Mark Frauenfelder launched bOING bOING, an ink-on-paper zine, in 1988. He did the artwork for Billy Idol's 1993 Cyberpunk album, using a Mac instead of a photo studio. Frauenfelder joined Wired when that was considered a foolish move by media professionals. Later he resurrected Boing Boing as a website, then again as a blog in 2000. He's now editor-in-chief of Make magazine. Does this guy have an unlimited supply of cool? Not unless he learns to say no to advertisers who co-opt him.When Frauenfelder appeared in an Apple TV spot a few years ago, his fans loved seeing their fringe-culture hero take over the boob tube. But today ads are jammed full of Internet hipsters. Boing Boing's "band manager," John Battelle, has turned old-fashioned host endorsements into an online art form at Federated Media, his advertising agency. He's holding a conference right now in San Francisco's Presidio, telling eager brand managers that endorsers like Mark Frauenfelder make them part of a conversation with Internet consumers. Battelle builds sites whose ads feature authors on whose blogs he also sells ads. It's a reputational Ponzi scheme far more complex than a George Foreman grill. Maybe that's why I flinch when Frauenfelder's face pops up on my screen with an Adobe logo and a button that says Grab Widget. Mark, if I want a widget, I'll open your magazine and make one myself.
After wooing San Francisco at its hub airport, Virgin America has enlisted seven Internet heroes to pitch the new airline. Seen here are Xeni Jardin, Cory Doctorow, David Pescovitz, and Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing; Peter Rojas of Engadget; and Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose of Diggnation. You can see them in these Virgin cartoon spots, which are like C-minus episodes of Sealab 2021.
The Bart Nagel photo above depicts the big throbbing brains of uberblog Boing Boing, namely, from left to right, Mark Frauenfelder, David Pescovitz, John Battelle, Cory Doctorow, and Xeni Jardin. In a doofy "New-Media Power List" in the Wall Street Journal, the photo is charmingly cropped to include the slinky hotness of Jardin, plus an incidental Doctorow behind her ear (though we're sure they would have liked to excise him as well). The blurb also mentions only Jardin and Doctorow, neatly avoiding the buzzkill of three more nerdy-glasses dudes in the photo (or the article). Of course, Boing Boing readers offered no sympathy, instead offering a quick arithmetic lesson.
Don't mind that old fart ConFonz — this weekend's Maker Faire was a two-day rockfest of hackers and crackers sprawled across the San Mateo Fairgrounds. This was a fair with sponsorships from Lego and Digg, this was a festival with an official scooter. MAKE Magazine pulled its best and brightest — MAKE blogger Phil Torrone, editor and BoingBoing blogger Mark Frauenfelder — into a campus of hangars and lawns, where the crafty boys and girls smashed, launched, and hacked the hell out of everything in sight. I showed up to write, and Laughing Squid's Scott Beale showed up to shoot.
This year, as every year, Brian Alvey of the Weblogs, Inc. Network renewed JohnBattelle.com. UPDATE: Brian Alvey of Weblogs Inc. doesn't still own JohnBattelle.com, but because his WIN partner Jason Calacanis sold it along with the Silicon Alley Reporter, he's been listed as owning the domain ever since the first boom.