Soul Rebels Bring the 504 to London Bridge

Them folks in London don’t seem to get it, but the Soul Rebels are still sounding great as they remix Gnarls Barkley, second-line style.

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Archeology of a Floppy Disk

640 floppy archeology Archeology of a Floppy Disk

These ancient rubbings, circa 1990, show a primitive means of data storage used in the prior millennium. According to recollections passed down through the years, these disks were once ubiquitous; the means of transport for data in the late 1980s through the 1990s.

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Why does Twitter Following and Search break so easily?

A simple test. Create two twitter accounts, A & B. Set A to follow B; B to follow A. Follow a bunch of other users on both accounts to simulate typical account activity. Now start tweeting. Do all of A’s tweets show up on B’s timeline? Do all of B’s tweets show up on A’s timeline?

I can tell you from my own experience: most of the time, A does not show on B; and B does not show on A. Googling the problem, it appears other are experiencing the same thing, (followed tweets not showing up) but no real answers on fixing it.

Because this problem appears to be the rule, rather than the exception, one wonders what percentage of followed tweets never show up.

I also note that Twitter’s search function frequently errors out with the “tweets are taking a long time to load” message. But then if you do the same search in Google, you find what you’re looking for.

These failures seem like such basic functionality problems that I wonder how widespread they are.

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Typesetting in 1989

640 linotype collection 1989 DSC 8520 prc2 Typesetting in 1989

Up until the early 1990s, books like the one shown above were commonly used in typesetting. The (long gone) agency where I obtained this book had several operators. They’d type rapidly on green-screen terminals, inputting both the text and the formatting codes to change the font, its size, its weight, and many other factors.

The code would be run on a machine such as a Linotronic 300, exposed on photo-sensitive paper, then developed in a large beast of machine. To enter the processor room, you’d go through a darkroom door; then in the mist of processor chemicals that permeated the air, you’d feel, in the dark, for the tail of paper sticking out, and feed it into the churning maw of the processor’s intake rollers.

Once the rollers grasped the paper, you’d set the paper cassette in a tray, and go out through the doors and to the other end of the processor, once again in the light. Eventually, the paper would emerge, fully dry and ready to be waxed, then burnished into the layout.

The layout would eventually be photographed on a repro camera; then photographs or other art would be “stripped” in; that is to say, they were collaged, to use a term most artists understand; and then the film sandwich would be exposed on another piece of film, and eventually on a printing plate, for offset reproduction. As you can see, this process was rather involved, with many steps requiring different skills. But today, these functions are all combined in our layout and image manipulation software.

This Linotype book, from 1989, asks the bemusing question, “Are 2000 typefaces enough?” Besides turning the question around, to note individual qualities in a world of quantity, with a clever quote by Adrian Frutiger, likening type varieties to wine, one must note that 2,000 seems a rather quaint quantity today. One can easily amass a much larger question, with many new fonts coming at an ever-increasing pace.

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The Fractal Nature of Everything

Looking at things we didn’t see, imagining things we can’t see: those things that are intermediated, whether it’s the microscope, the copy machine, the fax, the scanner, the digital camera; and so many other means of reproduction in the current golden age of technology. Everything old is new again as the ideas of the past are updated for the present day, in new combinations, permutations, and other manglings as the day demands.

A model of an atom can be likened to a solar system; a single grain of sand can be a monolith; and no matter how much you increase or decrease; zoom in or zoom out; magnify and shrink; there you are, at the same place. Only the details are different and the powers of ten are sounding a different note, high or low, as the case may be.

Line, tone, composition, color, form, idea, title, concept, project, grand schema: each note on the scale of one imaginary spectrum, everything important; nothing important. Each possibility is possible simultaneously; and beyond mere dualities or dichotomies there are, yes, trichotomies and an infinite number of further possibilities.

Each possibility exists or doesn’t exist, according to how you fit yourself into this collection of interlocking spheres, Venn Diagrams, sets, databases, or other ways of finding connectivity in the facts, non-facts; and pure speculation, balderdash, wit, witlessness; and other modes of amusement and sorrow.

This situation is of course absurd, but considering daily reality, or its virtual counterparts, what really is real or fake? Is it live, or is it Memorex? Normally, I frown on the principle of free advertising; but in this case, the brand is dead and buried; tapes live on, but only precariously. Keep looking.

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