there are 55 posts from March 2010

March 31, 2010

teriyaki nectar

Teriyaki, we learn from Dwayne Raymond’s memoir Mornings with Mailer (Harper Perennial), was the nectar of Norman Mailer’s declining years. “What about teriyaki, butter, and raspberry jam?” he muses at one point in the book. “Could we mix them together and then fry a thin breakfast steak in it? How would that taste?” (“He asked this,” comments Raymond, “as if I somehow secretly knew how it would taste and was keeping the answer from him.”)


Via Fimoculous, news that Norman Mailer really loved teriyaki. But I’ll admit that it’s tempting to actually fry up that breakfast steak…

March 31, 2010

salon on chelsea

The sad truth is that, outside of her “I love to drink! Look at my ass!” comfort zone, Handler has remarkably little to say. But, hey, if college taught us anything, it’s that a girl can go far on “I love to drink! Look at my ass!” Like, say, the New York Times bestseller list. 


Dear Salon: sometimes “I like to drink! Look at my ass!” is just good (enough) entertainment. Chelsea on E! is occasionally a satisficing alternative to JayDaveJimmy, and not everyone needs to be as funny / “transgressive” as Sarah Silverman.

March 31, 2010

creating overwhelming feelings of parental-themed inadequacy, one blog post at a time

I was hoping to try to make my own version of the chocolate filled real eggshells that Martha Stewart created a few years back, but I wanted mine to be more like a Kinder Surprise egg with a toy or small item inside.


Your most / least favorite (pick one) “How To” post on the Internet for the next 10 minutes. Because that’s how long it will take you to skim it.

March 30, 2010

completely out of context

At a recent art world dinner [MoMA Curator Klaus] Biesenbach mentioned to me that he’d crossed paths with Lady Gaga, who said that she felt she was a performance artist — or an artist of some sort. Biesenbach responded that she was not, and reportedly she was a bit taken aback and stunned at his reply. Biesenbach didn’t exactly detail as to why in fact she wasn’t an artist, but by way of a sort of explanation he related that Susan Sontag had pronounced to him, “All we have is our opinion.” We must be referring to cultural critics like herself and other curators. Well, her opinions were always backed up by extremely well-written and thought through arguments, and Biesenbachs’s opinions now carry the weight of MoMA — so while some opinions are qualified, some have more resonance and repercussions than others. On the interweb everyone has an opinion, but most of it doesn’t matter. There’s no pretence of equal opportunity or democracy in the art world — which is probably fine. Komar and Melamid did “democratic” art as a kind of ironic exercise, and from their example I can say we seriously don’t want Wiki culture.


Just one quotable graf of many from David Byrne’s long post on art and context. Worth reading in full.

March 29, 2010

greenberg down under

“Greenberg is back and anti-social as ever! This time, the severely depressed suicidal misanthrope finds himself in the Australian outback, where he has to rescue his step-niece and her friend from sex traffickers and get back to Los Angeles in time to save his brother’s dog from an auto immune disorder.”


Lindsay Robertson imagines the sequel to Greenberg. Proabably better if you’ve seen the movie.

(Speaking of which, having seen the movie, I’m even more amazed by the interviewers (I’m looking at you, Terry Gross) who were stupid enough to ask Ben Stiller what events in his life he was able to draw on to play Greenberg. Because either (a) he’s, you know, ACTING, or (b) he’s not really going to admit things like that to the general public. Again, probably better if you’ve seen the movie.)

March 26, 2010

mmmm, animal-shaped foods

My favorite post on the web right now is at Serious Eats: Do You Have a Hard Time Eating Animal-Shaped Foods? The comment thread is just getting started: “Yes, eating a large chocolate bunny is difficult. No moral qualms, just melting point problems.”

March 24, 2010

what's happening?

Now Watch

Bas Koopmans, via today and tomorrow.

March 24, 2010

pancakes on acid

Via GeekWeek, my number one source for pancakes on acid videos.

March 24, 2010

owen's back

One startup founder I know recently said that the problem with publications covering startups is that 99 percent of the information is private. I take that as a challenge — or rather, an opportunity.

