29 April 2012

Of MP3 players and Apple complacency

We have four iPods of various ages and sizes: one of the first models with the dock connector, one of the early click wheel ones, a nano with clip, and a nano with a screen. One of the classic iPods lives in the car, the other I used the rest of the time; the two nanos are rothko’s. These four iPods appear to need at least three different charging cables. The “universal” USB cable from Apple that works with the dock iPod doesn’t work with the click wheel one, and makes it crash. ... Read more

17 April 2012

Baby bird of a different kind

This evening I went out for a walk; partly for exercise, partly for relaxation, and partly to take a package to the UPS drop-off. As I rounded the corner onto Oltorf Street, I walked under a large tree which partially overhangs the street. On the ground I saw the unmistakable shape of a partially crushed dead baby bird. A few steps on was a second baby bird, as dead as the first, with ants crawling over it. ... Read more

25 March 2012

The music of Baby Bird

Way back in the mists of time — 1996, in fact — I was living in dear old England, pondering whether to emigrate. One Saturday I wandered into my local CD store to trawl the discount rack for anything that looked interesting. On my way there, a CD on the countertop next to the cash register caught my attention: I had no idea what the hell it was, but the cover photo had me intrigued. ... Read more

13 March 2012

Homeless hotspots

This week at SXSWi a Homeless Hotspots campaign has been causing debate. It seems there are plenty who approve of the scheme, so I thought I’d come up with a few more ideas for next year. Homeless Coffee Tables. It’s hard to juggle a Starbucks latte and an iPad. Let one of our homeless hold the coffee for you while you Tweet what you just overheard. Homeless Umbrellas. The weather’s been pretty bad, so why not make use of our special mobile umbrellas? ... Read more

12 March 2012

Technology and morality

The New Republic recently carried an interesting article about Apple (the full text may be available via Readability). The piece started out as a review of the Steve Jobs biography (ho hum), but soon diverged into a discussion of the morality of design. It helped me to crystallize some thoughts. There’s a famous anecdote about how Steve Jobs spent weeks making his family discuss what they wanted from their washing machine. ... Read more

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