Way to go guys!! August 24, 2009 4:34 AM   Subscribe

Time Magazine's 50 best Websites of 2009

Metafilter is number.....FOUR!!


Way to go guys!! I'm proud to be a small part of such a fabulous community!!

Hugs all around!!!
posted by pearlybob to MetaFilter-Related at 4:34 AM (167 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Of course 1 and 3 are Flickr and Delicious, respectively, so this is a bit like asking your grandfather what the best thing on TV is and having him reply "Milton Berle".
posted by DU at 4:38 AM on August 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


In fact, that fee ends up feeling like a feature rather than an impediment
You see what they did there?
posted by From Bklyn at 4:43 AM on August 24, 2009


Shame that Time probably doesn't figure in MetaFilter's 50 Best Magazines.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:46 AM on August 24, 2009 [34 favorites]


What's a magazine?
posted by cillit bang at 4:58 AM on August 24, 2009


$20, same as in town.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:10 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Shame that Time probably doesn't figure in MetaFilter's 50 Best Magazines.

Heh! Perhaps we should do some "top however many of whatever" lists. It'd be interesting to find out whether anyone care to be on them.;-)
posted by orange swan at 5:11 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shame that "time" doesn't figure into my like, top 50 human constructs, man.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:18 AM on August 24, 2009 [20 favorites]


It's interesting that a site I subscribe to would receive this award, since a couple years ago I was Time Person of the Year. Has anyone else every been doubly honored like this?
posted by DU at 5:20 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know who else was Time Person of the Year, DU?

/obligatory
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:21 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


OK, triply honored.
posted by DU at 5:27 AM on August 24, 2009


This is kind of awkward after Mefites gave Time a deserved smackdown for that crappy trollish "why exercise won't make you thin" article.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:33 AM on August 24, 2009


Skype isn't a frickin' web site.
posted by chrismear at 5:39 AM on August 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


"Crewe Views" strangely absent - do these people follow League Two football at all?
posted by Abiezer at 5:41 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


What's a magazine?

Not to over-think this particular plate of beans, but it struck me yesterday "I don't know a single person who reads magazines." Not. One. And I know a lot of people in various slots along the socio-economic scale - one or two people I know read super-niche' art magazines, but they don't have a subscription or anything - and the one person I can think of who regularly reads a major magazine (The New Yorker) is a 57 year old mother of two who got a lifetime subscription or some such as a birthday gift a few years ago.

Huh.
posted by The Whelk at 5:49 AM on August 24, 2009


OK, who's Adam Fisher? Fess up.
posted by dirtdirt at 5:50 AM on August 24, 2009


Well. Gosh.
posted by rtha at 5:50 AM on August 24, 2009


well, I'm glad to see everyone's all jokey and snarky as usual, but I have to say I'm a little gobsmacked. Maybe this will end up on that Beloit list too, "today's freshmen have always filtered the internet thru Mefi..."
I dunno, I was under the impression this was sort of a local little community place people didn't necessarily know about. #4 after Flickr and Delicious isn't the context I expected! I do live in a bit of a haze though.
posted by mdn at 5:52 AM on August 24, 2009


The other day, my sister was talking about how my mom joined facebook, and I was all, "Man, I'm glad I ain't on there." If my mom sees this in Time, and joins metafilter, I'm gonna be fucking pissed.

I mean... extremely miffed. Sorry, mom, if you're reading this, I don't usually cuss like that. Sorry. Yes, I'm sure I'll give you grandkids before you die. Sorry. No, I'm okay, I just ate. Thanks, though. Okay.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:53 AM on August 24, 2009 [24 favorites]


That certainly puts Time Magazine in my Top 100 "'Top X' Lists of 2009". Even though it's only August.
posted by Electric Dragon at 5:55 AM on August 24, 2009


Hugs all around!!!

Hands off the spouses.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:04 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


So... have we arrived or not? Is this like when R.E.M. were on American Bandstand and beat out Michael Bolton and Murmur was chosen as Rolling Stone's album of the year?
posted by Kattullus at 6:06 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't take magazines anymore, although I do check out several in their online format. Whatever your personal feeling is about Time or any of the other big publications, this has to be helpful as far as ad revenue goes for MF. More clicks? More ads? How does that work?
posted by pearlybob at 6:09 AM on August 24, 2009


I wonder if my presence here helped or hurt our ranking.
posted by Mister_A at 6:14 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not to over-think this particular plate of beans, but it struck me yesterday "I don't know a single person who reads magazines." Not. One. And I know a lot of people in various slots along the socio-economic scale - one or two people I know read super-niche' art magazines, but they don't have a subscription or anything - and the one person I can think of who regularly reads a major magazine (The New Yorker) is a 57 year old mother of two who got a lifetime subscription or some such as a birthday gift a few years ago.

Huh.


Purely in the interests of a (lighthearted and nonconfrontational) anecdata battle, I live in your city, know a wide range of people socioeconomically, and don't know a single person who doesn't read some kind of magazine, whether it's US Weekly, the National Enquirer, The Economist or The New Yorker. (Or Time.) I realize this doesn't mean anything much; I throw it out there just because it's a longstanding gripe of mine that too many prognostications about the future of the traditional media seem to be based on anecdotal information from the personal social circles of very atypical people — new-media people who for some reason imagine themselves to represent the average guy, or at the very least the average guy of the future.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:14 AM on August 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


I am so happy there's a $5 membership charge right now.
posted by knapah at 6:15 AM on August 24, 2009 [19 favorites]


Game warden: I am fully willing to admit I am weird and know weird people.
posted by The Whelk at 6:19 AM on August 24, 2009


pearlybob, now we can attract high-paying advertisers like Suicide Girls or The Church of Scientology. Did you know that you can change "Cult of Personality" in the Living Colour song to "Church of Scientology" and it still works?

