December 29, 2006

EventNett, a community-maintained events calendar

I created a new web site called EventNett. It's in beta and open to anyone. Try it out.

EventNett

EventNett is an events calendar modeled after the openness of Wikipedia. Anyone can add new events or edit existing events without having to log in or provide any personal information. There are no advertisements so you don't have to click through multiple pages or scroll past banner ads in order to view event information. More importantly, there is no central control. A single company or individual doesn't decide what gets listed or what gets prominent placement. Shows at your community theater or drink specials at your neighborhood's corner bar are as important as stadium concerts or wine tastings--all based on what you want to see.

The intention behind EventNett is to allow you to quickly find what you're interested in or to add what you think others might like. EventNett brings events to you with as little intervention as possible.

The big idea came around a year ago when Lisa & I were at a restaurant that had an advertisement behind their bar for 1/2-priced bottles of wine on Tuesdays. It made me consider the countless other events like it that may only have a few local flyers and no internet presence. Creative Loafing and Access Atlanta have advertising models that just don't accommodate such notices, so I thought that an open-community site might be useful.

Details on how to use EventNett are on the About page. The important point to remember is that you can edit anything. Don't be afraid to add information to existing events or locations, or to delete an event you think has been cancelled. Bad edits can be rolled-back to a correct version, and deleted events can be restored.

Currently, EventNett contains items that I've added and that the EventNett web robot, Yoink, has "liberated" from the AOL Atlanta events calendar (minus any copywrited content). Feel free to contribute, request features, and report issues. This is a beta, after all, so expect some oddities and down-time as the kinks get worked out. If, to consider the unthinkable, you feel EventNett is useless and rather silly, try one of the similar sites instead like Upcoming.org or Eventful.com. They're more polished, but somewhat less open.

Hopefully, EventNett will help you find at least one 1/2-priced wine special to make it useful to you.

Notable features

These are what I feel are the most useful features of EventNett:

  • Everyone has control over all content
  • Keep track of new and updated events - You can view what's been added in the last week under the Recently Edited tab.
  • Each venue has a link to a map of its location (using Google Maps, of course)
  • Each venue has a link to directions to it - You can store a "from" address when you create an account or add a temporary address when you're browsing anonymously.
  • Permalinks to events, locations, and custom searches - I.e. you could create a search for "jazz" in "Atlanta, GA" and bookmark the link.
  • Searches with keywords will automatically include synonyms - I.e. "theater" will find events tagged "theatre" or "drama". Keywords and synonyms are editable by everyone.
  • Search within categories - EventNett creates 10 high-level categories from the most popular keywords. These mimic the fixed categories present in some other events calendars, but they are generated dynamically from user contributions.

Upcoming features

These are features that are being developed:

  • Private events - accessible only to you or your friends
  • Event groups - I.e. group together dinner, a movie, then drinks, or maybe several bars for a Saturday pub crawl
  • Live maps within EventNett instead of a link to Google Maps
  • Show multiple locations listed in a single map - useful with event groups
  • Email notification of upcoming events
  • Access from PDAs and phones - So it's easy to find a local event when you're already out
  • Import and export iCalendar files - For use in Thunderbird, Outlook, etc.
  • RSS feeds for events - Based on a location or a custom search
  • Any suggestions?
posted by sstrader at 1:02 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

To Kill a Mockingbird; Harper Lee

Picked this up in the airport on the way to NYC and am now just finishing it. It's as great as you would expect.

Continue reading "To Kill a Mockingbird; Harper Lee"
posted by sstrader at 1:50 AM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

December 28, 2006

Culture wars

Terri Gross's interviews with both James Brown and the collaborator for his auto-biography, Bruce Tucker, were re-broadcast for obvious reasons the other day. It was interesting to listen to Brown's mumblicious rememberances, but there were a few, pointed mis-assessments on music that they both made.

First, Tucker pointed out that Western music theory downgrades things that aren't important in European classical music such as rhythm, and so there's no means of adequately notating it or appreciating it and so we're trained not to hear it. (Listen here beginning at 5:29.) This is very, very wrong. Its great wrongness is the wrong facts that it contains: James Brown's use of rhythm is well explained and appreciated in classical theory, complex rhythms (much more complex that what he is doing) can be and have been notated by classical composers. The examples are so oft-stated and boring in their re-statement that I shouldn't even have to (Beethoven, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Ginastera, to list my favorites). Its minor wrongness is the reverse snobbery that is so pervasive in pop culture studies. The fallacy goes back to the noble savage hoo-ha and should have been eradicated as extremism by good theorists long ago. His one rightness in this statement is that there are weaknesses in Western musical notation, most notably in the rhythms of Indian ragas or the pitches in microtonal and Pythagorean scales. He is, however, not discussing these subjects.

A more forgiving mis-statement came from James Brown. When asked why he got resistence from his band when presenting them with more rhythmic arrangements, he replied that it was because it was in their heads that Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Strauss, Bach, Chopin was correct and [the musicians in the band would] tell me that I was wrong. (Listen here beginning at 10:50.) Bruce Tucker teaches about music and should not have such a flawed understanding of history. James Brown, or any musician, can think what they like as long as the music is good. It's unfortunate that both have to perpetuate the idea that good pop music has somehow turned Western theory on its head. Why can't it just be good music?

posted by sstrader at 3:17 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

December 23, 2006

Happy!

Happy .MAS!

