On Noticing

I’ve been working – or at the very least, sitting at various desks, typing – for about 18 years. Before I had a career, I thought what I would do was write literature, or at the very least, serviceable novels. Then I spent a few years as a technology journalist, and another few as anContinue reading “On Noticing”

On Stone Circles and Building Things

1. Itis fairly common in England to see small plaques set into the front of older houses with chiselled numbers saying when they were built. 1906, 1871, 1832. In Cartmel, a little village at the southern tip of the Lake District, home of a couple of very good restaurants, there’s a little whitewashed stone cottage,Continue reading “On Stone Circles and Building Things”

Year in reading, 2013

There was no pace to this year’s reading; usually I’m consistent, taking a couple of weeks for each book, working my way through them slowly on a commute that hasn’t changed much in six years. This year some of the books dragged, others I dispatched in a day or two, reflecting the fact my timeContinue reading “Year in reading, 2013”

Maybe it just fades away

“It’s not going to last forever, but the best thing you can do is pack [your time] full of so much weirdness and ideas that when you look at the wall of memories… we’re not feeling sadness for what once was, we’re just overwhelmed at everything we got to accomplish.” Great talk by Cabel SasserContinue reading “Maybe it just fades away”

On Quora, empathy and editorial value

One of the things I wanted to do more of this year was write about digital products. I’m going to start with Quora, because it’s a site I keep coming back to you, and yet I don’t think they know what they’re doing. Their announcement of a blogging platform this week is a good illustration of howContinue reading “On Quora, empathy and editorial value”

Fashion versus Clothes (and Apple, of course)

Image: Flickr user JBlaze B It’s always interesting to look at the choices a successful business makes, particularly, choices that are conscious limitations. So-and-so inc expanding into a new area or launching a new copycat product is fairly dull. Looking for new markets, consumers and money is a given in a modern economy. In contrast,Continue reading “Fashion versus Clothes (and Apple, of course)”

David Mitchell on ideas and characters in his new book

Just been to see David Mitchell read from his new novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet at Shoreditch House. Readings are always a little weird, bits of text disenfranchised from their home-novel, and the author never seems to know whether to show literary firepower with big bits of description or to create motionContinue reading “David Mitchell on ideas and characters in his new book”

Added to the wishlist: The Cello Suites

[Book] Via the indomitable Tyler Cowen’s short but sweet Books of the Year post: “A very good gift book is Eric Siblin’s new The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece.  It signals the sophistication of both the giver and receiver and yet it is short and entertaining enoughContinue reading “Added to the wishlist: The Cello Suites”

Added to the wishlist: A Crisis of Brilliance

[Book] A Crisis of Brilliance, by David Haycock, courtesy of a review in the Guardian: “The particular cauldron of intensity into which Haycock plunges is the Slade School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture…  and the students who experience this ‘crisis of brilliance’ – a phrase coined by their bristly, austere professor of drawing, Henry TonksContinue reading “Added to the wishlist: A Crisis of Brilliance”

8-bit trip: Lego bricks as pixels

This video comprises “1,500 hours of moving Lego bricks and taking photos of them.” It’s not particularly coherent in terms of theme, unless you call “8-bit games and music rule” a theme. Which maybe we should. Worth it for the chiptune soundtrack, the use of Lego as pixels and the particularly nice Pacman shots, whichContinue reading “8-bit trip: Lego bricks as pixels”