Comments like this are why we're #4.
posted by Mister_A at 6:20 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


pearlybob, now we can attract high-paying advertisers like Suicide Girls or The Church of Scientology.

I was kinda shocked when I read Metafilter on vacation, all un-logged in, and saw the Evony ads. Not cause Matt accepts Evony ads, but because they are are literally now just a bikini-clad near against a bad leopard print background and nothing else, no hint of what it is (a shitty online civ-clone) or what the girl has to do with anything. Part of me wants to think it's the work on an underpaid designer "Oh, make it sexier? FINE. I'll just put a random woman in and NOTHING ELSE, they'll show em!" And then sales go through the roof.
posted by The Whelk at 6:27 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Until there's a workable ebook (i.e. has to be a LOT better than the Kindle), I'm going to continue to utilize dead trees for information access. That includes both books and magazines (I have 2 subs and my wife has at least that many).
posted by DU at 6:28 AM on August 24, 2009


wow, please click fifty times to see fifty individual pages just to get through this damn article. desperate much, time?
posted by krautland at 6:36 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Skype isn't a frickin' web site.

It also bugged me that Spotify is on here. For a US based magazine that's just a big tease. Thanks Time, but I've already got enough British acquaintances rubbing my nose in the fact that Spotify is awesome and oh what a shame you don't have it on the other side of the moat.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:38 AM on August 24, 2009


I read magazines. Not that one, but some magazines.

This is great, now I have something to show my Dad.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:42 AM on August 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


Aargh. I had just found shopgoodwill over the weekend and I was wondering why it never got play since it seems to have been around since at least 2004. There was an NES on there with some games for $10 + $8 shipping.

wow, please click fifty times to see fifty individual pages just to get through this damn article. desperate much, time?

The full list.

Flickr
California Coastline
Delicious
Metafilter
popurls
Twitter
Skype
Boing Boing
Academic Earth
OpenTable
Google
YouTube
Wolfram|Alpha
Hulu
Vimeo
Fora TV
Craiglook
Shop Goodwill
Amazon
Kayak
Netflix
Etsy
Property Shark
Redfin
Wikipedia
Internet Archive
Kiva
ConsumerSearch
Metacritic
Pollster
Facebook
Pandora and Last.fm
Musicovery
Spotify
Supercook
Yelp
Visuwords
CouchSurfing
NameVoyager
Mint
TripIt
Aardvark
drop.io
Issuu
Photosynth
OMGPOP
WorldWideTelescope
Fonolo
Get High Now
Know Your Meme
posted by cashman at 6:42 AM on August 24, 2009 [19 favorites]


We get ten or so magazines delivered each month but not Time. We were getting Newsweek for a while but there's no actual news in it and it took about two minutes to read. I don't really see the point of a weekly news magazine if it isn't going to do in-depth reporting.
posted by octothorpe at 6:47 AM on August 24, 2009


I am so happy there's a $5 membership charge right now.

We need to up it to $10 for the next week or so.
posted by ryanrs at 6:47 AM on August 24, 2009 [21 favorites]


Metafilter is number.....FOUR!!

That doesn't look like a numbered ranking. This place is somewhere in their top 50 for the year.
posted by pracowity at 6:47 AM on August 24, 2009


There is a link right there at the Time story to show the full list, too.
posted by Mister_A at 6:49 AM on August 24, 2009


Is there any meaning to the order of these? Are we 4th best or 46th best?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:52 AM on August 24, 2009


people still read BoingBoing?
posted by Afroblanco at 6:57 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Err, Google is a website? I thought Google was Skynet.
posted by Mister_A at 7:00 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


This reminds me of the time when Letterman bought that billboard proclaiming he was #3 in late night.
posted by pwally at 7:01 AM on August 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


GregNog, Your generation didn't invent the Internet or the World Wide Web. Mine did.

Now go put on a sweater; I'm cold. Love you too, sweetie. hugs.
posted by Mom at 7:07 AM on August 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


Wolfram Alpha?!?
posted by marginaliana at 7:13 AM on August 24, 2009


"MeFi" for those in the know.

All y'all kids with your darn "in jokes." Good thing Time Magazine is there to help.
posted by theora55 at 7:18 AM on August 24, 2009


Why do people think this is a good thing?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:31 AM on August 24, 2009


MOM! I NEED MORE NACHOS! AND GREGNOG KEEPS HITTING ME!
posted by YoBananaBoy at 7:33 AM on August 24, 2009


At least they waited until the year was more than halfway through for this one.

Will we make TIME's highly prestigious 2009 Top 50 Digital Entities Accessed Via A Domain Name list, sure to be out in some filler November issue?!? Only TIME can tell!!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:35 AM on August 24, 2009


What? No zombo.com?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:36 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I guess not everything is possible afterall.
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 AM on August 24, 2009


I wonder if Time runs stats on these things. Then they'd realize that less than 1% of 1% of their readers will probably make it past the 10th click. Hey Time, the whole 'pages' thing on the internet is just a metaphor!
posted by iamkimiam at 7:39 AM on August 24, 2009


That doesn't look like a numbered ranking.

