Clippings — week of 28 September 2015

Reading through my journal this week, it looks like it’s been a busy one for me with evenings full of various chores. I felt I didn’t get enough reading time this week, so I’m surprised that I managed to put this together. I’m happy to say this week is coming to a close.

Learning to die →
Being a twenty-something year old, death is something that happens to other people. The days fold into each other so naturally. As a consequence of this, it takes a great effort to think about the mortality of those around me. The absence of someone really close to me will be something that I will have to face eventually.

Stagnant and dull, can digital books ever replace print? →
A sweeping journey of our reading experience through technological innovations, Craig Mod describes our relationship with various containers of content. I nodded at the convenience of the Kindle that has easily become a daily companion. I’m unsure about whether my current satisfaction will wane as Craig Mod describes here. Some content will never be appropriate for the Kindle, which is why I don’t depend completely on it. However, the uniform treatment to content seems like a fair way to compare books that were meant for reading alone. In my view, it allows us to fully appreciate the word-craft of authors because design (or lack there of) can enforce distracting opinions.

Get to know your work →
The importance of keeping a professional workbook is demonstrated by Dana Pavlichko. Collecting thoughts piece by piece as you work results in a tighter design system, built upon the foundations of documented reasoning. It’s common to see the workbook as a requirement in education, a good opportunity for students to develop good habits. However, it’s often the case that students will rush to fill up these so-called workbooks at the end of assignments (I have also fallen into this trap before). I’ve learnt through the years that an ongoing transcription in the maze of the design process is beneficial. Trying to remember the route you’ve taken and marking dead-ends is a lot more difficult at the end of the journey.

How Spotify’s Discover Weekly cracked human curation →
I’ve been looking forward to Mondays these past few weeks, thanks to Spotify’s Discover Weekly. I noticed that Spotify has been apt with their playlist recommendations — Songs for a sore head and Late night indie appearing at around midnight, Low-key weekend and Lazy daze on a Sunday morning. Discover Weekly took a step further, generating a playlist each week with pretty accurate recommendations just for me. It was interesting to read about how the company was able to use the combination of my listening history, 2 billion playlists generated by Spotify’s 75 million users, and some clever algorithms to generate these weekly digital mixtapes.

Offline screening

Last week, I read The Martian, and I had a chance to watch the film yesterday. We went to Light House Cinema, sitting in a comfortable two-seater couch. If you’re a Wellingtonian, I can’t recommend the cinema enough. There weren’t many people with us, and I felt I was able to take in the film without too many distractions.

Even if I knew what was going to happen in great detail, I found myself hooked. The tension between the bureaucracy and humanity of NASA was just as how I’d pictured. The casting was spot on, and the space scenes were beautiful. Everything seemed too easy to deem real. There were differences between the book and the movie and some of the detail was lost, but they were forgivable for the form that the story took on. I must say, it was possibly the most orange (burnt-sienna) film I’d seen, closely followed by Mad Max. Not surprising, because this is what Mars looks like.