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Introducing iDud

Idumpfront_1 With all of the adorable accessories you can buy for an iPod now — from knitted or suede cases to handbags to hats (yes, hats) — Jason and I thought it'd be fun to come up with an accessory of our own. Thus, we are pleased to introduce the iDump Disposal System, a high-end, elegant trash bag designed exclusively for iPods (see fine print).

This is also my way of noting that we've soft-launched iDud, a new web site that calls attention to the shoddy construction of iPods and similar electronic devices.


If anyone is in the San Francisco Bay area and would be willing to help us hand out iDud literature (trash bags) at Macworld, January 8 - 12, by all means let me know.

Posted by carrie on 12/29/2006 | Permalink | Comments (4)

The Areas of John Hodgman's Expertise

Hodgausiobookpicture_228Did you know that the Dustbowl of the 1930s was spawned by hobos seeking to overthrow the United States government? Or that photographer Walker Evans was dispatched to hunt down and kill as many hobos as he could? Were you aware that all actuaries are marked by tattoos indicating the actuarial tribe to which they belong? Did you know there's an elaborate grift called the "Lenny and Squiggy"?

These and many other facts are enumerated, quite wryly, by Daily Show correspondent and computer impersonator John Hodgman in audiobook "The Areas of My Expertise". For some reason, all 7 or 8 hours are available on iTunes for free. I have no idea why or for how long, so get to clicking.


Posted by Damian on 12/24/2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)


Inspiredproduct (PRODUCT) RED is the latest cause marketing campaign sweeping the country with products from a variety of companies and celebrity endorsed advertising to boot. While the Global Fund to Fight Aids is a worthy cause, certainly there's more one can do than buy products.

INSPI(RE)D is a brilliant response to the campaign. Like (PRODUCT) RED, INSPI(RE)D raises awareness and money for the cause, but also "encourages conscious consumption, and provides a means of involvement for those unwilling or unable to buy Product (Red) products."  The folks at INSPI(RE)D are holding an ebay auction of their red products, like thrift store t-shirts with INSPI(RE)D printed over them, a red visor, and a red pot.  Compared with that fancy, AIDS fighting, Armani Watch, these products are certainly more useful to a guy like me.

Posted by Steve Lambert on 12/19/2006 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Acura: embrace the dark side





Posted by Damian on 12/17/2006 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Great Moments in Advertising 29

A screen shot from WABC-TV's website:

Toyota car ad advertisement Product placement

Now I'll never use a Honda to try to kill a teacher again.

RELATED: Acura ad touts "civilized" aggression.

(Via Streetsblog)

Posted by carrie on 12/17/2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Is Apple trying to trick iPod users?

Avcableipod Steven Hoskins, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, recently told me the following story and I begged him to write it up for us. Basically, he found that Apple reversed the colors of standard AV cables so that people who try to hook their iPods up to a TV using a non-Apple cable assume it won't work:

For years I have used a standard AV cable that connects from the mini-AV-out on most digital cameras to composite video and audio RCA jacks on televisions. The jack/plug color coordination is standard: red and white is for stereo audio; yellow is video.

Apples latest iPod can be connected to a television as well, and I immediately uploaded an iPod movie and plugged in my trusty cable, but to no avail. After re-reading the manual, I turned to Apple's website, where I found a wealth of information on Apple's AV Connection Kit for iPod, about $100, which included a cable to connect the iPod to a television. Hmmm. I was fairly miffed my trusty $30 cable could not do the job.

Noted on its website: "Important: You should only use the included cable. Other RCA video cables won't work. Though other cables may look similar, only the Apple iPod AV Cable works with the iPod Headphones and AV port."

Somehow during later experimentation, I accidentally attached the wrong color plugs of my cable to the television RCA jacks -- and it worked!  It looks like Apple has merely changed the standard color scheme to make people believe their regular cables are incompatible. Sneaky Apple.

If anyone has similar results, please let us know. (We don't know if experimenting is dangerous to the devices, though.) I should add that the AV cable is now available from Apple without the full kit for $19.


Wall Street Journal on Broken iPods
A Call to Artists - and to Owners of Broken iPods
Good Luck With That Broken iPod (New York Times)
Pain in the Pod (Chicago Tribune)

Posted by carrie on 12/15/2006 | Permalink | Comments (7)

I Ain't Sayin' He's A Gold Digger


I want to avoid the obvious headline but Evel Knievel ain't suing no broke niggas, so what am I suppossed to do?

Evel Knievel is suing Kanye West for imitating him in his Touch The Sky video. I agree that it would be hard for Kanye to argue that the scene isn't an homage to the Snake River Canyon jump - but it's also pretty hard for America's Legendary Daredevil to argue that it isn't a parody.

Via The Smoking Gun.

Posted by Charles Star on 12/12/2006 | Permalink | Comments (5)

26th Anniversary + 2 Days R.I.P.

Just heard John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" on the radio. Thirty-five years after its release, the song is as moving and relevant as ever this holiday season. But upon this listen, I was struck by a quirk of the opening lyrics: "So this is Xmas/And what have you done/Another year over/And a new one just begun."

Not to quibble with one of our great modern poet-philosophers, but, hey, is it Christmas? Or is it New Year's? Sure, "done" rhymes with "begun." But if the year has already begun…well, you catch my drift. Perhaps "So this is Xmas/And a war we're not winning/Another year almost over/And a new one soon beginning" would've cleared things up. Just my two cents.

If John was still with us, I'd post this as a comment on his myspace page. After thanking him for the add.

Posted by Jack Silbert on 12/10/2006 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Mary Cheney Quite Contrary

With some conservatives bugging out about Mary Cheney's recently announced pregnancy, Hit & Run beats The Onion to the punch: Christians Urge Mary Cheney to Abort Her Baby.


Posted by Charles Star on 12/08/2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Give a penny. That is an order.

RoundingAren't pennies annoying? They clog your pockets during the day and annoy your significant other as your end-of-day pocket dump results in a pile of copper that can be put up for bid on the Commodities Exchange.

Is there a solution? Finally, yes. Stay Free! crossword constructor Francis Heaney found a restaurant that has decided to solve the problem for you. By rounding up.

This will come as a great relief to those among us who get antsy when their credit card bill isn't divisible by a nickel.

Posted by Charles Star on 12/07/2006 | Permalink | Comments (5)