Via, emphasis mine.

The Suck-trained, Denton-seasoned Owen Thomas is back with a gig at VentureBeat, and is already resorting to the lamest cliche in the business. Welcome back, Owen!

March 24, 2010

i want a public bike

PUBLIC Bikes is Rob Forbes’ new company – he previously founded Design Within Reach – and next month they’re bringing out a line of simple, upright, unisex bikes with a modern look. They’re great looking bikes, perfectly designed for that stylish handlebar basket you’ve always wanted.


But what makes PUBLIC interesting isn’t necessarily their bikes – it’s their distribution model. The choice of options for their bikes is simple – you’ll pick from two frame styles, four colors and three gear configurations (1, 3 and 8-speed) – and you’ll make those choices online. It’s a bit different from how you probably bought your last bike; instead of selling through bike shops, PUBLIC is going direct to consumer. Mostly.

From their Join Us page…

PUBLIC is establishing a network of preferred bike shops that will receive bicycle shipments and assemble PUBLIC bikes for customers in their city. If your bike shop is known for superior customer service, professionalism, and you are interested in assembling PUBLIC bikes on demand for a competitive flat fee, please send an inquiry to

I don’t know much about the business models of neighborhood bike shops, so take everything I say here with a grain of salt. But it seems to me that if like most retail goods their margins are slim going to slimmer, then the act of selling bikes becomes the loss-leader for establishing a relationship with the customer to sell them accessories and ongoing service. Which means that it makes perfect sense for PUBLIC to take the act of marketing and selling the bikes out of the hands of retailers…and instead find the right bike shops to deliver service.

They aren’t completely abandoning retail, however. They want to find complementary outlets to showcase their products. is the primary source for PUBLIC bikes, but we have identified a few businesses whose products complement the PUBLIC aesthetic, so we will also offer our bikes through these outlets. If your business has a showroom to showcase and sell PUBLIC bikes alongside your core product offerings, let’s start a conversation.

This obviously isn’t a mass-market play – you won’t be seeing PUBLIC bikes in Wal-Mart or Target. PUBLIC gets to focus on what it wants to be good at: building a high-end consumer brand and fostering a direct relationship with the customer through their site…while leaving the “last mile” of high-touch customer service to local retailers…who aren’t really retailing.

It’ll be fun to see if they can pull this off.

March 24, 2010


This is the SxSW performance of Broken Social Scene featuring Emily Haines from Metric[1] that Ana Marie Cox blogged about at[2]

Broken Social Scene play a form of semi-experimental rock music that involves several guitars, an unusually-deployed horns section and, from what I could tell from the audience, two computers. They call themselves a “collective” and it’s quite a collection. At one point there were thirteen people on stage, which seemed impressive until I Googled them and found out their “full” membership is 15.

And yet for all their size, they still sounded kind of small. The addition of one more person halfway through the show, however, seemed to double their size. Emily Haines of Metric (featured on Gossip Girl!) gave the band a jolting energy transfusion for one electric, belief-suspending song. I had to look up the name of that song – “Anthems for a 17-year-old Girl” – but I’m never going to forget it.

Seeing Metric tonight in Oakland. Looking forward to it.

[1] Powered by TypePad!

[2] Yes, I’ve now posted that link twice. Sue me.

March 22, 2010

today's must read

Conversational gambits, platinum badges, Twitter follower counts, Broken Social Scene, Emily Haines, Zooey Deschanel, as seen on Gossip Girl!, secret shows, Terror Pigeon, Dance Revolt?, Band of Horses and a surprisingly touching couple of paragraphs about Ana Marie Cox being pulled into a mob pogo dance at South by Southwest.

March 22, 2010

sound advice

Steph at Noshtopia piles on to Michael Pollan’s food rules

Do not eat anything that has a TV cartoon character or movie action hero plastered all over the packaging. Do you think Superman would himself eat or drink something that looks like glowing kryptonite?

No. I don’t think he would.

