Macintosh is Catholic, DOS is Protestant

Reading Italian cycling:

With such a sweeping brief, one is always tempted to revert to generalizations or even analogies to make sense of such a large topic. By way of introduction, we will start with a quote from the author Umberto Eco comparing Apple and Microsoft to Catholicism and Protestantism:

I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counterreformist and has been influenced by the “ratio studiorum” of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach – if not the Kingdom of Heaven – the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: a long way from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

Now, bear with me dear reader, as I attempt to circle back to this starting point through a brief, but perhaps torturous, exploration of European cycling.

[Bewildered at the analogy.]

Source: le grimpeur

Lack of constraint is most expensive of all

Glenn Fleishman on Roboto:

Carter said last year, “All industrial designers, and I consider myself one, work within constraints. Architects have to build roofs that keep the rain out and so on. It’s particularly severe in the case of type designers, because what we work with had its form essentially frozen way before there was even typography. The Latin alphabet hasn’t changed in a very long time,” said Carter. (Carter declined to comment on Roboto in particular, but gave me permission to quote generally from last year’s interview.)

Duarte echoed this in an interview conducted a few weeks ago. He said, about constraints around developing interfaces and fonts for new media, that “The important thing is each of the new technologies creates new boundaries for new types of expression. There are new tradeoffs. For everything that is lost, there are new possibilities.”

Gruber says: Roboto is just the new Arial.

[Setting aside the typographica for the moment, deciding on constraint maybe the single greatest factor in any work. Nothing is free when it comes to this decision.]

Source: Daring Fireball

Dolling up an Jaguar XK

jaguar xk 140
Dolling up an XK 150 S Jaguar:

I’d have to say that Jag XK’s are right near the top of my favorite old sports cars from the UK. Probably a XK140 roadster would top that list just because they look the best to me

[The picture is of a XK 140, but either one is scrumptious. Possibly my favorite looking car. There’s the strongest chance I’ll never own one or anything that looks similar. Shame, really.]

Source: Porter Bicycles- Made in New Mexico, USA

Death of the sports interview

Death of the sports interview – ESPN:

What is lost amid the swirl of random information? What died along with the interview? Texture and perspective, to be sure, and any true sense for who an athlete really is and what he stands for. There is more demand and less access, more information and less knowledge. The repeated Kabuki of the group press conference is institutional dehumanization. It’s easy and efficient, but the result is a detachment that makes it easier for a fan to call a show and say a coach or player should be cut or benched or fired, or worse.

The death of the interview has spawned a generation raised on generalities and clichés.

[Other people divide the same issue into long form vs. short. Either way, the canned, ffed the machine, pre/post, coming off the field, interviews are never interesting. There’s better ways to fill “air” time.]

Rob Walker: Swoosh. Repeat.

Rob Walker: Swoosh. Repeat. : Observers Room: Design Observer:

The other thought is maybe a little less upbeat: It involves a paper (PDF) published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2007, titled “Inferring the popularity of an opinion from its familiarity.” The underlying study built on the intuitive and well-established notion that if a lot of people express belief in some idea or point of view, we tend to figure there is likely some legitimacy to it. In this set of experiments, researchers presented subjects with homeowners’ opinions about a land-use proposal. As expected, those exposed to more positive opinions had a more positive assessment. More surprisingly, that turned out to be true even when the positive bias came by way of the same homeowner expressing the same favorable opinion multiple times. And it wasn’t a case of mistaking the source of the repetitive voice; indeed, the effect even held up when a statement was repeated merely by way of what looked to subjects like a software glitch. The paper’s subtitle sums up the implication: “A repetitive voice can sound like a chorus.”

Obviously I don’t mean to suggest that either of these comparison points can be carried directly into the realm of a repeated graphic mark. But something about the success of the Swoosh, and the way the brain apparently relates to repetition, does seem relevant to logo design. After all, we’re constantly hearing about this or that brand hoping to boost “awareness,” thus sales, by freshening up, tweaking, or flat-out re-inventing its logo. Maybe they lesson of the mighty Swoosh is: Just don’t do it.

[It’s been around for 40 years? Sheesh.]

Beyond the Uncanny Valley

Beyond the Uncanny Valley:

One of the great charms of the Tin Tin movie (besides its solid story, and uplifting sensibility) is the incredible degree of detail, texture, lighting, and drama that infuses every scene. Because the whole movie is synthetic, every scene can be composed perfectly, lit perfectly, arranged perfectly, and captured perfectly. There is a painterly perfection that the original Tin Tin comics had that this movie captures. This means that the stupendous detail found in say TinTin’s room, or in a back alley, or on the ship’s deck can be highlighted beyond what it could in reality.

[It’s already on my “toosee” list.]

Source: The Technium

The best American wall map

The best American wall map: David Imus

The best American wall map: David Imus’ “The Essential Geography of the United States of America”:

By contrast, David Imus worked alone on his map seven days a week for two full years. Nearly 6,000 hours in total. It would be prohibitively expensive just to outsource that much work. But Imus—a 35-year veteran of cartography who’s designed every kind of map for every kind of client—did it all by himself. He used a computer (not a pencil and paper), but absolutely nothing was left to computer-assisted happenstance. Imus spent eons tweaking label positions. Slaving over font types, kerning, letter thicknesses. Scrutinizing levels of blackness. It’s the kind of personal cartographic touch you might only find these days on the hand-illustrated ski-trail maps available at posh mountain resorts.

[snip -Ed]

This object—painstakingly sculpted by a lone, impractical fellow—is a triumph of indie over corporate. Of analog over digital. Of quirk and caprice over templates and algorithms. It is delightful to look at. Edifying to study. And it may be the last important paper map ever to depict our country.

[Beautiful, and loaded with visual information. If you love design, maps, or geography this is amazing. Available here, and there’s a downloadable explanatory text here. The index and other stuff are available as well. Wishlisted.]