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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Buying Culture, 'By luring Western institutions like the Louvre and Yale, Abu Dhabi aims to become a global arts center'. The response to the proposed Saadiyat Island project is frankly rather patronising, and the article quotes Sorbonne president Jean-Robert Pitte as saying "Can we really bring culture to camel riders and carpet sellers?". What's even more interesting are the licensing costs: 'Abu Dhabi, which sits on 10 percent of the world's oil supply, has agreed to pay $520 million just to use the name "Louvre" for 30 years; it also plans to pony up $747 million more for art loans and advice.'

Inside al-Mansur, Saddam Hussein's private yacht, rather pointlessly obliterated back in March 2003. More nautical schadenfreude in this wrecked yacht page / Handheld Remakes, an archive of the fabulous Nintendo Game and Watches. This flash version of Donkey Kong II demonstrates its sublime level design / the amazing barn find was a hoax, sadly / a collection of illusions / Modesty Blaise film stills, via Coudal / the Churches and Chapels of Chicago, photos / construction of the New Museum, in New York, speeded up.

Graphic design in a white cube, an online exhibition at Peter Bilak's website / illustration by Cecilia Carlstedt / Niemeyer on architecture, age and the ego / Early Doors, a cascade of clips of pre-Sky era football coverage. Not our bag, but strongly evocative of time and place / The Apt, design and commentary / n+1 magazine, print and online / Lineriders, a beautifully simple idea at Worther's Original / Switch, a neat little audio format convertor.

The Museum of Brands / Boston City Hall, one of many building studies by Walt Lockley / the cult Volvo C303 off-roader / Greer comes out in favour of the high rise / photography by David Chancellor (website by Hyperkit) / The George Hotel, now long gone, part of the Disappearing Scotland pool (via i like) / fascinating history of spam over at the New Yorker.

Has anyone any experience of Casting Words? We're trying it out and will report back / the ultra-long lens photographs of Trevor Paglen, see also the gallery at Wired / Reducing cities to a statistical sprawl, Austin Williams on the fetishistic fascination with figures that dominates the Tate's Global Cities show. Related, Digital Urban on Data Visualisation. Another project at DU, a fresh look at the London Tube Map

An ultra complex diagram of character relationships in Heroes, at Silverwraith / a Plastic Bag Gallery, via 30gms. Reminiscent of the work of Daniel Eatock / Team's Vending Machine: 'You choose how much you pay, and rather than affecting what you get, it affects what the next person gets.' The team blog, which links to Mark Luthringer's photography, in particular the incredible Ridgemont Typologies series.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Space and Exclusion, research which 'research presents findings on the underlying spatial effects which influence the spatial distribution of poverty; and maps the development of “poverty areas” over time. The focus is on the East End of London, which has been an area of persistent poverty and of immigrant settlement for the past 200 years.' Related, The Tower, a BBC documentary about the Aragon Tower in Deptford. As one might expect from a programme about gentrification, the personal tales are wildly disparate, united only by canny editing and cross-referencing. We can't imagine anyone is especially happy about the programme, certainly not the new buyers enticed by the prospect of a cheap penthouse, certainly not the long-standing locals dismayed (and frightened) by the emphasis on the local crime and drug culture, or those dismayed at the council's sale of such a large slice of the Pepys Estate in the first place. Never mind, most of it was staged, according to at least one resident.

Strange Harvest does a KLF on the architecture business. See also Re-Make Re-Model, on the cult of facadism, the reasonableness of architecture that no-one can object to, and the 'puzzling redundancy' of the architectural re-make. Related, 'Athens looks silly on the Dilly', Stephen Bayley on Robert Adam's 'new' building at 198 Piccadilly (one of those stealthy structures that's erected almost overnight - we have no memory of even seeing scaffolding on that site). 198 Piccadilly was once the site of lodgings belonging to 'gentleman criminal' and 'Napoleon of Crime' Adam Worth (via Nick Barlay). We could insert something witty here about architectural identity, theft and duplicity, but can't summon the energy to make the connection.

BLDGBLOG on British Hydrology, marvelling at our water-lashed (and gouged) nation. That set us off finding references to the Gibraltar Falls, 'hundreds of times more powerful' than the Niagara Falls and the prehistoric deluge that refilled the Mediterranean some five million years ago, with the Atlantic cascading over a ridge that eventually crumbled into the Strait of Gibraltar.

