Saturday, April 28, 2007

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

What better way to blow off steam than to bust out the Okie side of me and head to the local shooting range? It was a great way to spend a Friday evening. And, for posterity's sake (Bob, you better be paying attention), here's Liz - her first time shooting, ever (although we had fired a couple of other pistols earlier in the evning.) That's a M1911 A1 .45 she's shooting. And she was really good. Extremely consistent in her shots, and she kept shooting the one target in the crotch. I didn't take it personally.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Liveblogging the Democratic Debate

I've got some time and two computers - why not liveblog the Democratic debate? It's streaming on MSNBC, IE-only.

[UPDATE 1]: Hillary Clinton kind of kicks some ass. I'm a little worried about the focus on the military timetable for withdrawal though - I can guarantee that's going to be something that Rove will pick and pick at if it so much as partially appears to fail.

[UPDATE 2]: Man, Obama sounds green at first glance compared to the others. Poor Obama.

[UPDATE 3]: Hillary Clinton: "I take responsibility for my vote." I wonder how many time the Bush administration has use the term "I take responsibility" for anything.

[UPDATE 4]: I've now heard all of them speak. So far, Clinton sounds best, followed by Edwards and Obama. Clinton has definitely gotten over the "John Kerry talk-to-much" problem.

[UPDATE 5]: Wow, I take that back. I hadn't heard Dodd speak. He's awesome.

[UPDATE 6]: "This war was lost the day George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis." Nice. Now he's actually taking the Democrats in Congress to task. He sounds like he ought to be on a streetcorner somewhere. I like this guy, unfortunately he sounds like he's about to keel over from poor health.

[UPDATE 7]: John Edwards is telling anecdotes. He sounds... Bushlike?

[UPDATE 8]: Hillary just said "regulate" in relationship to the "economy." Cue right-wingers crying "socialist commie red!"

[UPDATE 9]: Dodd looks like a character from a movie. An actor. I can't quite place where, though.

[UPDATE 10]: Kucinich: "This isn't American Idol." Nicely done, sir.

[UPDATE 11]: Although he's avoiding the question and instead indicating that "I'm sorry isn't enough." Boy, if there's something that'll come back to bite you in politics...

[UPDATE 12]: Ha, Biden made a funny joke. Except I'm not sure it's a joke. Hmm.

[UPDATE 13]: Holy shit a brick, this guy from Alaska is amazing.

[UPDATE 14]: Abortion! There's a fun topic.

[UPDATE 15]: Edwards' response was pretty weak, and Obama's doesn't necessarily sound any better. Transparency: I do not support "partial birth" abortions, unless it's a medical necessity. But as Obama says, that's less than 1% of all abortions.

[UPDATE 16]: Now Obama is talking about Democrats and Republicans coming together to reduce teen pregnancy, for example. Good on you, sir.

[UPDATE 17]: "Name a model Justice alive today." Bill Richardson just named a dead Supreme Court justice. D'oh.

[UPDATE 18]: Miss Clinton, would you please blame video games? Thanks.

[UPDATE 19]: Woah. She's fucking this question up (re: Virginia Tech.) What the heck? It's like she totally lost her tempo here. And she avoids video games completely, and focuses on the failure of background checks on Cho. Good.

[UPDATE 20]: Kucinich had a gun? I wonder what for?

[UPDATE 21]: Health Care is interesting. Obama certainly presents the best argument here. Edwards, not so much. Obama actually has specific recommendations, he's not just throwing out generalities.

[UPDATE 22]: Richardson: we shouldn't raise taxes, but everyone will pay in. Huh?

[UPDATE 23]: Obama: put the Confederate flag in a museum. Thank you for putting a ridiculous non-topic in perspective.

[UPDATE 24]: Senator Clinton admits she's made a lot of mistakes. Welp.

[UPDATE 25]: Sorry, I got distracted finishing up my work.

