Last week Stamen launched maps.stamen.com, a collection of three new map tile sets for OpenStreetMap. You’ve probably already seen their beautiful new watercolor tiles, because they garnered a lot of attention and have been all over the web lately:
They just recently posted a follow-up explaining part of the design process that went into the creation of the watercolor tiles on their blog, with the promise of another follow-up.
I think Apple would be well-advised to hire (or buy) these guys if they really want to get rid of Google Maps as everyone is speculating.
Still later: The final follow-up.
One of the hardest parts about language learning is pronunciation; the less phonetic the alphabet, the harder it is to correctly say the words. A common peculiarity amongst many Western languages is the silent letter. A silent letter is a letter that appears in a particular word, but does not correspond to any sound in the word’s pronunciation. A selection of works by Hans Christian Andersen is used as a common denominator for these “translations”. All silent letters are set in red text. When viewed with a red light filter, these letters disappear, leaving only the pronounced text.
By Manas Karambelkar, Momo Miyazaki and Kenneth A. Robertsen at CIID. So very good.
I won’t explain why this took so long, but let’s just say i’m in the process of catching up with lots of stuff i wanted to post here but never came around to.
First step: Catching up on The Reading List, a (supposedly) monthly collection of articles i particularly enjoyed reading that month. Except this time around, it’s stuff i particularly enjoyed reading in the second half of 2011:
- Spacesuit: An Interview with Nicholas De Monchaux. On the history of the spacesuit, by Geoff Manaugh. One of the best pieces of tech writing in 2011. Not to be missed.
- Getting Bin Laden – What happened that night in Abbottabad: A thrilling account of the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden.
- The History of Dialogue: Other People’s Papers. Fascinating dialogue between a university lecturer and a ghostwriter who’s written over 100 papers for pay.
- Looking for Someone – Sex, love, and loneliness on the Internet: The New Yorker examines the state (and state-of-the-art) of online dating.
- Dead is just dead: Sean Bonner recounts his suicide attempt as a twelve years old.
- Cities in Fact and Fiction: Scientific American interviews William Gibson.
- If Your Website’s Full of Assholes, It’s Your Fault: Anil Dash on the responsibility of website operators to maintain a civilized ground for discussion and community.
- Big Brother isn’t watching you: Russell Brand on the London riots in August 2011. Shame on me, i had almost forgotten about those by now.
- The Possibilian – What a brush with death taught David Eagleman about the mysteries of time and the brain: David Eagleman researches our perception of time.
- Health Now: A Provocation. A critical look at the common obsession with health as an end in itself.
- The Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Paul Ford shares the story of conceiving their child through in-vitro fertilization. He’s a terrific writer.
- The Insidious Evils of ‘Like’ Culture: Seems almost unbelievable today that Facebook introduced its like-buttons only in 2009.
- The Year of Wonders: Alex Shakar shares the story of how his first novel, The Savage Girl, bombed despite critical accolade. Maybe i’m a little slow, but i didn’t see that end coming…
- Rebuild: Regarding Clones. Northway Games discusses the seemingly growing problem of game clones, with many interesting examples.
- The Psychology of Nakedness: How a little nakedness changes our perception of other people.
The failure mode of clever is “asshole.”
Snake the Planet! by MPU takes the classic mobile phone game Snake and adopts it for the urban canvas. When Snake the Planet! is projected onto buildings, each level is generated individually and based on the selected facade. Windows, door frames, pipes and signs all become boundaries and obstacles in the game. Shapes and pixels collide with these boundaries like real objects. The multi player mode lets players intentionally block each other’s path in order to destroy the opponent.
Greg Borenstein’s Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot is easily the most exciting tech book i’ve read in years. If you have the slightest interest in working creatively with Kinect you should buy this book. With a basic understanding of Processing you’ll be able to make amazing things within an hour.
Explore the intimate touch of each others fingers with Fingle’s two-player puzzles. Break the ice or engage friends to get awkwardly close.
Fingle is a cooperative two-player iPad® game about the thrills of touching each other on a multi-touch device. Two players drag up to five buttons of one color onto their matching targets; their movement makes it impossible to avoid contact, creating intimate moments with intertwined hands.
the flip-flop (n.) the process of pushing a work of art or craft from the physical world to the digital world and back again—maybe more than once
When you do the flip-flop, you achieve effects that aren’t possible when you dwell in only one world, physical or digital. You also achieve effects that are less predictable. Weird things happen on the walls between worlds.
Dance the flip-flop by Robin Sloan.
To launch the iPad version of the IKEA-catalogue in Norway, we created a brand new IKEA product called “BERÖRA”. It´s a sewing kit with a special conductive thread to sew into say the index finger of your favourite gloves. This little operation will make your gloves, mittens or whatever work on a touch-screen. Actually quite useful since it was in the middle of a freezing cold winter in Norway, when mittens should be kept on at all times…
- RT @Mike_FTW: Today was a great day to keep your mouth shut. #
- I guess i'm just disappointed in mass media and public opinion building in general… #
- … now i think the same about the initial public reactions to the "This American Life" / Daisey redaction. #
- I thought the media portrayal of Apple responsible for terrible manufacturing conditions in China was limited in perspective… #
- RT @jessicadelfino: Saw a girl running and smoking at the same time. Some people just have life all figured out. #
- RT @paleofuture: "What makes this a little complicated is that the things Daisey lied about seeing are things that have actually happene … #
- RT @kellan: It is one of the stranger choices we make as a society: that activists must be perfect, but everyone else can be quietly, de … #
- Don't worry, that doesn't mean i'll share all of them. #
- The past few months i seem to have suffered from a peculiar form of writers block. Now i can't stop the words from spilling onto my screen. #
- I just wrote a thousand words about text highlighting in iBooks 2.1: http://t.co/1YMKBuRQ Feels good to do some writing for pleasure again. #
- RT @danbenjamin: My FedEx guy: "We had 380,000 come through Memphis, 2,800 at the local office, I've delivered about 300, and EVERYBODY … #
- I hate it when they use Marimba as Hank's ringtone on Californication… Always feels like my morning alarm going off. #