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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Bits and pieces today.

Art, Craft, and Design in Software Development at Peter Lindberg's Tesugen (perhaps the best-looking weblog ever). The post considers the age-old divisions between art, craft and design, the irrational versus the rational, old versus the new, modern versus traditional. Traditional wisdom has it that mass production relegated craft to an expensive sideshow, a distraction from the real needs to provide affordable products for the masses. Computer code, the subject of the post, is presumably a whole different matter. Lindberg speculates that making code requires a new approach. Whereas (bricks and mortar) architects often 'fail' their users by abandoning craft in favour of a more ambitious (and heroic) 'artistic' approach, coders are also accused of being too rational and design-focused, when a little bit of craft would serve them well.

Personalising the machine is an ongoing human preoccupation. The mechanical object offers us considerable scope for anthropomorphism, in that it provides a function on command. It's a short step from here to believe that a functional response is the beginnings of a conversation, an illusion heightened when the function anticipates exactly what the user wanted to do. This dovetails neatly with the idea of mechanical placebos, diversions that are added to enhance our expectations. We'd like to nominate the 'wait to cross' buttons on pedestrian crossings. Or perhaps the pedestrian crossing cancellation button. Other posters cite the 'check engine' lights in modern cars, which conveys a sense of a higher intelligence running around with a virtual clipboard ticking the boxes before each journey. Also related, The Art of Perfection - 'product design that makes you go Aha!'.

Elsewhere. A huge collection of links / the folk at IDfuel interview Mike Mike, the stereo-named artist behind the Face of Tomorrow site / Stylus Magazine has an mp3 blog / buy an oldtimer, a site which collates classic car auctions from the German ebay site. We need something like this in the UK / filmtagebuch, a German pop culture weblog / Momus's click opera / my paper crane makes cute soft toys and has a journal. Read about Sadako and the thousand paper cranes, or make one yourself.

The Review of Everything I've Ever Encountered, including the unlikely combination of AC/DC and the Novels of Jilly Cooper ('AC/DC is an example of art so bad, so stable, so neverchanging that it is pure gold in the tucked away secret heart of anyone who’s ever bought into it.') / the Religious Movements Homepage Project at the University of Virginia / the Joe Fishtein Collection of Yiddish Poetry. Nice illustrations.

Chaos and good links at elastico, e.g. How News Travels on the Internet / Just Adventure, a huge resource for the adventure game addict / the Censored Cartoons Page / Scalable, by Sheldon Brown.