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I’ve been using the music app ex.fm quite a bit to find new music. At some point I’ll have to do a post about the entire experience, but for now I’ll share that it’s a great way to make a playlist and stream it to an iPhone or iPad. There isn’t hundreds of thousands of users so the quality choice of music is pretty good. I’ll bounce from user to user to see what they’ve qued up in a random matter to discover stuff. Case in point, I found Madlib – Beat Konducta Around The World. I went to the source which was Stones Throw and bought the entire list of tracks. (FYI, there’s a bug in Stones Throw cart in Chrome, it won’t take the expiry date for credit cards) I’ve only been listening to it for a couple hours but has the potential to be on my year end list of music. The song that I was introduced to was L.A. California. I liked it a lot but since I’m in NYC I thought I’d share this one:
This year I thought I change up my reviews a bit. In the past I’ve diagramed the top ten in terms of release dates and the type of music it was. This year I found that things were more consistent in the type of music I was drawn to. So instead I thought I give a brief overview of my top albums from 2010. I can’t really pinpoint any one influence in terms of discovery. At times I found new stuff from Hype Machine, NPR on occasion and random tweets. If you’re curious to see how I’ve reviewed them in the past, here’s 2009, 2008 and 2007.
1. U.N.K.L.E.: Where Did the Night Fall
I’ve been listening to this album since it came out in May. It was the first thing I pressed play to a lot. There’s a nice balance of ambient and non ambient stuff to work to in the background.
2. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: The Social Network
I really didn’t want to like this album but found myself listening to it a lot walking outside. I did end up seeing the movie and like a lot of others was curious to hear where each song would be scored in a scene. For the most part the tracks made sense except for one. One of my favourite tracks was In the Hall of the Mountain King. In the film they play for the backdrop of a race that felt a bit animated in a not so great way.
3. Sleigh Bells: Treats
This album will help keep the energy going past the first few cups of coffee in the morning. The speed stays pretty consistent throughout without taking any breaks. Lots of discoveries within each song.
4. Wait What: the Notorious Xx
For a while this way my top album of the year. It has a great combo of mashups between Xx and the Notorious B.I.G. Again I listened to this album a ton but when I came back to it a couple weeks ago some of the novelty had rubbed off. When including albums in my list I try to think how often I might listen to the album a year from know. This one will probably be occasional while the other top three quite a bit more.
5. The Rocketboys: Wellwisher
This EP only came out a couple weeks ago. It’s very tight and I suspect there will be a lot of attention for these guys as people discover them.
6. Massive Attack: Heligoland
I have to be honest that I’m still warming up to this album. This was the one this year that within a few listens loved it, than hated it, forgot about it and am starting to enjoy again. There’s something really good yet off with the whole thing—I just can’t put my finger on it.
7. Daft Punk: Tron Legacy
I had high hopes for this one after seeing the first movie trailer. Now that I’ve heard most of it I’m a bit disappointed. It’s a nice film score but doesn’t really compare listenabley to the Social Network soundtrack
8. The National: High Violet
This was my mainstream pick of the year. Even now as I listen to it I think it’s pretty good in that I never got tired of it and could listen to it for most of a day.
9. Beach House: Teen Dream
I got this at the beginning of the year, listened to it a ton and stopped. I didn’t find them gimmicky at all but could only handle the album in short doses after the first month.
10. There wasn’t one real other standout for me. Sure there was Girl Talk, Kid Cudi, Sufjan Stevens and even Kanye West, but I never really got into any of them the way I did with the other nine albums. I’m sure there’s a ton of great albums (not tracks) that I missed. So let me know what else I should be exploring.
I’ve never been a huge fan of musician’s interviews back in the day when it was forced. For some reason I pressed play on the first link above from a series of interview last night from an email newsletter I subscribed from Bob Lefsetz about Howard Stern interviewing Billy Joel. As tired as I was I listened to all six parts last night before bed. Even if you’re not a fan of Billy Joel there’s so much to take in. The convo and performance was something between both of the people that was something that was worth noting. It wasn’t perfect but that’s why I listened to the whole thing in one shot.
To be honest I thought hyping the Beatles landing on iTunes was not really a big deal—though it looks like the sales would suggest otherwise. In the iTunes top twenty there’s eight Beatles albums. Just like Wired suggested I was hopping that Apple was going to provide a streaming music service or finally release an overhaul of iTunes. Neither thing happened.
Last night as I was cleaning up my Dropbox and quickly tweeted about wishing that I could stream music from my folders in there to my iPhone. After all I can view PDFs & PPTs. Within minutes some I knew mentioned something about their app so I started diving in to my folders via the Dropbox app. Sure enough I could actually play and listen to music on my iPhone from my Dropbox.
While it frees my devices up from trying to sync my iPhone up with both my home and work MBP’s there’s still some issues. The biggest problem is that it doesn’t play music files one after another. Once the track is finshed it doesn’t play the next. Still it’s a nice runaround to stream music from the cloud. While I don’t have a ton of music if anyone wants to set up a private community shared music folder just send me an email.