Since (1) it's not alphabetical and (2) they put us near the top, I'm going to go ahead and assume it's sorted by awesomeness. So we're better than Twitter and Boing Boing, but not quite as awesome as the California coast. That actually sounds about right.
posted by ryanrs at 7:50 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I notice time.com was not on that list.
posted by Eideteker at 7:58 AM on August 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, does that mean the ad rates go up?
posted by mrmojoflying at 8:01 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Remember, nothing says "good job" like a firm, open-palm slap on the behind.
posted by swift at 8:03 AM on August 24, 2009


Didn't we make this list last year, too?
posted by ocherdraco at 8:12 AM on August 24, 2009


I don't know a single person who reads magazines.

Wow - yeah, that strikes me as strange. I voraciously consume information across all formats, and most people I know are swimming in print culture as well as hanging out online. I subscribe to the New Yorker, and I read Saveur, Gastronomica, the Old Time Herald, sometimes the Economist, a bunch of travel and regional magazines, some women's magazines, and occasionally something like Bitch, Adbusters, or an art, design, crafts, or sports magazine. Gave my mid-30s sister her two requested gifts last year, National Geographic and Smithsonian. I drop off my pre-read magazines at a library exchange box every couple weeks and take home a pile I haven't read yet. There is always a big pile to be exchanged. With friends I exchange things like Yoga Journal and Body + Soul. A fresh, shiny, unread magazine to take to the beach or spend an evening on the couch with is a pleasure every bit as good as a hot fudge sundae. So I think this might be a quirk of your friend group, The Whelk.

Time sucks, though. Always has.
posted by Miko at 8:33 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Time wounds all heels.
posted by Mister_A at 8:37 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't read magazines. No time for it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:37 AM on August 24, 2009


Awww, quitcher snarking, guys. At least we beat Twitter!
posted by deborah at 8:37 AM on August 24, 2009


WE'RE #4! WE'RE #4! WE'RE #4!
posted by djgh at 8:38 AM on August 24, 2009


Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:38 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would guess their "most read articles" sidebar is a parody if I didn't know better:

1. Can Atheists Be Parents?
5. Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin
9. Why Does Facebook Hate Babies?

posted by naju at 8:42 AM on August 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


Hmm. We get somewhere between 5 and 10 magazine subscriptions, and buy others from the stand. Not Time, though. I do like Morris Day and The Time, though, so there's that. But I'm probably as old as your mom, so my stats probably don't count. Your mom says "Hi."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:45 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ticking away the moments that make up the dull day.
posted by Sailormom at 8:53 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


1. Can Atheists Be Parents?

please god make this article say no I don't want to spend any more $$ on birth control than I have to thanx
posted by kathrineg at 8:53 AM on August 24, 2009 [13 favorites]


Flickr - have to be a part of the Yahoo network which is like having a pretty nice car but you have to be 75 to drive it
California Coastline - never heard of it but I live in NYC
Delicious - lol yeah people use this site all the time *fart*
Metafilter
popurls - aggregator of aggregator aggregators
Twitter - RT RT RT WHERE IS THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE OBAMA #secretmuslim
Skype - anything that hurts telecoms gets a check plus from me
Boing Boing - the Time magazine of websites
Academic Earth - finally, people can lecture you
OpenTable - ha ha more like OpenCanofdogfood because ha ha we remain on the verge of complete economic collapse
Google - nice to see Google still getting work
YouTube - cats in boxes, Latinas shaking their rears & Russians hitting each other with crutches
Wolfram|Alpha - convert hogsheads to moles
Hulu - finally, we can watch television
Vimeo - art documentaries that start promising and end up going nowhere
Fora TV - worthless fake intellectual posturing outside of newsgroups
Craiglook - find cement blocks (free) in places you don't live
Shop Goodwill - no thank you
Amazon - the time magazine of book sellers
Kayak - get a one way ticket from Denver to Miami for $39 dollars, then wish you had paid the extra 89 when your layover in Detroit gets snowed in for the night
Netflix - had some algorithm contest dealie that you'll try to remember at a party when you're drunk and hitting on this girl that smells, pleasantly, like cornflakes
Etsy - vintage bag of rotting birdseed (quaint) $198.00 USD
Property Shark - the only property I can afford these days is trashcan fires!! lol!!! and whats up with airline food
Redfin - the Time magazine of Property Shark knockoffs
Wikipedia - the sum total of human arguments about anime and the middle east
Internet Archive - a great way to look at what Redfin used to be like, back in the day
Kiva - I guess it's a way to give money to caterers in south American countries?
ConsumerSearch - the perfect delivery mechanism for artfully disguised corporate propaganda masquerading as "reviews" from "consumers"
Metacritic - An amazingly efficient way to decide not to watch anything out in theaters
Pollster - The Time magazine of Fivethirtyeight.com knockoffs
Facebook - Only used by people in their 20s
Pandora and Last.fm - let your friends know that you listened to "Living On A Prayer" 37 times in a row last night
Musicovery - haven't heard of it so it must be a shitty website for idiot morones
Spotify - a website that is not available in America, which is like saying "Oh man I found this great Korean restaurant yesterday, but unfortunately it's only in my imagination"
Supercook - actually totally sweet
Yelp - basically just a big shakedown of resturants
Visuwords - Visuwords.com: what you want, when you want it
CouchSurfing - bedbug delivery service
NameVoyager - would be better if it were called NameVoyagr
Mint - personal finance is for suckers who believe in the future
TripIt - worthless
Aardvark - no human being has ever been to this website
drop.io - kind of neat but I'm sure it would break if you ever tried to use it for something important
Issuu - it's like Youtube for really fucking awful writing
Photosynth - ha ha yeah guys let me just install silverlight *fart*
OMGPOP - crappy flash games
WorldWideTelescope - ha ha ha ha yeah guys let me just install silverlight 2 *fart*
Fonolo - really useful! good site :)
Get High Now - probably involves silverlight
Know Your Meme - the BoingBoing of websites
posted by Damn That Television at 8:54 AM on August 24, 2009 [79 favorites]


