Archived entries for Uncategorized

something is happening

After nearly three years, it’s time for a new site. #psychogeography will remain the emphasis.

Previous posts will be in an Archive section.

In the meantime, check out the links page.


For every modern-era decade since probably the James Watt-refined Newcomen engine, there’s been a single functional object that’s defined culture for that time.

And these objects have mostly been met with either outright hostility or deep cynicism (as evidenced in the “it’s rubbish” vitriol coming from many comment posts in the online broadsheet tech sections today). So yes, iPad is no different in that some people won’t see the possibilities, instead seeing ways in which it compacts, rather than expands experience; or actually erodes those cultural values it seeks to enhance and liberate. Some see the reverse.

Jobs says Apple are “at the intersection of technology and liberal arts (sic)”. This is more true than most give Apple credit for – in terms of intelligence and aesthetics Apple are years if not a decade in front of what are effectively standard washing-machine tech companies like Nokia or Sony, with their creative focus on the proliferation of confusing, wasteful, constantly-changing product lines that essentially change nothing. And it’s not as if Apple are using necessarily better components – it’s the attitude that makes the products so pleasing (here’s a little reminder of what a Blue Meanies world looks like).

So for once, it’s the tech audience who don’t get it. It’s not the limitations of the device – no multitasking, no camera – it’s the fact that it’s the first to fully utilise the most sensitive part of the human body – the fingertips.

iPad might still be Job’s SS Great Britain, but who in 2110 will likely revere the Kindle DX as touchstone for a revolution?

With apologies to Yellow Pages Let your Fingers do the Walking…


publishing futures : a prediction

The cusp of a new decade is always, I think, a place of fertilisation. Who could have predicted in 1999 the state we’re in now, at least web and tech-wise? Yet the clues were clearly present and we should all have bought shares in google, let alone apple – a company, in 1999, about to be evaporated by Dell (remember, no iPod until 2001).

Now with the imminent release of a tablet-like netbook from apple, it might be nice to, like Beth Scorzato, speculate on what might happen by 2019.

1 eReaders (for want of a better term) will be ubiquitous – for both web browsing and reading books and newspapers. Present kindle-type ebooks will be seen as crude antiques

2 Book-only bookshops will cease to exist – only the supermarkets/amazon and secondhand bookdealers will touch paper in warehouses

3 Print on Demand (POD) will become mainstream for publishers and their goldfish. And you. And me. Prices will drop significantly. Desktop PODS churning out back catalogues/esoterics might be a lifeline for small bookshops. Back to Penguin’s business model – a book for the price of a packet of fags (yes we still had cigarettes in 2010 – shocking)

4 Murdoch’s paper stable (ugh) and possibly the Telegraph and probably not the Guardian will be all that’s left of serious paper journalism in the UK (hope I’m wrong on that one)

5 Right now there is someone in a publisher’s office who has mapped out the decade sans books, and how to make money from the upcoming all-digital delivery method. One of the first ideas will be to offer eBooks as text or spoken by the character of your choice. Somebody right now is synthesising Stephen Fry’s/Judi Dench’s/James Mason’s voice for posterity…

6 TV’s will become digital content windows – it’s possible satellite/cable tv and their fixed schedules will cease. Once the broadband network is upgraded, services like the BBC’s iPlayer will form the tv equivalent of a web browser (OK this has already happened)

7 When the next “event” happens, everyone will know in real time via their handheld “books”. Perfect for causing mass panic and therefore the next surveillance stepup in govt powers

8 Specialism will be the outcome for many authors – it’s what you know and who you know. Many authors will become their own publishers/marketers/shop (see 3)

9 Poetry might make a comeback, as an antidote to information overload. Those who get this right, like Carol Ann Duffy, will become the new cultural commentators, replacing celebrity journos/commentators (fat chance)

10 The ideal platform for all this would be a DVD-case-sized, hinged, twin-screen tablet, naturally with a touchscreen interface

11 My wish through all this webtech hype is that (e)bookbuyers will rediscover simplicity and silence and personal truths, as they slip into the screen on train on bus on garden seat

Thought some of you might like this – a spoof of the BT “J R Hartley” ad… (see 3)

from Z to A is a scotland-based psychogeography and urban topography magazine featuring creative, critical, playful urban journeys

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