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Yes please, Ducati

Though Autoblog is decidedly on the fence about these ads being run in print by Ducati’s Ecuadorian operation, I can say without hesitation that I like them unequivocally.  It’s nice to see products like motorcycle’s being sold with a more sophisticated approach than just the usual humor, girls and big budget action sequences.  Bravo, Ducati Ecuador, for not assuming your customers are grunting oafs.

Wired93: lucky seven

I’m writing this from the living room in Maryland, where the power is resoundingly out this afternoon.  One conclusion that can be drawn from this incident is that, unlike 1993, there is very little reason to have a computer without internet connectivity in 2011.  I can’t even remember the last time I wrote while offline – how will I link?!

Pages 84 – 89 (review pages):

  • WatchIT!TV, a full-size, 16-bit PC expansion card that allowed for analog television tuning – and the author’s awesome VCR recording pass-through
  • “Information plugs us into the world of computerized productivity, but the open space of books balances our computer logic with the graces of intuition.” – The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality
  • Wired began using Music Access to provide samples of reviewed albums by 900 number at a cost of 95¢/min
  • Ambulance: An Electronic Novel, which came packaged on 2 high-density floppies and required 2 MB of RAM
  • touch tone dialer (?)
  • page 89’s ad for OMD’s new album – and that is all that needs to be said

Wired 93: part four

From pages 47 – 59:

  • a lengthy discussion of Nintendo’s moral obligations to some of the graphic or explicit imagery and language in Maniac Mansion (I wonder what they would have made of Manhunt 2?)
  • an ad for a CD burner the size of the Macintosh with which it was intended to be used
  • perhaps the strangest page layout for the cover story about William Gibson in Singapore – seriously, it looks like a bad trade show advertisement (above)
  • description of Singapore’s Teleview precursor to the Internet, launched in 1987
  • “According to recent polls, large segments of the American population think the media is attentive to trivia, and indifferent to what really matters. They also believe that the media does not report the country’s problems, but instead is a part of them.”

Wired93: third read

Pages 32 – 46:

  • a multi-sensorial bed at the Yucatan Interspecies Research foundation that allowed users to interact with dolphins visually and mentally (what was the fascination with dolphins, 1993?)
  • (above) the Xerox PARC Liveboard, a $50,000 device that allowed simultaneous videoconferencing, white board writing, interactive interface overlay and control from a pen – all in a gargantuan slab case – notable because I was looking at a $19.90 piece of software recently that does all of this and more
  • the Apple Multimedia Orientation Kit, some sort of membership that provided access to professional support for media creation (it’s probably safe to say that multimedia in 1993 = multitouch in 2011, at least in spirit)
  • Thunder 7, an OS-wide Mac spellchecker that instantly changed all typos while still inputting text – like Lion’s iOS-inspired implementation
  • article on the exploding economy of homemade BBS  businesses

Wired93: part the second

Wherein we discuss pages 20 – 31.

  • a letter to the editor from Eric Kettunen (posted on America Online) discussing how wired his family home is with a 486 PC, a Mac, two phone lines and a 9600 baud modem
  • an ad for Dysan brand floppy diskettes – 5.25″ and 3.5″
  • a Tired/Wired inset featuring Schwarzenegger/Mystery Science Theater 3000 (still accurate)
  • the launch of a proliferation of cable channels including “Television Food Network”
  • interview with James Parry, who seems to have been a precursor to the likes of 4chan while operating his Kibo personality (which is still going strong)
  • DCC – Digital Compact Cassette – from Philips:  I had no idea what this was, either
  • Digital Queers:  ”We’re here, we’re queer and we have E-mail.”

Wired93: the idea

I recently had the happy surprise of stumbling upon a September/October 1993 (pictured, too, in the Wikipedia entry) issue of Wired magazine – with William Gibson on the cover, no less.

Since I owe a very large part of who I am to reading this publication religiously from an evening in detention in 2000 until today, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at what was going on during the innaugural year of Wired. It could be said that little is accomplished in the world of technology by way of nostalgia, but I think that there is something to be gained from a bit of reflection just the same as in the art writing.

Besides, there will be lots to laugh at as we trek through technology from 18 years ago.

