April 2011 Archives

Who I'm Seeing Tonight

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 2:22 PM


The Kills, Terminal 5


By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 1:45 PM

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle:

In quantum mechanics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states by precise inequalities that certain pairs of physical properties, like position and momentum, cannot simultaneously be known to arbitrary precision. That is, the more precisely one property is known, the less precisely the other can be known. In other words, the more you know the position of a particle, the less you know about its velocity, and the more you know about the velocity of a particle, the less you know about its instantaneous position.


By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 1:15 PM


comfortable stare

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 1:00 PM



By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 12:30 PM



By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 11:42 AM


Remember when we made a connection by handing someone a photo? As our social circle spreads across a wider geographic area, we look for ways to share experiences. Technology has reconnected us to some extent, but we fiddle with too many cables and menus, and those individual connections get drowned out.

Tableau acts as a bridge between users of physical and digital media, taking the best parts of both. It's a nightstand that quietly drops photos it sees on its Twitter feed into its drawer, for the owner to discover. Images of things placed in the drawer are posted to its account as well.

Tableau is an anti-computer experience. A softly glowing knob that almost imperceptibly shifts color invites interaction without demanding it. The trappings of electronics are removed except for a vestigial cable knob for the paper tray. The nightstand drawer becomes a natural interface to a complex computing task, which now fits into the flow of life.

Tableau by John Kestner

via Cool Hunting

Beast Pieces

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 11:20 AM


There's so much awesomeness at Beast Pieces.

The Greatest Thing

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 11:13 AM

The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learned from others; it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an eye for resemblance.

Aristotle, De Poetica

via Frank Chimero

we have good taste

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 11:10 AM

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It's gonna take awhile. It's normal to take awhile. You've just gotta fight your way through.

Ira Glass

via Daring Fireball

Rex Burnett

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 11:00 AM


via Just A Car Guy

Make Something Cool Everyday

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 10:45 AM


The beautiful designs and illustrations of André Meca.

via Forgotten-hopes

More Is Less

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 10:30 AM

Boston Globe: Gym-Pact bases fees on members’ ability to stick to their workout schedule

Every year, we resolve to hit the gym more often and get fit. And by the end of January, many of us have missed workouts or given up altogether.

According to Yifan Zhang, a 2010 graduate of Harvard College, part of the problem is that customers see gym membership fees as money spent, or "a sunk cost, especially if you pay at the beginning of the year.'' That prompted the idea for Gym-Pact in Boston, which she created with Harvard classmate Geoff Oberhofer.

Gym-Pact offers what Zhang calls motivational fees -- customers agree to pay more if they miss their scheduled workouts, literally buying into a financial penalty if they don't stick to their fitness plans. The concept arose from Zhang's behavioral economics class at Harvard, where professor Sendhil Mullainathan taught that people are more motivated by immediate consequences than by future possibilities.

via PSFK

I wouldn't mind having this little bugger on my desk

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 10:00 AM


YouTube: Mr. Jones' Tengu

via PSFK

extraordinary claims

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 8:05 AM

asymco: Calling the end of innovation in mobile computers

People are lining up to call the market for mobile phones. Analysts and amateurs alike are connecting points on charts and predicting with confidence the future of mobile platforms. Consensus is forming that there is no future but a quiescent state. By the acclamation of pundits, the survivors are declared to be iOS and Android. They are also predictably arranged in a way similar to OS X and Windows. End of story.

Except for one thing.

3.5 years ago neither of these platforms existed. In fact, it was only two and a half years ago, in mid 2008, that one of the finalists even became a platform with the launch of an app store. The other "winner" only launched in a handset later that year and had no significant volumes until a year ago. In other words, these suddenly predictable platforms have been in existence for less than the life span of one device that runs them.

Have I mentioned how fucking useless analysts are?

Must be nice to have a job that revolves around guessing about the future.

It takes much larger balls to bet the future on a product you actually have to build and sell.

Gimme some current

By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 7:40 AM

Ars Technica: Electrical current to the brain can get people to think different

What does it take to think different? Changes in the activity of the anterior temporal lobes, if a new study has it right. Thinking the same is actually very useful, since we can use existing mental frameworks to rapidly solve typical problems. But, on occasion, we're faced with an atypical problem, one where our past problem solving techniques don't apply, and we need to think of a new way of doing things. At those moments, applying a small electric current to the temporal lobes might just do the trick.

Although having a toolbox of problem-solving techniques can be very valuable, the authors describe how it can make us a prisoner of our past experience. When faced with a simple task, we sometimes keep trying to use one of our existing tools, even if it's the wrong one for the job.


