Monthly Archives: July 2011

How online is killing stores

This chart is striking:

A bigger version is here and much more readable.

I think it is also possible to read too much into it. There are still stores in these industries that are surviving. But the lesson is: if your product can be made digital, then it gets harder to justify not buying it online.

Even if your product cannot be made digital, if the supply chain can be shrunk to an acceptible level, you may also be in trouble.


The Picasso list for *the* Armory Show

The Armory Show of 1913, according to Wikipedia,

refers to the International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and opened in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, … and became a legendary watershed date in the history of American art, introducing astonished New Yorkers, accustomed to realistic art, to modern art. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own “artistic language”.

Among one of the people running it was Walt Kuhn. Picasso sent him this list of  recommended artists for the show:

Of course it is a great list of talent, including Braque, who seems to have been added as an afterthought. Found at the site, Brain Pickings, that has some must see Lists, To-dos and Illustrated Inventories of Great Artists (though the image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art; copyright F+W Media Inc. 2011).

More on the Armory Show here. It is a remarkable piece of American cultural history.

Is the new media model: copying, plagiarizing, rewriting and generally ripping off other people (like @nyscout)?

Nick Carr is a film location scout in NYC who has a great blog, Scouting NY. Recently he had the opportunity to write for the Wall St. Journal and turned in this fascinating store on The WWI British Biplane on a Rooftop in Lower Manhattan (Metropolis – WSJ). Gawker media must have thought it was fascinating, too, because they managed to rewrite the store here (Manhattan’s secret rooftop warplane)
and here (Why Is There a WWI Biplane On The Roof of This NYC Skyscraper?). The author of the Gizmodo story, @kellyhodgkins, tweeted: “Yes, it was your story and idea. And yes it was copy-edited by me for Giz. But I read your story and wrote my own version.”.

Check out the three stories and judge for yourself.

My belief is that this is going on all over the place, not just with these authors or Gawker media. In the same day I saw a similar thing happening on Huffington Post. It doesn’t excuse it, but I suspect authors from these sites are under pressure to turn in alot of material and end up resorting to this form of rewriting others work and most of the time no one even notices. This time, they did.

Recompute: recyclable personal computers

Recompute goes to considerable lengths to make a computer that is as recyclable as they can make it. (Yes, those babies are cardboard). They may not look sleek, but they are state of the art personal computers and they are highly customizable. If you are concerned about e-waste and want to do something about it, you should really give them a look.

Go to their site and read more about them. I am not endorsing them and I haven’t seen one in action, but I am always happy to see IT companies – including the one I work for – striving to make computers that waste less resources.

My favourite Amy Winehouse song

So simple: so great. Just her and a guitar doing “Valerie”

Rest in Peace, Amy Winehouse.

‪The DL – Amy Winehouse ‘Valerie’ Live‬‏ – YouTube

The Political Thinking of Anders Behring Breivik

Doug Saunders has it, specifically

…the collected writings of Anders Behring Breivik, accused of killing more than 84 young people at a Labour Party gathering in Norway and at least seven in a car bombing in Oslo. These are comments he posted on the right-wing site

It’s a good thing this was grabbed when it was. If you go to the site now, you get a one page site that says means “be right back”. It will be interesting to see if his writing is still there when that site comes back online. It’s worthwhile that Doug Saunders (from the Globe and Mail) and his friends were able to capture this and translate it like they did.

I could summarize what his thinking is like, but it won’t take too many pages of reading to come to your own conclusions.

Why did the Queen sit for a portrait painted by Lucian Freud?

My favourite painting by Lucian Freud is this one:

The question I have always asked is, why did the Queen sit for it? It was done in 2001, by which time Freud’s approach to subjects was well known. Surely the Queen knew it would not be flattering. While some critics approved, many hated it (How Lucian Freud’s portrait of the Queen divided critics – UK Telegraph). After it was painted, she did not comment on it.

I have a theory. Of the many paintings done of monarchs, how many pass the test of time? Merely a handful, like this work by van Dyck of Charles I (courtesy of Wikipedia):

I believe the Queen wanted Freud to paint her because he was one of the few great living painters who could do a portrait of her, regardless of how flattering it was. It would be a painting that would last for centuries and it would be discussed and viewed, long after the many millions of images of her were lost. It was a way to establish her image in the way that it would last. It was a way of being associated with something great and long lasting and artistic. That is why I think she sat for Freud.

