The Poke Lift

The Poke lift is a little bit broken – the LED panel has come off which leaves the circuit board uncovered. And you can probably see there’s a really lovely bunch of coloured cables behind. Every time I see them I have a really strong urge to cut some of them. I’m not sure which colours I’d go for yet.

Films and computer games definitely influence the way we perceive the world.

Old But Pure Gold

I’m sure I should have read this before. But for some reason I hadn’t. It’s perhaps one of my single favourite blog posts ever:

Hugh ‘GapingVoid’ MacLeod on How To Be Creative

I discovered it when looking at his cartoons the other day. Even though it’s a couple of years old anyone who does anything that is an any way creative or has any relationship with anyone who is creative should read it. That means everyone. That means you!

I can’t recall a blog post that’s made a tear well up in my eye and made me laugh out loud at the same time. This one did. It’s long, but worth every minute.

Read it.

Why I Like This QR Code Poster

I like this QR code poster. Here’s the reason why:

  • It’s very big, so you can take a photo of it from across the road. Good usability.
  • It’s mulit-layered. If you don’t know what a QR code is, it doesn’t matter, it just looks like a big fucked up cyber-apocalyptic thing with a 28 Weeks Later logo in the middle – and you see the URL.

I’m guessing that given the location (Shoreditch High Street), 15% of the people who see the poster will know what a QR code is. 22% of that 15% will have a phone that can read QR codes. Of the remaining audience 19% will bother to photograph and read the QR code (because they’re hardcore nerds and they want to know what it does).

I’ve no idea what it does because my phone doesn’t have the right software. I still quite like it though…

Update: I now know what the poster says coz Antony told me in the comments and Greg from work also sorted it – when you decode the QR thingy it says “It’s back on DVD September 10th” in plain text, which is a little disappointing – they could have at least made a flesh eating zombie virus melt my phone or something ;-)

Brands, Bands, Fans

Frukt Image

Music strategy and comms agency Frukt send me a lovely email every month called Brands | Bands | Fans which is a top snapshot of the way that brands are ruining music. Or in some rare occasions doing something that’s actually quite good.

The newsletter has a blog (or is it the other way around?) which can be read here: http://www.brandsbandsfans.com/.

But I quite like getting the newsletter, as it makes me laugh sometimes, from today’s mail:

XM, Virgin Megastores, Myspace, Smirnoff and MTV all win kicks in the head for launching a further stack of battle-of-the-bands competitions this week. Someone do something interesting will you? Dare I suggest that non-expert marketing agencies who suggest this well trodden path as somehow ‘cutting edge’ would do well to pick up the phone and call FRUKT. We do this for a living… we can help you. We can make you a better person and give you confidence and make you really different and exciting. We can.

A tough bit of salesmanship. But they make a valid point.

A Whole New Mind – Brilliant Book

A whole new mind

I read a book yesterday in one sitting. Well a couple of sittings if you include changes in mode of transport from bus to train. It’s very rare that I do that. It’s also very rare that I find a ‘business’ book that grips me like this one did.

Amazon.co.uk: A Whole New Mind – By Daniel H. Pink

It’s got a brilliant mix of theory and analysis, mixed with case studies and stuff that you can actually do if you’re interested in improving some of the Right-Brainy kind of skills that he’s talking about. Personally I think it nails the balance of micro vs macro absolutely perfectly.

I won’t do a very good job of summarising the book, so I’ve nicked this from Amazon’s synopsis:

Uses the two sides of the human brain as a metaphor for understanding how the information age came about throughout the course of the past generation, counseling readers on how to survive and find a place in a society that is marked by rising affluence, job outsourcing, and computer technology at the expense of inventiveness, empathy, and meaning.

Which almost does the job of describing it.

I know it’s probably one of those books that neatly reinforces my world view, but we all like to have our world views reinforced now and again don’t we? But more than just doing a nice job of making me feel better about myself it’s also inspired me to do a few new things… (Details to follow)

The author, Dan Pink, also blogs here: http://www.danpink.com/

Making Do

The most excellent Giles who is the creator of the most excellent Edward Monkton posted a link in the comments section of the Bonfire of the Brands post. But it’s such an excellent link that I thought I had to float it to the top.

Robert Llewellyn (Scrapheap Challenge and Red Dwarf star) is documenting his year of ‘Making Do’ (not buying new stuff) on YouTube. It’s really really excellent. Honest, funny and thoughtfully done. He’s up to episode 16 and still going strong (this episode deals with his struggle with Mac-fan-boy-ism and cheating in his mission).

Here’s episode 16:

And if you want to see the clip that starts it all, it’s here:

A quote that really resonated with me:

I have actually walked out of an electronics store with a plastic bag with a very long firewire in it and I felt really good. I felt like I could really achieve something with that. How tragic is that.

The clips haven’t had as many views as they should have done IMHO. Thanks again Giles for the tip.

All his clips are here: http://www.youtube.com/user/bobbyllew

Bonfire of the Brands – Book Soon

Bonfire of the Brands - Book Soon

I was chatting to someone the other day about whatever had happened to Neil Boorman’s book – Bonfire of the Brands. As I understand it, it’s the process and results of his self-inflicted experiment to give up all branded stuff.

Out-of-the-blue-ish I got a mail today and it appears that his book is coming out very soon. As someone who has a totally 2-faced view of my own consumption of brands I’m looking forward to reading it.

On a similar not I just finished ‘I’m not buying it‘ by Judith Levine, which is about one couple’s quest to give up shopping for a year. An interesting read that made me question just what would happen to me if I gave up buying things. I don’t think I could do it though.

A scaled down, brand-free, version like Neil’s is probably more in line with what I could manage. I’m still too much of an objectophile to give up everything – although when you start questioning everything you soon realise that almost everything we buy carries some brand or another (even the ‘branded shirts‘ that clubs are objecting to these days). I’m interested to see how someone else has managed to get through the minefield, or not.