By Michael Mulvey on April 29, 2011 7:30 AM


1961 Mercedes 190SL aka the Mercedes "Bent"

via Just A Car Guy


By Michael Mulvey on April 28, 2011 5:48 PM


From a Swann Galleries auction in 2010:

very rare. An original poster from the sanitation workers' strike that drew Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, Tennessee the first week of April 1968. This poster and one other, "Honor King, End Racism" were carried by the sanitation workers. Later that week, as King walked out onto the terrace at his motel, he was cut down by a shot purportedly fired by James Earl Ray.

via Still Life

Research In Motion, In Perspective

By Michael Mulvey on April 28, 2011 5:11 PM

I've read articles in the tech news about RIM has a long history of creating great business software and devices - specifically the famous Blackberry messaging devices and smartphones.

The thing is, these last few years for RIM haven't been good and they've just slashed their outlook for Q1 2011.

I'm not sure why RIM doing poorly should be the slightest bit surprising. From a user interface perspective there hasn't been any breakthoughs. I've used my wife's Blackberry enough to know how stiff and devoid elegance it really is. Yes, the home screen has some unique iconography, but once you get into the email program - the Blackberry's bread and butter - it's like taking a time warp back to the 90's.

Just to put it in perspective, when RIM was *winning*, this was the smartphone competition:


Just sayin'.

Ground Zero

By Michael Mulvey on April 28, 2011 3:22 PM



By Michael Mulvey on April 28, 2011 3:20 PM


via Instagram

Please Don't Do It

By Michael Mulvey on April 27, 2011 4:15 PM


via Girlfriend

Code or Die

By Michael Mulvey on April 27, 2011 4:06 PM


via Girlfriend

more than a photo but less than a video

By Michael Mulvey on April 26, 2011 10:35 AM


If you're an image junkie like me, this means you've known about FFFFOUND! for a while and you regularly follow Tumblr and Posterous blogs, or you have one of your own.

This also means you know the animated GIF.

Like it's more technologically advanced cousin, Flash, the animated GIF started off life getting a bad reputation for being the driving force behind obnoxious, animated banner ads. Like Flash though, the animated GIF was discovered by artists and designers as being capable of much more than selling stuff.


Co.Design has a great post on the work of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. They call their animated GIFs 'cinemagraphs' which are, in their words, "something more than a photo but less than a video."


Another great source of cinegraphs is, if we don't, remember me.

Like the work of Beck and Burg, the slivers of cinema on IWDRM aren't just sequences exported from the films. If you look closely at the GIFs, only one element has been isolated and animated, giving them a completely different feeling than many GIFs that feature excepts from films. I discovered IWDRM last year and I've been collecting their GIFs ever since.

Here's one from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:

And another one from The Shining:

Perhaps this GIF renaissance has to do with that fact that we're all moving onto mobile devices like iPhones, iPads where Flash was never designed to work well and thus, has been banished. And if it hasn't been banished it doesn't work well.

While expression, storytelling and animation are possible now with the emergence of HTML5 and advanced Javascript classes and frameworks, there's something beautifully simple about the animated GIF. It requires no plug-in and works as good now as it did 14 years ago when it was conceived.

It's an autonomous nugget of awesomeness.

An airstream camper of expression.

Why Zombies Exist

By Michael Mulvey on April 26, 2011 9:00 AM

Zombies will always infect videogames, because gamers need something they can shoot guilt-free.
The Escapist

Error Blindness

By Michael Mulvey on April 25, 2011 11:58 AM

TED: Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong

Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we're wrong about that? "Wrongologist" Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.

Full Metal Jacket Diary

By Michael Mulvey on April 25, 2011 11:38 AM

Matthew Modine's "Full Metal Jacket Diary" - iPad App

From the producer of the app, Adam Rackoff:

In 2010, I approached Matthew about turning his diary into an "eBook." We talked at length about the experience of reading on electronic devices and started to imagine something more cinematic and interactive. We wanted to take the reader on a unique journey; one they couldn't get on an Amazon Kindle or other eReader. We realized then, that Apple's new iPad was the perfect platform to re-release his book as an "app." Matthew gave me his blessing and entrusted me with the contents of his book. After 8 months of pre-production work, I'm ready to begin creating what will become the Full Metal Jacket Diary iPad App. I plan to build an immersive experience that includes not only Modine's diary and photographs, but audio of Matthew reading his book, sound effects, original music, and never-before-seen images and content! As with the book, it's very important to us both that we create something Kubrick would have been proud of and wanted to own.


via Daring Fireball


By Michael Mulvey on April 25, 2011 11:10 AM


via asaucerfullofwheels

Beauty In A Transitory Period

By Michael Mulvey on April 24, 2011 9:00 AM


This is a case for your iPad.

