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Jonathan Coulton is a musician and songwriter. A former computer programmer and self-described geek, Coulton tends to write quirky, witty lyrics about topics like science fiction and technology: a man[…]

Ze Frank’s ability to use technology to bring complete strangers together for a ridiculous project.

Question: What do you geek out on online? 

Jonathan Coulton: Boy, what do I geek out on? There's a guy named Ze Frank who I have stolen from quite frequently. I don't even know how you would describe him. He's a writer; he's sort of a professional "internet famous" person. He does projects on the Internet but they exist on so many different levels. They're really interesting. He made an earth sandwich once and he set up a piece of software, where you could plug in your coordinates and it would tell you the spot opposite, on the opposite side of the globe; would show you on a map where that was. And then people signed up and coordinated with each other, sort of a contest, and two groups of people on opposite sides of the planet arranged at the same time to lay a piece of bread down on the spot on the globe that was opposite. So they made an earth sandwich. And it's a perfect example of the kind of stuff that Ze does. You know he uses technology to bring complete strangers together for an absolutely ridiculous project that somehow still has a lot of heart to it. 

So, let's see, what else. You know my friend John Hodgman, I bad mentioning him because everybody's going to think I'm mentioning him just because he's my friend, but I think he's an incredibly talented writer and comedian and he is another person that I think just creates really terrific stuff that makes you laugh and sometime later, makes you cry, because it's ridiculous but it's also true. I'm a big admirer of his work. 

What else? Oh gosh, you've put me on the spot here. OK Go, I think. They're maybe a little more mainstream now. Those guys are pretty famous but and it seems trite to even talk about their music videos because I think most people agree that they are awesome, but you know, every time a new video comes out. I am amazed that they have been able to top themselves. And again, they start with a very simple concept, these are frequently pretty low-budget videos, but it's that perfect concept that you can somehow do quite a lot with even though it's a very small idea. Their music is great too, but I think they are just super, super creative talented people on all fronts and I'm very jealous of them.

Recorded on May 6, 2010