Today I am inspired by rumors I heard about John Travolta. So on this day after a momentus day in the history of our nation’s socio-political landscape, I too am coming out of the closet and prepare to be wed. To web.
The truth is, I have always wanted to know how to program a website. There. I said it, it’s out. Yes, yes, I am valued by my clients as a brick and mortar kind of design/build guy, and I can be frequently heard calling myself a luddite, but secretly I look at html/css class schedules at 3rd Ward and buy intructional books at Barnes & Noble, and shamefully keep them spine-in on a shelf by the bed painfully wondering when I will ever be able to program a website myself like those other cool kids and cease to be a slave to their plug-ins and cryptic jokes all riddled with m-dashes and back slashes.
ell, today all that changes, now that I have found Jessica Hische and Russ Maschmeyer’s instructional site Don’t Fear the Internet (with videos!). Full discloser: I have had a design crush on Hische for a while now. Her skills are sick. And I have come very close to working with Russ. I contacted Russ via Liz Danzigo at SVA Interaction Design because I needed a programmer, well, because– wait for it– I don’t know how to program a fucking website!! But again, today all that changes. Those two are geniuses. Check out the site. Extremely clear. While watching one of the videos I almost started crying as I considered the world of code that would suddenly demystify in front of my eyes. Matrix, here I come….
The New York Times piece, The iEconomy: How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work is a must read for anyone who cares about the state of this country and the direction in which we’re headed. I love Apple and I love this country. So it saddens me to watch our class structure deteriorate under a weight of consumer entitlement to the point where the working class cannot afford to work to manufacture the goods that it feels entitled to consume, and the ruling class cannot afford to manufacture at a price that reflects the purchase power of an employed and reasonably compensated consumer populace. It’s a bubble. Read the piece and try to envision for yourself where the American working class actually lives in the economy described in the article. And definitely watch the multi-media piece they put together. Excellent journalism and presentation. I hope they get a Pulitzer for this one.
Sitting at home, watching hurricane Irene gain speed as she heads our way, I’m online looking at the handcrank radio and flashlight units from Eton— one of which I really wish I had right about now as we prepare for a power outtage but noooo!!! I had to tell myself it was a frivolous purchase two years ago— and I came upon this new beauty, coming soon for iPhone 4. Pretty sweet.
Brooklyn Tech, as it’s known, has some great stone work on its facade, with inspiring machine age iconography. The building was built from 1930-33, at the exact time as Rockefeller Center, and its exterior iconography is of the same post-crash, WPA vintage and spirit, calling people to work hard and to excel in sciences, technology, industry and American innovation. We seriously need a big ass booster shot of that stuff in this country. Read more on wikipedia… and marvel at the facilities originally housed inside for educating young New Yorkers in real trades.
Am I late to the party here? I just noticed today that McNally Jackson on Spring St has a mega gizmo in store that prints high quality paperbacks on demand in minutes. Can be anything from the public domain. Or your own work– and they’ve got a design team ready to help with everything from cover art to typesetting. Um– whoa!?! How cool is that? Well, that’s one way to fight the Kindle. Read more…
Apple unveils “iCloud.” I don’t trust the cloud. Gmail is already a problem from my perspective. Yes, centralizing data and access from multiple devices is necessary. But all your digital music, photos and data files stored in one place in someone else’s home? All OUR music, photos and data files stored in one 500,000 square foot facility in northern California? And a facility owned by the people who sell the tech to access it? Too much localization of content and distribution. That is a riddle of problems waiting to happen. Back it up folks. It is only a matter of time before this is referred to as “iCloudius.” Mark my words.
I bought a new printer the other day and while I was taking it out of the box, I had to stop to take some ID porn. You know how when you are unpacking a new appliance and you remove the top pieces of styrofoam packing to be faced with the task of lifting a heavy item out of its box while it is still wrapped in extremely slippery plastic, and all you can think while lifting it out is ‘Holy shit, it’s slipping! I just paid an arm and a leg for this thing and I’m gonna break it before I get it out of the box!!”? Yeah, well, Epson thought of that this time. So they put handles on that super slippery plastic wrapping, et voila! You lift it right out. No icky fuss. No messy clean up! Smart package design.
By the way, the Epson Workforce 1100 is a really good printer for the money. I guess Epson figured out that a huge part of its large format market was wasting money and ink on high priced photo quality printers just to run off large format office production and presentation papers. They retooled the ink flow and paper speed and dropped the price, and man is this a good printer!
I’m working on a radio for a client and trying to make it cheap. And cool. So this caught my eye. Though not cheap enough. Still, a clever integration of existing and leading tech (read: iPhone) into a humble block of wood. Granted, it’s unspeakably wasteful– the iPhone can do all that just fine by itself– but there’s some joy there so score another for Jonas Damon. Truth be told, I cry foul on mine own criteria as this is no radio at all but just an alarm clock. Still. It goes in the pile marked inspiring. (Available at Areaware.)