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Author Archive: Eamonn Fitzgerald

Ex-pat Irishman keeping an eye on the world from the Bavarian side of the Alps.

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Jessie Ware: Tough Love

Saturday, 25 October, 2014 0 Comments

At midnight on 13 October, Jessie Ware tweeted, “#ToughLove my second album can now be yours. Goodnight!” Following the release of her debut album, Devotion, in 2012, Ware was called “the missing link between Adele, SBTRKT and Sade.” Pitchfork says that her latest, “Tough Love” compares to “Prince at his minimalist ’80s best.” This is modern pop + R&B, and along with the Adele and Sade echoes there are hints of FKA twigs and La Roux in the mix.

How do people get new ideas?

Friday, 24 October, 2014 0 Comments

“Thomas H. Huxley is supposed to have exclaimed after reading On the Origin of Species, ‘How stupid of me not to have thought of this.’ But why didn’t he think of it?” That was the question posed in 1959 by Isaac Asimov in an essay he wrote for an MIT spinoff, Allied Research Associates in Boston. Arthur Obermayer, a friend of the author, found the piece “while cleaning out some old files” and immediately recognized its relevance for the contemporary debate about creativity. It was published earlier this week in the MIT Technology Review. Snippets:

“Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)”

“My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required… The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing.”

“The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome.”

Asimov did concede that group thinking by ‘creatives’ might worthwhile now and then, as “a meeting of such people may be desirable for reasons other than the act of creation itself.” He argued, however, that “a meeting in someone’s home or over a dinner table at some restaurant is perhaps more useful than one in a conference room.” And a few drinks might be in order, too, because “there should be a feeling of informality. Joviality, the use of first names, joking, relaxed kidding are, I think, of the essence — not in themselves, but because they encourage a willingness to be involved in the folly of creativeness.”

Nowness

Thursday, 23 October, 2014 0 Comments

Nowness defines itself as “a video channel showcasing contemporary culture through film. Every day we premiere a new video that gets under the skin of the most influential names across art & design, fashion & beauty, music, culture and food & travel.” Here, Alessandro Gualtieri, the Italian perfumer, is in pursuit of the perfect scent in Paul Rigter’s documentary, The Nose: Searching for Blamage. The “Blamage” involved, by the way, is the 10th perfume in his Nasomatto (Crazy Nose) line.




Dude’s feast day

Wednesday, 22 October, 2014 0 Comments

He’s got that hipster look. The hair, the beard, the shades, the watch. The paddle thing is hip, too. But the photo was not shot by The Sartorialist or any other fashion blogger. It dates from 1955 and it’s of this man, once an avid outdoors person, whose feast day is being celebrated for the first time today.

Dude saint

Dune day

Tuesday, 21 October, 2014 0 Comments

What could be nicer on a dull, drizzly day than to wander through the dunes around the Liwa Oasis in Abu Dhabi with the help of Google Maps? Very little, actually.

Marc Andreessen, with footnotes

Monday, 20 October, 2014 0 Comments

There’s a nice bit of footnote CSS behind this New York interview with Marc Andreessen, “The tall, bald, spring-loaded venture capitalist, who invented the first mainstream internet browser, co-founded Netscape, then made a fortune as an early investor in Twitter and Facebook…”

Mouse over “Foxconn 15” and out at the side pops “In January, Foxconn was reportedly in talks with several states about building a plant in the United States.” Behind the scenes, the magic is created by the following:

CSS NY

And the result is:

CSS

Andreessen comes across as a hard-headed libertarian, very much in synch with the Valley ethos, but critical enough and informed enough to know how the world works. Typical of the Q&A exchanges with Kevin Roose:

And yet we have more internal inequality in San Francisco than we do in Rwanda.

So then move to Rwanda and see how that works out for you. I think you just answered your own question.

Flowers in the summer, Fires in the fall!

Sunday, 19 October, 2014 0 Comments

In his 44 years on this earth, Robert Louis Stevenson poured out novels, essays and poems. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It has been said that Stevenson’s is a poetry of sentiment. It tends to be about the commonplace and it is marked by simplicity, directness, and clarity of language. He asks us to listen carefully and experience the moment.

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 — 1894)

Autumn fire

Adams: Ryan and Bryan

Saturday, 18 October, 2014 0 Comments

One was born in Kingston, Ontario; the other in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Both share the name Adams, but the Canadian is Bryan and the American is Ryan. Each is a rock musician, but their styles are very different, as their fans/critics keep pointing out. In fact, Ryan Adams famously ejected a customer from a concert more than a decade ago for jokingly requesting Summer of ’69. And that was not just then. Ryan played Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on Tuesday night and, according to the Journal Sentinel, “when some clown made a Bryan Adams reference — inside which was a callback to a 2002 incident that saw Adams giving money and marching orders to another clown making another such reference — he took several minutes to shrug it off verbally.” Here, however, Ryan embraces Bryan, musically, that is.

Getting ready for the next billion

Friday, 17 October, 2014 0 Comments

Between 2015 and 2020, one billion new people are expected to come online for the first time, mainly through mobile-based internet connections. Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg talks with Michal Lev-Ram of Fortune about the next billion, his company’s innovation labs and the future of mobile data in a digital-dependent economy. “By 2019,” says Vestberg, “90 percent of the Earth’s population above six years will have a mobile phone.”

Ericsson, meanwhile, is talking up 5G, which it claims “will make completely new applications possible and bring even greater benefits to society. For example, near-zero latency enables machinery to be remotely operated in hazardous environments as well as driverless cars.”

Dave Winer went first

Thursday, 16 October, 2014 0 Comments

“I am a programmer and a blogger. In both these roles, I like to go first. If there’s a juicy idea out there to explore, I’m on it! That’s the role I played in the birth of blogging, starting on October 7, 1994.” So writes Dave Winer in Medium. He continues: “Because the power of the press belongs to people who have one, I realized how huge a change this was. Now publishing costs were zero. The only thing that stood in the way were basic practices for writers and programmers.”

After all these years and all that writing, Winer remains indefatigable. Over at Scripting News, he keeps pumping it out. Posts range in title from “Why I generally don’t tag” to “Are Twitter and Facebook silos?” How does he do it? On 28 September, he published “My manifesto for web writing.”

The power of WordPress

Wednesday, 15 October, 2014 0 Comments

WordPress “We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time,” say the creators of the open-source software that powers the likes of Rainy Day and some 60 million other sites. What began as a basic blogging tool back in 2003 has since matured into a full-featured content management system and now it’s transforming the digital look and feel of the venerable New Yorker.

“With the relaunch, NewYorker.com runs on WordPress, a more robust, user-friendly CMS,” writes John Brownlee in Fast Company. The article is titled “How The New Yorker Finally Figured Out The Internet: 3 Lessons From Its Web Redesign.” Quote: “Because the tools are no longer getting in the way of producers doing their job, NewYorker.com is now able to publish a greater volume of stories every day. The site used to top out at 10 or 12 stories each day: now, it publishes around 20 per day.”

By the way, Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, says the future of the system is in social, mobile, and as an application platform.