16 july 2004: color-coded
flipsockgrrl @ gmail .com
I just finished reading William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" in which protagonist Cayce earns a crust predicting what new brands, designs and products will catch on. (Surprisingly, given the author, it's not particularly an SF book--more like a standard contemporary thriller with added e-mail.)
Meanwhile Teresa Nielsen Hayden has been pondering an American trade organisation called Color Marketing Group:
Teresa has written an excellent, link-filled article about Color Marketing Group and as a bonus she includes their 2004 color prescriptions for the Action/Recreation industry, Durable Home Products, Communications/Graphics, Fashion, Home Fashion and Transport and related industries.
16 July 2004 | top of page
Fun with captions: rock, paper, Saddam.
Journey through Max Weber's Pit and use your mouse to disturb the denizens, drift along the river of... um... something green and slightly bubbly, and launch short animated bits of amusing pointlessness. (Requires Flash/Shockwave)
Dunedin fire walk organiser defends injury rate. The mass walk across hot coals was a fund-raiser for the local St John's ambulance service. Eleven people were taken to hospital for emergency treatment, and another 17 were treated on the spot.
Developers of the "Halo" computer game publish regular updates on what they're doing. In this one, Jaime Griesemer describes what it's like to let other people play with your carefully-nurtured work of art:
"Kids love it when their parents read to them at bedtime. But let's face it. In today's society, time is of the essence. There's only so much you can do in a day..." Book-A-Minute Bedtime offers ultra-condensed versions of all the best kids' books. Here, for example, is Dr Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go!":
...and for adults, there's a vast collection of ultra-condensed movies in Movie-A-Minute.
"ADMIT IT: You've read The Da Vinci Code. There's no denying it. I saw you with it last week on the subway, your finger stuck in the spine to keep your place... I'm not here to judge you... Still, if you're going to subject your gray matter to Dan Brown's unholy union of Tom Clancy and Indiana Jones, you should at least get some background on the source material he lifted his plot from: Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln's 1982 bestseller Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which has been recently revived in the wake of Brown's success. (I didn't say that you should actually read the book: ...that goes beyond the level of torture even Donald Rumsfeld would feel comfortable with.)"
Confronted by a lot of earnest talk and reams of documentation, we're tempted to believe there's some serious thinking going on. The reality is that "we stumble around in a fog of verbiage, ...grabbing only bits and pieces of arguments and clinging to our own for all we are worth, if only as flotsam that will keep us afloat in the swirling currents of the great river of argy bargy." The technique of 'argument mapping' can you sort things out.
Flipsock friend Chris identifies another instance of strewth in advertising: your beer may be lumpy, but you can't argue that a glass tasting of rotting-fish has less flavor than the competitor's product.
"At a time when the language has become the world’s dominant tongue and when an extraordinary range of scholarship is being produced in it, while subcultural and scientific neologisms proliferate, [Don] Watson’s gloom seems... misplaced... There is no way things ought to be and there is no prize for mere indignation. The language is as open to creative and rigorous use as it ever was. What’s required is leadership from creators, rather than sullen ‘resistance’ by those who believe they’ve been subjected to a death sentence."
Susan Boyle and Benton Brown have renovated a Brooklyn building into ecologically friendly apartments. Says Boyle: "New York City, to me, is the greenest city in the world, for the energy efficiency of its compact living and ease of public transportation."
"So here we are in 'the age of delivery': promise what you like, but you'd better be sure you deliver on that promise. Companies with a good customer experience excel above traditional companies that put all their resources into the promise."
The Crazy Case Mod Contest attracted entries from computers with resident hamsters and fish, several works of wooden art and a range of other strange storage.
Ritsumeikan University researchers have built small, rolling 'soft robots' that pull themselves along by shifting their shape. The flexible plastic wheels have spokes made from shape memory alloy, a common robotics material that shortens when heated from current flowing through it.
A Gartner report claims "Portable storage products can bypass perimeter defences like firewalls and antivirus at the mailserver, and introduce malware such as Trojans or viruses onto company networks." Gartner recommends banning MP3 players, digital cameras and memory sticks from the workplace.
15 July 2004 | top of page
The joy of pointless programming: how one man beat an 18-year-old record for constructing the longest palindrome. The secret of his success: a standard laptop computer that can efficiently sift through a 100,000-word dictionary.
14 July 2004 | top of page
Keira Knightley, before and after: a Photoshop boob job, or another triumph for the Wonderbra and a pair of socks?
Web Side Story says Microsoft Explorer's share of the browser market has dropped from 95.48 to 94.42 per cent since early June. Hardly a users' revolt, but it's a start.
Useful phrases for travellers, from the Zompist Phrasebook:
Couple of beaut tidbits in Design Observer this month:
Notes, blogs and presentation slides from this year's Usability Professionals Association conference (USA), on the theme of 'connecting communities'.
San Francisco cartoonist Mark Fiore's latest animated editorial toon is an ad for the Electronic Election 2004, coming to a ballot booth near you. (Requires Shockwave)
The European Space Agency, the European Southern Observatory and NASA have released a free Photoshop plug-in that gives anyone access to archival astronomical images and spectra from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and others. (via BoingBoing.net)
"Ultimately, narrative shows how the end was contained all the time in the beginning, which is why 'you choose the ending' is lame-o." Question is, can we invent a new way of telling stories that employs the narrative uncertainty and other qualities of Internet/online communication?
Japanese scientists are trying to make an electronic skin as sensitive as human skin, with sensitivity to heat, pressure, humidity and other factors. The thin plastic skin could be used for robotics, prostheses, and for sport, security, safety and other medical applications. (via boingboing)
13 July 2004 | top of page
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