Product design in the former East Germany / architecture in the New China / along with Angela Paez, the other sites behind swapatorium, worth setting out for easy browsing: bighappyfunhouse, Square America, Boot Sale Sounds, tikiranch, Ookpik's Negativity, Rule Brittaniea, Box of Slides, Poopscape and Glitter Pissing. A cascade of found sounds, objects, projects, places and images.

Why do people prefer music from their teenage years? None of these answers really seem to hit the nail on the head / the photography of Thomas Humery (via manystuff) / will Exhibition Road become the capital's first 'living street', a check-boxed thoroughfare shared by cars and people? Perhaps. Via Kosmograd / Eugene Tsui, an architect who needs to be working in the Middle East, and fast. Sample project, the Strait of Gibraltar Floating Bridge / the weirdest creature, Mr Davy's mystery pet.

Does this Japanese train alarm clock give you live departure times? Check the online simulator and decide / collect the Messengers of Faith action figures, available at a WalMart near you (via BBC news) / Sendling, digital music, synths and circuit bending / author Jenny Diski wants to keep out the noise / houseblogs, many, many weblogs devoted to restoration and renovation, such as Titus House / game structure: the roots of addiction explored. Illustration, The Burning Crusade Raid Attunement Chart Third Edition (via).

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Design Online, a collection of Design magazines from 1965 to 1974, scanned in their entirety (via Coudal). Best viewed with a pair of powerful rose-tinted glasses, although there are many who'd like to see the Design Council revive its own publication.

In 1968, people were already starting to ask questions about what would happen after Pop design: 'Taken as a whole this may appear an aesthetic free for all, but it has a more realistic total coherence than that which the Modern movement, for all its apparent visual unity, ever achieved. It means that we may no longer (to give a single example) have to choose between ergonomic but clinically dull cars, and pleasure-giving but dangerous cars. The two can be compatible because the Post Modern movement recognises the equal importance of ergonomics and psychological fulfilment, and it is not part of its philosophy to suppress one at the cost of the other.' That bit about the recognition of the 'equal importance of ergonomics and psychological fulfilment' is crucial, as it marks the dawn of the full-blown consumerist era.

On Radio 4's The Crime of Our Lives last week the focus was on rising crime in the 1960s, 'a new epidemic' that grew against 'a backdrop of increasing violence and social change.' One of the interviewees made the point that the post-war move to a more meritocratic society was at the root of this increase; opportunity didn't lower crime, it raised it. At the root cause was good old-fashioned envy; instead of being kept in their place by hierarchical social structures ('caste based', the academic said), the apparent social mobility dramatically increased the prevalence of desire and want amongst those who, put simply, couldn't afford it.

The more things there are, the more someone else is going to want to steal them. Design became defunct before its pages could fill up with the tide of detritus that swims across the page in the modern consumer - and trade - magazine. The following month, on 1 March 1968, Christopher Cornford wrote a piece entitled 'Cold rice pudding and revisionism', which expressed the cautious opinion that not everything that came out of the Bauhaus was brilliant. At the very least, the 'cold rice pudding' of so-called 'good design' could get rather monotonous.

Pop design arrived to send up and thoroughly subvert 'good design,' much to the modernists' alarm. But by creating the consumerist object, Pop also unwittingly subverted the modernist ideal, making 'good design' another box to tick, another lifestyle choice, another icon to emulate, and so on. Put crudely, modernism was supposed to obliterate excess emotion in product design, honing each object until the ur-form was found and no further research was needed. Pop put paid to that ever becoming a reality. Yet today, we have the suggestion that evolutionary algorithms now surpass human designers, operating so swiftly and efficiently that complex forms and data patterns - boat hulls, USB stick re-write voltages, whatever - can be explored, probed and 'bred' to make more efficient versions (often nearly side-stepping existing patents in the process). Will we breed efficiency, or profligacy? Have a guess.


Other things. Owen Hatherley slips over to Nothing to see here to wax lyrical about Wyndham Court in Southampton. He also points to The Terminal Bench, an angry musing on the privatisation of seating in new airport building - the majority of seats in BAA's new T5 will be in coffee shops, restaurants, etc. (fulminate is excellent). Look at pre-BAA Heathrow, and you'll see that modern airport design never really experienced a 'golden age'. BAA was founded seven years earlier, but this 1970 was the days before concessions and clutter, when a new section of airport infrastructure was about getting the passenger through, and not the 'passenger experience'. Interesting quote: 'Here the red (something to declare) and green (nothing to declare) system now in operation at Heathrow occasionally causes congestion in the red section due to what one BAA spokesman described as "the innate honesty of the English...'.

