Monday, April 30, 2007

Have your own wonder room...

A modern wonder room is an option. From March 2004 until August 2005 the Museum of Communication in The Hague exhibited a modern style wonder room. The room was built by Koert van Mensvoort (lecturer at 't Sandberg Instituut) in collaboration with Studio VollaersZwart.

"It's wonderfull that we can recognise, understand and explain al the images we see, it's even more wonderfull to realise that these images are just a small amount of all the images we know. The wonder is not the room, it's the visual capability of a human being. The real wonder room is inside of our head."
The last sentence reminds me of a presentation I once saw in Coronado, a peninsula in the bay of San Diego. In a fabulous hotel actually, the Hotel Del Coronado. Dr. Ben Carson MD was part of a conference about leadership. He just told us about his professional life as a neurosurgueon. A world renowned neurosurgeon. He told us about working on the cutting edge, under enourmous pressure, making critical decisions with hardly any time to think. One of the most impressive presentations I saw in the last 10 years. He said, at some point during his presentation, that if we were able to stimulate the right part of the brain, we would be able to remember everything we ever saw, heard, tasted, smelled, felt... I never realised that. Did you?

Le cabinet de curiosité de Bonnier de la Mosson

Early libraries, or wonder rooms to be more specific, are intriguing. Being in such a 'cabinet of curiosities' must be inspiring, impossible not to be triggered by the plethora of things around you. Jacques Bonnier de la Mosson was a collectioner and had his own cabinet. Having one of your own, that sounds incredible to me, a dream. The image depicts Jacques cabinet with 9 rooms, painted by Jacques de Lajoue in 1734.

Le cabinet de Bonnier de La Mosson est "un des plus spectaculaires des cabinets scientifiques du XVIIIème siècle, dans lequel, en dépit de sa spécialisation, l'esprit du cabinet de curiosités reste bien vivace" (I. de Conihout, 1998). Le catalogue distingue neuf cabinets : un cabinet d'Anatomie, un cabinet de Chimie, un de Pharmacie, un de Drogues, un "cabinet de Phisique ou cabinet des Machines", "le cabinet du Tour et des Outils", et trois d'Histoire naturelle. Plus un herbier et une bibliothèque.
Wilfing away on a lazy afternoon looking for information about Buffon (George Louis Leclerc, 1707-1788, visionary biologist) lead to de Lajoue's painting (Albert Beit collection Russborough, Blessington, Ireland), which lead to Bonnier's cabinet. The museum of natural history in Paris exhibits one of the cabinets of Bonnier de la Mosson, I will certainly have a look when in Paris.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hey ho lets go!

For a couple of weeks we've been teaming up implementing and populating a wiki, today we drove up to a lake to go sailing with the practice we work in.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Klipper

2006 was a good year for my colleagues and I. We were granted with a weekend out of the ordinary. So we agreed to go for a bit of sailing. Who on earth decided to rent this enourmous ship I don't know. Instead of laying low sipping chilled Chardonnay we'll be working ropes 'til hands are blistered...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Slip streaming

Using the drag a race car creates can be used by the racer following that car to overtake. This phenomena is called slip streaming or drafting. When the following car has the ideal distance to the car followed the drag can even generate an amount of suction due to underpressure. Nowadays communities of taggers and bloggers on the web use a similar phenomena to their advantage or to the advantage of their readers (resp.). If an expert in a certain domain tags URLs (using del.icio.us-like tools) his fellows can benefit from his expert opinion by re-using his collection of tags. When a mixed group of domain experts share their tags a body of knowledge is build. The same goes for publishing selected blog feed items on a blog. E.g. Google Reader allows its users to 'share' the items they select by publishing them in a webpart of their blog, thereby catering their readers with quality content. In the grapevine of information architects the notion "Tag drafting" is already used for slipstreaming tags.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Dogear or Donkey ear?

Turning down the corner of a page of a book: Dogearing. In many languages it's not the ear of a dog, but the ear of a donkey that is used in this verb. Hence why I, a cloggy, didn't immediately grasp why IBM chose to call its social bookmarking tool Dogear.

Roly Poly and the team's sweet tooth

Chiefly British: A pudding made of jam or fruit rolled up in pastry dough and baked or steamed until soft. Good friend and project manager is fond of sweets. The UK is a fine place for enjoying sweets with typical names, many of them based on recipes dating back hundreds of year. When in West-Cumbria, do visit The Waterfront Inn in Whitehaven. By the way, the sweet tooth in question isn't roly-poly at all, no one knows what keeps him as slim as he is eating all that pudding:-)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Been there, seen it and got the T-shirt

To be perfectly honest with you, I haven't got the t-shirt. Why? Hadrian wasn't there at the time. A local told us he opens shop at thee o'clock, we were several hours early.

Hadrian's Wall (Latin: Vallum Hadriani) is a stone and turf fortification built by the Roman Empire across the width of Great Britain. It was the second of three such fortifications built across Great Britain, the first being Gask Ridge and the last the Antonine Wall. All three were built to prevent military raids by the tribes of (what is now) Scotland to the north, to improve economic stability and provide peaceful conditions in the Roman province of Britannia to the south, and to physically mark the frontier of the Empire. Hadrian's Wall is the best known of the three because it remains the most physically preserved and evident today. The wall was the northern border of the Empire in Britain for much of the Roman Empire's rule, and also the most heavily fortified border in the Empire. In addition to its use as a military fortification, it is thought that the gates through the wall would also have served as customs posts to allow trade taxation. A significant portion of the wall still exists, particularly the mid-section, and for much of its length the wall can be followed on foot. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern England, where it is often known simply as the Roman Wall. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. English Heritage, a government organization in charge of managing the historic environment of England, describes it as "the most important monument built by the Romans in Britain".
It was windy, chilly and very slipery out there. Very very impressive to be sitting on a wall built in the year 122!

The place to be...when in Ennerdale Bridge that is

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Major Gowen: "A room with a view, please, Fawlty!"

Major Gowen, played by Ballard Berkeley, in Fawlty Towers was a bumbling, quintessential stiff upper lipped English gentleman. And proud of it! Well known for his distrust of foreigners in general, and Germans in particular, he could always be found wandering about Fawlty Towers enquiring if the newspapers had arrived yet. The only thing more important to Major Gowen than the arrival of the newspapers to keep himself abreast of the cricket scores was the opening of the bar. This was an era with less liberal licensing hours than can be enjoyed in England today.

“We loved this guy who was in his own world. He never quite understood what was going on, but always added his own interpretation of it.” — John Cleese.
For some reason or another I feel like being at Fawlty Towers when staying at our hotel in Cumbria. It's a nice place with friendly and customer-focussed people, but...
An example: [After dinner's main course] "We'd like to order some sweets now please?" "Certainly, I'll be just a moment and get back to you with the daily specials" After several minutes, she returns and says: "We're not serving sweets anymore, the chef's gone home." [bear in mind that it's only 9 o'clock in the evening]
Another one: [Just after midnight, my colleagues telephone rings him out of his sleep] "Yes?" "Oh hello, I'm just calling to tell you that your colleague hasn't arrived yet" "Right, thank you madam and good night" [In this case one of us was coming in late, struggling his way through bad weather with barely any view due to heavy rain, therefore arriving later than the receptionist intended to stay at her desk]

"Art sure, Timothy, 'tis ours? Methinks 'tis but a re-made."

Excellent work by Quintarelli, Resmini and Rosati: FaceTag

Have a look at their site for more information.

Supermarket 2.0