Lucian Freud died this week. R.I.P.

The superb dancing of Ryan Francois and Remy Kouame to Slow Club’s Two Cousins

I like ‪Slow Club and I enjoy this song, but I just love this video. The dancers, Ryan Francois and Remy Kouame, are superb. They combine great choreography, emotion and physicality in their dance. Plus the direction of this video is wonderful: it really takes advantage of the black and white film, and the slow motion makes the dancers and the music match up well. Mesmerizing and something I can watch over and over.


How men should dress as they get older

Of course this is a matter of taste and preference, but I have always thought that men should dress up as they get older. This gentlemen (from Florence, not surprisingly) is very dressed up, but it’s still smart style for warmer weather. (I am assuming it is summer since he is wearing seersucker.)

The light yellow vest goes nicely with the buttons of his jacket and the laces of his shoes, and the brown of the shoes goes well with his belt. His jacket fits well, too: little bunching, despite the angle of his shoulder, and the shirt shows nicely, too. The suit is great, but the accessories really make this guy look sharp. I could go on, but this is one well dressed man in a great looking photograph.

Shot and found on The Sartorialist, naturally. No one takes better photos of older and dapper gents than him.

Why the News Corporation hacking scandal is a very big deal

You might get the impression from some journalists and politicians that the hacking scandal is a terrible things for alot of celebrities and some other poor people, but otherwise, no big deal. If so, read this CJR article. The whole thing is packed with facts that show that is a big deal. For example, this paragraph:

For starters, executives, editors, and reporters at News Corp.’s UK unit have: bribed the police; illegally hacked thousands of people’s phones, including a 13-year-old then-missing murder victim’s; tampered with evidence while the victim was still missing. They interfered with a second murder investigation; misled police and Parliament, repeatedly, when questioned about these activities; knowingly employed an ax-murder suspect who had been convicted and imprisoned for planting cocaine on an innocent woman in a divorce case; paid millions of dollars to victims explicitly in exchange for their silence; paid large sums to former employees after they had been convicted of crimes committed at the behest of News Corporation employees; continued to pay for convicted former employees’ high-powered lawyers.

And that’s just the start of what you’ll find in this article. It is highly recommended reading.

The criminality and corruption of this organization controlled by the Murdochs is astounding.

Great advice for artists starting out

Two of my favourite pieces of advice to artists starting out can be found here in these two videos. The first one is a (NSFW) call to do something, do anything, and not get hung up on things that stop artists, especially new artists, from doing anything (‪”My Favorite Artistic Advice” Tales Of Mere Existence‬‏)

A second and related video, ‪Ira Glass on Storytelling, part 3 of 4‬‏, is part of a series. I like this one in particular because it deals with a problem you might have: that your taste surpasses your creative ability. Ira has great advice on how to deal with this.

In short, never stop creating. Create alot. Create everyday. Practice. Evaluate. Do some more.

How the Internet is filling up with chatty devices (and how QR codes fit into this)

Cisco has created a powerful infographic showing how devices, independent of individuals,is becoming the dominant factor of the Internet.  The examples here may seem remarkable now, but soon this will be commonplace.

One thing they left out is the use of QR code. While instruments are things actively participating on the Internet, QR codes allow things to be passively on the Internet. For example, trees or animals or lakes or  locations could be tagged with QR code and that QR code could be associated with a URL. In essence, any Thing that can be tagged with a QR code can also be on the Internet of Things.

See Cisco: 50 Billion Things on the Internet by 2020 [Infographic]   for a bigger image

Life lessons from Ernest Hemingway

Nicely done.

For a scalable version, see it here.