[UPDATE 26]: Obama does an excellent job of informing the moderator that the potentially-damaging quote was incomplete, and came out looking great. Brandon, you'd be interested in what he said re: Israel and Palestine, and the failures of the Palestinian leadership. I didn't catch it all unfortunately.

[UPDATE 27]: "It's time to start treating the rest of the world as equals." Very nice, Mr. Crazy Alaskan.

[UPDATE 28]: Unfortunately I have to take off. Interesting debate. It's good to see them all in action.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Earth Day, Two Days Late

With all the green-related posts I've been making lately, you'd think I would have been all over Earth Day. My buddy Chris and his girlfriend were in town this weekend, so most of my time was spent with them rather than online. So no Earth Day post.

I would however like to direct your attention to Lifehacker, who have linked to a wonderful list of 10 easy things you can do to "go green." I'm still not sold on the meat one (I've seen the statistics bandied about for vegetarianism being more eco-friendly, but they mostly seem to be supported by vegetarian activist studies rather than hard science.) You can also have my high-powered ancient showerhead when you pry it out of my cold dead fingers - my power wash isn't something I'm willing to part with. But the others are good suggestions. Check it out.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Lego Zombies Kinda

I don't have time to roll up my sleeves and get into this just yet, but Boxhead More Rooms looks like it could satisfy my craving to kill Lego-like zombies for a while.

Via Kotaku.

Landlubbers Beware!

Via Engadget, via The Salem Pirates comes the ultimate gift for the pirate lover: a remote controlled pirate ship. Fair warning to my friends and family: no need to purchase one of these as a present for me, since I'm already ordering one.


Incidentally, I'm going to start ramping up some of the coverage of WizKids' Pirates of the Spanish Main on this site, including what I hope will be an in-depth interview with some of the other people related to the game, to go up in late May or early June.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Frosty Hardison Gets What's Coming To Him

Thanks to Seattlest for alerting me to the fact that local dipshit Frosty Hardison (previously discussed here) was featured on The Daily Show, where they appropriately trotted his ignorance out and exposed it for what it is.

When people who believe the Earth was created in six days start dictating science curricula, it's high time we examine our process.

Fuck you, Frosty. Hope you like being exposed for the village idiot you are.

You do have to admit that Frosty does a pretty funny Church Lady and Robin Williams though.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

One of These Things is Not Like The Other

See if you can identify what's wrong with the following screencap from MySpace's login page:

Shameless Self-Promotion Whore Post

For those Puppeteers keeping track of my fiction writing, WizKids released Pirates at Ocean's Edge yesterday, with flavor text written by yours truly.

Why [Tragic Event] Demonstrates Why You Should Support [Political View]

I have nothing to say about the shootings at Virginia Tech, nor do I have anything to say regarding the manner in which the media, new and old, and the pundits, recognized and amateur, are conducting themselves.

However, this passed through my RSS feed this morning and I feel it's quite relevant. Rather than offer commentary, I merely offer sources and the entire text, quoted below. I got it from Boing Boing, and it was originally penned following the 9/11 attacks.

Many people will use this terrible tragedy as an excuse to put through a political agenda other than my own. This tawdry abuse of human suffering for political gain sickens me to the core of my being. Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this. In any case, what this tragedy really shows us is that, so far from putting into practice political views other than my own, it is precisely my political agenda which ought to be advanced.

Not only are my political views vindicated by this terrible tragedy, but also the status of my profession. Furthermore, it is only in the context of a national and international tragedy like this that we are reminded of the very special status of my hobby, and its particular claim to legislative protection. My religious and spiritual views also have much to teach us about the appropriate reaction to these truly terrible events.

Countries which I like seem to never suffer such tragedies, while countries which, for one reason or another, I dislike, suffer them all the time. The one common factor which seems to explain this has to do with my political views, and it suggests that my political views should be implemented as a matter of urgency, even though they are, as a matter of fact, not implemented in the countries which I like.

