What Are Bots?
nybots: Bots are contraptions that humans have set into motion across the Internet. Bots are engines of whimsy and chaos, who will sometimes try and convince you they can make penises bigger. Bots are scavengers who bend and glue our cast-off word-garbage into scrapbooks, hoping we’ll be impressed. Bots are rarely perfect, and that is what makes them human.
New Project: RapBot
Do you like randomness? (If you follow this tumblr you probably do.) Do you like 80s freestyle battle rapping? (If you follow my other tumblr you probably do.) If you answered yes to either of those questions, you might like RapBot, a program I wrote that generates 80s freestyle battle raps.
Random Shopper: February Shipment →
notrare: In some weird way I feel bad about Palmistry for All, since I scanned the original from my collection and (with the Distributed Proofreaders team) produced the text Kessinger scraped to give you that crummy version. Here’s the HTML version, if it’s any consolation :) See my name right there in the frontmatter? O, Kessinger. What a load of crap thou art. Holy crap that’s awesome to...
February’s order has arrived! This time around, it consists of three books. The first is David Ferry’s Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (Phoenix Poets), a collection of poems and translations by renowned poet David Ferry (who, weirdly, lives about four miles away from me). “Poems and translations” means the book contains a mix of both original poems as well as...
Feburary Order Placed!
Just kicked off the February order. The total ordered was $48.16, and this month’s order was made possible by generous donations from Hunter Willis (@bhunterwillis) and “Claus from Denmark”. Many thanks to both of you!!!
Who is Random Shopper (according to Amazon)?
Amazon has lots of algorithms that try to determine what kind of a consumer you are. I’ve always maintained that if a computer program ever attains sentience, it’s likely to be Amazon’s recommendation engine. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to keep track of what kind of person Amazon thinks Random Shopper is. For the first two months, it didn’t offer any...
For this month’s shipment, I got two books: Machiavellian Democracy, by John P. McCormick; and Canadian Notabilities Volume I, by John Charles Dent. First, let’s talk about Canadian Notabilities. First of all, it is a work in the public domain that you can read online for free. I’m excited because I knew from my test runs that sooner rather than later I would receive a public...
beaglejeans: I wonder what you’ll do if you get a DVD from the wrong ‘region code’ or maybe even in ‘PAL’ format? In looking at this, I did it manually with the Wordnik ‘word of the day’ … “attacca”, and an Amazon search, scrolled down to the first physical item, which is this (admittedly awesome) 1966 Italian Sci-Fi DVD. That’s all part of the fun!
January Order Placed
Thanks to some donations from “Jannes” and “Andreas from Germany” I was able to place an order this month that came out to $72.90. Well… we’ll see what shows up!
In case you missed it...
…I made something tonight. It’s not quite Random Shopper, but you might like it, especially if you have ever used Twitter.
December Shipment: Parts Two and Three
I got the second and third parts of my December order last night, and I’m pleased to say that they’re much more along the lines of what I was expecting when I started this project. The first package I opened contained this religious manual: It’s an “alternative to the traditional age-based Communicant’s Class, offering Reformed and Presbyterian churches of any...
December Shipment: Part One
The first part of a three-part (I think) December shipment has arrived! Yes, it’s The Oxford History of World Cinema. Um, wow, yet again I get something that I’m interested in reading. Flipping through it, it’s a reference book that covers major historical movements in cinema with a bunch of sidebar biographies of key figures. It certainly earns its “World” title:...
December Order: Placed! (Also: My Bot Doesn't...
Thanks to the kindness of a donor who gave $7.22 to Amazon Random Shopper, plus last month’s leftover budget, I was able to increase the bot’s budget for December to $60! …it spent $64.43. This is possible because I actually had about $70 in gift card money on the account. From my test runs I know that sometimes you end up spending more on an item than what appears in the...
Addressing a criticism
I’d like to address one very valid class-based criticism I’ve seen of Amazon Random Shopper. Namely: I can’t believe this guy has $50 a month to burn on random stuff. I would spend it on things like food and rent. What a waste of money. The way I look at it is this: I’m spending $50 a month on art supplies. Some people might spend $50 a month on painting supplies: canvas,...
Randomize Your Black Friday
Is your Black Friday shopping experience terrifying? Are you at a loss for what to buy? If you’re a fan of Amazon Random Shopper and would like to support the project, you can buy it an Amazon Gift Card! Go to the Amazon Gift Card email page and enter “firstname.lastname@example.org” in the “to” field. All proceeds will be used to buy random crap chosen by the Amazon...
Shipment 1: Linguistics and Dissonance
Well, this is it. Two mysterious packages appeared today, courtesy of the bot I wrote to buy me things at random on Amazon. The first package contained a book, Noam Chomsky’s Cartesian Linguistics: According to Wikipedia: Cartesian linguistics refers to a form of linguistics developed during the time of René Descartes, a prominent 17th century philosopher whose ideas continue to...
Hi. I’m Darius Kazemi. Recently I’ve been making a bunch of weird stuff that randomly generates things. For example, there’s the Twitter account @metaphorminute, which tweets a random metaphor every couple minutes. There’s also OutSlide, which generates a slide deck from an outline that you enter by picking the first Google Image result for each phrase. I’ve had an...