March 22, 2010

services from p&g

“We’re active in franchising now with Mr. Clean car washes and Tide Dry Cleaners. MDVIP [concierge physician service] is a service operation. But we’re also working on services on our existing brands, for example, where you walk up to the shelf, take a picture of the UPC code on your phone, and you can download information about the ingredients in that product, which you as an environmentalist may care about.”


Great piece in AdAge about P&G’s move into service-oriented business, which is partly driven by the law of large numbers. “Every percentage point of growth now requires about $800 million new sales.”

March 21, 2010

ross on pavement

Alex Ross reblogs his 1997 New Yorker piece on Pavement.

A Pavement album is a series of small labyrinths. The pleasure of the maze matters more than finding a way out.

If you’re a Pavement fan (like me) you’ll read this. If you’re not a Pavement fan, you’re most likely getting ill on the vast amount of ink that music writers have been spilling lately. In that case, best to avoid.

March 19, 2010

signs of spring

Ah, spring. When a geek’s thoughts turn to death star watermelons. You probably don’t even need click through, because you can imagine it perfectly in your mind’s eye.

March 19, 2010

ezra on literalness

It occurs to me I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone fail to understand figurative language because of a basic inability. Rather, geeks use it as a dodge: if you can’t quickly respond to what someone’s really saying, it remains easy to put the words together literally and answer that. You might get a laugh, and you can’t be accused of being wrong!


The post is great – it’s short, so go read the whole thing. I’m guilty of this occasionally, but it’s a habit I’m trying to cure myself of. It’s the verbal equivalent of fisking (which I hate), and is damaging to real conversation and communication.

March 19, 2010

another reason to subscribe

The most underrated component of The Sartorialst? The headlines.

March 18, 2010

she smokes to quiet her racing heart

This is not a deep psychological study. But it’s a sober, grown-up film. It has action, but not the hyperkinetic activity that passes for action in too many American movies. It has sex, but not eroticism. Its male lead is brave and capable, but not macho. Its female lead is sexy in the abstract, perhaps, but not seductive or alluring. This is a movie about characters who have more important things to do than be characters in an action thriller.


Ebert reviews The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Must see this.

March 18, 2010

onward and ahead, paul ford!

You know what happened, really and without irony? I had an opportunity to be an editor at Harper’s, to edit pieces for the magazine. It was something I expected to really want. I had wonderful editors to learn from. I did a little of it for print and a lot for the web. I wasn’t bad at it, even. Not great, but not bad. I could have been a respected editor instead of a huge nerd. But all the editing in the world can’t compare to building little websites and mangling text and writing things and messing around in spreadsheets and figuring out what’s wrong with comments. I wake up thinking about how all the pieces fit together and I want to do more of it and with lots of people. I plan to be scared and exhausted most of the time. So far that’s working.


Choire catches up with Paul Ford now that he’s left Harper’s and is working with our friend Mr. Dash at Activate. The whole interview is great, but it’s the “without irony” bit that’s fantastic.

March 18, 2010

now that's a conference

Spoon Live at Stubbs SXSW 2010 posted by allsongs at Flickr

15,000 people talking about the future of publishing on iPads can’t hold a candle to what happens the week after. NPR’s All Songs stream on Flickr has some great pics of last night’s shows at Stubbs. I want to go to there.

March 17, 2010

tyler green's abstract painter bracket tourney

Welcome to the last annual America’s Greatest Living American Abstract Painter Tournament. Think of it as the NCAA tourney only with fewer corporate tie-ins, less sweat, fewer buzzer-beaters,  and cheerleaders by Mel Ramos. (If only!)


I’m imagining curatorial staffs in museums across the country filling out their brackets with the same fervor as college hoops fans in the cube farms where,, and are all blocked by the corporate firewall.

(Also, market need! Lazyweb: please make an easy to use webapp version of a bracket tourney poll so that people can do things like this all the time!)

March 17, 2010

herbivorous rage

Via @themexican comes this nugget from @liabulong:

don’t think i’ve ever read anything in my life that screams “san francisco!” as much as this story’s first paragraph:

And because she’s so right, and it’s so good, I had to share.

(03-16) 18:30 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- An ex-vegan who was hit with chili pepper-laced pies at an anarchist event in San Francisco said Tuesday that her assailants were cowards who should direct their herbivorous rage at the powerful - not at a fellow radical for writing a book denouncing animal-free diets.

