Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Design

Monday April 21 2014

Indeed:

image

Follow the link above, and you’ll read the headline “China build the World’s Longest Bridge - Jiaozhou Bay Bridge”.  But bridges like this, across huge chunks of sea and with hugely long approaches over that sea, are fairly common now, even if this particular one happens to be the biggest in this genre, for the moment.  The photo has it right.  The bridge is just another bridge, and is rightly stuck away in the distance.  The motorway junction is in the foreground, and quite right too.  Is there, anywhere else on the planet, a motorway junction resembling this one, all at sea?

Ordinary bridge, astonishing approach.  Reminds me of this.

Friday April 18 2014

So I was in Lower Marsh this afternoon, where I photographed this:

image

Odd.  Why are most of them red, but two of them blue?  And why are the three to the top right seemingly not properly aligned?

At first I thought I was looking at a flock of birdcages. But following closer inspection, of the things themselves and of the photos I took of them, my bet now would be that these are light sockets, and that they will very soon be covered by a giant illuminated arrow, pointing towards the entrance to a new cafe.  But this is only a guess.

I know that you are all now very excited about this.  So, I will be sure to keep you informed, with further photos and reportage.

Wednesday April 16 2014

The pictures below were taken on April 16th 2004, in (on?) one of my regular snapping zones, Westminster Bridge, from which, then as now, you get great views of both Parliament and the Wheel, depending on which way you look.

Most of the things I was photoing then haven’t changed that much, but … I was just then starting to realise that my fellow digital photographers were an object worthy of my detailed and prolonged attention, which they have been ever since.  That summer of 2004 was the moment when I first got seriously stuck into this category of photo.  There are still lots of pictures of people just wandering around, being people.  But, the photographers were just tarting to figure strongly in the archives.  It took me a while to realise that the cameras mattered at least as much as the people using them, that aspect getting steadily easier as zoom got zoomier.

The privacy concerns associated with just shoving recognisable pictures of strangers up on the internet have only grown since then, but I reckon that pictures this old are not such a problem in that way.  Recognisable pictures taken yesterday, that I tend not to do these days, or not so much.  But pictures of people taken a decade ago, well, I’m more relaxed about that.

The little squares zoom in on the cameras.  Click and get the original pictures as taken that afternoon, which would appear to have been exactly as sunny as today is.

Enjoy:

image image imageimage image imageimage image image

Mostly silver rather than black, mostly much bulkier than the equivalent cameras look now.  But of course there is one exception to all that.  Picture 3.1 shows a kind of camera that looked then pretty much exactly as it looks now.  Black.  Shaped like an old school camera.  These are the cameras that are actually just regular quite good digital cameras, but which enable you think of yourself as the beginnings of a Real Photographer.  My kind of camera, in other words.  Cameras in this category look now exactly as they looked then.  Nothing has changed with those.

Except what they can do.

Sunday April 13 2014

Literally about three people whom I spoke with at LLFF14 may now or soon be flooding in to BrianMicklethwait.com, expecting, perhaps, libertarian profundities.  But this is not that sort of place, is it?  No it is not.

Here, I do things like display photos of London, like this:

image image

On the left, a shot taken by me on May 19th 2004, showing how Vauxhall bus station looked when it was under construction.  On the right, how the same building looked when completed, photoed by me last Christmas Eve.

What a very odd object this is.

The 2004 photo was taken with my second digital camera, which was a Canon PowerShot A70.

Friday March 07 2014

Incoming from 6000, aware of my Feline Friday habit, about a 16th century plan to use cats and doves as weapons of war:

image

Asking for trouble, I’d say.

Thus encouraged on the cat front, I went looking for other weird stuff, in the cat category.

I found this, which is a camera decorated with a logo that is part Hello Kitty and part Playboy Bunny.  Weird:

image

I guess the Kitty is wearing those big pretend rabbit ears.

And weirdest of all, beauty bloggers are decorating cat claws:

image

It seems that doing crazy things with cats is a permanent part of the human condition.  Although to be fair, the excuse for the pink claws above is that they stop your cat from scratching the furniture.  And I suppose making them brightly coloured means you can see at once if the cat is wearing them, or has managed to get rid of some of them.

