Simply brilliant.I heard this on a couple of differentpodcasts today so i wasn’t going to bother writing about it, but not one show i heard today pointed out that viewers are asked to vote on the films they see and OscarTorrents will publish the results on oscar night.It should be interesting to see how different the views of the academy differ to the views of the pirating community..
Fulltime Casual in association with Loop Bar are proud to present the Melbourne Bad Film Club.The Melbourne Bad Film Club give film lovers the chance to relax, catch up with friends and laugh at some of the best worst films ever made. The first screening will be held on Monday, the 26th of March, at 7:30pm.But we need your help!Choosing just the right film that is so bad its good is tough work. We want to steer clear of “the classics” for now, and focus on a film that provides the best audience participation.So far, the shortlisted films, in no particular order are;Cobra
Stallone’s Latest Rocky Movie is actual quite good. Really. To Celebrate its release, enjoy Stallone in this over the top 80’s action thriller.From its opening shootout in a supermarket, to the bizarre quiet moment where Cobra eats pizza alone with a pair of scissors, Cobra is a misunderstood classic that always delivers.Careful viewers might also spot the subtle product placement, when Stallone hides behind a giant Pepsi display in the opening scene, when Stallone steps out of his apartment a reflects in front of a giant Pepsi billboard on his roof, or where Stallone runs from Pepsi machine to Pepsi machine in the thrilling hospital chase. Strangely, when Stallones partner drinks a can of coke in the final scene, he is immeadiately shot to death. Go firgure.Youtube preview:[youtube]Vuj6gzy3Clg[/youtube]Gigli
Words cannot describe the simple joy of experiencing Gigli with good friends and a few drinks. How did it go so wrong? What were they thinking. No really, what on earth were they thinking?Ben Affleck stars as Ben Affleck, a miscast block of wood who’s performance could only be topped by Karl Stefanovic.J-Lo is the lesbian assasin who teaches Ben the secrets of pleasuring a woman (trust me you’ll never guess what it is!) before switching sides for him.Gobble, gobble, its turkey time!”Once you get past the staggering question of who gave this thing the green light, Gigli actually turns into a uniquely bad movie that yields real (albeit unintentional) laughter.” Dallas Morning News.Youtube Preview:[youtube]UmnHekIs0mc[/youtube]Jaws : The Revenge
Yep, as it says on the poster, this time, its personal!Ellen Brody can’t escape the memories of the events of the first film. Now a widow, because “the fear of the shark killed her husband,” she decides to finally leave Amity and start life anew.So where to go to escape the memories of the horrors of the ocean? The Carribean of course!Unfortunately for Ellen, the son of the shark in Jaws is also haunted by its fathers death, and somehow follows Ellen to the Carribean, hell bent on finally killing the remaining Brody’s and avenging his father.Honestly. That is the plot.[youtube]5yPmZwt4KpI[/youtube]So these are the finalists for the first Bad Film Club. Please add which film you’d like to see in the comments, then bring some friends to Loop on the 26th of March!
