Sunday, March 30, 2008

can i get a rewind?

Very clever thingy from AARP

Thanks Dino

Saturday, March 29, 2008

bum rush day

Sounds like an unusual national holiday, but this bum rush refers to Chris Wilson's idea to get Age Of Conversation 1.0 as high as possible on the Amazon Sales charts. And the push is TODAY (March 29).

In the spirit of the book and because I'm one of the authors of the sequel, I'm doing my bit to help: blogging and buying.

Here's how you can help:

1. Buy the book TODAY!
2. Blog about it, linking to the above URLs
3. Digg it, Sumble it, Lick it, Spit it - you get the idea

The Age Of Conversation is about just that. So if you like the sound of it, spread it. Time for me to put my money where my mouth is...


Friday, March 28, 2008

it's official: facebook is for bankers

I went into the Broadgate Virgin Active gym last night. It's expensive and aimed mainly at city bankers that wear suits and drink white wine soulless bars.

They've installed a dozen shiny iMacs for guests to use. I peered past the receptionist and saw that they all seemed to share the same familiar looking homepage. Guess what it was? Facebook.

I find that a little tragic, don't you?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

feed me

Blogging is normally about sharing things one deems worthy of sharing. I'm flipping that on its head. Here are five things I recently 'starred' in my Google Reader but haven't got round to reading.
Tell me if they're any good. God I'm lazy.

'Connecting the dots' by Neil
'The Future of Marketing' by Nitmesh
'Attention Starved' (how apt) by Dino
'Collective History online' from Kottke
'Closing the loop on value' from Adrian

That's right, no pictures or anything. Feel free to record Willie Rushton (he's still alive, right?) reading them all in his soothing voice. You can send the podcast back to me.


cardboard tron

Uploaded by freres-hueon


Via Jaime

never black and white

People have a great knack of using different tools towards a solitary goal. For instance: having Amie St open to discover new bands, Last FM or iTunes open to preview more of their songs and then a third client open to download/steal them.

I saw a great meatspace example of 'multi-tooling' this morning on the tube. A guy was leaning into a retro looking comic, reading it attentively. The comic was Italian, though. So also within his grasp was an English-Italian dictionary, which he flicked through after every few seconds to work out if the superhero had promised the villain he would destroy him or pick up his laundry by 3.

I thought that was rather charming.

While on the subject, a couple of years ago I watched an elderly man studying a page incredibly closely. His concentration was amazing and he seemed quite emotional. He was gently moving his finger through the air as he read. I was gripped.
Only when I left the train did I realise he was reading sheet music. Love it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Early Designs (ta da)

Today is the day.

Some fantastic stuff already up. So I couldn't wait to share. But I will keep updating this post as the day goes on with more. Please email me if you've taken part and can't see your site linked below:

Michael Johnson revisits the Eighties

Cookie uploads his first ever website

Alistair looks back at the life of an elastic band

Lauren gets a little spiritual (sort of)

Jessica Tsoi says some things in Spanish, which she promises to translate ;)

Matthew Green chews over some early sketchbooks.

Brian Ponto focuses on his portfolio presentation.

Jennifer slices it thin

And the Early Designs Flickr Group is filling up too. Do check it out and get involved.
So far, it includes the work of:

Chris Bolton

Sebastien Antoniou

Susanna Edwards

Durazno Verde

Alex Eben Meyer
And some more from

I'll continue to update this as more people add their work. Plus, I intend to leave the Flickr group open long-term. Let it grow should it look like happening.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

pop art

Very nice too.

Seen on PSOTI


Monday, March 24, 2008

the brains behind the balls

My brother, Tim just started a blog to, presumably, unleash his programming cleverness into the "blogohedron".

His latest entry is about balls, chins and South Park. Oh and Facebook.

My favourite detail - beyond the general amusement of placing testicles on friends' chins - is the Rank box. It's quite refreshing to see a bit of rudeness, with all those companies and apps being so nice all the time.

Keep an eye on web.2point1 if you're into that kind of behind the pixels malarkey.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

the power of yeast

I think Wieden & Kennedy are brilliant. I don't think there's an agency out there that can create a brand voice better than those regular drinkers at The Golden Heart.

But, isn't this just Honda for bread?

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real homer

From the same people that brought you Real Mario.


