On ten years of Custom PC

I’d like to do a post of great social and political import. Ten years ago, I helped start a magazine. It’s still going, and the people running it now asked me to write a little bit about it. I was a staff writer on issue 1 of Custom PC and by issue 60-something, after fiveContinue reading “On ten years of Custom PC”

On Snowfallen, and pollen for readers

Bobbie Johnson wrote a good critique of Snowfall, and I wrote a riposte on the work blog: “Johnson assumes there’s one type of reader, the dedicated long-hauler who will diligently read 8,000 words about your topic. There are indeed some of these people. But there are many other types of readers, many skimmers, who will likely notContinue reading “On Snowfallen, and pollen for readers”

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”

A Terrible Beauty

Published in 2000, A Terrible Beauty is defiantly a pre-internet book(1). In under 850 pages (under 775 if you discount the index), it gives the reader a history of the twentieth century’s defining ideas, from Marxism to Nazism, from Feminism to fusion. Not just the ideas, but the people too – Satre, Picasso, Orwell and JanetContinue reading “A Terrible Beauty”

International Times

The Guardian has a blog post up today reflecting on the radical/hippy/underground 60s newspaper The International Times, as an archive devoted to IT has just launched (although said archive appears to be down at the moment). Anyway, the Guardian blog quotes some notes I took at a talk by the founders of IT, which youContinue reading “International Times”

Virtual reality, then and now

In the 1980s and 1990s, the term ‘virtual reality’ was understood to mean the creation of reality inside the computer – and thus we would need to experience it using complex imaging and interaction systems (3D googles, cursors mapped to the movement of a glove etc.) The implication behind this was the reality itself wouldContinue reading “Virtual reality, then and now”

Too much Photoshop

When is too much in Photoshop? This article (translated from Danish) tells the story of a photographer who entered a competition, and was then asked to send unedited samples of his images. The article reproduces the pictures – before and after – so you can judge for yourself if there’s too much editing going on.Continue reading “Too much Photoshop”

Digg and the art of the headline

[The entry has been cross posted from my work blog] When it comes to the web, there really aren’t many ways in which to gain readers for your site. Not that many practical and legal ones, anyway – sure, I could pay a dodgy bunch of Eastern European types to knock up a virus thatContinue reading “Digg and the art of the headline”

It’s finally here: the new CustomPC.co.uk

And I am so relieved. For the past 18 months or so, helping create a new website for Custom PC has been something of an obsession for me. I’ve talked endlessly about it on flights, in bars, in many, many meetings and bored the Jesteress to tears with all my ideas and frustrations. I’ve scribbledContinue reading “It’s finally here: the new CustomPC.co.uk”