Posts tagged: silly

Jun 12 2009

Pretty Pretty Facebook…URLs

Tonight at 9pm PST (midnight EST), Facebook is going to open up vanity URL’s to everyone. Ya know, those pretty URL’s after your name, like that other social network has (ahem, or  Despite everyone’s joking, this really is a big deal.  Facebook has fought against this for a long time, really not wanting people to be identified as a URL, but rather, forcing them to use their real name everywhere.

I see this as something that kinda had to happen. No matter what Facebook wishes, I can’t tell someone my name and hope that they’ll find me. It just doesn’t work. They would need to go to Google, or wherever and search for me. Facebook has no guarantees that they’d be the first entry there. In fact, for me, they’re not. If I can tell someone, there’s no question  where they go to find me. But right now I’d never tell them to look on Facebook, not when I have pretty URL’s to hand out.

All that said, yes, the simplest solution is to buy a domain, which obviously, I have. A domain is the easiest way to go, and as many people have said, with domains being as cheap as they are, there really is no reason not to buy one. Buy a domain, redirect it to Facebook, and you’re done. Takes 10 minutes. Most people aren’t going to do that though. No matter HOW easy it is, “buy a domain” sounds very ominous to some people. They think they need technical knowledge, that it’s hard, and the domain companies out there don’t make it any easier. Look at, the UI’s a wreck, and definitely will make anyone think it’s really hard to do. It’s NOT.

Back to my original point. I will be online tonight to grab a URL from Facebook. I haven’t quite decided what I want yet, though. IS available, and I’d kinda like that for the novelty factor. However, that doesn’t help me with SEO, and unfortunately, I’m gonna have an SEO battle soon – there’s a tv reporter with my exact name out there. If she goes national, I’m out of google. So there’s, or /stephaniebergman, but those are no fun .

I have no idea what I’m gonna do and I probably won’t until the exact moment I type the name in. But regardless, this will be a funny night. See you all on Facebook in a few hours!!

Apr 20 2009

A Proposition for California

One of my coworkers wrote this, and it’s too funny (and well-written) not to share. Anyone can propose pretty much anything in California, so here’s one for the next ballot.

It is basically a Proposition to redo the Proposition process, and creates the “Office of the Initiative Editor,” who will be responsible for proofreading Propositions, among other, very necessary things.

The underlined text below is what’s new, the rest is already in effect.

It’s not a short read, but it is fun. Thanks to Daniel for sharing this!!

Be it ordained by the people of the City and County of San Francisco:

Section 1. The Charter of the City and County of San Francisco is hereby amended by amending Section 14.101 and adding Section 14.105 to read as follows:


An initiative may be proposed by presenting to the Director of Elections a petition containing the initiative and signed by voters in a number equal to at least five percent of the votes cast for all candidates for mayor in the last preceding general municipal election for Mayor. Such initiative shall be submitted to the voters by the Director of Elections upon certification of the sufficiency of the petition’s signatures and approval by the Initiative Editor as specified by Section 14.105.

A vote on such initiative shall occur at the next general municipal or statewide election occurring at any time after 90 days from the date of the certificate of sufficiency executed by the Director of Elections and the date of certification of approval by the Initiative Editor (whichever is later), unless the Board of Supervisors directs that the initiative be voted upon at a special municipal election.

If the petition containing the initiative is signed by voters in a number equal to at least ten percent of the votes cast for all candidates for Mayor in the last preceding general municipal election for Mayor, is approved by the Initiative Editor, and contains a request that the initiative be submitted forthwith to voters at a special municipal election, the Director of Elections shall promptly call such a special municipal election on the initiative. Such election shall be held not less than 105 nor more than 120 days from the date of its calling unless it is within 105 days of a general municipal or statewide election, in which event the initiative shall be submitted at such general municipal or statewide election.

No initiative or declaration of policy approved by the voters shall be subject to veto, or to amendment or repeal except by the voters, unless such initiative or declaration of policy shall otherwise provide.


(a) The Office of the Initiative Editor shall ensure that all initiatives submitted to voters by the people adhere to the following criteria:

1. The initiative is free of errors in spelling and grammar.

2. All provisions intended to be non-binding are clearly indicated as such, and all provisions not so indicated are enforceable by a court.

3. No provision clearly contradicts the law of the State of California or the law of the United States of America, nor does any provision clearly contradict the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco unless ordaining an amendment to the same.

