Saturday, March 28, 2009

Space... The Final Advertising Frontier

Last year I read about the ISS toolbag and within the last week I discovered this site:

which provides by-the-second tracking of the ISS toolbag for amateur astronomers, and dorks such as myself. The site also tracks dozens of other objects in orbit.

Clearly the time has arrived for Giant-Floating-Space-Billboards. Yes, it'd probably be moving to fast to read, but just the action of a large company putting an ad in space would probably generate enough buzz to make the billboard's launch worth it. Maybe even with enough optical expertise a rough image or some color could be added. I can see a Pepsi-Moon becoming a big hit. Even the outrage might be good publicity. Of course a free-orbit satellite may be a bit hazardous, but even that provides an opportunity for publicity. Eventually we would be watching for the Pepsi-Meteorite, or praying to whatever we hold dear that it doesn't crash into our neighborhood...

Of course anyone who's read or watched a little sci-fi could tell you that there a plenty of other advertising frontiers. I think we're still a couple hundred years from advertising piped into our dreams, but we may only be a couple of years from advertisements beamed directly to cell phones or PDAs as we walk past particular stores or enter particular areas (if this isn't already being done). Think about that last one. It could be a great way for cellular phone companies to subsidize the cost of data plans. If you could save $20 a month on your cellular phone service by opting into a direct personalized advertising plan, would you do it?

The O.J. Confesses Award for Neologism #1

This the first O.J. Confesses Award for Neogolism and it goes to Alonso Duralde, contributing film critic for

In his March 20th article There's Nothing Good About 'Knowing' Duralde refers to the recent action/suspense flicks of Nicholas Cage as

"Ludicrous Hambonery"

Not only is this phrase hilarious, but it perfectly sums up the roles Nicholas Cage has taken recently. I will admit that I took some guilty pleasure in Ghostrider and I thought the first 10 minutes of Next were a little clever, but both movies were without any doubt, ludicrous hambonery.

And a quick bit of research reveals that no other site on the internet besides Duralde's review of Knowing contains the exact phrase "ludicrous hambonery." Duralde coined it, and for that he should be proud.

O.J. will remain on the look out for more neogolisms, but for now, Congratulations to Alfonso Durande, the first winner of the O.J. Confesses Award for Neogolism.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Adamo Arrives

Earlier in the year I wrote a blogpost where I bemoaned my laptop-less existence and did a little drooling over one of the blurry publicity photos of the Adamo.

Well, the Adamo has arrived, and you can order, or at the very least get the full specs list and non-blurry photos.

As many other reviews have noted the Adamo bears a strong resemblance to HP's Voodoo Envy 133 PC, and in my opinion the Voodoo Envy looks more atractive. Yes, it's .16 of an inch thicker, and I bet the glossy body becomes saturated with fingerprints more quickly, but while both have a similar boxy design, the Voodoo doesn't have the same laptop-butt sticking out behind the screen.

At the very least no one can excuse the Adamo of being a Macbook Air clone (though I'm sure Apple must have some pretty draconian lawyers protecting their design). As I mentioned previously the Adamo is technically slimmer than the Air, or at least it's slimmer than the Air at the Air's thickest point. However the Air tapers down to .16 inches.

The Adamo's real opportunity to shine should have been the hardware, but its guts are even more anemic than either the Voodoo or the Air. The baseline model features a 1.2 Ghz Core Duo processor. That's right, not 2.2 Ghz, 1.2. The Air's base model features a 1.6 Ghz Core Duo processor. Yes, the Adamo is the new generation of Centrino processors, but that isn't really going to give it a boost in speed so much as energy efficiency, and even that probably won't be more than a 20 minute difference in battery life. 1.2 Ghz Core Duo might be a decent upgrade to the Atom processors currently used for netbooks, but netbooks tend to run on Linux, XP basic, or some other stripped down operating system. Anyone expecting to run Vista Premium on their new Adamo better be prepared for some loooonnnnngggg load times.

