January 11, 2005

Web spoor


Alienation of affection, blah, blah, blah. Talk about burying the lede: How did Ellen DeGeneres land a hottie like Portia De Rossi? (And don't tell me girls look for someone with a great sense of humor. I'm not in high school anymore.)

Lord knows I'm not a fan of mashups in general, but this is just about the best one I've ever heard. The song actually improves on the cleverness of the idea. 99 Luft Problems.

Tom Delay to tsunami victims: Die heathens!

I haven't yet found a collaborative filtering system that works well, but Netflix's is worse than most. Somehow they think I'll give Shrek 2 three and a half stars even though I only gave Shrek two stars. I've rated hundreds of movies trying to whip their recommendations into shape to no avail. But now Netflix has come up with something actually useful to do with user ratings. The new Friends List feature allows you to invite people whose taste you actually know and trust to share ratings with you -- you get to see what they liked and hated, and they get to see your picks. So you get recommendations that are actually useful without having to wait until you happen to see the person and ask them if they've seen anything good lately, and hope they remember. Plus, Netflix has some cool ways of presenting the information: when you browse films (or view your queue), it shows you if a friend has rated a movie you're looking at; if you go to your Friends Page, it offers such tidbits as movies your friends rated much higher than most users and movies your friends have watched recently. Dedicated users can even add brief comments to their ratings. Even though I already have the maximum 500 movies in my queue (which means even if I watched one a night, which I don't, I wouldn't finish for a year and a half) I want more, more, more. If you know me personally and we generally agree on movies (or if you just think you really have a good handle on me and that I'd share your taste) go ahead and invite me to be a Netflix Friend -- if I haven't already invited you.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


But what about porn, Mel Gibson, and other guilty pleasures? Can you hide movies you like but don't want others to know you like?

Sadly, Netflix does not carry porn. And I don't believe in the concept of guilty pleasures (which is basically snobbery: it means 'I like something but not for the same reason all those lesser people like it'). But yes, if you don't rate a movie, your friends won't see it. Of course, it also then doesn't count in the collaborative filtering system, but as I've said, that's little loss.

I don't understand your comment about "a great sense of humor. Does that mean Ellen DeGeneres is considered funny these days?

May I remind you of a little film called Finding Nemo?

And Ellen's good on her daytime show, too. But enough about that. Daniel, I know you're a connoisseur of all things Lohanboobie, so I must ask for your take on this momentous development (or lack thereof):


Things move fast here at Radosh.net, John. Try to keep up.

Of course I didn't actually give my take in that post, so here it is: she's just wearing a really tight sports bra. Freaky and Friday, as I like to call them, will be back, mark my words.

I stand corrected and humbled, sir. I should have known the news wouldn't escape your all-seeing eye. Freaky and Friday--love it. And them.

I'm a little hesitant to count one good performance as the voice of an animated fish as proof of hilarity, but I haven't seen her daytime show, so I'll conceed the point to those who know more.

As for how she landed Portia, I've noticed there are a lot of lesbian couples (both celebreties and just people I know) where one woman is much hotter than the other. Also lots of straight couples that include a "disproportionately hot girlfriend." And in many of those couples the less-atractive partner isn't particulary funny/famous/powerful/any other characteristic that attracts hotties. I think this issue calls for some serious study.

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