Image Showing The Top One Million Web Sites

This is a visualization of the top one million web sites in the world according to Alexa traffic data.  You can go to Icons of the Web at to search for domain names that might be included in the image.  Candlelight Stories is there!  We are ranked 517,582 in the world!  So our tiny little flame logo is buried in there just below the lower right corner of the big CNN logo on the righthand side of the image.

Check it out.  It’s fun.

Harvey Pekar Comic on Corporatism

Smith Magazine has a new Harvey Pekar comic strip about how corporatism influences everything people do and think.

Can one work honestly inside a corporate system?  Can you write a book criticizing corporations and have it published by a corporation?

Are comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert completely owned by corporations?  My own answer is yes.  That’s why they are so boring.

Khan Academy Teaches Math and Science on YouTube

Salman Khan teaches math and science via YouTube video lessons.  It’s called Khan Academy.  He teaches a wide variety of subjects including algebra, calculus, biology, physics, chemistry and statistics.  He thinks everyone should be able to get an education for free and he does not think universities are doing it properly.  The education model needs to be rethought and rebuilt.  Many people think so and that’s why Kahn Academy has so many students and is attracting venture capital money.  He’s getting more viewers than most university web sites.  Here’s a PBS NewsHour piece about him:

Here’s a lesson on adding and subtracting fractions:

Delete Your Facebook Account

See the insipid goober just to the left.  That’s Mark Zuckerberg.  He runs Facebook, the site that gathers tons of your personal and public information to form what he hopes will be an all-pervasive social network.  Being young is no excuse for this guy.  A young a-hole grows into an old a-hole very quickly.  This is what the Web’s leading a-hole said recently:

And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.

We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.

A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they’ve built, doing a privacy change – doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner’s mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.

Do you learn to talk like a corporate dick by accident or is it something they teach in business school?

In other words: Facebook thinks making your information public is the new default norm.  Private information is a thing of the past.  They’ve basically just taken away users’ ability to keep their information private.  Public is Facebook’s new ‘norm.’

So let’s show this pre-pubescent nincompoop that we like our privacy.  Delete your Facebook account.  I did.  Start a blog.  It’s much more fun than struggling through a crappy interface just to tell people about your latest haircut.

Some students at New York University have funding and are working on a new open-source social network with freely distributed code.  You know, like the Firefox browser.  Their service is called Diaspora.  That’s the best idea I’ve heard about in years.  Open source social networking… with privacy.

Here’s the WikiHow article on how to permanently delete your Facebook account.

Here’s an update: The students working on Diaspora have raised over $115,000 via online donations.  This is a great start for their development project and means they don’t have to answer to a corporate investor.

Another open-source effort at social networking is OneSocialWeb which actually has working open-source code.  Their software works sort of like the open-source blogging software, WordPress.  You can install your own version of it on a web server if you want.

Here’s an excellent Wired article on the up and coming alternatives to Facebook.

CellStories Brings Short Fiction to Your Phone

CellStories is a ridiculously simple service that brings you a little story each day.  You just open up the link to the site in your cell phone browser and the story shows up, well-formatted and easy to read.  The site was started by former magazine editor Daniel Sinker, who has used his many contacts in the publishing field to acquire a continuing stream of worthwhile and entertaining stories.

The main problem for me that this service solves is my inability to remember to keep reading long-form works on a cell phone.  I just can’t remember to keep going, no matter what the book.  It’s something to do with the small screen and my feeling that all handheld units are for very temporary work and pleasure.  When I read long works I use a book or a Kindle e-reader.  I have no problems with continuity there.  But CellStories only offers short fiction.  It’s the perfect little pocket literature gizmo.  I actually feel a tiny sense of accomplishment when I finish a short story on my Droid phone.  I feel that I have filled some time well that might otherwise have been spent checking my hair.

So if you want some grown-up short fiction, try CellStories.

Popular Science Magazine Archives Go Online For Free

Popular Science magazine has put its entire 137-year history of issues online for free.  In partnership with Google, the magazine is offering a search tool that will allow you to read anything it ever published.  Here’s an example of a publisher who actually knows what it is doing in the 21st century.  There are very few magazines staffed by people who understand which century they are playing in.  Popular Science is apparently staffed by people who can read, write and tell time.