Karl Stefanovic’s Wikipedia entry is one of the most heavily vandalised Australian profiles on Wikipedia. In part, this is probably due to the excellent comedian Tony Martin, and his long running campaign to expose Karl as a robot. So as a public service to help keep Wikipedia vandal free, and for historical reference, I trawled through the over 500 revisions to Karls wiki entry, to catalogue some of the funnier revisions. If you’ve spotted any entries I’ve missed, please, let me know;Karl Stefanovic is an Australian television robot who co-hosts the Nine Network’s breakfast programme, Today. There is some debate if Stefanovic is actually a cyborg (part man, part machine) or a android (entire robot). Evidence suggest the latter as Stefanovic’s emotional simualtions lack sincerity and have clearly been written by cheap third party software company.He was involved in Nine’s coverage of the Canberra bushfires, where 400 homes and four lives were lost in January 2003. In 2003, he was posted to Los Angeles as one of the Nine Network’s US correspondents. During this time he also worked for CNN for over 13 months, after which he malfunctioned and over heated, and was re-booted as the stefa-robot you all know and love today on, funnily enough, Today, with the human/alien hybrid Jessica Rowe.Stefanovic replaced long running Today host Steve Liebmann in 2005 and currently co-hosts the program with Jessica Rowe.He is well know to refer to himself in the 3rd person as The Stefa-Robot, saying such things as “The Stefa-Robot is now in robot mode”. Karl likens himself to Bender, in that , unlike bender,who needs alcohol to fuel his power cells, Karl need alcohol to work with skeletor.. commonly known as Jessica Rowe.The two have often clashed along political lines, with conservative Stefanovic often engaging in abrupt exchanges with the more liberal Rowe. In March 2006, the banter between the two came to a head when almost an entire program was devoted to a discussion of the Republic issue; with Stefanovic enthusiastically defending the Monarchy, and Rowe arguing in favour of a republic.In 2006 Stefanovic participated in the Channel 9 reality-tv show Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice. He eventually made it to the Grand Final of the show but was beaten by Jake Wall on a viewer SMS and phone poll. Stefanovic was regarded by Christopher Dean as a natural ice-dancer who potentially could have turned professional had he begun skating in his youth. His participation in the show will be remembered for his audacious costume selection, chemistry with ice-dancer Linda Aubrecht and convincing performance of the “Boléro” in the shows finale. There were rumours abounding after the show that Karl was indeed a robot, and would have been therefore disqualified as a consequence. The Stefanovic 500 has since gone into hiding.Stefanovic is married to wife, Cassandra, and has two cyber-children (as of August 2006 Stefanovic is expecting a third child). Cassandra Stefanovic (nee Thorburn) is from Mildura, in regional Victoria. Her parents are Pat (the Chief Executive of MADEC) and Max Thorburn. Her brother, Craig, was married in September 2006.Karl’s brother Peter Stefanovic is also a Channel 9 journalist.Apparently if look into his eyes for long enough, his robotic powers will reveal to you the mysteries of God and all of the world’s mysteries (UFO’s, Ernie Sigley’s amazing laugh, the reason for Jessica Rowe looking like an alien, etc…). Apparently his amazingly perfect hair is the only type known to man that Superman is unable to burn due to the use of his heat vision.He was recently involved in an unsuccessful court battle to be considered “a real boy” (The People of N.S.W Vs Cybernetic Industries).Karl’s brother Tony Martin is a Triple M Fanatic.
Bummer, so i finally get the website back on line and my isp crashed. Ah, ziggy, will you ever win?
Hello,sorry the site has been down, or more often up but unreadable for so long. I really wanted to switch servers (done) and switch blogging software (done – i’m now proudly supported by WordPress.) I still have a few little bugs to iron out throughout the site, but for the time being i’m back, and i’m glad to be!pete
I know aboslutely nothing about a hell of a lot of things. Unfortunately, i really dont have any area of expertise apart from saving money.With this in mind i thought I’d start a regular feature called tight-arse Tuesdays, where every Tuesday I will give you, dear reader, tips on saving money. Todays tip is one that many mac geeks know, but very few people with real lives are aware of.Apple sell refurbished iPods at awesome prices through their online store. There is no point in me listing whats available today, because the line up fluctuates. But as a rough guide, 1st Gen iPod Shuffles start at $44, 1st Gen Minis are $99 (that would be my pick), first Gen Nanos are $149. The prices dont seem to be as good for fullsize iPods, but again, it changes every day.So if you’ve been waiting for a cheap way of joining the seemless iPod/iTunes experience, $44 is a small price to pay.
