Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Web Secret 408: The Mike Wallace Interview

For all its flaws, the Internet is the gift that keeps on giving.

One such gift is a treasure trove of programs from the fifties called "The Mike Wallace Interview" - available on Mike Wallace is a journalist best known for his work on 60 Minutes. However, before that work, he had an eponymous weekly one hour show where he was able to speak in an in depth fashion to the intellectuals, scientists and artists of his day.

In a 1957 episode from the series, Mike interviews then 88 year old Frank Lloyd Wright.

Prepare to be blown away because:
  • Other than mentioning the sponsor (Philip Morris cigarettes which Mike puffs on throughout) of the program at the beginning of the episode - there are no commercial interruptions.
  • Wright is palpably brilliant
  • The gravitas, seriousness and scope of the interview questions and answers is no longer seen on TV or quite frankly in most media - within the first 5 minutes Mike asks Wright's view on organized Christianity, the American Legion and mercy killings.
  • Wright expresses opinions that are way left wing of Bernie Sanders.
  • Both talk up to the audience - they do not pander to the Kardashian element of 21st century America
Lucky for us, we can watch other gems from the series, including interviews with:
  • Objectivist philosopher and author Ayn Rand
  • Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling - interviewed before Twilight Zone was aired for the first time (he had laready won 3 Emmys.)
  • Planned Parenthood founder and birth control activist Margaret Sanger
We live in cowardly times, when both journalists and the subjects of their interviews rarely have the courage of their convictions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Web Secret 407: unboxing videos

YouTube supports a rather odd subculture of people who video themselves opening boxes (or shopping bags) of stuff they have recently purchased.

Popular items include luxury goods, electronics, and makeup.

Before you scoff, the most successful among them are laughing all the way to the bank. And performing a service (more on that later.)

First, how do you make money on YouTube? Most people think it's by having was numbers of followers. But actually, it has to do with how many people watched the ad you allowed YouTube to place in your video. In addition, you may have other remunerative links, eg to Amazon which your followers click on to purchase the products you promoted.

Here are some examples:

Here is BmwA5H unboxing a Rolex - 387,000+ views

Here is TheSyndicateProject unboxing the MMM3000 'Ultimate Gaming Helmet' - 5,000,000+ views

Here is KathleenLights sharing her 2016 drugstore makeup haul - 653,000+ views

By the way the 22 year old KathleenLights has over 1,822,000 people following her YouTube channel. Not too shabby.

The best of these videos do more than entertain - they actually provide a prospective buyer with a detailed view of what they will get.

And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Web Secret 406: Streaming

Sometime during 2015, I almost completely stopped going to the movies, watching network television or downloading music.

Instead I stream content - mostly on my smartphone, my tablet, and sometimes via Apple TV on a screen.

There are a number of reasons for this change. One is that improved WiFi speeds make it possible.

But equally important is the quality of product that is available.

Television is in a second golden age that, (in my opinion,) has eclipsed the first - think 1950s. Intelligent, complex shows are being produced by Netflix, Amazon, HBO and more.

I have streamed:
  • Mad Men
  • Orange Is the New Black
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Transparent
  • Mr. Robot
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • The Leftovers
  • The Man in the High Castle
I am repeatedly blown away by the epic production values, acting, and variety of what is available. I have to be very selective in what I watch or I will drown in the possibilities.

I also stream movies. Not just first run stuff but great titles from the past. Did you ever see Alain Delon in Le Samourai (1967)?

I stream music when I am on the treadmill at the gym. Spotify anyone?

I can also stream just about anything live.

One day, I will go to the movies for the last time.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Web Secret 405: the best web secrets 2012-2015

I have been blogging since 2008.

8 years.

Given the rapidity with which tech changes - that is a long time.

So I decided to review my 400 plus posts and decide which where the most important - one for each year.

2012: Web Secret 200: Thank U Internet - as I wrote in April, 2012, the World Wide Web makes it possible for us to connect to friends and family members, past and present. I paid homage to my father, my grand-father and a great great-aunt, two of whom I never new. Therein lies one of the greatest powers of the Internet. Our future descendants will have a record of generations of ancestors, in online posts, videos, images and more.

2013: In September of 2013, I wrote Web Secret 274: The Power of One, pointing out key factors that make it possible for a single individual to wield great power and influence. How is that possible? Well forget 6 degrees of separation - today there is less than 5 degrees separating separating any two people on planet earth.

2014: Web Secret 309: "Tech Proof" - in May 2014, I pointed out that despite the fact that the world is changing at warp speed, there are parts of it that are "tech proof," a term I coined to describe those objects, activities, feelings or experiences that exist regardless of electronic technology. And defining those things that are tech proof is very important as it represents the essence of the human experience. What will psychotherapy be like in the year 2100? Think about what is tech proof about it - that is what will remain 100 years from now.

2015: Web Secret 356: What is it like to be here? - written in April 2015, I discussed a mind bending post, "The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence" by Tim Urban. Tim begins the post with a quote "We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. — Vernor Vinge." He puts up a graph, showing a stick figure (that's you and me) standing next to a near vertical line symbolizing accelerating human progress. And he asks, "What is it like to be standing here?" It's freakin terrifying is what it is.

And important to understand.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Web Secret 404: the best web secrets 2008-2011

I have been blogging since 2008.

8 years.

Given the rapidity with which tech changes - that is a long time.

So I decided to review my 400 plus posts and decide which where the most important - one for each year.

2008: Web Secret 24: Very Bad Websites - as I wrote in October 29, 2008 - Just as you can learn from visiting the very best websites, you can learn a lot from visiting the very worst. Conveniently for all interested parties, there is a web site that collects and ranks the absolute turkeys of web design, web navigation and web content. I am talking, of course, about the fabulously edifying and entertaining "Web Pages That Suck". "Web Pages That Suck" is still going strong and is just as funny and educational today has it was 8 years ago.

2009: I had just started to understand the power of online memes when I wrote Web Secret 79: Know Your Meme in December of 2009. I wrote "What's a meme? It's a catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet, much like an esoteric inside joke. The content often consists of a joke, an altered or original image, a complete website, a video clip or animation, among many other possibilities." The concept is just as powerful in 2016 as it was then. Think ice bucket challenge.

2010: Web Secret 112: The World Is Flat - in July 2010, I wrote, "In 2005, Thomas L. Friedman published, "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century". The title of the book is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, where all competitors have an equal opportunity. I encourage you to explore the many other ways the world has become flat on the Internet, with a multiplicity of resources available to everyone with very little effort." In 2016, the world has only gotten more flat - as the global evil and good invades our lives.

2011: in February 2011 I posted Web Secret 141: Dunbar's Number - writing, "In all of my presentations about social media, I emphasize that the quality of one's friends, followers, readers, etc. is far more important than the number. Well there is some hard core science behind my recommendation. In 1992, long before the advent of social media, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar hypothesized that there is a cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. By stable, he meant relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person...150 is referred to as Dunbar's Number." I am still talking about Dunbar's number because for most professionals, Dunbar's 150 strong ties will do just fine.

Stay tuned next week for 2012-2015.