Remembering Ebert 

Colleagues of his reminisce about working with/around him.

The No-Excuse List 

I love the internet: here’s a list of sites that offer of free tutorials and ressources to learn pretty much anything for free. No excuse not to get on that second language, to start programming, to learn to cook japanese cuisine or play the bass. Now get to it.

A book review about programming... in programming 

Robin Sloan gets creative with his review of Close to the Machine by Ellen Ullman:

Using a wonderfully accessible, personal type-a-long film, Robin Sloan – a writer and media inventor – has conducted one of his excellent Summer Reading book reviews using the medium of a javascript console. As each command is entered into the programming field, the text of the review is revealed.

Play the video, type in some code and see it unfurl here.

The Sartorialist: The Business of Blogging 

Quite insightful of How Mr. Sartorialist made it to an A-list blogger, developing a lucrative and niche market while doing what he loves. Surprisingly much more thought-out and strategically planned than what he seemed to front on his blog throughout the years.

Outside Mag: After two decades of dominance, Gore-Tex now has rivals 

A great read if you have a thing for Mountain Coop catalogs (like me). Gore-Tex's conquest of the outdoor equipement industry is staggering. I remember when it became mainstream and the object of desire in the playground: a new ski coat with gore-tex technology.

Fast Company: Profile of Jack Dorsey and Square 

I’ve always appreciated the simplicity of the idea behind this venture. Reading this makes me want to move to SF.

The New Yorker: Portrait of Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook 

To all the ambitious women around me, this is an inspiring must-read for all of you.

Go the Fuck to Sleep: A Bedtime Story 

For all my buddies who are now moms and dads with younglings to take care of, this one’s for you. I’m linking to The New Yorker’s [excellent] review, but there’s also a free Audible version read non other than Samuel L. Jackson.

Road trains! Road trains! 

I have been dreaming of these car platoons hooking up behind trucks since I was a kid. Witnessing the long drives we used to pull when on road trips, all the while watching trucks go by, I always wondered why we couldn’t just hook up to the truck to take us there. We’re all going to the same place, can’t we all just get along?

Information Architects: Business Class for News? 

When flying, both economy and business class get you to destination, yet people are willing to pay more for a better experience. iA's Oliver Reichenstein suggests the same could be applied to online news sites: paying a premium price for a better reading experience. Great idea.

Overthinking It: The Economics of Death Star Planet Destruction 

Pour mon Vincent et autres amateurs d'économie et de StarWars:
What’s the economic calculus behind the Empire’s tactic of A) building a Death Star, B) intimidating planets into submission with the threat of destruction, and C) actually carrying through with said destruction if the planet doesn’t comply?

Interview with Marco Arment 

A bit of behind-the-scenes talk with the one-man developer of Instapaper. It remains my very most favorite iPhone app. And like the best of tools, it came out of pure necessity.

'I, Reader' 

For my bookworm friends, it seems I have many: Alexander Chee's relationship as author and reader with books... and now, e-books. Delightful.

Designing Media 

Bill Moggridge, of IDEO fame, brings an interesting, pertinent and timely follow-up to his successful first book (Designing Interactions (2006)). Using the exact same approach, the book is built around a heap of interviews with “people who have made significant creative contributions to the design and development of media, ranging from the publisher of the New York Times to the founder of Twitter”.

It’s an obvious understatement that anybody working close and far in the communications field and/or design should read this. I sure know what I’m asking for Christmas. (Amazon link)

Muji Book 

Oooh, after apps, Muji has now a book, with texts by none other than the godfathers of super normal design: Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa.

Muji’s founding principle was to develop new and simple products at reasonable prices by making the best use of materials while minimizing their impact on the environment.

I’m also interested in what Kenya Hara, the art director for Muji, has to say about it all, especially in a brand where minimalism is key. A few images from the book here, but alas no spreads. However, it’s already up for grabs on Amazon.

Consider the Lobster 

The original complete Foster Wallace article, as it appeared in Gourmet Magazine in 2004. If you've never read anything by the man, start with this. It's long and funny, with footnotes and all and very scientific at times. Also, if you're into eating lobster (who isn't?), read it too. Many myths around the marine crustacean (aquatic arthropod!) are bunked throughout. And yes they do feel it when you're boiling them alive.

Khoi Vihn: My iPad Magazine Stand 

Khoi Vihn, who until recently was the design director of the NYTimes website:
My opinion about iPad-based magazines is that they run counter to how people use tablets today and, unless something changes, will remain at odds with the way people will use tablets as the medium matures. They’re bloated, user-unfriendly and map to a tired pattern of mass media brands trying vainly to establish beachheads on new platforms without really understanding the platforms at all.
and
Social media, if it’s not already obvious to everyone, is going to continue to change everything — including publishing. And it’s a no-brainer to me that content consumption is going to be intimately if not inextricably linked with your social graph. Combine Flipboard or whatever comes along and improves upon it with the real innovation in recommendation technology that we’ll almost undoubtedly see in the next few years, and I can’t see how the 20th Century concept of a magazine can survive, even if it does look great on a tablet.
My feelings too. The Wired and New Yorker app, though pretty, still think like a paper magazine, something you read from back to cover once. A real jump to digital would necessitate a deeper understanding and embrace of the platform (something we're all thriving to overcome), and undoubtedly a genuine change in the aggregation of content. Maybe it's not—gasp!—monthly.