Wait, one of their top 50 sites is one that just slaps a stylesheet and graphics on Craigslist? Well, it looks like I'm going to make next year's list with my new site, professionalwhitebackground.com
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 8:54 AM on August 24, 2009


Could someone explain to me to why California Coastline is #2? And what's with the cryptic NSFW warning? Is there some deep, dark secret associated with aerial photography of California that I'm completely missing?
posted by TBAcceptor at 8:55 AM on August 24, 2009


Oh, and hooray us!
posted by TBAcceptor at 8:56 AM on August 24, 2009


If only they had computers in dentist-office waiting rooms, then people could read the magazine and log right on.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:58 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The full list.

Obviously you missed one; I don't see MOFB in there.
posted by davejay at 9:07 AM on August 24, 2009


marginaliana: "Wolfram Alpha?!?"

Snake? Snake?! SNAAAAAAAKE!!
posted by boo_radley at 9:08 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


We beat Twitter, or at least I like to think we did
posted by wheelieman at 9:12 AM on August 24, 2009


Whatever your personal feeling is about Time or any of the other big publications, this has to be helpful as far as ad revenue goes for MF. More clicks? More ads? How does that work?

Probably a mild boost in traffic for the next couple days. I'll watch the referrer logs tomorrow and Wednesday, try and get a gauge for what happens to traffic. I doubt this will have any practical effect on our ad stuff, but I don't fiddle with that so I guess only Matt would know for sure.

To put it in context, we've been on Time things a couple times before without noticing anything significant happening. Mild uptick in signups for a day or two, maybe an extra 10 or so people a day, though hard to know how much of that is just noise since it varies a fair amount from day to day anyway. (Cue Infodump sign-up rate analysis discussion.)

On the other hand, when Slate had its nice little writeup about askme, we saw something like a tenfold increase in signups for a couple days and it stayed elevated for a week.

TIME is a big, big name, but time.com does not seem to be a big, big destination for potential new mefites, and a vague paragraph-long blurb, however positive or highly-placed in a (goddam one-per-page are-you-fucking-kidding-me) Best Of list, is not the kind of sales pitch that a page-long, detailed encomium to the utility of Ask Metafilter is.

I'll happily take a little love from old media, but it's hard to not see this sort of thing as beingin a lot of cases about time.com nominating potential traffic sources (and helpfully providing those nominees with pre-packaged traffic-monitoring A Winner Is You badge bugs to boot). Eh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:20 AM on August 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


I get Time, although I don't pay for it. It's an interesting read. But I wouldn't pay for it. Their stuff is kind of funny, in a totally accidental I meant to be serious but it's not working kind of way.

All joking aside though, I do love this place. I've tried going to a few other sites that answer questions (including a certain one with a weird jelly fish fetish) and can't even get good answers to throw away questions. They all seem to be full of crazy high schoolers who think they're all worldly.
posted by theichibun at 9:27 AM on August 24, 2009


Flickr was the first site to solve this problem with something called collaborative tagging. The idea is that if everyone is allowed to tag everyone else's uploaded photos

I... I had no idea that you could do that. I've actually never seen a picture with tags open to the public, or at least I haven't noticed.

And this feels disingenuous:
There are lots of collaborative voting and comment sites out there [...] but there is only one worth joining, even if it does cost $5: Metafilter

What would be the collaborative voting? It feels weird that it got compared to Digg and reddit based on the voting thing when they don't work the same. A post with a hundred favourites is not going to be placed higher in the frontpage than a post with zero favourites.


I download magazines. Am I doing it wrong?
posted by Memo at 9:28 AM on August 24, 2009


I need to learn to knit so that I can sell my amazing idea of cow-bras on Etsy.

What is Wolfram Alpha actually for?
posted by mippy at 9:32 AM on August 24, 2009


Well duh, this is the best of the web.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:49 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wolfram Alpha is actually pretty handy.

It is not a search engine, it is not an encyclopedia like wikipedia.

It's more of a database of keyed and tagged data that you can use like a really fancy calculator. Think of it as a calculator with a brain and a whole bunch of data in that brain to run calculations on.

It's the first and only site I've ever seen that even comes close to being able to "assemble a precis" or summary of information Neuromancer-style from a lot of different disparate data types. And it's just getting started. The more people that use it the better and smarter it will be.

