Journal

A Taste of Toronto

A Taste of Toronto

Some cities are best arrived at by air; only by flying over Sydney, London or New York do you get a sense of their scale and majesty. San Francisco is best approached by car, with some of the best views of that city seen as you cross the Bay Bridge. Others are best suited to arrival by train. Toronto is one such city.

Onwards to Ottawa

Onwards to Ottawa

After four days in Washington, it was on to another North American capital, Ottawa. I encountered a city that was cold yet plentiful in ATMs that would refuse to accept my debit card.

Created by Machines

Marissa Mayer addressing Google designers, as quoted in In The Plex by Steven Levy:

“It looks like a human was involved in choosing what went where,” Marissa told them. “It looks too editorialized. Google products are machine-driven. They’re created by machines. And that is what makes us powerful. That’s what makes our products great.”

This explains everything.

(via Buzz Andersen)

Back in the District

Back in the District

My North American adventure started in Washington DC; ostensibly so I could attend an edition of this year’s An Event Apart conference. Yet it was also a good excuse to catch up with Shannon, who graciously planned a tour of the city for me and Andy.

Continuing Adventures in America

Having tried so diligently last year to reduce the amount of flying I do, I hoped to keep this year’s long-haul flights to one. With an important part of my family now settled in São Paulo, and some of my best friends based in San Francisco, maybe such lofty goals are foolhardy. Before I write about my most recent travels, I address the hypocrisy in taking such a trip.

The Social Graph is Neither

Pinboard’s Maciej Ceglowski:

Social networks exist to sell you crap. The icky feeling you get when your friend starts to talk to you about Amway, or when you spot someone passing out business cards at a birthday party, is the entire driving force behind a site like Facebook.

Because their collection methods are kind of primitive, these sites have to coax you into doing as much of your social interaction as possible while logged in, so they can see it. It’s as if an ad agency built a nationwide chain of pubs and night clubs in the hopes that people would spend all their time there, rigging the place with microphones and cameras to keep abreast of the latest trends.

Required reading.

A Week with Windows Phone 7

With three years of iPhone ownership I’ve become accustomed to the design and behaviour of iOS, yet at the same time ignorant of other smartphone platforms. Thanks to Clearleft’s new mobile testing environment, I can now spend a week or so with different operating systems to get a feel for how they differ. First up; Windows Phone 7.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement address is a lesson on how to lead a life of fulfilment:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

And death allows for no excuses:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

I aim to do so.

The Commonwealth Institute

The Commonwealth Institute

Thanks to London Open House, last month Simon and I visited the Commonwealth Institute, regarded by English Heritage as the second most important modern building in London (after Royal Festival Hall). Neglected for ten years, work will soon begin on preparing the site for the New Design Museum, scheduled to open in 2014.

Richard Madeley

David Sim:

When I fell asleep in front of BBC1, dinosaurs were on. When I awoke, Richard Madeley had traced his ancestors. Seems a waste of evolution.

Sage

Sage

Today I was told the sudden and unexpected news that one of my family’s pets, Sage, had been put to sleep. Unbeknown to us, his body was being ravaged by a cancerous tumour so aggressive, that it only made itself visible last weekend. He had days to live.

To Fly. To Serve.

Whatever you may think of British Airways, it’s hard not to be impressed by this latest campaign. Part of a brand repositioning exercise that sees the return of the company’s coat of arms, this advert meticulously recounts the history of BA through its planes, people, ancestor companies and branding. It also features a nostalgic nod to Concorde, which still looks like an aircraft of the future rather than one of the past.

In many ways, I’m reminded of a similarly retro themed advert that BA’s arch rival Virgin Atlantic produced to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2009.

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