7/18/13

KPV on Tumblr

My recreational web time had slipped into a rut and become wonky and work-like. With an appreciation of the mixing and mashing of images and cultural whatnot, I went in search of a counterweight--something fun but not too frivolous, someplace playful but minus the competition (and dickishness) that pervades many gaming communities. I eventually landed on Tumblr, a "micro-blogging" site that can satisfy the hunter/gatherer impulses familiar to eBay junkies and entertain with the light touch of Twitter. When compared to sites like Pinterest and Instagram, Tumblr's community seemed to post a broader and deeper array of stuff. It also skewed young and didn't shy away from grime. Sampling content that wasn't reaching me through other networks appealed to me, so I dove in.

Screenshot from the KPV archive
I'm not able to offer a complete guide or a deep analysis now, but here are a couple observations.

1) Tumblr’s design and image-heavy nature make international exchange easy. My blog consists of infrequent and idiosyncratic posts, attracting relatively few visitors. I know almost none of the people I 'follow' in real life and the same goes for those who follow me. While most come from North America, a surprising number are based elsewhere.
Google Analytics, visitor location and frequency, kungpowvoodo.tumblr.com, Nov. 2011-July 2013
2) The practice of viewing hundreds of images per day, liking/bookmarking a few, and then reblogging or posting even fewer can reveal latent aesthetic preferences over time. Below are examples of these heretofore hidden preferences and others who enjoy playing this 'match game.' Note my undeniable fondness for:

Portraits of people with roosters

All-girl chess parties (throughout the ages)

Teletubbies acting out Jason Bourne fan fiction
Politicians who don't know the rules of Fight Club

Crumbling oil rigs and abandoned castles
 Surprises
Graffiti written on metal
(Mike about 4:30 and I cut my hair for you)
See, I'm not the only one playing this game.

Some have even discovered evidence of past lives.

Other random notes
I don't wish to leave an idealized impression of Tumblr. I call the company out for being yet another data-harvesting machine here. Also, you can read about how the site has begun segregating its naughtier users here. Update: Tumblr has responded to the censoring NSFW criticism here.

Practical tips: Here's a brief post about Tumblr shortcuts. Scrolling through your dash with the J key (next post) and K key (previous post) rather than scrolling with a mouse is particularly useful. If you would like to view your 'liked' post in an archive-like view rather than a linear scroll, check out this project.

Photo sources from top to bottom, left to right: Rooster 1, Rooster 2, Rooster 3, Chess 1, Chess 2, Teletub 1, Teletub 2, Fight 1, Fight 2, Oil Rig, Castle, Boy, Cat, Door, Seat, Ancient Elvis, GPOYx2

2/9/12

Kodachrome

Kodachrome 2010, a short film describing the product's final days, explains why the film has such a distinctive look.


KODACHROME 2010 from Xander Robin on Vimeo. via Laughing Squid

I'm late to Kodachrome's farewell (manufacturing ceased in 2009 and processing ended in 2010), but coming across this short documentary seemed like reason enough to pull together a few snaps and other links.


credit: Ansel Adams via Fortune


credit: George Eastman House via The Atlantic


credit: unknown via Vintage Everyday


credit: unknown via Grapehouse



credit: Walker Evans via Fortune


credit: unknown via Grapehouse


credit: Mike Roberts via Fortune



The CBS News Morning Show's story.


The Daily Mail offers more a reporterly send-off here, including the obligatory Paul Simon song.

The Daily Kos assembles pre-WWII Kodachrome photos from the Library of Congress and the Charles Weever Cushman Collection here.

Photographer Steve McCurry shot 800,000 Kodachrome frames over the past four decades; Vanity Fair slide shows his last roll of the stuff here. And Kodak interviewed him about his transition from kodachrome to ektachrome here. Finally, National Geographic is there when he reconnects in 2002 with the subject of one of the most iconic Kodachrome photos ever.

1/12/12

Breaking Bad's POV shots

A compilation of point-of-view shots from the TV series Breaking Bad with a lovely soundtrack from Jonathan Elias.

via Laughing Squid via MetaFilter

p.s. Breaking Bad Valentine's Day Cards

1/11/12

The Groove Sketchpad

The Groove Sketchpad app ($5) is part of Native Instruments' line of iMaschine music sequencers.


via Technosoul

The power of this pocket-sized studio is impressive, but my excitement is tempered by the demographics of iPhone owners and the current width of the digital divide. Not to say this is a bad time to be a beat maker (or a maker of anything digital); it's just worth noting that gadgets considered ubiquitous or essential to some are still luxury items for others, if not out of reach.

The Sketchpad review below is less entertaining than the one above but easier to follow. For more on sequencers in general, click here.


1/24/12 Update: another Apple-based "machine" that looks cool.

DM1 - The Drum Machine for iPad - By Fingerlab from Fingerlab on Vimeo.

12/30/11

24

Earth's history on a 24 hour scale.


Source: G-100 Introductory Geology at University of Wisconsin via this isn't happiness.

12/28/11

NYT's Cascade Tool

The R&D Group at the The New York Times Company has created Cascade, a tool for tracking the impact of a story or post across the web.


NYT Labs - Cascade from Lucas Black-Dendle on Vimeo.

Via Future Journalism Project. For more about the R&D Group see the Neiman Journalism Lab's tour.

3rd & Mission, San Francisco


Looking south on 3rd Street from Mission Street in San Francisco, 1961 (top) and 2011 (bottom)

Taken 50 years apart, these two photos are almost unrecognizable as the same block. A close look at the blonde brick building on the left allows you to make the connection.

I'm not sure why I get such a kick from these 'then and now' comparisons. Imagining how the past became the present must spark something in the brain each time two dots are connected. And once your head is filled with pictures and stories and trivia, walking down that street is like walking down ten streets at the same time and any one of them can present itself, depending on your mood or what's happening.

(Thanks to OldSF.org for developing a fantastic tool to explore a large portion of the San Francisco Public Library's photo archive. The story of how their project came to be is an example of the volunteer spirit that makes the internet awesome.)

So what the story behind 3rd Street's transformation? How was this neighborhood south of San Francisco's financial district, one filled with rooming houses, pawnshops, bars, cafes, and parking lots redeveloped into an area of museums, fine hotels, large-scale retail, a convention center, a public garden, and a few pockets of affordable housing?

The SF Redevelopment Agency's summary of the 87-acre project seems rather flimsy. An historically rich account can be found in Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (see Map 12 and accompanying text, pp. 85-90).

Photographs from Ira Nowinski's No Vacancy and Ben Pease's map are folded together with Solnit's beautiful prose, including perspectives from Jack London, who was born near 3rd & Brannan in 1876, and Jack Kerouac, who lived near 3rd and Howard and worked at the trainyard at 4th and Towsend for spell during the 1950s.

To the left: a slice of Pease's map detailing the neighborhood's buildings and uses in 1960. Clicking the audio/media tab of the UC Press page leads to an audio interview with Solnit and UC Press Art Director Lia Tjandra about Infinite City.


12/18/11

The Dissident


"The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public, he offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin -- and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost."

-Vaclav Havel (5 October 1936 - 18 December 2011)

Via shake things up via fuck yeah eastern europe

More Havel: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty obit [video]; Tavaana interview [video] about being a dissident; text from the July 1995 speech The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World; and his wikipedia page