If my prediction for beer-can chicken gaining in popularity doesn't come true, I have a backup plan: fondue. The once-popular, and practically mandatory, party accessory seems to be making a comeback. In a world where Internet fads come and go like the dying breeze, I see no reason why the fondue party cannot once again dominate the casual get-together scene. Any planned interaction at a party serves two purposes: first to keep your guests entertained, but more importantly, set activities act as an ice-breaker.
I'm going to make a bold prediction: bacon may well have been the favorite food obsession of the Internet during 2008, but beer can chicken is going to wrestle the mantle away this year. Of course, we won't know the results of this delicious statement well until mid-summer, but all the signs are there. We have seen a recent explosion of interest in the cooking method, and now we are seeing more products designed to deliver the classic meal. From ceramic cookers looking to mimic the process to simple devices resembling colanders or mesh steamers, the fact is … Read more
Unless you have been inhabiting the underground bunker formerly occupied by Dick Cheney, you've probably seen loads of press coverage over a "25 Things About Me" Internet meme that was spreading on Facebook. Basically, members would create a Facebook "note" containing 25 facts about themselves, and then "tag" 25 friends encouraging them to do the same.
Yes, it was a bona fide phenomenon, but I avoided writing about it, because I thought the whole thing was...dumb. Internet memes of that nature have been around since goodness knows when. Breathless press hype over … Read more
In one of the most useful and engaging Web 2.0 productivity apps we've seen in ages, Bacolicious promises to make your browsing experience so very delicious by superimposing an image of a piece of tasty, tasty bacon over everything you navigate.
Here's how you use it: Type in the Bacolicious URL followed by the URL you would like to load. So, for example, http://bacolicio.us/http://icanhazcheezburger.com if you think that your grammatically challenged cat would like to have a bacon "cheezburger."
It's all part of the bizarre Internet meme centered on … Read more
Well, the Golden Globe nominations are out and everyone's buzzing about how Tom Cruise's fat-suit performance in Tropic Thunder is up against the late Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight. (Gee, wonder which one will win.)
But on the Web, there's another set of awards announcements making the rounds. The AOL-owned meme-culture blog Urlesque has announced the winners of its first annual "Urlies." The goofy categories include "Make It Stop" (winner: Rickrolling), "Breakout of the Year" (winner: the "Puppycam" craze), and the "WTF … Read more
The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York got "Rickrolled" on Thursday.
If you weren't watching the parade live or on TV, you probably saw the mass influx of Twitter messages: '80s pop singer Rick Astley, whose cheesy song "Never Gonna Give You Up" became the center of a corny Internet meme called "Rickrolling,", gave a surprise performance. "Rickrolling" originally started as tricking someone into clicking on a link to the "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video by claiming it was something else, like a highly … Read more
Pop singer Rick Astley had a huge hit with "Never Gonna Give You Up" 20 years ago. Now he's had a second wave of fame--and according to a fan site, it will culminate in a performance at MTV Europe's "EMA" ceremony, which takes place on November 6.
The campy, hip-wiggling video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" enjoyed newfound popularity when it became the center of the "Rickrolling" phenomenon--the sharing of a link that purported to be something else but was actually a link to the Astley video as hosted … Read more
Microsoft's Live Labs team has just released a new way to track political discourse on the Web. Called Political Streams, the tool tracks news stories on both blogs and traditional-news sites, and ranks it based on velocity and overall coverage.
What's really neat is that it also keeps track of mentioned names and places in each story, to show how much coverage that person or part of the world has received within the last 30 days.
Each item can be drilled down into a little further, which is where you can see a small one-paragraph summary and the … Read more
LONDON--On Thursday afternoon at the Future of Web Apps conference, I had to make a choice: Was I going to blog about a talk hosted by Six Apart engineer David Recordon, talking about the "open social Web," or a talk by Ben Huh, the "Chief Cheezburger" of goofy "lolcat" meme site ICanHasCheezburger.com?
Recordon's talk would invariably be an insightful look into issues like OpenID and OpenSocial, which have faded from the headlines in recent months but are still a hot topic in the developer community. But the talk could prove to be … Read more
In many ways, Wednesday's release of an updated front page to Google Blog Search has put blog news tracking into the limelight. Google didn't get there first though. Sites like Techmeme, Blogrunner, and Technorati have been tracking the hottest blog posts for quite some time. Now's a good point to take a look at what makes these sites (and others) individual and different from Google's new tool.
Editor's note: this list is in no particular order.
In case you missed Wednesday's news, Google's new blog search tool organizes the biggest news and the sites that are breaking it. The service is entirely automated, and meant to be a quick way to figure out what's going on outside of mainstream media outlets--the sources that make their way onto Google's sister site, Google News.
Google Blog Search's core feature is that it shows you not only how many different blogs have written about a particular topic, but also within what period of time. It also blends in some of Google's trends prowess to show you how a story's prominence has increased or decreased by the hour.
To compare, let's start with Techmeme. Techmeme is a site run by Gabe Rivera, who has formulated a software-powered algorithm that automatically figures out which stories are hot and orders them accordingly. Items change throughout the day, with as much importance placed on who wrote the story and where it came from as the topic itself.
One of the things that makes Techmeme stand out from the rest is its speed. The service is constantly crawling thousands of news sources, and it promotes and demotes items depending on the day's story velocity. It's also updating its list of sources on a daily basis, so new sites that offer good coverage can rise in the ranks at a good clip.
Compared with Techmeme, the sources in Google Blog Search are weighted a bit differently. Google's taken it's "all of the Web!" approach here, which means you're going to see a lot of junk blogs that are likely taking content from elsewhere. As automated as Techmeme is, there's still some behind-the-scenes selection going on (via the software) that keeps those copycat blogs out of the mix. The same cannot be said for Google's current offerings, although that is likely to change.
One of the criticisms of Techmeme has been its recognition of who "broke" a story. The service's policy is to give an author a primary headline (instead of a relational link based on how many other blogs are linking to that post), combined with when it surfaced. The system is not perfect though--in cases where several publications release a post that's been embargoed things get fuzzy.
Also worth noting is that Techmeme is just one of four companion sites that use this same system for different topics. There's also celebrity gossip tracker WeSmirch; Memeorandum, which focuses on political news; and baseball news tracker Ballbug.
This story continues after the break. Keep reading for numbers 3-7, and which one you should use to track news.… Read more