Very few people are going to like ALL of Neal Stephenson's books. I've read a number of them, and usually, but not always, like them (I loved Snowcrash and Diamond Age, was ambivilent about Zodiac, disliked Cryptonomicon, and loved the System of the World trilogy).
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
That means another 3 years or more of making AAA titles, in which the publishers/developers need to garner interest in their titles, and they can't use screenshots alone to do it.
Early in the year, I said that one of the trends we'd see was what I called more 'bespoke' design in our computers & electronics. More looking like items of fine craftsmanship, less prominent branding (or - gasp - no branding at all), simplicity and elegance over LEDs & complexity.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Last year I authored a number of posts (like this one) on the future of ebooks, and also did a few book reviews and comments on digital typography (like this one), as well as pointing at the excellent thinking on the subject by guys like Craig Mod and James Bridle.
It took us a few thousand years to get print into decent shape. I think we should at least give this one the decade, ok folks?
Saturday, May 21, 2011
I found a few of the ideas in Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget interesting and provocative. Despite that, I can't recommend the book.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
I picked up The Whuffie Factor well over a year ago, got about half-way through it, and then got distracted with other reads. I forced myself to pick it up again and finish it off. I suppose that gives some hint as to what I thought of it.
The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business
Good talk on the downside of personalized search, and what it means when we don't tell ourselves that we need to eat some vegetables before we get our desert.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Recently when I reviewed "The Best in Technology Writing 2010", I mentioned that Clay Shirky's piece on the radical revolution/reformation of the newspaper industry, 'Thinking the Unthinkable' was one of my favorites.
Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception. In ordinary times, people who do no more than describe the world around them are seen as pragmatists. While those who imagine fabulous alternative futures are viewed as radicals. The last couple of decades haven't been ordinary, however. Inside the papers, the pragmatists were the ones simply looking out the window and noticing that the real world increasingly resembled the unthinkable scenario. These people were treated as if they were barking mad. Meanwhile the people spinning visions of popular walled gardens and enthusiastic micropayment adoption, visions unsupported by reality, were regarded not as charlatans, but saviors.When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse. This shunting aside of the realists in favor of the fabulists has different effects on different industries at different times. One of the effects on the newspapers is that many of their most passionate defenders are unable, even now, to plan for a world in which the industry they knew is visibly going away.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Naill Ferguson's The Ascent of Money is probably best summed as one part history, one part crash course in finance and economics, and one part treatise on the fallibility and hubris of mankind. Another way to describe it might be as a cross of The Big Short with To Engineer Is Human, stretched out over a window of two thousand years.