In the 1950s, Olds and Milner implanted electrodes into the septal area of the rat and found that the rat chose to press a lever which stimulated it. It continued to prefer this even over stopping to eat or drink. This suggests that the area is the ‘pleasure center’ of the brain.
Wow. Ed McMahon is certainly not too old or injured to swing for the fences.
The 85-year-old former “Star Search” host is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, two doctors and the owner of a home where he says he fell during a dinner party in March 2007 claiming negligence, battery, elder abuse and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is seeking unspecified damages, claiming the injury left him unable to work — until now.
What a crappy way to have to be 85. I never want to be pushing 90 and seeing court dates on my calendar.
“The term describes the manner in which our negative feelings are sometimes directed at people who resemble us, while we take pride from the ‘small differences’ that distinguish us from them.”—Narcissism of small differences
Thirty-two monkeys flew in the space program; each had only one mission. Numerous back-up monkeys also went through the programs but never flew. Monkeys from several species were used, including rhesus monkeys, cynomolgus monkeys, and squirrel monkeys, as well as pig-tailed macaques.
You really have to feel for all the “back-up monkeys” who trained but never got to go. I’ll bet they had dreams, too.
Unless it involves kissing, standing still, or consuming drinks with swords in them, the Talent of You Look Nice Today don’t normally believe in contests. We also don’t ordinarily believe in any voting that requires you to provide your birthday in order to cast your ballot. That’s exactly the kind of shit we kicked Russia’s ass for in Red Dawn.
With that said: if you chose to vote in this totally dumb contest so that You Look Nice Today might win “Hottest Mommy Blogger,” we would have no way to stop you. NONE.
And you have to imagine that you could use your latte name, latte birthday, and latte email opt-out in the registration fields. Just sayin’. Thank you.
“Brand-building is not about spam and not about exchanging links. (It’s about) having something to say and connecting with your audience. Once you are producing stuff that people love, in a voice they can understand, the rest takes care of itself.”—Me, from a wide-ranging interview in advance of my Connect keynote next week. Got to talk about a lot of stuff I care about. Nice job, Glenn.
Kathryn delivers a stunning rain of questions from real-world testing against The Ridiculous Loopt Problem. Which apparently is still alive and well, despite Loopt’s Happy Fun Posts on how efficiently they keep fixing the stuff that’s not at the heart of their dreadfully broken machine; lack of dependable, automatic, safeguards against nuisance SMS abuse. Surprised that you even have to ask for this? “Cowboy up,” say your pals at Loopt.
I just signed into Loopt.com and was presented with the Invite Friends screen. I don’t currently see:
any explanation of what typing in a friend’s mobile number will do (trigger an SMS invitation)
any message preview of the SMS invitation my friend will receive (though there’s a preview of the email invitation)
any disclaimer that standard text messaging rates will apply (and my friend will be charged)
any disclaimer that someone who opted out of Loopt will not receive the SMS
any limits to how many times/how often I can invite someone to Loopt
For example, I just logged into Loopt using another account, and from the home screen, invited my myself. Then I went to the Invite Friends page and invited myself again. Then I went back home and invited myself to Loop. Then I went to the Invite Friends page and invited myself again.
On my phone I soon received 4 invitation text messages to Loopt within the space of two minutes.
What a clusterfuck. How easy it would be to make this all go away: Shut off all SMS messaging to anyone who hasn’t previously agreed to Loopt’s service and terms, and responsibly throttle delivery for people who have. Period. Done.
But Loopt says that’s not going to happen — despite clearly contravening the best practices espoused by the organization who granted Loopt their shortcode (and who, if I understand this correctly, also holds the power to withdraw that shortcode if they uncover patterns of abuse).
Still, for whatever reason, despite excellent, good-faith feedback on fixing a problem they manufactured that’s helping build their userbase at our expense and stated annoyance, Loopt remains steadfastly confident that their overflowing eddy of crap smells like spearmint and supermodels.
Loopt are dead wrong here and — since they show no interest in fixing the most fundamentally broken piece of their sad little stalkerbot — I’m taking my work to get it fixed offline. Where people who sit around all day waiting to go after junk like this can slake their thirst for Fixing Bad Things.
As far as I’m concerned, their window for being a good actor has closed; from here on out they can start burning their own cycles to extricate whatever appendages that window has entrapped.