"Well, why don't you just get a MacBook Air? It's practically the same thing."

I understand this perspective, but I still thing what the people at ZAGG have created is simple, beautiful and purposeful. In the evolution of computers, we're currently in the transitory period from desktop to mobile. As is the case with evolution, not everyone will survive and that's OK.

We're still figuring everything out.

And making some beautiful mutant solutions while we're at it.

via Co.Design

As My Blog Jabs Me In the Ribs

By Michael Mulvey on April 24, 2011 8:00 AM

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.

—Jessica Hische

via The Brooks Review

Italian Grand Prix, Monza, 13 Sep 1955

By Michael Mulvey on April 24, 2011 7:45 AM


The streamline Mercedes of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss lead the field through the banking, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, September 13, 1955

via asaucerfullofwheels

Keep Adobe Flash Off My Phone

By Michael Mulvey on April 24, 2011 7:30 AM

Ars Technica: Adobe throws in towel, adopts HTTP Live Streaming for iOS

I used Flash as a tool to create great interactive experiences for clients for many years and it's still superior to HTML5 & Javascript for creating said experiences, but i have yet to read an article that has convinced me that having Flash on my iPhone or iPad is a good idea.

Seems Flash and portable computing weren't meant to be.

I'm sorry Adobe, but you and Flash don't own online video. I'm glad you're coming to realize this.

No Thanks, Got An iPhone

By Michael Mulvey on April 24, 2011 7:00 AM


Oh yes, let's check out the technical specifications:

16-bit microprocessor • 16K RAM • 26K ROM • up to 30K ROM in Solid State Software™ Command Modules • built-in BASIC • sound effects, five full octaves of music and 16-color graphics • built-in equation calculator. Accessories: 13″ color monitor • Solid State Speech™ Synthesizer • disk memory drive and control • telephone coupler (modem) • thermal printer • RS 232 interface • dual cassette cables • wired remote controllers.

via Modern Mechanix

games = imagination amplifiers

By Michael Mulvey on April 23, 2011 10:31 PM

Games Beat: Will Wright says games are headed toward ubiquity, diversity, and art

"Almost every new technology is an amplification of our body," Wright said, "Computers, the internet, social networks expand everything. The most important thing they expand is our imaginations and our brains. I think of games as imagination amplifiers. We can construct these elaborate worlds, play with them, share them back and forth, and this is one of the culturally most impactful things that our medium can offer."

Maybe it's why some of us are trying to archive it like it's art.

I've been tuned to the importance of gaming in our culture ever since my brother turned me onto Jane McGonigal's book, Reality Is Broken.

The History Of The World in 244 Steps

By Michael Mulvey on April 23, 2011 10:08 PM

On YouTube:

Immediately after the 2011 national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, a machine built by the Purdue's Society of Professional Engineers team completed a flawless run of 244 steps setting a world record now featured online by the World Records Academy.

It doesn't have the poetry of other Goldberg pieces I've seen (like OK Go's video, or that Honda commercial), but impressive nonetheless.

via The Escapist

My Fist

By Michael Mulvey on April 23, 2011 10:01 PM


via Comically Vintage

The Combustion Chamber Evolves

By Michael Mulvey on April 23, 2011 9:52 PM

Scientists are talking about replacing spark plugs with frickin' "lasers":

Engines make NOx as a byproduct of combustion. If engines ran leaner -- burnt more air and less fuel -- they would produce significantly smaller NOx emissions.

Spark plugs can ignite leaner fuel mixtures, but only by increasing spark energy. Unfortunately, these high voltages erode spark plug electrodes so fast, the solution is not economical. By contrast, lasers, which ignite the air-fuel mixture with concentrated optical energy, have no electrodes and are not affected.

Lasers also improve efficiency. Conventional spark plugs sit on top of the cylinder and only ignite the air-fuel mixture close to them. The relatively cold metal of nearby electrodes and cylinder walls absorbs heat from the explosion, quenching the flame front just as it starts to expand.

Project Cascade

By Michael Mulvey on April 23, 2011 9:21 PM

Despite rocky intiatives like it's new paywall, it's good to see there's interesting work happening at the New York Times:

For the past several months, the R&D Lab has been working, quietly, on a time-based representation of how the Times' news content is being shared in Twitter's social space. Its name: Project Cascade. Superficially, it's a data visualization, but it's actually a tool that could, ever so slightly, change the way we think about online engagement.

