Tag Archives: technology

Thought for Friday

In your working process you should have no boundaries and then you have no fear.
Although some can feel uncomfortable about this, good things can come out of incomprehension and incompetence. 
It can take you places the linear, logical thought cannot.
The act of not knowing and finding something out that is new, or to find a new way and a new understanding.

From: There is a Unified Theory Of Everything.

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Yes, You Can Have Your Pie and Eat It Too

Rasberry Pi

Rasberry Pi

Here’s the inside perspective from Raspberry Pi – it’s the first time engineer Pete Lomas shares details with Wired of how they did it, and what tradeoffs had to be made.

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Responsive Design and responsive designers

Berthold Photosetter

Berthold Photosetter

I’m trying to get my head around Responsive Web Design. Not the easiest thing I’ve had to do. In my time I’ve gone from hot metal type, through mark-ups and photosetting and finally to computer-based design. Programs come and go and are upgraded along with Operating Systems and we designers just have to keep up. It’s like a marathon but you also have to second guess the turns in the road ahead as some will take you to a dead end. (Freehand, PageMaker).

Apple Computer Desktop

Apple Computer Desktop showing System 6

But don’t get me wrong as I’m not moaning here. This progress is truly amazing and to design a page that can be delivered from my screen to other desktop computers, laptops, pads and even smart-phones is comparable to the first pages coming off the Gutenberg press.

Ye olde printing press

Ye olde printing press

The critical point, I guess, is to design that page as well as you can by continually expanding your knowledge base in the hope that you arrive a suitable solution given the constraints you are working with, or as a famous athlete once said, “keep up”.

Responsive Design requires a fluid approach to design and to site building and that flexible mindset is the one to adopt if you want remain a designer in the twenty first century. It’s just that sometimes during this never ending marathon, you need a break… I know I do.

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Soroban Calculator

Soroban Calculator 1979

Soroban Calculator 1979

I came across this and wanted to share it. Its from Retronaut. Yes, that really is a counting frame next to the calculator. Take a look, there’s more of them.

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Dieter Rams on Apple and design

Designer Dieter Rams at Vitsœ

Designer Dieter Rams at Vitsœ

I am troubled by the devaluing of the word ‘design’. I find myself now being somewhat embarrassed to be called a designer. In fact I prefer the German term, Gestalt-Ingenieur. Apple and Vitsoe are relatively lone voices treating the discipline of design seriously in all corners of their businesses. They understand that design is not simply an adjective to place in front of a product’s name to somehow artificially enhance its value. Ever fewer people appear to understand that design is a serious profession; and for our future welfare we need more companies to take that profession seriously.
From: telegraph.co.uk 

From Wikipedia:
Rams’ ten principles to “good design”

  • Is innovative – Rams states that possibilities for innovation in design are unlikely to be exhausted since technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. He also highlights that innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology and can never be an end in and of itself.
  • Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
  • Is aesthetic – Only well-executed objects can be beautiful. The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products used every day have an effect on people and their well-being.
  • Makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
  • Is unobtrusive – Products and their design should be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools and are neither decorative objects nor works of art.
  • Is honest – Honest design should not attempt to make a product seem more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It should not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  • Is long-lasting – It should avoid being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even when the trend may be in favor for disposable products.
  • Is thorough down to the last detail – Dieter Rams states that nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance in the design of a product since care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  • Is environmentally friendly – Good design should make an important contribution to the preservation of the environment by conserving resources and minimizing physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
  • Is as little design as possible – Dieter Rams makes the distinction between the common “Less is more” and his strongly advised “Less, but better” highlighting the fact that this approach focuses on the essential aspects thus, the products are not burdened with non-essentials. The desirable result would then be purer and simpler.

 

 

 

 

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Machine mind(er)?

iMac desktop computer

iMac desktop computer

“… on the other hand, the introduction of mechanical methods into small workshops has an immediate effect on the workmen. Inevitably they tend to take more interest in the machine and less in the work…”

From An essay on typography by Eric Gill, 1936.

I read this passage a few days ago and I felt it to be a pertinent reminder that the ‘work’ has to come first. It’s all too easy to allow the machine to help you make shortcuts when you know damn well there’s a better solution to be had. Sometimes a designer has to pull back from the technology (brilliant though it has become) and concentrate on the work itself. Before it’s too late.