Milton Glaser: Ten Things I Have Learned 

Part of his 2001 AIGA Talk (London). The kind of wisdom that sounds even wiser with age. Or maybe everything always does? Anyways, I love this:
Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. [...] However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. ‘Just enough is more.’

Core 77: The Strategic Arc of Interaction Design 

Steve Baty, of Meld Studio, discusses the potential of interaction design, completing a holistic design approach in structures of all kinds (e.g. business or governments):
As designers of interactions broaden their perspective and take a higher level view of the problem, they simultaneously make another transition: they stop solving interaction design problems and begin solving problems with design. And it is in taking this step that designers—of all types—begin to play a more strategic role in the organisations and societies for which they work.

NYT: Inside the Knockoff-Tennis-Shoe Factory 

Canal street of the worlds, Pudian lives to make you fakes. Flip it around and ask yourself why we're still buying 100$ sports shoes.

Azure: Fogo Island’s Cultural Revival 

If you’re at the mag shop, waltz over to the design section and take a look at the latest Azure issue. Making the cover is a well written article covering the completion of the Long Studio on Fogo Island, which I visited and photographed last February . Beautiful architectural photography by Bent René Synnevåg.

Vanity Fair: With a Little Help From His Friends 

And if Zuckerberg's portrait wasn't enough, check out Sean Parker's, it's mesmerizing:
At 19, Sean Parker helped create Napster. At 24, he was founding president of Facebook. At 30, he’s the hard-partying, press-shy genius of social networking, a budding billionaire, and about to be famous—played by Justin Timberlake in David Fincher’s new film, The Social Network.

The New Yorker: Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg opens up 

I've been fascinated by all things Facebook recently. This portrait of its founder is well worth the read. The magnitude of this empire is beyond words and even he still sounds overwhelmed by it too. Though quiet and understated, Zuckerberg feels confident and up for the challenge of keeping Facebook not only alive, growing. Oh, and The Social Network is opening next week.

Pick up this week’s edition of the New Yorker and there’s an excellent and exhaustive article about architecture’s superstar Zaha Hadid. Covering the story of her latest project—the Museum of 21s Century Art in Rome (MAXXI)—it also explores where she has come from and how her views of architecture have been challenging the status quo since the 70/80s and are still, today, as fresh. The accompanying audio slideshow gives you the gist of it.

And 1000pts if you can guess the name of the photographer behind the photographs of the MAXXI museum. Watch out, bragging ahead: I got it right.

 

For Patrick, Francis and other design brains: Ten Reasons to buy the BLDGBLOG book. I have a weakness for books that encompass more than single subject—or a single subject which is approached and treated in many numerous ways—and who celebrate that spirit instead of shunning the idea and streamlining the whole thing way too much.

I know magazines are supposed to fulfill this precise approach, neverhteless, I feel that many should take note, cause it ain’t happening.

 

Jim, you’ll like this one: An interesting analysis of how the main characters in Fight Club are simply Calvin (Ed Norton’s character) and Hobbes (Tyler played by Brad Pitt) who grew up.

Within the safety of the panel, Calvin is perpetually six years old, terrible things can never happen, and no matter how crazy a stunt he pulls, everything always returns to status quo. Because of this, our hero is free to do as he wishes, free to chase his dreams as wildly as he desires, never having to worry about tomorrow because there essentially will never be one—unless it’s part of a continuing storyline. This makes the reality of Fight Club all the bleaker, because it depicts what happens when you take someone weaned on dreams and limitless possibilities and jam him into a cramped cage confined by rules and regulations. It probably only took poor Calvin a few years in the adult world (or growing-up world) to fully make the sad change.

Obviously “uptight, grade-obsessed Susie Derkins lost her way” and thus Marla Singer was born.

 

Sad news to the design web community: japanese online design magazine Pingmag “will be taking an extended hiatus, and will not be updated for the foreseeable future.” It saddens me because we’re always better having insightful articles [online] rather than vapid glossy pages [in print]. I have linked to PingMag many time over the years, and there’s still more than enough content to discover in the archives

Written in exactly a 1000 Words: A Manifesto for Sustainability in Design By Allan Chochinov. Excellente liste. J’trouve que plusieurs de ces idées s’appliquent tout autant à tout être humain travaillant, générant des projets, possédant du pouvoir décisionnel. Des idées comme “Stop Making Crap” ou “Systems Before Artifacts” se transposent et sont parfaitement valables dans plusisurs champs d‘étude. Votre seule lecture obligatoire de la semaine. 

#72 is a colorless Colors issue devoted to blindness. Best of all, they have released audio readings of the articles. With some imaginatively gorgeous descriptions: sour apples are silver, the sounds shadows in the wind… 

Vous vous souvenez de cet article paru sur Hippopocampe que j’ai écrit comme “cadeau” à Nicolas Langelier afin de l’aider à compléter sa liste-chronique des 10000 choses qui sont vraies? Il l’a utilisé pour sa dernière chronique: Dix mille choses qui sont vraies #9 933: Au Scrabble, les joueurs se plaignent toujours des lettres qu’ils ont pigées