It's the product of a collaboration among Mark Hansen, the UCLA stats professor who spent a spring 2010 sabbatical working at the Times as what Zimbalist calls the paper's "futurist-in-residence" -- that casual title alone offers evidence of the scope of the R&D Lab's ambition -- along with Jer Thorp (data artist in residence) and Jake Porway (data scientist). And it has, despite its pragmatic uses, a firmly artistic attitude: Hansen, along with the artist Ben Rubin, designed the "Moveable Type" screen installation in the Times' lobby, and Thorp, whose work we've written about previously, has converted data from the Times' API into visualizations that are both revealing and stunning.

The team had access to a trove of usage data for Times stories, and wanted to figure out a way to see and understand the life those stories adopt once they leave the newsroom's confines and go out into the world. The tool, which focuses on Twitter and uses information from the Bit.ly URL shortener, is their solution. "What it attempts to do," Zimbalist says, "is dimensionalize and make really physical and tangible the way that news is shared."


via FishbowlNY

Not Like the Original

By Michael Mulvey on April 23, 2011 5:53 PM

Wired has translated and posted an academic essay by Italian film scholar Federico Giordano on the problems with archiving video games:

Videogames come to us as a form of media which have, on the one hand, some affinities with other previous forms such as cinema, television, technological parks, board games or role-playing games, and even panoramas and dioramas. It is this aspect in itself that makes videogames a medium that can be "archived."

On the other hand, videogames seem to be a decisive break from these forms. They develop themselves as a specific system of relationships between the text and users.

He identifies three guidelines (borrowed from the KEEP project) for archiving - a) storage, b) transfer and c) emulation.

Here's a section on emulation:

The "emulation" of Bionic Commando, as with other such games, is not the same as its "storage." Emulation fails to preserve in detail the experience of the original game, and it certainly cannot store the physical support which was part of the game experience. Generally, emulated games alter the game rhythm, the rendering of the graphics, and the sound, changing the spatial and temporal performance of the original games.

Amiga can be reproduced only partially by WinUAE or other emulators, due to the internal limits of the software. The response time of old joysticks and keyboards, which are different from Gamepads and today's controllers, make it intrinsically impossible to reproduce the game experience.

via The Escapist

Whining isn't a scalable solution

By Michael Mulvey on April 23, 2011 5:39 PM

Seth Godin: The realization is now:

I regularly hear from people who say, "enough with this conceptual stuff, tell me how to get my factory moving, my day job replaced, my consistent paycheck restored..." There's an idea that somehow, if we just do things with more effort or skill, we can go back to the Brady Bunch and mass markets and mediocre products that pay off for years. It's not an idea, though, it's a myth.

You Can Drive It, You Just Can't Make Left Turns

By Michael Mulvey on April 21, 2011 7:36 PM

John Gruber on the slack all the reviewers are giving to iPad's competitors:

I don't understand why so many reviewers bend over backwards to grade these things on a curve. If the iPad 2 had the problems and deficiencies the Xoom and PlayBook have, these same reviewers would (rightly) trash it, and declare (again, rightly) that Apple had finally lost its Midas touch.

These aren't "beta" tablets. They're bad tablets. It's that simple. It's true that their hardware seems closer to iPad-caliber than their software, but improving software is the hardest part of making products like these. By the time RIM releases "a serious software update or three" the entire market will have changed. The truth is, Motorola, Samsung, and now RIM have released would-be iPad competitors that pale compared to the iPad. Just say it.

I'm obviously a fan of car metaphors and they seem to be going around lately in the tech world.

To rephrase Gruber's response, if the PlayBook was a Ferrari (I'm partial to the 458), it would be a Ferrari that can't make left turns and doesn't have adjustable seats. Yes, it's a Ferrari, and it's fast and grips the road like a jungle cat, but it's incomplete. It's missing important features.

To digress a bit, this is one of the reasons I love BBC series Top Gear (not the crap US version) - they don't pull punches. If a Bentley handles like shit, they say so. The tech world would be wise to take some notes from Jeremy Clarkson and team*.

* For a great example see Top Gear's review of Alpha Romeo's 8C, at around the 3:40 mark is when Clarkson lets the honestly flood gates wide open.

Pictogram Movie Posters

By Michael Mulvey on April 21, 2011 4:13 PM

I came across some great pictogram posters while hunting around The Noun Project's blog. There's a whole set of posters up on Flickr.