(b) The Mayor shall appoint or reappoint an Initiative Editor, subject to confirmation by the Board of Supervisors, who shall perform and manage the functions of the Office of the Initiative Editor. The appointee shall be a member in good standing of the California Bar Association. The Initiative Editor shall have a term of office of two years, and may be removed by the Mayor subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors.

(c) Upon submission of an initiative to the Director of Elections, the Office of the Initiative Editor shall determine whether the initiative adheres to the criteria laid out in subsection (a) of this section, and, in consultation with the proponent, make the minimum set of changes to the language of the initative reasonably necessary to bring it into adherence. Upon determination that an initiative complies with the criteria of subsection (a), the Initiative Editor shall certify his or her approval of the initiative. The Initiative Editor shall not refuse to approve an initiative on any grounds other than those laid out in subsection (a), narrowly construed.

(d) The Office of the Initiative Editor shall consult with the proponent on matters of style, clarity, and good legislative practice, but the Initiative Editor shall not refuse to approve an initiative on such grounds.

(e) If after 60 days from an initiative’s submission to the Director of Elections the proponent and the Office of the Initiative Editor cannot reach an agreement on the language of the initiative, and the proponent petitions the Municipal Court for a writ of mandamus ordering that the Initiative Editor certify his or her approval of the initiative, then the court shall presume in the petitioner’s favor, and shall find otherwise only upon a standard of summary judgment.

(f) The Department of Elections shall provide sufficient staff and resources for the Office of the Initiative Editor to perform the functions defined in this Section.

(g) In the event that the position of Initiative Editor remains vacant for 30 days or more while an initiative is pending approval or certification thereof, approval shall be deemed certified.

Section 2. The Municipal Elections Code of the City and County of San Francisco is hereby amended by amending Section 820 and 840 to read as follows:


At the time a proponent files a notice of intention to circulate an initiative petition, the proponent shall pay a petition filing fee of $200.00 $750.00 pursuant to Section 320 of this Code.


Each signature submitted in lieu of a fee that is specified in this Article shall reduce the amount of the fee by $0.50, but in no case shall the petition filing fee specified by Section 820 be reduced to less than $250.00.

Section 3. Sections 820 and 840 of the Municipal Elections Code, as amended by Section 2 of this initiative, may be repealed or amended by the Board of Supervisors without a vote of the people.

If you managed to read through this whole thing, I’m totally impressed. Now, tell me, what do you think the chances are of us getting this onto the ballot?

Feb 06 2009

25 Things to Complain About On Facebook

Yesterday both the New York Times and Time Magazine published articles about the new trend on Facebook of answering silly little quizzes like “25 things you didn’t know about me.”These quizzes have been known for years as “memes.” I’ve done two of the meme’s in here, and if you really want more to do, there has been a website called the Daily Meme for a while now. The New York Times article was a ‘real’ newspaper article, researched, with real information. The Time Magazine article was a whiny diatribe about how “stupid” these things are and how dare they show up on this reporter’s Facebook.

Oh please, grow up.

According to Wikipedia, meme’s in internet culture refer to humor spreading quickly over the internet. For example, the “tell me 25 things about you…” survey that’s been flying around facebook.

These things have been around forever. They were mainly spread by email, but you’d also see them on people’s blogs (LiveJournal, or Xanga, mainly), or .plan files. Sometimes they were fun, sometimes they were dumb, but they always had a serious distribution problem that resulted in most people despising them. They would very easily turn into spam. One person would fill out the quiz, send it to 20 friends. Then that person would reply to all, add another 20 people, and…you get the picture. Those were truly the days of “25 things I didn’t want to know about you.” I didn’t even know you!

If these things are really coming back again (and it certainly seems like they are), Facebook is the perfect space for them, since they are so easy to ignore. Facebook is not like LiveJournal where a long quiz is making your Friends page huge, or like email where one quiz turns into 40 responses from people you don’t even know.  On facebook, by default, you will only see the subject line and one or two questions…if that. You’ll also only see those from your friends. There isn’t a gun being held to your head forcing you to read someone’s silly note.

Nobody has to be on Facebook. It’s a choice. If you are there, you have tools to control who and what you see. But at its core, Facebook is about sharing information among friends. Don’t want to share or see information? Don’t be there. And I’m talking to you, Time Magazine reporter. I don’t go to or and mock what they’re doing. You don’t have to go to and spoil our fun.

(On a side note, someone’s gotta get this guy on MyYearbook. I think his head would explode.)