Great, Just what the web needs, another damn iTunes Smart Playlist guide. But before you leave, I promise you, this is the best damn iTunes set-up you’ll ever need. I know thats a big call, but read on my friends.A few weeks ago i lost my iTunes library file.I was devastated. 60gigs and about 13,000 songs had lost the ratings and playcounts I had spent the last few years creating. But you know what? It was the best thing that could have happened to me. God thats pathetic. I mean it was the best thing that could happen to my iTunes/iPod experience…You see, when I first discovered the power of smart playlists designed by ratings, it was about two years ago. The problem? A 4gig iPod with (at the time) 20gigs of music. At first i thought, no problem, I’ll just fill my pod with all my favourite tunes. But as anyone who has a smaller pod will tell you, your fave tunes start sounding pretty old after a few weeks.So i started rating my songs and making smart playlists based on those ratings. (The Smart Playlists were designed to cycle through my songs- ie Last Played was not in the last month). This seemed great for a while, but as my iTunes library grew it became very lopsided. I had about 1000 songs rated 4 or 5 stars, and 12,000 songs with no ratings. Soon my iPod was filled with about 50% of the same old faves, and about 50% of stuff i didn’t even know or like. Credit where its due, my first Smart Playlists were based on suggestions from iLounge, Smart Playlists, and 43 Folders. I thought each method was pretty good, but every few weeks i had to tweak the playlists because i was getting bored with them. That kind of defeats the purpose of a “set it and forget it” playlist.It sucked. My pod was soon used only for Podcasts, because the thought of trawling through my music collection seemed too painful. Thankfully, I then experienced what the Chinese call “Crisitunity”. I destroyed my iTunes Library file. I believe thats where you came in…So there i was, 13,000 virgin songs. I thought about how i was going to tackle re-rating 13,000 tracks. 5 stars was easy. A song had to be damn near perfect to get 5 stars. But what about the rest? I thought for a while and here’s what i came up with:5 Stars = Damn Near Perfect4 Stars = My Favourite Bands/Albums that don’t classify as 5 stars.3 Stars = Artists I Appreciate, but don’t necessarily love.2 Stars = Guilty Pleasures and One Hit Wonders.1 Stars = Shit I Cant stand, Ready for the bin.0 Stars = Undecided.First, i went through my library and selected all the artists and albums I loved the most. Using the Browser View of iTunes, you can do this relatively quickly by holding down the command key while clicking. How do you do it on a PC? Fucked if i know, and fucked if I care. Get A Mac. Soon I had selected The Beastie Boys, REM, Radiohead, Pavement, Massive Attack, De La Soul etc etc. Then you hit Command I to edit the info (PC users, at this point you probably need to hit control-alt-delete) click Yes when iTunes asks if you want to edit multiple files. Then give all these artists 4 stars.Next create a smart playlist that looks like this:
Then go into that playlist and search through the artists to find the Damn Near Perfect Songs of those artists. Every time you rate a song 5 stars, it will automatically be removed from the playlist, so you dont get confused. (By the way, you can hit command B to bring back the Browser View to make this process faster. PC users, “Your computer may already be infected with Spyware, so you should probably click on that lovely pop-up window at this point).So there you go, two stars already accounted for. Next, we go back to the library, and using browser view select all the artists you have that you appreciate, but don’t necessarily love. For me it was artists like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Blackalicious, etc. These are the kind of bands I would never sit down and listen to a whole album of, but i certainly respect them, and could never delete them from my library. Command I again and rate these bad boys 3 stars. Then set up another Smart Playlist like the one above, only this time for 3 stars. Enter this playlist and find the gems from each artist. (Tangled up in Blue by Dylan, A Day In The Life, The Beatles, God Only Knows, The Beach Boys etc) and give them 5 stars.Phew, you’re almost done. Now make a smart playlist that is set to :
This will ignore all of the stuff you’ve already rated. Now go through your library and find all the little gems like Things That Make You Go Hmmm, Girls On Film, Ice Ice Baby, etc, and rate those 2 stars.All of this should take you maybe 20mins to an hour depending on the size of your iTunes library. But hang on, i hear you ask, what about 1 star? Well, 1 star is for you to zap a song you didn’t know you had but you really cant stand. Why is it not Zero stars then? Because in iTunes you can’t rate a song Zero Stars if its already been rated before…OK, I promise you’re almost done. Now make new smart playlists limited to 50 songs each based on a star rating, like this:
Finally, create a smart playlist that feeds off the playlist you just created, like this:
