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Posts for 19/05/2024

 # It's been the perfect weather combination ... for weeds.

I cut the front grass not long ago, pulling the stuff that shouldn't be there but rain followed by some hot, sunny days meant those pesky weeds just seemed to appear from nowhere. I cut that all back again yesterday.

This morning has had me out the back pulling up all sorts of stuff. I'm probably about half way done but it's gotten too hot to be out there comfortably.

Maybe this year will be the one where I actually keep on top of the garden. As I've said before, I'm a reluctant gardener at best. Maybe it's because I don't know much about it and so just see it as a chore.

# I've been spending some more time with the new old track, making more tweaks and adding additional layers. I'm pleased to announce that a 'final' version is now up on Bandcamp on a free/pay what you want basis.

It'll be okay

It'll be okay cover image

This was always intended to be the last track on the 'mental health' E.P. with a more euphoric vibe. I think I've done it justice and am really pleased with how it's turned out.

#acid

Colin Walker – Daily Feed

20 May 2024 at 01:00
#

Despite being defeated, the Knicks received a standing ovation in the game’s final seconds — a token of appreciation from a loyal fanbase that enjoyed one of the most memorable playoff runs in team history.

Dave's famous linkblog

20 May 2024 at 00:00
#

Jalen Brunson breaks hand as Pacers dump Knicks out of NBA playoffs in Game 7.

Dave's famous linkblog

19 May 2024 at 23:45

Some kinds of monsters

 

In the latest newsletter I wrote:

Feeling sorry for myself after a rough morning of writing, I put on the 2003 Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster and half-watched while making collages out of kids’ drawings. I felt what Amanda Petrusich wrote in her 9,000 word profile of the band: “When I first saw the movie, I was twenty-four and found the incongruity of it—some guy in a sweater asking Metallica to talk about feelings—funny; now, at forty-two, I find it unbelievably poignant.” (The band members were all my age or younger when the cameras were rolling.)

Something I don’t think everybody notices is that I put little easter egg links in the “hey y’all” and “xoxo” greeting/signoff that appears in every Friday letter. (I stole this from Laura Olin.)

The “xoxo” this week was this sign that their coach Phil Towle tapes to the studio door (which drummer Lars Ulrich makes fun of):

Austin Kleon

19 May 2024 at 22:58

A museum of technology

 

Here’s a photo of my kiddos’ dresser from a few years ago, when I realized it was basically a museum of technology. I almost typed “obsolete technology,” but these things all still work — the Casio and the Sony Dream Machine were both possessions from our own childhoods. I wrote about these items in a recent newsletter about the objects we love and live with

Austin Kleon

19 May 2024 at 22:50

Design interviews

 I’ve been doing a lot of interviews for designers lately so here’s a list of all the questions I’m asking along the way and maybe this helps someone out there looking for a design gig.

Beware though! I have “failed” ten thousand design interviews and screeners and portfolio reviews. But like Dave, I’ve been frustrated by not getting feedback about what I did wrong and what I could’ve done better during these interviews. So here goes.

1. Who are you?

Right away designers are looking for signals about what it’s like to work with you. There’s no need to show off but it’s always good to start with something lighthearted before diving into the seriousness of the work.

Remember that maybe half your job here is to entertain folks and stand out: most folks hate interviews and it gets in the way of their “actual” work. A portfolio review to them is a calendar invite that gets randomly slapped into the middle of their work day and folks will often sigh and roll their eyes when they see it. So you have to fight against that right out of the gate and to battle this malaise you have to teach, present, perform! This part is an easy way to wake folks up, to drag them in.

2. What was the problem?

Duh—but!—when you start talking about a project it’s vital that you explain the existing experience. Screenshots, illustrations, diagrams—whatever helps explains things clearly. I just wanna see if you can succinctly describe complex subjects and I’m hoping that you can squeeze all that complexity into my head. Also show the deadline/timeline! And how big the team is! And what your team owned!

But don’t yap for long on this part. I’ve seen folks spin their wheels here and things slow to a crawl which means they only give themselves five minutes to present their solutions. I have done this many times, too! It is bad form!

3. Did you do any research?

Do you talk to customers or do you let the PM take the wheels? I’m always on the lookout for when designers talk, in person, to customers consistently and then take those insights away and iterate from there. Surveys are not enough! Plus: what was the most important problem for users? And for the business? Where did the research lead you astray?

4. Did you make a mess?

I wanna see sketches and solutions! If you present a perfectly finished polished design at the end I will poke and prod at it. My eye will turn cynical and I just will not believe that that’s the one and only solution to this problem. I wanna see the failures and the shitty illustrations and napkin drawings. I wanna see all the work that the design team tore apart. I wanna see the variety of solutions you came up with. How did you figure out which solution to go with? Which solutions did you NOT continue exploring? Why? How did you communicate these designs to stakeholders, etc. I wanna see the coffee stains!