The Noun Project

By Michael Mulvey on April 21, 2011 3:51 PM


The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world's visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way.

Creativity, Money, and Tolerance

By Michael Mulvey on April 21, 2011 1:34 PM

Richard Florida on What Makes Nations Thrive:

Our results indicate that the factors that contribute to happiness differ in high- and low-income countries. In low-income nations (defined as those with less than $11,000 in per capita GDP), happiness turns on income. But it matters much less in high-income countries. In these countries, people are affluent enough to cover the basics which are essential to a base level of happiness. Two factors matters in particular over and above income in these more well-off nations. The first is the nature of the job market: people are happier in affluent nations where more of them work in knowledge-based, creative, and professional jobs and fewer work in blue-collar working class jobs. Values matter too, especially openness and tolerance toward ethnic and racial minorities and toward gay and lesbian people.

Steampunk Iron Man

By Michael Mulvey on April 21, 2011 12:15 PM


via The Escapist

Beat It, Beetle

By Michael Mulvey on April 21, 2011 10:13 AM


The new VW Beetle is no longer cute and iconic. It looks a little bigger, a little uglier and ill-proportioned.

Like a teen going through puberty.

Nissan Figaro

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 3:13 PM


The 1991 Nissan Figaro probably one of the cutest and most well-done retro cars I've seen. Too many retro models try too hard.

This guy is just a happy little bastard. I love it!

via Motoriginal

The Hits

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 2:31 PM

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!
--Rocky, Rocky Balboa

Emergency Currency

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 1:20 PM


Above is a Notgeld or emergency German currency during the post-WWI inflation period.

More beautiful examples over at Words and Eggs.

Stack Overflow In My Brain

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 11:18 AM

The Escapist: Computer Built in Minecraft Has RAM, Performs Division

Last October, I showed you guys a simple CPU that a user named "theinternetftw" created in Minecraft that used torches to ignite redstone wires to add numbers and output that information as binary code. Now, a Minecraft player known as Salaja has created an even more complex machine that is capable of loading 16 lines of code into its RAM, and then performing operations before displaying the results on a screen in hexadecimal notation. In one example video, Salaja loads the "division program" and then successfully divides 9 by 5. The only downfall is that the computation takes a little while for the charge on the redstone to travel, but Salaja's home-designed computer within a computer game is still quite a mind-boggling feat.

I understand what this guy did on a fundamental level, but trying to fully comprehend this is like trying to fully comprehend infinity or a black hole.

via Missile Test

MegaPhone - A Passive iPhone Amplifier

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 10:31 AM


From the MegaPhone product page:

Passive Amplifier for iphone made of ceramic. the form is designed to amplify and optimize the best sound output. the amplifier is based on a thin wooden frame that allows the object to float off the table. this in order to increase the vibration of the object and to optimize the emission of sound. designed for the iPhone is perfect for listening music without headphones, for audio conference to hear the person on the phone as live voice.


via Co.Design

Myrtle Beach

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 10:11 AM

Myrtle_Beach_01.jpeg Myrtle_Beach_02.jpeg Myrtle_Beach_03.jpeg Myrtle_Beach_04.jpeg Myrtle_Beach_05.jpeg Myrtle_Beach_06.jpeg Myrtle_Beach_07.jpeg

The Future Is Now

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 9:18 AM

MediaShift: How One Radio Reporter Ditched His Equipment for an iPhone 4

It's been more than a year since I packed away my laptop computer, digital recorders, microphones, cables and cameras, and began covering Washington, D.C. with only my iPhone.

When I first came to the top-rated all-news WTOP in 1997, the bag phone I carried weighed as much as a bowling ball. Reel-to-reel tape recorders (ask your parents) were the newsroom staple, but early versions of Cool Edit audio editing software signaled that the times, they were a-changin'.

That just happened.

Make Things = Know Thyself

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 9:05 AM

Austin Kleon on How To Steal Like An Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me):

There's an economic theory out there that if you take the incomes of your five closest friends and average them, the resulting number will be pretty close to your own income.

I think the same thing is true of our idea incomes. You're only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.

I could have quoted the whole post.

I think I'll just steal it instead.

via kottke

The iPhone Tab Bar

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 8:49 AM

Some good advice over at significantpixels on designing for the iPhone's tab bar.

Over the last couple of years, the iPhone has greatly popularized the tab bar navigational model for mobile handsets. Apple has put together a design rationale for the tab bar in their Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) along with lots and lots of other information -- they do however leave some question unanswered. Having worked with interaction and graphical design for iPhone applications during the last couple of years I've managed to pick up some lessons the hard way, and in this post I would like to share my thoughts on a couple of do's and don'ts.

