Week Links: Scarves, Broadbend, and My Little Pony

Hello, James here. It’s almost-weekly RIGnotes time!

Alex won the week, obviously, with the launch of her marvellous Curious Scarves. She also wrote a great post about why they cost the amount they do: thoughts on the cost of making things.

This is is important; it crosses over into a lot of what we do, from making newspapers to printing books on demand to bespoke electronics. Physical things have more weight in the world, and new technologies make these things ever more doable, obtainable: the internet as cornucopia machine. Anything that can be automated can be hooked up to the internet and opened to the public, whether it’s flat-pack furniture or clothing.

But there’s always a trade-off. And people are hooked up to the network too: both digital freelancers and digital sweatshops. What we choose to make, how we make it, and what we’re willing to pay for it, have real consequences. The network is real, it has weight in the world too.

Anyway, it’s not Summer yet. In fact it’s still pretty chilly. You should probably buy a scarf.

This is Ben, a couple of years ago apparently. Russell and Ben have been in the office a lot this week, which has been nice. The only thing I know they’ve done is set up a ladder for Words With Friends. Important stuff, although I’m sure there was more.

Ben blogged a bunch of really beautiful hand-drawn type as part of this post on fonts and Fairtrade Fortnight. I’m always really struck by this stuff when I’m abroad, whether it’s hand-lettered shopfronts in Africa, or beautifully decorated trucks and taxis in the Indian subcontinent. Here are some favourites from Mauritius, Mexico and India – and there’s a whole set of Cuban billboards.

Ah, I feel warmer already.

Russell announced Interesting 2011, which sounds mad, but I bet it will be awesome fun:

Boring, Playful and The Story are all now much better ‘people talking about stuff’ events than Interesting. Better curation. Better organisation. Better names. And I don’t want to organise something similar but not as good.

So, this year it’s going to be more about activities than talks. And it’s going to be divided into sections run by different people.

And there’s going to be another Radio Roundabout – next week! Friday! (Tom promises he’ll update the homepage. He promised he’d do RIGnotes last week too.)

Russell also did a whole series of posts on interfaces and screens, all accompanied by lovely pictures. You probably follow Russell anyway, but seriously: multi image projector pop, screen inflation and beautiful buttons are eye candy. And then there’s this, which we won’t talk about again:

Russell wanted me to mention Instaprint, which is very nice. It prints your Instagram pictures using that Zink stuff we’ve mentioned before. I love Instagram: it’s a service that sits at another level of attention: not as intense as Twitter, not as serious as Flickr. It fits its medium, the iPhone, perfectly. Instagram pictures look rubbish on the web, or uploaded to Flickr, but the filters are very well chosen to make rubbish photos look good in your hand. But most importantly, it’s the first service friends of mine who aren’t web geeks have used socially outside Facebook (“a swimming pool on an ocean liner”). I hate Facebook, so it’s really nice hanging out with them there.

Tom and Phil have been knee-deep in code all week, it would appear, with all the associated coding frowns and coding air punches that accompany that. This is the meat, but it’s hard to talk about. So I won’t. But you know: they’re the best. Phil did sneak out an awesome post on Trailers As Movies which you should go read now.

In friends-of-RIG news, We Are Words And Pictures announced Paper Science 4, which looks even more awesome than the previous 3, if such a thing is possible. Adrian Hon’s A History of the Future in 100 Objects got funded and will be marvellous. BERG’s SVK project decloaked in Wired.

I’ve mostly been writing stories for bots, which I’ll talk about another time. And finding out about a New York City lamppost mystery, the Quaid Conspiracy and Chinese “officialdom” novels.

My favourite thing this week was You Are Listening To Los Angeles. Ambient audio overlaid on LA police scanners. Dreamy, sussurating… the sound of a city as a whole organism. We did a hyped up version of that sort of audiomashing on Wednesday in the office for the shuttle landing, combining this audio feed with this one. It was fun. And while I’m talking about audio, I’m going to tell you again to subscribe to Love+Radio, the best podcast in town, and I will not stop telling you until you do.

That’s enough of my rambling. Beer O’clock. Have a lovely weekend.

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