Granted, so far people seem to be mostly using it to calculate how many Smoots it is to the moon - but with just a little finesse and understanding how it works you can string together the appropriate words and get in return a easy to read page of data that really illustrates the relationships and connections between many different things. Like, how much oil per capita a set of countries uses, produces, how much it exports and imports and how much it has in reserve. All on one page, from one easy to parse string of words.

This kind of computation and formatting would take hours to do manually, but Wolfram Alpha is fairly capable of interpreting your plain-english question into something that works in seconds. Once you get what it is it's pretty damn amazing.
posted by loquacious at 9:50 AM on August 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


Eat it, Google!
posted by bDiddy at 9:53 AM on August 24, 2009


loquacious: Can you give an example? I've been trying to give the thing the benefit of the doubt, but I can't seem to figure out how to get it to do anything impressive.
posted by equalpants at 10:06 AM on August 24, 2009


farhad manjoo's take on wolfram alpha is less generous, but it was quite awhile ago in tech years
posted by Think_Long at 10:10 AM on August 24, 2009



I don't read magazines. No time for it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:37 AM on August 24 [+] [!]


Eponyoxymoronic.
posted by orville sash at 10:11 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


for serious though, the california coastline? Is there something I'm not getting? it's just a website with pics of the coastline? like a more specific google earth?
posted by Think_Long at 10:14 AM on August 24, 2009


This honor compliments the strong moderation (and the stuff people learn from the stories that make it and don't).

Kudos!!!
posted by JoeXIII007 at 10:15 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eponyoxymoronic.

Wow, is that like an unassisted triple play?
posted by slogger at 10:19 AM on August 24, 2009


How is it we ranked above Youtube and wikipedia when 7/8ths of what we do is link to Youtube and [more inside] Wikipedia, then argue about them?
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:39 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


farhad manjoo's take on wolfram alpha is less generous, but it was quite awhile ago in tech years

Indeed, since Alpha's launch it has grown by 52% - over 2 million lines of Mathematica code. It's still nowhere near exhaustive, but it's been steadily getting better in usability and data every week.
posted by naju at 10:45 AM on August 24, 2009


You think this is coverage? Wait for the Reader's Digest story "I Survived an Internet Flame-War".
posted by benzenedream at 10:46 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man 1: I came here for a good argument.
Man 2: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.
posted by not_on_display at 10:46 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I download magazines. Am I doing it wrong?

Not at all. For the first time ever, I've been able to collect back issues of Playboy and not have to worry about finding the pages stuck together.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:47 AM on August 24, 2009


While Wolfram Alpha is interesting, it can be so deceiving as to be unreliable. When I look for something like the lowest temperature in South Dakota from 2000-2009, it reports -22F for Pierre in Jan 09. When I look for the lowest temperature in Rapid City, SD for the same span, it reports -23F in Feb 06. The problem, of course, is that the engine is using Pierre as its index for the entire state (because it's centrally located). A similar thing occurs if you look for highest temperature in Texas and/or San Antonio. You can't be sure that you've couched your search terms correctly -- in spite of the ballyhooed plain-english input -- and therefore you can't depend on the answer to be correct.
posted by joaquim at 11:08 AM on August 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


What would be the collaborative voting? It feels weird that it got compared to Digg and reddit based on the voting thing when they don't work the same. A post with a hundred favourites is not going to be placed higher in the frontpage than a post with zero favourites.

I don't have an answer for your question per se, but the screencap Time used is from the Popular Favorites page.

Does it mean I'm getting old that I cringed when this was at the top of MeTa this morning? I have vague recollections of feeling awed and cheery and honored once upon a time when something like this used to happen.
posted by carsonb at 11:10 AM on August 24, 2009


Devil's Rancher: I think it means you are more likely to find the good stuff on youtube or wikipedia by coming to metafilter first, rather than going to those sites directly. Kind of like how google is pretty high on the list but it is mostly only useful for all the other sites it links to.
posted by idiopath at 11:15 AM on August 24, 2009


Is there some deep, dark secret associated with aerial photography of California that I'm completely missing?

Naked people. Very, very tiny naked people.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:18 AM on August 24, 2009


Netflix - had some algorithm contest dealie that you'll try to remember at a party when you're drunk and hitting on this girl that smells, pleasantly, like cornflakes

Something tells me you're not giving us the full story here.
posted by Spatch at 11:19 AM on August 24, 2009


I think Wolfram Alpha was mishyped as a Google -- and honestly, I have no idea why the hype went that way.

But it does do calculations far better than Google. For example, try multiplying 4.5 by 5'2" in Google. Nada. Now try doing that calculation AND converting it to Smoots at the same time in WolframAlpha. Jackpot.
posted by dw at 11:20 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


So Wolfram Alpha will help me figure out how many hogsheads of ale will fit in Uranus? SCORE!
posted by Mister_A at 11:25 AM on August 24, 2009


How is it we ranked above Youtube and wikipedia when 7/8ths of what we do is link to Youtube and [more inside] Wikipedia, then argue about them?

Because Ask MeFi is leagues better than Yahoo Answers.

