Wednesday, February 21, 2007

about italy...

Just so it's out there, yes, I know that there are no leaning towers in Venice and there are no gondolas in Pisa. Frankly, Pisa just doesn't have much going for it other than the tower. And imagine how tough it'd be to draw all those pigeons for Piazza San Marco.

I have an artistic license that allows for this sort of inaccuracy. Really, it says so right on it.

I just happened to luck out with yesterday, since both Neuschwanstein and Lederhosen are in Bavaria (although in all my trips I've never once actually seen someone wearing them).
The last thing I want to do is set a precedent for being that thoughtful with my logo doodles.

Monday, February 19, 2007

old school gaming

This series was largely inspired by a movie I caught at Sundance called Chasing Ghosts. It was also during this weekend that I played the original Donkey Kong arcade game for this first time in ages. By the time I was hitting the arcades, DK was pretty antiquated, but I'd dropped a few quarters in it before. Sure, I'd dodged enough barrels to rescue the ever-in-distress damsel, Pauline (yep, I'd always that she was Princess Peach, too). Our heroic plummer has quite a history.

But back to the movie, which was quite good (and I imagine pretty enjoyable even for non-gamers). Lincoln Ruchti, the director, does a fantastic job retracing the lives of the 1982 Video Game World Champions from a group photograph they had in Life Magazine. Through interviews with a number of them, he brings us into the present -- men who have for the most part put down their joysticks, but still relish remembering the glory days. They really were ahead of their time, gaming long before the likes of Thresh and Fatal1ty came along and made lucrative careers with their l33t skillz. The movie runs just a bit too long, but it'd be a fantastic purchase (or download) for that special gamer in your life. Oh yes, it's a mighty geeky film, but it knows it. You'll be loling, you'll see.

Ok, enough of the plugging, I'm not even getting compensated for it.
On with the headers:

Pac-Man: Even my dad knows this one.

Donkey Kong: I get the "Kong" part, but "Donkey"? Does this make sense to anyone?

Joust: They're rocs? Still looks like an ostrich to me. Steve's a big fan of this game, but he also likes Halo CTF.

Q*bert: What's more romantic than getting flowers, chocolates, and dinner for your significant other? Making a reddit logo with his/her favorite video game. +20 points to me. w00t.

Space Invaders: You knew this one was coming. How else do you think our mascot got here?

Frogger: Well, it turns out that I actually hated this game, but I finally got my revenge on all those cars when GTA3 came out.

Kid Icarus: Not an arcade game, I know, but I'd totally forgotten it was Valentine's day here in the States. I usually remember it because it's the day right after Dick Cheney shoots an old man in the face.

Asteroids: Yes, that typo was intentional. After all the chatter about the Google header from the day before, I thought we could use one fewer "d". Guess everyone just assumed we couldn't spell to begin with (hence, "reddit"). For the record, it's not like "Google" is spelled correctly anyway.

PONG: Thank you for starting it all (and for finishing this entry).

*And a tip of the hat to Adam (yes, that Adam) for suggesting the Pong logo.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

reddit logo confusion

Some of you may have noticed yesterday's reddit logo in celebration of classic video games and Greek mythology. Remember kids, be careful with those wax wings.

When looking at it, some of you may have confused Kid Icarus for someone else. This is absolutely incorrect. We apologize to any of you who thought we might have started getting sentimental -- Dick Cheney just didn't happen to shoot an old man in the face this year.

Our logo from last Feb. 14th, just days after that fateful hunting trip.

(As far as we know, old men were not being hunted that day, his face just happened to get in the way)

Oh, and if you're wondering about today's logo...

... you're right, it's the arcade classic, Asteroids.

Monday, February 12, 2007

beware the alien, influencer of news!

Sorry, I had some free time on a long flight today and I just couldn't help myself.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

reddit rockstars

Reddit was mentioned in a recent WSJ piece that featured profiles on a number of "The Wizards of Buzz," top submitters on a variety of social news sites. Although the folks at Time had big plans for trumpeting the people really driving this Internet movement (hint: it's not the alien-artists or the CEOs in the photo-ops) they didn't include any interviews with the actual user themselves. To their credit and with our full encouragement, both of the WSJ reporters on this story were very interested in profiling a sample of the users on these sites. On that note, a big congrats to anonymgrl, fedquip, and idyll. Sadly, I think my irony-meter broke after seeing your profiles in the WSJ.

For our part, the interview was pretty routine, but past lessons learned kept coming back. You always want to bring up those fundamental differences: "Well, reddit is a bit different, the "hot" page has links that are constantly rising and falling, so it's not as simple as just getting enough votes for a link to automatically appear at the top of the front page." While also answering questions: "Remove the stats page? We don't have any plans to. In fact, we added some extra daily awards a little while back and we're hoping to improve that whole page in the near future." And of course, explaining the site's origin: "Did we have a vision for the site? Not really. We just started, we didn't know what it would look like, we were just aiming to build a site where people could find all the newest and most interesting content online -- we didn't even have the up/down arrows when we started."

Funny, they never ask about the alien. Oh well. I'm still waiting for the inevitable "didn't you guys just steal that change-the-logo-idea from Google?"

