Laurie Anderson summoning the ghost of Lou Reed at Grace Cathedral

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jwz mixtape 200

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 2ØØ.

Two hundred!

By the numbers: that's 1,625 audio tracks on the first 75 mixtapes, and then 2,732 videos on the next 125 mixtapes, for a total running time of just over 12 days. That averages out to pretty close to my goal of 90 minutes each, at an average of one every six weeks.

I wanted to do something to commemorate the bicentennial (bicentapial?) so here's a double-length mixtape (a pair of C90s) comprising The Greatest Music Videos Of All Time.

Ok, it's not really that, because there are two fundamental problems with that concept:

"They all bought BOY shirts and BOY knives running around like wolf packs burning, looting, killing, it spread everywhere all that summer in Marrakech, the city would light up at night, human torches flickering on walls, trees, fountains, all very romantic, you could map the dangerous areas sitting on your balcony under the stars sipping a scotch. I looked across the square and watched a tourist burning in blue fire. They had gasoline that burned in all colors by then... Just look at them out there all those little figures dissolving in light. Rather like fairy land isn't it, except for the smell of gasoline and burning flesh." -- Wm. S. Burroughs, ibid.

  • First: How is a mixtape of The Greatest Music Videos Of All Time not merely Duran Duran's "The Wild Boys" playing on infinite repeat?

    Because really, that's it, you can stop there, that's the one.

    There's a rule about recording a cover song: "Never remind the audience that they could be listening to a better band than yours." So let's say you sit down to make a music video. How do you even do that, knowing that The Wild Boys exists, out there, in the world? How do you top that?

  • But Second: I am paralysed by choice. My first draft of this mixtape was seven hours long, and it still felt woefully incomplete.

    Though I will eagerly argue that Russell Mulcahy both invented the music video and closed the book on the genre, if you were to make that claim, I'd be quick to tell you how wrong you were and point out that we are absolutely living in the golden age of the music video right now. The accessibility of the tools of production and distribution was supposed to transform the music industry into this cornucopia of new voices, and it so, so did not -- the corporations locked that shit down tight. But for music videos... it kinda did... These days a band with $10k can put together a video that is every bit as high quality and insane as something that in the 80s or 90s would have taken $10M and a crew of 80, and that's not just some tech-cheerleader cliché, small bands are actually doing that and it's amazing.

So here are some music videos. Are they great? Absolutely, and I'll fight anyone who says different. Greatest Of All Time? Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I love these videos for all kinds of reasons, but I tried to avoid falling into the trap of including a B- video because it's an A+ song. (As it happens, I also think these are all great songs, so perhaps I wasn't as objective on that as I could have been).

I didn't put these tracks in order of any kind of rank, because I thought that making a listenable mix was a better way to go.

Enjoy your next three hours:

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Current Music: as noted

Never post photos of your keys

A hacker might do something untoward with them.


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Me too, damp advertising remnant. Me too.

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Payphone News, 1994

Rotary Pay Phones Return, This Time to Foil Drug Deals

It is the boldest tactic in a campaign that began with improving lighting, moving phones away from problem areas, then disabling phones so they cannot receive incoming calls. About a quarter of Nynex's 8,400 street phones do not take incoming calls. Now the company is taking rotary pay phones, which are no longer made in the United States, out of storage.

"The rotary dial is a step backward technologically, but it prevents a drug dealer from paging a customer or runner," said Steven Marcus, a Nynex spokesman, who said the change was made as "an absolute last resort," since the phones cannot take advantage of many new services, like voice mail, that rely on push-button phones.

Phone company officials acknowledge that the rotary-phone tactic is not foolproof: callers can use a device called a tone dialer, which is sold for about $15 at electronics stores, to send tone signals over a phone with a rotary dial. But they say the devices do not appear to have caught on. [...]

"Sleazeballs congregated there, and they're not the kind of people you want hanging out on your corner," said Jay Devlin, an actor and a writer who, as president of the 45th Street Block Association, led the fight to persuade Nynex to bring rotary phones back to his corner in the Times Square district several months ago.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Make it up in volume!

The internet age has allowed the perfection of this particular fraud:

  1. I start a company to sell e-widgets over the internet.
  2. I produce e-widgets and sell them for $10.
  3. I pay my buddy $10 million to buy a million e-widgets from me.
  4. My buddy pays me $10 million for a million e-widgets. We do it again next month, but for $20 million and 2 million e-widgets.
  5. I go to investors and say "look I have gone from nothing to $20 million of revenue per month; at 8 times annual revenue that justifies a valuation of $2 billion."
  6. I sell 5 percent of the company to investors for $100 million and spend it on yachts.
  7. E-widget sales dry up (once I stop paying my buddy to buy them), the company shuts down, the investors lose all their money, and we all shrug and say "what can you do, most startups fail." [...]

In fact, markets are now kind of used to the idea of investing large sums of money into companies based on multiples of active users -- not even revenue -- meaning that you can run this fraud by paying your buddy money just to look at your website a lot. [...]

Perhaps it is wrong, and the venture capitalists are confused, seduced by a few examples of success but underestimating the difficulties. Or perhaps it is a charitable redistribution of wealth in which rich venture capitalists effectively donate their money to the middle class in the form of underpriced Uber rides or free movie tickets.

But perhaps the analysis is even simpler: Pay someone a dollar in customer-acquisition costs, have him pay you back a dollar in revenue, sell that dollar of revenue to investors for $8, and you're rich.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Postmatic Social Commenting

Are any of you successfully using the Postmatic Social Commenting WordPress plugin? It's the thing down at the bottom that lets you log in for comments with FB, Twitter, etc.

It hasn't been working, so I posted to the bug forum, and then noticed that I had posted the same thing there 11 months ago. Oops. So I'm guessing the developers are MIA.

Is there something else that does the same thing that works?

Obviously I don't do "real" authentication on comments here (you can type whatever name and email you want) but I liked this plugin because it made "don't lie" be just one click.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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I feel like Uber's new billboard campaign is a bit on the nose

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Payphone interlocks

This is perhaps the most obscure, specialized question I have ever asked.

Dear people who own or have opened payphones:

As you know, you put the Real Key in the right, then you put the Giant Skate Key in the left to pull down the interlock teeth. And you can't re-latch the interlock teeth unless the front of the case is properly seated.

Well a friend and I spent literally an hour failing to seat the case. We can't get the fucker to latch. The bottom left is poking out by less than .5mm. Maybe something is bent but I can't tell what.

Is there a trick I'm missing?

Because my plan B at this point is to find someone with a welding torch to cut the interlock teeth off and "secure" the thing with a single screw.

Please save me from committing this atrocious act of mutilation.


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Amazon SES Postfix relay


I am attempting to use Amazon SES as my first-hop relayhost out of Postfix, since many sites are preemptively blocking connection from my EC2-hosted mail server. I have done the DNS dance, verified my domains and DKIM, and when my instance sends mail with any address ending in in the From: line, it is accepted by the SES relayhost and delivered. That's fine.

But none of my employees can receive mail, because this happens:

"From:; To:" arrives at my mail server. The aliases file leads me to forward that message along to employee's real address, So then SES says:

"554 Message rejected: Email address is not verified. The following identities failed the check in region US-WEST-2:"

How I fix.

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