19 December 2005

Most of 2005

I think this list is a "Most of 200x" instead of "Best of 200x."

The most...
  • exciting personal news: we're expecting our first child in April!
  • troubling baby-related hyped-up product: the $879 stroller
  • thought-provoking art piece I saw: Bill Viola's The Greeting, a slow-motion piece depicting three women talking to each other.
  • enduringly compelling contemporary artist: Gerhard Richter (SFMOMA overview)
  • cute website, regardless of my suspected immunity to such: Cute Overload
  • consistently enjoyable gadget purchased: 512 MB iPod Shuffle
  • unsuspected conversion: from cat-tolerant to cat-loving (Sua Sponte's photos of our new cat, Edison "Danger" Favalora)
  • surprisingly non-inflammatory Blog post between J-Fav and me: Are You a Bright? (Which would have been, had I innocently added a link to the Extropy Institute Mission, purely out of curiosity.)
  • belly-hurtingly, crying-in-the-airport-terminal, funny book: Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans - The Best of McSweeney's, Humor Category
  • desired new CD which I somehow didn't buy for myself: Boards of Canada, "Music Has the Right to Children"
  • unexpected new interest, aside from Go: handheld video game online magazines, especially 1UP and their weekly 30-minute shows where 30-somethings pontificate about the Nintendo DS
  • surprising genre I listened to, from the point of view of someone who doesn't know me very well: Gangsta Rap
  • uncharacteristic recipe learned, seeing as how I don't really drink: hot buttered rum (1 teasp. butter, 1 teasp. sugar, 1 shot rum, 1 cup boiling water)
  • interesting, especially good for cocktail-party conversation among MBAs if only I went to such things, new marketing concept: Danny Hillis's 7 Stages of a Mythic Experience (1/4 down from top of page)
  • obfuscated phrase: see above
  • unrelenting scientific obsessions, outside of work, which I am compelled to bore people about: emergence, theoretical evolutionary biology, especially Kauffman's discussion of percolation theory and Boolean networks - and complexity theory in general
  • enjoyed book in pre-contemporary art, despite initial misgivings: The Informed Eye
  • concise browsable text on product usability that I wish all engineers had to read: Universal Design
  • enjoyable new publication: The Week magazine
  • creative serial entrepreneur: Yonald Chery @ Calenova
  • creative parallel entrepreneur: David Oliver @ Cusp Design
  • embarrassing admission about my decaying technical skills: that I sometimes forget what tokens require semicolons in C
  • {confusing, funny, compelling, anti-Fox network} movie seen: Syriana, 40 Year Old Virgin, Proof, Outfoxed
  • impressive facial hair among soda-loving world-class linguists: Norvin Richards (evidence!)

Well, there you have it.

I invite you - nay, I implore you - to start a list of your own "Most of 2005" on your blog. I look forward to reading it! Feel free to use any of the above headings, if you'd like.


Soon: Most-of-2005

Hi -

Soon I'll be making a little list of "Most of 2005" - for me, for you, for whoever cares - with books, music, ideas, people, constellations, colors of construction paper, worst creme brulees, most enduring lines of poetry, favorite entries from Pepys' diary, most unusual affixed-letter-signs-on-buildings, most alienating pieces of conceptual art, whatever.

Like: Most intriguing piece of conceptual art, most useful 30-minute new recipe learned, etc.

For the heck of it.

I invite you to do the same on your blog! Here's to starting our own little meme in the blog world.


New 3-D Display Article

Laser Focus World magazine (yes, there is such a thing) profiles several autostereoscopic (no-goggles-needed) 3-D displays, including our very own Perspecta display in the article IMAGE ENGINEERING: Adding depth to displays.

g-fav, listening to Boards of Canada: geogaddi

17 December 2005

For Jopesche, mostly

Gmail is smart; it serves up email-content-specific links alongside the message browser. For example, in an email I wrote about the work of Stuart Kauffman (yes, I know, I can't stop talking about his work), it served up an advertisement for:

Redfish Group: Bringing Software to Life
  • self-organizing systems design
  • 3D interactive visualization
  • web application design
  • agent based modeling
  • peer2peer network design
Jopesche, they offer visualization tools of complex networks, which reminded me of the work you did on visualizing LiveJournal connectivity and cliques.

Woah, how "meta." I didn't email you, I blogged to you thinking you'd see it. How presumptuous.

That's all. J-Fav and I returned from a fun party at our blog-less friend EB's house. So I shall end this now.


16 December 2005


Artsy T-Shirts have been the rage for, what, four years now? Graphic design portals point to scores of t-shirt shops; Urban Outfitters has piles of t-shirts in 80s color schemes and pseudo-hokey designs from nonexistent camps and outings; and, well, I like some of them.

Hmm, a self-referential "You Are Here" map:

Link: iwasateenage.com

There's always the hip "Threadless" online store (link to: Best Selling, half of which are sold out.)

I think Busted Tees has the most clever stuff, but I guess it's also the least politically correct.





13 December 2005

Video Games / Nerd Skills

For a genuine nerd, I don't have the complete roster of nerd skills. For example, I don't know enough about Linux, I hate vi, I've never used OOP, and I have never used Bluetooth. Furthermore, I don't spend my idle time playing video games. Don't know those terms? Lucky!

However, that may change. I have been hoping Santa will bring me a portable game system as an escapist after-dinner or en-route-to-Houston-again activity. I've been researching this stuff in magazines and online & see there's quite a video gamer culture out there!

Ziff-Davis publishes a few gaming mags; a good one is 1UP (online), run basically by people I'd imagine being friends with in college. They have an online streaming "TV show" that I find really amusing. Try it out. Click the "Stream the broadband video!" button on any of these episodes. These guys are so... sincere... about gaming. I watched a few episodes at work in the name of market research. J-Fav and I laughed over several episodes tonight.

