Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
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Most recent entries
- Steve Davies talk last night
- Emmanuel Todd links
- the Norlonto Review is back!
- There are cranes and there are cranes
- Savoy cat
- Spot the Samsung connection
- Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
- Cassette iPhone photographer
- Wedding photography (6): The Wedding and the Reception
- Testing again
- BMdotCOM insult of the day
- Views from the Hackney Wick station footbridge
- BMdotCOM mixed metaphor of the day
- Wedding photography (5): Photography!
- Phablet news
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
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we make money not art
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Category archive: How the mind works
One of the laws of life nowadays is that as soon as you buy your ideal gadget, an even more ideal version of it arrives, and you think, ooh, I wish I had waited and got that one instead.
Within weeks, or so it seemed, of me buying my Lumix Blah Blah 150, out pops the Lumix Blah Blah 200 which does everything the Lumix Blah Blah 150 does, but even more. In that case the improvement was photoing in low light, which is something I like to do quite a lot when photoing speakers at meetings, indoors.
And now, I buy a Google Nexus 4 Smartphone, which is okay, in fact very okay. But this looks even better, this being a Samsung Blah Blah, which is a smartphone, but with a substantially bigger screen. The Google Nexus 4 is Google’s answer to the question: What is now a great Smartphone? A smartphone being the size of regular Smartphone. Samsung, on the other hand, asked the question: What is the maximum size of screen a Smartphone can reasonably have? Which I think is a better question.
Here is a picture that shows the difference. On the left is a regular Samsung smartphone, which is the exact same size as my Google Nexus 4. On the right is the new Samsung Blah Blah, which is a smartphone, but bigger.
Although I can get typing done happily when I am out and about, I have to admit that a bigger screen would be better. That way you get a smartphone and a tablet. A “phablet”.
I first set eyes on this Samsung Phablet the night before last, when I attended a meeting also attended by a friend of mine who already had one, despite the fact that this particular phablet has yet to be launched in the UK. He showed it to us. I was impressed. His was bigger than mine.
A recent piece about this Samsung Phablet (sorry – have forgotten where this was) said: Who the hell wants a smartphone this big? Well, I do. Better for typing, better for reading books, better for everything, and well within my geriatric weight limit.
The thing is, you want everything done when you are out and about with one machine. What you (by which I mean I) do not want is to be lugging around a phone and a “tablet”, which is why tablets are a no-no for me, as yet, unless you go for something like this. This Phablet changes that completely.
Despite me having missed this particular bus this time around, I really hope that this phablet formula catches on. The good news for me is that the Samsung Phablet now costs around four hundred quid, and I paid only a bit over two hundred for my Google Nexus 4. But with luck, phablets will soon be only two hundred quid, and I will be able to buy one with a total cost to me of buying a phablet now. And of course the two hundred quid phablet in a year’s time will be a year better than the phablet is now.
And note this. If Rob Fisher is right (I think he is) about what a good idea it is for all your computing to be done with the same little box of tricks, this phablet, being bigger than the smartphone, will accommodate more tricks.
To anyone who says, but talking into this gadget would be ridiculous, I reply: no, it would not. I might look ridiculous to you, but I do not care what looks ridiculous to you, only what actually is – or, in this case, is not - ridiculous for me.
The same rule applies to taking pictures with a tablet. Does this look silly to people to whom it looks silly? Yes. Does it make sense to those who now do this? Yes, perfect sense. Get used to it. Photoing with tablets is here to stay. Ditto photoing with phablets, when people start doing that.
Here are a couple more pictures of smartphone-tablet-phablet related kit that I encountered while trying to learn more about the Samsung Phablet. First, a gadget for combining a smartphone and a pair of binoculars:
This is not yet a thing you can buy. Watch the video there and you will learn that so far this is just an idea, which is still at the stage of soliciting investment.
And here is a picture of a zoom lens that you can attach to a tablet.
This seems like a slightly better idea. But what do I know?
The person writing the article with this picture at the top of it does the usual this-looks-ridiculous routine. But personally (see above) I don’t think it is ridiculous.
I really hope I get to see someone doing this, and photo them myself, before cameras inside tablets get to be so good that you don’t need to shove more lenses on them from outside.
Inevitably, this blog, if it persists much longer, will become more and more concerned with the experience of getting old, this being one such posting.