I call mine *Radio Pod, i use the asterisk so the playlist will always be the first playlist alphabetically in my list. But you can call yours whatever the hell you want. (In this example, “Guilty Pleasures” are 2 Stars.The final Playlist you keen eyed kids might have spotted is a regular (or dumb) playlist called pod. I have that playlist so i can drag any songs i want onto my iPod while still keeping my pod set to Automatically Sync.So there you go. A geeks guide to iPod lovin’. And if you don’t believe how good the mix is, check out what my iPod served me this week:
And Since I’ve been using this new playlist overall:•
Here’s a little thing I’ve wanted to do for ages, create a tshirt based on the most hated site on macs, the unexpectedly quit dialog box. Since this site is mainly about the idea of quitting your day job and following your passion, or atleast about slacking of on you day job and thinking about your passion, I’ve tweaked the dialog box a tiny bit…
and a close-up:
a full range of tshirts, mugs and clocks are available at cafepress
The End of Silly Season
Steve Jobs famously said “It is better to be a pirate than to join the navy” when rallying the troops who designed the first Macintosh. Twenty years later it seems odd that the same Mr. Jobs has done more to stem the flow of pirated material over the internet than any single person. Apple and the iTunes Music Store dragged the record industry into the new market of the internet. Before iTunes, music on the internet was “shared” illegally through peer-to-peer networks such as Kazza and Limewire. Nobody believed that people would buy music on the net when the same files were available free of charge. One Billion songs later and iTunes is a word synonymous with success. But you know all that.Now, a new network called bit torrent has become the online pirates favourite weapon of choice. Its favourite download? Television shows.Television Networks see this as pure theft. They argue that shows downloaded illegally are hurting ratings in Australia and are responsible for lost revenue in advertising. They also claim that people will not download television at a price when free versions exist all over the web. Hmmm, doesn’t that sound familiar?First, some history. Bit Torrent was created by Bram Cohen, as a way of distributing large files over the internet, without burdening the original host with bandwith costs. Bit torrent works by dividing the files into small chunks, where every user is simultaneosly downloading a file while they upload to other users. This software was originally created to help distribute linux builds, but quickly became overcome by “pirates” searching for television, games and movies.Bit torrent was first considered to be a threat to the movie industry. In an excellent Wired interview in 2005 with bit torrent’s creator, Bram Cohen, this threat was highlighted by the Motion Picture Association of America, who began suing individuals downloading movies, in order to, as the MPAA’s antipiracy chief John Malcolm put it, “avoid the fate of the music industry.” But the reality is that most movies availiable on Bit torrent are usually bad quality, they are shot on low def cameras at a cinema, and include people walking in front of the lens, talking and generally being annoying etc. Shows broadcast on television on the other hand are generally ripped from a tivo like device, are esasily comprable with broadcast images, are ad free, and available almost immediately. Is it any wonder that television has become the most popular bit torrent choice.When Wired Magazine asked Bram Cohen if he would use bit torrent if he hadn’t invented it, he replied “I don’t know. There’s upholding the principle. And there’s being the only knucklehead left who’s upholding the principle.” Asked later if he thought his invention will lead to the downfall of cinema and television, he replied: “Take this new platform and mine it for gold… Hollywood, which squawked about VHS, figured out how to make billions off video rentals.” Traditional media shareholders are always scared of new forms of distribution which threaten their stranglehold on an established market. It’s why the RIAA sued people who used file sharing networks to download songs. Its also why the MPAA started suing bit torrent users. But creators of content need to realise that suing their customers is not the answer. For some reason, customers don’t like being sued.To take John Malcolm’s analogy further, i would hope the television industry will “avoid the fate of the music industry”, by not waiting till they have turned a generation into pirates before offering other options for free to air TV fans to watch the shows they love. Treat people like thieves and thats what they’ll become.A Nation of Pirates