Saturday, March 22, 2008


"Facts are what pedantic, dull people have instead of opinions"
- A. A. Gill


Thursday, March 20, 2008

happy bloody easter

ride your unicycle like you mean it

I saw a chap riding a unicycle to work this morning. Normally I would nod and smile jealously as this kind of thing.
However, he was wobbling to and fro and looked scared shitless. It was as though he was thinking: "Why? Why did I take the bloody unicycle. The Fiat was right next to it - still warm from fetching the papers. But I had to take the unicycle. I feel like a complete plum. And I work in Wimbledon. Bollocks."

My moral for Easter weekend: Ride your unicycle like you mean it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

food fight

Very clever. Very well done. Goes on a bit.


ED Day approaches

So at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Early Designs - a showcase of college work from professional designers and artists around the world - will pop into existence one week today.

I've attempted to embrace the organic and collaborative 'nature of things', but I must admit, if I could go back I'd organise the thing much better. I just hope the enthusiasm I've received for the project translates into an interesting experience for contributors and observers alike. I.e. Please don't be put off by my shoddy management.

Anyone can get involved. It's easy peasy. Upload to your blog or to the Early Designs flickr group. And you can start now.

Here's how easy it is to show and tell..
I did this animation in college back in 2000. I had no idea what I was doing. Neither did my creative partner, Sas. But we muddled through. Needless to say, I am not an animator now, so at gratuitously me-focussed as this might seem, it's definitely not self-promotion! If you like monkeys, don't watch.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

bad water is very, very bad

This image just absolutely shocked me.

I've always thought shock tactics were a bit cheap, but this is an incredibly powerful way to put the message in context. Wow. Have you ever thought about water in that way before?

I think the strings holding up the planes make the image even more striking. They add a childishness to it and an element of craft that somehow wasn't necessary. It makes the message even more deliberate somehow, as though the people behind the message are saying: "That's right, we thought about it, and this is exactly what we are saying to you."

Found here via ffffound

On a side note, I've witnessed several examples of 9/11 being 'exploited' in recent months: In a short comedy play, in the TV show Skins and now here. I guess we've passed the threshold?


big dog robot thingy

This is insane. I'm not even "into" robots, but this is incredible - particularly when it keeps its balance after being kicked.

From Crooked Timber


Monday, March 17, 2008

real mario

Love it.
As did Aaron.

I think it's getting late. I just imagined Ron Mueck making a life-size naked version of Mario in the style of Dead Dad.

Bed time.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

foam city - better video


Friday, March 14, 2008

janitors wanted for Early Designs

It's twelve days until Early Designs, The College years.

I'm currently putting together a gallery so anyone that wants can upload their entries directly and without them being screened first. (remove barriers to entry etc)

With that in mind, I'm looking for a small team of people to help me to keep an eye on the content as it builds. These people will be awarded Janitor (moderator) status and will have the power to remove spam and so on.

If you're interested, please email me. (andy. a.t. nowincolour d.o.t. com)
No pressure to do much - this is just in the rare instance that you see something going against the spirit of the project.

Thanks, Andy


tooling up

Me and technology are going through a funny patch. We used to laugh and play in the sun together. Sometimes we even finished off each others twitters.

Now I find that the most sophisticated tools I use in an average day are Blogger, iPhoto and PowerPoint. It's not that I don't know about new tools - I read about new ones every week - I just find myself without the luxury of time to experiment with them.

So, advice please!

What are the most useful tools you use online at the moment - esp for image slideshows, interactive galleries etc. When you want to share content a little more dynamically and beautifully than within the window of your blog?

Is Flickr too basic? Is this too complicated?
Thanks for any advice...

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

your brand comms are a blog

With all this talk about blended media and brand being in the head of the consumer, it occurred to me...

A blog is an interesting metaphor for your brand communications.

Your blog is the sum of (almost) everything you choose to express (online)
But very few people will read everything you write.
Some people will only dip in and out.
Many will rarely or never read your blog.
No matter how much you would love people to read every post and remember the last, they probably won't.
Unless you are brilliant.
But even then, what you say today is much more important than what you said yesterday.
Your 'brand' to each reader, is the sum of the posts each person reads/recalls.