As you get older, you “sort of” know more and more things. You don’t know them properly. But nor do you entirely not know them. You sort of know them. You once did know them, or think that maybe you once did know them. Yeah, I remember reading about that, way back when I read about it. I think. I’d forgotten it. But now that you mention it, I sort of remember it.
Here is a fact that I sort of know, which is that in the Isle of Man, proper Isle of Man cats (as opposed, I presume, to the imports) have no tails, as this picture illustrates:
That’s one of a collection of facts about the Isle of Mann.
The title of the piece is Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Isle Of Man (But Were Too Afraid To Ask). I don’t know about you for sure, but guess that, like me, you are becoming rather tired of this lazy old joke, having read it before far too many times. Why would anyone be afraid to ask about cats not having tails on the Isle of Man? About diseased vaginas, dangerous government agencies with scary reputations, illegal drugs of various sorts and how to buy them, yes, you might be afraid to ask about those, even as you might want to know about such things. But about whether cats on the Isle of Man have tails? What’s scary about that?
Besides which, there might be a great many other things you might also want to know about the Isle of Man, besides the things on this list, such as how much it costs to fly there from London, whether it has nice but cheap hotels, how good the buses and taxis are, and so on and so forth. So, not necessarily “everything” by any means.
And further besides which, these are not really things you’d ask about, unless you already sort of knew about them. If you did not know the sort of things on this list, you wouldn’t think to ask.
Despite which, thanks to 6000 for mentioning this list. If it had just called itself an Isle of Man Interesting Fact List, it would have been entirely excellent.
Another symptom of getting old is when you start out a blog posting saying it’s going to be about thing A, but by the end it’s about some other and completely different thing.
Bookshops are doomed, if my behaviour is anything to go by.
I treat them not as shops, but as showrooms. In them, I inspect potential purchases. Then I go home and see what Amazon will charge for anything I see that looks interesting.
A bookshop is not the only place for me to look for books of interest, but it is definitely one such place. The books in bookshops tend to be the more popular titles. This appeals to me for two reasons. First, popular titles tend to be quite good, and are seldom totally bad. Second, popular titles plug me into what the rest of middlebrow England is reading. I thus break out of the libertarian ghetto which I mostly inhabit when internetting. Even if a book is total rubbish, it’s still total rubbish that many are reading, and in that sense worth me reading.
When in bookshops, I used to jot down titles of interest. Now I merely take photos. Digital cameras are not just for taking pictures. They are also for taking notes.
Here are last Sunday evening’s notes, snapped in the big W. H. Smith at Victoria Station:
In each case, click on each picture to get to the Amazon spiel about it.
It may well be that, given Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price offers, one could, in this or that instance, get a better deal for this or that combination of books than one might on Amazon. But Amazon is the way to bet. You occasionally miss out on small savings with Amazon, but you quite often get larger savings, so you end up well ahead. In this case, the big Amazon bargain turned out to be the Bryson book, which cost 1p plus postage (= £2.81). All that is required is a little patience.
The most expensive of these books, even after Amazon had worked its price magic, was the one about 1216. But I still ordered that one. It sounds really interesting.
Great as the impact of Amazon has been on the new books market, I surmise that its impact on the not-so-new book market has been downright epoch-making. (That Bryson book is not so new, having been released in 2011.) Indeed, I surmise that Amazon has created a huge second hand book market where no such market previously existed.
But this too impinges on the bookshop business, because the big cost of books these days is as much reading time as reading money. If people spend time reading somewhat ancient books that they like, they have less time for the latest titles, as sold in bookshops.
A few years back, I got interested in Ian Rankin’s Rebus books. I read one, liked it a lot, and decided to read them all, in order. Why? Because, thanks to Amazon, I could. For a lot less than a fiver a go, I got Amazon to send me second hand copies of every Rebus I didn’t already have. I don’t see how I could have done this satisfactorily without Amazon.
See also: public libraries.
Also, impact of digital photography on trade, discuss. I’m thinking of how much easier it is to sell something to a stranger, by post, if you can cheaply show them a photo, or even several photos. Very cheaply. The marginal cost of digital photography is: zero. Impact of digital photography on trade: epoch-making. With books, you pretty much know what you will get. But, a frock? An item of furniture? Without even a photo, forget it. With photos, you’re in business. Which is more terrible news for shops.
As has already been reported here, I have been reading Pride and Prejudice on my Google Nexus 4 ultra-mobile computer-with-phone. And, in Chapter X of this book, I read this:
My highlighted version of that last sentence being:
“As for your Elizabeth’s picture, you must not attempt to have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?”
