The Small Things That Make the Difference

I’m visiting a mix on SoundCloud (this one if you care).

The top of the page looks like this:


Then I start playing the mix, and look what happens to my tab:


Spot it? If not let me make it clear…


SoundCloud have always been very good at attention to UX detail and this might seem like just a tiny little thing. But it’s actually really very good. It means that you can spot in a multitude of tabs which one is playing. Love it a lot.

Teach Your Kids to Crush Pregnant Animals

I saw this ad on telly today and was totally blown away. My first reaction was “wooooah, that looks awesome” (in the voice of my inner 6 year old). Then my inner Daily Mail reader kicked in and was all like “oh my god, teaching kids to splatter bugs is raising a nation of serial killers, no wonder this country is going to the dogs”.

When you look deeper into the product it really is gross – you can make the bugs, inject eggs or guts into their bodies and squash the shit out of them (or buy a bug grinder if you want to crush them like a pro). Link to the whole creepy crawler range.

I still can’t decide whether it’s good gross or bad gross. I think I’m coming down on the side of bad…

10 minutes with John Maeda


John Maeda is the Fortune Cookie it says. I had no desire to snap him in half and extract his wisdom on a piece of roughly typed paper. But I did figure it’d be a chance to meet an interesting guy and ask him a question in a strange setting.

I turned up to the Riflemaker gallery and had a look round at a bunch of his tweets and some of his art.




Then I had to decide what kind of artwork I wanted to buy to documenet our consultation. It was part of the rules. I wasn’t really sure, so I thought I’d get him to take a picture of me and sign it. I thought that just getting a tweet would be a little ordinary. The profits are going towards funding scholarships to the Rhode Island School of Design, so I didn’t mind coughing up a few quid.


Once I’d made my choice. I got taken upstairs to meet the man. It’s a dark-ish room. He’s sanding there in a puffer jacket in a sandpit. There’s nothing else in the sandpit apart from a chair and a stick. There’s incense burning. There’s no doubt that an enigmatic air is being manufactured.

He starts out by asking me to sit down. And then he asks who I am and what I do. Turns out he knows John Jay from W+K (hardly surprising, everyone who’s anyone knows John Jay).


So the conversation gets pretty specific about work pretty fast – at some point during the conversation he picks up a Polaroid camera and takes a snap of me. He writes a single word “NO” underneath it and signs it.

Me by John Maeda

During our conversation he paces around the sandpit occasionally making notes in the sand with a long stick. Towards the end of our conversation he pulls out his Canon S90 camera (I only spotted that because I have the same one) and takes a photo of his sand scribblings. I have no idea what he’s going to do with these photos and maybe I never will.

In the gallery notes they say:

“The overall experience being somewhere between McKinsey Consulting going on tour and a visit to the hairdresser. ”

Not an inaccurate description although my experience was somewhere between meeting Yoda, a tutorial with an amazing professor and a careers guidance session.

So what did I learn?

I got referred to 2 books that I ought to read:

Oh, and at the end he told me not to worry. So I won’t.

Why did he write “NO” under my photo? I don’t think it was any kind of rejection, I suspect it’s actually connected to an important part of my story that he got me to share. A pivotal moment. Or alternatively he could have just written that on everyone’s photo who he didn’t like much. But I’m not going to worry about that either.

I love this burned-out iPad, it’s quite beautiful

Pulp Common People Comic


This Jamie Hewlett comic was distributed with the Pulp single in France and it illustrates the lyrics of the song. You don’t get that kind of thing with a bloody MP3 download.

Oh, unless you download The Suburbs by Arcade Fire and get the synchronized album artwork, which is a bit like this kind of thing, only less papery and cartoony and more digital –

My Final NMA Column – why I’m pre-post-digital and proud

I’ve been speaking to a few people recently and they didn’t know I had a column in New Media Age. Well now it’s too late, because I don’t any more.

My final column is here:

It’s a bit ranty, but I thought I should make a bit of an effort to be a gobby shite as it’s my last hoorah.

I was chatting to Russell about my column just after I’d submitted it, which prompted him to write this: A public apology for being one of the founders of the phrase.

It’s time to stop all the nonsense about trying to call this stuff this or that. Only thing that matters is whether it’s good or not. The only thing more stupid than all the word-monkeying is denying that technology, code and making things out of bits and bytes is important.

Continued Google StreetView Awesomeness

Ah, the defiant Englishman. In your face Googlecar.

Another one from the incredible: