End of Summer Remainders

As I mentioned on Wednesday, it’s quiet around here this week. That’s why I’m going to dump a bunch of links into another round-up post, and then set off to enjoy the three-day weekend… though I may be back at my desk as soon as tomorrow. Anyway, just a warning that some of these are older tidbits I’ve had kicking around for a while. That’s why I’m burying them here on the last Friday in August!


In doing research for my NYC Subway Map for iPhone, I of course came across Kickmap, the much trumpeted alternative to the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s official map designed independently by Kick Design. Less predictably, I came across this interview with Michael Hertz, the designer of the current map, who had the dubious honor of replacing Massimo Vignelli’s infamous 1972 Subway map. It’s a very insightful interview in which he also happens to acquit himself quite nicely in defending the worth of his own work.

Hero Shots

Anthony Lister has some clever paintings about super-heroes. They remind me of a graduate project from friend and namesake Khoi Uong, in which he beautifully and smartly manipulated Silver Age comic book covers and panels.

How to Use a Mac

Peter Merholz has a great blog post featuring photographs of the original Macintosh user’s manual. He rightly pokes a lot of fun at it, but its gorgeousness is something to marvel at in this day of dry, artless technical manuals delivered only in PDF format.

Mozying Along

For about two months now, I’ve been using Mozy to back-up my desktop Mac over the Web to remote servers. They do a decent job and are also the first such service I’ve come across that seems to take the Macintosh market seriously, as they’ve been regularly upgrading their backup client software. I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to stick with them in the long run, but I do know that the actual backing-up process takes a painfully long time thanks to the horrid state of consumer broadband in this country. Speaking of which, Robert X. Cringely recently wrote two fascinating and depressing articles (“Game Over” and “The $200 Billion Rip-off”) on this subject.

Best Found Design Quote

The best quote I came across this week: “Luck is the residue of design,” attributed to the legendary baseball executive Branch Rickey. Rickey is perhaps best known for his breaking baseball’s color barrier with the signing of Jackie Robinson. But if ever there was a design mind operating in baseball, it was Rickey, who is responsible for the far-sighted innovation of minor league farm teams. Baseball and design; two great tastes that taste great together.

  1. I’ve been working on backing up “to the cloud” lately too, and sharing your frustration with outgoing bandwidth. It seems like upstream bandwidth is a scarce commodity in the big city. At least Comcast will let me pay them a ransom for higher incoming speeds, but their upstream speeds are capped across the board at a distinctly unfast rate.

  2. Maybe I’m just trying to find even more bad things to blame on Bush, but it’s so frustrating that in seven years we’ve made nearly no major technological or infrastructural improvements whatsoever in America. And in wartime, too, where historically we’ve done mighty things. We forget the kind of progress that usually happens in seven American years — compare 1992 to 1999 (Hello WWW!), 1977 to 1984 (think cable, vcr, desktop computers, walkman, artificial heart, space shuttle), or 1962 to 1969 (no people in space, to a moon landing). Ten years ago, our best technological minds — with the governmental support they enjoyed — invented and extended the “information superhighway” we know today from comparatively nothing at all. Today, what revolutionary new technologies do we have? Twitter? The iPhone? Hardly the same kind of “giant leap” I want to see every decade. Maybe this decade has been all about catching up culturally to the technologies laid down in the last decade, learning to use them more seamlessly in our everyday lives.

  3. I don’t like that Kickmap. It doesn’t show me how far apart stations are to my final destination. I want to know exactly where the trains run, not where the artist feels the trains should run.

    This is the purest form of form over function.

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