Though we've always had to squint to see where new media jobs end and indentured servitude begins, Dog Bites notes that over at CNET, the distinction is becoming even less clear. At the company's Snap! Online Web site -- oops, we mean service -- the free-lancers who write the reviews that comprise the bulk of Snap!'s content earn $600 each for writing a required 175 Web site reviews a week. Which, for those of you caught without a calculator, works out to $3.43 cents a review.
Oh well. Luckily, Snap! content producer Suzanne Herel sent a memo last Tuesday to her contract-work minions instructing them that they'd have something to spend their paychecks on -- new software. As of this week, all free-lancers will be expected to own their own copies of Filemaker Pro.
"I'm sorry, but we can neither provide this software nor reimburse you for the cost," Herel told the memo recipients, after chirpily assuring them that if they shop around they should be able to find a copy for $99 or thereabouts. Which would be, oh, 23 reviews or so.
And by the way, you little slackers, morale had better improve -- or heads will roll! "For x [sic], we've continued to work with people who haven't met the quota, duplicated entries, failed to provide keywords, and in general handed in less than stellar work," noted Herel. "Along with (the former editing software package) goes any excuse not to perform up to standards."
Snap! indeed. Was that a whip we heard?
These Kidz Today ...
With the news that the Pentagon computer break-ins were allegedly masterminded by a Cloverdale high school student whose online handle is Makaveli, Dog Bites came to a startling realization. Hackers and rappers have the same names! If you don't believe us, try picking out which are which from the following list of funky monikers:
Name Rapper Hacker
a) TooShort [ ] [ ]
b) MynBenda [ ] [ ]
c) Analyzer [ ] [ ]
d) ShdowGawd [ ] [ ]
e) Cap'n'Crunch [ ] [ ]
f) C-Style [ ] [ ]
g) Xzibit [ ] [ ]
h) KuRuPTioN [ ] [ ]
i) Assassin [ ] [ ]
First person to e-mail us the correct answers wins.
Humiliation Is Fun
When we got a letter inviting us to "[l]earn how to turn life's humiliations into comedy at a free standup workshop" next Sunday at the Punch Line, our interest was immediately piqued. But first, we thought we'd see just how good the workshop leader -- L.A. stand-up comic Judy Carter -- really is. We came up with several totally humiliating situations we'd been in and tossed them her way to see what she'd make of them.
First, though, Carter -- an advocate of using humor to right all kinds of wrongs -- said we might want to consider mocking our cross-town rivals at the Grauniad. "'Cause they're trashing you!" she exclaimed. "They said no one reads the Weekly!"
Hmm. Duly noted.
Now, about those humiliations. Carter quickly dispensed crushing retorts for a variety of every-day evildoers, but might have been a bit stumped by the last scenario we gave her.
DB: So I saw my bus down at the corner and I ran for it, and just as I was at the curb I tripped over my own foot and fell down in the middle of the road. And right then the bus had started to go, and the bus driver thought he'd hit me, so he slammed on the brakes and was yelling, "Miss! Miss! Are you OK?" And everyone on the bus was staring at me, and I had scraped all the skin off my hands, and I was having a bad morning already, so I just started crying. And the bus driver kept standing there waiting, but there was no way I was getting on the bus with everyone staring at me like Oh, there's the crying girl who fell down in the street. So I went home.
JC: Well, the message here is you have to get a car. I mean, San Francisco? Hills? Public transit? That's the worst!
DB: OK, so how would I turn that whole episode into comedy?
JC: (Pauses.) I think the problem was maybe that you took off too soon. It's always situations like that where a cute guy goes up to you and says, "Are you OK? Can I help you?" You should have stuck around.
DB: But I'm not allowed to meet guys. I'm married.
JC: See, that's the ultimate humiliation. Really. That's the worst part of the whole story.
DB: Well, I don't know. I think it was actually the part where my briefcase exploded in the gutter.
-- Laurel Wellman
Dog Bites welcomes tips, especially those pertaining to disgruntlement. Write to Dog Bites, c/o SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.