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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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Backpackit Golden Ticket

So anyway today I got a Golden Ticket to preview Backpackit.

Basically, it provides just the right amount of structure to normally unstructured (notes in your email account; somewhere) or overly structured (things in your company's sales/ CRM tool, after drilling through nine screens to get a phone number) information.

Brilliant. More review to come.

Seen From Afar on the Blue Line

Circa 5:40 PM, Wednesday, April 13, 2005

He moved through the train
like a mouse doused in Tabasco might
travel through a snake—-
the skin of the train-people bulged
and parted for him, with scrunched faces.

He had the floppy style of a
late-middle aged businessman
who had gotten drunk all afternoon
and was now trying to get back
to where he started,
in his blue suit.

He tried one standing point after another,
and settled finally
at the edge of one of the
accordion-style doors,
befuddled and interested in everything,
squinting to see here and there,
with a frown that didn’t indicate sadness
but concentration, so as to stand.

Upon pulling up at Grand,
he took the last opportunity
to poke his head out,
and see what was what out there,
and of course
the doors were closing
as we are so often admonished
that they will do,
and the doors snapped up his big glasses
before he could pull his whole head back in,
and they were gone.

He made one of his mouse-moves through the train,
finding the blue button for conductor,
but apparently
some riders disabused him of that notion,
because it was no use.
They seemed to indicate
that the best approach
would be to leave the train
at Chicago
and catch the next one back
to Grand and
try to retrieve the spectacles.

And so he did.
And with that,
our spectacle was gone,
and the snake bulled northwest,
gobbling new mice.

Copyright 2005 Daniel X. O'Neil

First published on CTA Tattler

Papal Choice SMS Notification Signup

It's been widely reported that the Vatican used SMS to notify journalists of the Pope's death. But what about the rest of us? It's just not that interesting that the Vatican sent a message out to the people they were going to tell anyway just a few minutes later.

The interesting thing would be if anyone could sign up to get the SMS. We have another opportunity for a white-smoked SMS-- a place where people can sign up to be notified immediately when the puff of white smoke wafts.

All we need is someone to promise that they'll staff the square, watching for the smoke puff, and hit their phone to trigger the Mass SMS (no pun intended) when the smoke rises.

Does anyone know if a news agency or any wildcat developer will make this?


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.