tecznotes

Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Jul 29, 2006 11:42pm

krtek

Krtek is a 1950's/60's Czech cartoon that I remember rebroadcast on Nickelodeon's Pinwheel, a 1980's Sesame Street knockoff. Each episode is short, and enormously sweet. The cartoons are wordless:

The first episode of the cartoon was narrated, but Miler wanted the cartoon to be understood in every country of the world, so he decided to use his daughters as voice actors, reducing the speech to short non-figurative exclamations in order to express the mole's feelings and world perception.

There are six episodes to be found on YouTube:

The Mole and the Swallow

The Mole and Ornaments

The Mole and the Snail

The Mole and the Coal

The Mole and the Box

The Mole and the House

Jul 25, 2006 2:25pm

digg labs

Digg kicked Labs live 20 minutes ago. It's slow and intermittent, because it's being pounded right now. Anyway, go check it out - it's the first public release of our ongoing work with Digg over the past months, and we're proud and shaky.

Jul 22, 2006 7:33pm

none of the above

After trying out a bunch of bikes last week, I decided on a completely different one:

IRO Mark-V

Adam actually recommended this to me about a month ago, and I've been considering it while checking out other options. Pretty much everyone I talked to about it likes IRO a lot, or knows people who do. Adam hooked me up with a friend who let me try his, and I like it enough that I put down a deposit on one this morning at Montano Velo.

Mine will have some modifications: front and rear brakes, bullhorn handlebars, and a flip-flop hub so I can try riding fixed gear if I want.

Stay tuned for photos of my first injury!

Jul 21, 2006 1:26pm

blast from my past

Just saw this now:

I made that logo a little over ten years ago, shortly after subscribing to SFRaves with my first UC Berkeley e-mail account. It existed in a few variations, starting as a series of laminate designs for finding other list members at parties, to a run of 30 T-shirts I hand-screened for a July 1996 FnF event.

For a college freshman, SFR was an insanely great way to discover the richness of San Francisco and the east bay. It was like a private tour of the undersides and hidden structures of the area, visited and reimagined for eight hour stretches every weekend. Beaches, warehouses, new office spaces, former office spaces, dance studios, and roller rinks were all fair game. The dot-com surge of the late 90's brought this to a head, increasing the number of partygoer hopefuls while simultaneously taking favorite spots out of play. The cultural and economic shifts that made the SFLNC necessary eventually doomed the vitality and energy of raving into just another industry. Now that I've lived here long enough to have a longer view of the area and a basic understanding of how all the streets fit together, underground events provide less revelatory context than they once did. The only solution I can think of is to move someplace new and learn a new street grid, or carve out whatever piece of my frontal lobes is responsible for spatial reasoning so I get to rediscover everything all over again.

I haven't been subscribed to SFR for a long time now, but I still enjoy seeing stuff like this surface from time to time.

Jul 15, 2006 6:38pm

bicycles

I'm buying a new bike, and I'm not sure what to get. I want it to be single speed road bike, flip-flop hub a plus. I'm a sucker for simple-looking things, and will usually choose things based on lack of ornamentation. Half of my desire for a single-speed is a direct result of wanting a simpler, cleaner looking bike than the incorrectly-sized mass of cables and doodads I ride currently.

Here are the four I tried today, and a fifth that's out of my reach:

Cannondale Capo

Light. Frame feels very balloony: large, thin, sounds like a plastic kid-bat when tapped. Rides pretty well. Has this dopey "graf" design on the side that's kind of a turn-off, also 25% more money than the others.

Specialized Langster

Rides very, very well. Light, but solid in a way that the Capo was not. Strong favorite. Frame is painted like it's being marketed to skateboard kids, though the one on the Specialized site is a more tasteful black. Flip-flop hub is nice.

Bianchi San Jose

Feels heavy in comparison to the previous ones. Guy at the bike store says many of the employees own these, and that they're versatile and a great ride. Stylish in a 1980's tube sock sort of way, but I would probably buy narrower tires and clip pedals to replace the stock ones here.

Raleigh Rush Hour

Stylish dark grey. 57cm frame feels significantly smaller than the others - why? Pushing the pedals on this one makes me feel like I'm on point, instead of using the balls of my feet. Very uncomfortable, but if it's just the pedals this can be salvaged. Otherwise quite nice.

Jitensha Ebisu

I don't know why I walked into this store. These bikes are hand-made by master craftsmen in Berkeley, and the frames they have hanging in the windows are masterpieces of simplicity and strength. Easily 4x more expensive than the rest of the bikes on this page, like I'd even know the difference.

Jul 15, 2006 4:16pm

unbuilding

Oakland's Mandela Parkway, seen in Google Maps. This is the former site of the Nimitz freeway, a raised double-decker road that collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. At 24th street, the boundary between two satellite image sources simultaneously shows the park during construction and after construction (run-up title for this post: Schrodinger's Park). Hopefully, a hint of things to come if Google opens up layers of historical satellite images in Maps.

Jul 8, 2006 12:45pm

scanlines

Unexpected results from camera phones that scan the image field line-by-line, when used to photograph quickly-moving objects:

(Photo by MaciekSz)

Reminds me of an old project page on building digital cameras out of unused flatbed scanners, which featured the following gem:

Jul 5, 2006 2:32pm

people and the public

An excerpt from The Power Broker, Robert Caro's 1974 tombstone on Robert Moses:

Underlying Moses' strikingly strict policing for cleanliness in his parks was, Frances Perkins realized with "shock," deep distaste for the public that was using them. "He doesn't love the people," she was to say. "It used to shock me because he was doing all these things for the welfare of the people. ... He'd denounce the common people terribly. To him they were lousy, dirty people, throwing bottles all over Jones Beach. 'I'll get them! I'll teach them!' ... He loves the public, but not as people. The public is just the public. It's a great amorphous mass to him; it needs to be bathed, it needs to be aired, it needs recreation, but not for personal reasons - just to make it a better public."

I'm reading this to fill in some backstory to Death And Life Of Great American Cities. Aside from being a dramatic account of urban renewal and destruction, the world of the 1920's and 1930's is a perfect context for similar "social architecture" taking place on the web, right now. Net Neutrality, User Generated Content, and Social Software all gain historical continuity from this story. Perkins's quote above throws an especially harsh light on the ink spilled over (Stamen client) Digg, which is one of a few examples used by writers like Nick Carr and Scott Karp to demean the quality of user-submitted Digg stories, MySpace profiles, and blog entries.

The interwar years are fast-becoming one of my favorite historical periods all-around, partially because so many of the lessons of that time are being forgotten as that generation passes on.

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