In the latest manifestation of the original Friday ephemera, there are no cats.  Not this time.  But 6000 included the weaponised cat notion in an ephemeral collection of his own.  His final ephemeron was an octopus photo.  That also just about qualifies as feline, if you focus on the final three letters.

Sunday March 02 2014

From the Preface of Christopher Barnatt’s 3D Printing: The Next Industrial Revolution:

Within a decade or so, it is likely that a fair proportion of our new possessions will be printed on demand in a local factory, in a retail outlet, or on a personal 3D printer in our own home. Some objects may also be stored and transported in a digital format, before being retrieved from the Internet just as music, video and apps are downloaded today. While the required technology to allow this to happen is still in its infancy, 3D printing is developing very rapidly indeed. Some people may tell you that 3D printing is currently being overhyped and will have little impact on industrial practices and our personal lives. Yet these are the same kinds of individuals who once told us that the Internet was no more than a flash in the pan, that online shopping would have no impact on traditional retail, and that very few people would ever carry a phone in their pocket.

In 1939 the first TV sets to go on sale in the United States were showcased at the World Fair in New York. These early TVs cost between $200 and $600 (or about the same as an automobile), and had rather fuzzy, five inch, black-and-white screens. Most of those who attended the World Fair subsequently dismissed television as a fad that would never catch on. After all, how many people could reasonably be expected to spend a large proportion of their time staring at a tiny, flickering image?

The mistake made by those who dismissed television in 1939 was to judge a revolutionary technology on the basis of its earliest manifestation. Around 7S years later, those who claim 3D printing to be no more than hype are, I think, in danger of making exactly the same error.

I’m guessing that what I saw in Currys PC World, Tottenham Court Road, was the 3D Printer equivalent of those “rather fuzzy, five inch, black-and-white screens”, at the New York World Fair, the first stumbling steps.

I haven’t read much of this book yet, but I have already learned one excellent application of 3D printing, which is to print not the Thing itself, but the mold for making the Thing.  You then make the Thing itself in the regular old way.  Clever.

LATER: Here is Barnatt’s description of that last thing (p. 9):

A particularly promising application of 3D printing is in the direct production of molds, or else of master ‘patterns’ from which final molds can be taken. For example, as we shall see in the next chapter, ‘3D sand casting’ is increasingly being used to print molds into which molten metals are then directly poured to create final components. As explained by ExOne - a pioneer in the manufacture of 3D printers for this purpose - by 3D printing sand casting molds, total production time can be reduced by 70 per cent, with a greater accuracy achieved and more intricate molds created. In fact, using 3D sand casting, single part molds can be formed that would be impossible to make by packing sand around a pattern object that would then need to be removed before the mold was filled with molten metal.

Like I say, clever.

My scanner turned “molds” into “maids” throughout that piece of scanning.  Not clever.

Friday February 28 2014

Yesterday evening, just as the place was closing, I spotted (and took bad photos of) a promising sofa, hiding in among lots of other clutter in something called the Futon Centre, in Tottenham Court Road:

image

Staff were trickling out the side door, even as I was seeing this for the first time.  Can I take a closer look, just for a second?  Yes, just a quick one, they said.  But, look on the website, they said.

So I did, and this is what I found:

image

Three hundred and fifty quid.  As you can see there is a choice of colours.  If on closer inspection (tomorrow?) I find that I like it, and that it is not too deep front-to-back, I am in the mood to take the hit.  After all, a sofa is for life, not just for the next few weeks, and I think I do like it already.  Deep it may be, deeper than I would like.  But almost all of the other sofas I’ve looked at are hideous monster sofas with arms on them like the arms of a person starring in a television show called Embarrassing Arms.  I already have a monster armed sofa like this and could not bear another.  Those arms are two extra people.

The question is: Can I get it up my stairs?  Because of Health and Safety the people who deliver it won’t do that.  How the hell does that make the world any safer?

Wish me luck.  If this suits, then I will win that fifty quid, in the limited sense of not having to give it to anyone else.

Sunday February 23 2014

Yes, I’m afraid I’ve been doing rather a lot of quota posting of late.

So anyway, here’s the link.

