Journal

Not Excited by the Olympics? Then Thank God for the Sponsors

Charlie Brooker:

The Olympic rings have been whored around so much they’ve become valueless: a status symbol for a few corporations to tote like a badge for several weeks, impressing almost no one except themselves.

Increasing commercialism of the games threatens to undermine the Olympic movement.

Inspiring Nobody

Rather than showcase British interactive design talent, the biggest cultural event of our generation has been represented online by an uninspired mess that flies the flag for the status quo.

Marathon Man

Although I spent much of April writing a tutorial for .net Magazine, I did enjoy a brief respite while I ran the Brighton Marathon. Yep, it’s been quite the month.

The Problem With Marc Andreessen

Felix Salmon:

Andreessen’s entire fortune has been built on the greater-fool theory: if you build something trendy enough, there’s probably going to be a huge lumbering company out there somewhere willing to overpay for it.

I know many who would agree with this assessment.

Build a Responsive Website in a Week

Since returning from San Francisco, much of my spare time has been spent writing a tutorial for .net magazine. Published as part of their ‘Responsive Week’, this is for developers who want to learn about responsive web design but don’t know where to start.

Inventing on Principle

Bret Victor talks about why he is motivated to create creative tools, during his presentation at CUSEC 2012:

Ideas are very precious to me, and when I see ideas dying, it hurts. I see a tragedy. To me it feels like a moral wrong, it feels like an injustice. And if I think there is anything I can do about it, I feel it’s my responsibility to do so. Not opportunity, but responsibility.

He also asks a good question; what’s the guiding principle behind everything you create?

(Via Tim Van Damme)

Lobbyists, Guns and Money

Paul Krugman:

We seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.

Scary yet unsurprising story about how organisations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are not only supporting, but writing wholesale legislation to benefit their corporate benefactors.

Of course, if it’s happening in the US, it’s happening here in Britain too. Indeed, I was reminded of this fascinating article by Adam Curtis, which charts the rise of the political ‘think tank’:

If you go back and look at how they rose up – at who invented them and why – you discover they are not quite what they seem. That in reality they may have nothing to do with genuinely developing new ideas, but have become a branch of the PR industry whose aim is to do the very opposite – to endlessly prop up and reinforce today’s accepted political wisdom.

Our political leaders are no longer interested in the concerns of the electorate and increasingly led by lobbyists – regardless of what destruction (societal, economic, environmental…) may result from their policy suggestions.

It surely can’t carry on like this, can it?

The Journey

A new pair of jeans, the reignited love for a city and an inevitable answer to a surprisingly surprising question. Just some of the artefacts collected during two weeks in America.

On The Road Again

On The Road Again

Once again, I’m in Austin for SXSW Interactive; the forth time I’ve attended an event I find easy to disparage. Yet this is the first stop on a trip that will take in several hundred miles of Interstate highway between here and San Francisco; two points of familiarity on an itinerary that promises to be anything but predictable.

DuckDuckGo

Not a week passes without there being a controversy involving Google. If they’re not pilfering a Kenyan business directory, then they’re jumping into bed with opponents of net neutrality or subverting default cookie settings. Even if you ignore these concerns, it’s hard to deny that their search engine is starting to suffer too. Fortunately, there’s an alternative.

Middle Class Memories

Heritage Lawn was an embarrassingly lavish name for a desperately average cul-de-sac. Yet, in and around a maze of opulently named cul-de-sacs, a few areas of wilderness remained.

Offscreen Magazine

Offscreen Magazine

Offscreen is a new magazine edited, produced and beautifully designed by Kai Brach, focusing on the personalities behind the pixels – in a good way.

Next Larger Context

Eliel Saarinen:

Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.

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