Personally, I am thrilled to see these things flying around Facebook. It means things be a changin, although I couldn’t tell you if it’s for the better or worse. Meme’s never really took over MySpace even though people do them all the time in bulletins. But, meme’s completely changed the culture of LiveJournal and Xanga. Many, many people wrote blogs that were full of nothing but meme’s. Not something I ever wanted to read, sure, but these were people who wouldn’t have been blogging without the memes. These dumb quizzes and surveys increased usage of all of these sites, and that’s ultimately a good thing.

Will Facebook users revolt, or will memes result in people spending even more time on Facebook, viewing even more pages? It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here.

Jan 25 2009

25 things you might not know about me

I was tagged to do this on facebook, but since I have a blog, and my blog entries end up on facebook anyway….I’ll write it up here, and tag everyone there.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with
25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose
25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I
tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these
instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag
25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. One of my favorite things to do is sleep all day, but I can rarely sleep past 9am anymore.

2. I am terrified of lightning.

3. I was a New York State certified EMT-D and rode on an ambulance corps for 5 years. I don’t remember much anymore, beyond ALS-CPR (which I will never forget) and basic first aid stuff.

4. My brother was born on Memorial Day. I was positive the parade for Memorial Day was actually a parade celebrating his birth.

5. I used to call the hospital every birthday to ask if I was old enough to be a candy striper yet. I was SO excited when they said yes, and was one until I left for college.

6. I am a published author in an MIT book on Women and Games. Looking back at it now, I like the content of my article, but think it was very poorly written.

7. I am a bread geek, and can go on and on and on about uses of different flours, sourdough, and fillers in bread, and what they do to the end result.

8. Kurt Cobain spit on me one week before he died. I still don’t really know why – he walked out of his hotel angry and spitting. I threw out the sweater as fast as I could take it off. Dave Grohl was very nice, though.

9. I am very hyperactive, and was tied to my chair by my second grade teacher for not sitting still. I was embarrassed by it, and my parents only found out when my best friend told my mom.

10. I can “speak” American Sign Language, but I forget more and more every day.

11. I love all things Broadway, and was part of Putnam County Spelling Bee when I got to be one of the people in the spelling bee. I was out in the first round, but at least I can say I’ve been on Broadway.

12. I have a lot of grey hair. It’s covered well.

13. When I was 4, I walked into my neighbor’s house and sat down at her piano to play. I didn’t know her, but she was a piano teacher and started teaching me. I stopped playing in high school, and just started playing again four years ago. It drives me nuts that I can’t do what I could do then, my head knows what to do, but my fingers can’t do it.

14. I built my first website ’96 at It was all about the X-Files, and “worked best in Netscape.”

15. I used to spend all day every Sunday at the library playing with their computers when I was in elementary school.

16. I become obsessed with things very easily.

17. I once got an A+ in a statistics class at NYU that I only went to twice. Once for midterm review, and once for the final review.

18. I love to write fiction. I think I’m damn good at it, and my secret fantasy is to publish someday.

19. I cannot handle silence. There always needs to be some background noise, doesn’t matter what it is, there just has to be something.

20. I am my own worst critic.

21. I worked in a cancer research lab in high school doing necropsies on rats and mice. I lost the job when New York passed a law saying that “children under 18 could not work in hazardous conditions.” I worked with formalin, so….I was crushed when I couldn’t work there anymore, I loved it.

22. I hate beer.

23. I have a huge collection of stuffed animals, and as much as I know I should get rid of some of them, I can’t decide which to give away. Every stuffed animal contains a memory.

24. I cannot live without a watch, which I wear on my right hand, even though I’m right handed.

25. My hands shake. My right hand shakes more than my left. It’s called “minor tremor,” according to doctors it is ‘harmless,’ and the only thing that stops it is alcohol.

Nov 06 2008

Too Silly Not to Share

About three years ago, I was lucky enough to go to Stanford for a summit on virtual reality technology. The twenty or so of us there got to see all of the latest and greatest VR being developed, from full body virtual reality to simple sims that would react to you. Among other things, I played with a virtual baby, and “jumped” off of a 20 foot cliff.

The baby in the ad below is a cross between the VR baby I played with that day, and the technology many companies have been utilizing for years to create realistic avatars (this one’s from Oddcast). It’s silly, and weird, but to me at least, it’s very, very cool.

I had Brad Pitt and Britney Spears “make this baby.” Make one of your own!

Create Your OwnMake a Routan Baby

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