The 1UP Show Index from 1UP.com

Go, Diesel, Etc.
Tuesday nights are "go" nights for me. However, I think I lack the innate skills required (i.e. good spatial memory... ironically) to succeed in this game. It is disheartening. Fortunately Prof. B. and I managed to play a 13x13 game at the club tonight. Then, went to the Diesel, which actually had a floating printed copy of the Postsecret book. (Have you seen this yet?)

Electronic Music
I like electronic music, like "trace," IDM, and all that. Someone named Ishkur set up a comprehensive site with hundreds of samples of different electronica genres: Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music. I mean, where else could you hear the difference between your house, breakbeat, jungle, and techno genres? WARNING: Time sink; I spent an hour with this last night. Turn up your speakers and have fun.


11 December 2005

Post-Maine Dispatch

Semiannual Trip to Portland, ME
Twice a year, I drive up to Portland to spend a half-day reflecting. I bring a notebook, a science book, a go book, and let my thoughts settle at the Breaking New Grounds cafe. (Photo: Flickr / Cafe Geek.)
The woman working there - who I think has been there for every visit I've made for the past three years - was playing music that I liked very much from a band called "American Football." It is a wash of sound; guitar, drums, trumpet, vocals. Probably won't help you imagine their sound if I said this is coffe-shop music, played loud and with enough detail to be interesting if you notice but a perfect background for wandering thoughts if you don't.

Went up the street to Bull Moose Music (151 Middle Street) and bought American Football's self-titled CD. I listened to it three times on the ride home.

Try This Band: American Football
Want to hear it? Your computer speakers won't do it justice; this is meant to be played LOUD, while you read a book or ponder cafe visitors' nose rings. Try out... I dunno... "The One With the Wurlitzer."
The One With the Wurlitzer

Back in 024XX
Quick ride home, hanging with J-Fav and Eddie.

Flashback: 2000
American Football is the kind of band they'd play at 1369 back in the day before laptop computer squatters took over every seat for the entire day. Ah, 1369.... Same dude worked there for at least 5 years. Played stuff that sounded like Godspeed you! Black Emperor's album, "lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven!"


08 December 2005

Useful: Lowest Gas Station Prices

MSNBC has a useful tool that shows you a list of gas prices - including the lowest - near your ZIP code. They claim to receive pricing data from over 90,000 gas stations around the U.S.


07 December 2005


Not Tired of Ted
J-Fav and I hung out with the... with the... I don't know what their blog-world names are, but "Ted" finally has a blog: Tired of Ted.

Flying Turtles! Rabid Ferrets!
I think you will enjoy this radio commercial [very short] from DialM4Mercury. Not only that, but this particular voice-over-ee was a groomsman at our wedding. "I know, Tepper, dial 'M' for Mercury..."

13x13 / 19x19
I don't suppose anyone knows where to buy reversible 13x13 / 19x19 go boards? DIdn't think so. Our Go Association has 'em though, I think. Samarkind has 9x9/13x13.

Refocusing Photos *After* You Take Them
This was reported earlier, but I thought you might enjoy the work of Ren Ng at Stanford on Light Field Photography with a Hand-Held Plenoptic Camera. Try out the movie at the bottom of the page [.WMV, 9 MB] even if you don't know a ton about optics. Perhaps one day the idea of "focusing" your camera will seem antiquated.

Graphic Design: Test Pilot Collective
Don't remember how I bumped into this (B.?) but the Test Pilot Collective has HUNDREDS of creative illustrations with a modern typographical bent. Scroll down a bit and click on any date.


01 December 2005


Raymond Loewy
The Shell logo, Nabisco logo (and Oreo cookie packaging), the Exxon logo, the U.S. Postal Service Seal, and other things were designed by Raymond Loewy. Check out some case studies here. (I appreciate Prof. Maeda's SIMPLICITY blog for pointing me to this.)

Henry Dreyfuss
While we're on the subject of graphic and industrial designers, I think I owed one of you a response to "who designed the classic round Honeywell thermostat?". Answer: Henry Dreyfuss. He also designed the famous slimline telephone and, evidently, for (John) Deere & Co. "a 'corrugated' radiator shield that farmers could clean with their gloved hands--a change that resulted from watching how people actually worked."

It appears that a combination of a quite-caffeinated grande peppermint mocha (free! on Dec 1) and watching Tim Burton's "Willie Wonka..." put me in a state desperate to show you that industrial designers are really important. I don't know how many people realize that, since, (almost) by definition, good design is not noticed. (There's some ancient quotation about how "the well-designed shoe is not noticed.")



Philippe Starck
I am in no position to summarize this man's work. Check it out. You may be familiar with his juicer: (is it heretical to complain, though, that I can't help wonder how awful those three sharp tines would sound if dragged along a tile counter?)

Otl Aicher
Creater of the Lufthansa logo, the Rotis typeface...

Marcel Breuer
Bauhaus designer of furniture including the "Wassily" tubular armchair:

Massimo Morozzi
I think Morozzi's "Paesaggi Italiana" storage system (1996) looks cool:

Eliot Noyes
Perhaps La Lecturess will already know that Noyes designed the IBM Selectric typewriter (1961). Of course, I wouldn't know that if it weren't for this book on my lap that J-Fav got me.

Paul Rand
This master created the logos of IBM, the original "gift box" UPS logo which they recently DESTROYED, and others (like, yes, the NeXT computer logo for Steve Jobs).

I was hoping to end up with the creater of the classic Toshiba (was it Toshiba?) rice cooker, a design that is reportedly so ingrained in peoples' minds that rice cookers will forever have that rounded-top cylindrical shape...