Monthly Archives: July 2004


For the IDCA conference this year in Aspen, Peter Cho has created a “typographical accompaniment” to Orson Welles‘ hysteria-inducing 1938 radio play of “War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells.

“Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds, originally broadcast in 1938, is perhaps radio’s
most famous drama. While the existing audio recording is not of contemporary quality,
media artist Peter Cho has create a typographic accompaniment which provides
animated subtitles for the play. The typography will allow the audience to read along with
the story of panic and invasion, turning the radio play into movie for which the viewer must
provide his or her own imagery.”

Hopefully, this combination will get a release on the web somehow, as a flash movie or stream of some kind. I’d love to sit in a darkened room, listening to Orson Welles, with atmospheric type projecting eerily around me…

It seems that Spielberg is planning a version of War of the Worlds for 2006.

All of this, of course, is just an excuse for me to link to the fabulous War of the World book covers gallery again.

Minna tells me that Nokia Lifeblog Beta (Windows PC only, I’m afraid) is available for download here, as is the s60 client for the Nokia 7610.

As the website says, if you don’t have that phone (as I didn’t for a while) you can still use the PC app, which imports jpgs quite happily.

I’ve been using it since May, and it makes for a lovely digital shoebox.

UPDATE: Just noticed you can win a futurephone by giving the Lifeblog team your feedback:

“From now until September 30, 2004, submitting a bug report gives you the chance to walk away with a Nokia 7610 or 6630 imaging phone. The best, most comprehensive report wins! “

Damn – I’d love a 6630, and I’ve been using Lifeblog enough to put in a pretty good report already, but something gives me the feeling I’m not elligible… 😉

» Nokia Lifeblog: Download Beta

Kevan has knocked up an awesome visualisation tool for a user’s tags.

Here’s what mine looks like:


As compared to my hand-tooled version.

Here’s what Chris looks like:


Here’s what Clay looks like:


Here’s what Warren looks like:


And here’s what Foe looks like:


Kevan has named it:

extispicious, a. [L. extispicium an inspection of the innards for divination; extra the entrails + specer to look at.] Relating to the inspection of entrails for prognostication.

and it does feel a little bit mystical, but not guts, more tea-leaves. Or even phrenological, seeing the bumps in peoples outboard-brains…

» – charting the tags of users

From Melvyn Bragg’s “In our time” newsletter:

“After the programme a lot of the talk was about a word new to me: ‘presentism’. This is the burden under which historians who teach say that they labour increasingly, ie: everything in the past (more than 10 or 15 years ago) has to be described first in terms of the present.

The idea of a century or even a previous generation being radically different from our own in its political structure, its transport structure, etc, is, I was told, increasingly hard to grab hold of.”

» BBC Radio 4: In our time

muoto magazine

Muoto is a design magazine in Finland. It’s not superficial or consumerist – it has serious design criticism and commentary, but it’s still aimed at a broader audience than just the design industry it seems. Think “Blueprint” rather than “Design Week” at one end of the scale and “Wallpaper*” at the other.

This month’s edition is devoted to an examination of then state of Finnish design and the movers and shakers involved in it. It also has, for the first time, I think; translated all of it’s content to English.

It’s a good read, and a real window on where Finnish design culture is at, and where those involved in it think it’s going right and wrong. Alex Niemenen is part of a group interview that makes some interesting points about the Finn’s inability to package and crow about their abundant talent.

Being able to “evangelise” – market an idea, a potentiality, an abstract, a vision is something that in my short experience here I have found frustratingly absent, although there is something very reassuring about the refusal to talk about something unless every detail or eventuality has been considered.

The word “concrete” is properly the most used in conversations I have about ideas or design here. In a world of image this is anticompetitive but admirable.

Since moving to Typepad I’ve notice that posting a blog entry is more like handing in your homework, at a particularly strict school run by ascetic ex-Jesuits expelled from the order for their extremism. I keep getting comments telling me off for my self-indulgence and lack of intellectual rigour.

Admitted, I have the intellectual rigour of a frisbee. And perhaps these networked doses of cod-liver oil comments are good for me, making me a better writer or thinker. Or maybe not. Maybe this is all self-indulgence and should remain so for my sanity.

Anyway – I have removed the “recent comments” feature from the sidebar in the hope of reducing the ‘pile-on’ that happens.

The “recent comments” module appears to be a default setting in Typepad, and as a design pattern it is very successful for bootstrapping conversations on a personal website and keeping them alive. In switching from moveabletype to typepad, I thought that the effects of the default design patterns would have been noticeable, but aside from this comments amplification “pile-on” effect, I can’t think of anything else.

This over-riding feeling that Typepad’s defaults have turned writing here into a chore for me maybe just be a comparison effect of using more lightweight, life-recording, “spooling” systems, such as Nokia Lifeblog, and Flickr.