Of course the World Trade Center attacks are a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. But we must also not lose sight of the fact that I am right on every significant moral and political issue, and everybody ought to agree with me. Please, I ask you as fellow human beings, vote for the political party which I support, and ask your legislators to support policies endorsed by me, as a matter of urgency.

It would be a fitting memorial.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Go Kill Yourself (Update 1)

In less than five minutes! Here's a spectacular example of online viral marketing: a game from Adult Swim where you try to kill yourself in five minutes using office supplies. And being kicked around. Or becoming a pinata. Or... well, I'll let you find out for yourself. Could potentially be not-work-safe. And requires Flash.

Jeff Grubb found this one.

Update: These guys get Internet marketing. Via Brandon, the low-bandwidth version of their site for the new movie.

Captain America: Dead. Capitalism: Alive and Well

Major hat tip to Angus for pointing me towards this story.

Even if you aren't part of my comic-readin', game-playin' crowd, you are probably aware that a couple of months ago, Marvel decided to kill off Captain America. You know this because you probably heard about it on the news; Marvel's PR team did a fine job of getting the word out. Character "deaths" happen in comics all the time, but the last time I can remember a comic event like this (hell, any comic event) getting this much mainstream media coverage was the death of Superman in the early 1990s.

His death was the talk of the geekosphere for quite a while, and I didn't weigh in because I really didn't have much to say (Jeff, however, had quite a bit of interesting stuff to say if you want to get up to speed.)

It turns out that there's another interesting side to this story that takes place well outside of the Marvel universe, and firmly in ours.

A little preface for the non-comic-reading Puppeteers: Wizard Magazine is pretty much the only print publication that caters exclusively to comic book readers. There are others, of course, but none come close to scratching Wizard's subscriber base, sales, and quality (and by quality, I mean the quality of their layout and print.) The mag tends to cater to the juvenile side of the aisle - it's kind of like Maxim, but with female superheroes instead of airbrushed celebrities - but it is a solid and credible news source for comics and entertainment news.

And Wizard Magazine is the main character of our story today.

Wizard Magazine is only one arm of Wizard Entertainment, who run the various Wizard World conventions as well. Wizard also runs its own online store, selling comics and collectibles. At WizKids, we worked with Wizard on several promotional figures that they sold both through their magazine and their online store. The idea behind those offers was to increase circulation numbers of the print magazine, and because Wizard is basically the only show in town when it comes to comics news, they tend to get what they want when it comes to things like exclusive promotional tie-ins. Companies want to see their product featured as a promotional item, because it's basically free PR. (You HCRealms guys: pay attention.)

Now you might know that print publications, like game companies, tend to run pretty far ahead of schedule on their news - meaning they have to know things about 3-4 months before they release/happen, so they can cover them in a timely manner. This is all the more important for them now given how fast news travels over the Internet; more than once, WizKids had exclusive news we'd given to a magazine leaked online, and the mags were none too happy to have been scooped.

Perhaps you see where I'm going with this. Wizard almost certainly knew of Captain America's impending death weeks, if not months, before it happened. And magically, within hours of the release of the issue - when it was sold out at almost every comics store in North America - the Wizard online store had plenty of copies. They had so many, in fact, that they had already graded them (a comic industry term for putting a funnybook in plastic with a permanent grade of its status, for hardcore collectors only) and put them on eBay - in the hundreds.

They also engaged in a major Google ad buy to purchase ads that redirected people searching for issues of the comic right to their online store.

In and of itself, that's not so terrible. This isn't Martha Stewart-esque insider trading; it's comics, and their profits on this venture could probably be measured 4 digits, 5 at the most. Does it hurt comic book retailers? Sure, a little, but I would also argue that comics and games retailers can be their own worst enemies (I'll get into this another time.)

But retailers themselves would probably disagree, and Brian Hibbs in his "Tilting At Windmills" column certainly does. (Brian's column, incidentally, is where most of my facts regarding the timeline of events came from). But Brian is also arguing for something new and interesting that, so far, the comics industry has seen very little of. It is something I experimented with at WizKids, and it's something I've discussed here before: transparency. I'll let him tell you:

To me, as a guy who sells comics and stories for a living, knowing months ago that Cap was going to die would have helped me sell more comics, not less. Because it’s not the action itself that’s the important thing, it is the execution of that action. That’s what people are buying.

