• "The characteristic grid-like simplicity of the view, the absence of barriers… a landscape where nothing officially exists, absolutely anything becomes thinkable, and may consequently happen… — that’s Reyner Banham describing deserts, though I like to imagine he was looking at a spreadsheet." Rod's component of By Hand & By Brain is just wonderful.
  • "Having to learn how to make something ‘the long way’ helps you to understand how to manipulate materials at a fundamental level. It means that you can become fluent. The ability to articulate your thoughts through and with matter, rather than just make it into a shape you have thought of, means that you are more likely to find innovative or creative ways to exploit both materials and machinery. This is true whether you are talking about traditional craft techniques or more contemporary (digital) ways of making: I don’t think you can avoid the notion that time and effort are the only way to get good at something. Using digital technology as a way to shortcut the temporal aspects of craftsmanship is effectively relegating these sources of immense creative potential to the category of ‘labour saving devices’. I am really looking forward to a time where we can fully appreciate the potential for modern digital craftsmanship, by which I mean the skilful manipulation of digital systems as ‘matter’, rather than as express facilitators of shiny objectness." yes-yes-yes-yes.
  • I've loved playing Her Story, and if you had any doubt that some of its success were more down to coincidence than writing – well, Sam Barlow's blog will prove you wrong. This, on Ballard's use of fragments, and that as a motif for storytelling is cracking. (And: lots of the readings of Her Story are coming about not just because of the quality of Barlow's work, but because non-linearity leads us to strange and exciting places; the skill is allowing the text to support that not by covering every base, but by hinting at many bases).
  • "The mobile internet is the internet of motion, defined by mapping and directions, activity tracking, travel schedules, GoPro, Passbook and Uber. We have been given GPS receivers and three-axis accelerometers and proximity sensors for our pockets and purses, and the things we build for them urge us to keep moving. They are optimised to tell us that we’re not where we want to be: miles from our destination, steps from our daily goal, seconds from our personal best, an immeasurable distance from our rose-gold aspirations.

    What, then, does the internet of rest look like?" Double thumbs-up for Nick Sweeney

  • "There are experiences of landscape that will always resist articulation, and of which words offer only a distant echo. Nature will not name itself. Granite doesn’t self-identify as igneous. Light has no grammar. Language is always late for its subject. When I see a moon-bow or a sundog, I usually just say “Wow!” or “Hey!” Sometimes on a mountain, I look out across scree and corrie, srón and lairig – and say nothing at all. But we are and always have been name-callers, christeners. Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes grained into our words."
  • "WordPerfect was always the best word processor. Because it allowed for insight into its very structure. You could hit a certain key combination and suddenly the screen would split and you’d reveal the codes, the bolds and italics and so forth, that would define your text when it was printed. It was beloved of legal secretaries and journalists alike. Because when you work with words, at the practical, everyday level, the ability to look under the hood is essential. Words are not simple. And WordPerfect acknowledged that." I grew up on WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS, and Reveal Codes. Some days, I wonder if it's why I got on with markup so well.

I went to Australia

17 November 2014

Little Oberon Bay
People will ask me what’s the most exciting wildlife you saw, and I suppose I could say the ibises, or the pelicans, or the field full of kangaroos, and those were all pretty special, but you know, it was the sea.

Soft in the bays and inlets; warlike on the rocky coasts; broad and grand at Bondi. Every wave is new; every iteration unique. I could watch it roll, listen to it roar, taste the salt sprayed into the air for hours.

And gosh, the colour; they really don’t call it the Sapphire Coast for nothing.

Wild, untamed; not like the Pacific on the West Coast, not like the Atlantic. Something else. My favourite wild thing.