I recently read an article (discovered via things magazine) on how “Silicon Valley helps spread the same sterile aesthetic across the world.” The core premise is that technology (Airbnb and social media) is creating “Airspace” (à la Up in the Air’s “Airworld”):
It’s the realm of coffee shops, bars, startup offices, and co-live / work spaces that share the same hallmarks everywhere you go: a profusion of symbols of comfort and quality, at least to a certain connoisseurial mindset. Minimalist furniture. Craft beer and avocado toast. Reclaimed wood. Industrial lighting. Cortados. Fast internet. The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless, a value that Silicon Valley prizes and cultural influencers like Schwarzmann take advantage of. Changing places can be as painless as reloading a website. You might not even realize you’re not where you started.
This will probably be the last week I write one of these posts. As I’ve said previously, I’m not sure I’m quite getting anything out of this. I still want to share and comment on random articles I find throughout the week, but it makes much more sense to do so on social media, where I can actually engage in conversation. However, I still want to write proper, longer posts, so keep an eye out for those.
- A bunch of online portfolios were rebooted (redesigned) on May 1. The featured ones are all really good, but I really liked Eli.wtf. Animation (not via flash) is very underused in the modern web.
- Steven Sinofsky wrote a great article on using a tablet as a laptop replacement. I liked how this mindset was communicated through putting stickers on it, the same way you would a laptop.
- I recently discovered the Lyttle Lytton Contest, a competition to find the worst opening sentences to novels, both original and found. Here’s the 2016 winners.
- Bethany Heck on multi-typeface designs, and going against common design “wisdom”: “Don’t design for other designers, design for your audience.”
- Trump is merely the latest iteration of the Republican Party’s insidious racism.
- I’ve been unconsciously aware of this for a while now, but Chinese fonts have the equivalent of serif and sans-serif! Here’s an excellent introduction to Chinese typography.
This weekend was very exhausting, since a friend was visiting town, and we decided to walk from the middle of Brooklyn to the far side of Manhattan. I’ve also eaten more vegan meals than not this weekend. I miss meat.
- A fantastic, massive list of programming blogs from Dan Luu. See also Brent Simmons’s list of tech/power user blogs written by women.
- Truly good engineers can be described as “Smart, and Gets Things Done.”
- Making a drum machine with the Web Audio API. The app only works in Chrome and Firefox, but Safari has prefixed support.
- “It’s a well known fact that wizards love cats. Even evil wizards. And all wizards require spellbooks. So when a sorceress named Rigalene found a way to combine the two, she didn’t hesitate.”
- An excellent post on how sheltered nerds can be like Lovecraft in the worst possible way.
- Modern American politics is almost entirely reflective of the composition of early European immigrant groups.
- Yet another story of why tech is still awful for women (Google cache). The company mentioned is almost certainly Mixpanel.
Not much to say this week, except I’m not sure how much I actually enjoy writing. I read a blog post on ending a blog, and I’m not sure what my end state is. What am I trying to get out of writing?
Here’s some interesting links for the week:
- Carrying ten weapons while running and slaughtering enemies in FPSs (specifically, Doom) isn’t that unreasonable, according to MythBusters.
- The Onion on sexism at work: Woman Leaving Meeting Worried She Came Off As Too Competent.
- A collection of “brutalist” websites floated around social media this past week. I wouldn’t call them truly brutalist, since they all use extensive amounts of CSS, but there are some interesting site designs. I particularly liked the one that was just a Google Doc in an
<iframe>and the site for Bloomberg Businessweek’s design conference.
- A remarkably hard-hitting investigation into how fake “farm-to-table” tends to be.
I really wanted to like A Burglar’s Guide to the City. I’m an avid reader of BLDGBLOG, and the concept behind the book sounded quite interesting–see architecture the way a burglar does. And indeed the book does have a lot of interesting anecdotes, but it’s also very repetitive. Each chapter is a simple idea repeated over and over again. It was still an enjoyable read overall, but it wasn’t as great as I hoped.
I’d suggest checking out BLDGBLOG and a recent Gastropod episode on food theft first.
Also on Goodreads.
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