A piece in mixed media (metal, audio, software, telephony), 2014.
While critics may dismiss this work as the accident of new technology, it is commonly understood that Google Voice Transcription of a Busy Signal offers a deep commentary on our times. We have a deep trust in technology even as we fear its replacing us. This work reinstalls our faith that computers, however much they threaten our jobs and perhaps our very existence, are still fickle and easily misled. While computers can operate without humans it’s only because a human was attentive enough to insert a time limit that the loop creating the busy signal together with the transcription engine, didn’t continue into an infinity of gibberish. At the center of our times are questions about our own mortality. The Singularity and other advances in technology might at any moment take us over. But while they threaten us Busy reminds us that computers need our help. A computer’s immortality must be limited – its infinity given mortality – else it risks folding into itself forever, transcribing beeps into simulacra of sentences.
The choice of medium for Busy is crucial to understanding it. The rhythmic use of shapes (“letters”) reminds us of Sol LeWitt, while the precision and near perfect aesthetic simplicity is inspired by Agnes Martin. While carrying their legacies, Busy uses new media to present a more malleable – some might say “modern” – visualization of something absolutely unchangeable. This again symbolizes humanity’s relationship to computers, each sides’ limits, and the ever-present threat of computers to replace humans with their sheer determination to repeat, repeat, repeat. In Busy, we can change the rectangle in which letters are displayed, but not their order or grammar (this screen capture represents a standard browsers width in 2014). Finally, extending a false olive branch of control over the the computer, the user is presented with a binary choice: “Transcript useful?”
Yes. Yes it is.
For many fans of practical design, the apotheosis of the coffee-cup lid came about in 1984, when Solo filed the patent for the Traveler lid, which combined a sleek, functional look with a lid domed enough to accommodate specialty drinks, a protruding rim that helped cool coffee before it reached the drinker’s mouth, and even a depression in the middle so the drinker wouldn’t have to smush his nose against plastic every time he took a sip. (In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art added the Solo Traveler lid to its permanent collection.)
– Mike Rowe
Some of the best career advice I’ve seen lately for people getting started. (via brycedotvc)
This is terrible advice. Your first job first makes the second one in the same sector easier to get. If you just take “any job” you’ll find yourself compelled to stay in that type of job for years and years as your cost of switching from a career you never chose goes up and up. Sure, taking “another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist” is a terrible idea. But you should also make sure there’s at least some chance you’ll enjoy the work going on around you before you invest your professional life in it.
Don’t believe me? Talk to anyone who spent their first 2 years after college in i-banking or consulting but didn’t want to become a partner.
The first distance education course in the modern sense was provided by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s, who taught a system of shorthand by mailing texts transcribed into shorthand on postcards and receiving transcriptions from his students in return for correction - the element of student feedback was a crucial innovation of Pitman’s system. This scheme was made possible by the introduction of uniform postage rates across England from 1840.
Everything and nothing changes. Feedback for students is still the key to education, and innovations in our infrastructure are still what make it scalable.
Xmas Tree, 2013!