I love this town.

PS: Turns out that the phrase “herbivorous rage” isn’t quite the Google whack you’d think it is. As of this morning there are already 319 results (many of which are about the Chronicle’s story), including a link spam page regarding “Vicodin Side Effects.”

The more you know!

March 16, 2010

new rules for new delivery devices

There’s an old adage in photography: the best camera is the one you have with you. Now that our media is available in so many formats, we can say that the best book is the one on your Kindle or the best movie is the one on your iPhone.


I liked this nugget in Jason’s post about how online reviewers of books and movies are now delivering negative reviews based on their packaging and delivery.

Currently reading on my iPhone: Friday Night Lights. Currently watching via Netflix instant delivery: Friday Night Lights, Season Two. I’m a bit obsessed.

March 16, 2010

insularity breeds insularity

Great interview at HuffPo with Gina Welch, the Berkeley-raised[1] author of the new book In the Land of Believers, in which she documents her two years of being “undercover” at Jerry Falwell’s church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

What was the biggest surprise you found during your journey?

The biggest surprise for me was the individual reflectiveness of church members. I think I’d had this stereotype of evangelicals as blisteringly arrogant dogmatists. But I observed instead humility and a kind of obsessive self-reflection, enacted through prayer. They call it listening to God’s voice, but from it seemed to me like a constant internal pat-down of conscience, which really resulted in care with choices, and a movingly ample capacity for selflessness and generosity. I learned a lot by their example.

A secondary surprise was that I felt implicated in the ignorance I observed – relating to gay rights, to the environment, to feminism. I started to believe that their reactionary attitudes on these subjects were a result of profound insularity, which itself seemed the legacy of a culture that rejected them: mine. Why would they open themselves up to influence from a culture that made no space for their beliefs?

[1] As Berkeleyside points out, this is code for “liberal, atheist.”

March 16, 2010

game over

Tiff Chow officially won this afternoon.

March 15, 2010

wrigley maintenance

If you’re a Cubs fan…or just a fan of Wrigley Field, you’ll appreciate this: Everyblock’s Daniel X. O’Neil went digging through the city permits for all the work that’s happening on the stadium in prep for baseball season. On deck: new promotional signage on the outside of the stadium, some scoreboard repairs, a new sign in left field, an improved batting cage, an improved umpire dressing room and more capacity in the women’s restrooms.

March 15, 2010

lady gaga is going to be on glee

Yep, it’s true. Gaga on Glee next season. Which is really just an excuse to post this fantastic photo.


Let’s make a sandwich.

March 12, 2010

how you like me now

Watching The Heavy’s much-linked performance on Letterman, all I could think of was Robert Smigel’s version of Lorne Michaels screaming “Noooooo!!! This needs to be on myyyy shooooooooooooooowwwwww!!!!”

March 12, 2010

entitled to care, starring jason schwartzman

But, then we also find ourselves having to beg them to face the non-negotiable reality of a scary, complicated, and hard-to-monetize new environment where nobody cares how attached you are to your spreadsheet. Bravely vowing to continue pretending it’s 1972 is a terrific treatment for a film, but it’s a crap way to run your growing business.


Merlin’s piece about entitlements and business model dirt naps is worth reading in full.

But the little bit excerpted makes me think that this would make a terrific film. Directed by Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman stars as a young, inherited-wealth magazine publisher who bravely vows to continue to pretend it’s 1972, while all around him people in distressed jeans, sneakers and ironic t-shirts whiz past with their iPads and their Foursquare checkins.

OK, now that I think about it…maybe not.

March 11, 2010

the multi-layered ipad

Up until now, we’ve done most of our reading using a single layer of data. This works well when you have abundant space, but breaks down when you try to work on a smaller device. As we pack more and more data into smaller spaces, we need to consider how this data is presented. The answer that provides the best compromise of accessibility and usability is to layer our data using modal dialogs. And now, a story.


Matt Jacobs publishes his notes on talk he gave about “The Tablet” and multi-layered computing. Well worth the read, or if you want the short-hand version you can page through his slides.