I’ve decided that the custom outgoing messages from JHONNY (as presented by Karl Van Hœt) should continue. And escalate. They’ll increasingly make less and less sense until they devolve into a primal collection of grunts, shifting, chewing, throat-clearing, and repetition of the word “So…”
From the site of the CSCA — the group that grants and administers the shortcodes used in SMS messaging.
From their “Best Practices” page:
It is vital to respect a wireless subscriber’s right to privacy. ALWAYS gain permission from the people you plan to engage by employing an opt-in procedure.
Gaining permission saves money. Each message sent costs money. Ensuring the customer wants to receive messages avoids any waste of your marketing budget.
Sending unsolicited messages creates a negative impression and erodes brand recognition; prompting subscribers to avoid the service and file complaints.
Avoid purchasing lists of numbers; always have customers opt-in and subscribe to receive content. For applications that require payment, create double opt-in process for subscribers that ensure willing participation.
Sounds like pretty good advice. Makes you wonder if it might be kind of a dick move to SMS people without their explicit prior permission.
I have a post underway for 43 Folders on this Loopt.com SMS invite mess. I’m letting the post season for a day or three while I do some necessary fact-checking and try to verify the details of what sounds like a very confusing piece of GUI in the Loopt iPhone app which apparently makes it trivially — even accidentally — easy to send SMS invitation spam to multiples of people whose mobile numbers live in your Address Book. At the recipient’s expense. And without prior permission. And, apparently, without user confirmation. [This is Bad.]
I’m still trying to make sure I understand precisely how this works, but if Loopt is doing anything that involves sending SMSs without the recipients’ prior opt-in — and then refuses to do anything about stopping it — this will deservedly escalate into a pop-the-popcorn, old-school, privacy shitstorm. (And, no, I will not be signing up for Loopt myself because — well — I don’t want to accidentally spam everyone I know. I’m like that.)
I’ll give you a minute for that to sink in, because if you’re a connected person, you may want to ponder the consequences of unintentionally sending creepy bullshit to colleagues and business contacts who are too busy to care what you’re “geo-tagging” at a given time. I know, because I’m one of them. Hi.
If there’s one thing that I hate more than anything, it’s sending out invites to a service. Especially one I’ve never tried and haven’t been actively using for more than 15 seconds.
Never once did I see a confirmation message that my friends would be getting an invite. The worst part about it is that my phone number was sent along with every invite as a text message to my friends. I just recently got a new phone number and I haven’t been as free with this as I have been in the past.
Very interesting comment in Justine’s post from Martin May, who is one of the founders of ostensible Loopt competitor, Brightkite. I will quote this in its entirety, because, if this is all accurate, it seems to cement my hunch that the Loopt folks have swallowed a fat, dewy booger with this one. Martin’s comment:
Disclaimer: I am one of the founders of Brightkite.
Thought I’d throw in my 2 cents. First of all, I’d like to say that loopt has done a pretty good job with their app, and you can tell that they’ve put a ton of work into it. Naturally, I think that ours will be better, but I’ll let you be the judge of that when we release it later this month
1) Through the invite feature, the loopt app sends unsolicited messages to your contacts from their shortcode. According to the MMA guidelines, that’s a big no-no.
2) As some have pointed out, the loopt shortcode (56678) does not respond appropriately to HELP and STOP commands, as required by the MMA guidelines. Those commands are essential, and to be honest I am unsure how loopt got carrier approval without implementing them.
3) I couldn’t find information on loopt’s website detailing how to opt-out, another requirement in the MMA guidelines.
From what I understand, those “guidelines” are actually more than just guidelines, they’re requirements to get carrier approval. When we applied for our shortcode, we spent a lot of time making sure that we get these things right.
All that being said, I am sure that loopt will address those problems very soon. I know first-hand that it can be tough to get things 100% right at launch, especially in this new space, so let’s cut them some slack and give them a few weeks to fix things.
I haven’t yet seen a reason to share Martin’s very civil optimism — Loopt’s responses to people’s very real concerns about this stuff have so far consisted of friendly, beige, and very politely-worded blow-offs. So, the ball’s in Loopt’s court now as far as I’m concerned. I’m standing by, ready to be persuaded that this company has not leveraged my private data to build their userbase. At my expense.
