Archive for July, 2009

“Bow before Todd!”

A Planet Elder Scrolls interview with Todd Howard, to celebrate 15 years of the Elder Scrolls series (Morrowind, Oblivion, etc). My widescreen screenshot was chosen to illustrate Morrowind, which is nice (it’s the one with the pack-gaur and the giant ‘shrooms) — although it should really come with a caption saying it’s from an installation […]

The Face of Flickr

Need to manage and visualise terabyes of complex data, streaming to your servers in real-time? Microsoft just released a free workflow/workbench application called Trident, originally tested with oceanography sensors but now released for wider use. I can think of a few possible applications for this sort of terascale visualisation software in the arts: how about […]

s-3D digicam in 2010?

Yum. An s-3D pocket digicam from Fuji, apparently slated for release in 2010… Although just bear in mind that we were also supposed to have the location-aware pocket digicam by now, which would automatically tag pictures with geo-location information — but, the last time I looked, technical problems seem to have squished it. Something similar […]

Managing decline

Two new “behind the scenes” reports on the crisis in British arts management, which should make interesting reading as the arts stares into the abyss of a seemingly inevitable 15% to 25% cut to public sector spending outside of the ‘protected areas’, possibly even eventually compounded by knock-on cuts to unemployment benefits. The first is […]

Flash off

For photographers who want to sell images online, PhotoShelter has surveyed 500 buyers and websites to figure out what buyers want in terms of usability. I’m sure you can guess at least one result. A whopping 96% of potential buyers hate seeing Flash. I’d assume these figures could also act as a guide for those […]

Adrift in the aether

Whatever happened to levitation?, asks Cabinet magazine.

Hoppy retrospective

John Hopkins has a photography retrospective in London (until 19th July). He’s been many things, including a pioneer of video. But the article doesn’t mention what was probably his most seminal and timely intervention in culture — as a key social connector nicknamed “Hoppy”, acting as the spark for the London scene of the early […]

95% fewer artists’ residencies

The Artists Information Company, in a recent (4th June) letter published in The Guardian, but seemingly not yet visible to Google… “Our research into artists’ employment in 2008 shows an 81% reduction in volume of openly offered work in October to December — 63% fewer commissions, 95% fewer residencies and no academic jobs listed. Factoring […]


Only working for New York, it seems, but OldMap is an interesting iPhone method for laying old street maps over contemporary locative media. Meanwhile, the BBC muses about the potential of the SatNav and the geo-located mobile phone to erode tacit local knowledges.

Unwrapping a fisheye

New life for old fisheyes. Adobe is working on a fisheye lens “unwrapper” feature for Photoshop CS5. (video). Or you could just build an aircraft-hangar sized viewing-chamber.

Face off

Ugh. The UK’s taxpayer-funded National Portrait Gallery is suing an individual Wikipedia user for uploading public images of Victorian-era paintings that are firmly in the public domain. Wikimedia and the Wikipedia Foundation rightly takes the stance that… “faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain, and that claims to the contrary […]

A review of The Witcher (2008 edition)

The Witcher Enhanced Edition (PC)(PC-only videogame, June 2008). I’m a six-foot mutant EuroMan with long white hair and a thing for tightly-laced leather. I can flip swords, slaughter ugly monsters, and er… collect pretty petals. And that’s my one and only character choice in The Witcher, a PC-only role-playing game from Poland. Want to play […]


You’re playing a new videogame, it’s starting to grow on you. And then you hit an impassable road-block because you forgot to pick up a game item six hours ago, and so you simply can’t progress. You find a huge thread on the developers’ forum, full of people complaining, and see that over 63,000 people […]

£3m for The Public

Arts Council England : West Midlands has reportedly signed off funding of £3-million for The Public, the ailing £72m West Bromwich arts centre. But the arts are to be sidelined, it seems. The local Sandwell Council says that under the new business strategy… “the gallery would be free to visitors and would no longer be […]

Etsy Midlanders

Etsy Midlanders is a new blog for UK Etsy sellers in the Midlands. They’re also running Handmade Saturday Markets at the Custard Factory in Birmingham this summer. For those who don’t know, Etsy is an open online marketplace where everything for sale has to be individually hand-made by the sellers. So Etsy has none of […]

A tangled web

Large public-sector websites are usually dismal and uncared-for places, but at least we know how much cash they get from the taxpayers. Not so in Birmingham, it seems. From Paul Dale’s Post blog… “Members of the finance scrutiny committee have been asking about delays in launching the new [Birmingham City Council] website for weeks and […]

PC Plus speed tests for Windows 7

The first magazine benchmark tests I’ve seen for Windows 7, and they’re from the venerable UK magazine PC Plus. Bear in mind that the magazine is testing a beta version rather than the final version of Windows 7… “Windows 7 delivered excellent results, beating or coming close to the performance of the lightweight XP in […]

The first Microsoft-ism

Oh dear. Everything was going wonderfully with Windows 7, and then I found a really dumb Microsoft-ism. They’ve removed the “Send/Receive” button in Windows Mail, to replace it with “Sync”. No more sending (but not downloading) e-mail — since Sync forces you to do both at once, every time. There are times when I want […]

Codus Sinaiticus

Brummies often launch tasty new websites, but this one certainly has something no-one else has. It contains the world’s oldest book, painstakingly pieced together over four years from fragments scattered across the world, under the direction of David Parker from the University of Birmingham… “The process of deciphering and transcribing the fragile pages of an […]

A Rea-l river

An exhibitions of photographs by Stuart Whipps, taken along Birmingham’s River Rea, are now on show at the Waterhall Gallery, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Rea: Photographs (all online at this link) is accompanied by…. “Specially commissioned poems by Birmingham’s past Poet Laureates…”