BJ's Film Camera & Manual Collection Online, including an archive of manuals. Related, a collection of familiar and unusual film sizes / Please Take Note, a weblog focusing on the advertising side of things, and highlighting the ongoing trend for 'creative agencies' to market themselves with little viral videos: e.g. Us Two (video), Connected Ventures (video), and probably a hundred more, all hoping to get picked up by weblogs and spun off around the world, showcasing their mastery of new media production and distribution.

A whatchamacallit of wordsmithing webgets, a fine collection of linguistic sites at ieclectic / Inversion Immersion, tracking a visual meme over at Archidose. We're just as guilty as anyone else in this respect / Soweto Uprisings, an interactive map of the student uprisings of 16 June 1976 / some great Lego ads / Mothership, a corporate art company / ARTag, layering 3D over the real world / Graffonic, electronic graffiti / Salchinger, an architecture blog.

Yet another set of abandoned buildings / the Architecture Page / come on inside and join the cottontail community at Ex Playboy Bunnies / the art of Wesley Willis / is the Stirling Prize just a glorified gameshow? / space tourism receives a setback / Culture Map, old school internet representations / the of mirror eye, an mp3 weblog / Thousand Sketches, 'A thousand sketches in one year on a Tablet PC by Walter Logeman'. We like this one.

The top ten stolen cars, US/UK. The Vauxhall Belmont, a rather sad little saloon last built in 1991, was the UK's most stolen car in 2004 and 2005. According to wikipedia, 1 in 10 of all Belmonts on the road were stolen in 2004. These images of burnt out cars feature the ratty end of GM and Ford's UK's late 80s output.

HoMu, the Homeless Museum, which 'seeks to subvert the increasingly impersonal, market-driven art world and expose the sellout of cultural institutions to commerce, cronyism, real estate, and star architects.'

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A real tumble of stuff today. Boat Life in Egypt and Nubia, by William C.Prime (published 1874). From the contract: 'Mohammed Abd-el-Atti engages to provide a comfortable boat, with awning and jolly boat; to furnish said boat with beds, bedding, tables, china, glass, water filters, and all and every requisite necessary for the convenience and comfort of first-class passengers.' / Made in China, a slideshow of Shehnzen, via me-fi / a new issue of leisure centre magazine.

MTV's 120 minutes, a representative selection of videos culled from YouTube / worth keeping an eye on, Double Negative, a website about Michael Heizer / early supermarket, from this 2005 press release from the Food Marketing Institute / a fancy way of presenting the chaotic jumble of modern media mutterings, Universe, by Jonathan Harris (via me-fi).

Artists' Homes and Memorable English Houses, two articles from the Scientific American Supplement of 24 December 1881 / Pimp my rice paddy, Hokusai meets crop art. Looks photoshopped / architecture after the event, a look at some icons of modernism in the years after their openings: But does it work? / Car Studies, paintings.

In Gorbachev we Trust, a classic album / Scottish Colourists at the Portland Gallery / automatic signature machines / PaperJam, a weblog / a new Letter from Paris / what would Switzerland look like if it was transported to China?

Leahlb is absurdly well travelled / The Book of The Dance, by Anonymous / Cameo Cards and the Great Rescue / The Chicago Manual of Style, online / the new beach culture revival continues; Bathing Beauties, a competition to 'Re-imagine the Beach Hut for the 21st Century' / Ian Martin in Building Design, probably the best architectural column anywhere. He would have a field day with the previous entry.

Revisiting some old favourites. Mappr, a project by Stamen Design (highlighted at Postopolis). Stamen are also behind the amazing Trulia Hindsight site we mentioned absurdly briefly a while back. More about the project on the Trulia Blog. The sudden burst of Levittown in 1948 is a good way of illustrating the way the data is presented.

A new project. The sketchbooks of Mrs Blaine is a collection of drawings and watercolours by a C19 traveller in the Middle East. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A list of artificial objects on the Moon, focusing mainly on the large chunks of hardware, launch stages, lunar rovers, crumpled probes and flags. It's by no means an exhaustive inventory of things left on the moon, although such a list would be possible. The occasional oddity does resurface; the tiny figurine, the family photo (more about which in 'Data Travel: the Duke Family Portrait, in the Lunar Surface Journal. The Apollo missions are probably the most densely-chronicled events in human history, with public access to a forensic level of detail).