For what it’s worth, deep in the bowels of their “Privacy Notice,” Loopt says (my emphasis in the last sentence):
”INVITE-A-FRIEND INFORMATION”: If you choose to use our invite-a-friend feature, then Loopt will ask you for your friend’s mobile phone number or email address. If you provide a friend’s mobile phone number, then Loopt will automatically send to that friend a one-time text message inviting your friend to join the Loopt Service and to add you as their friend. If your friend’s phone number is on a wireless provider and/or mobile device that is not supported by Loopt, then your friend will not receive this text message until their wireless provider and/or mobile device supports the Loopt Services. If you provide a friend’s email address, then Loopt will automatically send that friend a one-time email inviting your friend to register on the Loopt website. Your friend may contact Loopt at firstname.lastname@example.org to request that Loopt remove this information from our systems.
Well, that’s nice. You can email them. I sure did.
Friends, my patience with organizations that feel you should have to email them in order to not have your private information abused has passed the breaking point. If Loopt chooses not to see this nonsense as an invasive and potentially costly breach of many peoples’ privacy, then I pity the actual Loopt users who agreed to let these people publicly announce where they are all the time. Suddenly this goes from “potentially kinda creepy” to “Holy mackerel, what the fuck were you thinking?”
Loopt needs to step up, acknowledge this confusion, unconfuse-ify it, and then fix the goddamn hole. Turn it off. Like: quick. Wait for “weeks,” Martin counsels? That would be a real shame. Unless you’re feeling enthused by the prospect of unintentionally sharing your precise location with your exes, your old boss, that weird cat sitter you fired, or the sketchy halitosis dude you met at JavaOne in fucking 1997.
Maybe today I’m simply as old as I feel, but this kind of shit is just bone-chilling to me. And whenever companies shrug and try to make it seem like it’s somehow my responsibility to clean up the shit their half-assed “viral” business model left at my door? Man, that’s just galling to me. Galling.
Listen: if Loopt has something substantial to say about all this (beyond the solicitous spin mode they’re polo-shirting around in right now), I will happily link to it from this modest space. A lot of people I respect seem to love these guys and their app, so I hope the Loopt folks will do the right thing and own up to a seriously bone-headed move. That’s on them.
As I leave for tonight, though, I will once more point you to my thread about this at Get Satisfaction, where a number of people have jumped in to express their own similar frustration with this issue. If you have relevant information to share that would help illuminate what’s going on — especially if, like me, you’ve received an SMS via Loopt from someone you don’t know — I hope you’ll consider adding your thoughts to that thread.
A spit-take is a comedic technique in which someone spits a beverage out of his or her mouth when he or she reacts to a statement during a take. In a spit-take, the reaction is usually one of surprise. Danny Thomas is sometimes credited with popularizing its use in comedy.
“Reputation, Posterity and Cool are traps. They’ll drain the life from your life. Reputation, Posterity and Cool = Fear. ”—Patton Oswalt's commencement address at his old high school in VA. Read the whole thing; it's really good.
My Grand Central number (which, like all phone numbers, used to belong to someone else) has started getting occasional collection calls for JHONNY GARCIA. I feel bad for JHONNY GARCIA; those collections people are goddamned animals.
I block each of these numbers as new ones pop up (thanks, Grand Central!), but I couldn’t resist leveraging Grand Central’s ability to create a custom outgoing message just for one given incoming phone number. Just this once.
Yes, fans of You Look Nice Today will recognize this voice as our newest addition to the program, Karl Van Hœt, but for purposes of my custom outgoing message to the Toyota Financing Center in Beaverton, OR, today he’s JHONNY GARCIA.
“But what about the hearings on North Korea in which he made repeated references to “Kim Jong the Second”? In order to prevent any repetition of this idiotic gaffe, Helms’ staff propped up a piece of card on which was clearly written the pronunciation “Kim Jong ILL.” The senator from North Carolina duly made the adjustment, referring thenceforth to the North Korean despot as “Kim Jong the Third.”—Christopher Hitchens, sharing an anecdote about the recently deceased cracker and national stain, Sen. Jesse Helms.
“So, like, let me get this straight. God got this lady pregnant and made her have a baby and then killed it so you could get away with whatever shit you wanted as long as you felt sorry?”—Overheard at the Beach (via glass)
“These women are shining a light for thousands of Midwestern teenagers who aspire to someday also move to Williamsburg and catch Chlamydia from an art fraud with an ironic mullet and big, plastic clown glasses.”—The Straightener in “Jezebelism” on MetaFilter.