Vonnegut: How To Write With Style

The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was Conrad’s third language, and much that seems piquant in his use of English was no doubt colored by his first language, which was Polish. And lucky indeed is the writer who has grown up in Ireland, for the English spoken there is so amusing and musical. I myself grew up in Indianapolis, where common speech sounds like a band saw cutting galvanized tin, and employs a vocabulary as unornamental as a monkey wrench.

Vonnegut’s advice is great and echos advice I’ve heard about/from other writers like Hemingway and Stephen King.
The pieces of advice that have helped me the most have been on keeping things simple and writing like myself. No matter the size of the post on this site, I usually reread them at least 5-10 times, each time paying attention to where I can eliminate redundancies and gain more clarity in the idea being conveyed.




their prices are INSANE!!!

From Electronista:

Microsoft on Thursday said it might cut the price of its Zune Pass subscription service. Senior product lead Terry Farrell wouldn’t say how certain this was or how much it might drop, but recognized that the Zune’s $15 monthly, unlimited downloads weren’t necessarily competing well. Music is a “challenging business,” he told BusinessWeek in a chat.

Because nothing is better than a shitty service, than a shitty, cheap service.


Innovation, Music


it’s a pretty good logo


The name was suggested by Ginn’s brother, artist Raymond Pettibon, who also designed the band’s logo: a stylized black flag represented as four black bars. Pettibon stated “If a white flag means surrender, a black flag represents anarchy.” Their new name was reminiscent of the anarchist symbol, the insect spray of the same name, and of the British heavy metal group Black Sabbath, one of Ginn’s favorite bands. Ginn suggested that he was “comfortable with all the implications of the name.” The band spray painted the simple, striking logo all over Los Angeles, gaining attention from potential supporters, and thoroughly irritating police. Pettibon also created much of their cover artwork.

via Wikipedia


as a serious reader…

Electronista: Amazon says Kindle won’t chase iPad, focused on reading

Amazon won’t try to copy the iPad with future versions of the Kindle, CEO Jeff Bezos said in an annual shareholders’ meeting today. He stressed that the Kindle would emphasize e-reading and likened its role to that of a dedicated camera versus a phone camera. Just as a phone is multi-purpose but won’t be the best camera, an iPad won’t necessarily be the best reader, Bezos said.

I’d love to see the Kindle become an amazing e-book reader and I think that by focusing on the Kindle doing just one thing versus trying to be everything they can do that, but right now, the Kindle is not a better e-book reader than the iPad. I’ve had a first generation Kindle and it’s decent. After I started using it for a few weeks I soon realized the limitations of the device. In short – Amazon needs to put laser focus on better software.
Whatever Bezos’ true plans and intentions, I hope he’s taking some of his own advice.




what is, not what could be

Hints, previews and sneak peeks.
They go hand-in-hand with prototypes, demos and proof-of-concept products.
These impossible-to-buy, incomplete, vaporware products – coupled with speculations – form the bulk of technology news. It’s bullshit is what it is.
Here are a few recent ones I like:
Yahoo, Nokia to unveil ‘Project Nike’ deal – Yahoo announces an alliance with Nokia. Wow. Screenshots? Mobile apps to demo? Nothing? Amazing stuff guys.
Microsoft Cancels Innovative Courier Tablet Project – Microsoft first leaks videos featuring a concept product, and then cancels it about 6 months later. Nice.
NVIDIA hints webOS tablet, rags on Apple and Intel – The title says it all. All talk, no walk.
This is just one of the many reasons Jory Kruspe and I started HEED (It’s one of my reasons anyway). HEED is about the process that creates well-designed products. It’s about how something that’s well-designed can improve the quality of life. It’s about pointing out places in world where there’s bad design and why businesses and individuals need to wake up and heed to design.
I’m not saying not to dream. I’m saying do something with those dreams. Make something. Find a process that allows you to execute your ideas. And when you find that process, use it.
The articles mentioned above are all (potentially) great ideas, but a design isn’t successful unless it’s executed.
That’s why Jory and I started HEED as Twitter and Flickr accounts. We both are busy with our jobs and haven’t been able to put aside the time to create the picture-perfect venture we’ve envisioned in our heads. So we’re starting with a seed.
Hey, at least we’re starting.


Art, Education, Innovation


hell hath

Art is a jealous mistress, and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture, or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860
via Laphams Quarterly


Art, Education, Image


It’s what’s outside the office that counts

Words of wisdom for anyone in a position of hiring from Heidi Hackemer at BBH.
The article pertains to the hiring methodology for the advertising world that BBH lives in, but I would go so far as to say this should be the methodology for every industry:

The second column is where things got interesting: we also looked for candidates that had a bit of “mess” in their resume, i.e. a curiosity, a drive to think about and do things beyond pursuing the perfect advertising career. As a result we have filmmakers, activists, dancers and a guy that has worked in third world development.


We believe the mess is just as important as the “proper” education and inputs: advertising is one of those fields that should collaborate not only internally, but with culture at large – to be relevant and human we should inhale the world around us, circulate it in our lungs a bit and then exhale our response. The minute that we get too obsessed or spend too much time focusing on what happens within our walls or the minute the great love in our life becomes a widget or :30 second idea is the minute we lose the oxygen that we need to make great work.

This mindset is especially important in the design industry. Our greatest ideas come from being interested in everything, then combining disparate ideas into new combinations for products and services.