I couldn't agree more. I'm not calling for a radical, "Marvel ought to let us know every line of dialog from every upcoming comic" - that's unreasonable. But as I've argued before, that information would have been relevant to the overall discourse. And I doubt very much it would have impacted the media blitz surrounding Cap's death. If anything, people lining up in front of comic book shops - people who had knowledge of the event because their comic shop guy told them about it - would have been a great picture to put on CNN.

Kevin Huxford at Newsarama did an excellent interview with Wizard's PR guy Drew Seldin about the issue, where Drew all but concedes the company, operating as one unit, did in fact have advanced knowledge of the issue. I can empathize with Drew, being a PR guy myself, and I'm not sure I would have handled it quite like he did (Hey, I'm new! only goes so far, especially in the comics industry where insiders tend to frown on outsiders to begin with), but I present it a Wizard's reaction to the debate.

Frankly, what matters here is not whether Wizard did anything shady. It's that people in the comics (and games) industry should closely consider what Brian had to say about releasing information sooner. It is antithetical to the "old way" of doing things, but those are the kinds of steps that might need to be taken to reignite interest among fans used to having more information at their fingertips than the sum-total of human knowledge 50 years ago.

One Step Closer

Today, we take one step closer to a world in which awesomeness itself roams the earth. From the New York Times, via an SA thread:

In a retrieval once thought unattainable, scientists have recovered and identified proteins in a bone of a well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex that lived and died and was fossilized 68 million years ago.

The scientists say the success, with advanced research techniques, opens the door for the first time to the exploration of molecular-level relationships of ancient, extinct animals, instead of just relying on their skeletal remains.
... The extraction of DNA would be necessary for studies in dinosaur genetics and for cloning experiments.

Repeated analysis of the T-rex proteins, the researchers said, uncovered new evidence of a link between dinosaurs and birds, a widely held but contentious hypothesis. Three of the seven reconstructed protein sequences were closely related to chickens. The scientists resisted being drawn into speculation on the likely taste of a T-rex drumstick.

Emphases mine.

You know, there are a lot of good arguments for not cloning dinosaurs. People could get eaten. They're extinct for a reason. Diseases. It's not cost-efficient. There's no real benefit.

But I can think of one good reason to do it:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Quentin Tarantino Can Go To Hell

Last night, I caught a late show of Grindhouse. Grindhouse is Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez' homage to "grindhouse" cinema, the late 1960s and 1970s b-movies that were shot on a shoestring, featured crazy and often nonsensical plots, gratuitous violence, sex and gore, and are just plain fun. There were fake trailers for more grindhouse-style films (most of which were awesome), and the movie itself is a back-to-back feature. The first segment is "Planet Terror," directed by Rodriguez, and the second was "Death Proof" by Tarantino.

"Planet Terror" was the most fun I've had at the movies in a long, long time.

"Death Proof" pretty much cemented my belief that Pulp Fiction was a fluke, and Tarantino is a talentless hack.

Rodriguez "got" the idea. His movie was an homage to the genre, well-paced stupid fun that makes you laugh out loud at the sheer hilariousness of what's happening. Tarantino's movie was 45 minutes of insipid Tarantino-style dialog, followed by 5 minutes of action, followed by 30 minutes of even worse insipid dialog, followed by (I admit) a fucking incredible car chase. But the payoff wasn't worth the time I put in to get there.

And, I'm now ready to admit to myself I feel the same way about Kill Bill: the ending fucking sucked compared to the rest of the movie. A four-hour buildup to a shitty five-minute fight that was over before it started? Screw you, Tarantino.

Also, while I'm at it: Kevin Smith can't edit a film to save his life. Worst. Pacing. Ever.

