Archive:
Culture

John Bult: Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday

The story of one of the worst record covers of all time.

“During the photo shoot, Ted kept telling her to look serious, like her dad is talking to her,” Bult said. “But she just kept looking sad to me.”

When the final album was pressed, and Bult saw the finished product, he was livid.

Record player

Help! I’m becoming an audiophile

After years of dilly-dallying, I have finally bought myself a new record player. But I’m still not convinced vinyl provides the superior sound quality.

Secrets from the BBC newsroom

A delicious article by Robin Lustig. It recounts the time BBC Radio 4 newsreader Neil Sleat met “the ultimate challenge to his professional skills” with relish. His task? To pronounce the name Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele.

Meet the people who listen to podcasts at super-fast speeds

While commuting I normally listen to podcasts at 1.5× speed. Alex thinks I’m crazy for doing that. But my behaviour pales in comparison to some of what’s described here.

[Rachel Kenny] estimates that she listens to five to seven hours of podcasts a day (which equals 15 to 21 hours at normal speed), “so maybe 20 to 40 episodes a day or 100 to 250 a week,” she said. She tracks her listening habits on a spreadsheet.

I have never tried going faster than 1.5×, because I doubt I would find it enjoyable. For me, 1.5× sounds very normal. I have no trouble understanding and following anything (though music is jarring). In fact, when I find myself listening to familiar podcasts at 1× speed, it always sounds too slow.

Many of the podcasts I listen to are currently running ads from Bose imploring me to buy their headphones “to enjoy podcasts in even better sound quality”.

I have to say, when listening to a heavily compressed MP3 that has usually been recorded in a spare room by a semi-professional using budget domestic microphones, with their friend connected via a shaky Skype connection, while I am walking along a busy city street or riding a noisy bus… sound quality isn’t my top priority.

Something is wrong on the internet – James Bridle, Medium

This article uses kids’ video content as an example, but really it is about how we all consume all types of content. The same effects that are causing these weird YouTube videos to be created are driving clickbait culture generally.

The direction the internet is taking seems to be taking us down a disturbing path.

It’s always great to hear new music from the Focus Group. Stop-Motion Happening has more wronged-up sound collages of mis-remembered pasts. Here’s a clip.

Spooky Dunc

Everyone on Twitter is changing their names to be Halloween themed. This is the best I can come up with.

Radiohead at Trnsmt

Radiohead at Trnsmt were OK

I took the opportunity to see Radiohead when they played at Glasgow Green this summer as part of the Trnsmt festival. Even though they have been one of my favourite bands for over 15 years, I had never actually gone to see them before.

Can publishers just please stop it with all this video? I just declared bankruptcy on the long list of videos I told myself I was going to watch.

Probably only about 20% of links I click are worth my time. With videos, there is no good way of scanning to find out. You just have to sit through it to find out — by which time it’s too late.

Publishers find Google AMP loads too fast for ad views

For an insight into just how much of a mess publishers find themselves in, look no further than this article.

In effect, the user experience is almost too good, with content loading so fast that people scroll past the ads before they’ve been able to load, resulting in ads that aren’t deemed viewable…

“There are a variety of issues around AMP with ads, and the fact that AMP [editorial content] loads ‘too fast’ is definitely among them,” said a publishing exec.

For too many years, publishers have been actively making the user experience bad. When your business model is to make things harder for your customers, it’s time to radically rethink.

Quality counts.

Pleased to have got my hands on the new Autechre EP (for charidee). For some reason my Autechre release detection radar was switched off, and by the time I discovered it, it had sold out. I eventually tracked down some copies on Juno Records. One of 1,000 copies.

Job story format: When [_] I want to [_] so that [_]

How to improve your job stories

This month’s digital design digest features a couple of articles about getting the most out of job stories. Plus, promising news from the world of CSS, how the Guardian is increasing its subscriber numbers, and where government goes wrong with digital transformation.

Radio

Steve Hewlett

I was sad to hear this afternoon about the death of Steve Hewlett. His regular interviews with Eddie Mair about his cancer journey made for incredible radio.

Fail whale

Ten years of twitting about

In ten years, Twitter has transformed from a geek enclave to a mainstream form of communication. But I find it difficult to imagine signing up to Twitter today.

Radio

Passionate late night radio for the freaks

Excellent radio with a passion for the unusual: Steve Davis and Stewart Lee discussing their love of experimental music on the BBC, and the triumphant return of Iain Lee to late nights.

iPod playing a podcast

The year of the podcast

Just when it seemed as though podcasts would never break into the mainstream, 2014 seems to be the year they made it. Here are some of the podcasts that are currently floating my boat.

Flags of Papua New Guinea and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

PNG versus SVG

For years the debate has raged on. Which image file format is better: PNG or SVG? The Commonwealth Games gave us the chance to find out.

Snooker

The decline of snooker

I used to be riveted to snooker, as did 18.5 million viewers in 1985. Today I am indifferent and TV ratings are much reduced. What is behind snooker’s slump?

MediaCityUK

20 years of BBC Radio 5 Live

The BBC’s rolling news and sport station is now 20 years old. It has provided a lot of great memories. But it needs to sharpen up to safeguard its future.

Can web design really learn from brutalist architecture?

As a web designer with an interest in brutalist architecture, I was fascinated to read an article about what web designers can learn from brutalism. But perhaps instead of taking inspiration, perhaps the lessons are in what web designers should avoid.