March 31st, 2006

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Matchmaking is more profitable than porn . . .

I've fluctuated back and forth on my Friday updates and their format - sometimes I'll do one big update, behind a cut, and other times I'll do lots of short ones. I think from now on out I'm going to do lots of short ones. They're easier to read, easier to link to, etc etc

Anyway, first up for today - The NY Times had this article talking about how big a business online matchmaking is. What's amazing to me is the quote: "No other industry makes as much money online from monthly fees, not even pornography, according to Jupiter Research."

On a related note, the Financial Times has an interesting look at the impact of online porn. From that article, there's the estimate that the online porn business is worth $2.5 billion a year. Compared to the $500 million a year that's cited in the NY Time's article for online personals, one has to wonder about the discrepancy. Granted, the quote from the Time's article was referring to monthly fees, but where's the other $2 billion coming from for the online porn industry?

The article on Financial Times is long, but it raises lots of good questions. Does the easy access to porn change things? What does it say that 70% of men 18-34 visit porn sites monthly? I wonder what the stats are for women - the article seems to imply that only men are looking at online porn in large numbers . . .
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How is this newsworthy?

Okay, so a 20 year old college student spends 41 hours at a Walmart store . . . how is this news?

Nothing of note happened, except he got tired. Big deal. If he had completed his original goal of spending a week there, or if Walmart had some kind of reaction, or he has some interesting tales, sure . . . but the extent of his story is that he got tired and left. I'm amazed at how much attention he's gotten: "He also talked with a book agent, has been contacted by New Line Cinema about a movie concept and did a radio interview with National Public Radio."

And now he's been mentioned on my little corner of the web . . . here's to fifteen minutes of fame . . .
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Speed Dating

I really like the concept of speed dating. The New York Times has a multimedia piece on it, as well as an associated blurb. Nothing of real substance in either, just a peek into one bit of modern culture . . .

I think meeting people is always a challenge, and while I'm not particularly interested in finding a significant other, I just like the idea of meeting people. One might argue that the high pressure to make a good impression in the few minutes you have is artificial, but is the real world any different? I know I meet a significant number of people at the bar, and I rarely talk to them for past five minutes. Maybe it's because I'm aloof, distant, out with a group of friends, etc etc, but people have to really wow me for me to converse with them for more than a few minutes.

The social butterfly in me probably has something to do with this. I think I have social ADD, where I grow bored, and tend to wander off. I'm horrible at bars, usually hopping back and forth between groups of friends and multiple conversations . . .

Oh, Least I Could Do had a good little run on speed dating recently as well . . .

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
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Code Like a Girl

So, Tony linked to this article titled "Code Like a Girl."

I find it interesting that while from how they describe things, I probably write "girl code" but in my mind, so do most engineer types - it's more pragmatic to write code that "looks right." It makes it easier to read, easier for others to read, and you spend less time trying to figure things out when you revisit the code months, or even years, later.

So, the crux of the article: "Things that aren't just functional, but easy to read, elegantly maintainable, easier--and more joyful--to use, and sometimes flat-out sexy." (Note this can be extended beyond code.) While I think there's definite beauty to physical objects where form follows function, I'm not sure if I agree that it applies to code . . .

I think a good example of my writing "girl code" was yesterday when I finally caved and rewrote the underlying code to one of our webpages. I ended up moving things to functions, removing all the superfluous tables, etc etc. Though, by adding some line breaks, I apparently screwed up the DOM, and the JavaScript that used childnodes() got broken, so I had to rewrite that as well. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about DOM, so the code is hacked - it works, but I really do need to sit down sometime and figure out how DOM works, and how nodal hierarchy is determined . . .
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