On the 25th September, I went to an IxDa event on Interaction Design from Yesteryear, with talks on HyperCard and Minitel.

Minitel was a system used in France from 1978, which allowed users to do online banking, chat, see a telephone directory, access pornographic services and in later years, email.

One of the reasons for its success was that it was free to get a Minitel device and instead you paid per minute to use it. At one time half the population of France were using it, but its popularity decreased and the service was turned off in 2012, much to the dismay of some users.

There is debate as to whether this made French people accept Internet banking and so on more easily or if they were reluctant to embrace the Internet as they already had Minitel.

The second talk was about HyperCard, an application for the Mac, which was released in 1987. The presenter actually had an old Mac there and demonstrated how to use HyperCard. He explained how good it was for prototyping at the time. "It's better than Axure."


I also bought Douglas Coupland's Shopping in Jail that day, which I enjoyed reading.
Garden Chair
"You've entered the room. It looks empty. It looks silent. There is vinyl text on the wall.
Someone in their early twenties hands you this pamphlet and a pair of ghetto-style headphones attached to a small electronic device."

That was part of the text written on the pamphlet I was handed at the Translated By exhibition at The Architectural Association School of Architecture.

I sat on a grey exercise ball, staring at a black image, listening to an excerpt of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. It was about the Street.

After that, I sat on an old garden chair (see picture), amongst some tin cans and a block of wood, looking at a picture of what looked like the end of the world, while I listened to an excerpt from Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland.

My mum and I sat in office chairs and looked at a map on the wall, while we listened to an excerpt from Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, about Brooklyn.

We listened to other words also, but those are the ones I noted.

After leaving the gallery, we ate at Planet Organic, and then headed to the river, where we jumped aboard a boat that took us to the London Eye, and the big wheel towered over us, and then the boat turned around and took us to the west, and we left the boat at Canary Wharf.

The London Ice Sculpting Festival was happening and although we did not get to carve polar bears from ice, as all the sessions were booked up, we did see lions, people, London buildings, and other things carved from ice, already starting to melt.
I was a Cylon. (Or maybe I still am.) I played the Battlestar Galactica board game on Saturday and found that out. The humans were defeated.

I read Douglas Coupland's Player One. It was comforting to read somehow, and felt familiar due to the quotes from other books by Coupland, which were mixed in.

I went to Reading Geek Night last night and listened to a talk about Cyclepong (Pong that is played by pedalling exercise bikes) and an unusual version of Lunar Lander. The arcade machines are on Southwold Pier.

There was a geek quiz, which [livejournal.com profile] tackline and I came last in, which obviously proves we are not geeks.

The other talk at Reading Geek Night was on 3D photos and we all wore 3D cyan/red glasses to look at them and were given instructions on how to make our own 3D photos. How to build a digital 3D camera rig. There are some great anaglyphic photos on Flickr, which you need 3D glasses to view, such as this one: The Laboratory of Satan.

I started reading Undercover User Experience Design. I may become a secret agent (of UX).
Anyone fancy coming to see Douglas Coupland talk about what words look like, and the power of text as an art object, at the ICA in London on Thursday September 3rd? Helvetica is also being shown that evening, so I might go and see that as well.
'My mind then wandered. I thought of this: I thought of how every day each of us experiences a few little moments that have just a bit more resonance than other moments - we hear a word that sticks in our mind - or maybe we have a small experience that pulls us out of ourselves, if only briefly - we share a hotel elevator with a bride in her veils, say, or a stranger gives us a pieces of bread to feed to the mallard ducks in the lagoon; a small child starts a conversation with us in a Dairy Queen - or we have an episode like the one I had with the M&M cars back at the Husky station.

And if we were to collect these small moments in a notebook and save them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge from our collection - certain voices would emerge that have been trying to speak through us. We would realize that we have been having another life altogether, one we didn't even know was going on inside us. And maybe this other life is more important than the one we think of as being real - this clunky day-to-day world of furniture and noise and metal. So just maybe it is these small silent moments which are the true story-making events of our lives.' - Life After God, Douglas Coupland.

Sometimes I wonder why I write things down, words that I see or hear when I'm wandering in the city, feeling lost amongst the people and gazing briefly at the shop signs and street art. Re-reading my old blog entries, and re-reading Life After God now, it becomes obvious to me, that I was trying to capture moments of that other life, and there are no maybes about its importance.


Sep. 8th, 2007 11:11 pm
I am back in the UK now. Descriptions and photos of Costa Rica will be posted sometime soon.

Anyone fancy seeing Douglas Coupland in London on October 9th?


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