Some obvious points in the post, but good advice usually is obvious.

Easy As Pie

By Michael Mulvey on April 20, 2011 8:44 AM

Neven Mrgan on what it's like to share an article from one of these iPad magazines.

No, Thank YOU, Radiohead

By Michael Mulvey on April 19, 2011 2:38 PM


Why We Need Storytellers

By Michael Mulvey on April 18, 2011 9:05 AM

UX Magazine: Why We Need Storytellers at the Heart of Product Development

This question reflects a painful problem that is common at both small startups and large corporate organizations. Far too often, teams focus on execution before defining the product opportunity and unique value proposition. The result is a familiar set of symptoms including scope creep, missed deadlines, overspent budgets, frustrated teams and, ultimately, confused users. The root cause of these symptoms is the fact that execution focuses on the how and what of a product. But in a world where consumers are inundated with choices, products that want to be noticed and adopted must be rooted in the why.

One of the most obvious places lacking the why is technology products. How often to do we read articles about a company "prepariing a new Product X to fend off Apple's Product Y"?

So what it really comes down to many times is the why is focused on affecting competition when it should be focused on providing value to the consumer.

Thanks Jory

"It must be skating season in hell"

By Michael Mulvey on April 14, 2011 9:49 AM

David Pogue breaks down the realities of the new Blackberry PlayBook tablet:

Remember, the primary competition is an iPad -- the same price, but much thinner, much bigger screen and a library of 300,000 apps. In that light, does it make sense to buy a fledgling tablet with no built-in e-mail or calendar, no cellular connection, no videochat, Skype, no Notes app, no GPS app, no videochat, no Pandora radio and no Angry Birds?

You should also know that even now, only days before the PlayBook goes on sale April 19, the software is buggy and still undergoing feverish daily revision. And the all-important BlackBerry Bridge feature is still in beta testing. It's missing important features, like the ability to view e-mail file attachments or click a link in an e-mail.


But -- are you sitting down? -- at the moment, BlackBerry Bridge is the only way to do e-mail, calendar, address book and BlackBerry Messenger on the PlayBook. The PlayBook does not have e-mail, calendar or address book apps of its own. You read that right. R.I.M. has just shipped a BlackBerry product that cannot do e-mail. It must be skating season in hell. (R.I.M. says that those missing apps will come this summer.)

This reminds of grade school - when you realize your book report is due the day of, and you hastily cobble it together with lightly reworded chunks from the encyclopedia.

Devastate Every Imaginary Enemy

By Michael Mulvey on April 13, 2011 9:18 AM


I love the description:


via Vintage Scans

Ads, Ads, Ads and Maybe Some Reading

By Michael Mulvey on April 13, 2011 8:44 AM

Yesterday Amazon announced their new ad-supported Kindle. They didn't called it the Ad-Supported Kindle. They wrapped it in a cute little euphemism - Kindle With Special Offers.

Kindle With Special Offers (KWSO) - it's like a Friend With Benefits - except the benefits are ads in your face. Awesome. But it's cool, because your friend is a cheaper date because of the ads. Instead of the regular price of $139, the KWSO is only $114!

I say Amazon goes balls-out, Morgan Spurlock styley.

That's not apathy, that's intentional exclusion

By Michael Mulvey on April 12, 2011 2:12 PM

A great, 7-minute Ted Talk by Dave Meslin on the antidote to apathy:

Local politics -- schools, zoning, council elections -- hit us where we live. So why don't more of us actually get involved? Is it apathy? Dave Meslin says no. He identifies 7 barriers that keep us from taking part in our communities, even when we truly care.

Pass The Bucket with Tony Alva

By Michael Mulvey on April 12, 2011 12:25 PM

From Off The Wall TV - Pass The Bucket with Tony Alva:

Considered to be one of the the most influential skateboarders of all time, Tony Alva, an original Z-Boy, hit a bottom 4 years ago battling drug addiction and alcoholism. There, at his lowest point, his reliance on successes and ego came into perspective for the first time. Tony's fight for sobriety and truth has recently lead him to a new perspective on life and direction moving forward. Dedicated to giving back Tony now see's passing the bucket as the only way out.

Still skateboarding at 53 years old. Impressive.