UPDATE: Liz sent me an article where critic Mark Harris agrees with me, but does it far more eloquently than I did above. Money quote:

The Soldier Blue poster in the background, the wry Robert Urich and Lee Majors name-checks, even the long, long raunchy-girl-talk conversations are just a series of attitudinizing postures — lots of ''Nigga, please!'' (way too much, in fact) and the like, as if women have nothing better to do all day than compete in a never-ending coolness contest.

Is Grindhouse itself just part of that contest? And why devote so much energy to proving your superiority to such inferior material? Tarantino clearly gets high on trashy film rediscoveries. The thing is, when you're high, your definition of genius slackens as your riffs get louder, wilder, and less supportable. Grindhouse is one of those riffs.

This basically sums it up for me. Such things were acceptable when I was in my teens. I'm 28 now, and I want something different. And judging by Gridhouse's piss-poor box office take, so do the majority of people who are in their teens right now.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy (Religious) Holidays

For the faithful in my audience, this is an important week. Easter and Passover. Punditry comes out of the woodwork on news sites, but CNN's commentator Roland Martin has something extraordinarily insightful to say:

When did it come to the point that being a Christian meant only caring about two issues,­ abortion and homosexuality?


Poverty? Whatever. Homelessness? An afterthought. A widening gap between the have and have-nots? Immaterial. Divorce? The divorce rate of Christians mirrors the national average, so that's no big deal.

The point is that being a Christian should be about more than abortion and homosexuality, and it's high time that those not considered a part of the religious right expose the hypocrisy of our brothers and sisters in Christianity and take back the faith. And those on the left who believe they have a "get out of sin free" card must not be allowed to justify their actions.

Martin does raise a fascinating point: how some modern American Christianity has been boiled down into those two issues, and it's frankly disturbing. Not because I happen to agree or disagree with either side, but because it largely ignores a 2000-year-old tradition based largely on principles of social justice. It's worth reading the rest of Martin's article, to hear about the African-American preacher who agreed to march in an anti-abortion rally, but couldn't get any white preachers to help him clean up a crack-infested neighborhood because "it was more his problem."

But there is a message of hope in what Martin shares, and it's one that I've become increasingly interested in: whatever else we may be, we are all still Americans and people, and owe it to ourselves to try to work together to find common ground, especially as more and more of us on each side realize things may be getting worse rather than better.

So this week:

For the Christians - Happy Easter.
For the Jewish folks - Happy Passover.
For my fellow agnostics - Enjoy a nice weekend.
For the atheists - faith in nothing is still faith.

For everyone else - be well.

Hat tip: Liz for the story.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Thoughts on Beauty

Religious traditions believe that to behold the form of God would cause a person to go insane or simply die, because the human mind cannot comprehend something so complex and awesome.

Perhaps there really is a little bit of God in the world. Standing on a streetcorner, watching my fellow people go about their business, listening to a street musician play, and trying to comprehend all of what is good around me, it strikes me that the world is full of a terrible kind of beauty. It is the kind of strength and goodwill and powerful force beyond comprehension that, when I try to fully set my mind to the task of understanding it, threatens to consume and destroy me, and overwhelm me with its magnitude.

And that is a good thing.

Achievement Unlocked

Going through my animated gifs and came across this gem:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Two Covers of Hurt

An old pal (who has no website) linked me to a YouTube video by "Sad Kermit" - a cover of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt, in the same style as the Johnny Cash cover. Slightly NWS for lyrics and, well, an odd puppet, well, thing.

And if you've never seen the Johnny Cash version, what the hell is the matter with you. It's one of the last (if not the last) videos he made with June Carter Cash before they passed:

Monday, April 02, 2007

"Radical Transparency" and Me

I have to admit, last week's little kerfluffle over blogging and transparency made me think far more than I thought it might. And not think in a "well, that's interesting" kind of way - it really created the kind of existential crisis that I typically only face every couple of years. And rather than shy away from the abyss, I stood my ground, stared back, and I feel as though the flames of Internet discussion have tempered me a bit.

