A celebration of the riches of the web.
Welcome to Web Monitor, a regular digest of the latest interesting stuff (excuse the techno speak) on the net. Web Monitor jumps from tab to worn-down tab as it clicks its way through the internet to glean the most interesting bits (more techno garb) and posts them here. Make sure you pass on your favourite bits of the web by commenting on the box to the right of this.
• Before confessional celebrity biographies became the phenomenon du jour (or d'hier) Bob Geldof was one of the first celebs to tell his story in a warts and all fashion. Now Geldof is back, in the Daily Mail , saying that after being a helper for the homeless in his teens, he himself became homeless:
"At one point, I was living on the streets of London. It didn't bother me because I was young and I could get a sleeping bag and a sponge mattress in the crypt at High Holborn, or I slept at Gatwick Airport for a while. But all the time, I was alert and watching people."
• Web Monitor is following Matt Seitz from The L Magazine. He is following the history of film through the "following" shot. The following shot follows the main character through a scene. Seitz says the shot has increased in popularity in the last few years thanks to the fly-on-the-wall documentary style. Are you following?
• A tale of too many cooks spoiling the broth is brewing at American Airlines. Website designer Dustin Curtis was appalled at his experience booking a flight on the airline's website so wrote the most elaborate complaint letter. On his blog, he mocked up a redesign of the company's website and asked them what they thought. Here's the cooks bit - he did get a reply from a designer who agreed with him but said he couldn't do anything about it as unlike Curtis sitting on his own working out the design, there are hundreds involved in that website so any slight change takes a long time to go through. In the meantime the broth is spoiled.
• In the New York Times Blog, cartoonist Tim Kreider sings the praises of the euphoria of survival. He survived being stabbed in the throat 14 years ago and now lives his bonus life - where he brews dandelion wine, listens to old pop songs and laughs raucously. He says the catch is that to get the full effect you have to be genuinely uncertain that you're going to survive and the best approximation would be to hire an incompetent hit man to assassinate you.
• Mark Warschauer from One Laptop Per Child News does some myth busting on what a difference a laptop will make to a child. He looks to the "Sesame Street effect" to warn against the idea that if each child had a laptop it would stop under-development. Sesame Street was started to provide quality educational programming for children who otherwise wouldn't have access to it. However, it was the rich who benefited as their parents watched and discussed the programme with them.
• Auto-tune the news is already an old favourite of Web Monitor and its big sibling Paper Monitor. But the software that makes the news into musicals, of course came from the music industry and was used to correct the pitch of singers who, well, couldn't sing. Tony Sclafani from MSNBC News in the US argues auto-tune is now ruining music as the old country singers who would knock off an album in a week have made way for model-like singers who have complicated dance moves to contend with. Although not so complicated when you have a look at this.