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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Thursday, March 04, 2004
The death of a card catalogue, which led us to this suitably minimal site, Punched Cards, by one Douglas W.Jones (which was also linked on me-fi yesterday). Thankfully there's a gallery, as well as a lengthy cultural history of the punch card. If you're still into old-school data processing, you can visit Cardamation for your punch card supplies.

The punch card was a revelation. '[In October 1953] the Saturday Evening Post referred to the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollerith machine as "a mechanical Sherlock Holmes," a "crime-hating robot," "The Detective Who Never Sleeps."' (which is a good excuse to bring out this wonderful view of 221B Baker Street again). About twelve years ago I found a bunch of punch cards lying in the gutter in Kathmandu, of all places. Rejected twice - once by the developed world, and then by the developing world. Another short leap - the sinister side of data management, the subject of the controversial book IBM and the Holocaust.

When did we stop noticing the BT Tower? asks Russell Davies. It's a funny thing, that tower. Opened in 1965, it rises 620 feet above the largely Georgian streets of what's come to be known as Fitzrovia. Yet when one is in the immediate area, the tower seems strangely absent (although some lucky people get a grandstand view). It's partly due to the tower's podium being well concealed down a side-street - there's no 'public face' to the building, just this rather unremarkable entrance. Some photos and a more comprehensive history of the tower, with old photos, tales of the revolving restaurant and the bomb that closed it all down.

Elsewhere. Rick Poynor critiques the work of Bruce Mau at design observer / perfume bottles, a study of contemporary material culture / manzillworld, weblogs are starting to digress into interesting fictional areas / folded space, a weblog / speaking of the Saturday Evening Post, plep links to the Norman Rockwell Museum / hard to find crockery at Edish / some videos of big-handed people playing with a new smartphone design, via new gadget weblog engadget / friends or enemies? / exhibition layouts at the Model Railway Club. We especially like the photographic history of the construction of their London Club House / Alistair Cooke retires after 58 years on the air (not continuously) / Blimp Week! Whybark explores 'all things floaty', including this card model of a Vickers airship. Wonderful.

Anatomy of a disaster, or why a building goes wrong. A piece on the jinxed Clissold Leisure Centre in Hackney by the Guardian's Jonathan Glancey, who puts it down to inexperience on the part of Hackney's architect-liaison skills. See also the ongoing public enquiry into the troubled Scottish Parliament. It'll be incredible when finished, although the £360m overspend will take some explaining. Grand Designs seems positively lightweight in comparison.

Dr Leslie & The Composing Room, 1934 - 1942: 'An Important Time In The Development Of American Graphic Design', a site accompanying Erin K.Malone's MFA Thesis. The Composing Room was a typesetting company based in New York, closely involved with the emergence of modernist typography. The company's own publication, PM Magazine, together with the A-D Gallery, are extensively archived here.

Oh dear. Deleting all our galleries has turned our what’s new page into a pale shadow of its former self. Suggestions, please, for a way of putting up smallish collections of photos.