It wasn't the notion of Radical Transparency (discussed in the issue of Wired in question, and on Chris Anderson's blog here and here) that caused the crisis - but what resulted from it was that I had to redefine what transparency, radical or otherwise, means to me and my job.

Two things caused me to really start thinking. The first was a comment on Frank Shaw's blog, reproduced here unedited:

Dude, somebody needs to wipe that candy-ass :) off your lyin' face!

The sad part of this business is that PR guys like you have sold your soul to the man, and are too smart by half.

You lie for a living. In the old days, that meant you would burn in hell for eternity. Now it just means that you can take home a fat paycheck.

You look in the mirror & what do you see? That :). Yuck.

The second was something Seth said to me in an IM discussion. I didn't save the transcript, so it's not exact, but he said something to the effect of the perception of many people is that PR is an inhibitor to communication. Referring of course to the "spin factor" - call it lies if you wish - people associate with the term "PR."

Taken together, I sat and stewed on this one for a while. Not long ago, I sat in on a meeting with Edelman's Corporate PR team - the guys you call when something really bad is about to happen, like a product recall or something. I asked them point-blank if they would ever turn down a potential client who was obviously guilty of something pretty terrible (the answer, incidentally, was yes.) But before that, they told me that it's important to keep in mind that everyone deserves equal representation - everyone deserves to have their side of the story told.

The answer really didn't sit well with me. I mulled that over on the way home last week, after reading about the Wired kerfluffle for most of the day. My belief in the American system notwithstanding, aren't there some douchebags who are better off just ignoring? Perhaps it was the fact that, just a few days prior, I saw the slimy defense lawyer on Battlestar Galactica use that exact same phrase to explain why he would defend Dr. Baltar, who was responsible for assisting the Cylons in their destruction of the Twelve Colonies - and then later responsible for collaborating with them during the occupation of New Caprica (I'm a geek, deal with it.) But one of the awesome things about Galactica is that it shows us Baltar's side of the story. He was an unwitting accomplice before the attacks, because a Cylon was using his hubris to gain access to information. He kept his involvement a secret for fear that the survivors would simply shove him out the nearest airlock. On New Caprica, it is certainly possible that he was collaborating because he thought it was the way to save more lives - the Cylons had superior firepower and any attempt to fight them on a mass scale would have resulted in a lot of deaths - possibly the deaths of all on the planet. It's a utilitarian argument, but a plausible one.

But seriously, is that the best defense I have - that I'm like the guy defending Gaius Frackin' Baltar (I warned you I was a geek) because "everyone deserves a chance to tell their side of the story?" Well sure, on one hand, that is true. It's the foundation of the American justice system for fuck's sake. But on the other hand, people tend to form opinions that are very hard to change. When you read something that presents a point of view from only one angle, you're more likely to agree, especially if you don't have a previous opinion about the subject matter. And if you've already formed an opinion that's similar to that being expressed in the story (X is evil, or Y is good) then you're even more likely to agree. I simplify, of course, but it's basic human psychology.

But it's not the best defense I have. What Seth said stuck with me, and I thought about it more in the context of what I used to do at WizKids: I was the guy who was responsible for entering information into the HeroClix figure gallery. I was the guy who put out press releases (and wrote them.) My job was to let the community know what was coming in future HeroClix releases, because it got them excited. Did I have to break bad news? Sure. But I did it honestly, in a straightforward manner, and I'd like to think they appreciated me for that.

So the dissonance here comes from what I do and the perception of what I do: I don't inhibit information flow. If anything, I facilitate it. And I use that term in its true definition, not the "new business" definition - I'm not going to petition to change my job title to "Information Facilitator" anytime soon.


As any HeroClix players reading this site can attest, we didn't simply dump every bit of information out into the community. We announced expansions at a certain time so it wouldn't deflect interest from current releases. We trickled information about set contents to keep people interested. We knew what people wanted to know most, and we knew we could drive traffic if we held back a couple of days on posting that information, so we would (Superman anyone?)

