Link Love: Mobile culture and more

Shanghai luggage
Trapped in an alley behind Nanjing Lu
Small pieces, loosely joined.

From the archives


3 Bags to Carry-on

Here are a trio of bags I have been looking at recently as great carry-on choices. While my first choice in bags are those made from canvas or leather, and made by either individual artisans or small companies, these bags offer unique features, durability and price which make them a great option.

Patagonia MLC

Patagonia MLC
Patagonia’s Maximum Legal Carry-On is a soft-sided bag made from recycled fabric (1,200-denier polyester) with a durable water repellent finish which will hold about 3-5 days’ worth of clothing. It features a backpack carrying option, a main compartment with convenient ‘book like’ access, dirty clothes or laptop sleeve, and importantly easy access pockets to carry your passport and the essential gadgets. Zippers and seems look ok. This is an attractive bag with an unfortunate boxy look.

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People multitasking with their mobile phones

Multi tasking Mobile Phone
Multitask by Steve Leggat
People are generally extremely confident in their ability to multitask but Aza Raskin points out in the following article that you can’t actually multitask. What you are actually doing is cycling through tasks in quick succession which he warns comes at the risk of losing your train of thought. This results in lower productivity, lower information retention, and in the case of driving while using your mobile, possible disaster.

We can talk on a cell phone while driving to work, and we can compose complex sentences while typing. But, if you stop to reflect on it, you can only do those things at the same time because at least one of them is automatic. In the first case driving is automatic, and in the second case typing is automatic. You’ve done them so often that you’ve habituated to them: doing them doesn’t require any thinking. Can you still talk on your cell phone while driving through a rainstorm on unfamiliar roads? Would you still be able to concentrate on writing if you had just switched to a Dvorak keyboard? I didn’t think so.
In both cases the extreme situation frustrates your habits and forces you to actively think about what you are doing at the expense of your other task. When you are thinking about driving safely in adverse conditions, you can’t also hold a conversation. And while you’re searching for the “e” key, you can’t also compose the next line of your sonnet.

You Can’t Multitask by Aza Raskin
The following is a short series of photos of people multitasking to various degrees with their mobile phones. It’s a frustratingly short series as finding photographs without a strict license is almost as difficult as going out in the field and shooting the photographs myself.

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Will gestures on the iPad make you smarter?

iPad Gestures
Scientific American writes about recent research into how gestures support cognitive processes. From the article:

The drive to gesture when speaking is fundamental to human nature.
If you have thought about why we gesture you probably assumed that we gesture to help others understand what we are saying. Pretending to hold a ceramic mug can help the barista understand exactly which mug you want. Showing how the fish darted to and fro can help your sister get a more vivid picture of what the reef looked like to you.
But might gesture also serve another purpose? Many scientists now think that gestures can help the person making them — that moving your hands can help you think. Researchers have become increasingly interested in the connection between the body and thought – in the ways that our physical body shapes abstract mental processes.
To understand the research, consider a math problem like 3+2 +8 =___+8. A student might make a “v” shape under the 2 and 3 with their pointer finger and middle finger, as they try to understand the concept of “grouping” – adding adjacent numbers together, a technique that can be used to solve the problem. Previous research has shown that students who are asked to gesture while talking about math problems are better at learning how to do them. This is true whether the students are told what gestures to make, or whether the gestures are spontaneous.

Now that we have a consumer device with a large multi-touch screen, it will be interesting to follow what effect the iPad, and future devices like it, may have peoples ability to learn new concepts using gestures. I’m looking forward to having the ability to teach my kids math concepts with objects manipulated and grouped on a screen as an alternative to the 2d approach we generally favor now.
With a wave of the hand. How using gestures can make you smarter.


Analog Digital Clock iPhone App

Analog Digital Clock
One of my favorite uses for the iPhone is as a clock or alarm. In fact other than checking email, or browsing the web, the clock apps I have get more use than anything else. Via Mocoloco, Maartin Baas’ Analog Digital Clock, the next installment in the Dutch designers “Real Time” series, shows the current time by someone actually painting and erasing the digits. It’s amazing to look at but takes on a whole new meaning when you realize that this was accomplished by an actor in real time over the course of 12 hours.

