the latest from zunta labs

posted by tom / May 05, 2006 /

So, as everybody knows, Mike Grass, friend to me and Catherine and cofounder of DCist, has launched his newest professional endeavor, a blog for the Washington Post's Express newspaper. The site looks great, and I have no doubt that it will be a wild success — Mike was born to be an editor. It seems highly likely to me that I'll be pestering him for a cushy IT job someday.

But there's already a tic of the new site that's erupted in controversy: the bolding. Between this and DCist's now-partially-abandoned editorial "we", Mike's establishing a pattern of copy-editing controversy.

Well, personally I can't get enough of it. And if you can't either, I can help sate your bottomless lust for bold. Presenting the Expressamifier, a Javascript bookmarklet to bring FreeRide's distinctive look to virtually any webpage! Just click on and drag this link up to your browser's quicklinks bar (where Firefox sticks "Getting Started" and "Live Headlines" by default):


Then browse to any site and press it. Our sophisticated algorithms will selectively highlight text to maximize, uh, boldousity. Yeah.

And, as a special bonus, you can try running it on the Express website itself for a unique surprise. The resulting reaction is not unlike matter and antimatter colliding.

SPECIAL BONUS NOT TONGUE-IN-CHEEK ADDENDUM: Okay, so the bookmarklet will try to remove the bold from FreeRide. But it turns out that there's so goddamn much of it that you have to run it several times to remove it all. No joke.

ALSO: This bookmarklet is pretty inefficient, and could easily crash your browser. Don't use it if you have unsaved work in some other tab.

AND: It seems to produce an error in IE, and doesn't work at all in Safari. But shouldn't you be using Firefox anyway? This clearly isn't the sort of thing I'm going to waste time debugging. Probably.

FINALLY: Because it's late and I apparently can't adopt a consistent sarcastic voice, I should point out that the stuff above about Mike is meant in earnest. The stuff about liking the bolding... yeah, not so much.


Yo, you should sell this to Yahoo and make millions. It's like a whole new browsing experience.

Posted by: Emily on May 5, 2006 01:20 PM

Classic. Good work Tom. For the record, I did not establish the "we" voice on DCist. That is something that was mandated by Gothamist. I'm curious as to what Jake and Jen think of the recent deviation.

Also, thanks for your input on the bolding. I might make a comment about Catherine's fear of capitalization, but I will back off. Like I said in this week's chat, I've received more praise about the bolding than criticism. Not everyone likes to look at a big block of text, espeically when it's pumped up with long multisyllabic words. Most blog readers are scanners, not actual readers.

Posted by: mgrass on May 5, 2006 05:33 PM

uh, what does my not capitalizing on a personal blog have to do with a post on bolding on the express blog that tommy wrote?

Posted by: catherine on May 6, 2006 03:31 AM

General style preference. We all have opinions.

Posted by: mgrass on May 8, 2006 01:54 PM

i'm just saying, no need to insult my blogging style in a post that had nothing to do with me in the first place.

Posted by: catherine on May 8, 2006 02:23 PM

I'm sorry that you feel insulted. That was not my intent. But you two write a group blog, albeit one that has two different sets of informal style rules, but it's a group blog nonetheless. Although you may think that you speak in two individual voices, they are, to the reader, joined ... Therefore my commentary on your capitalization as part of an overall discussion about this here blog.

Posted by: mgrass on May 8, 2006 11:32 PM

i totally understand your point, mike. it just seemed arbitrary to me, but it's not a big deal. the lack of capitalization is probably a habit i should break, but hitting that shift key is just such an effort.

Posted by: catherine on May 8, 2006 11:46 PM

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