I didn’t even like the White Stripes that much yet I watched their film Under Great White Northern Lights three times. It is quite telling that a band can present tour footage from three years ago and feel just as relevant today as when they first played. There’s a question in our digital age about timelessness. Is it possible for anything to stay relevant past the initial buzz. Listening and seeing the White Stripes I would suggest yes.
I might be a bit biased about the film as it plays out across Canada. They made point of visiting cities and towns that almost never get attention. It shed some light on some of the smaller places that had the chance to show others in the media what they have to offer. I remember hearing stories about some of their stunts as it was happening as they toured. They would play a free small concert during the day before the played a bigger gig at night. Probably the funniest footage was them playing in a bus, bowling alley (in my home city no less), and a boat in quick succession. While it my read a little gimmicky it actually was pure genius. I can’t really think of any other band that would try such a thing.
As a movie to show off sound, there was plenty of music. But there were small pockets of silence played out perfectly. After playing a concert in the Yukon in the midlle of summer they left the concert hall before midnight in a completely sunny sky. As they jumped into the car with sound of the door closing the absurdity of the brightness was apparent. They also played out the colour to their full advantage. There was washed out colour which reminded me of old CBC documentaries and more recent black and white filters, both types of colour locked it in to a period of time that will make it feel as though it could have been filmed yesterday or ten years ago.
The film plays for about an hour and a half. By the end of it I wished it had been a lot longer. I suppose that’s a nod to how good I thought it was. I was left wishing there had been more. I would be surprised if this kind of thing happened in Canda where a band took it upon themeselves to travel to parts of the country that no one really pays attention. For that reason alone I was happy to watch it, the fact that it was really great was an added bonous.
I’m not one to buy “extended” or “deluxe” albums that often. Typically the only additional stuff are videos that I can find online or pdfs that I would never bother to open. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been a big fan of NPR’s First Listen, a site that streams an album a week before the release. A couple weeks ago they had Beach House and last week it was Massive Attack. The conventional thinking would be that it would be a mistake to give the music away for free—why would anyone want to buy it? On the flip side others would argue it’s a great way to spread awareness, a simple way to measure online attention and a way to get people interested in something they might not have otherwise paid attention to. Those points bring me to Massive Attack’s new album Heligoland. I’ve been listening to it a lot since it was on NPR’s First Listen. I typically buy any album Massive Attack releases so it was a no brainer that I’d be picking up this one. However this was one of the first times I went for the deluxe release because I wanted more songs that I was looking for as I was familiar already with the album somewhat. As I type away listening to the new songs all I can say is that it was the right decision for me. If you’re a fan of their extended beats and stretching of time you’ll probably want to do the same.
I don’t take the subway that often. I try to walk most of the time from location A to B in NYC for any number of reasons. There’s tons to look at, it’s a great way to get a feeling for what’s going on and there’s just so much to take note of. The only time I typically take the train is if I’m late for something or visiting friends in Brooklyn. Sunday afternoon was one of those instances when I was headed to Brooklyn to meet up for conversation with a friend. While waiting for L train in Union Square I and a couple others were treated to the perfect Sunday afternoon waiting for the train while it was drizzling outside violin music. It was so good I recorded a couple minutes of it on my iPhone. I’ve never recorded a musician like that before, but I was surprised at how decent it came out. The surrounding sounds of other trains, people walking by and announcements improved the sound experience. While I love all the visual stimulation outside while walking, sometimes a concert of one is all a person needs to get inspired.
Around this time of year Hype Machine (a music blog aggregator) really starts to shine as a go to site for listening to “best of” type of music for the year. They select a number of music blogs that are in their system and create a Top 50 Albums, 50 Artists and Songs of the year. A really nice touch within the songs section is that each image corresponding has been illustrated. Within the album section you can actually listen to each album in it’s entirety—though you can’t download it.
Another feature of Hype Machine that I’ve been meaning to talk about for quite some time is their email info that they send to me periodically. It’s probably one of the most useful emails for a web service that I get. It’s a great example of them using the data that I’ve created doing stuff on the site and in turn creating usable exhaust for the people that follow me, whom I follow and everyone else in the system. The reason why I go to Hype Machine is that I will find more new music and artists there than anywhere else. It’s a perfect place for exploration, and the info provided about the top blogs that I listened to for a period of time, most active blogs and the most listened artists of my friends is great information to email me. Each item is a link that I can explore further, not in an intrusive way but in a valuable way.
The only caveat to this post is that because their top music sections are so popular this time of year, it might take a long to load anything as I’ve noticed this morning…
I’ve decided for the third year in a row to visualize my top albums of the year. Last year it was my top 15, and the previous year my top 20. The fact that I could only scrape ten this year indicate two possible things, music options this year weren’t that great, and I’m getting old. Early in the year as I was starting to think of my list I noticed that they were all mellow, like really mellow. I made a call out for options that weren’t so slow. There were a couple suggestions that ended up making this list.
