May 2002


Late-night painter, Soho, Manhattan.  #

Late-night painter, Soho, Manhattan.

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Oliver, creator of The American Times, links to my photos of "Spider-Man" locations and wants to pay me for my work. That would be nice, but he needs to sell some ads first. (What happens when the link is to an article on a commercial site? Shouldn't the editors get a cut? Maybe even the publisher?)

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I last heard from Freestone Wilson of Tallahassee, Florida, last summer. He has a new weblog: One Year to Live.

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A year ago: Greek island ferries.


Park Slope, Brooklyn. .  #

Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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A great Wall Street Journal story about a reporter who hasn't reported anything in years. Via Romenesko.

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More robots... Project proposal: Airman, from "Airman consists of a set of about 20 independently controlled flying robots."


Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. On  #

Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
On Saturday I went over to Pratt to check out Artbots, a robot talent show. Then I wrote an article about it for the Circuits section of Thursday's NYT: Robots Find a Muse Other Than Mayhem.

At the show I met Ranjit of the venerable, who was there to show off his Sketching Device #1.

Pictured above are a sumi-ebot doing some Japanese brush painting and Symet Studio, a gang of solar-powered hopping/drawing machines.


A handy guide to some  #

A handy guide to some of the less famous "Spider-Man" locations around the city, with photos from the archives.

The "Daily Bugle" building is actually the Flatiron Building, which gives its name to Manhattan's Flatiron District, once known as Silicon Alley. The building gets a credit at the end of the movie because its owners are trying to force people to license the right to use its image. So sue me.

A battle scene involves the Queensboro Bridge (also known as the 59th Street Bridge) and the tram to Roosevelt Island, which is a great ride. (The bright spot is the sun hitting the Citibank Building in Queens.)

The battle continues in what's left of the abandoned hospital on Roosevelt Island, a legendary modern ruin.

Earlier on, Spider-Man catches up with a bad guy in the decrepit Battery Maritime Building, an old ferry terminal. The building is at the southern tip of Manhattan, quite far from the New York Public Library in Midtown where Spidey begins his pursuit, and there are some areas of low-rise buildings in between, which would force him to take a cab. But hey, it's just a movie.


Upper West Side, Manhattan.  #

Upper West Side, Manhattan.
The taxi driver wanted all the camera specs.

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Artbots: The Robot Talent Show, tomorrow at Pratt in Brooklyn. Via Caterina.


Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  #

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Here's the panoramic version.

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I wrote a little thing for the NYT's Circuits section on a new credit-card-sized Casio camera. The company says it's the smallest and lightest digital camera with a screen. The whole Circuits section is about digital photography this week.

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A journalist writes about watching her story spread online. This is why writing for publications that don't put stories on the Web is so boring. Via Media Unspun.


Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  #

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Wilmington, N.C.

Vigilance at Wilmington International (sic) Airport. (Note: "This web site is best viewed by Netscape Navigator 2.0 or higher, since these pages take advantage of it's new features.")

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A year ago: Greece.


Somewhere outside Wilmington, North  #

Somewhere outside Wilmington, North Carolina.

Bonus movie: Doomed crabs (1.3MB AVI).


Hampstead, North Carolina. .  #

Hampstead, North Carolina.

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Osam, an Iraqi refugee in Lebanon, has been spamming Yahoo groups to call attention to his plight. He says his monthly budget consists of $30 for food and $20 for Internet access. He is quite up front about his plan to swim to Europe.


Hampstead, North Carolina. Not  #

Hampstead, North Carolina.
Not my photos. (504K, QuickTime required.)

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Movies have the 555 exchange. The Web has (mindlessly hyperlinked here). Not as fun.


Hampstead, North Carolina. Sometimes  #

Hampstead, North Carolina.
Sometimes it's good to think about different kinds of problems... how to catch blue crabs with some fish heads on a string.

It actually works. The crabs usually refuse to let go of their meal until you net them.

Crabs are dumb.

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A look at how "a little advertising grease can generally loosen editorial favoritism," from a 1998 book on Web marketing. How much more of this happens now? Found somewhere in Google.


Central Park, Manhattan. .  #

Central Park, Manhattan.

. . . Buy a crab.


Ex-signs, Lower East Side,  #

Ex-signs, Lower East Side, Manhattan.

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I came across an old article from New York magazine on dead Brooklyn factory signs. Needs photos.


Lower East Side, Manhattan.  #

Lower East Side, Manhattan.

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A guy from the press office of the Church of Scientology called yesterday to ask if a link to the church's Web site could be included in my story from last month on Scientology and Google. I pointed out that there already was such a link next to the story.

Later on I got curious about the request, so I called back and asked what prompted it. The person said it was "just to popularize the sites." I asked if this had anything to do with the Google ranking of, which recently slipped from #1 to #2 in a search for "Scientology." (Links from big sites might push it back up.) He hurriedly tried to transfer me elsewhere, then offered to have someone call me back. I said this wasn't necessary, but I noted that the registration barrier keeps Google from indexing NYT articles, so the link wasn't going to help anyway.

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A followup to the little story I wrote about the Dallas Morning News' objections to "deep linking": The deep-linking site in question is getting some free legal help and has responded to the paper's complaint.


Lower East Side, Manhattan.  #

Lower East Side, Manhattan.
The sanctuary of the Eldridge Street Synagogue, built in 1887, was boarded up in the 1950s as the neighborhood changed. When it was opened again it was full of pigeons. Now it's getting fixed up, slowly. The street outside is thoroughly Chinese.

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A year ago: Istanbul.


Lower East Side/Chinatown, Manhattan.  #

Lower East Side/Chinatown, Manhattan.

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Mona Lisa Visitors 2001, 26 photos by Witold Riedel.


Chinese shop, Lower East  #

Chinese shop, Lower East Side, Manhattan.

Darlie brand toothpaste, which is quite popular in Asia, used to be called Darkie before it was bought by Colgate-Palmolive. It also had more overtly racist packaging. Here's a good history.

The Cantonese name ("Haak Yahn Nga Gou") still stayed the same, and the Chinese-language ads reassured users that, despite a cosmetic change to placate those inscrutable Westerners, "Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste."
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I wrote a brief item for the business section of today's NYT: Paper Complains to Web Site About the Way It Links. A lawyer for the parent company of The Dallas Morning News recently asked the owner of a little site called to stop "deep linking" to the paper's articles.

The story mentions that the site of the Providence Journal, which is owned by the same company as the Dallas paper, has a weblog, which of course deep-links to articles on other sites. Patrick of first pointed this out. (Update: Dave Winer points to a second ProJo weblog: Subterranean Homepage News.)

More coverage from Wired.


Subways. Decades of paint. .  #


Decades of paint.

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Some more DMCA messiness, this time over fonts.

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Dean of is so fed up with Verisign's screwups that he's starting a Google-bombing campaign. The company has, uh, misplaced several domain names, turning them over to people who are not their rightful owners.

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Image search: Screams. Via newthings.


Times Square, Manhattan. The  #

Times Square, Manhattan.
The Edison Cafe looks like a cross between a generic diner and a Venetian palace.

That's because it's in an old hotel ballroom.

It's a theater hangout. Neil Simon wrote a bad play about it last year.

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I wrote a quickie story for today's Times: AOL Replaces Overture With Google. It's interesting to note that Google has come to rule search without running any ads for its service. So when will Yahoo take down the giant ugly sign on Houston Street? It's getting old.

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Sign photos by Chris Richey. Via 990000.

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