For Harry Potter fans, the Los Angeles Times has a wealth of material you should see

Including this interview with the Phelps twins who play Fred and George Weasley in the film. If you scroll down to the bottom of the article, you will see titled Recent and Related that points to many other articles, most of them recent. And it seems that each article gives you a different set of Recent and Related articles. There is really a treasure trove of material here: perfect for Harrt Potter fans like myself.

talk about life, death, acting and Weasley courage | Hero Complex – movies, comics, fanboy fare –

Words that say “summer”, nicely framed, you will agree (to both)

Taken from the beautiful: poppytalk

More Kind of Blue Things

Framed Bandannas from Martha Stewart:

Thursday Night Music: Frank Sinatra – Witchcraft‬‏

Perfect music for the opening night for the last Harry Potter movie (or really, any time):

‪Frank Sinatra – Witchcraft‬‏ – YouTube

OREO cameos – from the ordinary to the extraordinary

If you are like me, you enjoy a good OREO cookie, but the most creative you get with it is in how you dunk it. But if you are Judith G. Klausner, you take your creativity and make something like this:

Impressive. Go to her site for more extraordinary work.

Wow! It turns out Pong was invented in the 60s! See it in action.

Here’s a video of ‪Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison Playing their  Ping-Pong Video Game in 1969‬‏.  It’s a specialized box: Atari consoles and arcade games were a way off from this.

Imagine what they would think to see today’s games.

Found via Open Culture, where you can find more details on this.

How to update Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook all from Google Plus

It’s easy: you need to use Google Chrome and then use this extension: Extended Share for Google Plus – Chrome Web Store. Once you install that, whenever you post something on Google Plus, you have the option to Share With other sites, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Some benefits to this:

  • You can post a short post on Google Plus, share it on Twitter, and then comment on your post on Google Plus if you have more to say.
  • You can share Google Plus posts on Facebook to entice your family and friends there to come and use Google Plus. 🙂
  • Things you post that are of a professional nature you can post on LinkedIn, without the trouble of having to login there.

One former underdog talks to another former underdog: some thoughts on Obama on Twitter

In April of 2008, this is typical of what people were writing about Twitter: Much atwitter about nothing? | VentureBeat. It starts off with the sentence:

There is a lot of talk today on the topic of no one caring about the short-form message service, Twitter, outside of a select group of insider tech people.

If any service or technology deserves recognition for being an underdog, it’s this one.

Three years later and we have the President of the U.S. (also an underdog for his current position) holding an open forum in which he takes all of the questions from people’s tweets ( I highly recommend the TechCrunch article, and although it tends to gloss over the success that Twitter has been building up along the way, it does a great job of highlighting what is great about it.

And Twitter still is the underdog: the first thing that people said when Google Plus came out was a variation of “this is going to be bad for Twitter”. People have been betting against Twitter since the beginning. I’ll believe it when I see it.

And speaking of the President on Twitter, there is this fantastic infographic put together of the event that can be found here in its full glory. Here’s my shrunken version:

How to clean up your Twitter followers, circa 2011: try ManageFlitter

It’s hard to clean up your list of twitter followers and otherwise manage your twitter account: alot of tools that used to do that have closed up shop or now longer work. One that does still work is ManageFlitter.

I used it last night to delete over 100 people that I followed. I had around 540, and I seemed to be having problems with twitter. This tool helped me find inactive accounts and other people that I follow that don’t follow me, and made it easy to delete them. I highly recommend it.

What’s the safest time of the day in terms of crime?

Well according to When does crime happen? in American cities, it’s between 4 and 6 a.m. No doubt because the late night criminals are going to sleep by then, and the daytime criminals have not yet arisen.

Check out the site for more details

Want to know what is going to be hot with Social Media and the Web next? Ask a teenager what they are using

Over the last month these two reports have come out concerning StumbleUpon (StumbleUpon sends more traffic to US websites than Facebook — Tech News and Analysis) and Tumblr (Tumblr Now Has More Blogs Than If I didn’t have a 15 year old, I would have been surprised. But I noticed recently that she has been using StumbleUpon alot, something she learned about from her friends at school. The same is true with Tumblr: it’s a trendy thing to for her friends to have tumblelogs and share things they find that way.

So far no interest in Google Plus. 🙂

Teenagers are very social, obviously, and they are also very tech savvy. If you want to understand some of what is driving use of new media on the Web, go talk to one.

A great place for daily fashion bargains for (Canadian) women is the Daily Steal

And you can find it here: Daily Steal | I put Canadian in parenthesis because while it mentions Canadian web sites, the web sites (e.g., Zara) have American and International sources as well. It’s likely that if is a deal here, then it is a deal elsewhere.

Go! Shop! Win! 🙂