More importantly, there were things that were never discussed in public. We never released the HeroClix point formula, and to this day no one has accurately cracked it. This occurred for two reasons: if we released it, people could simply create their own dials (or try to "correct" our dials), and second, it was WizKids' intellectual property and probably worth quite a bit of money to the right people. Games are a competitive business. Nuff said.

Nor did we discuss other internal goings-on: meetings where we decided what conventions we would attend, how to reorganize things to meet our budgets, and which people in the company argued for various sides to those questions. Why? The public simply doesn't need to know that stuff. There is no benefit whatsoever to the public at large seeing that information.

On a more personal note: look around the blog you're reading. You can make some fairly accurate assumptions about me here based on information I have chosen to share. I like comic books, and specifically Groo. You can see things I've taken pictures of. You can see my friends and interests by reading who I link to. You can see what music I've listened to most recently on my laptop. You can tell when I'm playing my Xbox 360, and when - exactly - I've reached certain points in certain games. You can tell I have cats, I'm married, and get a vague idea of where I live.

However, you will never see other kinds of information here. You won't know before or while I'm taking a vacation - only after. I don't want you to know why my house is empty. You won't know my exact address. You'll never learn my phone number, because I value my privacy (just ask some of my former WizKids pals, who were woken one morning by a gamer calling their house to ask them rules questions for the MechWarrior game.) You won't know when my wife and I fight. You won't know if I'm looking for a new job, because people from my office read this blog (it's OK guys, I'm not going anywhere.)

Why? Because that information isn't relevant to the discussion occurring here. Sure, some of it shapes who I am - from my experiences in the long run to my current mood - and there are people who share all that information online. Bully for them. But for you, the reader, it's simply not relevant.

And that's basically where I arrived. Chris Anderson, as much as I agree with his Long Tail theory, needs to acknowledge that even "radical transparency" has its limits. There are nods to this in the print issue of Wired - he notes that Coca-Cola probably shouldn't publish its secret formula online - but there are simply things that are not relevant to a conversation. In other words, there can be - can be - such a thing as "too much information."

Not that Anderson's underlying idea about radical transparency is necessarily a bad one. There is something to be said for a CEO blogging about his doubts about business decisions - traditional thinking says it will spook the investors, lower public confidence, and damage morale. And those things may be true. But it also creates a rapport with the public in ways that no amount of traditional PR or advertising ever could, ever. But I'll bet that the same CEO does not blog about specific meetings, publish every memo or email he writes, or mentions when he waits a couple of extra seconds on the elevator to watch a shapely intern walk by. Because that information simply isn't relevant.

One response might be "well, selectively sharing information isn't really being transparent at all, is it?" And the simple answer is: I don't know. Transparency, radical or otherwise, isn't defined and it certainly isn't quantified. It's certainly not extreme, as many of the community members who commented on Frank Shaw's blog viewed it (and, I suspect, many in the community would view it - tell us everything, damn it!) And there is a lot of information out there now. The Internet is, basically, a neural network that represents the sum total of all human knowledge. If you want to find information, you can do it. MSNBC can run up to five scrolls of stock reports and news tickers at once. Football games are full of statistics, cameras and microphones on the field are now the norm. As Lewis Black said, "the only place left to go is to put a camera up the linebacker's ass to see what he had for dinner last night."

A cynic might say it's disingenuous to talk about transparency in the same space as talking about choosing which information to share and not to share. Is that any more disingenuous than selling an issue of Wired about being "transparent" by putting an extremely airbrushed model on the cover? Perhaps. Perhaps I'm simply rationalizing this in my head, and I'm wrong. But somehow I don't think so.

After all, ten years ago I could not have conceived of working a job where I wouldn't have gotten fired for posting what I just wrote - as many of my readers perhaps can imagine as well. And I sit here ten years later, encouraged to think about - and blog about - these kind of things by my supervisors.

Information facilitation. It's what we do.