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Sometimes, really good ideas can come from chat. I was discussing Molly’s article about a possible new dotBoom (or something like it) with the esteemed author a few days ago and it became too interesting to keep it to ourselves. More precisely, it’s a comparison I draw about momentum, crap and quality, especially as seen on the internet these days. It is not in line of the other comments, not even my own, as seen there, but a proper continuation of our chat.

The main attraction in our chat actually bordered the general ethics of the people creating this Internet thing, but then it struck me. A stagnation in innovation (as pointed out in several of the comments indeed) is a bad thing per se, but there is a platform that has been at this stage for quite some time now. Television. The popular stuff is very often not that brilliant, might be stolen or a concept bought from abroad. The good stuff? Oh, but you know where and when to find it, and you tell your friends. In general, however, the bigger commercial parties will continue focussing on the biggest possible audience, the lowest common denominator. I’ll quote here what I told Molly:

Television has been at the same peak, though, for years. Maybe the Internet can reach that and keep that going. That momentum that is propelled mainly by bullshit, low standards and quick money. […] The long tail will not be effective in that system, unless it’s an idea that can penetrate the grander market, and then you’re back to square one. Again, see Television.

In this bit, what is screaming to be read is the concept that the long tail effectively does not exist. Right now, it still does. A dozen blog posts will make a bigger dent than a New York Times front page item if it reaches the right people. On television, that is less the case, as far as I understand it. I’m putting this out there, onto the bigger Web, for all to read. I cannot tell you how far this comparison will stretch or if it actually does apply at all, but I hope it provides a thinking exercise. Think some more, write a little, rinse, repeat.

On spelling

Normally it’s best to let minor irks slide along and give people a chance to make profound asses of themselves, but sometimes it’s like gastric acid, working its way up to your tongue. Such is nearly the case with the confusion about the proper spelling of those nifty little black fucking medical books sketchbooks.

I cannot help but think of this when you talk about your sketches (and dare blame me!). I suppose windproof materials are hard to draw on with a pencil. Anyone with Wikipedia angst would completely miss this gem:

A moleskin is also, allegedly, a pink (flesh coloured) piece of covering for the genital area of a female. The name derives from the shape of the covering. Such were often used by moviemakers in Hollywood. The most famous incident involving a moleskin, was when Janet Leigh lost hers during the shower scene of Psycho. Not thrown at all, she merely remarked that no-one (meaning the staff present) was seeing anything they had not seen before.

Instead, I suspect that you’re talking about those nifty little black sketchbooks.

A Modo & Modo Moleskine, black sketchbook. A red pencil lies on top of it.

My small Moleskine, a present from Hanni

So to recap: the extra ‘e’ changes a piece of cloth/an object to obscure your dingdong into a versatile sketchbook from Italy! Oh, miraculous!

Teasing Bill Gates

No, this is not about the rather humorous interview in Newsweek. Mister Gates can, all things considered, just keep his head up his arse. He’ll be gone in roughly a year anyway. To make place for Ballmer, who has his own very special peculiarities, but that’s not what this is about. I had this funny thought.

When Steve Jobs accused Microsoft of stealing the Mac interface, Bill Gates responded that Apple had stolen their interface from Xerox, so they had no right to accuse anyone of doing the same. There is a great article about this on Folklore.org. My point is that Gates at one point claimed that “they sneaked into neighbour Xerox’s home, only to find that someone had already stolen the television set”. My theory, however, is that Microsoft did not aim for that television at all. They looked in the kitchen and took the next best thing that looked like it.

They took the microwave, because it looked like something that could be useful for watching television. (Interface critique analogies are hard, but fun. Misinterpretations and/or support in the comments, please.)