No where on the website was I able to find information about the graphics card, but as with most laptops it's bound to be integrated, so the only question is whether it uses Intel's pathetic GMA 950 series, or the Geforce series that's currently in all of Apple's consumer notebooks. The Adamo does have the option of an external Blu-Ray drive, but that seems to be targeted at those who simply must have the most expensive gadgetry. The native resolution of the Adamo screen is less than 1080p and the external drive costs $350, which could buy you a PS3 with integrated Blu-ray player. And this information may be buried somewhere, but the Adamo seems to lack an S-Video or HDMI port so the Blu-Ray player would be exclusive to your Adamo's 13 inch screen. Not cool.

One interesting decision Dell has made with the Adamo is that even the base model utilizes a Solid State Drive. Of course this makes the base model of the Adamo about $200 more expensive, but that's still a pretty good deal. It's certainly better than the 4200 speed hard used in the base models of the Voodoo and Air. The high-end model also offers 3G (Mobile Broadband), but otherwise it's hard to tell what your extra $700 is buying you. Certainly an extra .2 Ghz on the processor, 3G, and 4 rather than 2GB of RAM hardly seems worth it. For the same price you could get a nearly fully loaded Sager NP8662 with better than 1080p resolution, a built-in Blu-Ray drive, a bigger SSD, and a pretty fast dedicated graphics card. Of course the NP's battery life is probably about an hour and a half and it weighs triple as much, but the comparative "bang for your buck" is mind-boggling.

On the whole the Adamo seems roughly comparable, and perhaps with the exception of the base model's SSD, a little lower-spec than the Air. O.J. says, if you're so concerned with portability wait for the dual core Atom processor to find its way into netbooks and save yourself $1500 (at least). And if you're in it purely to make everyone around you jealous, and/or if you have a surplus of money and a deficit of taste why not just get yourself a Gold-plated Macbook Air?

Comment Boards #1

Iowa City Man Reportedly Beat Up By Gang

Unfortunately this is not the first time I've heard of people being assaulted in Iowa City by drunken hoodlums. Many times these assaults go unreported because the victims are embarrassed, or they simply don't believe their assaulter will ever be caught.

While this is a travesty the main reason I'm posting the link is because of the strangely incongruous comments. Of the 41 comments posted at this time over half concern either a) a forthcoming gun show, b) things you can fit in a scatter shotgun, and/or c) small handguns for personal defense. This gun show was brought up apropos of nothing and makes for a sad little parallel. An article about a violent crime followed by a totally un-ironic discussion of who on the message board is going to a gun show...

One poster even suggests that had the victim only been carrying a small firearm with 19-round magazine he may have avoided assault. O.J. thinks mace/pepper spray may be a slightly more sane and less fatal deterrent. But it's ridiculous that any personal defense should be necessary.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Self Promotion #2

Self Promotion
And why not? These are a few links to pieces of writing I have in internet literary (or baseball) magazines. I'm sort of hoping if I post these links enough maybe they'll rise to the top when people google my name and maybe push the link to my sub-par performance in a 5K race I ran 5 years ago out of the top hits (the same one where I'm mistakenly listed as female)...

And leaving aside self-promotion, these are some pretty good journals, if you're just looking for random things to read on the internet, as you clearly are if you're here, then you should give 'em a read.


580Split is an annual journal of Arts and Literature housed by the MFA program at Mills College in Oakland, California. This is their first web edition. Show them some love.

Slurve Magazine
Slurve: The literature and arts review that masquerades as a baseball publication

2 River View
Distinguishes itself by including audio of the authors reading their work. Sadly I had a cold when it was due, but I think it's a great concept. Hearing a work read can add a lot to the literary experience. Though I'm not sure how well these mp3s will mix into your gym work out.

Diagram has a nice clean-quirky aesthetic. Diagram is one of the few literary journals, whether print or web, that consistently excites me with their content. Every issue has a few pieces that are just a little different, a sort of special surprise. Plus they have great merchandising, including the "POE TRY" booty shorts (poe on the left cheek, try on the right).

Opium Magazine
Famed creator of the "Literary Deathmatch." While the authors featured don't fight to the death, they do one of the more exciting reading series around. All pieces on Opium Online feature an estimated reading time. Good for when you have a very specific amount of time to want to spend reading.

More links to publications next month. Hopefully.