And here is the quota photo:

image

That’s actually one of my more favourite recent photos.  It was taken just before Christmas, in Twickenham, where Patrick Crozier lives, through the window of a shop where they sell … things like that.

I like the water on the window.

A quota post (with a quota link to a post about a post about a quota photo) and another quota photo
Vladivostock from above
When Open Symbol attacks!
Faberge - Brutalism
Seven London bridges from the ME Hotel Radio Bar
Photoing the A380 from above – from the ground
Big Thing news from New York and London - and a picture of climate alarmism losing
Sandcastles that will live for ever
The Tate Modern extension nears completion
Slightly wider tube trains
How hydrogen bombs work
Quota crane and quota plane
3D printer sighted!
Model Big Things
Scott Wiener on pizza boxes
In which I continue to seek a satisfactory sofa
Mercedes-Benz W123
Big Things and small things
Movable bridges
London Postcode Puzzle
La Porte des Indes
Gloomy Earl’s Court picture
Michael Jennings photos the bridges of Porto
Crows nest made of coat hangers
Conquer the Pillars of Islam
Dezeen continues to delight
Rob Fisher on old things not looking old
Proposed new footbridges for London and for Changsha
Sperm Bike
Halloween is near!
Otherwise blogging (and a Burgess Park butterfly)
Corrie Chipps pictures the Zimbabwe inflation
Bad and good in bad weather
Earn yourself fifty quid by finding me a suitable sofa
Huge semi-submersible ships
Art gallery made of scaffolding
Chess set made of London’s Big Things
London Gateway from above
Rob Fisher on the 3D printing future
A day in and around Olympicland with Goddaughter One
Quota photo of a bucket of plastic crocodiles in an otherwise deserted shop window in Oxford Street
Bridges for animals
New apostrophe-shaped footbridge in Hull
Views from Kings College
Blank-faced tower – crazy hairdo
An old Mini and a new Mini
Rooftops
Savoy cat
Spot the Samsung connection
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Cassette iPhone photographer
Wedding photography (4): Preparations
Remembering a warmer day
A mannequin in Tachbrook Street sheds light on the nature of perception
Lunch at Gessler at Daquise
Four crane photos
Michael Jennings - pictures of globalisation
Classical CDs from Gramex
At the bottom of the Shard
Monopoly Cat replaces Monopoly Iron
Skull made of skulls in gift shop street
Big London Things with clutter in the foreground
XXL?
A new crane has already arrived
Is Samizdata in danger of becoming a photo-blog?
Another thing I’d rather photo than own
Croydon cats
An afternoon in Croydon
Here are (a lot) more photos that I took on March 27th
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom internet headline of the day
Click to see the big picture
The Bezier Building and a hideous advertising erection at the Old Street Roundabout
Millbank Tower with street light
A memorable scoreboard surrounded by empty seats
Cheese or font?
Black Katz
Bomber Command Memorial pictures
Another excellent spot to photo London from
Crane and plane
Only railings
No Misc April – Misc May
Misc March
London bridge photos
Changing views from the Monument
The Big Olympic Thing from nearer
Bollards
A happy British Summer Time to all my readers
A Happy Christmas to all those still reading this
Space launch monster
Ancient and modern (but mostly ancient) cars in Regent Street yesterday
Transport photos
NFL fans and their name-and-number shirts in Trafalgar Square on Saturday
The Jobs difference
Notes to self but not to you
The Wheel reflected in a cheeseburger advert
Choosing a Clean Food Outlet in Lawas is as easy as ABC
Health and safety on a mountain in Borneo
The Royal Victoria Dock is not (but looks like) a transporter bridge
Misspelt (correction: Italian) signs of the times
On the superfluity of the Paddington Basin rolling bridge
Strange footbridge over brick wall
Rally Against Debt signs
Brainwave-controlled cat ears for humans created by Japanese Neurowear
Nil scrap value
Do not climb on the Thing!
The wedding lingers on
Another pub
The Armstrong Gun
Signs from the Frenchosphere
After the wedding
Even the Goodyear Blimp is now obsessed with safety