My criteria was pretty simple, A. did I listen to it a lot, B. would I want to listen to it next year, and the year after that, and C. was it compelling. The chart above shows a couple things—when the album was release in the year and how mellow or non mellow it was. I suppose that’s up for debate, but this is my blog and I can categorize things the way I want.
Design Notes Top Ten Albums of 2009
01 West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum:Kasabian
Perfect walking music for the mean streets of NYC. Lots of energy without the cheese.
02 Lost Channels:Great Lake Swimmers
For those days (or hours) when introspection is warranted.
03 20,000 Ghosts:The Rocketboys
I saw/heard these guys in Memphis while playing foosball—kind of surreal. Really smooth and tight, in a good way.
04 Further Complications:Jarvis Cocker
I almost feel compelled to like this because I’ve been a fan of all of Cocker’s other stuff. I also feel the same way with the Doves, yet their latest album was sub par at best while this kept the expectations nice n’high.
05 Downstairs:My First Earthquake
I think I listened to this album for a couple weeks straight. Really, really good for getting work done. Lyrics are pretty good too.
06 Hometowns:The Rural Alberta Advantage
Just for the record I didn’t add this to the list because they’re singing about a province I spent quite a few years living in. I just liked what was being said, and I could *almost* relate to it.
07 Farm:Dinosaur JR.
I have no idea why, but every time they release something I like it. Another great album to walk to, but for different reasons.
08 Noble Beast:Andrew Bird
Nicely built, lots of layers and levels to it.
09 You Can Have What You Want:Papercuts
Probably my most alt album on the list. Consistent from track to track whether I’m on shuffle mode or not.
10 Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian:Prefuse 73
Hard to describe this one, probably not for everyone…
My favourite iPhone apps are always the ones that make me reconsider something that I used to take for granted on screen or allows a shift in perception. The 24 HOURS: THE STARCK MIX iPhone app does just that in terms of how music is streamed, navigated and experienced. There’s only one display that shows the current time. Taking that time as a cue it streams in music that was “selected, arranged, composed and mixed by Soundwalk for Philippe Starck.” If you shake the app it shuffles the time and new music plays. And while some people might consider the way to manually change the time to be a bit of a pain, by placing a finger below the time and moving it upwards the hours, minutes or seconds can be advanced—though sometimes the time goes up, other times it goes down. They’ve made it difficult to get to a precise moment of a persons choosing. It’s a little strange but as part of the overall experience I love it. There’s a lot of metaphors that a person could read into with the idea of time + music, but it’s better to just listen and experience it.
Don’t have an iPhone? You can hear it on screen at http://radio.soundwalk.com/ though I think it’s cheating to experience it like that…
I woke up pretty early this morning and took some notes about something I heard from each hour. A lot of my descriptions are somewhat ambient, but intermixed there’s gems—Sir Mix a Lot, Sinatra vs. Presley and my favourite hour so far is 21:00:00…
04:10:23 Ambient with long sounds, hearing birds and waves…
05:26:14 Fast ambient, rocks rubbing against each other…
07:13:32 Slightly digital, kids chatting the background…
08:40:01 Upbeat mellow…
09:03:10 Xylophone trying to say something…
10:15:53 Someone speaking french as the song transitions…
11:11:11 In the airport lounge heading somewhere good…
12:37:02 Talking about skills in a down tempo way…
13:24:01 Not quite digital bagpipes, almost acid jazz…
14:38:45 Mellow upbeat walking in a cave with a beach near by…
15:50:12 Beeps, français and echos…
16:41:50 Horn, guitar and drums…
17:50:56 A couple songs fighting with each other, Sinatra vs Presley
18:02:09 Video game stuck in a telephone pinball game
19:10:06 Time to get things moving stuck on repeat
20:22:20 Blobby bubbles
21:26:50 Sounds like someone I’d want to have coffee with
22:37:09 Video game building music
23:58:55 Mono beats with a hint of bleep
00:02:18 Uptempo person ready to move
01:29:14 It’s not an organ but…
02:39:26 Slowing down in the fields…
04:10:23 Ambient with long sounds, hearing birds and waves
While this week may have seemed kind of slow news wise, there were a number of themes that I picked up on that suggest that they could keep popping up till the end of the year. There’s info flow in all it’s multiple ways and the politics that play out when that information is distributed. It’s a no brainer that people like looking at images, but how people find them and push them out to a larger audience is something to keep an eye on. It was amazing how Twitter was a key pivot for a lot of the connections. Search is no where to be found. For those familiar with Link Drop, I try to publish it on Fridays though they tend to happen more and more on Saturdays. So keeping that in mind I figured why not just keep it on Saturdays and see what happens. Though next weekend I’m in Boston so it should be interesting to see how I publish it there.
This was a bit of wake up call after earlier this week when the WWF tried to take back their poster. A number of blogs and news sites linked back to me because I had one of the few screen shots of the One Show showing the poster as a merit award winner. While it wouldn’t take much for a company to delete the image from my flickr account for their own purposes after reading this post. I’m going to keep multiple digital copies on different servers in case anything happens to one of the files.