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Sputnik 1


Sputnik poster

Sputnik 1 poster

Sputnik 1 was launched on the 4 October 1957. It was the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite ever shot into space. The beautiful Russian poster above was produced to celebrate the successful flight which caused a crisis in the USA and ignited the space race. The Sputnik launch marked the start of the space age.

Sputnik graphic

Sputnik graphic

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Up and running again

Desk top computer

taylorsimons.com back online

A few days ago we sorted out our domain name move and we finally have our website back, along with our our email. I don’t think we’ll do that again in a hurry.

A big thank you to the guys at MacAce for the helping hand. Now all we have to do is update our own site. We’ve been a little to busy to give it the attention it deserves. But at least now we will have a great deal more control over the site and that’s why we moved the domain in the first place.

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Domain name transfer blues

It was time for a change. Our studio website: Taylor Simons Design, had been with the same host for years. No problems with them, but a general remoteness and a lack of control from our point of view. So, for sound business reasons we needed to change our web host. So far, so good.

We let our existing supplier know that we wanted to move our site and domain and gave the new hosts the details they needed. All straightforward enough.

Changing the ‘nameservers’ has become the problem. We are waiting for this to take place and in the meantime our old hosts have taken down our site. So while we wait, we have no website. We’ve sent out an email to all our clients, so at least they know we still exist, but it still gives you an uneasy feeling.  Considering the speed of systems these days I’m unsure why this sort of thing takes so long? But I’m sure there are people out there with more IT savvy than me could give me a list of reasons. In the meantime we simply wait.

Hopefully we’ll be up and running again soon…


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Sony to stop making floppy disks

Floppy disks found in a drawer but no longer in use

Floppy disks found in a drawer but no longer in use

Although still used as an icon on many computer programs the death of the floppy moves a little closer – or does it?

After 3 decades of manufacture Sony has said they intend to stop making them. As each year goes by more and more computers are made without floppy drives and the 1.44 megabyte of space offered by the 3.5 inch plastic storage medium feels really meagre nowadays.

First the CD and DVD but more recently the pen drive have truly made the old storage medium look very poor in comparison.

Having said that Verbatim says it stills sells hundreds of thousands of them a month! So who is buying them?

I have a small supply of floppies for the one machine that still can make use of them and I own a Sony Mavica floppy disk camera that I love. I have to confess that I really liked them. They were robust, handy, mounted easy and very rarely corrupted. They came in a variety of colours and you could label them clearly (something you can’t do with some of the tiny pen drives). They also forced you to think about the way you backed up your data. You had to be pretty organised back in the days before 1 Tetratbyte drive.

So the floppy disk is dead, we will see…

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Ommwriter – less is more, maybe?

Ommwriter as it appears on screen

I came across this application recently and thought it was worth sharing…

Ommwriter is a full-screen word processor with a minimal interface designed to avoid any screen-based distractions from the act of writing. If desired, calming background music or sounds can be turned on to accompany you while you write. The background image can be altered or left blank.

This is from the Ommwriter website:

Ommwriter is a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate.

Ommwriter is a simple text processor that firmly believes in making writing a pleasure once again, vindicating the close relationship between writer and paper. The more intimate the relation, the smoother the flow of inspiration.

If you are a scriptwriter, blogger, journalist, copywriter, poet or just someone who enjoys writing, welcome back to concentrating.

I have to admit that I’ve never come across anything like it before and having spent a very short time playing around with it I feel it’s worthy of a more involved project, when I get the time.

I like the fact that I’m no longer distracted by all the usual ‘desktop’ environment. The background sounds can be a little annoying after a while, but it can be turned down low or off, so that’s not a significant problem. A small number of different background images can be loaded or you can opt for a completely blank screen. the simple controls only appear on screen when you stop writing and use the cursor over the image. The whole application is very polished and considering it’s free, you can’t complain. If you like the ‘less is more’ approach, then this could be for you.

Ommwriter only saves in it’s own format or .txt and is available a free download for Mac X based systems.

From: http://www.ommwriter.com/

Blog: http://www.ommwriter.com/blog/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ommwriter

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