So, in Jane Austen time, painters “took” pictures.
I thought that was only photographers. There does seem, does there not?, to be something peculiarly apt about a photographer “taking” a picture. After all, you could only “take” a picture with one click of a mechanical button, as I just did of my Google Nexus 4 with my Panasonic Lumix FZ150, if the picture was in some basic sense already there for the taking, in its entirety. “Take” gets across the difference between photoing someone and painting a portrait of them, by which I mean “making” a portrait.
Perhaps this “take” usage, to describe portrait painting, declined when the painters stopped claiming to produce what we now call photographic likenesses, and, under the competitive influence of actual photography, began to “make” pictures of people, the whole point of and the whole justification of which was that a mere camera could absolutely not “take” such pictures. Such paintings are made, not taken. To accuse a painter of “taking” a picture would be to accuse him of adding nothing.
When I have a longish spell of silence, such as the one that has just ended lasting ten days, my problem is that I keep thinking that another day won’t hurt, and that when I return, I must do so with a big bang, i.e. a brilliantly big or important posting. Which causes the spell of silence to prolong itself even more.
So instead, what I eventually do is just shove up any old thing, such as this photo, this one photo (easily done), which I recently took near the Houses of Parliament:
What I like is that I am so very obviously in it, in the form of my shadow.
This sort of picture explains why it is so very useful for me not to be using a viewfinder, but instead a twiddly screen such as all cameras I ever buy always have. They think I’m just looking at previous pictures, but I’m not. I’m taking my next picture. Of them. And using only one hand, which adds to the impression of me not taking a photo.
You see people taking pictures with smart phones more and more these days.
This morning, in bed, I pondered the extreme contrast in meaning of the expressions “settle up” and “settle down”. They are not opposites on the same scale, in the manner of “talk up” and “talk down”. They are two completely different expressions.
Having now woken up (again) and got up, I continue to ponder the ups and downs of the English language. What, if anything, might “woken down” mean?
“Fed up” means fed up, yet is seemingly unrelated to merely being fed. “Fed down” means very little, unless you are doing something like feeding a wire down a hole.
“Look down” is clear enough. But “look up” means three almost unrelated things. You can look at the ceiling. You can look up a word. And things can be looking up. In version one of this paragraph, look up only meant two things, but then I realised there was a third. Perhaps there are others.
“Kneel down” exists as an expression. “Kneel up” does not, but ought to, to describe that particular other sort of kneeling.
Out of doors in England, there are “downs”, but no “ups”. Often downs are further up than the regular landscape. The South Downs are hills, are they not?
How difficult it must be to be foreign, and to have to bone up on all this.
Here is another for the Digital Photography Imitates Art collection. I encountered this scene in the Tachbrook Street Market earlier this week, off Warwick Way, just as they were tidying up at the end of their afternoon.
I am sure the guy in the van clocked me as more than somewhat of a perv, but in my opinion photographic talent has a large dose of not caring what others think of you while you’re taking the picture, and another big dose of caring only about the picture.
So here it is:
It was only when I got home that I realised that I had one of those now-you-see-it-this-way-now-you-see-it-that-way pictures. One moment, I am seeing this as the back of a headless, legless, nude mannequin, which is what it was. Next thing I know, I am seeing it as the front of a headless, legless, nude mannequin, but very weirdly lit (from below) and very badly photoshopped into the picture, with strange white lines around it where a much less obvious join ought to be, which is what it was not, but still I see that. Do you agree? Course you do.
Here are two more snaps, just to show more unambiguously what was going on:
I think it’s the superior road surface that makes all this look like art. If it had merely been somewhat crumbly tarmac, it just would have been a few coat rails and a mannequin. Not art at all.
“Grubbings” is a word I inherited from my late father, along with his fondness for the thing that grubbings describes. Grubbings are big building projects in their early, especially below ground level, stage, when they are … well: grubbing, rather than building upwards. My father loved grubbings, and so do I.
It’s often hard to photo grubbings, because they often put a high fence around them and there’s no convenient high-up spot nearby to look over. But at this site, you can climb up some steps (top left) to a Centre Point entrance on the first floor, and photo through the mesh that you see in most of the other pictures.
Even with the internet, it can be hard to know how these kind of things are going to end up. Okay, here are these computer fakes of how they had in mind two years ago for it to be, but who knows if that’s still what they’re thinking.