A Brief Note on Self-Promotion: when I started this blog I was kind of hoping that this would be the top site one would find when they searched for "Ori Fienberg." However, I've since discovered that the only way to raise this site in those rankings would be to constantly insert Ori Fienberg's name, ideally in every post. But while I wanted this blog to be contiguous to my identity I don't want it to be so blatantly obvious. Alas, I have another problem, an ethereal web nemesis named Uri. No matter how many things I get published, or have articles that feature my name (Ori Fienberg) google still asks me whenever I search myself if I meant "Uri Feinberg." My main motivation to be published used to be entirely to get a wider audience for my writing and build up my C.V., but now I have a new goal. Someday I hope when Uri searches his name google will emasculate his sense of pride and identity by asking, did you mean "Ori Fienberg?"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Going Somewhere...?

A couple of years ago I worked as an assistant editor/reader at The Iowa Review. During that time assistant editors, mainly students were encouraged to contribute book reviews. I'll admit, I cared precious little for the enterprise of reviewing and was more concerned with entering my name, in a very small way, into the national literary dialogue. I went to the library and picked up several collections of new poetry from the University of Iowa's library. While I picked up books that had blurbs by authors I'd heard of and a couple that had won significant awards, I didn't find anything that I found exciting, or memorable. In response I wrote a couple lukewarm reviews, and one patently negative review.

However, when I submitted them to The Iowa Review's editors they were widely rejected. The general consensus was that publishing a negative review was petty, and in some way detrimental to the enterprise of poetry as a whole. The Iowa Review's main editor David Hamilton explained that to him it seemed as though there was no point in damning a collection with faint praise, because most poetry is doomed to obscurity anyway. Instead he preferred to use the reviews as an area to showcase and promote writing that the editors felt deserved a better readership.

Certainly that's a worthy editorial stance, however, it then seems disingenuous to call these sections and contributions "reviews." To my mind a review should at least have the option of being negative, or at the very least, critical. Otherwise literary journals should rename their review sections "Writer Showcases" or succinctly, "Props."

The most recent edition of POETRY includes an opinion/review piece Going Negative, by Jason Guriel, that addresses this issue. Guriel is perturbed that reviews tend to have a generically positive slant, and he offers up three brief reviews that take a more analytically critical approach. While I appreciate the candor of Guriel's reviews I'm not certain what he hopes their impact will be. However, Jason does offer this reason for why we read so few "negative" reviews of poetry collections:

"Maybe poetry is so marginal, so fragile a commodity, we worry about kicking it when it’s already pretty clearly down."

This captures at least a part of The Iowa Review's sentiment. Unfortunately, this fear is holding poetry back. It seems as though most books of poetry are reviewed by another poet, often times a poet who knows the author, or would like to be on good terms with the insular academic community most poets are a part of. This means reviewers are taken not as independent arbiters of opinion, but instead as members of a club dedicated to promoting other club members. If all reviews are positive it artificially inflates the value of poetry as a commodity.

But more than the issue of reviews, the poetry community needs to do some serious consideration of the last part of his statement, poetry is "pretty clearly down." And so I ask, why is poetry down? How is that poetry has become so culturally irrelevant? And what can the poetry community do to change that perception?

As a start I think acknowledging the over all state of poetry and minor individual failures, or "going negative," is at least an honest first step, and it's significantly better than running, or hiding scared.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Misadventures in Adcopy #2

From the top of Carl Buddig - Orginal Deli Thin - Corned Beef:


I believe certain Buddig products also include SMOKED. With this many verbs, you know it's got to be good. Part of me wants to see the setting in which all these actions are taken. The other part wants to start buying another lunch meat product as soon as possible.

But the 8 ounce Buddig deli thin meats are cheaper than any other, with the exception of Hy-Vee brand (and only when they're running a special). Plus Buddig puts those 8 ounces in a handy reusable plastic tub. And I have to admit, I really like their Corned Beef, which is surprisingly low in fat.

In order to stop thinking of the no doubt heinous and soulless facility that does all these things to the meat I like to come up with other verbs Buddig could have used instead. For instance:


See, now we're thinking about something entirely different. Though I suppose in context it's not, in fact, better. What verbs would make you more likely to buy Buddig products?