When you consider the sheer amount of stuff that was brought to the moon (e.g., Catalog of Apollo Lunar Surface Geological Sampling Tools and Containers), it's a wonder that more wasn't left behind (although this piece of the Kitty Hawk went there and back, just for the ride). The above musings were inspired by a passage in Paul Shepheard's 'What is Architecture??, where he notes that the lunar atmosphere precludes decay: 'Even the track of a boulder rolling down a hill, disturbed by some ancient land settlement, is still there today and will remain sharp and clear forever.' It could have happened last week, or last millennia. We can't recommend Shepheard's second book, 'Artificial Love, highly enough, either.


The cold stability of the moon versus Earth's fragility. Some lost villages. Divers find lake's 'lost village', the remains of Manning's Hill in the grounds of Bowood House. Capability Brown was happy to flood a village to create a lake. A similar thing happened centuries later at Capel Celyn in Wales, when the Tryweryn Valley was flooded to create a reservoir in 1965. A photographic survey of the region was undertaken in the late 1960s.

Capel Celyn is not the only reservoir village. In 1945, the Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire was finally filled, taking with it the hamlets of Derwent and Ashopton. The former's church spire survived for a few more years, rising out of the new lake before it was demolished. You can recreate the effect in Google Earth, if you so desire. Hallsands in Devon, which was sucked into the sea in 1917 (before and after).

Lost Villages are a part of our folk history now, and the idea of whole communities simply vanishing, engulfed by nature or social or political expediency, is hard to imagine in a country being urged to build 3 million new homes. The most celebrated abandoned village, Imber, was given over to war, not water. It has a strong web presence: Forever Imber, this piece at the World of Stuart and in past issues of things.

Other things. Bridge, an installation by Michael Cross (via Pixel Sumo) / please report your local Flying Ant Day / derive, an esoteric weblog covering the awesomely creepy work of Patricia Piccinini, tiny models of audio equipment, you know the sort of thing / Colchester Places and Spaces, which tracks the goings on, demolitions and 'civic improvements' in the Essex town.

Someone, somewhere, needs to write a modern update of Edwin Abbott's 1884 book Flatland : a romance of many dimensions / floor tiles, brass balustrades, and a slow descent into lunacy, Rosemary Hill on the story of AWN Pugin's work on the Houses of Parliament with Charles Barry. Related, stay at The Grange, Pugin's own house in Ramsgate / Explore the Apollo Landing Sites / we asked a question. Hopefully the pictures, grain and all, will be up soon.

Insource/Outsource, a weblog / Percolator Pedals With Steve Albini. See also, Ask a music scene micro celebrity / a dry summary of plain facts, images, scans (occasional nudity) and ephemeral links. For example, In My Arms, a site devoted to movie scenes where 'a monster or robot carr[ies] off a fainted heroine in his arms'. With page after page of prone female imagery / the Austen Experiment, a bit of background.

Near Mint Heroes, a weblog about comics, art and design, including a chunk of links on the past, present and future
of futurism, and these beautiful Art Deco Bookbindings. Grabink seem to specialise in high-end repro of art by the likes of Leo Rackow (over at the amazing Dr Leslie Project) and Alexey Brodovitch / digital fauvism at Trial bloggy / revisiting the Hinde-esque saturated colours over at Mrs Deane. More Hinde at via i like.

how the world is changing / Geology of the Wessex Coast / Seagrove Beach, Florida, before and after hurricanes / Grocery Lists, via Colleen's Open Notebook / The Perpetual Three Dot Column, a weblog by Jesse Walker / Engadget interviews the CEO of Steorn, a small company that was touting what was essentially a perpetual motion machine ('I think the largest efficiency that we would have physically measured would be about 485%.') One to watch, if only for the hubris.

There's a lack of depth on the internet, a world with an atmosphere just one pixel thick that has reached out across all forms of media and turned everything into a vast, shallow pool that stretches as far as the eye can see. All visual culture is instantly at our fingertips, with the thrill of discovery superseded by a high fructose corn syrup buzz that comes from near-constant, 30fps stimulation.

Computers are facilitating a period of intense cultural introspection. Those retro scans, old car manuals, cover scans, flickr sets (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, you see what we mean), collections of pop culture in all its forms, ostensibly form a window into the past. All this digital nostalgia is inevitably shaping the present, too. Fashion revivals come round quicker, with product design slowly and inexorably following it into a cyclical system - a 'fashion system', as Philippe Starck once said, probably with glee.

