Archived entries for

Book Repair

A Simple Book Repair Manual. If you’re like me, you have a lot of books, some of which are (a) not easily replaceable and (b) in various states of disrepair. (If you’re actually like me, you have other issues as well, but we won’t go into them at this point.)

[via Lifehacker]

Tarantino’s Mind


From the oddly named Hungry Man TV, the short film Tarantino’s Mind. Nice.

A film buff tells a friend that he’s finally broken “the code” – the mystery behind the character & story threads that bleed from one Quentin Tarantino movie or screenplay into the next. His friend is less than impressed. Starring Seu Jorge (The Life Aquatic) and Selton Mello (Tarja Preta). A short film by Brazilian directing duo 300ml.

Sonic Youth Bio

Haven’t read it yet, but this looks interesting: David Brown’s Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth [amazon link]. From the Huffington Post review:

Browne digs deeply into the band’s democratic decision-making process, which gives each distinct personality ample voice. As with any band, tensions do inevitably arise, but disagreements here don’t last long. Maybe it’s because the members of Sonic Youth are so unwaveringly likable. And they’re all characters in their own right: Thurston Moore’s continuous joking; Kim Gordon’s focused creative input and reserved demeanor; Lee Renaldo’s technical prowess; and Steve Shelley’s stabilizing influence. It’s almost impossible to hate the underachievers now crowned by many as the kings of rock. (Former-Voice critic Robert Christgau called Sonic Youth “the best band in the universe” only a few years ago).

(I feel like I should have heard about this from somewhere way cooler than Huffington Post, but I guess that’s my world now.)

[via Huffington Post]

Splicing News Stories


MSNBC appears to have unintentionally combined two unrelated news stories (a grizzly attack in Alaska and a woman committing suicide after her home was foreclosed on).

Or there’s a very hairy Loan Officer with salmon on his breath somewhere in Alaska.

Silverback: Guerilla Usability Testing on the Mac

Clearleft’s Silverback is $49.95 software for the Mac that does screen recording augmented with screen capture for guerilla usability testing. Uses the small Apple remote that came with your Macbook for adding a chapter markers on the fly. There’s a thirty-day free trial version available. Features include changing location, size, and transparency of inset video, tracking click locations on screen, and more. (You can also turn off the inset video, which lets Silverback double as a simple app for creating screencasts.)

The program lacks the advanced features you might find in spendier products like Morae—there’s no built-in video editing (use iMovie) and no stats tracking, but for quick, on-location work, it’s definitely worth $49.95.

Ten percent of profits from registered copies goes to the Save the Gorillas campaign. (“Silverback,” “Guerilla usability testing,” “Save the Gorillas.” Get it?)

Update: Hicksdesign, which created the Silverback icon, posted a series of design sketches showing how the icon evolved from basic concept through hand sketches to final design.

[via Daring Fireball]

Paul Westerberg at 49 cents

Paul Westerberg’s selling his new album 49:00 for 49 cents as a single-track mp3. What’s not to like? (Well, maybe the slight Amazon weirdness that requires you to use the 1-click button to purchase the album; if you purchase it using one of Amazon’s other options, accounting overhead brings the cost closer to a dollar.) Westerberg has a PDF version of the liner notes and other things.

[via Pitchfork: Today]

Design Novices vs Experts

Noise Between Stations summarizes (and links to) some research on two practices that separate design experts from novices. Experts tend to problem solve top-down/breadth-first and they reframe difficult problems while novices don’t.

Obviously, a novice consciously deciding to switch those two behaviors won’t automatically make themselves an expert designer. Both expert practices, for example, probably rely on having a rich repertoire of strategies, skills, and experience. But if nothing else, it suggests things that novices might consciously work toward. (I say all this without having looked at the articles referenced. Hey–breadth first.)

[via Vol. 2:]

Font Conference

Do you sit around idly wondering what it would be like if fonts gathered as a group to vote on membership to some weird, UN-style council? Then
this is the video for you. Sort of predictable (Arial Narrow is ethnocentric; Ransom is holding Courier as hostage; Old English is, well, you get it) but still funny. If you’re a font geek.

[via Typophile]

Instruments and Playable Text

Stuart Moulthrop guest edits the Iowa Review Web’s issue on Instruments and Playable Text:

Judy Malloy, “Concerto for Narrative Data

John Cayley, “riverIsland QT”

Nick Montfort, “The Purpling”

Shawn Rider, “So Random” and “PiTP”

Elizabeth Knipe, “activeReader”

Stuart Moulthrop, “Under Language”

[via Mark Bernstein]

“Fail Fast”: Prototyping at Pixar

Michael B. Johnson of Pixar, interviewed by Peter Merholz:

The important take-home point, though, is that Pixar loves their films so much, we make them twice :-).

[…] We’d much rather fail with a bunch of sketches that we did (relatively) quickly and cheaply, than once we’ve modeled, rigged, shaded, animated, and lit the film. “Fail fast,” that’s the mantra. With a team of 10-20 people (director, story artists, editorial staff, production designer and artists, and skeleton production management) you can make, remake, and remake again a movie that once it hits 3D will take an order of magnitude more people to execute. The complexity of the task does not ramp up linearly.

Building things and then taking them apart isn’t an error; it’s a design strategy. “Measure twice, cut once” is fine when you’re sawing a sheet of plywood, but it’s a limiting strategy with virtual tools. Find an environment that lets you fail fast.

[via Daring Fireball]

Delia Derbyshire Tapes

BBC News has a short piece—with some audio samples—on a cache of 267 audiotapes made in the 1960s and 1970s by Delia Derbyshire, an early BBC Radiophonic Workshop member and electronic audio pioneer who, among other things, created the theme music for Doctor Who (from a score composed by Ron Grainer). The Doctor Who theme is among the more conventional things the Radiophonic Workshop did; these people were seriously ahead of their time. (According to the archivist working with the tapes, Derbyshire “got a bit disheartened and a bit bored with it all when the synthesizer came along and it all became a little too easy.”)

The also BBC has a brief page covering Alchemists of Sound, a BBC TV documentary about the Radiophonic Workshop (including some free clips); Sound on Sound ran an extensive piece on the group, although you can only read the first few thousand words before you’re asked to pay for a PDF. (Worth the 99 pence if you’re interested—I read the piece in print a couple of months ago.)

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