Wal-Mart Tries to be MySpace. Yes, Seriously.

Would Mr. Sam have MySpace’d?

“It’s a quasi-social-networking site for teens designed to allow them to “express their individuality,” yet it screens all content, tells parents their kids have joined and forbids users to e-mail one another. Oh, and it calls users “hubsters” — a twist on hipsters that proves just how painfully uncool it is to try to be cool.”

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More on The Ladder here.


Play PacMan Better

Wanna play PacMan better? Sure you do! Use this handy guide:

I will go further into this in the techniques section, but basically Pac-Man is more than just guiding a yellow blob through a maze. It requires cornering skills and timing. Everyone has their own personal timing which is why it won’t help you much to just copy someone else’s patterns. You can take bits of other people’s patterns or follow advice, learn techniques and fakes, but because the ghosts’ behaviour changes if your timing is just tenths of a second off during the level it is far better to develop your own patterns and escape routes, based upon the building blocks of successful patterns….or follow this guide 🙂

MameWorld – The biggest MAME resource on the net!

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Podcasting for the Kids

Podcast grows a bit in popularity, according to Nielsen Net Ratings. Not surprisingly, it’s the young folks doing it:

Nielsen//NetRatings announced today that 6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population, or 9.2 million Web users, have recently downloaded an audio podcast. 4.0 percent, or 5.6 million Web users, have recently downloaded a video podcast.

These figures put the podcasting population on a par with those who publish blogs, 4.8 percent, and online daters, 3.9 percent. To put this in perspective, though, Nielsen notes that podcasting is not nearly as popular as paying bills online, 51.6 percent, or online job hunting, 24.6 percent.

“The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young, on-the-go audiences,” said Michael Lanz, analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. “We can expect to see podcasting become increasingly popular as portable content media players proliferate,” he continued.

Young people are more likely than their older counterparts to engage in audio or video podcasting. Web users between the ages 18 and 24 are nearly twice as likely as the average Web user to download audio podcasts, followed by users in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, who were also more likely than the average Web user to do audio podcasting.

Like one of the commenters to the post, I don’t understand why Nielsen is comparing those who download podcasts to those to publish blogs. That makes little sense to me. Wouldn’t it be better to compare it to those who read blogs?

At any rate, these numbers are encouraging to a part-time podcaster.

Podcasting News: Nielsen: Podcasts More Popular than Blogging

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Another Save at Camden Yards

More from Slate. A final look at what might be Billy Graham’s last sermon:

Then he said we’re all going to hell. It was very literal. There was no windup or the verbal padding I’m used to from Catholic Church, where the priest talks in parables and inference that usually obscure the starker messages of sin and redemption. “You are going to die,” he said. “I’m going to die. And after that, there will be a judgment. ‘Every idle word that man shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment,’ the scripture says. When you break a law, you pay the price. You’ve broken God’s law. We’ve broken the Ten commandments. If you’ve broken one of the commandments, you’ve broken them all. And we’re all sinners. And we’re all under the threat of judgment.” It was spare and simple. He did not raise his voice.

Get Your God at the Ballpark – Billy Graham comes out of retirement to preach at Camden Yards. By John Dickerson

Shine On Your Crazy Bloggers

Good stuff on Slate today.

First, the online mag takes a look at the dark genius of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, who died over the weekend. As Slate points out, Syd’s idiosyncracies were great for the band, but we probably got a better Pink Floyd for him having left when he did:

It’s a deeply quaint and provincial worldview, perfect for Barrett’s twisty little pop songs but miles from the space-rock grandeur that Pink Floyd would achieve on post-Barrett classics like Dark Side of the Moon. Rock snobs like to say that Pink Floyd lost it when Barrett freaked out and left the band, but the truth is Floyd would probably have gone down in history as a curio had Barrett stuck around—and what’s more, there wouldn’t be any such thing as Radiohead.

From one English madman to another, Slate takes a look at Gawker guru Nick Denton. Nick, just how is it that you manipulate the press so?

Denton garners attention for additional reasons, ranked here from least important to most: 1) Charming and approachable, he puts people at ease and makes himself a sympathetic source. 2) By portraying himself as a nasty, libeling, privacy-invading, copyright-infringing scalawag, he’s good copy, even though his blogs about electronic gadgets (Gizmodo), tech and life (Lifehacker), and cars (Jalopnik) are embarrassingly ethical and fair. 3) He’s British, and the press loves to make pets out of Brits. 4) He’s accessible, providing a link on Gawker to his contact points. 5) He responds to queries promptly, or at least he did to my request for a photograph of him. (I declined to ask Denton for an interview. Oh, and this disclosure: He spoke at the Slate retreat last month and we chatted for a few minutes.) 6) The press loves to write about people who write about the press. 7) He made a mint in earlier cyberenterprises, so he’s not just talking out of his hat about the Web. Finally, 8) He’s the most (only?) interesting boss in a niche business.

And from blogging to, er, vlogging, we have the case of Amanda Congdon, now dearly departed from Rocketboom. Was she really the revolution everyone thought she was? And by everyone, of course, we mean geeky dudes in their 20s:

While it’s axiomatic that every new medium requires a new breed of personality, what the vlog Rocketboom—a daily three-minute fake-ish newscast—required of Congdon was strikingly similar to what any number of old-media outlets asked of the buxom and obnoxious Jenny McCarthy.

Pink Void – The psychedelic legacy of Syd Barrett. By Jody Rosen

Nick Denton, Publicity Cat – How the Gawker Media guy reaps so much media attention. By Jack Shafer

All the News That’s Fit To Vlog – Amanda Congdon leaves Rocketboom. By Troy Patterson

MySpace is Everyone’s Space

It’s growing …

Hitwise is reporting that MySpace was the website most visited by US internet users last week. This is the first time that’s happened, the company reports. Yahoo and Google traditionally lead the pack, but Hitwise’s Bill Tancer points out today that MySpace attained a market share figure of 4.5% of all the US Internet visits for the week ending July 8, 2006. Though traffic stats are always hard to determine, Hitwise is establishing itself as one of the most authoritative voices on the subject.

Recent numbers for MySpace put the service at 75 million plus users, 15 million daily unique logins, 240,000 new users per day, and nearly 30 billion monthly page views – that’s 10,593 page views per second.

Pretty soon, it’ll be worth a news story if you don’t have a MySpace page.I can remember the old days (the late 90s) of Web communities like Tripod and Geocities. Those sites attempted to create a network of cheap, easy, personal home pages. But the Web wasn’t ready. Technology and bandwidth had yet to catch up.

Now social media is all the rage: Flickr, del.icio.us Digg, MySpace and countless others trade on the user-generated content. It’s no longer a one-way street where you digest what you get online. It’s all about users mashing-up, aggregating, disseminating and contributing original content.

MySpace, with its trashy layouts, annoying ads, bad music and bothersome videos, does this well. And it keeps people in touch. Despite some awkward interfaces, it’s relatively easy to use to boot. Can it still grow? You bet. Not everyone has a MySpace. Not even me.

TechCrunch » Blog Archive » MySpace hit #1 US destination last week, Hitwise

But there’s this …

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Road Closed

Fascinating stuff, I know. Demolition down the street causes the orange signs to come out.