I don’t usually post tips kind of stuff but I thought this was worth mentioning because of the character count, and it’s a much more human post to the one I link below from AlertBox. While a person can use up to 140 characters, if they use them all up it’s much more difficult to have someone RT’it. If you don’t care about RT’s, than fill’er up.
I didn’t even know who this person was before his final tweet started making the rounds. I suspect that Madison and I even walked by his place on our dog walks. This post collects a couple more well known people passing on the word. While a certain skepticism is warranted with celebs in general, I’m assuming a publicist isn’t filtering stuff like this—so it’s interesting to read.
While I’m not a linguist I do keep an eye out for patterns in speech. I’m also not a golf expert—so reading that combination of text with something to look out for while wrapped in shop talk was worth the read.
I don’t usually follow this kind of corporate marketing talk. While it was good to break down the scene and look at what worked and didn’t, something seemed a bit off about the assessment of using humour to diffuse the situation. I think if it had been there had been a cold response it really wouldn’t of had any traction. It put a human face behind to the person responding.
This week’s collection of stuff that I’ve found interesting via Link Drop contains a lot of new themes. There’s stuff about smell, flowers and even Whole Foods. Apple makes it’s usual appearance, though in a more positive light. I also seem to be listening to a lot of personal stories via podcasts and interviews. Hopefully if it’s raining where you are like it is in NYC today, you have some time to check some links out that you may not have come across otherwise.
After reading this, I wasn’t exactly sure what people were going crazy about. I’ve used the service a couple times and was happy with the results. The kicker is that if people don’t like using it, they’re not forced to. And don’t get me started on the proposed redesigns—the idea reminds me of the stupidity that wired did when they asked people to redesign google. sigh… I did have to laugh when it was mentioned in the article about how people have tried to redesign it.
I didn’t know this designer but it still saddened me to read none the less. The Canadian design community has lost a passionate person that was doing what he loved. You can see more of his work via Mark Busse.
This was a last minute drop before I published this Link Drop. I’m really liking how magazines are taking a risk by showing people how they really are. Apparently the issue of the magazine is close to selling out already.
The interview with Liskula Cohen is worth a listen, the silence in between answers and follow up questions was a bit strange. But it wasn’t that strangeness that made me listen to it a couple more times, but more about the response to how things were settled. The rest of the podcast wasn’t too bad either.
This week’s version of Link Drop was a week late and while I hate excuses there’s a pretty good one. Last weekend I was redesigning the format of Link Drop when my computer stopped working. I wasn’t exactly happy about that so I decided I’d continue finding good stuff on the web to remember and keep working on the design when I got my computer back. It’s now Friday and I’m happy to report Tekserve did a great job of fixing everything. So with that said hopefully Link Drop next week will be a bit easier to read. As always, I’ve jotted down some of the themes that flowed with what I saw.
The Agency Problem
This kind of sums up things for me in terms of design today. While I’m not running a multi billion dollar design agency yet, I question why even online design is treated like traditional print projects. The online is handed over to the client with no proof if the thing will actually work. That’s why I wanted to talk about agile design and wondered out loud how more companies should be thinking that way…
Tuft vs. Turf
The flow and motion of the plastic was really changed up their outside view. From the street is must be quite the view.
Reading Ahead: Managing Recruiting
A fascinating comparison of finding people via all the social networks out there to older processes of using a recruiter to screen people.
The Most Interesting New Tech Startup of 2009
Working with a startup I was naturally interested in this post. As weird as it seems, perhaps government agencies are a good candidate to be thrown into start up mode considering the changes both in technology and social communication tool. Brochures are no longer how information is passed along (or at least I hope it’s in conjunction with online).
As far as music aggregators go, Hypemachine does a great job of letting people explore and save music from other blogs out there. I’m emphasizing the word explore because I can’t think of a better site that is human curated that allows for similar connections to be made from one song to the next. It’s a pretty simple process. I heart a song that I like, whether hearted a song or not—I can see who else has hearted that. Typically I’ll go to the first person (oldest) that saved it as they probably found it via different sources then everyone else, or they might just be a lot faster at finding good stuff. A caveat is that if there’s more then fifty people hearting a song I’ll ignore it as it’s already gone common. Either way I can go throw their current playlist to see what they’re liking music wise. Going through that list is where I’m going to find stuff that I would probably not have come across otherwise. I think that type of click and save exploration is could transferable to other digital stuff. It doesn’t just have to be about music. The skill though is keeping their site a main point of reference before people get lost in the clicks.
This week’s version of Link Drop has a healthy does of me at the beginning. When I read about other bloggers and their exploits, sometimes I think it’s cool to see, other times perhaps not. So if you’re in the perhaps not camp, please scroll quickly to link #4. Overall I came across a bit of everything, there’s lot’s of publishing stuff, both online and print. I think I keep coming back to that topic because it’s how people are broadcasting messages today, something we should all be in the business of. I also found it interesting how Armstrong integrated his message into a number of different outlets that again I think we can all learn from. Did I miss anything worth reading?
