I’ve been looking for an apartment in San Francisco and contacting lots of landlords through Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, and other sites. I didn’t remember a property at 936 Clayton St., but yesterday I received this email. (Original spelling and punctuation maintained.)
Subject: Re: Question about the home at 936 Clayton St San Francisco, CA
Hello Scott Murray,
we are pleased that you have an interest in our house, our lovely home is still available for lease and we want responsible adults/family that are neat and also believe that they have what it takes to take care of our house as if it were theirs. My wife and I initially had it up for sale but had a change of mind in leasing it out ourselves because the agent that was in charge of our rental property was asking too much of an agent fee and also making it difficult for people who cannot afford the rent, stay away from renting my house.
The main reason our house is up for lease is because I got transferred from my place of work to Tulsa, I and my family will be away for at least a couple of 4 to 5 years because of the love I have for them, I have decided not to sell our house and also assuring them that we only have few years to spend here and will be willing to lease it out to person/family who is willing to assure us of taking absolute care of our home and pay their rent on time. I will start by telling you more in regards me and my family. I have a daughter named Amanda(20yrs) who attends University of flint michigan studying Medicine, she has a lot going for her and she is also down to earth in all that she does to keep us happy and when she is back home on vacation, she also assist her mom in the house work to do when am at work. I work for a Highway Construction Company here in flint michigan and got married to a lovely wife Cheryl who is a member of Asbury United Methodist Church . We will be very pleased if we can find the right/potential tenant to rent our home, a person who is a clean & responsible and does not tolerate anything that has to do with dirt. we also would like to know more about you and your family, your renting experience and how long and when you plan moving into our home. These 3 bedrooms and 2 baths home are very specious and neat.
Below is the rental property address:
936 Clayton Street, San Francisco CA 94117
Pets allowed: Yes
The rental fee is inclusive with utilities.
Mr. & Mrs.Sean K Schubert
Specious, adj.: superficially plausible, but actually wrong
The Experience of Dynamic Media is a new book that features three projects and four essays of mine, from my time as an MFA student at the Dynamic Media Institute. Download the free PDF!
There has been a lot of griping on the interwebs about The New York Times’ decision to start charging for unlimited access to its online content.
This is a complicated issue, and an emotional one. Yet unlike most people, I think this move actually makes sense and, further, is a very good idea, not just for The New York Times, but for society as a whole. I value the Times, and I’m willing to pay for it. Here’s why:
Good journalism has never been free. At least not until the Internet destabilized the market for good journalism and changed everyone’s expectations about how quickly and cheaply news could and should be delivered to our eyeballs. The emergence of entirely “free” online news sources (including nytimes.com) is both a relatively recent phenomenon and also the reason for the recent griping. Before online news, you had to either purchase a newspaper or watch television, both of which were subsidized by advertisers. But now we expect well-researched, accurate, and comprehensive news reports delivered within seconds, at no cost (to us).
Good journalism should not be free. Investigative journalism — the most important kind — is very expensive to produce. Those exposés don’t write themselves; professional journalists research and compose them. Then professional editors decide which stories are most important. Then professional designers create maps, infographics, and interactive features to communicate the complexity behind the stories.
Did I mention that all of these people are paid professionals? Although they may love the work, they wouldn’t be able to do it if they didn’t get paid.
As a result, “free” news services cannot afford to fund the intensive, time-consuming research necessary for high-quality, public-informing, power-humbling journalism. But investigative journalism is a critical component of democracy; it is what exposes corruption and informs the public. If only for that reason, its efforts deserve our financial support.
Yet individual subscribers are not journalism’s sole beneficiaries. Each member of society benefits, whether directly or indirectly, from journalism’s contribution to the democratic process. So paying for good journalism is like making a donation in support of democracy. If you can’t afford to donate, you still benefit. (Just don’t expect to be given access to all the articles, except through a public portal, like a public library. Speaking of which, I hope the new paywall will not apply to libraries, but
I haven’t found any information on how it will be rolled out to institutional accounts. Update: Institutional site licenses are in the works.)
Beyond that, our capitalist context ensures that free journalism can’t be trusted. And I mean that literally. When we pay for a news service, we, as the customer, are entrusting a news organization with our money, saying “Spend this wisely, and look into things that are important to me.” A no-cost paper is less trustworthy simply because its customers are its advertisers, not its readers. (In fact, we, the readers, are the “product” being sold to the advertisers.)
Free papers are given to us, not purchased by us, and therefore the free news organization has no obligation to address our concerns. We hold no power over free news; they exist to serve only their advertisers, not us.
On the other end of the spectrum, valuable news can be very expensive. Bloomberg made his billions by selling up-to-the-second information on financial markets to customers who valued that information, and they paid top dollar for it. The exchange of funds instills a level of accountability in the seller-buyer relationship. The giver-taker relationship has no such accountability.
