Etan on tech

I’ve been the Sentinel’s technology reporter and columnist since June 2007, but I’ve been a fan of gadgets for years...more

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Friday Picks: Wired on the gadget blog wars, Rick Astley on the 'Rickroll," church sign about Google

Pick #1: Wired on Engadget vs. Gizmodo

In the world of technology blogs (which are the most popular blogs on the Internet), the battle between Engadget, which is owned by AOL, and Gizmodo, which is owned by Gawker Media, is an epic rivalry. These sites post hundreds of items each week and are always looking for the edge on each other.

This article in the latest issue of Wired does an excellent job explaining how these blogs work and why they have so much power and influence with technology companies and tech-savvy consumers.

Pick #2: Rick Astley talks with the L.A. Times about "Rickrolling"

There are lots of ideas that catch fire on the Internet that probably haven't fully made their way into the mainstream. One of them is  the "rickroll," which is  a harmless way to play a trick on somebody. Basically, you send  your friend a link with some juicy wording such as "check out the latest Britney Spears photos" or "nude pictures of Spitzer's hooker." But when they click on the link, instead of salacious photos, they're taken to the music video of Astley as a 21-year-old singing "Never Gonna Give You Up."

The L.A. Times was able to track down Astley and ask him what he thinks about the rickrolling phenomenon. Here's a link to the article (it's real, I swear!) and an excerpt:

For his part, Astley was nothing if not modest about his new cultural role. “If this had happened around some kind of rock song, with a lyric that really meant something -- a Bruce Springsteen, "God bless America" ... or an anti-something kind of song, I could kind of understand that,” Astley said. “But for something as, and I don’t mean to belittle it, because I still think it’s a great pop song, but it’s a pop song; do you know what I mean? It doesn’t have any kind of weight behind it, as such. But maybe that’s the irony of it.”

Astley would never put the song down, mind you. It’s just that, as he says, “If I was a young kid now looking at that song, I’d have to say I’d think it was pretty naff, really.”

(Wikipedia on “naff”: British slang for “something which is seen to be particularly ‘cheesy’ or ‘tacky’ or in otherwise poor aesthetic taste.”) “For me it’s a good example of what some of the ’80s were about in that pop sort of music way. A bit like you could say Debbie Gibson was absolutely massive, but if you look back at it now ... do you know what I mean?”

Pick #3: Church sign about Google

This just made me laugh when I saw it, as church signs often do.


Photo via snakeplisken on Flickr.


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