[ via Studio 360 ]

posted by sstrader at 7:00 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (0)

December 21, 2006

Text (beware, a rant)

The more dealings I have with the religious, the less tolerant I become. My abstract desire for objective equality falls away when confronted with their gross flaws. That's the way it is with any prejudice, isn't it?

GrrlScientist's Carnival of the Liberals 28: Christmas Edition includes an examination of one aspect of my prejudice with a link to Meaning in the Constitution and the Bible from World Wide Webers. The post examines the author's recent reflections on text and intentionality. I realize--as I've probably come to realize many times before--that some of the greatest conflicts of modern man stem from the contention of literalism and (vaguely) relativism. In essence: anyone who's used the phrase "activist judges" is guilty of subjective literalism by considering their reading of a text the reading of a text.

The relevant and punchy quote from WWWs' post is here:

Hence such gross inconsistencies as Bush v. Gore. Or, on the religious side, the fact that virtually every fundamentalist Christian ignores dozens of rules laid out in Biblical books like Deuteronomy and Numbers while exalting others to the status of shibboleths. For example, Leviticus 19:19 says:

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

About a page later, Leviticus 20:13 says:

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Right-wing Christians are forever quoting the latter text, since it's one of the very few Bible verses that share their obsession with homosexuality. But they never quote the former text, because they have nothing personally against linen/woolen blended fabrics.

It's as if a whole generation had never heard of New Criticism.

And thus my intolerance. It's not such a bad intolerance, but I just wish that people wouldn't live up to it. For every ignorant and dogmatic theist I have dealings with, I'm really put at odds with my desire not to be so prejudiced. Something I've (probably) heard from Dawkins recently (and paraphrased): how can you trust someone who puts an arbitrary limit on where logic can be applied? No one denies gravity, yet 50+% of Americans want to deny the equally-well-supported evolution. How can one not be prejudiced in the face of such arrogant subjectivity that clothes itself in faux-pious objectivity?

posted by sstrader at 7:49 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Where was I?

Enoteca Carbonari (the best new Italian restaurant in Midtown) last night and had a perfect meal. A rare thing indeed. Get the mushroom and teleggio crostini appetizer and pair it with the Salsiccia (homemade sausage of the day). Last night's was buffalo with andouille. Complemented nicely with a tempranillo.

posted by sstrader at 1:04 PM in Where was I? | permalink | comments (0)

December 20, 2006

Off

Off for the rest of the year. Rock. And. Roll.

First NYC this weekend, then X-mas with the 'rents, then kicking it for a week waiting for plans to form for New Year's. January is going to suck, but I'll just have to revel in what I gots now.

posted by sstrader at 7:14 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (0)

December 18, 2006

(introverts)

A nice overview of introverts unfortunately titled "Marketing to Introverts." My impulse is against declaring as a group those people who hate to be in groups, but many of the points were accurate enough. I'm also cautious about any generalization that elicits a hey-that's-me! response; that's usually a sign of merely being told what you want to hear. Worth a browse at least.

posted by sstrader at 11:06 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Nutcracker

Went to see the younger niece in her school's production of The Nutcracker. The music was canned, like that in The Fox's production, but tickets were more reasonably priced.

Afterwards, I learned of both nieces' elf dolls and how they come to life at night to eat crackers and drink sugar-water (their favorite drink). Every morning the neices have been waking up to find their elves in wacky places (hanging from the ceiling fan, etc.) with crumbs and empty glasses of sugar-water scattered about. They were wide-eyed about what might happen next. Hilarious.

posted by sstrader at 8:00 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (1)

December 16, 2006

John Edwards, again

Daily Kos links to some weird poll that shows John Edwards more popular than John McCain. McCain's an idiot, but I would've suspected that the lies being passed around about Edwards-the-evil-trial-lawyer would cancel him out with our well-read public.

posted by sstrader at 2:31 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

December 13, 2006

The war on trees

Ben Stein gets a little testy because someone's avoiding use of the moniker "Christmas Tree." He's saying that, as a Jew, he is not offended by our culture throwing around the C-word, and so it's silly for companies to replace it with the H-word. I'm trying to wrap my brain around the irony. Irony's the right word, isnt' it? He's getting upset over the use of a word, and justifies it by saying that people shouldn't get upset about the use of another word.

Or something like that.

posted by sstrader at 3:13 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

December 5, 2006

My car

New tires, oil change (overdue, of course), a minor mishap a week before with one of the concrete poles in our parking deck, and this morning at the physical therapist's office I walk back to my car to see that (1) the door is unlocked and (2) the casing around the lock is pulled-out-but-not-broken. My retirement fund of toll booth money was untouched, as were my box of Wet Naps in the glove box. Did I forget to lock the car? Even if I forgot that, I'm sure I would remember trying to tear off the door lock casing. Everything still locks and unlocks (unlike when someone tried unsuccessfully to break into my blue Sundance and I was left with an unopening driver's door for a year or so), so no real etc. done. Still, I'm realizing that Atlanta Medical Center is the Badlands.

posted by sstrader at 1:47 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (0)

December 1, 2006

Olbermann v. Gingrich

Mother. Fuck.

Olbermann ties in not only the obvious history of supression, but the present technological offenses that Gingrich--the most offensive of ignorant historians--ignorantly feels he should mimic. China walls in their internet citizens and the geeks of the world work to route around it; Gingrich hopes to do the same to America and call it a necessary means to an end. Olbermann's argument is obvious but obviously needs more voice if such a known name as Newt Gingrich is part of the evil that's purveying it.

Are these kooky times or am I just now realizing it?

posted by sstrader at 9:45 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)