March 11, 2010

pluto is no longer a planet

pluto note


Tiff blogs about how kids get pissed off when they learn that Pluto isn’t a planet. BUT! Check out the dateline on that letter – November 6, 2006. Kids that have been learning about planets since Pluto’s been declassified have a completely different take…

Case in point: took the kids to the Chabot Space and Science Center this past weekend, and watched a great film with them about the solar system. My when the kids in the movie flying their animated cardboard rocket finally made it to Pluto my nine year old turned to me with this shocked look on her face and whispered “But Dad! Pluto’s not a planet!”

March 11, 2010

i am also a huge fan of soulver

DVD players don’t make fake whirring noises for five minutes before letting you eject a disc to simulate rewinding. Similarly, nobody should need to perform a full-width swipe gesture and wait two seconds for their fake page to turn in their fake book, and nobody should need to click the fake Clear button and start their calculation over because their fake calculator only has a one-line, non-editable fake LCD.


I no longer click the fake clear button to clear the display on my one-line, non-editable fake LCD. I am a convert to Soulver (desktop and iPhone) and it really is a thing of beauty.

March 10, 2010

thanks, dave!

The news that Issue #60 (“Append file support”) in the Quick Search Box for the Mac bug tracker has been marked as “fixed” by Dave MacLachlan will make a vanishingly small number of people exceedingly happy.

And since the other 99.99% of you have no idea what I’m talking about you can move right along. There’s nothing to see here.

March 10, 2010

now that's a party

I loved this little bit from The March 1 New Yorker profile of Paul Krugman: “Once, he and [his wife] Wells gave a Halloween party where the theme was economics topics – two guests came as Asian tigers, several came as hedge funds, one woman came as capital, dressed up as a column.”

That’s right: two Asian tigers. Imagine the awkwardness.

March 09, 2010

world class, a.k.a. international hullaballoo

I know world class is  just a phrase, but it’s one that sets my teeth on edge. … Language is enriched when it incorporates slang, neologisms, immigrant inventions and street talk that say things that were never needed to be said before, or that we were never willing or able to say to each other. Language is corrupted when it is made bland, vague, superficial, flabby or meaningless. World class is a term that I believe leaked over from the sports world. In ranking how fast the fastest sprinters can cover 100 meters, it has objectivity and meaning. Slopped over to a realm such as the arts, it only pretends to some kind of verifiable truth. So while it feigns being about the best of the best, it really means, “talked about and caught up in the international hullaballoo that we all hear so much media talk about,” with a dash of “appreciated by we who are at top of the heap.”


SFMOMA’s Renny Pritikin pens a word class blog post on museum building booms and digresses on the use of the phrase “world class.”

March 09, 2010

the flickr commons

If you haven’t, go check out the Flickr Commons. “The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.” And if you’re not the tagging or commenting type, browsing works, too because every once in a while you come across gems like this one from the collection of the State Library of New South Wales. (Baldessari, anyone?)

March 09, 2010

the DFW archive

You probably read it there, since I’m sure the set of readers fully encompasses the set of readers, but Jason points out the news that the University of Texas has acquired the archive of David Foster Wallace.

UT’s press release about the acquisition is essentially a microsite of material from the collection, including scanned images from the inside of some of the books Wallace owned. Here’s the one for DeLillo’s Ratner’s Star:


That image makes my heart beat faster. Here’s an excerpt of a blog post from Bonnie Nadell, Wallace’s literary agent, about the collection…

What scholars and readers will find fascinating I think is that as messy as David was with how he kept his work, the actual writing is painstakingly careful. For each draft of a story or essay there are levels of edits marked in different colored ink, repeated word changes until he found the perfect word for each sentence, and notes to himself about how to sharpen a phrase until it met his exacting eye. Having represented David from the beginning of his writing career, I know there were people who felt David was too much of a “look ma no hands” kind of writer, fast and clever and undisciplined. Yet anyone reading through his notes to himself will see how scrupulous they are.

