The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

“Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be Xanadu”

Too big to fail one more time? How about too ugly or redundant to succeed? The long-languishing, and design-challenged Xanadu project sparks such thoughts.

Rebranded “American Dream@Meadowlands,” Xanadu is highly visible, and abuts an ecological treasure. Perhaps I can offer a comparative context. The Twin Cities' Mall of America is another mammoth retail complex that Triple Five co-developed. It, too, received substantial public funding—mainly for such infrastructure as access roads and parking ramps. In 1993, it was the country's largest mall.

Via Impudence, The Era of Big Malls Is Over - Room for Debate -

What is is about failure with projects named “Xanadu?”

There's Samuel Coleridge's poem, unfinished because he was interrupted by Dirk Gently, also known as the person from Porlock (okay, okay, the poem's actual name is “Kubla Khan”, but it's one of the most, if not the only, famous literary reference to Xanadu).

Then there were the Xanadu houses, all since gone.

There is (or was?) Ted Nelson's Project: Xanadu (named after the poem), the precusor to the World Wide Web and never fully realized (it being “six months from being done” for over thirty years).

And lest we forget the movie, which sucked. Big time. Enought for it to be Gene Kelly's last movie.

The verdict?

Don't name anything “Xanadu” if you want it to succeed.

“No matter where you go, there MyFaceSpaceBook is”

With the MyFaceSpaceBook “Like” button appearing all over the web, I realized that the intent wasn't just to indicate that I liked a page, but to track my web browsing habits. And it didn't matter if I was logged in or not, because any reference to MyFaceSpaceBook involved browser cookies and the sites I viewed when logged out of MyFaceSpaceBook could be reconciled with me when I logged back in.

So I started deleting any cookies dealing anything with MySpaceFaceBook before logging into the site, and again deleting them after logging out and closing the tab (that last step was important because I found out that MySpaceFaceBook captured the “tab-close” event and set a cookie).

It suddenly struck me the other day though, that I have a static IP address and that it doesn't matter if I delete the cookies or not, because MySpaceFaceBook could still reconcile any cookies sent to my IP address since it never changes.


No, not only do they know I visit Cracked (I never did care for Cracked the magazine, preferring Mad the magazine, but Cracked the website is miles ahead of Mad the website) but also Justin Bieber (not to be confused with Justin Beaver).

Um … that last site … with Justin Bieber … that's just to throw the MySpaceFaceBook tracking off.

No, really!


Anyway …

So, what's the point in trying to scrub cookies with MyFaceSpaceBook had me pretty much pegged by my IP anyway? Even if I didn't have a static IP address, it still wouldn't be that much of a shield, given that The Monopolistic Phone Company™ probably uses a small pool of addresses for my area anyway, and what with IP address geolocation, that would still give marketers valuable demographic information about my web viewing habits.

From the “Um … yeah” Department.

Oh, and speaking of viewing … habits somehow, the existence of this Velvet Store doesn't surprise me …

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