As what was once analogue becomes digital, endlessly reproduced and distributed, the digital world is on a mission to become increasingly analogue. The virtual desktop became virtually cluttered within minutes of being invented, when a clever software engineer hid one file underneath another in an ultimately doomed attempt at mimicing the real world behaviour of important documents. GUI design now exists as a form of perpetual distraction, a blinking, sliding collection of slick little vignettes that animate the surfaces (the iPhone being the most obvious example). It might seem like we're drilling down, deeper and deeper into the heart of the machine, the database, the stack of photos, the map, but with each refresh of the screen our tricked retinas fill our brains with a sense of actually

The only upshot to all this augmented analogism is a renewed fetish for the genuinely analogue (the screenprint, or vinyl single, for example), things that have undergone an internet-driven revival. The underlying trend, however, is not for a return to analogue modes of display or data, but for digital to increasingly demonstrate an 'analogue feel'. Recall the friction-less tablet of Microsoft's Surface computer system ('commercially-available', apparently, which is enough for someone to make their own pithy parody). Surface is a glowing pool of personal reminiscences, hot restaurants and business cards that spin, slide, spool and shrink at the command of your fingertips. Computers appear to be doing a great job of mimicking the kind of real world behaviour we all imagine we'd be rather good at - casually fanning out a deck of cards, or photographs, flipping a business card into a colleague's pocket.

What does it all mean? Maybe we're happy with living in simulation. Those people who 'buy the download to listen to, but ... get the vinyl to own' are clinging to the last few bits and pieces that are no longer bits and bytes. Objects are dematerialising, reduced to little square jpgs that you can shuffle through. The imitation of depth and the deluded sense of global cultural immersion is creating a modern flatland that is reducing everything down to one level.

Other things. Apologies for the recent lack of posting. Deleted images, via Coudal / Zaha Hadid Blog / Cities in Games / Dresden in Google Earth, via digital urban / the Google Earth Crop Circle Collection / form magazine, the complete archives, including ads. A wonderful resource. Header image comes from here.

'In Los Angeles, sunlit glinting off the sharply angled steel curves of Gehry's Walt Disney Music Hall raises the temperature of neighbors' houses by 15 degrees.' Is this the Architecture of the Absurd? 'How "Genius" Disfigured a Practical Art'. Slideshow / 101 Architects / Love Will Tear Us Apart, 'the 85+ recorded covers of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" mapped in relation to the original recordings by the band.' / where is Event Horizon?

Military Crytozoology: "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area." / Out at the Glass House. Will these images be used for a guessing game in years to come? / fine set of almost fungal graffiti / Type in the Sky via Core 77 / how long is a snooze? / Met given real time C-charge data / a collection of esoteric facts.

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Monday, July 09, 2007
Recently noted. The white planes picture co., aerial photography / the window seat, photography on the fly / a map showing London's free buses, which is slightly disingenuous, as these routes aren't 'free', but all use the so-called bendy buses, which are easiest to fare dodge on. A little bit like making a map pointing out all the corner shops that are easiest to shoplift from.

The Suburban Emergency Management Project, always on the lookout for some major Ballardian catastrophe / the Iconic Books Blog / Frames per Second magazine, animation, etc. / How much money did people used to carry? / The Obscene Bird of Night, a weblog / Dysturb, 'our shared mindscape on the visual, spatial and urban culture of the dutch architecture scene' / catieblog.

Santa Monica Apartment names, via Coudal / all about the answering machine (pdf) / Joanna's Academic Adventures, a weblog / Pete's Corner, early and collectable calculators and LED watches / Temporary Travel Office, a weblog devoted to travel and tourism / The Rambler, a weblog.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Theme.Park, a photography exhibition at the m97 gallery in Shanghai / the Magnum Blog / Fake or Foto?, test your CGI awareness (via photo muse / Mrs Deane, another photo blog / KesslsKramer Publishing / Dan Germain, a weblog / Strength Weekly, a weblog / seen in a few places, but spectacular nonetheless, Disused Mines as Subterranean Observatories for Supernovas, over at Pruned.

Video editing on the Nokia N95 / Hyperkit in Marfa / Point by Fascinating Point, data broken down / Watchmen, a photo project by Magda Biernat / we like the sound of The Aesthetics of Decay: Nothingness, Nostalgia, and the Absence of Reason, a book by Dylan Trigg, who writes regularly over at Side Effects / also via Pruned, the photography of Greg Daville, particularly the manipulated images of the Urbicide series; at first glance, many of these pictures don't look manipulated at all.