Hey Time Magazine editors, it's California Coastal Records Project (though the URL is CaliforniaCoastline.org). The site has aerial photography of the entire California Coast, goes back to the 1970s, and it's getting pretty good resolution these days. The comment about Barbara Streisand's house goes back to the lawsuit in 2003. I'm confused about the note "though it's definitely NSFW." Does NSFW mean "Not Suitable for Wisconsonians"? Maybe WestVirginians? Or are they referring to photos of nude beaches? If so, advert your eyes.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:29 AM on August 24, 2009


Answer:

2.793x10^23 hhd (U.S. hogsheads)

Almost half an avo-hogshead! Now my plans can move forward. Thanks Wolfram Alpha!
posted by Mister_A at 11:29 AM on August 24, 2009


Just like Wolfram Alpha, you need to format your question right to get google to answer it.
posted by Pyry at 11:31 AM on August 24, 2009


I took the NSFW as an incredibly ham-fisted and awful joke about how you would waste your time at work looking at pictures of the beach. But that one beach really is nude innit?
posted by Mister_A at 11:31 AM on August 24, 2009


Answer:

2.793x10^23 hhd (U.S. hogsheads)

Almost half an avo-hogshead! Now my plans can move forward. Thanks Wolfram Alpha!
posted by Mister_A at 11:29 AM on August 24 [+] [!]


So, for a wolfram noob, what did you use for input in order to find that answer?
posted by Think_Long at 11:31 AM on August 24, 2009


First, I typed:

volume uranus

That returned the volume of Uranus. Then I screwed around a bit 'til I found the right phraseology for the conversion:

6.66x10^25 L convert to hogshead

And voila! First time I used this and it was relatively intuitive.
posted by Mister_A at 11:36 AM on August 24, 2009


(volume of uranus)/hogshead
works in Wolfram Alpha
posted by vacapinta at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2009


actually, it's easier than that: volume of Uranus in hogsheads
posted by dw at 11:39 AM on August 24, 2009


"volume of uranus in hogshead" is quicker.
posted by Pyry at 11:39 AM on August 24, 2009


I'm with Miko. They're aren't many things quite as satisfying as having a bubble bath or curling up in bed with a magazine. I have always LOVED magazines and will read any one that is put in front of me though my faves are The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Economist, People, Grazia, Bust and the Sunday magazine that comes with every newspaper (all of which I get for free every week!). Reading things on a computer screen, laptop or not, is not even half as satisfying.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:40 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


We need to up it to $10 for the next week or so.

How 'bout $25? Matt has a daughter; by the time she's ready for college, a bachelor's degree will cost seven figures.

Let's milk this straight-world fame for as much as we can, for as long as we can.
posted by jason's_planet at 11:42 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, that assumes US hogsheads, not UK hogsheads, though they'll let you switch.
posted by dw at 11:42 AM on August 24, 2009


You can pay for college with hogsheads now?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2009


The Oregon coast is prettier than the California coast.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2009


Weight of the moon in swiss cheese divided among all the people of earth

That could feed the world pretty easily.
posted by dw at 11:54 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


At this point we only subscribe to one magazine: The Economist. We cut everything else when we realized we weren't reading them.
posted by dw at 11:56 AM on August 24, 2009


Yeah I wasn't even sure it knew what hogsheads are, but there you go! You can get there in one easy step!
posted by Mister_A at 12:04 PM on August 24, 2009


I maintain a free subscription to TapeOp and read it on the crapper. At two months between issues, that works out pretty well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:05 PM on August 24, 2009


Oh my, looks like Metafilter dropped down a notch from April 2008.

You're all just going to have to try harder.
posted by not_on_display at 12:07 PM on August 24, 2009


Metafilter: Calculating the "volume of Uranus in hogshead" since 2009.
posted by TBAcceptor at 12:12 PM on August 24, 2009


Subscribe to Times Literary Supplement and Lapham's Quarterly.
Dropping the New Yorker. Its gone downhill - getting too Gladwell/pop-sci at the expense of its interesting reports on arts and subcultures.
posted by vacapinta at 12:12 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


We get 300000 magazines full of articles like "dark matter: why does it matter" and "the best machines for interspace lawnmowing" and the like
posted by kathrineg at 12:12 PM on August 24, 2009


Baker Beach (nude end), San Francisco

As I suspected -- no sane person even takes off their trenchcoat windbreaker on Baker Beach.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:18 PM on August 24, 2009


The best thing about being #4 in this one-item-per-page list is that there is a semi-reasonable chance that somebody will come to the site from the list, say, twice as likely as #8 Boing Boing and at least 12.5 times as likely as #50 Know Your Meme. Or possibly more... loss of interest may occur more on a curve than a straight line. Is there a web site that can help me figure that out?
posted by wendell at 12:27 PM on August 24, 2009


I maintain a free subscription to TapeOp and read it on the crapper. At two months between issues, that works out pretty well.

And thus began the legend that cortex only poops 6 times a year...
posted by wendell at 12:30 PM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is there a web site that can help me figure that out?

Apparently, all that's left of the internet is link aggregators that link to one another.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:32 PM on August 24, 2009


Wow. Those beaches aren't wearing anything. Just look at all that sand.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:51 PM on August 24, 2009


Just look at all that sand.

Pervert. Ignoring all those tide pools. Sick.
posted by The Whelk at 12:57 PM on August 24, 2009


Every time I see Wolfram|Alpha referenced anywhere, I am vaguely disappointed that it is not a website outlining the primary evil manifesto of a bunch of demonic lawyers.

However, I am delighted to once again spend the rest of my work day calculating nonsensical escape velocities.
posted by elizardbits at 12:59 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wolfram Alpha? That's still up?

