New meaning for the Long Now

From Melvyn Bragg’s “In our time” newsletter:

“After the programme a lot of the talk was about a word new to me: ‘presentism’. This is the burden under which historians who teach say that they labour increasingly, ie: everything in the past (more than 10 or 15 years ago) has to be described first in terms of the present.

The idea of a century or even a previous generation being radically different from our own in its political structure, its transport structure, etc, is, I was told, increasingly hard to grab hold of.”

» BBC Radio 4: In our time

Muoto’s special “State of Finnish Design” issue

muoto magazine

Muoto is a design magazine in Finland. It’s not superficial or consumerist – it has serious design criticism and commentary, but it’s still aimed at a broader audience than just the design industry it seems. Think “Blueprint” rather than “Design Week” at one end of the scale and “Wallpaper*” at the other.

This month’s edition is devoted to an examination of then state of Finnish design and the movers and shakers involved in it. It also has, for the first time, I think; translated all of it’s content to English.

It’s a good read, and a real window on where Finnish design culture is at, and where those involved in it think it’s going right and wrong. Alex Niemenen is part of a group interview that makes some interesting points about the Finn’s inability to package and crow about their abundant talent.

Being able to “evangelise” – market an idea, a potentiality, an abstract, a vision is something that in my short experience here I have found frustratingly absent, although there is something very reassuring about the refusal to talk about something unless every detail or eventuality has been considered.

The word “concrete” is properly the most used in conversations I have about ideas or design here. In a world of image this is anticompetitive but admirable.

Typepad defaults to homework

Since moving to Typepad I’ve notice that posting a blog entry is more like handing in your homework, at a particularly strict school run by ascetic ex-Jesuits expelled from the order for their extremism. I keep getting comments telling me off for my self-indulgence and lack of intellectual rigour.

Admitted, I have the intellectual rigour of a frisbee. And perhaps these networked doses of cod-liver oil comments are good for me, making me a better writer or thinker. Or maybe not. Maybe this is all self-indulgence and should remain so for my sanity.

Anyway – I have removed the “recent comments” feature from the sidebar in the hope of reducing the ‘pile-on’ that happens.

The “recent comments” module appears to be a default setting in Typepad, and as a design pattern it is very successful for bootstrapping conversations on a personal website and keeping them alive. In switching from moveabletype to typepad, I thought that the effects of the default design patterns would have been noticeable, but aside from this comments amplification “pile-on” effect, I can’t think of anything else.

This over-riding feeling that Typepad’s defaults have turned writing here into a chore for me maybe just be a comparison effect of using more lightweight, life-recording, “spooling” systems, such as Nokia Lifeblog, del.icio.us and Flickr.