If you start to think of your brand communications in the way you think of your blog you quickly approach a fairly humble mindset. A mindset where you acknowledge the power of the reader and that the best thing you can do is make small, valuable contributions to bigger conversations that might interest people that you are interested in.

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black kids at the ica

If you haven't heard of Black Kids, you have... now.
And if you haven't heard them... you should, umm, now.

Saw them last night at the ICA in London. They rock. Literally. The lead singer, Reggie Youngblood (what a great name) is a real presence on stage and sounds like Rob Smith from The Cure with a bit of Bloc Party thrown in.

With three on the mic and a lot of energy, there's definite moments of The Go! Team too. This concludes my analysis. I'm that cool and probably don't know what I'm talking about.

Black Kids were supported by Sheffield folk rock duo Slow Club. Also excellent. The girl was amazing. Reminded me of Meg White as she sung her lungs out whilst expertly beating the daylights out of a wooden chair. Nice.


entry for bad design awards

Ben's umbrella entry was ok. But I think this out-does it.

My entry is the floppy handle you find on buses. The chap above is clearly mocking the floppy handle by wearing a silly hat and chastising it with a toy microphone. I don't blame him.

This morning I hung onto one for dear life whilst being hurled around Vauxhall like a Swing Ball. Why is the handle floppy? Why hold onto something unstable to stabilise yourself?? "OK everyone, this is going to be a wild ride, strap yourself in or grab a blancmange." I think not.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

sony's foam city

underwater love

From 1934. My favourite bit:
"The advantage of the device is that faults are corrected while the swimmer is in action."
I bet micoach doesn't do that.

Thank you

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I've invented a new thing. Unrambling is going back into older blog posts to rescue interesting points from within the mass of unformed blathering. Blogging is a great way to explore thoughts as they come to you, but it seems a shame to let interesting ideas die in the chaos.

I intend to unramble 'The end of big questions' very soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This Flickr search tool just saved me a lot of time.

Nabbed from

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the end of big questions?

[to be unrambled]

Last night I was in the audience at the Design Museum for a talk entitled "Can Design Save The World?" Awful photo (was right at the back) but here's proof I was there:

The panel consisted of Chris Medland from the highly commendable Architecture For Humanity, &Made, Orsola de Castro (From Somewhere) and Ross Lovegrove.

The evening opened with the promise of an apocalypse, which turned into the big question:

Can design save the world?
That's a pretty big question. And the thing with pretty big questions is that they cause expectation to bubble up inside you.

I work in marketing. I have experience in PR. So I understand the need for packaging a concept. Calling the event "Can Design Save The World?" sounds much more exciting than "Some case studies about sustainable design". Sadly, the latter was more appropriate.

One by one, the speakers went through a ppt presentation of their work. And there were a few interesting things, although nothing I couldn't have stumbled across browsing Treehugger, PSFK or Inhabitat. My notebook remained mostly empty throughout the evening.

Now, a LOT of the work these designers are doing is highly commendable and of value across the globe. That's not why I'm frustrated.

I'm angry at the lazy format of the event: Choose a theme, pick some presenters, sell some tickets. But my frustration extends above and beyond this evening and even this industry. It's a frustration ladened (confusingly) with potential positives. I'll try to explain:

Adrian, over at Zeus Jones, posted some thoughts on subtlety vs statement. It touched on some things I've been thinking a lot about too.
... it feels that we are moving from a period of big, dramatic statements towards an era of modulated or qualified statements.
On Barack Obama, Adrian's writes:
Clearly he's incredibly inspiring, but it's not because he's making huge promises or making dramatic statements or flourishes. I think his ability to inspire comes more from the confidence he instills.
I think we can all sense this shift. And in many ways, this is great news, but it is altering the very fabric of culture and in ways we are yet to fully realise.

ALL change is incremental. It only appears to be otherwise when we miss the in-betweens. Think of an older relative that you only see once every three years. Compare her with a relative you see every two weeks. The difference? You notice the first relative's aging process much more. Why? Because you skip three-year chunks. It's like watching a 6 fps film vs a 30 fps film. The more in-betweens, the less dramatic the change.

One of the effects of our hyper-connected, fluid world of information and access is that we are losing the possibility for a slower 'frame-rate'. No one gets to go away for a year and then come back with a big idea that no one else has been thinking about like scientists did a hundred years ago. Everything is a dense, fluid conversation. We are now living at 100 fps and all the in-between frames are archived for everyone to see.