Obviously I'd ask it if it was still up, but it'd want to give me an answer about coconut production in peru or something.
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on August 24, 2009


SOON I WILL KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT URANUS
posted by Mister_A at 1:05 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Part of me wants to think it's the work on an underpaid designer "Oh, make it sexier? FINE. I'll just put a random woman in and NOTHING ELSE, they'll show em!" And then sales go through the roof.

Here's all the Evony ads in chronological order.
posted by lemuria at 1:07 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Isn;t that some kind of rip-off game run by goldfarmers?
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on August 24, 2009


Shop Goodwill

That's good. I had been wondering where to purchase a FUCKING VINTAGE FIRE EXTINGUISHER. It will go wonderfully with the quaint, hand-knit seatbelts in my car.
posted by stet at 1:32 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, that fire extinguisher looks really stupid

you guys better not bid on it
posted by kathrineg at 1:37 PM on August 24, 2009


Every time I see Wolfram|Alpha referenced anywhere, I am vaguely disappointed that it is not a website outlining the primary evil manifesto of a bunch of demonic lawyers.

maybe we could use it to calculate the freefall time for the lawyer angel pushed out the window in ep 1
posted by Think_Long at 1:39 PM on August 24, 2009


I like Time. Online. For their archives which are free and seamlessly integrated.

Music: New Pop Records, Apr. 2, 1956
Monday, Apr. 02, 1956


Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley; Victor). A new singer with a new twist: a double voice that alternates between a high, unpleasant quaver, reminiscent of Johnnie Ray at his fiercest, and a rich basso that might be smooth if it were not for its spasmodic delivery. Heartbreak Hotel, yelps the high voice, is where he's going to get away from it all. Answers the basso: he'll be sorry.

ITALY: Politics
Saturday, Mar. 17, 1923


At Home—Points from Premier Mussolini's speech at the presentation of departmental budgets to the Finance Minister, which was attended by a great display of military force both by the Army and the Fascista National Militia: " You may ask the reason for this great display of military strength. It is to show that the Government has armed forces at its disposal. ... It may happen, perchance, that armed forces may help some people to make up their minds. . . . We have solemnly promised to balance the State budget and this promise we must keep at all costs." A royal decree was issued providing for a thorough comb-out of all government departments with a view to cutting State expenditure. Persons over 65 or those who have had 40 years' service will be retired on pension. Power is given to Ministers to dispense with all employees not giving maximum satisfaction. The Army and Navy and other government military organizations are exempted...


It's a gold mine that I didn't know existed until a couple of months ago.
posted by vapidave at 1:45 PM on August 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


Huh. I will credit that as genuinely badass, vapidave. Way to put a positive emphasis on the "old" in "old media".
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:53 PM on August 24, 2009


Eh, splash around in those still, quiet tide pools if you want, but I prefer the surf crashing on the sand.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:11 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Time magazine makes me want to throw things. Usually I settle for the magazine itself.

Yes, dominant paradigm, I will get right in line and be shocked by the things that you want me to be shocked by. Yessiree.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:18 PM on August 24, 2009


I like Time. Online. For their archives which are free and seamlessly integrated.

Oh, wow. That's super cool. The NY Times should do so well with their archives.
posted by dersins at 3:41 PM on August 24, 2009


Time Magazine: Spend that hour-long wait for the dental surgeon pondering how much better your life would be if you were reading LIFE instead.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:02 PM on August 24, 2009


TIME Magazine is currently News Lite. Big on pictures and taglines, quotes and info-graphics, thin on the text.

When non-MeFites sing the praises of MetaFilter, they (almost) always overlook the mods. Like JoeXIII007 mentioned, quality moderation plays a huge part in the quality of this site. No power struggles, battling mods, or overzealous post editing and deleting. Thanks, y'all.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:13 PM on August 24, 2009


wht
posted by Sys Rq at 4:17 PM on August 24, 2009


"How 'bout $25? Matt has a daughter; by the time she's ready for college, a bachelor's degree will cost seven figures."

Wanna bet that Metafilter Scholarship gets reinstated right about the time she turns 17?
posted by klangklangston at 4:41 PM on August 24, 2009


Wolfram Alpha is off by about 3%! The correct answer is 2.71*1023 hogsheads, not 2.79*1023. Mister_A clearly specified ale hogsheads, but Wolfram Alpha assumed wine hogsheads (which are smaller). Don't bother asking it about ale hogsheads, though—it doesn't understand. Use 54 imperial gallons instead, as per the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824.

All this assumes Wolfram's value for the volume of Uranus is correct. By I accept that reasonable people may disagree as to the volume of a gas giant, so I won't complain about that.
posted by ryanrs at 5:07 PM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Whelk writes "Not to over-think this particular plate of beans, but it struck me yesterday 'I don't know a single person who reads magazines.' Not. One."

Their disposable nature and the often short article length makes them uniquely suitable for certain areas of the home.
posted by Mitheral at 5:50 PM on August 24, 2009


....so....is this how it ends?
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:17 PM on August 24, 2009


Are we going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
posted by Kattullus at 7:08 PM on August 24, 2009


Didn't we make this list last year, too?
Yes. That's how I got here.
posted by jeoc at 7:32 PM on August 24, 2009



"MeFi" for those in the know.


