consumerist confirms the holiday cheer at starbucks is indeed a pr stunt

I was startled when I saw this ad campaign around New York, but I never bumped into any "Gingerbread Gentlemen".

Now Consumerist confirms that all that holiday cheer was in fact bought with the promise of a free drink. Clever public relations campaign? Or an extra serving of cynicism for Starbucks-haters?

Maybe I'm just bitter I didn't get bought a free drink. Guess I should start going to Starbucks now...

xkcd and reddit team up to do a little more than just distract you from work

Got a non-profit you think needs a nice end-of-the-year bump from reddit? Perhaps, you've heard of reddit, it's the self-described strongest supporter of Mister Splashy Pants. And to get Greenpeace to name a whale Mister Splashy Pants is no simple task.

A couple weeks ago, some redditors voiced their desire to go a step further and do some more good. The community had also recently helped an elderly woman after she got ripped off my a cruise line, so feelings of generosity and goodwill were at an all-time high for the Internet. Like always, we just tried to facilitate our community's awesomeness and then get out of the way.

Oh, and did I mention that our friends at xkcd, Randall and Davean, are teaming up with us for this fundraiser? We'll have some worthwhile giveaways (see announcement) for a bunch of donors. With our geek powers combined...


Deadline for the non-profit voting is 10pm (Eastern GMT-5) Wednesday the 19th. Submit or vote now.

Donations will open up at noon (Eastern GMT-5) on Thursday the 20th. If you'd like some real-life karma, or just know a few geeks who'd appreciate some nerd-schwag, please pass this along. Thanks.

excellent news from los angeles: striking writers striking out to start startups

The LA Times reports:
Dozens of striking film and TV writers are negotiating with venture capitalists to set up companies that would bypass the Hollywood studio system and reach consumers with video entertainment on the Web.
About damn time, writers. You've always had the talent, now the barriers have fallen quite a bit between getting those great ideas out of your head and in front of people.

There's an entire generation passing around great video clips from sites like YouTube. We don't care who's made it, as long as it's entertaining. One of the best Will Ferrell clips I've seen all year was on FunnyOrDie.com -- the Criterion Edition is worth a look, too.

Obviously, there will be successes and failures, but we'll all be better off in the end.

Your brothers and sisters in journalism are working their way toward this as well, thanks to feasible online revenue *gasp* models and maybe even a few brand-agnostic news aggregators. It's about time content was king, and the creators of it started getting treated that way. Or at least close to it; that whole Divine Right thing is bullshit.

pierre francois gets some great tips from a youtube commenter

It's well over a year old now, but Pierre keps getting some attention on YouTube.

From the department of unsolicited advice, a YouTube commenter named polytope13 recently laid the smack down on him:
Web 2.0 is just like the "Web 1.0" bubble except without the vast amounts of money being thrown at useless people like this here "consultant with 20 years of experience, an MBA and former used car salesman."

Here are a couple business tips to brush up with on that MBA: Don't use self-depreciating humor against your own product or services. And don't criticize Google's website when your Internet success does not come anywhere near Google's.
Oh yes, there's more. Let 'um have it, polytope13!
One more tip: If you're trying to do serious business, adhere to serious business attire. Aren't you supposed to be the "consultant" in these projects? Why then are you dressed like the freelance, LSD fueled graphics designer?
LSD-fueled graphics designer? It was the orange shirt, wasn't it?

australia drankkit

As promised, there were no dingos.

We did get a bunch of Australian redditors to show up for our free beer, though (and a number of American and Canadian ones, too). It was at a charming pub called Hero of Waterloo (Duke of Wellington perhaps? Definitely not Napoleon, heh). We didn't have a clue where to host the event, so LonelyPlanet came through with a good recommendation.

By around 10, it was time for everyone to start impersonating everyone else's accent. I think the Australians do a pretty good "American," but it's usually a bit too Southern for my taste. Apparently all of our Australian accents just suck.

Oh well. It was great to meet real live Australian redditors (and even bought drinks for the founder of Kwoff, an Aussie Pligg-powered social news site. And by the end of the night there was the obligatory group photo for all the folks who'd stuck around long enough and wanted to end up as a couple pixels on today's reddit logo. Fun times.

non-stop humiliation

"Non-stop humiliation for hackers."

Really, McAfee? Really? Your company humiliates hackers non-stop? You expect me to believe that you can thwart -- let alone pwn -- these two? I think not.

And how about that tag-line: Killer security.

Fail.

I'll still keep telling my dad if security is his concern, he's better off just buying a Mac.

g'day australia, your money is so pretty and your weather is so lovely, too

Apologies if you already read this on drankkit, but...
Steve and I are going to be in Australia for a really random reason and thought it'd be cool to host our own little drankkit down under. A few people had scoffed at this "world tour" (hey, we went to Canada) so we figured going as far as possible from home would be the only appropriate recourse.

This one is not an official Wired-sponsored event. All that means is there's not going to be anyone supervising the havoc we wreak on our credit cards. Don't let us down, Australia!
Really, the Australian bills are so pretty you feel guilty spending them. I was totally unprepared for this.

We didn't think we had that many redditors here in Sydney, but we've already got a few signups on the facebook invite. Should be a fun night. So if you know any Aussies (or are one yourself) tell them to come on down to Hero of Waterloo (81 Lower Fort St., The Rocks, Sydney) this Saturday night (Dec. 15th).

We'll be the two Americans in reddit shirts and wearing white socks. Heh.

There's an ad running on reddit, too. Just in case. I got some great feedback on the kangaroo: "The Alien looks safe, but with those eyes on the the kangaroo I'm very intimidated." Good point, cbs; I don't have much practice drawing kangaroos, I'm much better at wallabies.

lolcats and lolsquids

(Thanks, Diana!)

It should be a cuddlefish in this picture, but this will do. But that would probably ruin the joke, since no one could possibly have a problem with a cuddlefish. Squids are notorious for their flatulence and poor tipping habits. No one wants to associate with that kind of company.

From i can has cheezburger?, of course.

unholiday cards

This started out as a joke, but I went ahead and created a bunch of unholiday greeting cards. Well, it's really only one design, but there's a big stack of them waiting to be sent to your friends and family. If you're curious, these Darwin Claus greeting cards are for sale at unholidaycards.com.
You'll have to visit the link to see inside.

And since I'm so full of the (un?)holiday spirit, half the profits are going to a charity I've become quite fond of.

It's never too late to send an unholiday card ;-)