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Week links

Ghent noses, by James

James has had the most exciting week of any of us, but that’s probably true most weeks. He’d no sooner arrived in London from speaking at the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York, than he was off to Ghent, Belgium, to talk at Phare, from where he sends this report:

“The people behind Phare are a group of web companies trying to promote Ghent Web Valley, in a not dissimilar thing to good old Silicon Roundabout.

Also of interest: Ghent’s specialities include fruit jenevers (lethal) and framboise noses (delicious, pictured above, made from fresh strawberries and raspberries encased in gum arabic).”

We’re hoping he’s brought some back for the rest of us.

Talking of Silicon Roundabout, there’s going to be a magazine called Silicon Roundabout Insider. Is that a good thing? We should probably have a big chart and be ticking off all the possible things that could be branded with “Silicon Roundabout”.

Some other things that have wafted past our internet nostrils this week…

Our friend Chris pointed at the inPulse programmable watch. There’s no touch screen but there might be some interesting things you could do with it in terms of status updates and displays. If nothing else, I’d like a digital watch that had a more beautiful font than the standard, square, seven-part numbers.

I bet every time you enter your kitchen you’re wondering where the screen on your fridge has gone. I know I am. We’ve been promised fridges with internet-connected screens for years and yet I don’t have one. Like every modern anxiety, there’s now a Tumblrbloglog to scratch your itch: Fuck Yeah Internet Fridge! Full of all those broken historical white-goods promises.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been thinking about archiving digital things, and I certainly would have liked to be at the second Personal Digital Archiving conference in San Francisco. Hopefully the session videos will be online, as those from last year are. I’ve been working my way through those and will post my notes up if I finish…

One of those speaking at the conference is Jason Scott of the increasingly impressive Archive Team. They’ve been saving web pages threatened with destruction for some time, including a huge chunk of Geocities. This week we noticed One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age, a blog chronicling an exploration of all this ageing Geocities data. There are some lovely examples of an aesthetic that’s almost lost entirely from the web today.

That’s all for this week. But don’t forget, if you need to transport several non-digital, annoyingly bulky artefacts, Alex has just released her historical Shoreditch map tote bag on the RIG shop. Always be selling! And carrying things.

Productive Fridays: The Shoreditch tote bag

In an attempt to understand the area our office is in, and as I was in the mood for a “productive friday” I designed a tote bag that shows the evolution of Shoreditch between 1755 and now based on a lovely map and Google Maps.

As you can’t think of shwag for Shoreditch without thinking of a tote bag, buy it on the Really Interesting Shop!

Week links

Some things I noticed last week (only two videos):

Phil has written about how good Misfits is. I love blog posts like this because they feel like a peak behind the curtains of someone’s brain. Sort of. A bit. They’re better than posts just about work anyway.

I also love a bit of Caravaggio.


Last weekend James was in Milan, after speaking at the ifbookthen conference. He visited two of Milan’s most famous galleries, because he has a thing for Caravaggio. Who doesn’t?

He’s written a really good post (review?) of his visit that I was first alerted to by the tweet below.

Grrr engineering, WordPress grrr

Who could resist a piece of art criticism that starts like that? I could see James as the new Brian Sewell.

And so on to the videos.

The first is by Michael Bierut, Pentagram partner. It’s a short talk where he explains the joy of clients. Yes, you read that right, the Joy Of Clients, “without them I wouldn’t be here today.” He’s right about that and if you’re working with a ‘tough’ client it’s worth remembering this every now and then. Watch it, it’s very funny.

2010/01 Michael Bierut from CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

The second is a data visualisation of Boris Bikes. It “shows the real-time behaviour of hire bikes in London on October 4th 2010, the day of a major tube strike, and the busiest day for the scheme to date.” It’s not perfect, it only knows when you took the bike and when you brought it back – not where you went, but it’s interesting.

London Hire Bikes animation from Sociable Physics on Vimeo.

It also reminded me of the Nike Grid visualisation I did with Stamen and w+k last year. Which brings me nicely to my last link, Nike Grid has just been nominated for a Guardian Innovation Award.