Summer Mix Series 2014

The Summer Mix Series is back! I was a little hesitant at first as music discovery and compilations are largely fueled by new listening habits - namely Spotify and Rdio. So, it's surely going to be a bit different from the original undertaking because downloading large zip files and importing them into iTunes seems much less common.

However, just because habits have changed doesn't mean there isn't a time and place for finding new music. The first two mixes - Outlaws and Vintage Obscura 2014 are phenomenal. I would have never found this kind of music - especially not this well curated - from any of my streaming services. So, we're off to a good start.

As this may be the last iteration of the series, lets step up the submission game! I look forward to hearing what you've got to offer.

Self - Runaway

Having been a fan since the earliest days, I think I can say that this new Self video for Runaway is their finest all around. Granted, So Low is a quintessential slice of late 90's fashion but that was damn near 20 years ago. The new video features cats - lots of them. Is it pandering? Probably. Is it cute enough to not matter? Absolutely.

The song's a catchy bit as well. Looking forward to the new EP release, Super Fake Nice, on July 29th but lets be real - the cats make the video.

Greenhouse Political

The Greenhouse browser plugin does an excellent job of providing some additional context to any article in which you see a politicians name appear. By leveraging data from Open Secrets, the plugin highlights politicians names and provides additional insight on where their funding comes from. No matter what the political leaning - Far Left, Far Right, Red, Blue, Anything in Between - there's always a large chunk of influential money on the table. Maybe that's a bit pessimistic but it's seems realistic as well.

Pretty handy. Oh, and it was written by 16-year old from Seattle. He can't even vote which sort of makes it the cherry on top.

Dom Jacob

Really enjoying the ultra simple portfolio of Dom Jacob. It's deceptively sparse in its ability to showcase his work. I love the color palette, the shifting background colors and nod towards an overall small screen experience.

His Tumblr is pretty sweet too.

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz

Brian Knappenberger's latest, The Internet's Own Boy is a profile on Aaron Swartz, a name you may not know but have absolutely felt the presence of in your Internet life. At 14, he invented RSS. Yes, seriously. He also was a leading force in the stance against SOPA and helped to spearhead the ongoing battle with Net Neutrality. Oh, and he also co-founded Reddit. He was a masterful programmer, a thoughtful person and just a brilliant mind in general.

His story is sad one, as he took his own life at the age of 26 due to legal battles involving his procurement of a lot of academic journals. Not distribution mind you, just procurement. It goes without saying, it's sad. However, it's also equally inspiring. Doing something with an impact on the world is possible, you just have to do it.

The movie is available for free (legally) on archive.org as Swartz was one of the minds that helped shaped Creative Commons.

Last Chance High

VICE does a great job of covering a lot of news. Like, a lot of news. I think in that deluge sometimes some of their smaller stories get lost in the shuffle. Over the weekend I finished watching through Last Chance High - an eight part series profiling Chicago's Moses Montefiore Academy - a school for the city's "most at-risk youth."

It is, without a doubt, a great micro-profile on a macro-level problem. It manages to touch on just about everything - illegal drugs, troubled youth, absent parents, imprisoned parents, legal drugs (which may be as much of a problem as the illegal sort) and an underlying rage within the kids that they don't have the mental tools to cope with. Maybe not the most uplifting series but it's got moments of real heart and, hopefully, is a way to properly contemplate some of the larger social issues at play out in the world.

via Becky

Friday Videos - July 18th, 2014

The term for this weeks playlist is "Grab Bag." I mean, it's probably that term for every week as well but this week feels particularly all over the place. Enjoy! Have a great weekend!

Memory Hole

The bizarre creation that is Memory Hole defies description. Sure, you could say it's a 1997 style gallery of borderline disturbing yet still oddly hilarious videos but that's not doing it justice. It's filled with imagery that I can't articulate and I'm completely content with that.

via Paul.

The AirBNB mark

If you are unaware, AirBNB launched a new mark. The idea behind it is that it creates a more recognizable brand and takes on a form that anyone can draw. The broad, artsy, rational being that those that rent their spaces out can be part of the "safety" that comes with the brand and those that occupy those spaces know they aren't staying in a hovel. Just watch this video to get the big pitch. It is, without question, a little bit too much in terms of being about the Belonging of Humanity but if you don't believe in your own brand to the highest degree, who will?

Of course, there is some controversy. It looks remarkably like this logo as well as some other things (NSFW on that one) but if you go through the DesignStudio deck, it's hard not to like it. Are you going to love it? Probably not but you can at least appreciate it for the improvement over the word mark and the mission statement they are striving for.

On the whole, I'm not sure I really understand the instant backlash of all things change. Isn't the Internet all about progress and moving forward and embracing new things? Seems like Having an Opinion and Being Right are no longer distinct headspaces.

Panda Inspiration

Despite the name, no actual Panda's are involved in the inspiration destination Panda. It's a combination of Hacker News, Designer News, Dribbble and Behance all dropped into one interface. As of recently I've been using The News as my source for this kind of information as it is a very simple way to take it all in but I can see Panda being a nice alternative if you want to see some actual designs and creative choices without having to click very far.

Lunar Mayor

When Instagram launched video support I think Vine died a little bit. Not completely by any means but it certainly became less of a place to post strange little video snippets of your day. However, in the wake of that departure of users there seems to be a rising of far more artistic undertakings. Take Lunar Mayor - a very bizarre character doing very intense stop motion animations that follow him from other worldly locations into an eyeball filled kitchen. It's got somewhat of a linear storyline if you start at the bottom and work your way up and it's unlike anything I'm seeing on Instagram.

Long story short, check this guy out check out some of his friends as well - there's a load of charming weirdness going on.

