The blight known as Vibrant Media

Sorry publishers, but a sure sign that you suck is when you start running those deceptive double-underlined Vibrant Media/IntelliText ads on your articles. had the wisdom to crush these long ago (after an tribute to slain Moscow bureau chief Paul Klebnikov carried a double underlined link to a life insurance advertiser). I just went to PC Magazine to read a perfectly decently article about PC vendors and crapware/bloatware, and lo, hover over the wrong thing and this black hole sort of appears (like the second coming of the popup from hell) and obscures the text. Do I really need to see the word “laptop” emphasized and see this black chasm until the unit renders?

Want to know why Engadget and Gizmodo and TechCrunch and GigaOm are eating the lunch of the tech press? Because of crappy shenanigans like Vibrant’s. Or rather, lack of. update: and kudos to sites like CNET that also forego the linky-badness.

Geez PC Mag. Maintain your dignity. I have told our teams NOT to run these types of intrusive tactics out of respect to our customers and readers. I may have to do the same with our agency when it comes to running on sites that permit this stuff.

Actually dragged out my copy of Deadbase today …

Facebook buddy Chris White (fellow Cotuit Skiff sailor) posed a question in his status that he was seeking the “most superlative” Terrapin Station (Grateful Dead song from the same-titled 1977 album). That was easy — San Bernadino. The question was what date? Off I went to the bookshelves where I took down this old bible ….

Deadbase III
Deadbase III

I was right. Turned to the listing of songs, saw the DeadBase poll ranked the San Bernadino debut on February 26, 1977 as the top ranked, and was able to reply to Xtopher that he indeed needed to seek out that version at the Internet Archive.

DeadBase was published out of Hanover, New Hampshire (home to Dartmouth College) by John Scott, Mike Dolgushkin, and Stu Nixon. It was compiled on a Dartmouth mainframe, but back in the day when I purchased a hardcopy, was not available online. I searched, and yes, it is online today.

I was delighted to find, folded inside, a dot-matrix printout of my tape collection which I used to trade in the pre-internet days on a BBS called Terrapin Station and on the W.E.L.L. Talk about dating myself, my list, which was available as a plain ASCII .txt file, has this introduction:

“This list is also available in TBAQSE format. See BROKE.ARC in this directory. I tape on Maxell XLII and XLII-S. No Dolby, no fast records. Because my machine (Aiwa AD-WX808 dubbing deck) is on my desk, I turn trades around fast! This deck automatically dubs the target tape with the same levels and noise reduction scheme of the original, hence I have no control over what you get. If I received a show taped in Dolby B, then that’s what you get. I’m looking for complete shows 1965 through 1977 and any sets to fill out my incompletes. I rate technical levels out of a 5.0 scale with 5=unbelievable … 1=really bad sound or bad show (don’t worry, if it sux, I’ll warn you). If you’re new to trading, or just want a few shows, mail me a couple blanks but email first.”

Up in the attic are three big wooden racks filled with about three hundred 90-minute cassettes. Not much use for them now. I’d digitize them but …. I can get everything pretty much online or on CD. Still, nothing like the Dead to bring me back to my “social media” roots. Even my colleagues over in India are into the action. I owe them some music.

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