Video Notes from the Field
Being asked to pass along a quick thought about digital & design to potential students headed to that field, I choose to mention how digital is different than print. “Digital isn’t a one-time shot, but a constant upgrade”. For me to be included with a lot of people that I try to learn from myself on the post was quite cool to see.
The Aggregator That Newspapers Like
Some days I find it harder to explain what Daylife is then others, especially when I start mentioning Select. This article did a pretty good job explaining things on a high level and about some of the history behind the news service I work with.
Three New Foodists
I like food, I like to write—what better reason then that to start contributing to this food blog when the urge hits?
I wish I had come up with this idea first. Marking off blocks on NYC and documenting what’s around the street. Photos and google map included.
Unofficial Rules of the App Store
The potential for this site is quite important. If people regularily contribute it could give a good indication of what mistakes not to make. It could also be said that Apple should keep things open, but that’s a different debate altogether.
Last night I was going through some of my blog posts from the past couple months when I came across something from May titled Help– My Top Five Albums of 2009 are Way Too Mellow. A couple things have changed since then which made me realize I should do a follow up post. First off I got some great suggestions on stuff to listen to, both via the blog and email. One album that I couldn’t really mention till know was from the group My First Earthquake. I kind of over-dossed on their new album after listening to it a LOT for five weeks straight. It’s one of those albums that you can turn on at work and have it loop over and over again. The lyrics are really good too, somewhat unusual for a group with such a smooth upbeat sound. Another fun fact that might be of interest is that if you’ve used Google, interacted with work from Cooper or signed up for Aardvark you might have come across members of the bands design work.
Funny how time can change perspective (along with new releases). Here’s my current list—no laughing please. And if there’s been any other new releases that I’ve missed please let me know. I did go through everything that people suggested last time.
I’m not entirely sure why but I’m pretty happy how this week turned out for Link Drop. Lots of Design process, typography, NYC, social and business stuff. Art doesn’t usually get mentioned that much, but there’s a couple mentions of it. Usually by Wednesday I’m wondering if I’m going to have enough stuff that keep me interested, and it was the same this week. Yet I managed to find more then I’ve been able to post for a couple weeks—go figure.
This is one of my new favourite reading sites. While they don’t have a ton of free books to choose from, the option of having small chunks of the story emailed on a daily basis is nice. Through a five or ten minute read on a daily basis the chances of completing the book grow exponentially. There’s also a really nice UI that goes along with the options when a person chooses a book.
One of the most interesting aspects is the first comment suggesting that volunteering isn’t just a thing of socialists but also of religion—I just found that interesting in a non obvious way. And by my suggesting this, probably way too much of a generalization but, I’m pretty sure most people that are on the digital side have never considered how closely those two ideals in sharing knowledge are. I know I didn’t.
Making Policy Public: Predatory Equity
Every once in a while I get email from Urban Omnibus mentioning posts that they’ve put up. What I appreciate about the info is that the posts really dig into using design for improvement and talk about how they did it.
Great post for anyone that’s motivated about their career. If you’re successful you’ve probably already been in the same mindset, but it’s good to remember those ideals once in a while.
Web Visions 2009 Presentation
These pdfs are a really great source of information for people in the business of design. Like REALLY helpful—go there now and download them!
A collection of information on Agile Process—happy to see my presentation included.
I really like this combo of real life imagery and arrows juxtoposed together. It tells a story and then shows the actions afterwards. I don’t think I’ve come across this kind of visualization before.
This clock both makes me feel smarter and hurts my head at the same time.
I’d like to hang out in a room drinking fancy drinks while this dj table was bouncing around. A couple super model would be an added bonous…
The book is here
Great idea from a talented illustrator, order his book from him and he’ll add one more illustration by hand. I also noticed that he was giving shout outs to people via twitter that were buying it.
Cover Story: Finger Painting
I think by now we’ve all seen the cover of the year from the New Yorker. What you may not have known is that I mentioned him in early March, which I found via twitter a couple days before that…
If you’re in Manhattan this weekend, be sure to be facing west around Saturday, May 30 — 8:17 P.M. It’s when you can see the sun fall directly down the streets of NYC.
Mannahatta in Miniature
I love looking at anything that has to do with Manhattan, especially with this project. I think I’m going to have to check out the exhibition this weekend, can’t wait to get my hands on the book at some point soon either.
Helsinki x New York
Sometimes I think NYC is small and then I read a post like this and it shrinks even more. Nice write up from a couple friends on different sides of the pond at the moment.
Heralding the Latest Street Closures
Hopefully you’re not tired of me talking about NYC because what is going on in Manhattan with the streets is very special. Super cool to see what in my backyard. I’m so looking forward to not bumping into so many people at rush hour once the roads have been taken back to pedestrians.