Reminds Me Of A Gunslinger

By Michael Mulvey on April 11, 2011 10:20 AM

The RS-7 camera strap looks awesome:

The RS-7 is specially designed to work with BlackRapid's MODS system. It features attachment points so you can customize your strap with your choice of storage and other features. It's constructed of ballistic nylon for extreme durability. With the RS-7, ergonomics are key. It's designed and shaped to fit perfectly around your shoulder. The weight of your camera is evenly distributed for the ultimate in comfort. Built for speed, for when timing is everything.


Check out the video to see it in action.

Thanks, Bryan.

Hello, Lovely

By Michael Mulvey on April 7, 2011 2:01 PM

Would you look at the curves on this one:


via Le Container

The Empire Strikes Back ...wards*

By Michael Mulvey on April 7, 2011 9:06 AM

Business Insider: Microsoft Executives In A Heated Battle Over Opening More Retail Stores

According to sources close to the company, CEO Steve Ballmer and COO Kevin Turner are both hot on the idea of matching -- or even surpassing -- Apple's retail presence of over 300 stores. The stores are a big reason for Apple's success in the last decade, as they give customers opportunities to play with products like the iPad and iPhone.

But Microsoft has only opened 8 stores in the year and a half since it launched its retail initiative, and has only announced two more, in Atlanta and Seattle, for a total of 10.

The reason: the stores are expensive to build -- Microsoft wants them to be high-profile showcases like Apple stores are -- and most of them aren't making money.

My friends always roll their eyes when get into Microsoft-bashing.

With stories like this, though, I don't even have to try.

*I stole the title for this post from one of the juicy comments on the original story.

There's no other way to complete that analogy

By Michael Mulvey on April 6, 2011 11:40 AM

Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin's thoughts on their competition (or lack thereof) with Microsoft (via Network World):

Two decades after Linus Torvalds developed his famous operating system kernel, the battle between Linux and Microsoft is over and Linux has won, says Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin.

With the one glaring exception of the desktop computer, Linux has outpaced Microsoft in nearly every market, including server-side computing and mobile, Zemlin claims.

"I think we just don't care that much [about Microsoft] anymore," Zemlin said. "They used to be our big rival, but now it's kind of like kicking a puppy."

I would say the puppy analogy isn't needed. Microsoft has become it's own analogy. They are becoming less and less relevant in almost every industry they're still in. He should have said, "Competing with Microsoft is, well, like competing with Microsoft."

As Aziz Ansari said in his story of the girl who gives a guy a blowjob for a half-hour for sold out concert tickets only to find out they were selling tickets at the door:

There's no other way to complete that analogy because that's the shittiest thing that could happen to you.

We're Offering You Something Better Than Money

By Michael Mulvey on April 4, 2011 10:31 AM

NYTimes: Unpaid Interns, Complicit Colleges

ON college campuses, the annual race for summer internships, many of them unpaid, is well under way. But instead of steering students toward the best opportunities and encouraging them to value their work, many institutions of higher learning are complicit in helping companies skirt a nebulous area of labor law.

Colleges and universities have become cheerleaders and enablers of the unpaid internship boom, failing to inform young people of their rights or protect them from the miserly calculus of employers. In hundreds of interviews with interns over the past three years, I found dejected students resigned to working unpaid for summers, semesters and even entire academic years -- and, increasingly, to paying for the privilege.

Unless you're being subsidized by your parents or crashing on couches, unpaid internships are impossible.

I was lucky enough to intern at an art gallery on 57th & Madison from 1996-1998 when in college. When the second summer came around I insisted that they pay for my transportation from New Jersey in addition to the whopping $7 an hour they paid me.

Realizing the bargain they were getting for someone who could hang all the paintings and photography for shows, deliver packages to clients and purchase and configure all the computers in the gallery, they agreed.

Internships are extremely valuable for kids starting out their careers but while the head start they provide in establishing relationships and acquiring practical skills is great, many employers aren't meeting students halfway when they don't pay them.

Out Of The Ashes Rises A Phoenix

By Michael Mulvey on April 4, 2011 9:06 AM

From Business Insider:

The team of editors that has streamed away from AOL's Engadget is going to start a tech site for new media startup SB Nation.

Engadget's former editor in chief Joshua Topolsky announced the move on his blog and in the New York Times tonight. Topolsky says he's joining SB Nation because it, "believes in real, independent journalism and the potential for new media to serve as an answer and antidote to big publishing houses and SEO spam -- a point we couldn't be more aligned on."

It sounds like they really loved having AOL as their daddy at Engadget.

