Some Geeky Web Culture Graphics


No context, no hidden meaning, just a few slightly geeky graphics that made my day. It’s likely you’ll see them again since I love them and just might try to squeeze them in somewhere, sometime.

Retro Avatar Retro Games With Modern Themes by Penney Design

Retrofuturism Facebook This and many more like it by Stéphan Massa-Bidal (some rights reserved: CC by-nc-nd)

As Seen On The Internet As Seen On The Internet by the one and only Goopymart (some rights reserved: CC by-nc-sa)

Learn from the Fail Whale: failing doesn’t need to hurt


If there’s one thing all Twitter users have in common, it’s that they’ve experienced down time. Twitter is famous for it’s long and regular down times, and since the service is growing so fast, it will continue to be unavailable fairly frequently for quite a while. Usually, with the fickle web audience, this would mean the end of the service. Not so for Twitter. Twitter users aren’t a more forgiving bunch than others – it’s a lot of early adopters on the service which usually wouldn’t mind shooting down a service that doesn’t do what it promises. So why does Twitter get away with it?

Twitter's Fail Whale

It’s the Fail Whale, the image that is displayed whenever Twitter is “over capacity”. Every Twitter user is familiar with the Fail Whale.

Of course, it’s not the Fail Whale itself. But the whale is a symbol here, it stands for Twitter’s open, relaxed, ironic and fun way of handling their problems. “Look, we sometimes screw up, but we’ll try to make it fun for you,” they seem to think.

And it works! Not only do Twitter users forgive their favorite micro blogging service all their problems. The Fail Whale has grown its own fan base, and it has even been seen in the wild. Check out the myriad of Fail Whale variations and references on Flickr, a few of which I picked below. (Could you imagine a huge fan base for your average “404 – file not found” page? I think not.)

Image by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid of laughingsquid.com. Image licensed under CC. LED Whale Love” by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid. Licensed under Creative Commons (by-nc-sa). More on the LED Fail Whale here.

another fail whale by Flickr user emdot another fail whale” by emdot. Licensed under Creative Commons (by-nc-sa).

Fail Whale @ the library by flickr user Timothy Greig Fail Whale @ the library” by Timothy Greig. Licensed under Creative Commons (by-nc-sa).

Lesson learned? Your service/company/organization doesn’t have to be perfect in the web 2.0 sphere. That doesn’t mean that it’s ok to launch with a crappy, buggy beta and think your users will fix everything. But it means that if you’re conscious about your problems and communicate them openly and in a relaxed, fun way, chances are your users will stick with you. Don’t pretend to be perfect – nobody is – but talk to your users. The more open, the better.

How to work The Internets (not!) #1


No 1 of my new series How to work The Internets (not!).

Under the unflattering title “Webtards: Mc Cain And Obama Reps Hold Worst Presidential Debate Ever On Twitter“, Gawker describes John McCain’s campaign video game:

McCain’s game is a sad imitation of Space Invaders, a pixelated smash hit c. 1983, but with pigs in place of the aliens, since it’s about how McCain shoots lasers at pork barrel politics, or something. You just know Obama’s game will be better…

What can I say, they’re right. Here’s the probably lamest campaign video game in U.S. politics:


The Daily Show loves the game, too – jump to ca. 4:17 for the relevant part:


Lesson learned? Assume your potential voters are dumb and/or easily wooed by some cheap-ass video game. (Not!)

I Work For The Internets: The shirt arrived


A few days ago MT and I shirt up on Spreadshirt that reads “I work for teh internets“. (Not to be confused with The Google that George W. Bush uses.) We’ve set them up for print-on-demand, and mine just arrived a few days ago. Gotta say, the black-on-black print is pretty kick ass.

I work for teh Internets (black on black) (Click here to get one.)

A few photos will follow soon. You’ll find a photo below.

Full disclosure: Since we put up the Spreadshirt store, we earn a few bucks with every order.

Update: Here’s a photo of the shirt. Apologies for the poor snapshot quality, but you get the idea. My impression after having the shirt for a few weeks: The print looks fine, it’s kind of fluffy. It does look like it is going to wash out to some degree, though, so I expect the letters to lose some color. Anyway, here goes the photo:

I work for the Internets

I work for teh Internets


During the last couple of days, particularly at next08, I’ve had a few very funny discussions about the nature of our jobs, and how you can’t explain any of our internet-related jobs to our parents or non-web friends. (Yes, there are some of those out there!)

As M.T. pointed out, one way to go is to simply state the obvious: I work for the Internets.

Since nobody likes repeating themselves, some of us decided to print corresponding shirts. So I quickly threw them together via Spreadshirt:

I work for the Internets (white on black) (Click here to get one.)

My favorite is the slightly more subtle version, black on black. So if you’re hard core geeky, go for this special version “I work for teh Internets”.

I work for teh Internets (black on black) (Click here to get one.)

There are some more flavors (including a girls version) in the shirt shop. (This is the first time I’m trying to print through Spreadshirt, so please bear with me if the implementation isn’t perfect. Usually, my keingeschenk.de friends and I print our shirts in larger volumes in a Berlin/Kreuzberg print store and distribute them through Shopwindoz. Maybe we’ll do that with this shirt, too, but for the time being, this is it.)

The shirts are all American Apparell. They’re printed on demand, so I haven’t had a chance to see one myself. I just ordered one, will let you know how it turned out. Oh, don’t be surprised about the odd price – it’s set so that shipping costs by Spreadshirt are at a minimum.

Update: The shirt arrived, and in it’s black-on-black print it looks pretty kick ass.