Summer is just about here. It’s getting nice n’hot, the humidity is about to get a lot worse and there’s a long weekend coming up asap. Things are good in NYC at the moment for me which I’m really grateful for because there’s a lot of slowness going on around North America. Who knows when it will end, but hopefully it will make people stronger and smarter going forward. This week’s version of Link Drop is a bit smaller than usual. I was pretty busy and people had ICFF on their minds I think. The themes are similar in some cases as there’s tons of tech, typography and other artforms, but there’s also stuff about parks, maps and of course NYC. Again, if the weather is nice where you are—get outside and save these links for a rainy day…
I found this app via swissmiss yesterday—really great way to explore NYC via a map. It’s not perfect as it can’t do routes but more then makes up by allowing someone to see what business’ are in any building in the city. I was always curious to know who was behind where I work in SoHo, now I know.
Another great mashup using twitter and maps. I think the ui could be slightly tweaked but as a concept that works it’s quite amazing. The center of the screen locates the latest tweets from the geography. By moving the screen to different parts of the world you can see what people are talking about. The more you zoom in or out, the info changes according to area.
Design Glut: Candlestrip
Walking around one of the off site design shows timed for ICFF, these candles were one of the things that made me stop for a moment. (I can’t believe I just blogged about candles btw…)
What is Graphic Design?
While on vacation last week Andy was cool enough to have coffee with me. We talked about what graphic design is and was… Nice to see something online that I can pass on now about the idea.
I don’t usually post portfolios because there’s enough sites out there that already do that. But I thought I’d make an exception for the speculative Olympic poster work he has on the site. Really nice ideas. Too bad the Olympics don’t pay designers for work like they used too.
Searching for Value in Ludicrous Ideas
I’ve been thinking about the fact that there might be some great ideas out there at the moment but we have no idea if they’re any good as they’re being thrown against a two sided wall of the good ol’days way of thinking and the other side that is still unknown.
I’m a bit concerned at this point in the year with music. Below are my top five albums so far. They’re all decent but they are all extremely mellow. Have I missed anything obvious that I should check out—am I just getting old or is this just another example of the economy taking down an industry? I really wanted to like the new Doom album but the production quality was so bad I can barely listen to the pitch of it…
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It wasn’t until I started circling and circling the same themes did my Link Drop reveal what I was interested in this week. As I collected stuff that I thought was worth remembering, concepts about process and community were interlinked quite a bit. Next week who knows what will grab my attention but for now here’s what I’ve got. While I recommend checking some of these sites out, if it’s nice as it’s going to be in NYC this weekend—maybe try not to spend too much time on the interweb and enjoy outside. I know I’m going to try.
Feedback for profiles on Google
At first glance this user feedback page doesn’t seem that interesting, but it’s actually quite extraordinary. There’s realtime feedback that has numbers so anyone can watch as the ideas grow—which brings me to my second point. Google has started a profile page which is what it’s looking for feedback on. That idea is it’s base. The users are giving feedback that will no doubt be part of the roadmap as the service of the profile page evolves over time.
New models for new media
Interesting way of looking at growth—not necessarily in numbers but by building a stronger bond as the service evolves.
I thought everything for this project was pretty cool—but it also doesn’t hurt that the info design is actually informative. My only beef is that they should have reformated the poster when people are looking online as a pdf.
In Defense of Eye Candy
I though this was a decent rebuttal to all the ia’s out there that consider the design that’s completed after their work to be superfluous. However I’m also concerned that someone reading this article might just think that making every button shiny and bevel’ish is the answer too.
Why We Should Get Rid of the White House Press Corps
WAPO might have a point about this—there’s also a couple good suggestions at the end. Why not have people that are experts in particular fields be the one’s to ask questions depending on the topic of the day?
Four Essential Members of a Great Design Team
I thought this breakdown was quite smart—and if a design team can fit those pieces they’re pretty lucky. Even better if a company can foster that type of environment that recognizes those roles not as official titles but as elements needed for success.
Andy Hertzfeld on Google’s News Timeline
I always find it fascinating that when “certain” companies push out new features, a lot of the blogosphere’s response is blind celebration. It’s more about the name of the company then the actual functional workings. I thought this was a good breakdown of some of the current issues with Google’s new timeline which was a nice change of pace from what I’m ususally reading about them.
Readings of the week…
If you need more stuff to read and check out, these links wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
Below are my incomplete notes that I found myself typing away on my iPhone last night as I listened to Justin Ouellette of Muxtape talk at the Apple SoHo store for the AIGA NY DesignerRemixed series. I’ll try adding more context to some of the bullet points through the day as thoughts come back…
· lists and music go pretty well together
· playlists give context, much more interesting then an algorithm
· what’s better than a computer recommendation? A human recommendation
· exposure and threads are shown via those human playlists
· limits allow for quality
· contrast of different music types, not in a vacumn
· less is often more
· myspace music player is scary, interesting he noted that he was “confronted” with advertising
· played the below video…
· design principles and respect
· all those charts and info vs a simple question of what you’re trying to get, showed example of is Obama up?