The inclusion of the words “and readers” gives me hope that some of the pieces in the archive find their way into books, on to the web, etc….and not just sifted through the inscrutable filter of academia. (And since everything comes back to this lately: I wonder what the market opportunity is for an iPad version of Infinite Jest annotated and overlaid with notes / revisions / edits from DFW?)

March 09, 2010

the canon blaster

I’d like a Chrome extension that redirects every article similar to the above to Armond White’s Transporter 3, which is the last word on the topic as far as I am concerned.


David is on to something with this idea for a browser extension. “Oh! You think that article is interesting? Well you should check out the one that really matters. You’ll thank us later.” Or instead of a browser extension imagine a campus-wide proxy server that detects and automatically redirects based on student browsing activity. (Included free with your tuition!) We’ll call that act of redirecting GETTING BLASTED BY THE CANON.

March 09, 2010

nightmares in neon

The phrases bloom in my mind, filled with monstrous possibilities. As you read, the voice in your head becomes by turns lover, mother, creep, sadist, rapist, murderer. Snag on a particular phrase and, as you watch it slide away, you’ll miss what’s coming up behind. Occasionally, the words blink on and off, or stall and reverse. It is hard to keep up, even though they glide by at a walking pace, silently.


The Guardian’s Adrian Searle on Jenny Holzer’s exhibition “For Chicago.”

March 09, 2010

does the model have her shoes on the table?

There’s a lot to love in this 3 minute, 20 second slow motion, captioned rendition of Sunday night’s iPad ad, but more than anything else, I love the sound effects.

March 08, 2010

paul ford will be at sxsw

I will not be in Austin this year, though the inimitable Paul Ford will be. You should find him and say hello.

I’ve never been to SxSW before. It surprises some people when I tell them that. It also surprises people when I cry or vomit, or get into bed with them well after all the other guests have gone home. But I’ve never had a job where they want to spend money to send me places to learn things. I think that’s a very NYC thing; ideas and talent are supposed to come to us, preferably kneeling and begging, not the other way around. This approach is why the finance and publishing industries are enjoying such great years.


March 05, 2010

smart marketing from @jenbee

The tradeshows of the art world, art fairs can leave even the most avid art enthusiast feeling deflated by day’s end. To help keep everyone in high spirits during the NYC art marathon that started yesterday, Jen Bekman and the team behind her online art initiative 20x200 will be handing out survival kits packed with a Daily Candy city guide, artist Jason Polan’s clever hand-drawn map, a “Visual Palate Cleansing System” for the visually overstimulated and much more.


Having done more than a couple fairs in my lifetime, I can absolutely testify to the “deflated” feeling. Kudos to Jen Bekman for her smart kit for surviving this week’s New York fairs.

March 05, 2010

quite a lot!

Anyway: Dave Eggers! I am writing to compare him to Wyndham Lewis, because while there is definitely something to not like about him, there is a lot to praise. Quite a lot! There is great worth in Dave Eggers.


Maria Bustillos tries really (really!) hard to say good things about Dave Eggers, and compares him to Wyndham Lewis. Which I guess is a good thing?

Me? I’ve never met Dave Eggers. But I like some of his books! And The Believer sure is neat. And I was surprised at how much I liked Where the Wild Things Are because I don’t think it was really that “twee” and was actually quite a sophisticated story… But what do I know. I don’t write for The Awl, and I don’t know enough about Wyndham Lewis to know whether or not Ms. Bustillos is being ironical.

March 05, 2010

home is where i want to be

As an iPhone user, Jason Snell’s writeup of what he’s learned from using a Nexus One is enlightening. (“If the iPhone didn’t exist, I would have the Nexus One in my pocket right now—but then again, if the iPhone didn’t exist, the Nexus One wouldn’t either.”)

slide-screen I keep hearing fundamental things about the Nexus One that turn me off, like, for example, the fact that the on-screen keyboard can’t keep up with any reasonable pace of typing. I do a lot of writing (email, notes, twitter, etc.) on my phone, and if the Nexus One’s typing experience is a step backwards from the iPhone, then it’s a deal breaker.