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The Impact of Constant Connectivity

The Impact of Constant Connectivity
Multitasking by foreverdigital
In Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier Rachel Dretzin attempts to understand the implications of living in a world consumed by technology and the impact that this constant connectivity may have on future generations.
“I’m amazed at the things my kids are able to do online, but I’m also a little bit panicked when I realize that no one seems to know where all this technology is taking us, or its long-term effects”.
It sounds vaguely like another re-imagining of the dangers of new technologies that occurs following any shift in how we produce and consume information, but I think the story goes deeper. It’s more an attack on the activity than the technology itself. Surely the constant scanning of status updates, feeds, and messages is different from the slow read of a book printed on a press.

Dretzin and Rushkoff begin on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, home to some of the most technologically savvy students in the world. Many of these “digital natives,” who have hardly known a world in which they weren’t connected 24/7, confess to having increasingly limited attention spans that make it difficult for them to read books or learn in conventional ways. “Honestly, I can’t sit somewhere for two hours straight and focus on anything,” says a student named Alex. “Maybe it’s some technology dependence I’ve developed over the course of the years, but at this point I don’t think I can go back to just focusing on one thing.”
“I teach the most brilliant students in the world,” says MIT professor and clinical psychologist Sherry Turkle, who describes the challenges of teaching students who are surfing the Internet and texting during class. “But they have done themselves a disservice by drinking the Kool-Aid and believing that a multitasking learning environment will serve their best purposes. There are just some things that are not amenable to being thought about in conjunction with 15 other things.

An interesting overview of some potential problems that are being observed now and the possible future cognitive effects that these activities may cause.
Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier


Brooklyn Industries Tarp Courier

Brooklyn Industries Tarp Courier
While I have a feeling I might be disappointed in the build quality if viewed in person I do love the look of this new backpack from Brooklyn Industries; especially the contrast between the yellow and gray. The tarp courier featires two front zippered pockets, padded shoulder straps and an interesting roll-up top with velcro and strap closure.
Brooklyn Industries Tarp Courier


Dargelos Belt Pouch

Dargelos Belt Pouch
Originally designed to carry their excellent Lightning Vest, Dargelos’ Belt Pouch would make an excellent container for your iPhone or similarly sized device. They are made from water proof fabric scraps with a reflective trim and are available in three colors/ materials. Great for riding or other times when carrying a brick in your pocket isn’t comfortable.
Dargelos Belt Pouch


David LaChapelle MOCA Taipei

David LaChapelle MOCA Taipei
I’m back in Taipei tomorrow and my first stop is MOCA which has an exhibition of David LaChappelle’s photography. His photography is often described as surreal, grotesque, shocking and ironic. I think he is generally imaginative and funny.
From the exhibition introduction:

The creative inspiration of LaChapelle comes from the classical heritage of art history to daily life elements related to the street culture. The result is a series of spectacular works interwoven by past and present; a mixture of refined and popular tastes. His works are also a mirror and see-through lens of the multifaceted popular culture. Standing between glamorous and commercial cultures, the artist is not limited to the purpose of his works, thus transcending market trends and common traditions. LaChapelle is one of the few photographers that have been long accepted and regarded as a model by the often overcritical European and American contemporary art.
Since 2008, LaChapelle began to held exhibitions and lectures at some of the world’s prominent art museums, receiving very positive feedbacks everywhere he went. In 2010, LaChapelle selected the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, as his first stop in Asia. In such opportunity, the artist will exhibit approximately 250 works created from 1985 to 2009. These works are categorized into eight sections: Heaven to Hell, Deluge and Salvation, Disaster and Destruction, Vanity, Meditation, Recollections in America, Auguries of Innocence, and Holy War. The core concept and creative focus in these works is one: From the people, back to the people.

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Universal Works Bakers Jacket

Universal Works Bakers Jacket
David Keyte’s Bakers Jacket is an attractive piece with great detailing, quite suitable for a modern working class stiff like myself. Features a button front fastening, a single back vent, 2 chest pockets, one of which is inserted, a front slot pocket and one double slot front pocket. The Universal Works Baker Jacket is made of 100% cotton with white contrast stitching.
Universal Works Bakers Jacket


Sparta Vintage

Sparta Vintage
Equipped with Brooks accessories and extra fat tires, the ‘Vintage’ from Dutch brand Sparta has wonderful nostalgic look. Perfect for short ride in Amsterdam or other bike friendly locales.
Sparta Vintage


J.Crew Fall 2010

J.Crew Fall 2010
I like the look and combinations in this preview of Frank Muytjen’s Fall 2010 J.Crew collection. I’ll forgo the roll-up pants and no socks with stiff shoes. The following are a few photos of my favourites.

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