reddit noir

"The rain keeps up it's patter late into the night. Reminds me of my ex-wife. And that i'm thirsty... all i've got left is water."
This was what was going through the mind of artist (and redditor) M. Koperwas when he created this dark take on our affable alien. If you think about it, being a mascot who spends every minute of its life in the top-left corner of a website isn't the most fulfilling life. Especially when you have to smile all the damn time.

It seems plausible that in another life, the reddit alien broods on a rainy street corner with a scowl and a cigarette. I love it. Thanks for the submission, M.

diebold democracy? i'd rather go back to pottery shards

Last week was the first time I'd ever voted in person. Absentee ballots from college in Virginia just never felt right; it was a thrill walking up to my old elementary school to participate in some democracy. Only it was Diebold democracy.

You see, Maryland uses those hip, new -- deeply flawed -- electronic voting machines. After a couple touchscreen selections, I could see how the interface had its advantages (although it wasn't really all that well designed). But once I'd finished voting, that was it.

No little slip of paper, nothing, just a sticker thrust on my chest by a retiree. I asked him how he felt about these new machines. He immediately became defensive and remarked about how for all the decades he'd been voting in Maryland, he never got a slip of paper at the end. Fine, but when holes were going into ballots that were dropped into boxes, you at least had the tangible knowledge of having voted.

Sure, anything could have happened thereafter, but I know how exploitable those electronic voting machines are. It was at this point that I caught myself sounding like a conspiracy theorist -- both from the words coming out of my mouth and from the expression on his face.

I acknowledged that it's obviously not his fault, he's just a volunteer manning the polls on what would likely be a very long, boring day. I only hoped it was something he was worried about, too. It just seems like an issue that every American -- regardless of political leaning -- would care about.

Maybe he'll see this recent report on Fox News (not a typo):
(thanks, reddit)

americans hostile to knowledge, but what does this excerpt say about nytimes readers?

reddit pointed me to a recent New York Times article on anti-intellectualism in America. OK, so it may not be the most original subject, but certainly worth another analysis.

Author Susan Jacoby got the idea for her recent book, "The Age of American Unreason", on 9/11. The Times reports:
Walking home to her Upper East Side apartment, she said, overwhelmed and confused, she stopped at a bar. As she sipped her bloody mary, she quietly listened to two men, neatly dressed in suits. For a second she thought they were going to compare that day’s horrifying attack to the Japanese bombing in 1941 that blew America into World War II:

“This is just like Pearl Harbor,” one of the men said.

The other asked, “What is Pearl Harbor?”

“That was when the Vietnamese dropped bombs in a harbor, and it started the Vietnam War,” the first man replied.

At that moment, Ms. Jacoby said, “I decided to write this book.”
I couldn't help but wonder why journalist Patricia Cohen would preface the anecdote by explaining that Pearl Harbor was "the Japanese bombing in 1941 that blew America into World War II."

Along with ruining the punchline, doesn't this imply that there'd be New York Times readers who'd have missed this historical blunder?

Surely this was done as a courtesy to the many non-U.S. readers who may not (although likely do) know about this significant event in our country's history as well as for those Americans who'd have just scratched their heads. It just seemed rather ironic given the context.

Although, I wonder how many Americans back in 1941 were thinking of the similarities between between that infamous December day and the Battle of Port Arthur...

Bonus: Check out the readers' comments

reddit nostalgia: whence came the name?

A recent self post on Hacker News asking "How did you choose a name for your startup?" got me all nostalgic, so I thought I'd share my response:
We knew the site would involve reading what's new online, so I would spend classtime thinking about domains involving something like "read." It was also during this classtime that I first doodled the alien in the corner of a notebook.

I was in my beloved Alderman library when "reddit" came to mind, as in "I reddit on reddit" (although this slogan was courtesy of PG). I'd also registered reditt because I couldn't decide which one was better. Granted, I was worried about how poorly it was spelled, but it seemed easy enough to remember.

For a time, it was just added to a long list of potential names. We spent the first month of YC without a confirmed name, but I always stuck with reddit despite being repeatedly told how terrible a name it was :-)

Finally Steve acquiesced and we went with reddit. This was after wasting a solid 2 entire days just hunting for domains -- not a great use of time, I must say.

It was also before instantdomainsearch, which I highly recommend.

something more romantic

Fine, so the reddit logo may not have lived up to your romantic expectations, but hopefully this will.

(From a recent dinner conversation I had with a friend about his girlfriend)
Huu: She got me an erotic cake for my birthday.

Me: That's great!

Huu: Yeah, it was pretty funny, but it tasted terrible.

Me: You sound surprised. Erotic cakes are known for having
poor taste.


Huu: I'm so happy you weren't there to say that.

happy valentine's day??

It's not that I'm in a particularly bad mood or anything, I just had to do something to juxtapose Google's sentimental logo choice. Plus, no one got the alien an unholiday card.

Maybe things will get better for our alien hero tomorrow, but like any good drama, our protagonist must first hit his nadir.

Like I was telling the IRC channel, my life would be so much easier today if Dick Cheney would've just shot another old man in the face like back in '05. Oh well.

xobni gets a shoutout from big bill @ microsoft

It's inbox backwards, a company started by a couple pals of mine from Y Combinator. Adam and Matt are turning this into quite a big deal. Bill Gates is no Steve Jobs when it comes to presentations, but having the word "xobni" come out of his mouth is definitely some kind of an accomplishment. (See, even Bill pronounces it Zahb-nee, not Zohb-nee).
I've proudly had my Zahb-nee button (over on the right) ever since they rolled it out, which I'm certain has been crucial for all of their success. That's a nice "unique display area" you've built, pity I still use Gmail, but I know there's no shortage of Outlook users who'd love to make their email habits significantly less painful. Congrats, guys.

attn eff donors: autographed comics and signed postcards are on their way!

Due to a wide variety of circumstances, I only just this week got all the supplies together to do the mass mailing of all the prizes from this December's reddit & xkcd fundraiser. Sorry it took so long, but at last they've all been mailed out.

Look how happy I was after returning to Somerville to pickup the XKCD comics. Then behold at the glee that came with getting team reddit's signatures on the postcards in San Francisco.
(I used these images taken with Photo Booth to prove that I hadn't forgotten about the redditors who emailed asking about their prizes.)

Thanks again to everyone who participated, especially our friends Randy and Derek over @ xkcd -- I hear that webcomic of theirs is really taking off.


Fact: Jeremy even signed his while wearing an EFF shirt (+10 bonus points!)

happy darwin day

There's a certain evolutionary biologist (and avid redditor) in my life who always reminds me about Darwin Day and I always forget to do a logo for it. Not today.
Apparently this gentleman (who looks a lot like the bearded-dude on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel) is like her boss, or something?

Chuck Darwin seems like a cool guy, although I don't know how he'd feel about the Darwin Claus cards I made. Or what about the infamous "awards" named in his honor? He'd probably have a good chuckle and say something like "Oh, those Internets..." and then get back on the HMS Beagle to play with some finches or something.

Anyway, happy birthday, your bicentennial is next year -- I have 365 days to come up with a more clever logo. I tried to draw a party hat on his head, but it kept making him look like a wizard.

Update: Spore's launch date (Sept 7th) was announced today (coincidence?). We'll see if it holds -- or evolves -- in the coming months...