Big crane
And there was you thinking you were immortal
Someone doesn’t understand what I mean by roof clutter
Rugby shirts on drugs
Another Assembly of Men
The Big Dig and some smaller digging
Kyrgyzstan cemetery and awesome frogs
Signs - all in my bit of one railway carriage
Mmmmm … scaffolding!
New bridge in Melbourne
If you can’t beat them hire them
Raptor not being very stealthy
Old school advertising has its uses
Soviet health and safety posters
More signage
Giant bull held up by scaffolding
Bouncing bombs and spinning cricket balls
A Spanish high speed train bridge and a Spanish aqueduct
Lancaster
Cool sculpture
Jobs departs from Apple (again)
October 2007 conversation about modern architecture with Patrick Crozier
Marmite spoons!
Dawkins does better sound than God ever did
The new mainframe
A laptop but not in my lap
From pop to purrfume
Trust drunk and disorderly
The Brusio spiral viaduct also looks like a toy train layout
Arecibo Radio Telescope
Giant Jesuses
Adverts on taxis and cars
Sunset in Oxford Street
Rockets are a great improvement on balloons
Sexy architecture
Happy hundredth
Mmmmm … bookshelves!
Farnborough (4): Cat on teeshirt - insect on cat’s nose
Lynxes and an A380
Taranis
Exploitation?
Pink railway clutter
Big box computers versus laptops
Three Gorges Dam picture
Chair that unrolls into the exactly correct shape
More photos from last week
One child poster
Rubbish bridge in Shangai
Glass is now very strong
Car in in front of sloping houses
A good bit about the future of art galleries and how to rescue good bits
Airplanes converted into architecture
Apple keyboard remains excellent – iPhone software not so excellent
Six lions on a white Mercedes bonnet
Quota cat rubber
Cranes
Separating the men from the toys - the future of warfare and of sport?
Beyond iPad (and a picture that goes beyond this posting)
Two red cats
Quota bridge
Reds against Blues in Munich
Osprey pictures
London cricket roof clutter
Short posting (with short photo) about SpaceShipTwo
The Min-Kyu Choi folding three point plug
Strange purple cat with four eyes
Am I interested in dredgers?
Luxembourg church in hill and Luxembourg footbridge
Strange bridge
Apple mobile phones are very profitable but Nokia mobile phones are not very profitable
The decor in Peter Jones - and where in London can I find a small ice-cube-making machine?
Death to all who try to tiptoe past our guards while wearing giant baby costumes!
Today I bought an Apple Mac keyboard …
The Labour Party finally agrees on a new Prime Minister to replace Gordon Brown
Dripping table
Of lists and distant totally photorealistic skyscrapers
Pull Tab
Computer coffee table
Magic bottle that makes dirty water drinkable
The Wheel through some Art
Thinking thin at the top
The latest Canon DSLR comes without a twiddly screen
Inappropriate?
The Vita-Mix 5000 at the Veggie Show
A photo of the Samsung NC10 and the original Asus Eee-PC next to each other
PurseBook
Wheel etc.
Hotelicopter
Redesigned Bishop
Unamazing photo of amazing road
Olympus E-620
SwivelCam
Sailing photos – and another bridge for the collection
OLED TV - very thin and detailed but not very big and not ready yet unless you’re stupidly rich
SDXC
Generational taste in furniture
Random links
Making the new look and feel like the old
Evening Standard hand-done billboards go printed shock
Power
Englefield Green Xmas decor
Another antique
Old postage stamps
More Englefield Green strangeness
Jesus above the keyboard instead of beyond it
Big clocks
Not Billion Monkeys!
Linkin Park - one leg short of libertarian
Gadget gold
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
A movie staircase and a window
Sheep under wolf’s clothing
JD gets PTD
Redirect to a piece on Samizdata about a camera
Inamo
Redirect
The uses of Jesus
More sticking up stuff
City of London lumps and a south London spike
Profundity and silliness
My watch has to tell me the date as well as the time
Jellennium Bridge
Punk surveillance cameras
Craziness done with austerity
Ken Livingstone was beaten by the billboards!
Floppy road bridge where the cars nearly get wet
Narrow bridge
Catbrella
“I’ll build it with explosive bolts connecting the wings to the fuselage …”