Seventh Street

By Michael Mulvey on April 4, 2011 9:05 AM




Oil Execs, Lining Their Pockets

By Michael Mulvey on April 4, 2011 8:55 AM

Declaring 2010 "the best year in safety performance in our company's history," Transocean Ltd., owner of the Gulf of Mexico oil rig that exploded, killing 11 workers, has awarded its top executives hefty bonuses and raises, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

That includes a $200,000 salary increase for Transocean president and chief executive officer Steven L. Newman, whose base salary will increase from $900,000 to $1.1 million, according to the SEC report. Newman's bonus was $374,062, the report states.

What a bunch of bullshit. I shouldn't be surprised, though. Business as usual.

NYC Deco

By Michael Mulvey on April 4, 2011 8:30 AM




Watch the Shadows Thrown

By Michael Mulvey on April 4, 2011 7:00 AM

Instead of asking people directly how to be creative, they have examined the psychological conditions of creativity. It's like instead of looking directly at the sun to work out where it is, you watch the shadows thrown across the ground.

- From How to Be Creative by Jeremy Dean

A Brief History of Title Design

By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 9:14 PM

movie_credit: Dr. Strangelove

movie_credit: Vertigo

movie_credit: Gun Crazy

movie_credit: Machete

movie_credit: Raging Bull

A Brief History of Title Design

Information Designers Are Our New Navigators

By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 8:51 PM

NYTimes: Designers Make Data Much Easier to Digest

In an uncharted world of boundless data, information designers are our new navigators.

In a Stamen graphic of Twitter traffic during an MTV awards show, the number of tweets about celebrities was reflected in the size of their photos. They are computer scientists, statisticians, graphic designers, producers and cartographers who map entire oceans of data and turn them into innovative visual displays, like rich graphs and charts, that help both companies and consumers cut through the clutter. These gurus of visual analytics are making interactive data synonymous with attractive data.


Visual analytics play off the idea that the brain is more attracted to and able to process dynamic images than long lists of numbers. But the goal of information visualization is not simply to represent millions of bits of data as illustrations. It is to prompt visceral comprehension, moments of insight that make viewers want to learn more.

Bingo. It's great to see what we designers do get recognized by the mainstream press.

Teacher : Warden :: Students : ________

By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 8:36 PM

NYTimes: Paterson Teacher Suspended Over a Post on Facebook

A first-grade teacher in Paterson, N.J., was suspended on Thursday after she posted on her Facebook page that she felt like a warden overseeing future criminals, district officials said.

From some of the stories I've heard from people who teach, it's very likely this woman wasn't exaggerating. Just saying.

She just needs to work not broadcasting that inside voice of hers on the biggest social network in the world.

Edison Was Right?

By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 8:24 PM

PSFK: John Gerzema: Edison Was Right

Two blocks off Detroit's Woodward Avenue, inside an industrial building on Burroughs Street, a half-dozen engineers who work for Nextek Power Systems gather around a whiteboard where they have scrawled notes based on read-outs from a computer screen. They are analyzing data on the performance of an innovative power system based on Thomas Edison's preferred form of electric supply--direct current. Also called DC, direct current is the juice that comes out of batteries, fuel cells, solar panels, and other sustainable energy sources. Because it is difficult and expensive to transmit over great distances, Edison's DC lost out to alternating current--AC--when the electric age began. AC, promoted by George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, allowed for a single huge generating station to supply power for homes and businesses spread over hundreds if not thousands of square miles. To make use of this system, lights, appliances, and motors were all built to operate on AC, and it became the standard.

I find it interesting that the future of energy could potentially parallel the future some of proposing for farming - local. I've been hearing more and more about vertical farming in cities, now comes growing your own energy.

Sign me up.

Dreamhost Invitations

By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 8:12 PM

Do you need web site hosting? If so, let me recommend who I've been using since 2002 (wow, really? Nine years now?)

They've just given me some discount codes:


Plug one of these codes into the "Promo Code" field on this form: https://signup.dreamhost.com/

Sign up for 1 year, you'll get $15 off. Sign up for 2 years and you'll get $100 off.

*If these codes don't work for you it probably means someone beat you to it.

Road Runner

By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 7:51 PM


I don't think I've ever mentioned how awesome Just A Car Guy's site is.

There. I said it.

... said the Jesus.

By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 7:44 PM

nobody_fucks-with the_jesus.jpg

I remember seeing some of these illustrations by Josh Cooley a few years ago. They're so awesome.

via Neven Mrgan


By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 7:36 PM


László Moholy-Nagy - Pneumatik, 1924

via Le Container

You and That Fucking Gorilla.

By Michael Mulvey on April 3, 2011 7:27 PM


via this isn't happiness

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