· reverse of simplicity is more maximal. Showed the Sistine Chapel.
· getting people to listen to it is the first step to get attention to make money
· people being concerned about miss out on next big thing…
This week I thought I go with quantity and quality for Link Drop Contextd and leave the commentary short and sweet and let the site titles speak for themselves. Considering how much I enjoy football and that it’s the super bowl this weekend, I’m surprised that I didn’t come across that many related links. I’m also surprised that I didn’t mention one related link about Twitter. Till next week or blog post, ciao…
QuickPost 2: Super Bowl Ad Live-Blog.
Interesting concept, kind of interested to read the commentary once things get to the fourth quarter and many beers have been drank. Too bad it’s not open to anyone commenting…
Haven’t had a chance to read all of this info, but it looks like a great reference none the less
I’m happy to mention that the Doves finally have a new track or as I put it out there on twitter, it’s about frig’n time. But that’s not why I wanted to post something here. What I wanted to mention is that on the Doves site they have a google map that I presume is in real time of all the cities around the globe that have downloaded the new track. Once I submitted my email (no big deal is that I had signed up for their newsletter a long time ago) I got the track. Curious about the map I zoomed into New York. There were two markers, one for Brooklyn and one for Manhattan. While the marker for Manhattan wasn’t exactly on my location, it was close enough to wonder if they are showing proximities of every individual. My theory could be completely false by the afternoon when no more dots pop up on the map for New York, but that capability is already here. So while I’m personally not that concerned if it showed my exact location – actually I’d be curious to see how many people nearby like the Doves too (or more telling how few), there’s going to be more of this geo mapping location stuff. While the map doesn’t show demographics (though that could easily have been part of the data field set), it’s pretty powerful to see where your early adopter fans are. You could also measure it by time too. Depending on how you send the info out you could see what areas become more interested. Lots of potential to see data live.
And while I’m no muzak critic, and the Doves could throw out anything and I’d probably like it – their new track is pretty good. So I’d recommend going there and downloading it…
UPDATE: 9:40 PM | JAN 28. 2009
Looks like that page has either been taken down or hidden deep inside their current site. Interesting that the experiment lasted less than a day after they sent out the email blast…
UPDATE: 7:34 PM | JAN 31. 2009
Not sure why but I checked back on the site and it’s back to normal with their google map api. Too bad they only show the last 200 api calls…
Am I the only one that finds the placement of the above U2 poster with an upcoming movie kind of funny but not in a haha kind of way? More like hmmm, let’s try really hard making an association, any association. Considering how many times I’ve seen those two posters side by side outside I’m thinking it’s intentional. Any thoughts?
And here’s something else to ponder on a Saturday morning since I’ve already started a post on U2. A friend passed me on a link to consider how the new album art kind of looks like a photograph from Sugimoto.
I’ve been walking by the above Grammy poster for a week or two every morning as I take my weim Madison for a stroll. The poster is simple enough, type + person face = music poster. Nothing boundry pushing but nice none the less. Then I started coming across a bunch of different posts about the concept online which seemed kind of interesting. At the end of the post I’ve linked to all the stories I’ve seen so far. Each of the titles that make up his face are songs that influenced him – I’m not sure if there’s any way to verify if those were actual songs that he passed on or his publicist thought would look good on paper. I also noticed that some of the song titles are duplicated… But, either way I think it’s a nice way to make some meaning towards him and the other artists included in the series.
Wanting to take a look back so I can figure out how to proceed with 2009, I grabbed a bunch of notable posts that I thought were worth spending a bit more time with. Below each image I’ve made a note now that I’ve had some time away from each of the original posts. Here’s to the new year and thanks for visiting, and linking and commenting and…
This seemed like a great idea at the time, trade my shuffle with someone else and hear some new music. I ended up trading but due to my own business it took way too long to trade back with her. I learned my lesson – anyone else want to try trading?
I wanted to combine some of my photography with a listing of location. Another idea with good intentions, problem was it took a lot of time to map it out and I had no way of exporting the data offline if I wanted to. So after a while I stopped posting to that map.
This was before things really took off with Obama, I had seen the Hope graphic floating around the web but this was the first image I saw of it actually on the streets. A while after that post someone mailed me a couple of the posters. That was a very good day.
There was an interesting discussion after I posted this – unfortunately when I installed Disqus after the fact that comment stayed in the old database of comments. In effect the person was objecting to the commercialization of the idea of the Ghost Bike. At the time I was pretty much on the opposite side thinking that a company shouldn’t have to worry about worry such things. As I’ve walked a lot through the city and seen those white bikes out there, that person may have been correct with their objections.
This project is still going on for a couple weeks, but the number of people that saw it and contacted me after this post was quite amazing. Not sure where this project will end up but up until now it’s been interesting to watch it grow.