5. Can you do a range of work?

Usually in these kinds of interviews you show two projects and if you show two very similar projects it’s hard to get a sense of how you deal with a variety of problems. This sucks for us designers cus you often can’t control what projects you work on but—and I am recommending this to myself here—push yourself into different teams, different problems, different formats as much as you possibly can. It’ll make your portfolio pitch much easier in a few years and it’ll give you valuable design experience, too.

6. Did you fight the bureaucracy?

This isn’t always necessary but I do wanna see where designers pushed back against deadlines and constraints, where they advocated for users when it really made sense over everything else. Sometimes that means expanding the scope or pitching new features, sometimes that means working with a PM to give yourself more time to iterate on a problem. Sometimes it means small fixes in places or big rethinks of the core structure of things. But the effort here is often more important than the impact. So talk about the constraints of the project—and then show me how you pushed back.

7. What was the end result?

Did you make it clear what you did vs. others? Did you give other folks credit? Do you have an eye for typography and white space? Are the designs sharp and to the point when it comes to copywriting? Did you try and push the visual language forwards? What did you learn from this project? What did you fuck up? What would you have changed if you could? Was this project successful? If not, that’s cool. What else did you learn? Not just for the benefit of the business, but for your own.

A lot of the time, design teams are looking for potential. If ya show how much you learned, how you adapted to a difficult situation, then that’ll take you a long way.

Robin Rendle

19 May 2024 at 21:55

Entity Not A Person

 

Hey everyone! The suns come out here in London, and it’s really lifted the mood after weeks of rain.

I’m deep into production on issue #10 of my zine right now and its going great. I think its going to be about 60 pages!


Entity Not A Person

REINCANTAMENTO over at DROPS newsletter wrote a great post on the Kendrick Lamar – Drake beef and its wider implications for cultural production in our age. The post draws on lots of ideas from across my part of the blogosphere, including thoughts from Mat Dryhust, Paul Graham Raven and myself amongst others. I thought I’d throw in my tuppence worth.

I really like this section on Drake as an entity not a person:

But who is Drake? At this point, Drake is likely a brand name, an avatar for a broader collective construction. Borrowing an analogy from Mat Dryhurst, Drake can be seen as a “Formula 1 driver.” Just as a Formula 1 team designs the optimal engine for a driver to achieve success on the track, a creative team crafts the perfect framework for a pop star to excel in the industry. This team conducts market research, analyzes data, curates the artist’s social media presence and public image, and handles legal arrangements for collaborations, among other tasks.

A couple of years ago I wrote about how the opposite is always occurring: “Brands are acting more like people online, and people are acting more like brands.”

Brands are acting more like people online

This is for better or worse of course, but it’s a thing that’s happening. Sometimes called “Human Era Brand Behaviour”. You know it when you see it. A recent example is the banter between UK supermarket chains on social media about M&S’s lawsuit against Aldi over there Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake.  

Let me repeat that one more time as it’s a 2021 kind of sentence. “The banter between UK supermarket chains on social media about M&S’s lawsuit against Aldi over their Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake.“ 

US Fast Food chain Wendy’s is known as a pioneer of Human Era branding. But I’d also add The Museum of English Rural Life and Sotheran’s of London as other leading examples.

It doesn’t matter which direction you arrive from these ‘Entities’ Drake of Wendy’s tweeting like a relatable person online, both should be seen as a sort of puppetry. I mean I have a whole category on this blog about puppetry – so of course I’d think that. But anyways, I think that the people inside of these entities, or the entities inside of the people(?) aren’t so much F1 drivers, but more Gundam pilots (another post about brands as entities with people inside of them).

Anyways, co-sign all of this too:

When an individual is presented as a brand, it allows for a more authentic and protagonistic narrative, akin to a hero’s journey. This positioning can be beneficial for concealing the corporate operation behind the scenes. A person can evoke feelings of authenticity and strength, qualities that might be harder to attribute to a corporate entity. So, for simplicity, I will continue referring to Drake as an individual in this article, even though he represents the embodiment of shared intentions and collective agency.

We can also see the same ’embodiment of shared intentions and collective agency’ happening with entities like BTS, Beyonce, and megastar, and former human being Taylor Swift. I have thoughts on the new sorts of responsibilities that come with ‘becoming a brand’ but i’ll leave all that for now.

Pulling in the language of neoliberalism in to describe his approach to his career as a diversified portfolio. And talks about the Reincantamento later goes on to talk about Drake as a template for the streaming era:

Cultural Frackling is, on the other hand, an appropriate response to the diffusion of user-generated content and the perils of participative cultural practices, like edits, remixes, fan fiction, etc. The major distributors can’t leave these in the hands of people these profitable stories and need to re-affirm their monolithic sovereignty over them.  

The Drake Era is the perfect iteration of Cultural Fracking within hip-hop and pop music. Drake has acted as a gateway for Universal to be able to frack many of the possible novelties that emerged on the music scene. With his co-sign, Drake not only signaled his respect for an artist or a style but also the interest of the industry for the newcomers. Drake as an index for market potential. Drake, the playlist-era popstar, the jack of all trades, always with a different costume but never with a real persona.