Unfortunately, one downside of this capitalist relationship is that the seller is only accountable to its paying customers. So people who are poor, illiterate, uneducated, or otherwise cannot pay for the news may be underrepresented in the news, and therefore underserved by investigative journalism. Sadly, these are often the same people who are underserved by government and other entities with the most power and opportunity to help this population.
This inequality is often used to argue that news (and potentially everything else, at least online) should be free to all, since then the news would be more likely to serve us all, and serve us all equally. But this is like saying, “If there is one person who can’t afford it, then none of us should pay for it.” And without any purchasing of news, the news is accountable to no one but itself. Short of reforming capitalism at a fundamental level so as to address all such inequalities (too much work!), maybe a better idea is for paying news consumers to exert their limited power to advocate for more service of the underserved.
Finally, philosophical discussions aside, let’s talk about pricing. While the online discussion has been focused on digital distribution, it’s important to acknowledge that this change will impact circulation of the printed newspaper, too.
Why? Simply because it’s actually cheaper to subscribe to home delivery than to pay for the Times on all your devices. Note how
…all New York Times home delivery subscribers will receive free access to NYTimes.com and to all content on our apps.
I love getting the Sunday Times delivered, on paper, to my doorstep. Reading the physical, pixel-less paper is my treasured, Sunday-morning tradition. As it turns out, Sunday-only delivery is $7.50 per week, or $30 for 4 weeks, or $390 per year.
That’s $5 less per month than the new “all digital access” package, which gives you the same unlimited access to nytimes.com and all of the Times’ apps, but without the pleasure of the physical paper. (If you prefer getting the physical paper Monday through Friday, you can save 20 cents off that price each month.)
Plus, new subscribers get 50% off for the first 6 months, so really you could pay just $15 for full Times access — $20 less than the digital package.
So the pricing plans are confusing, and of course they will evolve over time, as the Times and other news services experiment and iterate through different pricing schemes. But as long as the price to individuals is within reason, and the benefit to society is so great, I think it’s worth it.
They’re alive and online! Enjoy the interactive monsters made by my Interaction Design students.
I’ll have a new interactive video installation titled “You’re In” at the Provocative Objects art show tomorrow evening (Friday, one night only) at MassArt.
This will not be a normal art show, with wine and cheese and refined citizenry. Expect to be provoked (for both good and ill). It will be challenging and hilarious and weird and uncomfortable, and I think it will also be awesome.
Hope you can make it!
This could be so awesome.
Ever wanted a beautiful, inspiring book of text-based portraiture? Now’s your chance! Get your copy, hot off the presses:
The next Creative Coding workshop at Gray Area in downtown SF starts tonight, and there are a few spots left. Hope you can make it!
Much has been written about CSS sprites, but less so about CSS3’s
border-image. I wanted to use the two together to produce beautiful, scalable buttons that use only one image for both normal and active (e.g. clicked) states. I couldn’t find anyone else online using this approach yet, so I documented my experiments here.
Update on Jan, 5 2011: Corrected code typos and added a live demo page. Corrected some curly braces that were pointing the wrong way, and updated vendor prefix property references, so -webkit and -moz are listed before the non-prefixed property.
First, here is the amazing button that we want to create:
Its active state will be triggered on either mouseDown or a touch event (for iOS and Android devices, say). In that case, we want the colors to change as shown:
Of course, ideally we could create this button using pure CSS styles, like
box-shadow, or with SVG vector art. But let’s say that for whatever reason, this button has visual elements that can’t be created with CSS alone, and we have to use a bitmap image. (All images on this page are PNGs with alpha transparency.)
CSS3’s new border-image property lets us specify an image to stretch to fit our button, no matter how wide or tall it becomes. Usually,
border-image is used with an image like this:
This image is 40 pixels wide by 50 tall. So we could use this CSS:
-webkit-border-image: url(../images/button.png) 0 18 0 18;
-moz-border-image: url(../images/button.png) 0 18 0 18;
border-image: url(../images/button.png) 0 18 0 18;
This should grab 18 pixels from either side of the image and stretch it to fit. Of course, we’d then have to overlay the button text on top of this background. (Be sure to specify the vendor-specific prefixed properties first. For clarity, I’ll omit the vendor prefixes below.)
The old-fashioned way to create the button’s active state is to generate a second PNG:
…and style it with more CSS. Note that we’ve added the
.pressed class, and we’re now referencing a different PNG:
border-image: url(../images/button_active.png) 0 18 0 18;
.pressed class to #buttonElement whenever it is clicked or tapped.
But by using the CSS sprites technique, we can include both button states in a single image. (This one is 40 pixels by 100.)
Then, we modify the
border-image parameters to reference different parts of our sprite image, depending on the button state:
border-image: url(../images/button_sprite.png) 0 18 50 18;
border-image: url(../images/button_sprite.png) 50 18 0 18;
See those “50” values? They are the key to shifting the
border-image reference up and down, as needed.