Friday, April 21, 2006

From MySpace To Fireface To My Face

four faces
Read on to discover what Bae Yong-jun, Gandhi, John Lennon and Uma Thurman have in common. Plus, a cool article on Pokémon, a site that will recommend books based on reading habits, and more web miscellanea.

I was made aware of the narcissistic swamp known as MySpace when a number of friends and local bands got pages there. For those who don't know, MySpace is a community site full of people trying to be cool. The impression one gets of the under-twenty crowd is not very flattering. The site itself is ugly as sin.

A bunch of smart kids are striving to present an alternative image by forming the Random Shapes Network. Their mission "is to change the way adults view teens on the web." They are doing this by offering focused blog content, like the very real Raining Noodles. Normally I hate confessionals, but if anyone has a right to them it's a teenager.

Rhizomes is a cultural studies journal. That means it contains articles on just about anything. You might guess that I enjoy it, based on the Deleuze & Guattari quote at the top of my sidebar. And you'd be right. Check out the paper "Gotta Catch 'em All": Capitalism, the War Machine, and the Pokémon Trainer which puts a different spin on cuddly Japanese anime monsters.

Wondering what you should read next? Turns out there's a site that will tell you. I tested it with Steve Erickson's Days Between Stations and it spat out Vineland by Thomas Pynchon. Not bad. (Though if you haven't read Erickson you should forget all other textual activities until you remedy the situation.)

Fans of RME audio hardware may be reading this blog, since I have posted on them before. I'd like to bring to your attention the new Fireface 400, a device with two mic inputs and loads of other connections, designed to the company's usual exacting standards. This is overkill for someone who just wants to get sound in and out of a computer, but great for those who care about quality but don't need lots of channels.

And now for the question which opened this article. It turns out that what Bae Yong-jun, Gandhi, John Lennon and Uma Thurman have in common is... me! A new site applies face recognition algorithms to a photo you upload in order to determine which celebrity you most resemble. The company uses this technology to provide a service for people looking for relatives. But my guess is the celebrity hunt will prove most popular.

The demo (registration required) requires that you upload one photo at a time and seems fooled by eyeglasses. How else to explain the result on trying a second photo, when I matched Erica Durance, a Canadian actress who played Lois Lane in Smallville? That photo also got me hits with Robert Downey Jr. (I have had people say this), Eddie Murphy and Chester Bennington (vocalist for Linkin Park).

My suggestion: try a photo of your pet for hours of fun!


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