Its a great essay. Love the essays conclusion:

We can only save ourselves by telling our stories and distributing culture on our terms. Miles Davis, once said: “Man, sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourself”. As the Drake Era fades away, it’s time to awaken our desirefor autonomy and artistic freedom. To embrace the bustling global overground network in our cities and online. It may take a long time. But by determining our sound, we will find the polyphonies for these mutating times.

Permanently Moved

Short Term Thinking

I propose that everything that occurs between the decision to plant a tree and the full expression of its canopy is short-term thinking.

Full Show Notes: https://www.thejaymo.net/2024/05/18/2409-short-term-thinking/

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Photo 365

135/365/2024

The Ministry Of My Own Labour

  • Plotted my Solarpunk talk for Lisbon
  • Call with ADH
  • Had a call about worldbuilding
  • Met up with Novara Crew for drinks.
  • Reached out – without success – to a client thats been quiet
  • Finished up notes on a product pitch, call next week
  • Started reading about world building in dance
  • Had a discussion about doing a print run of worldrunning.guide !!

Terminal Access

I said the other week that lots of people has been reading and discussing Arnaud’s Trust Infrastructure essay. Well, Baz at Tonk.gg recently dropped a long essay of their own on the subject: You should design trust infrastructure

I’ll cover:

  1. How trust shapes our shared social flourishing;

  2. The invisible infrastructure we all take for granted when cultivating trust, from markets to contracts and culture;

  3. How the internet broke those ancient tools by forcing us into feudal networks and isolated monocultures;

  4. Proposals for a new trust infrastructure, and why I think they can usher in a web that’s more productive, more liberated and way more fun.

Warning – yes, I am going to talk, in part, about blockchain and cryptography. Strap in.

It’s a long read, but its a good overview about the current state of think thinking in this area.

GPT-4o Must Die?

ICYMI I wrote about the OpenAi’s new model announcement and conversation AI:

Millennial and GenX readers. Please be mentally prepared for the possibility that you might pop home this summer and discover that a virtual assistant talking like a flirty 20 something valley girl is now your parent(s) new best friend. 

Dipping the Stacks

Threads is the gas-leak social network – by Max Read

Some friends and I have taken to calling Threads “the gas-leak social network” because that is the basic experience of using it: Everyone on the platform, including you, seems to be suffering some kind of minor brain damage.

The chocolate price spike: what’s happening to global cocoa production?

The Easter Bunny is having an expensive year. Cocoa prices are going through the roof. In the last week, they’ve surged to more than $10,000 per tonne. That’s nearly twice the record set 50 years ago.

Are We Watching The Internet Die?

These stories are, of course, all manifestations of a singular problem: that generative artificial intelligence is poison for an internet dependent on algorithms.

Not Right Now — TANKtv

Despite its discursive revolt against the vague and totalising spectre of capitalism, art is nothing if not a highly processed asset class, as many artists, art critics, art historians and art dealers regularly bemoan, with both sincerity and cynicism. Every day, major works are bought and sold and careers are made and unmade by arms dealers and pop stars because their financial advisor suggests Julie Mehretu as a hedge against platinum futures.

The Brazilianization of the World

the coming apart of formal employment and of the rise of precaritization—is the root of the whole phenomenon of “Brazilianization”: growing inequality, oligarchy, the privatization of wealth and social space, and a declining middle class. Its spatial, urban dimension is its most visible manifestation, with the development of gentrified city centers and the excluded pushed to the periphery.

Reading

Author Michael Marshall Smith wrote about James Hillman’s Force of Character recently. It’s a book I’ve had around for years, i’m not even sure where I picked it up. But this from Smith made me open its covers:

I first read The Force of Character about ten years ago, in my mid-late forties. It’s about being older, and what that means. How much I valued it is proven in the number of highlights I made. There’s a lot. On the second read I’m undertaking now I’m adding even more, tons more, in fact: there are chapters where half the text now has a pale yellow stroke across it. A sign, perhaps, that this is an even better time in my life to be reading it — non-ancient though I still (usually) feel (on some days).

I started listening to Jonathan D Beer’s debut Warhammer Crime novel The King of the Spoil. Not so much a ‘who dun it’ but a ‘Why dun it’ story. As I’ve said before, I think Warhammer crime’s domestic sandbox world of Varangantua is a brilliant move on their part as Beer’s novel picks up characters from another authors short stories. You don’t need to have read it to understand whats going on, but it brings a depth and richness to world that I really like.

Music

Spotify Playlist

hijouni kireina JYOCHO – JYOCHO

The new single from Japanese melodic math rock legends (previously on the blog) JYOCHO is absolutely out of this world.

Some of the most virtuosic emo squeezed into 1m26 seconds. And flute of course! I can’t even begin to imagine what watching them play this live must be like. I wonder when their new album is coming.

Remember Kids:

If you allow yourself to begin posting entries based on what you think someone else wants you to write, you are missing the point of having a weblog. Even more destructive is the numbers game.

The Weblog Handbook – Rebecca Blood

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The post Entity Not A Person appeared first on thejaymo.

thejaymo

19 May 2024 at 21:20
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