Schnapps

This Schnapps program takes the fuss out of creating timelapse videos of your designs. Personally, I think I'd feel way too self concious to ever share such a thing but there are a number of amazing designers and illustrators out there that I'd love to see this kind of documentation from. The best part is that it only creates a frame when you save your document - so the flubs you may experience along the way probably won't make it to the final product since you likely aren't saving on such a thing anyway.

The Creativity Bundle

Please take a moment to give the Creativity Bundle a serious bit of contemplation. Four phenomenal movies - Indie Game: The Movie, Helvetica, Sign Painters and Beauty Is Embarassing - all available together for a very limited time at an unreal price point. You can pay $5, $10, $15 or whatever you'd like for that matter. Call it a helluva good deal. Call it an experiment. Call it an empowered undertaking by a group of forward thinking filmmakers. It's all those things! The deal expires in 5 days, so get to it.

Zammuto

I was recently diving headfirst into this profile on Nick Zammuto and his absolutely absurdly amazing Record Scratch Technique (literally - think less hip-hop and more actual needle blips to create a beat) and then it came to light that there's a new Zammuto record on the way - Anchor.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign it appears that the new batch of songs will be available Sept 2nd. The video for "Great Equator" (the song linked above) is viewable here and it's a doozie.

Liveview Development

Thanks to VHX's newest addition, Courtney Burton, I checked out a great deal of Desktop to Mobile Device design previewers. I wish there was a snappier name for it but, basically, I needed a way to view designs meant for a smaller screen on the actual device. You would think having the right canvas size would suffice but there's something entirely different about interacting with a design on a phone than there is just seeing it on your giant screen. After much trial and error - xScope, Skala, Mockup and Silkscreen - I landed on Nicholas Zambetti's LiveView. It is, for my money, the simplest and easiest solution. It lacks a little bit of elegance (I'd love to be able to lock the preview area and still click under it but that's getting into the weeds a bit) but it does what it promises with zero hassle. It's also helped immensely with improving a User Experience because now I can see that those form fields I was using were just way too small.

Breach Browser

I must admit, despite not fully understanding the technology behind this Breach browser I am fully intrigued. The claims that it is written "entirely in Javascript" (on top of Chromium and Node.js layers) sounds like a great recipe for a browser with a lot more possibilities, as its development is largely on the shoulders of curious hackers. This summary introduction to the project is compelling:
The initial motivation to create Breach was to create a browser whose state (tabs, cookies, extensions, etc...) would be completely untangled from the machine it runs on, so that users could project that state on any machine running Breach easily. The idea was to let users get control of any machine around them transparently by making it very easy for them to push their state onto these machines. Think of it as tab syncing as seen in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, on steroids and built to be used on machines you don't necessarily own (which is a strong limitation in existing systems).
Count me in! Going to give this a spin.

Friday Videos - July 11th, 2014

First week back from vacation is always a bit more intense than just a regular week. So, with that in mind, watch these twice. You need your rest.
  • Verschleif 4k - even with zero explanation, this is an entrancing exercise in reduction. Then when you realize it's the best usage of an edge sander in an artistic environment, well, you're sold.
  • Backflipping beach guy - this seems fake. is this fake? can this be real?
  • Fox go FLOOF - The title is a fair representation of the bonkers nature of the owner of this domesticated fox but I just love seeing this little guy run around!
  • Pallas cat - I think I can say that this is easily my favorite video of 2014. Maybe I'll eat those words but a Pallas Cat investigating a camera with the stealth you would expect from a giant housecat is absolutely perfect. The GIF is pretty great too.
  • The Best Cover to Beatles - Come Together! - this is weird and then it gets weirder and then it maintains its weirdness. Throughout the song is strange but not unenjoyable.
  • Pallet Riding - not sure if this can be embedded but this guy riding a Pallet on the rails is pretty solid.
  • CMT's Coffee Corner - timelapse of Rachel Briggs drawing a huge wall mural at the CMT offices. Incredibly impressive.
If you find yourself lacking some vulgarity from this weeks playlist, dive into Peter K. Rosenthal's review of 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' - hilarious in its aggression.

Have a great weekend!

Electric Objects: A Computer Made For Art

"EO1, a computer designed to bring the beauty of the Internet into your home. "
At the heart of it, Electric Objects is a series of deluxe photo frames. The catch being that it's actually designed and intended to showcase art culled from the Internet - rather than just a shoddy LCD screen that cycles through a folder of images. It's got a beautiful aesthetic and I'm glad someone is tackling this field to up the ante on quality of digital frames. It's about time!

It's no surprise they blew past their goal - going from $25k to $270k with about a month to go. Another million dollar project? Probably! Congratulations to them.

All that being said, I don't think I could rationalize $300 for a wall mounted screen. Hopefully this really does blow up and they can get their unit cost much lower on the whole.

The Institute

After numerous recommendations, I watched The Institute - a documentary capturing the phenomenon of 'The JeJune Institute' - a San Francisco collective that appears to be part Cult, part Alternate Reality Game, part religion, part counter-culture and part reality. It's really all in how you decide to take it in. It does get a bit cheesy at times with some transparent acting but, miraculously, that somehow lends itself to blurring the line even further.

At the very least, it's hard to imagine being a part of the story as it unfolded. It's a nice reminder to let yourself be consumed from time to time.

Bonus: The poster is by Mark Weaver and you can watch it on Netflix right now.

One Perfect Shot

Really been enjoying the simple beauty of @OnePerfectShot - a twitter account solely devoted to posting the "best" images from cinemas past. There's a website version too but the Twitter account is just the right platform for consumption.

The curator of the account is also running a crowdfunding campaign to start a "platform" where users can share their own perfect shots or vote on others. I'm not convinced that's how I want to experience this kind of content but I'm all for supporting cinephiles that want to take their obsessive interest to the next level.