Wait, didn't we rebrand to "MyFy"?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:04 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like Time. Online. For their archives which are free and seamlessly integrated.

Yeah, if you look closely you'll see that the "Can Atheists Be Parents?" story mentioned above is from 1970.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:48 PM on August 24, 2009


I would like to add my two cents to this thread:

$0.01: Yay for Metafilter but I echo the sentiments that the list is pretty bad. For example, maybe I'm not the target demographic but I've used OpenTable once in my life.

$0.01: I still love magazines and I actually (proudly) have a subscription to Time. I still think it produces quality work which I appreciate.

Bonus $0.01: Wired is my favorite magazine, hands down. Just FYI.
posted by carpyful at 10:15 PM on August 24, 2009


(goddam one-per-page are-you-fucking-kidding-me)
Autopager is your friend.
posted by dg at 5:24 AM on August 25, 2009


I've been friends with just-not-reading-those-things longer, but yeah, Autopager is neat.

Update: we got a couple thousand referrer hits from time.com's article yesterday, and signups were 5 or so above high-normal.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 AM on August 25, 2009


A couple thousand referrers? No wonder time.com isn't on the list.
posted by ryanrs at 8:03 AM on August 25, 2009


When I was working as a concierge, OpenTable was great for making quick reservations. You'd always still have to call to confirm the reservation (never completely trust online listings!) but it was handy for spot checking. You could also make additional recommendations based on what else was available at the desired time. The best part, though was that you earned bonus points by making all those bookings, and I ate a few good meals for free in NYC thanks to those points.

But as a consumer, yeah, I don't use it with great frequency and by "with great frequency" I mean "at all".
posted by Spatch at 8:06 AM on August 25, 2009


Cortex, can you be more specific regarding the number of time.com referrers? Was it 2,000 or 4,000 or what? Their poor showing is a nifty commentary on their own irrelevancy, but a specific number would make for a better anecdote:
"We were #4 on Time.com's list of Best Websites of 2009, and we only got 3,100 hits from them in the first 24 hours. Slashdot comments pull more weight than they do!"
Mefi total hits during the same time period would also be nice. TIA!
posted by ryanrs at 9:13 AM on August 25, 2009


Referrer log has 2,381 hits from the Time list's entry for mefi, plus another 107 from the 25 Best Blogs item from February.

There were a few hundred hits from two or three other blogs specifically repeating highlights from the Time list, but nothing notable there.

The referrer logs actually chuck out the vast majority of referrer traffic to keep the logs from being a gigantic pile of search engine and mail-client and rss-reader type entries, so I can't really use it to give you a ballpark number on daily traffic based on it, but suffice it to say that a couple thousand hits is not a significant number in a baseline-normal mefi traffic day.

We also got a little over a thousand hits from this archive.org mirror of a 2003 blog entry about the Google/Pyra buyout. I have no idea why.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:58 AM on August 25, 2009


I think it's the Blogger tenth anniversary coming up this week or last....
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:59 AM on August 25, 2009


I suppose that could do it. I'm amused that we're getting a bunch of traffic via an article that doesn't actually exist.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:01 AM on August 25, 2009


OpenTable was fucking awesome during restaurant week(s) because I had a friend flying in for it (yeah I know we're yuppies, well maybe just him) and like 4 other people I was coordinating and it was beautiful to have everything on one site.

The restaurants all call a day before to confirm, so I had no worries about that.
posted by kathrineg at 11:20 AM on August 25, 2009


WolframAlpha is pretty clever. I typed in "lorentz contraction at .5 c" and it told me. Also, try "10MT hydrogen bomb". On the other hand, they don't seem to have any vacuum tube data.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:26 PM on August 25, 2009


IIRC there are sites that aggregate Google Earth photos of nude sunbathers or whatever; maybe that earned California Coastline its NSFW designation? Or perhaps it's actually NSFW in a more literal sense, that goofing off browsing photos of coastline is likely to get you the boot?


Seconding loquacious' take on W|A. I've found it handy a few times for things like "what [country, city, etc] has the highest/lowest per-[capita, square mile] XYZ?". It'll gather the data in processable form, do the division, and sort the results for me.
posted by hattifattener at 6:42 PM on August 25, 2009


well, fuck...

Matt, if nobody has suggested it (tl, dr)...close the fucking registrations! we've too many idiots in here already...
posted by HuronBob at 6:47 PM on August 25, 2009


wow, my worst-ever preview fail. I thought I'd just reloaded this tab, but no, it was one I'd left open yesterday.
posted by hattifattener at 6:50 PM on August 25, 2009


and, snark aside... congratulations to Matt, and everyone of you for making this list... good work y'all.
posted by HuronBob at 6:52 PM on August 25, 2009


This is pretty much why I am on facebook.

"If you've been avoiding Facebook because you're concerned about privacy issues or worried you'll lose your life to social networking, you've already spent too much time thinking about this behemoth of a site. Although it's desperate to be more, Facebook is really just a phone book. It's where your acquaintances, friends, friends of friends and people you've met only a couple of times go when they need to find your e-mail address. While they're looking at your page, they'll be reminded of what you look like, your dog's name and your hometown — the kind of stuff that makes small talk easier."
posted by afu at 10:28 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh man I found this great Korean restaurant yesterday, but unfortunately it's only in my imagination"

Or North Korea
posted by scrutiny at 9:01 AM on September 10, 2009


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