There was three events that were sort of art, sort of design that I really enjoyed seeing. One was MoMA’s Design and Elastic Mind Exhibition, Murakami at the Brooklyn Museum and Buckminster Fuller at the Whitney. I would have luved to have blogged more about the last two exhibitions but since they don’t allow photography inside I’ll just mention that it’s a stupid policy that will hurt them more than what it will help. Banksy’s installations would be up there too in really good things to have seen now that I think about it.
Just like the Frietag instruction booklet I mentioned above, Camper’s shoes are a product that other designers should want to strive for. They are perfect for the weather of NYC and never wear out. There’s only two brands of shoes that I buy, Camper and Giraudon.
There’s a lot of really smart stuff in this book. In my top 3 of things to read, and more interestingly I don’t think this book will date itself as much as some of the others along the same genre that came out this year.
For all the chatter of sites that tagged brands, I think Dear Adobe changed the game more so than any other UGC site. If I was wanting to study site concepts for company’s, this is where I would start. And no, Adobe didn’t design the site.
Just like last year, I’ve thought it would be interesting for me to plot out my top albums for the year. I changed the data axis of the 2 x 2 grid as my music habits shifted quite a bit from 2007. I barely listened to internet radio from a real station and I didn’t bother listening to any music review podcasts from NYT. I can’t really pinpoint any one source for knowing what to buy aside from an assortment of music blogs. It was interesting to note that I bough almost every one of those albums via my iPhone for what it’s worth. I decided to swap that info with a subjective credible vs. embarrassing axis as we all can relate to not wanting to admit to everything we listen to. While I don’t know anything about how the music industry decides to release albums I was curious to see what months were more successful than others for my listening habits. The reason why I’ve chosen 15 albums and not 20 is that I couldn’t think of five more albums that I wanted to add. I don’t think there’s much more to add except that four of the top five are from the UK. Is there anything that I’m missing?
TOP 15 ALBUMS OF 2008 It might be a while before I have time to annotate each album like I did last year…
01. Portishead: Third
02. Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid
02. The Streets: Everything Is Borrowed
04. Q-Tip: The Renaissance
05. Duffy: Rockferry
06. Helio Sequence: Keep Your Eyes Ahead
07. Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer
08. Magnetic Fields: Distortion
09. Kings of Leon: Only by the Night
10. Flying Lotus: Flying Lotus
11. Tv on the Radio: Dear Science
12. M83: Saturdays=Youth
13. Tricky: Knowledge West Boy
14. Girl Talk: Feed the Animals
15. Lil Wayne: Tha Carter III
And for bonous content, there’s the above video from BBC2 Culture Show ft. Soulwax, which has no typography in it, but makes use of old school digital equipment. That video is via montreal state of mind.
Having no experience w/ music aside from enjoying it casually, and a fan of bitmap typefaces, Blip Festival 2008 has piqued my interest.
About: Archaic game and home computer hardware is recast into the unlikely role of musical instrument and motion graphics workstation in the BLIP FESTIVAL 2008, a four-day event showcasing nearly 40 musicians and visual artists occupying the international low-res cutting edge.
The Blip Festival site contains all the pertinant info and links to the artists involved at http://blipfestival.org/2008/ If you’re reading this in current time and not after December 4–7, 2008 it’s coming up this weekend. For those in the know, is there anyone to take special interest in?
Hype Machine (probably the best source for listening to muzak on the web) has been really smart in how it has encouraged users to update their profile pic. How? By using a shot of John McCain. “Don’t be a McCain! Login and upload your profile photo today!” They’ve also made it a lot easier to find other users that like the same hard to find songs. Great release…
A couple days ago I was passed on an email from the musician Orouni mentioning his album Jump Out The Window. The music is pretty good but what I found even more interesting was that he was wanting to tell me about the illustrator that did the cover art for the album. The cover comes from Natsko Seki who’s got a great feel for things. I really like the style and feel – check it out for yourself at www.natsko.com.
When I asked Orouni about how the project and collaboration worked – this was his reply “basically, I’m a big fan of design blogs and one day, I discovered Natsko’s work on one of them and found it really amazing. I hadn’t finished my album (Jump Out The Window) at all but I knew I wanted her to design its cover. I thought there were many similarities between her visual style and my music, and it’s important for me that an artwork have some interaction with the sound of the album.
I didn’t really dream about her accepting, though. When she said yes, I really got crazy, I was so happy! Then I told her how I imagined the cover (subject, colors, etc.), and she started to draw a rough sketch. Then she made the whole artwork (CD, booklet…) and I’d like to say it was great to work with her because whenever I asked her to make some changes, she was ok with it, and it helped a lot to have a cover that we both liked. So I’m very happy that we worked together, I love the cover and people seem to do too. Natsko is really one of my favorite illustrators!”
Remember a while ago when the latest Girl Talk music files were floating around? Now that you’ve probably stopped listen to it there’s a diagram from Wired Magazine that illustrates all the influences. Even if it’s old it’s still interesting to see how the musicians influenced it. Read more from Wired at Mashup DJ Girl Talk Deconstructs Samples From Feed the Animals