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Getting a Second Opinion

During this political season it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be relying on various media sources for your up to the minute election coverage. If you’re looking at online periodicals and sites run by certain 24-hour news networks, the likelihood that all of your information will be ‘fair and balanced’ is slim to none. Most gatekeepers have an agenda that might not always be obvious to those who look to them for commentary. Thankfully, if you have trouble cutting through the biased sheepdip, interactive agency Sarkissian Mason has launched The Contrarian, an independent online fact-checking site that seeks to empower the masses to demand truth in media. The site doesn’t undermine your favorite news source, but rather enriches it by allowing readers cull key points on an issue from several “contrary” sources in order to develop a more focused opinion on world matters.


The forward-thinking folks at LAX know as well as anyone how much of a hassle airline travel can be; weather delays, unforeseen luggage mishaps, and plenty of other aviation-related issues can always put a damper on your departure. While many of these annoyances are far beyond our control, you could at least use a decent heads up on your flight's situation. Rather than rolling the dice, hoping your flight is on time or resorting to using a confusing automated call system offered by your carrier of choice, Los Angeles Airport's new website takes the burden of flight updates off of the of your individual carrier's wings, and makes it their own problem. LAX's site eases your terminal headaches by providing up to the minute flight status updates on both arrivals and departures, while also giving you a chance to reserve your own parking space prior to making the trip to the landing strip. If only the site could tell you if you'll be sitting next to a screaming infant.

Information Architects Map the Internet

While it would certainly help to have been to Tokyo (Josh won’t stop raving about it), I don’t think it’s a prerequisite for understanding the Information Architects Web Trends Map 2007 Version 2.0. It’s got a long title, but it’s not that complicated. Basically, the Web Trends Map is a visual representation of the top 200 sites on the web, mapped out like the Tokyo Metro (which appears to be mind-numbingly Byzantine in nature. Here’s a link to the actual map for comparison). On the map, websites are connected by lines just like in a metro system, but in this case the lines are called “sharing,” “moneymaker,” and “news” instead of “red,” “1, 2, 3,” or “central.” This project may or may not increase your understanding of how the internet works, but it’s a cheeky idea nonetheless and something fun to look at. Also, PLEASE check out the clickable version, which makes following a line with your mouse more fun that it should ever be.

GetHuman 500 Database

Are you tired of navigating a labyrinth of automated phone systems and the robot voices that accompany them every time you call a company for customer service reasons? Do you find yourself frantically and incessantly pressing ’0′ to get a human voice on the line, so you can actually get something accomplished? The GetHuman 500 Database is your best friend when it comes to getting a person on the line. It not only provides the customer service phone numbers of 500 of our most frequently called companies, but more importantly, it tells you how to key stroke your way directly to an operator. We have been huge fans of this resource for some time now– it has gotten to the point where Josh will call up a company and will all at once press 0 while simultaneously yelling ‘help,’ ‘operator,’ and ‘domestic’. Amusing to say the least.

Real World Software: Web 2.0 Resource

I’m sure if you’re reading our blog, you’re pretty computer savvy, and you probably know what Web 2.0 sites are. But for those of you who need a little explanation: Web 2.0 sites are ‘new and improved sites that make the web their platform, provide users a way of interacting with each other, and organize and categorize their content.’ Basically, Web 2.0 sites are the ‘second coming of the World Wide Web.’ The best resource I’ve seen for finding these great new sites is Real World Software Development’s list. Not only does Real World provide a comprehensive list of sites, but it links you into other helpful lists. Real World’s list is broken into categories like social bookmarking, social network, communications/email, mapping, job search, shopping, travel, calendars, etc. Thanks to my brother and advertising guru Brendan Starr over at GSD&M in Austin, TX for the tip on this great resource.

Hacking Nike

Kicks Online has a fascinating article about a shoes ‘fingerprint’, or the 1 x 1 square you can find under the tongue of just about any pair of Nike shoes. I’ve glanced at this tag a thousand times but never thought about what it might contact. How about what factory it was produced in? Korea? Italy? Japan? Production dates, types of sample, product codes, and much more. It’s all explained over at KicksOnline– now someone just needs to start a tracking database based on this information so people can show off and compare their collections! Via Hypebeast

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