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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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Just Curious on the Trademark-Protection Front

Um, so I was wondering why Google thinks it's really cool that someone:

But they are mad at me for having a harmless GoogObits? No leg to stand on. I am taking GoogObits off its resty-poo ASAP.

Paul Harvey News & Comment

I listen to AM radio. And if I am travelling to work at the proper time (something that can never be assured), I hear the segment called "Paul Harvey News & Comment". Now Paul Harvey is not a young person (he was born in 1918), and he has a mellifluous yet ancient-sounding boom voice. Very often he has someone else (his son, for instance), subbing for him.

But every time I hear that cracking voice of his, I brace myself as he begins his schtick. It's like in the 1970s when someone was kidnapped, and the kidnappers would have the kidnapee hold up that day's newspaper to prove possession. That's what I feel like when Paul Harvey refers to something that just happened that day, something that could not have been taped or faked.

And invariably I say out loud, in my car pointed north toward Skokie, "holy shit, Paul Harvey is alive today."

Idea: Brand Pantheon

Brand Pantheon is a concept I have for a web-based application that allows users to create a visual Gartner-style Magic Quadrant custom graphic indicating the relative importance of brands in relation to the user.

The user fills out a form with the various brands that they associate themselves with. User can drill down through a wide range of product/ service sectors (retail, cars, restaurant, vell phones, cafes, etc.) as well as do a search for a company. The system has the logo for that company stored in the system as well as some Dunn & Bradstreet-style info about it.

The user also applies some sort of ranking criteria (“I like this brand the best”) and also has the opportunity to type in some text about the item and link to their favorite store or something. The user then clicks the Submit button.

The system delivers a montage of all the brands, with relative levels of importance/ centrality indicated by positioning (closest to center, etc) and relative size. This way, for instance, in my finished image, the Starbucks logo would be more prominent than, say Apple, which would be present but is a brand that I am less emotionally attached to.

This way the user has a custom image that uses the intellectual property of corporations to indicate a number of highly personal, tiny expressions of oneself.

Halloween Plaza

  Halloween Plaza 
  Originally uploaded by juggernautco.

Here's a look at Daley Plaza in Chicago. The fountain runs orange and there's a haunted house in the background.

Ill-Advised Product #327

  Ill-Advised Product #327 
  Originally uploaded by juggernautco.

So BP Amoco is using gas pump toppers to offer their scrumptious Bacon Cheeseburger Panini Melts.

I'm all for BP Amoco increasing their c-store sales to previous gas-only customers, but I really can't imagine the scene where I unhook the pump and decide, "holy shit, I gotta get me one of them Bacon Cheeseburger Panini Melts right away".

Try again, BP Amoco.

Searching for John F. Burns

Here's another in the "How I Use" series: Google Alerts.

Over the last few months I have migrated the bulk of my news consumption and web research from Google to Yahoo!. In fact, my browser start page is now Yahoo! News, even though I was once a huge lover of the automaton Google News. I've found that I actually like it when an actual human being organizes my news portal, and Yahoo! has a number of things like their Full Coverage feature that really dive deeply into news and pull together lots of content sources (including Flickr photos and relevant, authoritative weblogs) into one page. Their Supreme Court Full Coverage is a good example-- tons of audio, video, wire stories, and other media thoughtfully collected & presented.

Yahoo! also has a news alerts feature that I consume in my Bloglines reader, but I prefer to use Google Alerts for my search for John F. Burns content. Google Alerts covers all new "results" from their search engine, not a news on a particular topic like Yahoo! or from a particular source like Bloglines. So this morning I got an email from Google Alerts telling me that John F. Burns is back in Baghdad after a long and well-deserved layoff. Long may he write.

Annotating Judith Miller

The first definitive story from the New York Times on the Judith Miller/ Valerie Plame/ Scooter Libby situation is the perfect illustration of Annotated New York Times. Being such an NYT freak, I thought I would constantly be reading it all of the time, but I almost never look at it.

Briefly, the Annotated NYT is a virtual weblog that tracks stories from the NYT and blog posts that reference those stories, allowing you to easily consume the original story and the written reactions to it in one interface.

Here's how Blogrunner describes what they do in general:

  • BlogRunner tracks breaking news stories and blog conversations as they propagate across the web
  • BlogRunner groups related weblog posts for easy navigation through the blogosphere
  • BlogRunner integrates mainstream media articles with blog commentary to form conversations that provide feedback on the mainstream media

The reason I find that I rarely read the Annotated NYT is that I don't care what people think all that much. The meta-conversation isn't as interesting to me as the original text itself.

But the Judith Miller story is different for me-- the way that people are reacting to the explanations and history of her jailing and things that led up to it are interesting to me. And I believe this reaction will further affect how the story pans out in the end. The "chatter" about the story can almost serve as something of a prediction market (more on them later).

The Annotated NYT is way more effective than multiple searches on Technorati or Feedster because it agreggates with a smite more focus. I'm not exactly sure how they get it done from a technical point of view, but I'm guessing it has to do with searching for tags, keywords, and links that reference the story itself. I am going to look further into it.

Break; Give Me

So I'm not a real vociferous political blogger. There are plenty & I am not needed.

But I have to comment on the Onion-like headline I saw this morning. Every single time this President of the United States comes in contact with the public it is highly scripted and controlled. So when I saw the headline, "Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged", I seriously thought it was a joke. Apparently we're shocked.

Blogger as Intranet

I use Blogger for a number of personal projects and some commercial work, but the one Blogger blog that I have posted to the most is my intranet. Here's how I use it:

  • I map a Blogger blog to a folder on one of my URLs that is hosted on a normal cheap but powerful hosting account. This way all of the posts are actually published to a directory that I can be back up and control
  • Then I password-protect it using the cPanelX provided by the host
  • And I store all sorts of important time-based/ subject-based stuff that I want to keep track of: notes on doctor visits for the kids, important emails that represent a particular time period, thoughts about personal goals, the letters to Santa that start in June, character studies, poem snippets, and so on
  • It is probably the closest I come to an actual "web journal", but I'd never consider publishing it-- it's my intranet
  • There have been many times where I've gone back to it to confirm a fact, look up an important piece of info, or jst review what the hell my story is
  • The only downside is the lack of tagging support in Blogger, but I keep posts to a real essential minimum, so I don't have trouble finding what I need

That's one way I use Blogger.

Cool News Pics

  Berwick Bon Fire 
  Originally uploaded by coolnewspics.

Here's a great Flickr person who collects and annotates Cool News Pics. Worthwhile stuff.


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.