Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Blog In The Clouds

I need to jump on this bandwagon before everyone gets to it before I do. Keb had her word cloud on her site as a “too bored to blog” post, but I thought it was great. I’ve seen word clouds before, but never knew how to generate one. As a word cloud it seems fairly representative of what I think the blog is about.

The gimmick of the Snapshirt folks is to sell you a tee-shirt with your blog’s (or anybody blog’s, for that matter) word cloud on it. Tee shirts are one of the true money making opportunities of the cyberworld. They are something tangible that represent an intangible affiliation. I think selling tee shirts is what keeps most webcomics afloat. I know my son has contributed to that economic model with this shirt he (and by he, I mean with my money) bought off the web.

I belong to the “been there, seen that, bought the tee shirt” school of travel souvenirs. Shirts are practical and useful. My problem is that I already have a dresser drawer full of tee shirts that I never get around to wearing, but hate to give up. I think I have an Eagles Hell Freezes Over Tour tee shirt that I have never worn. The only problem with clothing as mementoes is that they wear out. If I still had my softball jersey tee from the Van Halen II tour, it would be worth a ton of money, but it must have become a car cleaning rag decades ago.

My most recent tee shirt purchase was a bootleg CafePress Achenblog tee shirt created by kbertucci (nee Reader) of Read/Think/Live. I swooped in and ordered one before Joel Achenbach, the ostensible writer of the blog, put the kibosh on this enterprise.

As Cindy Sheehan recently demonstrated, tee shirts are also speech. More than anything else about your appearance, a printed or logo shirt says tons about your beliefs, values, and consumer habits. I’m just not sure what a tee shirt with a blog word cloud would say about me. Actually, I think I know exactly what it says, and I don’t think I want to say it.

Several years ago, I was at a book reading/signing by Neal Stephenson for Cryptonomicon. One of the other people there was the archetypal pot-bellied, stringy-haired, presumably Linux-using, cypher-hacker. He was wearing a tee shirt with something along these lines on it:


This shirt is classified as a munition and
may not be exported from the United
States, or shown to a foreign national

encryption in perl

#!/bin/perl -s-- -export-a-crypto-system-sig


I pointed out the shirt to my wife and explained why that shows what a geek he was. She just turned to me and said, “You got the joke, what does that make you?”

I am such a dork. There I said it. Now I don’t need the blog cloud tee shirt.


trusty getto said...

Yea, that's waaaaay cool, YJ. I did my own, too.

Anonymous said...

I went to a Neal Stephenson "reading" once. He didn't read anything, instead just taking questions from the audience. The audience seemed relatively content, spending the hour asking various permutations of "You're a god, would you please predict the future for us?" Stephenson, to his credit, made it quite clear each time that he did not, in fact, have cool future-predicting super powers.

yellojkt said...

At this reading, Neal read the Captain Crunch milk delivery system chapter. A tour de force. Now if only I could ever finish reading Quicksilver.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link--that is really fun. Lik you, I have enough t-shirts, but you can generate the word cloud, save the picture and use it for anything--I'm thinking, book bag. Plus it's easy enough to create fake word clouds, and I think it would be a fun exercise. I did the Achenblog cloud and "yellojkt" is right at the bottom in large print, like it is on the foma cloud. That would also be a hit at the porching hour...!

Anonymous said...

I purchased an autographed copy of Cryptonomicon, but have never gotten an opportunity to meet him. The Cap'n Crunch (as it's properly spelled, and Shame On You) portion of the book is pure genius.

I did a cloud last night but I don't know; I didn't think it really captured my site. Except for the word "bitching" being prominent and near the top. Yeah, been doing a lot of that lately.

Mooselet said...

Hide my credit card, because this is cool. I did mine and it looks sweet.

I've got to admit, I don't get the joke. Not geeky enough, I guess. :-)

yellojkt said...

I'm glad you mentioned the RSA joke so I can explain it.

The government, in order to make the NSA's job easier, limits the strength of encryption that can be included in software that goes overseas. An open source encryption method called RSA is more powerful than the legal limits, but simple enough to be printed as a perl script on a t-shirt.

Giving such a shirt to Al-Qaeda would be a serious nation security breach equivalent to say, selling Stinger missles to Iran.

I found the the t-shirt message through Google on an Australian chat room message board. I cannot vouch for its accuracy and I deliberately truncated the script.

paula said...

That was fun~! :) I did mine, but I'm a little concerned at the random verbage that was picked.


I'm a potty-mouth.


I did get "foma" "trusty" AND "getto" and of course, "keb"


paula said...

oh! and "midvale" ;)

Your Mother said...

My god it's a trend!

HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything said...

I did this, and I'm actually so enamored with what my cloud looks like, I'm thinking of buying the shirt. Total geek, I know.

The cloud will appear over the Midvale School later this evening.

Anonymous said...

Another time wasting activity bought to you by...

This was very cool. I saved mine and will post it later. I think making postcards with your individual word cloud on would be great to send to family.

J.Po said...

Your name is in my cloud, yello.

Hey, you, get offa my cloud!

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