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

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

Pulp Common People Comic

Sweet.

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 – http://www.arcadefire.com/the-suburbs/

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: http://bit.ly/cEOM8f

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: http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/2010/11/post-digital-an-apology.html 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.

A Tale of Accidental Distortion

One day, at a local record store, virtually every record he tested on headphones had exactly the aspect he was looking for: Hard-edged drums, suggestively distorted. Back at home, though, everything flattened out into the clean, featureless world of contemporary tech house. It turned out that the amplifier in the shop’s listening station was broken. Intrigued by the power of the music he heard in the store, he began experimenting with running sampled drums through distortion and overdrive, in order to give his music a rawness that it had previously lacked.

John Talabot (one of my favourite producers and Barcelona DJ) talks about how a broken amplifier in a record shop took his sound to a better place. I love little stories like this.

Check his stuff on Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/artist/1YvN5uOGQkHVUUlZUcnotD

What to do when you find that you can’t use ‘presenter view’ at a conference

Just turned up at the CAT conference to find out that I can’t use ‘Presenter View’ in Keynote. This has happened before and I just winged it. But today I figured I could find a quick way to get everything onto my iPhone in a simple way that will work with any version of Keynote and doesn’t require any fancy apps…

So here’s what to do if you find yourself in a ‘can’t see my presentation notes’ kind of an emergency.

First, don’t panic…

Then hit ‘print’ in Keynote…

Your special friend is ‘save PDF to iPhoto’…

Then just go to iTunes and sync your photos…


And you’re done.

You now have a perfectly usable set of notes inside the ‘Photos’ app on your iPhone.

There might be a quicker way, but this felt like a pretty tight workflow in a sticky situation.

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