Observation #002: Human code / Digital code

I was looking again at the fascinating image archives of the Wellcome Collection and saw this:

Automated DNA sequencing output - HGP

It’s what DNA sequences look like. It’s the work of the Human Genome Project.

It reminded me how similar digital glitches look:

I wonder if that’s tech trying to show us it’s human side, showing us what it’s made of. Sort of sweet. I like it when tech reveals a human in the machine.

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Reith Lectures 2013: Grayson Perry

Screen shot 2013-11-05 at 23.09.49These are brilliant. Accessible, witty, thoughtful and eminently listenable. Perry is a much needed babel fish to the art world’s ‘International Art English’. Listen here while you can.

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Observation #001: Watches

In the early 2000s, the mobile phone removed the watch from the wrists of a generation who became accustomed to using the integrated clock function on their devices instead.

In the mid 2010s tech companies (Sony, Samsung, and much rumoured Nokia and Apple…?) are trying to resurrect a behaviour their devices superseded.

And maybe that’s my problem with smart watches and glasses – they feel a little clunky,  superfluous perhaps – adhoc solutions, uncomfortable attachments. I don’t doubt that digital devices will continue to integrate more seamlessly into our lives and that wearables seem like the logical extension, augmenting the body to enhance, streamline or aggregate experiences, but I wonder whether these devices can convince consumers and can yet resonate with human behaviours.

Just something I noticed and pondered, then stumbled across this, which is a nice perspective by Dan Southern on the subject.

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Icon Rethink

Nice little section of Icon magazine (who’ve made it to 10 this year – which makes me feel old as I remember clamping my hands on the first issue as a wide-eyed undergrad). I like these fantasy briefs as they often rethink a dusty old physical object or system and re-imagine them with digital possibility. It has inspired me to have a think about some of my own.

Some of my favourites:

The Birth Certificate (IWantDesign)

Icon117 Birthcertificate inside1 copy

Funeral Directors (Studio Makgill)

ipad 02 rt

Vehicle Registration Plates (Artworklove)



Receipts (BERG)

Read the full stories at Icon magazine.

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Built for Repair

There’s a bit of a buzz around Nokia’s decision to openly release the Lumia design files for those of us who fancy a tinker (and have a 3D printer) to create our own personalised cases. It’s a nice nod back to the classic Nokia 5100 changeable covers of the 90s.

But what I really like is not necessarily the open invitation to get creative, but the opportunity to fix  broken objects and let them live a little longer. Teenager Engineering were quick off the mark to release the files for replacement parts for their OP-1 users last year. This is smart thinking.


OP-1 Spare parts

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S-wish List #005: Bus o’ Clock App

For once, I lust after something that’s entirely free – free and beautiful. Sennep’s Bus o’ Clock app takes the data from TfL (made available by London Datastore) to indicate bus arrival times across the network. Bus Checker and others have been doing this for months I hear you groan. Not like this. BOC is functional AND a joy to use AND more intuitive with its circular clock face. Just NICE.


Via David Bennett, Visuelle.

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Google in Meatspace

I love the work of Berg – I love the little printer, the SVK comic – I love the way they communicate abstract digital ideas in the real world, in things, in videos of things in the real world – a bit like looking at a sketchbook.

I happened across their ‘sketches’ for Google – which interpret how Google would behave in the real world – on the FastCo site. Always lovely, always worth a watch and always a beautiful blend of digi-analogue dialogue.



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