffle = yuppie gimme-cap

Practically overnight, the iPod shuffle has established itself as the upscale promotional giveaway. I know of three recent events where the shuffle was given away as a door prize–Gwen being the lucky recipient of one of these.

This is interesting on many levels. An underlying assumption is that any possible recipient will be able to use it and will value it (which is based on other assumptions about access to computers, technical competence, interest in music, etc). In other ways, though, the Shuffle itself is almost perfect as a door-prize: it makes no assumptions about the user’s tastes. It is faceless and white. Unassuming. Neither girly nor masculine, liberal nor conservative. It is blank, and becomes a mirror of the user’s tastes by being used. It is cheap enough for a promoter to buy a few out of petty cash, but nice enough to make the winner feel lucky to get it. And it really is nice–after using hers for all of five minutes, Gwen commented “I’ll bet their are twelve-step programs for iPod users.”

The iPod does make one assumption: that your ears are big enough to accommodate Apple’s earbuds, and as it turns out, Gwen’s aren’t.


I’ve never been a fan of mashup music, but perhaps that’s because I wasn’t listening to the right stuff. I recently ran across DJ Earworm, and damn is he (she?) good. I’ll admit it’s weird stuff–mashups in general are pretty weird, but this is taking it to extremes, combining Dolly Parton (covering Stairway to Heaven, of all things), Annie Lenox, Pat Benatar, the Beatles, Laurie Anderson, and I don’t know what else all in a single track. Somehow it works.

Art car parade

Had a busy Satutday. Gwen and I rode down to the farmer’s market, and then checked out the art car parade. There were some amazing creations in the parade. There was also a dismaying level of corporate sponsorship–it’s sad to see something so blatantly countercultural getting co-opted as a marketing opportunity.

I’ve posted some photos on flickr (by no means an exhaustive catalog of the entries, though), with comments on individual objets there.


Google automats the one-line bio

I was trying out the new Yagoohoogle and of course, had to search on my name to do a double-barreled egosurf. The first result from Google not only pinpoints me (as opposed to the other Adam Rices out there), it cobbles together a one-line synopsis of who I am and what’s going on at my site.

Freelance Japanese-English translator living in Hyde Park. Includes a weblog, recipes, trip diaries, and rants.

This sentence doesn’t appear anywhere on my site. Fragments of it do. I tried typing in the names of some friends who also have websites and distinctive names, but didn’t come up with anything equivalent for them. I wonder where this came from. I know that Google News has some kind of magical news-story synopsizer–I wonder if they’re starting to apply that technology elsewhere. It’s obviously not perfect–although I do have a few recipes posted on this site, they’re hardly as prominent as other kinds of writing. And rants? Moi?

Later: I think I found the source of that bio. Dmoz. Should have guessed. Presumably written by a human, though it isn’t clear who the category editor is. Some other Google results for fellow bloggers seem to be culled from this listing, which could do with some editing. My name given as “Adam Rice,” David Nuñez’ as “Nuñez, David,” and many other people listed under the title of their blog, rather than their name (and no, I am not volunteering to edit this).