Bit torrent usage in Australia is the worst kept secret on the internet. Technology and television forums across Australia are filled with posts about “watching the latest episode of (insert show here) on a recent trip to America.” My ISP says bit torrent accounts for about 45% of its internet traffic. Channel BT, as it is known, is the new reality.Even The Bleeding Edge, Fairfax newspaper’s technology blog, has written many guides for setting up bit torrent for the “downloading of Linux distros”. Fairfax, as a content producer and a major media player, can not be seen as supporting piracy. Yet they have even skirted the issue by suggesting “a friend of theirs” has used bit torrent to catch up on missed episodes of Desperate Housewives. Missed episodes? Or new episodes that haven’t aired in Australia?According to piracy tracking site Envisional’s recent studies, Australians are the greatest bit torrent users per capita in the world. Despite making up only 0.3 % of the world’s population, Australians account for 20% of bit torrent traffic. This is only set to increase as more and more Australians begin to use broadband. In 2005 only 30% of Australians connected to the internet had a broadband connection, by 2006, it was 51%. Critical mass of broadband has been achieved. This point is crucial in understanding “Channel Bit Torrent’s” sudden rise in Australia. An hour long television show is roughly 350mb’s, which would take around 14 hours to download on a dial up connection. A standard mp3 is about 3mbs, or 12 minutes.. It is for this simple reason, the size of the files in question, that music was the first battleground of internet piracy. High speed internet means television is the next major battleground.While there is no other option available, could it be that illegal downloading of television will only increase? With broadband adoption growing in Australia in 2006, piracy was blamed for the drop in viewers of the early episodes of the two hit imports of 2005, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. Yet by the end of 2006, Desperate Housewives was actually rating better than it had in 2005. What can be gleaned from the implications of these ratings? Its hard to say, because comprehensive research has not been made in Australia that addresses bit torrent’s effect on ratings. My guess would be that the drop in ratings at the start of 2006 were from fans of the the show who had already donwloaded the new episodes that Channel Seven were showing. The later peak in viewership could be due to the buzz the downloaders (and new fans) of the show had created. Is it possible that for every viewer the networks lose to bit torrent, they gain three more from the ‘water cooler” effect?Channel BT
It sounds far fetched, but is it really? Battlestar Galactica is the show that defined bit torrent. Battlestar debuted in the U.K. in October 2004, but was delayed in the U.S. by the Sci Fi Network until January 2005. That didn’t stop the geeks in U.K hitting the internet and proclaiming Battlestar as the best new show in a decade, and uploading Battlestar on the relatively new network. When it finally debuted in the US, the word of mouth created by those who had bit torrented the show meant that Battlestar became the most watched show in The Scifi Channel’s history. This is a fascinating example because usually Americans, as the world largest producer of television, are normally the first audience in the world to watch new programs.It should be noted that in Australia, Battlestar was shown on Australian television during the non ratings period, at 1am for about 4 weeks, before unsurprisingly being axed. Despite this, it remains the most discussed Television show on Australian geek forums.It seems that consumers downloading episodes of a series via channel bt create demand and are extremely loyal viewers. Downloading a torrent takes a bit of effort, first to discover new shows, then to locate the files and join a swarm. It is not something most people with small download limits and low internet speeds can do on a whim. It also seems to me that channel bt increases sales of a series on DVD. How many people do you know with DVD box sets of Arrested Development, Firefly, The Soprano’s, or Lost? Ok, now how many of those people discover these show on Television or the internet?Where bit torrent is having major effects is on the serialized television shows, such as Prison Break, Lost, and Battlestar Galactica, that reward loyal viewers with in jokes and gradual plot development. Show like Law and Order and CSI are safer, because it really doesn’t matter if you miss an episode. Miss an episode of Battlestar, Prison Break, or Lost, and you could quickly find your self, well, lost.It will be interesting to see how Heroes rates when it debuts on Australian television. Heroes, the star performer of the current U.S. ratings war, is the perfect litmus test of this new reality. Heroes, with its science fiction bent and comic book motif, is the perfect candidate for bit torrent, because it appeals to a geeky audience, the kind of audience who are used to sourcing their own entertainment via the web. It is not surprising that everyone I know has already seen Heroes. What will be fascinating to see is whether our word of mouth advertising from the internet geeks turn Heroes into a hit, or whether the target audience will not bother watching because they have already seen it. My guess is the former.We are entering a new phase in television where TV and the internet converge. America, as one of the strongest producers of television content in the world, has been able to embrace the new albiet slowly, embrace this new reality. The major US networks offer downloads of their most popular shows the day after they have screened, at a small price through iTunes or Xbox Live!, or free through streaming (ads included) on their websites. Neither service is available