But one you've hung up the phone, you're replaying everything you said and trying your best to be sure you remembered everything you wanted to say and avoided saying anything you didn't.

Then the article prints, you hold your breath and skim through...

On Reddit, one of the most influential users is 12-year-old Adam Fuhrer. At his desktop computer in his parents' home in the quiet northern Toronto suburb of Thornhill, Mr. Fuhrer monitors more than 100 Web sites looking for news on criminal justice, software releases -- and the Toronto Maple Leafs, his favorite hockey team. When Microsoft launched its Vista operating system this year, he submitted stories that discussed its security flaws and price tag, which attracted approving votes from more than 500 users.

Besides an electric guitar and an iPod, "my favorite thing in the whole world is my computer," says Mr. Fuhrer, who has lately also been studying for his bar mitzvah in June. In spite of a content filter his parents use to block him from viewing certain sites (including YouTube), he has managed to consistently make it onto the list of Reddit's highest performers.

Well, "influential" is probably not the right word, since all of his submissions have just as equal of a chance as all the others being voted on by the crowds (the wise ones, right?), but it sure does make the weekend WSJ reader take a slightly larger gulp of coffee. A 12-year-old is one of the most influential users on reddit? Even Michael Arrington got caught up in the ecstasy of "twelve year olds are now helping to define what news is".

Considering how impressive the quality and diversity of reddit's content [usually] is, maybe it's a 12-year-old wunderkind? Either way, it's the community that is ultimately responsible for promoting the best content. Or maybe reddit really is a community of 12-year-olds... or for all we know, dogs... or 12-year-old dogs...

Regardless, with this model, the readers are defining what news is -- precocious 12-year-olds are just helping to find it, along with everyone else.

Congrats to you, too, Adam. I had to laugh a bit when I saw the artist's rendering of what I can only suppose is "you" influencing the three enthralled faces pressed against their single monitor. I doubt you look anything close to that maniacal.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

peyton finally does it -- wins a super bowl, alien celebrates

The Indianapolis Colts were crowned world champions on Sunday (funny, given that no other countries are represented in the National Football League). It seems that in the future, American football has still remained popular -- that or the alien is just trying to fit in here in the States (there have recently been some immigration issues).

This was an important day for me, because the Colts finally validated my assertion (since week 1) that the Bears were overrated. Granted, they made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but that says more about how weak the NFC is. And come to think of it, it wasn't really the Colts that beat the Bears so much as it was Rex Grossman (QB) who beat the Bears. Once again, the Onion has appeared stunningly prescient.

OK, enough sports, let's get on with real life. What's important at this moment according to reddit?

Oh, another "Vote this up if..." poll. Damn, where's pollground when you need it? But don't worry, folks, tags are coming. Really, they're being worked on at this very moment.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

adium duck, meet reddit alien

A big congrats to the Adium team on the release of 1.0!

Steve turned me onto Adium shortly after he convinced me to finally get a Mac, the 12" powerbook I still use to this day (I'm writing this very blog entry on it). Sure, the tabbed chat windows, sleek interface, and multiple IM client integration were appealing, but I was hooked once I learned that I could create/download custom dock icons.

Enter the reddit alien dock icon.

(That's what it looks like when you're messaged -- a highly excitable creature, I must say)

I'm proud to say that it's actually one of the top rated dock icons. Sure, I'd love it if you download it and vote it up, but feel free to just vote it down if you'd prefer to just put it back in its place.

Granted, you'll need OS X for it, but Adium alone just might be worth upgrading (or finally vanquishing that old Windows box, if that's the case). Anyway, we at reddit just wanted to publicly thank the Adium team for all the work they've put in over the years keeping their software great.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

mooninite on reddit? somebody set up us the bomb!

*Disclaimer: Before you go and phone your local homeland security office, this sinister image was all part of reddit's regularly scheduled logo doodles. Please do not be alarmed, the Mooninites have been treating us well.

You’ve likely already read all about the terror scare in Boston surrounding some Lite-brite Mooninites they strung up around the city. A couple weeks go by and a few folks get spooked by these "sinister" signs. The two suspects were arrested for the bomb scare that resulted from officials taking this advertising campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force a bit too seriously. Although, getting to hear local news anchors try to describe the show and its characters ("a talking milkshake, fries, and meatball") almost made it all worthwhile.

Under the advice of their lawyer, the accused did not discuss the case at their press conference, choosing instead to discuss hair.

+13 points to those two for illustrating how absurd this whole story quickly became.

Friday, February 02, 2007

reddit redrawn

When we left our hero over the weekend, it'd been "puckered" into oblivion.

But eventually, even penguin got lonely, so something had to be done. Enter "pencil" tool.
It just wasn't the same, though. Sadness ensued.
The cursor had a moment of benevolence, no doubt touched by the sentimental gesture of penguin, who didn't even have opposable thumbs.
Wielding the mighty "magic wand" tool, it was time to bring this doodle to life.
And voila! It's alive!

**Yes, I know, this isn't exactly what the "magic wand" actually does in Illustrator/Photoshop. Throw me a bone here.