There is also the fact that there are often so many images of how, at various stages in the design, they envisaged things looking, that it’s hard for a more casual onlooker to keep up. Simpler to just wait and see.
It reminds me of how the Brits confused the Argies during that Brits versus Argies war. Instead of not telling the Argies their plan, the Brits did tell the Argies their plan, and all the other plans the Brits might just as likely be following. The British newspapers were full to the brim with every imaginable plan. And the Argies were baffled, trapped in the headlights of too much information, all of it suspect of course. That’s sometimes how I feel when trying (admittedly not very hard) to find out how some big grubbings in a big city like London are going to end up looking.
Recently I recycled, at Samizdata, some thoughts about Art from favourite blogger of mine Mick Hartley.
On the subject of “as found” art, the sort when it’s Art entirely because the Artist says so, without having done anything else himself besides stick the thing in an Art gallery, Hartley said this:
The logical conclusion to this line of thinking would be that if anything can be art if its maker wishes it to be art, then anything or everything can be art – and we don’t need artists any more. Curiously this is an argument that artists themselves seem reluctant to make.
I just know that there is a connection between what Hartley says there, and Hartley’s (and my) habit of taking photos (and showing the photos of others) of industrial clutter, outdoor gadgetry (such as the communications kit you see on roofs), decaying infrastructure, etc., that resembles abstract art.
The point of such pictures is that you do not only perceive the objects you are photo-ing as things doing a job of some kind, that is, the way their original creators mostly, presumably, perceived them. You see them almost as disembodied effects, quite distinct from what the kit was originally built for, and often no longer even seeing what the objects once were or still are. You see them the way you see abstract art.
(Related to all this is that I like cranes, but what I really like is how they look (like very superior sculpture), rather than: how they work, which is best, which sort does what, etc. (Here is a Hartley crane snap I just found.))
I say you see all this stuff “almost” as disembodied effects. But I think a lot of the fun is that you can also see what they are originally, even as you observe their aesthetic pleasingness or oddity, or resemblance to some particular work of art or type of art. The pleasure you get is a bit like with those pictures which could be two different things, like an old ugly woman or a beautiful young woman, depending on whether you see that bit as an arm or a nose, or whatever. Is it what it merely “is”? Or is it Art?
Hartley is particularly fond of bright colour effects. As are many more recent sculptors.
In connection with all this, here are four snaps taken by me on Tuesday Feb 19th, when I went on a trip to check out Blythe Hill Fields:
Top left was taken on the way, through a train window. Bottom right was taken on the way home, at Whitechapel tube. The other two were taken in the Blythe Hill Fields vicinity.
Those Artists surely do still have a role in all this, because we photographers of abstract-art-like stuff are responding to their challenges. We are saying: We don’t need you. We can see our own Art, thank you. Mondrian rectangles? I’ll give you rectangles. Big crazy sculptures made of industrial waste? Why not photo … industrial waste? And so on. We are both acknowledging the power of and (some of us – like me and Hartley) seeking to diminish the power of the Artists.
The artists have been telling the rest of us to see and enjoy the real world in new and interesting ways, and we are doing that. They started this.
The question is not so much: Are the Artists necessary? They have been, to the process I have described. But: Can they stay ahead? Can they keep on setting new challenges, or do I and Mick Hartley and all the other As Found Art photoers end up being our own artists?
I am groping my way into this subject. The above may be a muddle. But there is something interesting in among all this, I think.
A final Hartley photographic link that also seems relevant.
I recommend trawling back through his blog, as I just did.
LATER: And, as if he’s determined to illustrate all of the above further, there is now this.
While I was on that Waterloo Station upper deck, I espied a couple of adverts next to each other, put out by this organisation.
Here they are together:
And here they each are separately, for you to click on to get them well and truly readable:
Okay, I accept these challenges, and will respond.
The left hand one is a variant on the theme of “a billion people can’t be wrong”. Yes they can. Why has the Qur’an remained unchanged? There are any number of reasons why that would happen, other than what they are trying to say, which is that it is all true. Because it is an object of unthinking worship, rather than of serious study? (Remember that the memorising of it is often done by people who have no idea what they are saying, merely reproducing sounds.) Because people have been too scared to challenge it? Because Islam remains stuck in the seventh century, and unthinking bigotry is built into it?
