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Car tech! My Ford F-150 video

I got to spend last weekend driving around in a 2009 Ford F-150, which I now really miss, so I could do a rare Car Tech video for CNET. It was awesome, Eli needs that truck, and I found a great new place to go horseback riding!

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Apple rant: a gadget that shouldn’t exist

On my drive in to work tomorrow, I’ll be trying out this little doohickey:

Scosche passPort charging adapter

Don’t immediately recognize it? Why, it’s a “charging adapter” for iPod and iPhone. What it does is take an iPod accessory that uses the dock connector that doesn’t work with your brand-new iPod, iPhone, or iPod Touch and turn it into an iPod accessory with a dock connector that does. Even though these dock connectors are physically identical and oh-so-standard and found everywhere and super universal to Apple products, you still need a $30 adapter just to make your old one charge your new iProduct. And even though this accessory will, for $30, turn the iPod dock connector on my 2004 BMW X3 into one that will recognize and charge my iPhone, it still won’t make it actually play music through my car stereo. It’ll only charge it — which, I concede, is better than the useless pile of nothing I currently enjoy.

So, if I need a $30 accessory to partially enable an old dock connector to act like a new dock connector, tell me again why Apple couldn’t sign on to the universal phone charger and reap the benefits from a whole new collection of $30 dock-to-mini-USB connectors? Suck it, Apple.

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The big blue junk (a “Watchmen” addendum)

Warning: contains action-related spoilers.

Ok. The “Watchmen” movie includes all of the following scenes, and more: a man being beaten and thrown out of a skyscraper; dogs chewing on the leg-bone of a little girl who’s been raped, butchered, and murdered; the subsequent death of those dogs; a man’s skull split open multiple times with a cleaver; the point-blank shooting of a pregnant woman; the brutal beating and attempted rape of another woman; several people being burned alive; a man’s face melted by boiling-hot oil; a man’s arms severed with a circle saw so that he bleeds to death on the spot; innumerable head-shootings; and multiple people who are literally blown apart into bits, whereupon those bits splatter onto walls, bystanders, and hang, dripping, from ceiling grates. And yet, the most frequent complaint about “disturbing imagery” that I’ve heard leveled at this movie is that there are too many scenes of (un-erect) full-frontal male nudity involving a glowing blue cartoon character.

America? You are seriously messed up.

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Twitter and the Jimmy Fallon Experiment

I’ve been following Jimmy Fallon on Twitter for several months now, and I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon developing (at least in my own mind). Jimmy Fallon on Twitter, as a marketing experiment, is totally working! Fallon and team reached out to the Web early and often as he prepared to take over “Late Night,” with online content and lots of honest, earnest Twittering. And now I really feel like he’s One Of Us — and I kind of want him to do well, and I kind of want to protect him from those who would tear him down. So, even though I watched the first “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” episodes, and they weren’t, you know, awesome … I find that I want to like them. And I get the sense that the Twitter community has been mostly (although probably not completely) supportive, and will keep supporting him as long as he keeps on being a regular dude on Twitter. And that could help the show, and that means that the whole crazy thing might just work!

I have the same generally warm feelings about Rick Sanchez from CNN, who basically re-tooled his entire show around online contributions in real-time, and who isn’t just a little bit in love with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh? I guess the point I’m getting at is this: we all know how the Internet often causes people to be really mean, but when the Internet actually personalizes people, I think it can also make us act a lot nicer. (I definitely found that once I started Twittering and interacting with people on Facebook and generally being a real part of the online community, people started being a lot nicer to me in public and in print, partly just because it’s humanizing to hear about someone’s day or see photos of their kid all the time.)

That’s where Fallon is winning. He seems kind of cool. You want to like him. On the other hand, if he debuted on “Late Night” as your average, one-step-removed famous person with a new show, no matter how lovable he was on SNL or in movies or whatever, we’d still shred the show. And it’d be even worse than when Conan O’Brien debuted on “Late Night” and kind of stunk it up, because this is the Internet age, and the Internet can be mean as hell. You have to win over the Internet, or it’ll be a whole lot worse and more unforgiving than it ever was to poor Conan. He survived his early, terrible episodes. Fallon, without a lot of blogging goodwill, might not. Echo chamber being what it is these days, it’s harder to overcome bad press.

But don’t go thinking that simply Twittering will make people like you more, famous people and big brands. Fallon, Sanchez, Tony, and other affection-inspiring Twitterers like MC Hammer, and Shaquille O’Neal are not necessarily the norm. Many of the Twittering celebs that are capturing media attention lately are banal, mostly just talking to other celebs, mainly bot-posted, or just kind of baffling. I think the lesson is simply that in these online communities, just like in life (all due respect to Arrington, here), you get back what you put in. The Twitter winners are interesting, genuine, and legitimately engaged in their communities, and that’s why we’re inspired to be nice to them when we get the chance. The less human the attempt at humanizing, the more likely it is to fail. Jimmy Fallon on Twitter is a successful experiment, at least so far, because it’s let a broader audience see, first-hand, that Jimmy Fallon seems like a good guy who says funny stuff. I guess in that way it just reinforces what we already know: people will be inclined to like you if you’re nice to them and you seem like a decent human being. I know. Shocker, right?

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