You have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the geniuses at Microsoft legal who filed a patent for Edward Tufte’s sparklines.
I’m reading Jonathan’s Lethem’s latest novel, Chronic City. The first chapter is a quirky, compelling read, focused on the burgeoning friendship of two very different men in a Manhattan that creeps into every bit of characterization. And while I love a good opening, there’s a ton to admire in the way Lethem broadside of The New Yorker and its audience:
In our talk marijuana confusion now gave way to caffeinated jags, like a cloud bank penetrated by buzzing Fokker airplanes. Did I read The New Yorker? This question had a dangerous urgency. It wasn’t any one writer or article he was worried about, but the font. The meaning embedded, at a preconscious level, by the look of the magazine, the seal, as he described it, that the typography and layout put on dialectical thought. According to Perkus, to read The New Yorker was to find that you always already agreed, no with The New Yorker but, much more dismayingly, with yourself.
Warren Ellis weighs in on his frustration with the current batch of augmented reality applications for smart phones:
Now fuck off and make something that’ll do useful work on a phone in a village, instead of something that’ll get you laid in fucking Hoxton. Make something that has meaning outside a major metropolis.
He has a point. I’m thankful that Ben Fullerton and Jenn Bove were able to talk me out going down the augmented reality angle for a proof of concept I’m working on.
One of the (many) good points they made was that I was over-thinking the solution rather than addressing the core problem. It could just as easily be stated that augmented reality is a lovely whiz-bang solution in certain contexts, but not-so-surprisingly inappropriate where the local terrain doesn’t cast a very deep shadow of data. Anyway, go through to the link; I left the two best punchlines out of the blockquote, and they’re worth the quick read.
Over at the AP blog, I put some excerpts from my interview with Adaptive Path’s good friend Matt Jones of Dopplr. Peter suggested that I use my personal blog for the “DVD extras” (as he put it), so I’m posting the entire 2 hour IM interview here. It’s long, it’s weird, and it was seriously a lot of fun. I hope you dig it.
And oh, hey, if you decide to register for MX, be sure to use FORF as your registration code (as in “Friend of Ryan Freitas”) for an additional 10% off!
Interview with Matt Jones
Ryan Freitas: Thank you for agreeing to chat prior to your appearance at MX next month.
Matt Jones: No problem! Or ‘np’ as they say on the internet.
RF: Will the talk you’re doing be similar to your IXDA presentation?
MJ: My IxDA presentation was about process and form in a way – how my way of working has been changed by new tools and new ways of developing. It was also about the nature of designing services that have a geospatial and time-based component. Hence it’s title “Designing for Spacetime.”
RF: I enjoyed the hell out of that talk.
MJ: Thanks! My MX talk will be more generally about the social component.
RF: Oh good. That’s actually part of your talk that I wanted to discuss.
MJ: But! It’s hard to get me off the spacetime subject… It’s a continuum…
RF: Of course. And we’ll get to THAT too. But I wanted to get deeper into something you mentioned in your “Spacetime” talk… because you actually did me a huge favor by mentioning Jyri Engestrom and “social objects.” Discussion of social objects actually gets us to Grant Morrison in two moves. [smile]
Sorry to cross-post, but I know that at least one or two people who come here probably don’t read the Adaptive Path blog.
The article that I wrote for Ambidextrous’ “Food” issue is being published, and they were nice enough to provide me with a PDF of it. Give it a read, let me know what you think.
The process of getting published was certainly a learning experience. I actually wrote the article back in November. I had written twice as many words as they’d asked for (I absolutely need to work on that), and they were nice enough to come back with some great edits and a request to increase the word count beyond the initial proposal. Even better, they asked me to get their photographer Mike into the kitchen at Aqua so he could take some shots to accompany the article.
I like the way the finished piece looks – lots of people had a hand in getting it to this point, and I appreciate all the help I got (thank you to Evany, Amanda, Lora and Mike!). I’m hoping the article serves to start a conversation, if nothing else.
Today is the twelfth anniversary of the death of Patrick Glackin, my maternal grandfather. Born in 1904, he was nearly 91 when he passed, and was mourned by three generations of his family. Yesterday, my mother gave me a copy of the eulogy my eldest cousin read at his funeral. An excerpt:
To his grandchildren, he was more than a grandfather, he was a playmate and world-renowned storyteller. For years we believed that as an Admiral in the Irish Navy, he found Mom-mom (my grandmother Mary) in a coconut tree on a deserted island, and that he had single-handedly fought WWII from Elizabeth, NJ.
He was slightly infamous for those tall-tales, and my grandmother scolded him (gently, always gently) for filling our heads with “nonsense and donkey dust.” Years before he died, Pop began to suffer the ravages of Alzheimer’s. Over time, there was less and less of the man who told those stories, who would sing rebel songs along with Clancy Brothers albums, who would take out his teeth before smiling at you, just to get a laugh.
We lost him before we truly lost him, and more was the pity. His stories remain, thankfully, and are as well-known by his surviving children as they are by a score of great-grandchildren whom he never got a chance to meet.
May the good Lord bless and keep you, Pop. You are missed.
I have alternately praised and damned Anthony Bourdain more times than I can count. Kitchen Confidential got me through my rather disastrous final months at the California Culinary Academy, and colored my appreciation for both my stints on the line at Aqua. I have enormous respect for the old man, and so we attended his appearance tonight at City Arts and Lectures with the expectation that something worthy of his old cranky self would emerge.
We weren’t disappointed.
There were quite a few bon mots, but probably the best was after he admitted to having been changed by his travel – he owned up to being softer now, less cynical. In light of that, he was asked, is there anything Food Network “bobble head” Rachael Ray could do to get into Bourdain’s notoriously slim good graces?
His reply was a deadpanned, “no.” He paused for the audience’s guffaws to subside. And then this: “Well… I do suppose she could crack open a bottle of Old Crow during one of her shows…”
“That, and maybe pistol-whipping Lindsay Lohan.”
He’s mellowing gracefully, and it’s good to see.