Science, which the second advert seeks to argue was pre-echoed by the Qur’an, has changed over and over again. And this is a sign of science’s intellectual seriousness and intellectual vitality. Lack of change, century after century, signifies the opposite.
As for the claim of the Qur’an to be science before science, the real theory of the big bang is but the conceptual tip of an intellectual iceberg consisting of a ton of evidence and interpretation, and it is the latter that gives science its force. Science is not merely true. It explains why it is true. It argues about whether it is true. And consequently it gets ever more true. Islam is no truer now than it was thirteen centuries ago.
The good news here is that the claim that the Qur’an is as scientific as real science is a huge concession to the acknowledged intellectual superiority of science. “We have been right all along, and science proves it!” But if they really thought that the Qur’an was the last word on everything, they wouldn’t be dragging science in to back the claim up. Science would be ignored.
But they know that they cannot now ignore science. Science is a challenge they know they have to respond to. On account of it being so much truer and so much better at getting at more truth than the unchanging and unchangeable incantations that they are stuck with.
Next last Thursday photo I want to show you:
Clock on the left to get the same photo bigger. Click all you want on the right, but that price is as big as it’s going to get, which I am sure you will agree is just as well.
Perry de Havilland collects hippos, likes hippos, etc., and I am always on the lookout for cheap hippos for him. If you do a Samizdata posting, and forget to specify any categories, the posting is categorised as being about “hippos”. Arf, arf.
But hippos are hard to come by, as already noted in this earlier posting. For less than something like £980 I mean. This frustrates me, because Perry is a hard man to buy presents for. It also surprises me. Hippos are fun animals, surely.
The BBC thinks so. It features hippos in one of its intro-videos, the one where a bunch of hippos swim around in a circle. Even though they never swim, so QI says. They just skip along the bottom, which looks like swimming only if the water is the right depth.
I should have photoed the shop name, but forgot to. Sorry shop.
Yesterday, I lived my life, but I am determined, having started, to finish telling you about last Thursday.
So, okay, I have now arrived at Westminster Tube Station.
Most tube stations consist of lots of underground tubes, not just for the trains but also for the people. Westminster Tube Station is different.
In its original form, it was a regular tube station, made entirely out of tubes. But then they built Portcullis House across the road from Big Ben and Parliament, the one with the giant chimneys on top, where MPs now have vast new quantities of office space to wreak their havoc. Many think powerful MPs are a good thing, because they will “hold the executive to account” better, but what they mostly now do is nag the executive to bite off more and more unchewable activity, and complain if the executive ever doesn’t.
While they were building Portcullis House, they combined that with doing a total rebuild of the tube station right underneath it.
And this time around, instead of grubbing about in the ground like moles, they just dug a huge, huge hole, like they do when building any other new building. Just deeper.
As a result, the process of getting from station entrance to train, or from train to train (what with the station now being an interchange between the District and Circle Line, and the newer Jubilee Line - which is the one I was taking), is as dramatic and theatrical as battling through a regular tube station is grim and demeaning and demoralising. At Westminster Tube, you now go up and down inside a huge open space, like a department store with no stuff in it, and grey rather than all spangly and coloured. I love it, even though it has a decidedly fascist feel to it, maybe even because it has a decidedly fascist feel to it. At least its stylish fascism, rather than just lumpy and cloddish. But mainly, I think I love it because it is so different from a regular tube station.
While there last Thursday, I only took one shot, namely this:
Had I known I was on a Blogged Odyssey, I would have taken many more shots, of all that dramatic open space with science fictiony structure in among it, supporting the building above and the escalators within, but on Thursday all I thought I was doing was taking the tube. I would have taken shots like the ones here. Someone really should set a movie gun fight in this place, don’t you think? Perhaps they already have.
As for my picture above, it puzzled me for a while. At first I thought the right-way-round Westminster tube sign was some kind of double reflection, but there is only one sheet of glass involved, so it can’t be that. In the end I cracked it, metaphorically speaking. The Westminster tube sign is where it seems to be, but how it looks is confused by the reflection of the wall behind me. It looks like the sign is projected onto the wall. In fact, the wall behind me is projected onto the sign. To the left, you can see the regular wall that the tube sign is actually attached to.
That white circular thing behind me, actually a fire hose I think, looks like a full moon.
Once again, I fear most may not care. But photographed reflections are a thing of mine.