The part of Snell’s piece that I found the most interesting, though, is the discussion about the home screen and notifications. It’s the one place where the Android platform is seeing a lot of developer experimentation and innovation, from the user customization tools that are built into the Android OS, to fully baked and branded experiences like MOTOBLUR, or independently developed applications like SlideScreen (pictured here).

Assume for a minute that Apple does want to evolve the home screen / notification experience in the next rev of the iPhone OS. Here are three things they could do (they aren’t mutually exclusive) to drive that evolution:

  1. A better Apple-provided out-of-the-box solution for notifications and glanceable home screen summaries of messages, events, social network notifications, etc. Likelihood: high.

  2. A framework for third party applications to provide “out of sandbox” information snippets and notifications (beyond cloud-delivered push notifications) that will appear in the notification stream or on the user’s homescreen. Likelihood: maybe.

  3. The ability for third-party developers to ship applications designed to be installed and run as “home screen apps,” and essentially take over the role of notification delivery vehicle and application launcher. These home-screen apps would presumably have access to snippets and notifications delivered by other apps. Likelihood: no way.

I can see (1) happening - they really do have to at least fix the notification problem, and they have to do something with the UI to catch up to (or leapfrog?) all the innovation that’s happening in the Android space. And I’d love to see (2), where notifications are delivered from the cloud, and the “badge count” metaphor is expanded to include headlines or snippets of information. (Don’t just show me I have 12 things due today in Things, show me the headlines of the first few and then let me tap into launch the app and view them all.)

But I just don’t see (3) happening. No way, no how. Especially in the context of the current patent suits – there’s no chance in hell they’d risk sending the market the message of “you know that core iPhone experience that we’re suing you over? Well, now any application developer can override it.”

I seriously hope they’re doing something to improve the notification / home screen experience. Because in the meantime I’m looking at all the activity in Android land and it makes me jealous. Not that any one of them has completely nailed it (though I think SlideScreen is very nice), it’s that there’s action happening there: designers in market evolving design approaches to the opportunity of an always-on, always-connected 3.5” glass screen in your pocket.

March 05, 2010

david byrne's dream

I know, however, that this is no ordinary gift — I announce that this is an “Art Trap” and that we should be very, very careful. Somehow I know that if one gets too involved with this thing, with its seductive lights and displays, one would magically find oneself in one of the holes, squeezed and stuck tight. The temptation to fiddle with it up close is great, as the thing is truly a bizarre wonder. We get close to it, examine it, and when the dream ends I’m not captured — though that could still happen easily, in the blink of an eye.


Holy shit.

March 04, 2010

now i want a sous-vide cooker

It’s simple enough that it can be accomplished with about 5 minutes of active work, and under an hour from start to finish. Why would anyone want to cook a steak sous-vide, you might ask? The short answer is flawless execution.


Serious Eats does a fantastic writeup about cooking steak sous-vide – with detailed instructions, photos, the results of controlled experiments, and even a chart or two. Having overcooked more than a steak or three in my short cooking career, sous-vide results are awfully tempting…

March 04, 2010


Instapaper 2.2 on the iPhone is really good. So much so that I’m now Instapapering things that I know I should read eventually, but that in browser cry out for “tl,dr[1]” snark. Like, say, Gruber’s opus on the Apple patent cluster.

[1] Too long, didn’t read.

March 04, 2010

formless and definite content

Craig Mod has a great post up about Books in the age of the iPad, where he makes a critical distinction between Formless Content (content without well-defined form, obviously) and Definite Content (content with well-defined form). Think “most prose,” which would flow just as well between two covers as it would through a Kindle or an Instapaper app v. “designed content” which doesn’t pour into any particular vessel.

I loved this example:

You can sure as hell bet that author Mark Z. Danielewski is well aware of the final form of his next novel. His content is so Definite it’s actually impossible to digitize and retain all of the original meaning. Only Revolutions, a book loathed by many, forces readers to flip between the stories of two characters. The start of each printed at opposite ends of the book.

Emphasis mine. (NB: if you’re a “book person” and you haven’t read Only Revolutions, I highly recommend it. It’s obviously not available for the Kindle.) Mod’s point is that the iPad creates opportunities for not only delivering digitized Formless content (like the Kindle, iPhone and other content consumption devices already do), but creating new ways of telling stories through Definite Content.

