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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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The Only Reason This News Article Exists is to Make People Feel Old

'Baby Jessica,' Now 19, Reportedly Marries.


What I've Learned from CTA Alerts

Back in August I launched the CTA Alerts with my brother Kevin over at www.ctatattler.com. Since that time, 406 people have signed up and made hundreds of posts. Here's a look at the things I've learned from CTA Alerts:

  • The CTA can be pretty forthcoming with information when they're given a platform. Shorty after we launched, the CTA signed up and started posting. They are by far the most prolific posters. In fact, the system has really turned into a top/ down communication tool instead of a rider-to-rider tool that I had envisioned when I launched it. I think the CTA deserves a lot of credit for this
  • There are more medical emergencies on the CTA than I thought
  • When given a chance to bother 400 people by pushing a few buttons, people who sign up for the CTA Alerts rarely do so
  • The CTA is on the avant garde of a lot of news stories. I found out about the Midway plane slide and the Pilgrim Baptist Church fire through the alerts
  • On the other hand, I learned that there's an awful lot of fires, police activity, anti-war rallies, and crashes that affect traffic but never hit the news
  • The rider-to-rider nature of the system works when it needs to. We all got tons of high quality rider-to-rider accounts of the November 17 accident on the Red Line

There's more to learn, one message at a time.

Read/ Write Web for Technology/ Media Analysis

As I said upon the launch of Derivative Works, I am interested in web technology trends, but there's no reason for me to blog about them because other people do such a great job of it. Keeping up with the day job, family, and various projects, my life doesn't include a trip to

Vegas for the International CES show, where so many partnerships, launches, and other exciting news has been announded. Luckily, Richard MacManus of the Read/Write Web has been posting excellent analysis of everything. Read Main Themes of Internet Companies at CES, which is an excellent summary of the important things that happened last week that will be affecting our internet lifestyles soon.

Sign Your Kids Up for My 826CHI Workshop

826 Chicago, the nonproft writing & tutoring center, just published a series of workshops for the next few weeks. I am teaching one:found poetry is cool

Finding You in Stuff
One Session: Saturday, January 28th
Time: 10am - 12
Taught by Daniel X. O’Neil
Limited to 12 students, grades 2-4

Who are you? This workshop will use Stuff to show how identity can be drawn from everything around you as well as the thoughts inside of you. Each student will bring his/her backpack - unorganized and full of random notes, journals, receipts, books, worksheets, and homework - and use these materials to create poems with a collage on the back showing the original materials from which the poem was constructed.

Here's the complete lesson plan. Sign up now-- space is limited to 12 kids.

12 / 13

13 families happy now.
12 by sunup.

12 Miners Are Found Alive, Family Members Say - New York Times.

SAGO, W.Va., Jan. 3 - Forty-one hours after an explosion trapped 13 men in a West Virginia coal mine here, family members and a state official said that 12 of the miners had been found alive Tuesday night.

"We've got a lot of hope that we'll find these men," Gov. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia told reporters just before 11 p.m.

Earlier in the evening, the body of one miner was found 11,200 feet from the mine entrance, within a few hundred feet of a vehicle used to transport the workers deep into the mine, company officials said. The miner was not identified, and the cause of his death was unclear.

UPDATE 2:14 AM Central

The cruelty of news

-- Despite earlier reports, family members in West Virginia now say 
only one trapped miner brought out alive. All 12 others dead. (CNN)


Wesley Willis Art Website Relaunch

One of my 2006 goals is to grow some of my websites into viable, stand-alone revenue makers. When I say "

revenue ", I'm not talking quit-your-day-job money. I just want to experiment more with Google Adsense, Amazon Associates, Ebay Affiliates, RSS tools, and other progams to see how they can be applied for clients as well as to  generate enough money to justify their existence.

  Wesley Willis Art Website Relaunch 
  Originally uploaded by juggernautco.

Toward that end, today I relaunched my website, www.wesleywillisart.com. I started it in November 2003 and have never really done much with it. I started it because I thought it was a shame that lots of people knew of his music but few knew of his art.

It has consistently ranked #2 in Google for "Wesley Willis" and has gotten enough attention out there that I really think it's made a difference.

In looking at the myriad comments on the site, I notice that the thing people are most interested in is where to buy Welsey Willis Art and how much it might go for.

So I provide direct links to places where they might find Wesley Willis Art through by Ebay and Amazon affiliate accounts. I also placed some more contextual Google Ads on the site near each post. I had them there before, but nothing has ever come from it. I only had a tall banner ad in the sidebar and most of the ads are Chicago-oriented instead of art or folk-art oriented. I am going to pay more attention and try to influence the ads that are displayed. I'll report back the results here.

One original goal of my site was to become a compendium of images of Wesley Willis Art. Some people have uploaded their images, and I give directions on how to post to the site, but it has never caught on. Flickr has changed everything on that front-- allowing people all over the world to simply tag their images and share with us. I use Feeburner's Buzz Boost feature to display all images tagged with "wesleywillis" in the right-hand column on the site.

Go there, and for God's sake, if you or someone you know has images of Wesley Willis Art, tag away!

Derivative Works 2005 In Review

So, um, I have a pretty unpopular weblog. 10 hits per day. Not the stuff of legend. One of my major goals in 2006 is to change all that. That means I have to link to other blogs, comment on interesting posts, and actively attempt to get people interested in my  ideas. I've done none of that, ever, in my 3+ years of blogging.

2005_06Anyway, I'm pretty proud of the stuff I've come up with in the last year. One ingredient to a popular wblog is quality content, and I've had that covered pretty well, I think. Maybe an underappreciated yet high quality 2005 can help lead to a mildly appreciated and high quality 2006 output. Here's a recap:

  • Created CTA Alerts: In August I launched, along with my brother Kevin, CTA Alerts, a wireless notification community that is now a major source of public communication from the CTA itself
  • Coined the term Open Source Emergency Response: this is a broad term I coined in August to describe the general movement throughout the world (Flickr 7/7 images, then later Katrina), of people who are not content to merely be managed by authorities after a disaster. The key for the future is to for governments and other organizations to make their resources more available (similar to the way the internet and code bases are available to open source software developers) for development of better emergency response tactics
  • Published the Derivative Works Art Manifesto: This is one of the founding essays of my weblog and a major theme for 2006. I'm turning my attention from tools (weblog systems, APIs, cool new toys) and focusing on what it is that we do with them. Also, there is so much hysteria about plagiarism and I think we need an honest way to structure our use of previously created content
  • Published Emotional Geography in January:  A good idea that still doesn't exist, despite the mashup craze
  • Coined Trut: the malleable concoction of facts employed for an ulterior purpose. Contains 4/5 of the truth. I actually coined this word a while ago in my book Economics, but I posted about it here and put it on Urban Dictionary to try to popularize it.  I think it's better than "truthiness", coined in October on the Colbert Show. Trut is more vulgar, more sublimely like, truth
  • Y!Q Link Generator: simple form for adding Y!Q links to weblogs and web pages. Y!Q is a super-powerful way to annotate text, create layers of meaning, and add fresh relevance to your text no matter when someone reads it

And some other web content I've helped other people with this year:

New for 2006:

Happy and healthy 2006 to all.


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.