Archive for March, 2009

Unreal eyesight

Fab; my eyesight is being improved by extensive playing of Unreal Tournament 2004. If you believe the press reports of recent studies into the matter. Apparently the game can boost the eyesight’s “contrast sensitivity” by up to 20 percent. I think I’ve mentioned previously that playing pinball games seems to result in better photojournalism sessions […]

Gunnerkrigg Court in hard covers

Animator Tom Skiddel‘s webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court is now collected as a hardcover book by Titan. Tom’s a Birmingham comic artist and writer, and the setting is a take on the classic British boarding-school story… “A very British boarding school that has robots running around alongside body-snatching demons, forest gods, and the odd mythical creature.”

Digging Digbeth

An opinion column in The Birmingham Post on Friday: “Developers squeezing out creative groups in city’s transformation”. The title is rather misleading — after reading through it I might re-title the article “Developers squeezing out a few pubs, clubs — and asking a few eateries to smarten up — in city’s transformation”. And the idea […]

Podcasts from the University of Oxford

Yummy; over 500 free podcasts from the University of Oxford. Not much apart from bioethics in the ‘Humanities’ section yet, — but check the Colleges and Museums/Libraries sections for additional podcasts in arts and literature.


I’m a bit of an an Eno fanboy, and am currently reading the new Eno biography. But news of his relatively-new little music app for the iPhone, called Bloom, had escaped me until today. It’s been made by Eno and fellow Spore musician Peter Chilvers. Apparently it only has one tone, but allows layering. I […]

Reinventing the journal

A fine overview of the problems and opportunities facing academic journals, in the latest issue of the U.S. Chronicle of Higher Education. Not really mentioned is the possibility of developing “value-added” articles which still retain the basic printed-page format. Paid-for versions of free articles, with the paid-for version being radically enhanced via: extensive tool-tips that […]

Birmingham TV

A new commercial online TV news & events channel for Birmingham, and seemingly well-funded to boot? The trailer seems to suggest that it’s just around the corner. Certainly a nice idea, but they must surely ditch that naff logo before launch.

Save game

Edge magazine on the need for a viable British National Videogame Archive… “There are terabytes of videogame culture heading into a black hole,”­ “¬and we don’t seem to be able to preserve the recent past in a form other than on T-shirts.” Talking of games, there’s a free Birmingham event coming up soon: “The future […]

Five go to Rhubarb

Launching on Monday… “To coincide with Rhubarb’s tenth birthday, photographers in the UK are invited to apply for the new Rhubarb/Arts Council Bursary Scheme 2009, where the ten chosen will be profiled at the Rhubarb International Review in July/August this year. Five photographers will be chosen from the West Midlands region, and five from the […]

Street View for Brum

Fab; Birmingham now has Google Street View, offering street-level photography of the city. Significant bits of the city-centre are missing, though. For instance, it seems they couldn’t get anywhere near Aston University or BIAD, despite the roads through the campus. BINS has managed to bag the first sighting of a Brummie cat on Street View. […]

Maps that remember and forget

We need to re-invent online/mobile maps. Who knew? But I do like this idea… “…designers are toying with how time could be visualised on top of a traditional map by ‘spiraling out’ from the search area, so a search within central San Francisco would reveal a three-dimensional spiral into space that lets the user navigate […]

BIAD student sells book set to the Tate

BIAD students report on a successful 12th Artists’ Book Fair, including the thrill of selling a complete set to the Tate collection from their stall. “I think it would be interesting to see if we could with the help of the library at Gosta [Green] build our own collection? Wouldn’t that be even more inspirational!”

Cloud Studies

As the Spring and the sunshine bring the British Isles some spectacular daytime clouds and skyscapes; my selection of texts on the art, culture and history of looking at the clouds.

iPhone street paintings

The iPhone as artistic tool.

Sikh cyber museum

The Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham has a new website giving an overview of Anglo-Sikh history. Part of the website is an essay on the history of “Sikhs in Birmingham“.

Art in America

Art in America, online at last.

THES on eccentric academics

The Times Higher Educational Supplement on the decline of obsessive eccentricity in UK higher education …. … a stress on “perseverance and sociability at the expense of intelligence and creativity” has had the effect of excluding the “brilliant, impulsive, inspired, antisocial oddballs”. […] creativity of genius level usually needs high IQ and moderately high […] […]

Google Book Search ripper

Google Book Downloader. Still in alpha, and with Google’s techies staging a fight-back, but it seems like one to watch.

Good news for BIAD

Good news for Birmingham City University and BIAD, following the recent UK-wide Research Assessment Exercise… “Birmingham Conservatoire was one of the top three music schools in the country and the best outside London. Art and Design was among the top 10 in the country and the best in the West Midlands. […] BCU’s [RAE] submission […]


Kalooga is a new Dutch search-engine for images. Rather than searching for individual images, it only looks for coherent sets / collections of images on the topic. On a few test searches for broad terms like “bananas”, it seems useful and fast.