So, after only the first few pages (it’s late), what have I uncovered?

  • “I can record on a disc!” MiniDisc ad from Sony
  • classified style ad for Microsoft looking for a Visual Interface Designer and listing an actual postal address complete with Attn: instructions for submitting a résumé
  • “I want to discuss another dinosaur, one that may be on the road to extinction. I am referring to the American media…” (Not bad, not bad.)
  • Global Village fax/modem two page spread

If the next 101 pages keep up the pace set by the first 19, we are in for some real treats.

48hr Magazine, issue zero

You may recall me mentioning that I had ordered my very own copy of 48hr Magazine, a super creative project that aimed to do just what the name implied: put out a magazine in just 48 hours.  Well, a few days ago, issue zero arrived in the mail and it was stupendous.

Tucking in with a bowl of leftover curry chicken, I discovered that it doesn’t take weeks and millions of dollars to produce a smart, well-laid out publication afterall.  (In fact, I think that all students should be required to look at 48hr before embarking on any school publication from here on out.)  A truly dedicated team with enough coffee, beer and donated office space – as well submissions from around the globe – can produce one of the smartest, funniest magazines I’ve read in recent memory.

If you pick up your own 48hr Magazine from MagCloud, be sure to go straight for “20 Minutes with Lady Gaga” by Rob Dubbin and “Catastrophic Black Hole Insurance Sales Manual: An Excerpt” by William Poor.  An excerpt from the latter:

Instead ask: How might a black hole affect you and your loved ones?  Who will provide for your children if you are taken by a singularity?

Magazine computing

I had a bit of an epiphany this morning while reading a paper copy of Wired in bed.  After finishing an article on the history of hacking and its future in the world of entrepreneurs, a subscription card spiraled its way out onto the comforter.  This left me pondering the fact that, due to the advertising within, this huge collection of words and pictures representing days of work could be sold for $1 per subscribed issue.  And further considering the reality that I am, in truth, more willing to look at ads in Wired from companies that I’d otherwise ignore because I have a real respect for this particular magazine and its writers, editors and creative directors.  I also read every issue cover to cover, even if I’m not particularly interested in, say, a feature on the future of insulin pumps.  I don’t do this with Wired online content, as proven by the fact that I merely skimmed it on my iPhone moments after putting the paper magazine down to hop over to wired.com.

I also started thinking in parallel about an article from Ars Technica entitled Curated computing: what’s next for devices in a post-iPad world, an article which I really liked but didn’t entirely grasp the scope of until just a few minutes ago.

The iPad is computing as a magazine.

There has been a lot of talk about reading magazines and other print media on the iPad and how this will save these dead tree industries.  I think it might.  But I’m now thinking more broadly than that.

Just like how Wired can curate the best of the geek world each month, surrounding it in a shell of hard-fought credibility, respect and cool, the iPad does the same for computing experiences.  They are curated, as Ars suggests but they are also an experience unto themselves by virtue of being presented on the iPad.  Just like I’m willing to delve more deeply into Wired’s content when its in front of me in paper form than on a website, I’m more willing to pursue any content on the iPad because I like engaging with the iPad.

And, thus, magazine computing.  (I’m coining it now.)

(From Case for the iPad)

The original crossover

Jalopnik is delighting me today with a post on old car brochures (I guess brought on by their blurb on the Eldorado glovebox bar.) While flipping through the online gallery, I stumbled across the most fascinating classic car amongst the marketing fluff: the 1951 Kaiser Traveler.

1951 Kaiser Traveler

Now, I am not normally, under any circumstances, a classic car guy. I can recognize why the greats are legendary and wouldn’t turn down a free vintage Ferrari or Bugatti. I’ll even watch Wayne Carini stumble through a barn on occasion. But I’m much more interested in technology of modern cars.

The Traveler challenges that, though, by offering the (I thought) uniquely contemporary blend of sleek, car-like design with functionality and utility more commonly associated with SUVs. In short, it was the mid-20th century equivalent of the crossovers I lust after today.

So, while I’ll more than likely trade my A3 for an Audi Q5 or BMW 3 Series GT when the time comes, it’s good to know that the car buying world was not as bleak in 1951 as I feared. And that a good idea is eternal.