And the first thing I photoed yesterday was newspaper headlines, about Britain’s Envy-of-the-World NHS. Those first three were literally the first three snaps I took yesterday, and the last one was photoed later, at London Bridge Station, more about which later, I hope.
Read, and be amazed:
I honestly cannot remember a day when Britain’s NHS has ever, ever had a worst press than it had yesterday. (The same stories had been all over the telly on Wednesday evening also.)
I hope to write at greater length at Samizdata about these dramas, connecting it to my Alpha Graphs stuff, but promise nothing
The basic idea being that a nationalised industry collapses not when it merely starts deteriorating, but only when it is deteriorating so fast that a switch to the free market, although horrible, would be no worse even in the short run. And of course massively better in the long run. But it’s the short run that matters because it is during that short run that you or your elderly loved one dies, through being left out in a corridor or some such horror.
Libertarians are prone to assume that things like the NHS are untouchable, merely because people continue to swear by them when they are getting only somewhat worse. Brainwashed fools! They will never see sense! But they are seeing sense. And then suddenly, to the amazement of libertarians, they do suddenly see sense. Actually, just a bit more sense, along with the sense they had already been seeing.
See also: collapse of the USSR.
The NHS has a bit of a way to go before it folds, because people are still at the stage, as you can tell from these headlines, of thinking that sacking the Boss and installing a New Boss would turn things around. But, any year now ...
When you want to write a big old piece about Something Important, it’s not a bad idea for a blogger to rip out a little piece about it in the meantime, in a single figure number of minutes. That at least gets the meme out there and gives it a chance to propagate, even if a bigger piece at Samizdata would do that better.
That’s the headline, but really, all that the cats are doing is killing off a few endangered bird species.
I guess people get so used to saying that something is both destroying the planet and meanwhile killing a few endangered species, that if all that it’s really doing is killing a few endangered species, it must also be destroying the planet.
At exactly the time when I started getting un-ill yesterday afternoon, but moments before I realised it, Michael Jennings rang to ask my opinion, about photos on Samizdata. Still believing myself to be ill, as perhaps I still was at that precise moment, I cut him short. Now, here is an answer.
My opinion is that photos, lightly sprinkled on a blog, send an important message to readers beyond the obvious one that here is a medal, or a strange toy airplane, or a funny media mistake, or whatever. That message is: this blog is something the people who do it care about. Shoving up text is the easiest thing in the world, but adding a photo requires a bit of pausing and considering. These people want their blog to catch your eye as well as your mind. They are putting themselves about a bit. Not only is this blog regularly updated, it looks regularly updated. Even if you don’t read this, others will.
But as those three links illustrate, there have been rather a lot of photos on Samizdata lately, and there is a danger that it will look like photos are being used as a substitute for thought rather than being a mere signifier of blogging seriousness. Besides which, the mystery of sticking up photos is hardly much of a mystery any more, is it? Most people know that sticking up photos is now as easy as sticking up words.
What Michael was asking about, before I told him I was ill and to postpone it, was, in particular, or so I surmise, photos like the one this sign, and like these ones of Samizdata jollification over Christmas. What do I think of those?
Well, they are clever. Notice how, if you narrow your window, to the point where the text rearranges itself to fit in a narrower column, the photo also narrows itself. Cute. Well, I’m impressed. I’m guessing that’s especially good for Samizdata accommodating itself onto smaller media like tablets and smart phones, which (commenters say) the new set-up does very well. These big new photos are also the result of Samizdata having become more tablet- and phone-friendly, because a tablet is where Michael has been doing them from?
The trouble is, however, that by making photos expand to fit the space available for their display, you risk (I think) making photos look like the point of the whole exercise. They cease to be mere seasoning, and become the meal. So, much as I like the expanding and contracting thing, I think that these potentially very big photos would be better if smaller, with the option to expand but not the routine habit of doing this.
Samizdata is all about concepts. It is about, as Perry de Havilland never tires of saying, the metacontext. For that you need words. Even if many of those words don’t get read or are only skimmed over, it needs to be clear that, at Samizdata, it is in the words that the real message is to be found.
Does that answer what was going to be your question, Michael?
At least the whispered question of a few months back, about whether Samizdata is dying, is now well and truly answered. No. (The comments on that posting now make even more interesting reading than they did when posted.) Perry de Havilland may not have written that much lately, but as a leader he remains very much in place and swinging. The makeover proves this.
Here, it doesn’t matter what I do about pictures. This is a kitten blog.