Clarkson on Sarah Jessica Parker
The new Lowe look
What’s this for?
“If only it were true …”
The original Burtynsky Nanpu bridge picture
PID strikes Guido
Roger Scruton on Prince Charles’s new town
Flickring and Googling for the AMGEN bridge
Those were the days and these are no longer the days
Wired bridges
A sculptural suggestion
Malaysian footbridge for everyone except … gephyrophobiacs?
Giant table football table and hamster powered cars
Church covered in church pictures
The Messina Suspension Bridge is on again
“Better value on goods and services across a wide range of categories …”
My Wheel’s bigger than your Wheel
Big Bens - Wheels - Big Ben teapots - telephone box teapots
Wedding rings that join together with telephone plugs
Dasubee toilet scrubbing robot
Classic car thinness
Coffee House struggles with Permanent Italics Disease
Instapundit succumbs to PID
Big, Bigger, Biggest - starring Heathrow Terminal 5
Flat pictures for flat screens
Signs of civilisation
She learned to knit her before she learned to spell her
Toshiba’s violin playing robot
Ursa major
Making the Mississippi Delta make more land
Bookcase staircase many books electric book manybooks.net
At Bethnal Green railway station
Eee PC and Brahms CDs
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
The great DVD packaging clearout
The petty cash effect cuts in for Linux
Linux versus Windows - the bigger tiny laptop breakout
Thin camera picture
Bristol footbridge photo
Engadget suffers from intermittent giant text disease
Thin Canadian bridge
Underground art
The bridge that was going to make Westminster a fine city and London a desert
Digital Camera Review error
Tinsley Viaduct
The A380 bulge
Fourteen British viaducts
Manhole cover cats and Angel of the North shelves?
Architecture talk
A picture of a Wheel seen through a field of corn
Samsung SPH-P9200
Cat power!
Short posting with short photograph
The blue and gray men are slaughtering the gray and blue men
Another angle on pylons
Back from the dead and soon to be duplicated
Revised logo
Old cranes - new cranes
Small and cheap
Ugly logo(s)
Fujitsu Lifebook
Assorted London quota photos
PG tips
A movie about a typeface
Plastic that conducts heat better
Footbridge in the dark and cricket
Smallest mobile keyboard yet?
Susie Bubble turns shopping into a job with her blog
Halo over Oxford Circus
Amazing map of amazing new Moscow bridge
Shame you can’t do this kind of thing here
New Moscow road bridge
Pylons
Umbrellas and other gadgets
Will twentieth century aerial warfare be repeated by toys?
New footbridge in Edinburgh
Bollocks to the fashists
The Nanpu bridge approaches
Diamond Synchrotron
Robot car park in New York
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Weird loudspeakers
The Dyson DC14
Other people’s photos (2): New architecture in Hamburg
A good new mobile computer - but still too pricey
Billion Monkeys and people waving blue things!
Pictures of the world for the world
Happy day after Christmas Day
Happy Christmas Day
Haircuts before and after
ASUS R2U-BH040T
Cranes and street lamps and mp3s
Pictures of and from Albert Bridge
On sail in two weeks
The world now needs bad taste iPod docks
Top tips from Viz
Airship over the Wheel
Tech talk mp3 with Michael Jennings
Two sunset photos
Grassy car with blog
Cute jewelry and ideologically induced woe
Cute Brazilian car
A digital SLR that a Billion Monkey could lift!
Patrick Crozier talks with me about Japan
Is this to stop pigeons or bulb stealers?
Adriana tours her own back yard
Getting that roof clutter onto my computer
I also miss Transport Blog
Clutter
Presumably the noise is not a problem
Chrysler 300C with bling
Evening sun on the Wheel
The Hungerford footbridges
Skill and Post-Skill
Blue balls – kaleideskopes – etc.
Holocaust museum repeated as fashion?
The Falkirk Wheel
Those little big things that you hate
HMS Funny Looking
A kink in the Range Rover grill
The Tate Modern end of the Millennium Bridge
Double brolly
Aussie pub window and Aussia Billion Monkey
The evening sun through the windows of the Albert
Rolls Royces
Hundred dollar laptop
Digital preservation
Tourist traps – foregrounds – cranes