Wednesday, February 27, 2002
An excerpt from yet another classic scam letter
If you are willing to assist us in receiving this money on our behalf, we shall give you 30% of the total sum. For further information, please contact my Attorney Mr. Ahmed Abubaka immediately on this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone number:2348033258207 .he will inform you properly on the procedures for execution, please be informed that this proposal is 100% risk free however the confidentiality of this proposal is very important.
Meanwhile, our intention is to invest this fund in your country based on your advice and please ensure to keep this proposal very secret and confidential for obvious reasons and send to us your private telephone/facsimile number for easy and confidential communication.
Terrifyingly, people continue to be caught out by this ruse, which has apparently been around since the 60s, piggy-backing onto each new form of technology - letter, fax, email - as it becomes available. A suitable response
, but most people prefer to just heed the horror stories
Friday, February 22, 2002
is the latest weblogger to pass verdict on NY's new Prada
store. The $40m store, designed by Rem Koolhaas, generated a large amount of press. A technical wonder, Koolhaas's firm OMA (and its associated research arm, AMO) has spent the past few years creating strategies, graphs, charts, diagrams and imagery for the Italian clothing firm, culminating in a $60 book-cum-catalogue
of the ongoing project. Perhaps we're just obsessed
with luxury goods
, as we're itching to visit - parts of it sound great
. Others, however, have not been terribly kind
: 'We were taught in the Army that "a battle plan rarely survives contact with the enemy." The new Prada store is like that: it's met the enemy, the enemy is us, and I'm not sure it can survive, at least as envisioned.'
At last year's Superhumanism
conference, RK demonstrated some nifty Prada graphics as part of a talk that focused on 'the end of architecture'. Prada, he noted, 'came to us with a commendable self-hatred'. The sheer volume of charts and diagrams generated by Rem's hyper-analytical approach produced some amusing parallels; The slender rendering of Africa on his Prada-specific World Map was due to the fact that the continent was 'not a big consumer of Prada'. The mind boggles.
- still 'opening soon'. So here's some Gucci
Wednesday, February 20, 2002
We should have given a credit
for the great new website randomiser to the left. Unfortunately, it seems to mostly throw up the kind of weblogs that start with a post like "testing, testing" and then vanish into the ether (check this teen log generator
for instant angst). A new favourite website is Jennifer Sharpe's Sharpeworld
, compendium of collections, gruesomely fascinating websites and general on-line unusualness. Sharpe has a keen eye and topics on display include realtor portraiture, plastic surgery before and afters, and unsolved murders.There's also plenty of unusual audio
, always a things
Monday, February 18, 2002
A debate at Metafilter
about decaying digital data. A while back, there was a piece on tmn
about storing the entire archive of the The New York Times
in cockroach DNA
. Prescient quote from link: "The time capsule is to be placed in Manhattan, yet last for 1000 years. Manhattan is one of the least desirable locations on Earth for archival storage. It is a likely target for terrorist or military attack during the specified period of time."
Is decay inevitable? Nicholson Baker's recent American Newspaper Repository
, an almost deliberately archaic non-profit institution that sets out to save unwanted old newspapers. Baker's book is passionately and coherently argued, claiming that paper does not, in fact, become brittle and unsuitable for archival purposes, and that microfilming and digitisation, both processes which require the destruction of the original material, have been dogged by poorly performing technology and the ulterior motives of librarians and archivists. There is a rebuttal of Baker's arguments here
Thursday, February 14, 2002
Wednesday, February 13, 2002
A technological advance? Robots which misbehave as a substitute for children who misbehave. Graffiti Writer
, from tech-art group Applied Autonomy
, trundles along, inscribing pre-programmed messages on the ground - a bit like a dot matrix printer run amok. "The Writer's aesthetics are purely mechanical, prompting the viewer to wonder "what kind of machine wrote this?""
Tuesday, February 12, 2002
First ever sighting of graffiti in progress. Two young girls, perhaps 8 or 9, walking alongside a busy road in London, Saturday afternoon, furiously tagging a brick every few paces. Seen from the rear view mirror the actual tag was obscured: all one could see was the fine spray of the paint particles glinting in the sunlight. Graffiti takes us, unexpectedly, to Kerrobert in Saskatchewan, and this
hieroglyphically inscribed barn. Take a step back, and you're at the Prairie Sentinels Gallery
, an evocative visual chronicle of the great grain elevators of the Canadian plains.
Monday, February 11, 2002
Some of the more esoteric collectors on the web can be found on Pallalink's collection
page. The site is in Japanese, so it's hard to tell what's going on. We know that we like any website 'dedicated to the preservation of historical traffic control devices
', however. Not an online exhibit at all, sadly, as The Bakelite Museum
is just a splash page, but there is an intriguing link to Pod Caravans
, a most unusual form of touring machinery. There seems to be some kind of scale distortion going on - can caravans really be that small?
Thursday, February 07, 2002
Buying a Cadbury's Creme Egg
Creme Eggs bear two barcodes, yet inevitably these are illegible due to the egg-shaped nature of the confectionery and the tendency of the foil wrap to overlap, tear, bunch up and generally get out of shape. The shop assistant repeatedly tried to scan the semi-concealed barcode, scraping the egg across the glass eye of the scanner, twisting it this way and that in expectation of the 'pip'. He looked at the egg closely; the barcode identifier was similarly obscured. Just then, his colleague stepped in. 'Type 5, 2, 6, 0, 1, 6, 0, 0,' she said. And hey presto! 'Creme Egg' popped up on the till. Extraordinary: does she know the barcode numbers for every
item in the shop? (an aside: Cadbury's are running an online auction
, in which you pay in units of ten wrappers. Given the fragility of this foil, their requirement that you 'Tape up any tears in the wrappers - only whole wrappers will be accepted' is a bit steep. Nonetheless, some people have eaten hundreds and hundreds…
Wednesday, February 06, 2002
The sandwich/pasta shop, just round the corner from an office. It's nearly two'o'clock, and the pasta dishes on the hotplates are mostly empty, the penne getting hard and crispy at the edges. The lunchtime rush has finished and there's only one man in the queue, a slightly built, neatly dressed office worker in a grey suit. The waitress is bagging his food. They are talking quietly together. The tail end of the conversation is impossible to ignore. 'So, perhaps you'd like to come for a drink one evening.' Almost thrown away. 'I…well, er.' Awkward silence. She stares down at the trays of over-heated pasta, blushing. After five agonisingly slow seconds she looks up and nods, briefly. The conversation is over, but it's a start. He says goodbye. She looks down again and her face is red, but smiling.
Tuesday, February 05, 2002
Today, a mixture of the sublime
and the ridiculous
. Only you have to decipher which is which.