outside of the U.S.The question is, would the average punter be prepared to pay a nominal fee for an episode that is guaranteed to be downloaded at the highest speed possible, or use a free bit torrent service whose speed is subject to the activity of “the swarm”, and could contain viruses. The US iTunes store suggests the answer is yes. Also, if a new method like iTunes becomes adopted by the majority, it will actually hurt internet piracy by removing people from the “swarm”, therefore slowing down torrent speeds. Sure, there will always be piracy on the internet, because there was always piracy before the internet. It is human nature. But iTunes has proven over a billion times around the world that when you give people the opportunity to do the right thing, more often than not they will.Hollywood had to deal with this global reality a few years earlier. Traditionally Hollywood films have had a ‘staggered’ release around the globe. For example, a blockbuster film released in the U.S. for the Thanksgiving Weekend (America’s highest grossing box office weekend) would be delayed in Australia until Boxing Day (our biggest movie going day). Online piracy destroyed this model, as pirated copies of films were distributed to eager fans who chose instant gratification over image quality. By 2003, all major Hollywood films were released simultaneously across the globe. Hollywood realized that giving consumers what they want, when they want, was better than holding out for the traditional schedules that had worked so long in the pre-internet era. Again, doesn’t this sound familiar?The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth
Lets look at bit torrents numbers again. The U.S, with a population of 300 million people, account for 7% of bit torrent traffic. Australia, with only 20 million people, accounts for 20% of all traffic. Is this really a surprise, when U.S audiences are offered a legal option to watch their favourite TV shows via the internet? CBS recently announced that the shows they offered as downloads or via streaming, had better ratings and more loyal fans. Surely the remarkable rise in ratings of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report can be attributed to their cult status on You Tube.This dosen’t just effect TV from the US. Tony Martin joked that the ABC delayed screening Ricky Gervias Extras, because they wanted to wait until everyone who wanted to watch the show had either downloaded the series or bought the DVDs. Funnily enough, I heard this on the podcast of Get This. Why? Because i hate the music and advertisements Triple M plays, and i would rather download a Nickleback free version of the show than to listen to it live. In fact, i doubt i would have ever heard Get This had it not been released as a podcast. I think Tony Martin is Australias greatest comedian, but i never listened to him while he was only available via Triple M. Even Roy and H.G., who are on a network that plays music i enjoy, i still download as a podcast rather than listen to live.Why? Because i prefer to listern to them on monday morning than Sunday afternoon. It is the simple fact that the internet generation expects time shifting.Podcasting, like bittorrent, is still mainly a geek only persuit. But lately, I’ve been noticing a shift in the tone of media in general. The Media players seem to now be targeting geeks when commissioning film and television. Battlestar, Colbert, Heroes, Lost, are all shows with a geek following, and have all been rewarded because of it. Snakes on A Plane used geek marketing brilliantly to ensure a hugh opening weekend, but realised quickly that to live by the web means to die by the web. Despite all the hype, the content wasn’t good enough for Snakes on a Plane, and the geeks let the world know it. More recently, when Sho debuted the remarkable new series Dexter, they chose This Week In Tech as their marketing platform. Dexter became the networks biggest hit. The new reality is Geeks are the Tastemakers.Channel Ten seems to understand this new reality, screening new episodes of the o.c. and Jehrico soon after they have screened in the us. They have also started selling episodes of locally produced David Tench and Tripping Over through Bigpond.com, for those who may have missed an episode. It is interesting to note that Channel Ten targets a younger audience, those who are internet savvy, and may be willing to source their favourite shows through “non-traditional” channels. Ten have also released “best bits” podcasts of Thank God You’re Here and The Ronnie Johns Half Hour, and rather than hurt the ratings, Thank God Your Here has actually been the highest rating show of 2006. Channel Seven can fill its schedule with “Encore Presentations” of Lost or Desperate Housewives, but thats really not the answer. What are the people that miss the encore presentation going to do? Or those who miss the first four episodes?The key here is iTunes. Apples juggernaut now owns 88% of the legal download market worldwide, thanks to the success of the iPod. If legal television downloads are to overtake bit torrent usuage in Australia, those shows need to be available through iTunes. It is, to date, the only successful business model that is cross platorm.The End of The World As We Know It.
