Samsung’s design philosophy, in their own words:

“Sustainable values”? “Humans are the heart of Samsung design”, as opposed to what? “Reason and emotional sensibility are harmoniously enabled”! “Emptying” comes after “filling” and “overflowing” with insight, eh? Are they really “creating new values and cultures”? Do we even want that from a company that makes televisions, washing machines and mobile phones?

In conclusion, “Samsung aspires to the design that delivers a new ‘meaning’ and ‘delight’ to people, which contributes to society by creating sustainable and innovative value.”

Is this meaningless guff really what drives Samsung’s designers?

(via The Next Web)

Use your words

Samsung’s design philosophy

“Inspired by humans, creating the future”, as you do. Samsung’s three design values, they say, are: “Balance of Reason and Feeling”, “Simplicity with Resonance” and “Meaningful Innovation”. Meaningful innovations like ‘tilt to zoom’ and ‘shake to update’ I assume they mean.

Meyrin: CERN Terminal Font

Creating the Meyrin CERN terminal font

Brian Suda:

In mid September 02013, a small team of talented programmers, designers and thinkers all got together to recreate the experience of browsing the web on the first popular web browser. As part of that process, Mark Boulton and myself teamed-up to attempt to recreate the original font used on the terminal screen. This would give the look and feel of the simulator even more of that green glowing cathode-ray tube warmth.

CERN screen photograph

We’ve put the font-file, the template and all the pieces up to share for anyone to use. If the font can work for you, please feel free to use it any projects. Take the files and modify them.

You can download the files from Github:

Use your words

The ten worst pieces of writing advice

Some counter-advice from Susan DeFreitas:

1. Show don’t tell (part one)

Take this advice beyond the beginning stages and what you get are stories that really should move the reader but don’t, either because the emotions are all related from the outside or because the narrative doesn’t provide the sort of dense, information-rich substrata upon which complex characters are built.

2. Show don’t tell (part two)

Your story is about Gina, at forty, deciding whether or not to leave her boyfriend. Are you really going to spend half your story showing us Gina’s white-trash childhood in Elbridge, Michigan (a key bit of backstory)? Or are you just going to cut to the chase, provide a few key details, and move on?

3. When in doubt, cut

That’s because beginning writers tend to be verbose. We can’t tell the difference between an essential detail and an inessential one.

4. Write what you know

To keep advancing you have to stretch your limits. And sometimes that means writing from the point of view of someone who is super not you.

5. Omit adjectives and adverbs

Consider this line from Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses:

“Below the knee, the hairiness came to a halt, and his legs narrowed into tough, bony, almost fleshless calves, terminating into shiny, cloven hooves, such as one might find on any billygoat.”

Language is your Swiss army knife, and you can’t do shit like this with just the knife and the corkscrew.

6. Work on only one thing at a time

Different types of projects can feed off of each other. Immersed in a long-haul novel about a deep, dark family drama? Play hooky with sci-fi. Tinkering with the intricacies of short stories? Plunge into plot with a bona fide book. Stretch out. Have fun. Just don’t stop writing.

7. Start in the middle

As fiction writers, we’re often told to start en media res. Which is a fancy way of saying, when the shit has already hit the fan. But start too late, and the first third of your story will have to lift three times its own body weight in exposition—at the precise point where it should be charming the pants off your reader.

8. Kill your darlings

If you, as a grown up, still love some crazy turn of phrase or sentence or plot development that’s wildly inappropriate for the story, maybe it’s the story that needs help. If that thing is your darling, I say, date it.

9. Vary your word choice

Sometimes a bear is just a bear—especially if you find yourself reaching for constructions that will get you pegged as a pretentious ass.

10. You must be in a writers group

Here’s a bit of advice from Neil Gaiman that may be worth as much as any workshop:

“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”

The Ten Worst Pieces of Writing Advice You Will Ever Hear (and Probably Already Have) (via Chuck Palahniuk)

Typewriter icon by Simon Child from the Noun Project


China Morning Post infographic of Kowloon Walled City

Infographic by South China Morning Post

I also found these brilliant cross sections by Zoohaus via Arch Daily:

Kowloon city cross section

Humans and other animals

Kowloon Walled City

Kowloon Walled City was a densely populated, largely ungoverned settlement in New Kowloon, Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. In 1987, the Walled City contained 33,000 residents within its 2.6-hectare (0.010 sq mi) borders. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was controlled by Triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, and drug use. – Wikipedia


Cosmos: science propoganda

I’m not a big fan of science shows like the new Cosmos, and while listening to the most recent episode of the podcast Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project Norm captured my feelings perfectly. He explained that it feels a lot like science propaganda and that if there was a creationist version of Cosmos that just stated things as if they were fact that he would be totally unsatisfied with it. Cosmos suffers from the same failings.

(That’s my highly paraphrased version of Norm’s words, but you can hear the Cosmos discussion right at the start of the episode. The nub is about 4 minutes in.)

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

The Neil deGrasse Tyson quote above (often simplified as “facts are true whether you believe them or not”) exhibits the same problem. It sounds compelling if you’re pro-science (as I very much am) but it’s a needlessly hostile statement to science skeptics, for whom the counterargument could just as easily be that the good thing about Christianity is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

It also seems to grossly misrepresent the ‘truth’ of science, which isn’t that it has all the answers but that it’s a working method for being able to discover all the answers. Religion is a fixed truth and only changes (when it does) by looking backwards and reinterpreting itself. By contrast science looks forwards to learn whatever it can, updating the facts as it goes.