I have to take exception, though, with this bit in his post. It might feel like I’m nitpicking, but it’s important:

The metaphor of flipping pages already feels boring and forced on the iPhone. I suspect it will feel even more so on the iPad.

Ah. It only feels “boring and forced” if you’re forced to page through boring content. I’ve essentially moved 90% of my long-form reading to my iPhone, and when you’re engrossed in great prose (aka “Formless Content”) the act of paging feels natural and expected. In fact, the new pagination feature in Instapaper 2.2 makes the app disappear, since you’re not worried about where your thumb is, and maintaining a decent scroll position, or finding the line after you’ve scrolled, or even holding your iPhone in just the right position in order to have the tilt-scroll work correctly.

This is important because it points to a desire to force new modes of interaction just because we have a new form. Sure, it’s a screen, and it’s scrollable, and I can pinch and tap and zoom and scroll and shake…but sometimes just paging (and paging, and paging) is the best solution.

March 03, 2010

fluxblog on spiritualized's 'come together'

On other tracks from Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space, the waves of sound are comforting and numbing, but in this, it pounds down on you, like he’s trying to beat some sense into himself. It’s futile, though — as the song tapers off and bleeds into the woozy opening section of “I Think I’m In Love,” it’s like slipping back into a stupor.


+1. (Also, I saw Spiritualized open up for Radiohead on the OK Computer tour, and they were fantastic. When they did “Come Together” the otherwise too-cool-for-school shoe-gazing Yorke-worshipping crowd looked up and took notice.)

March 01, 2010

only a little wine? meh.

Note to self: to live to 100 drink green tea, be outgoing, eat nuts, floss, don’t smoke, embrace new technology, have a baby later in life (ORLY?), take more holidays, sleep in, drink a little wine, laugh. (via)

March 01, 2010

kids or no kids, that is the question

The check average is a significant driver in all restaurants for budgetary planning purposes. We started to see more children in the restaurant which was a departure from the past. We have tried to be more child friendly and lower the price point there as well.

When you do 40 children a night on a busy night, that can impact you average check quite significantly. The average check for a child is $7.50; our average check for an adult is about $31.00.


Great post from the Chronicle’s Michael Bauer (with data quoted above from the managing partner of the Tavern at Lark Creek) about the restaurant dilemma: to be kid-friendly or to be not-so-kid-friendly?

March 01, 2010

hurt locker <> documentary

Michael Kamber takes The Hurt Locker to task in the New York Times’ Lens blog for not accurately depicting the war, or the jobs and lives of the soldiers in it. Not surprisingly, the movie dramatically oversimplifies the war, and the characters do things that would be completely out of character for soldiers on the ground.

As usual, though, the best bits are in the comments. Here’s one from “Peter.”

While I do not dispute the glaring inaccuracies, I think the author missed the point of the movie. Had Gunner Palace treated the facts of war so loosely I would agree wholeheartedly, but Hurt Locker was not a documentary. I commend Katherine Bigelow on her portrayal of the psychological motivation of soldiers. I’d trade the entire movie for the scene where the SSG, just back from the box, is in a commissary shopping for cereal, trying to choose one box out of a hundred, a choice so beneath his decision-making capability it ends up numbing. When life is reduced to the mission and life and death, how can one transition back to the inane points of consumerism? I enlisted in 2006, but I’ve found many soldiers who view the war in a moral vacuum. To them, its something they need to do, not for politics or God or country, but for themselves. They find meaning in the fight, not because it’s right but because it’s a fight when so much in the world is surrender.

Emphasis mine.

March 01, 2010

couldn't agree more

With the explosion of blogs, facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts, Friendster’s war against the “fakesters” (I was friends with the iPod and the F Train) seems like a turning point in the history of social networks.


David points out something interesting in pointing to the (smart!) O’Reilly interview with foursquare’s Dennis Crowley.

March 01, 2010

consuming its own waste for substance

Rex is up to something with all this Fimoculous activity. Whatever it is, I like it.