I really dont believe that Channel Bit torrent will negatively effect Australia Network ratings any time soon. In fact, for the time being I think us geeks will actually help network television by providing shows like Heroes a word of mouth buzz that no slick marketing campaign could ever hope to create. But television networks need to think closely about their long term future. Every angry fan that turns to channel bit torrent for their latest fix of Lost will be much harder to coax back to free to air television down the track. The longer a viewer becomes used to watching channel bt, free to watch, on demand and without ads, they will be harder to convince that what they are doing is wrong. And everytime a network representative defends this situation with word like “anyone using bit torrent is simply impatient or a theif” offends a massive group of extremely loyal television fans. When Channel BT finally starts to negatively effect network television ratings, it maybe too late. Treat people like thieves and thats what they become.
The Needle In A Haystack Effect.The web is a big place. So how do you find stories and sites that interest you? One of the best ideas to find gold in a sea of mediocrity is Digg. I love the idea of digg, and its RSS feed sits in my browser, but almost all of the content i see via rss i don’t bother clicking on. I mean how many times can you read about how cool the Wii is and how bad the PS3 is before you get bored. but once or twice a day i spot something brilliant.For the same reason I love Diggnation far more than digg. Because Kevin and Alex use editorial control to avoid the crap that usually appears on their site, to highlight the interesting stories instead.A mate of mine hates digg, but loves the editorially controlled Boing Boing, yet we both see most of the same stuff because anything on Boing Boing is usually dugg, and its usually something i’m interested in. Still, i get to show him all the stuff that boing boing didnt cover when i meet up with him.But thats what digg is. it would be like saying all television is shit because of all the reality tv shows, bad dramas, awful sitcoms etc. But that would be ignoring the Sopranos, Six Feet Under’s and Dexters.I think its a problem of web 2.0 in general. All the supposed Web 2.0 sites rely on user generated material and user generated rankings, but honestly, when was the last time you went to youtube and saw something worth watching? Ok, compare that number to the amount of times someone you know pointed you in the direction of a cool youtube clip. Sometimes, its better to be guided by editors.There is a lot to be said for editorial control. How many forums have you seen that are filled with twelve year olds telling you to “get bent, n00b”, i could name a few. But I’d rather celebrate the one public forum I’ve been a member of for 2 years now, Mactalk. The key group at Mactalk have shaped the forum into a welcoming place. The moderators, although never directly editing anyone, have made the forum great by making clear what is and is not acceptable. If our forums can be as half as good as theirs, i’ll be a very happy boy.So, what are my favourite sites? Apart from the ones listed above, there is Egotastic!, for all your trashy celebrity needs. For Australians reading this, think of it as all the stuff NW would like to print but their lawyers wont let them. Fleshbot, the thinking mans nudie site (NSFW). Ken Stone’s Final Cut Pro, the best guide to Final Cut on the web, all in one ugly website. Exetel, the hosts of this site, and for mine the best bang for buck ISP in Australia. The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs a hilarious fake blog. More to come…Cheers,Pete.