topic: innovation

the trouble with skeuomorphs

Apple's skeuomorphic calendar design

“Skeumorph” is a term I only came across recently – and like many such terms, once you learn of its existence, it ties up a set of things you already knew about, in a bundle that gives you a better grasp on that issue than you had before. Once aware of it, you start to see it everywhere. Skeumorph is defined by the online Oxford Dictionary as: an object or feature which imitates the design […]

art by committee

A friend of mine sent me this article and asked me what I thought about it… Well, I champion all kinds of advances in technology – not least the advent of the ebook – however there is the ever present temptation that because we can do something that we should do it. The creeping digitisation of everything – from music to video, and now books – makes all of these media infinitely malleable to anyone […]

arrival in Istanbul

I hate flying. I hate flying for several reasons. For one being transported like sheep in a truck. For another the being processed like a parcel – moved around on conveyor belts, weighed and stamped, shunted from one tedious wait to another. The apparently glamorous ultra-modernism of grand airport terminals is hardly a compensation, saturated as they are by advertising and all the vulgar excesses of rampant consumerism. Worse of all is that, like the […]

naked books

the old and the new...

Once upon a time books wore nothing more than a leather jacket. This could be decorated, it’s true, and be inscribed with the title and author’s name; brands burned into an animal’s hide. More recently, books began wearing paper covers sporting bold designs, but also an ever increasing baggage of quotes and comments and general blurb. Though this clothing can serve to make a book into a seductive and glamorous object, it seems to me […]

ebooks – a superior aesthetic?

Let me whisper to you a heresy: ebooks may be aesthetically superior to paper books. There, I’ve said it. Before they come for me, to burn me as a witch, let me try to explain what I mean. First I would like to distinguish two different functional components of the paper book: the paper book as machine and the paper book as a (complex) surface that bears text. Though it is the latter that concerns […]

tablets and the cloud…

iPad being used as portable TV...

I’ve been hankering after a tablet computer for many years (I hope not as a result of having been brainwashed by Star Trek!?). Specifically I was wanting Apple to produce one. I have been using their computers since 1984 and supported them through the hard years before Steve Jobs returned – much in the way other people support a football team that keeps losing. Now that they are becoming masters of the galaxy I find […]

buying it

Americanisms have been entering Britain for quite some time. It is natural for oldtimers like me to bemoan the language being pulled out from under us. However, I am well aware that it is inevitable that language should change constantly – and I am certainly not interested in being any kind of linguistic (proverbial) Canute. Further, I am also aware that it is an error to see American English as diverging from British English: the […]

wiki books…

wiki books

With my purchase of an iPad I have finally made the move to actually reading ebooks – about time! since I have (for theoretical reasons) long been a proponent of electronic reading. However, in hunting down an obscure book (a history of Byzantium written in 1892 in the ePub format), I discovered that it was full of typos and layout errors (probably because it was scanned using OCR). My first reaction was to correct these […]

50 in New York

ricardo in Time Square...

Something I’ve rabbited on about before is how the world is homogenising – the more I travel, the more it seems to me that everywhere is becoming the same. If this is even true for Sri Lanka, then how much more so is it for travelling between the UK and New York? But before I go into that (I think this is going to become quite a ramble, but hopefully you will forgive me, now […]

the vanishing thickness of books

[update: been meaning to put a link to this Robert McCrumb article in the Guardian that seems to agree with my thoughts in this post.] A few days ago I discovered that the book I’m currently working on (working title: Matryoshka) is not in fact a novel, but rather a novella. Initially I was rather dismayed. After some investigation I realized that of course it was a novella – not only because it is going […]