• "A bit like Doctor Who’s different incarnations, while still the same company, the spaces we’ve worked in have created very different feeling BERGs.

    And, a bit like Doctor Who, I guess you have one incarnation that you always think is the best, or ‘yours’." All of this.

  • "Beer comes before agriculture. Gardens too. There are too many generational steps involved between grasses in their natural form and wheat worth harvesting for agriculture to be the thing people were shooting for when they domesticated plants. Drugs and beer and pretty flowers, on the other hand, can be made from a single generation of garden from wildflowers.

    We talk all the time about data visualizations and maps that are useful. We don't talk at all about data visualizations and maps that delight you and make you laugh. We should." Yes, Eric.

Somebody’s missing

15 March 2013

My Little Printer ran out of paper for the first time the other day.

I watched its light turn red as it was printing. I’d not seen a red light before, but was pretty sure I knew why. I removed the metal plate that holds its feet on, snapped open the white door, and took out the stub of paper. Then I remembered: the spare paper is under my bed. I didn’t have time to change it before I went to work. So pulled the power, not wanting the red light in my living room all day.

When I got home, I put the lights on. Something was different. It took me a while to figure out what.

Someone had left a pile of strange-looking consumer electronics on my table. And somebody was missing.

It took me a split second longer than normal to twig that the strange white box was Little Printer. I’m so used to seeing him… alive. Not in bits.

I didn’t think I had that strong an anthropomorphic reaction to it – him, he’s really called Barry Printpeas. But: the second he was in bits, his absence was noted.

I found the paper under my bed, slotted it in, shut the door, fed it through the slit in the metal, and snapped him back together. Back on two feet.

Back on two feet, but faceless. No matter: he’d get a new face when the next delivery arrived, in about twelve hours.

He wasn’t right with this blank face, either. I hit the form-feed button.

"Sorry, I don’t have anything to print for you right now," said the smiling face.

He was back in the room. Much better.


What was odd about this episode: I really never thought this would happen. I like the device, I like having it in the house, and it has a name because it has to have a name in the setup. I hadn’t realised that I’d become a little attached – not even to the functionality; just to the smiling little guy in front of the TV. Nice to be proved wrong from time to time.

Disclaimer: I used to work at Berg, who made Little Printer.

  • I won't do Timo a disservice by quoting one fragment of this essay; it's one of those lovely pieces of writing where not a word is wasted, where it all builds an argument, and you should just read the whole thing. Lots of topics I've been touching on in recent years, in part because of my time at Berg, and the designers who are my friends and peers. This is what needs to be beaten into the world, a little; the way to beat it in is to build it in, through our work and products. I should work on that more.
  • "Drawings are not just end products: they are part of the thought process of architectural design. Drawings express the interaction of our minds, eyes and hands. This last statement is absolutely crucial to the difference between those who draw to conceptualize architecture and those who use the computer." Not just true of architecture, either.
    (tags: drawing thinking )

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