Futures of Text ⇒


Jonathan Libov on text-based user interfaces:

Messaging is the only interface in which the machine communicates with you much the same as the way you communicate with it. If some of the trends outlined in this post pervade, it would mark a qualitative shift in how we interact with computers. Whereas computer interaction to date has largely been about discrete, deliberate events — typing in the command line, clicking on files, clicking on hyperlinks, tapping on icons — a shift to messaging- or conversational-based UI’s and implicit hyperlinks would make computer interaction far more fluid and natural.

‘Typing in the command line’ already feels very ‘conversational’ to me, even if the conversation is with an inconsistent, pedantic idiot.

White Brothers With No Soul? ⇒


As Berlin’s burgeoning electronic music scene becomes ever-more a point of international focus, with numerous books and articles being written on its clubs, music, and parties every year, the politics of these structures often get neglected. Within the CTM 2015 festival theme “Un Tune,” the dissonances as well as consonances of these stories are being explored: both inclusion and exclusion play out in systems of sonic affect such as the dancefloor. Building on his extensive work on race, music, technology, and critical theory, CTM discourse programme co-curator Annie Goh interviewed Professor Alexander G. Weheliye on the racial politics of Berlin techno, and how its story being narrated.

Via @VonKeira

Bring Back British Rail ⇒


Founded in 2009, Bring Back British Rail strives to popularise the commonsense idea of re-nationalising the ludicrously over-priced and over-complicated railway system, which the people of Britain have been left with as the result of privatisation in the ’90s.

Emotional Labor ⇒


Lighten up your email with the Emotional Labor extension. Works on any email sent through Gmail.

First write an email. Then click the smiley face to brighten up the tone of the email before sending.

Like Greg Knauss’s Romantimatic app, this reads to me as interactive near-future dystopian sci-fi, or a Chris Morris/Nigel Kneale-ish self-fulfilling satire of the emotion automation industry.1

More on the project from developer Joanne McNeil.

  1. It seems safe to assume that some incubator-coddled startup numpty is already burning VC cash on his plan to ‘change the world’ by ‘disrupting’ love, &c.

The Ghost in the MP3 ⇒


“moDernisT” was created by salvaging the sounds lost to mp3 compression from the song “Tom’s Diner”, famously used as one of the main controls in the listening tests to develop the MP3 encoding algorithm.

Here we find the form of the song intact, but the details are just remnants of the original. Similarly, the video contains only material which was left behind during mp4 video compression.

More information on the process used to create the piece, with audio examples.

Via Waxy.

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai ⇒


In 1984, Prince starred in Purple Rain, a decadent, semi-autobiographical rock opera that became a cult classic and the definitive expression of the mid-eighties musical sub-genre known as the Minneapolis Sound. Now, 31 years after the Purple One’s silver-screen debut, a remake of the film, set in the Saharan desert, may help do the same for a new sound emerging out of the region.

Starring Mdou Moctar, produced by Chris ‘Music From Saharan Cellphones’ Kirkley