Why is this relevant to "Can Design Save The World?" Because when we live at 100 fps, a question like that can not be matched in impact by an answer. It creates the illusion of conditions that no longer exist.

Big answers don't necessarily exist any more, so maybe asking big questions doesn't make sense any more either. None of the panelists seemed to arrive with even a smidgen of a 'statement' to make. They appeared (like we all do) to be conditioned by our 100 fps lifestyle to the point of submission that all they could do was continue doing what they're doing and hoping it helps to make a difference. It probably is all they can do. What more can we ask of them? It's certainly more than I'm doing.

So I turn my frustration back to the framing and format of events like this: A question with no answer and a few PowerPoint presentations.
Like Len Ellis said, our new world "requires a feminine approach of attracting, listening and involving". Such a grand, Apollonian question was not the right way to frame that talk, nor to create something useful out of it. Neither was a series of off-the-shelf talks, some light humour and only twenty minutes for open questions.

My anger is probably coming through in my words. I am angry. Not entirely at the people behind this talk, but partly at myself and this strange time we live in. I'm frustrated that I arrived last night with a naive sense of optimism that the promise I read between the lines of the event name might be kept. I also don't have answers, but it seems clear to me that topics as huge as 'saving the world' require new thinking in organising ideas and input. If we are shifting from a culture of big statements to pragmatic, incremental change, then what should last night's event have really looked like?

If I felt like being facetious, I would offer an alternative question for consideration: Can ppt presentations save the world? Answers in the comments section.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

glogs wanted

Can anyone recommend great girl blogs? 80% of the blogs I read seem to be from guys. Although I very much like Swiss Miss, Lauren's blog and Amelia's.

Any more for any more?


I popped into the Draw exhibition at Stolen Space on Saturday.
"A must-see exhibition featuring original drawings by 300 artists in the tattoo, literature, design, illustration, animation, skateboard, music, urban and contemporary art worlds."
Well worth a look, but if you're not able to go, here are some pictures. (Took me ages to upload these. Should have made a Flickr gallery, really. But as a childhood friend once reasoned when I asked why he didn't phone me instead of walking 3 miles to see if I was home: "I couldn't be bothered)...

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

canard de toilette

We went to the Gastro Restaurant in Clapham last night. Quite expensive for the quality of the food, but a pretty authentic French experience. The staff speak to you in French (until you tell them to stop), all signage is French, but the most impressive attention to detail for me was that even their toilet cleaner was imported from France.

That's commitment.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Second Impression

My brother and I just made this Facebook app.

I feel like doing a Facebook app is just one of those things you should at least try - like camping, or colonic irrigation.

It's called Second Impression.
Basic idea: When you make a bad first impression on someone you can get on Facebook and issue a 'controlled' apology, telling the person how great you are normally.

We knocked it up in a couple of days so it's a bit under-designed and probably has glitches, but feel free to play around with it anyway. It's sorta fun.

Here's a sample of how Tom Cruise might use it...

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

technology catches up

I'm 20 pages or so into Here Comes Everybody.

Clay Shirky is very good at articulating the elegant simplicity behind complex ideas. His words below describe the collision of thousands of years of in-built social instinct with our ever-growing Smörgåsbord of digital tools:

"We now have communications tools that are flexible enough to match our social capabilities"

Simple stuff.


a pinch of zeus

I'm cooking up a few posts in my head at the moment. They won't be coming to the boil for a few days. So in the meantime, have a read of Adrian's last few entries. Some of my ingredients are from the fertile Zeus Jones vegetable patch.

Too much? Too much.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

spanning the yellow tail

Convenient timing...

Kevin Kelly's post on 1000 True fans and the multiple release of NIN's Ghosts (from $300 to free - I.e. the yellow bit)

I must have been eating too much fish the day I wrote this. It doesn't make sense at all. Clearly the free release could easily be very popular. Read the graph Andy, read the graph.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I came across two 'exchange services' today, both based on visualising rather than describing the items in question.

Wants For Sale is a brilliant, brilliant idea. (Via Josh Spear)

And the Free Stuff Flickr Pool is a great idea too. (Via Cookie)

My pun titles are getting worse. Sorry world.