The Honey Moon, a splendid flickr set [since expired] / the anti-sit, strategies against pedestrians. See also ugly architecture in NYC, both at Transfer / Chalamanch, an architecture weblog / Observations, a weblog / legacy data starts to cause problems with archivists. Every library needs an archaic computer expert.

According to a snappily-titled report, 'The Ampere Strikes Back', released by the Energy Saving Trust, by 2020, 'televisions on standby will consume 1.4% of all domestic electricity'. The report also points out that an inefficient PC left on all the time will cost you anything between £40 and £124 in electricity a year. Digital radios and flat screen TVs are upping the power consumption of their forebears.

House 2.0, a weblog about living responsibly / Find Property Using Google Earth, with those clever people at Nestoria / the art of Jason Das / wonderful / Extreme Restoration, the reconstruction of the Baltic Exchange, destroyed 1992, salvaged by the firm Extreme Architecture, and now shipped to Estonia for reconstruction in Tallinn. A bit more about the Baltic in Raising the Game, a piece we wrote for tmn a while back.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Strange Harvest suggests that the Royal Festival Hall is the 'spiritual home of retro-ism'? We would definitely agree with this: 'Retro-ism is an act of collecting, sorting, editing. Creation comes out of curation. Nostalgia is far more than a brake applied to progressive culture or a force for conservatism. Nostalgia can provide the drive to make things as startling as the sound of the JAMCs Psychocandy, as electric as the first bars of Handsome Devil or as wildly ecstatic as Good Vibrations. Why? Because it connects with our collective contemporary sense of worry - caught between the past and the future.' Proof, if proof be needed: This is Tomorrow (via Russell Davies).

Beyond Brilliance, Beyond Stupidity, good and bad ideas in 'transportation, urban planning, design, etc.' / we didn't know that the evil genius behind Martian FM is official 'swearing consultant' to BBC4's The Thick of It. That's a full-time job / This is That, 'a collection of reasons to live', like 'The Philip Johnson Glass House Guessing Game', in which you have to identify the bright young things of mid-70s American high culture.

Cheap at Half the Price, what will happen to the bushel-loads of free CDs clogging up the country's charity shops? / Europe in 1000 AD / another picture finding page, which churns through flickr for hi-res images: Corbusier, sunset, sunflower, etc / Emma Payne's website, most especially the tribute to Brisling / Trend Watching / how might a private Airbus look like?

There's this new thing out there called the iPhone apparently. Interesting take here at Speedbird: 'By and large, you cannot make culture with this device, not unless you construct 'making culture' as everything you're doing when you use the iPhone. Consume, yes - painlessly, pleasantly, engagingly. But not produce.' In other words, the seductiveness of the device seems to be all-encompassing, the joy of discovery is generated by the user experience, rather than the phone being a facilitator to take another leap forward and discover things. It's obviously very, very early days in iPhone-land (and highly unlikely that the UK would get a non-3G version from the off), but the revolution seems to be in the user experience, rather than in the myriad new worlds of creativity it opens up. That seems to be true of a lot of technological 'innovation' - the extent of the discovery and cultural progression is limited to the creation of the devices themselves: once they're out in the open they serve as little more than conduits of existing services and modes of behaviour.

Related, Where's the Phone?, an exploration of 'where people carry their mobile phones and why'. For example, 'The use of protective phone covers amongst males and females varied from 3% in Tokyo to 32% in Kampala and is driven by a desire to prolong the life of the device by protecting from dust and scratches.' At the fascinating (and Nokia-sponsored) Future Perfect.

A digest of Strange New Products, some of which are rather tasteless / oh for goodness sake, Are my online friends for real? / 'finally, someone who understands your need for space.' Grounded NYC, terrifyingly expensive Manhattan lettings / Cold War Calculators, check your Roentgen levels (thanks, Derek). Alternatively, build your own / Michael Dunn's Museum of Calculators and Other Oddities.

Design bivouac uncovers more cities as landscapes (found via BLDGBLOG). So are these environments the twisted mental images of the average urban SUV driver? No-one is denying that the occasional situation arises when being high and mighty is a conceivable advantage, but most of the time it's tempting to read these landscapes as an exercise in topological self-justification.

eGMCarTech, car technology / the Guitar Shred Show / Brady Bunch 2.0 / a Vintage Books and illustration set, via Something and Nothing, a visual weblog / Antique Maps / Failed Painter, a weblog / the hipercroquis weblog.