Rhetorical Answer

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A response to the question never asked

Movin’ on up

I am moving from WordPress.com to my own domain! From now on, you can follow my adventures at http://www.corinnasherman.com/

Please update your RSS feed reader, and I’ll see you on the flip side!

Thanks!

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Subway beauty

Subway ceiling

Subway ceiling

If you’ve ever smiled at the little brass men in the 14th St subway station or admired the colorful tilework at City Hall station in New York City, I think you’ll agree that this subway ceiling taken inside a Taiwan station blows all that out of the water. Standing underneath it, I really felt like I was looking up from beneath the ocean surface. Beautiful. The rest of the subway was impressively clean and pleasant as well, despite the crowds.

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The End of Wall Street’s Boom

This recent article by Michael Lewis, author of the infamous book Liar’s Poker, is long but once you’ve read it, you and your former office mates can sit around the flaming garbage can and discuss the finer points long into the cold, cold night:

http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/11/11/The-End-of-Wall-Streets-Boom

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Through nerd-colored glasses

I just attended the first session of a course called Design: Past, Present, and Future. It is pretty much what it sounds like: a survey of design history from 15,000 BC to the present day, with speculation on future directions. Sitting through the instructor’s halting, verbatim reading of his slides was mostly an exercise in contained boredom, but the class finished with a thought-provoking, structured discussion of the evolution of design. We selected examples of design from the past, ranging from cave paintings to illuminated manuscripts to the Rococo style; identified modern-day analogues; and projected how the designs may continue to evolve. Plenty of my classmates came up with examples from the present, but I noticed that the two people in class who contributed almost all of the ideas in the future trends category were me and another person in class who, shall we say, skew nerdy. Take a look at a few of the ideas brainstormed:

PAST PRESENT FUTURE
cave paintings graffiti
tattoos
murals
laser beam projection into the atmosphere
interactive wall panels
fabric touchscreens
petroglyphs icons
emoticons
still and animated images as txt messages
logos with scannable embedded information
cuneiform laser-cut printing
graffiti in cement
die cuts
3D printing
customizable object extruders
Rococo style excessive weddings
dense data visualizations
data presentations that appeal to senses besides vision – smellovision???

Most of the conjectures for the future were inspired by things we’d read about or seen as emerging technologies that could one day be developed into commercially viable products. It seems extraordinarily difficult to come up with visions of the future that don’t stem from something familiar and present. What do you see coming down the pipe in the next 20-50 years?

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Dark Knight/Toy Story 2 Trailer Recut

Here is a version of a Toy Story 2 trailer video cut to the audio track from a Dark Knight trailer. Although both the video and audio sources were probably used without permission, the resulting recut on YouTube is entertaining in its own right because of the juxtapositions the creator chose to make. Watching it reminded me of the ongoing debates surrounding copyright and fair use which Professor Henry Jenkins explores on his blog. Disney in particular gets a mention for its extremely aggressive copyright control practices.

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Geekery

For the Course 6 gal who has everything, a little bit of geekery

Posted by email from corinna’s posterous

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September Madness

There are those who watch the game and those who play the game. Which are you?

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/29/september-madness/

Just kidding, we’re all playing this one. Place your bets now!

401(k) plan – $1 chip

Gold – $10 chip

20 lb bag of Basmati rice – $20 chip

Posted by email from corinna’s posterous

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Pie Chart Friday

funny pie chart

This pie chart made me laugh and reminded me that it’s nearly October. Pie season is almost upon us.

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How the Internet is shaping our brains

There is an interesting article in The Atlantic about how the Internet may be shaping our thought patterns. The author makes the generalization (based on anecdotal evidence) that people tend to skim rather than read online, and that our ability to read with deep, sustained engagement becomes impaired as a result. He claims he cannot even read a long article anymore without getting distracted.

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but it sounds to me like the author is taking web surfing and multitasking to extremes. I get a lot of information from the Internet, but I don’t consider it a replacement for in-depth magazine/journal articles and books, and I still enjoy delving into a weighty tome for an hour at a time. Or several hours, if my newly arrived copy of Breaking Dawn has anything to do about it. People get information from a variety of media presented at different density levels, and that seems to me like a pretty healthy state of affairs. Sometimes we just want an overview, and sometimes we actually want to learn enough about a topic that we can carry on a conversation with others about it. How deep we want to go just depends on where our individual interests lie.

Admittedly, magazines nowadays (MIT Tech Review being one guilty party) are trying to appeal to the stereotype of a skim-happy public by encapsulating their articles in blurbs at the front of the magazine. Reading these predigested morsels in print, however, strikes me as a waste of time. After all, if I wanted shallow summaries, I could always go to the web site. (Well, actually, I’d check my RSS feed, but that’s beside the point.) If I have gone to the trouble of procuring a physical magazine, with pages I can stare at without getting computer monitor glow fatigue, that conforms to the shape of my grip and doesn’t mind getting rained on or stuffed into a bag alongside sharp metal objects like keys, I’m going to read whole articles. But maybe that’s just me.

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Web 2.0 Whatnot

I got an iPhone this weekend, and now I find myself swimming in a sea of Web 2.0 – you know, that lowercase, twitterific, round-cornered, how-is-this-making-any-money, privacy-what’s-privacy thing currently popping up like mushrooms all over the Internet? Yeah, that. There are so many shiny little logos to choose from in the iTunes App store. On which productivity-enhancing widgets will I squander my time on next? So far I’ve sampled urbanspoon, Remember the Milk, Jott, reQall, Bloomberg LP, Remote, and WordPress.

My favorite so far is the location-sensing urbanspoon. No more agonizing over which restaurant to choose – just shake the phone and go eat where it tells you to. Of all the apps I’ve tried, it is by far the most genuine time-saver. Plus, it kinda makes me feel like I’m at the Vegas slot machines when I use it. Come ooon, big dumpling!

Jott, reQall, and Remember the Milk are all web-based personal reminder systems. Jott and reQall are notable in that once you sign up for an account, you can call a phone number and leave voice notes for yourself, which their systems transcribe into written notes that get stored in your account. There’s no speech recognition training (thank goodness), and both services coped fairly well with my basic phone tests. Jott even boasts the capability to transcribe posts and send them directly to your blog. In my mind, that brings drunk dialing to a whole new level. You can also create lists and say which list you want a note added to when you call, so if you are on the go and suddenly remember you need to buy apples, you can call the number and save a reminder to your grocery list. Jott has more open-ended capabilities – sending to other applications like blogs, for example – while reQall can be clever and automatically sort your notes into lists depending on keywords it detects. So if you call reQall and say, “Buy apples,” it will know to store that note on your shopping list without you having to specify which list you mean.

I figured since I already dived in, I might as well check out Posterous, the blog service that lets you post to multiple places at once. Productivity-enhancing, right? Well, the name makes me giggle, anyway, because it looks like “posterior.” Or “preposterous”…but later. I haven’t found an iPhone app for it yet, but I’m sure if one comes out, the news will spread like wild (mushrooms on) fire.

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