Fact-checking the information exa-ggeration

Numbers: they can be beguiling things, especially when they tell a story we really want to hear. The bigger the numbers the better, ideally so mind-bogglingly big that they totally overwhelm our critical faculties. Best of all, take a series of numbers getting ever bigger: a dynamic that makes us feel as if something significant is happening … Continue reading Fact-checking the information exa-ggeration

Normob: is this the ugliest word not yet to enter the English language?

The words we use to talk about people quickly come to constrain the ways we relate to them, so it's with mounting alarm that I see the spread of the word "normob" - a contraction of "normal mobile user". It started here, and has spawned this and this, and has even been taken up here. … Continue reading Normob: is this the ugliest word not yet to enter the English language?

Twitter: where monologues collide

[Mr. Incredible throws a log at Syndrome, who dodges it and traps Mr. Incredible with his zero-point energy ray] Syndrome: Oh, ho ho! You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I can't believe it... Late last year BBC4 aired an excellent Charlie Brooker Screenwipe special in which Graham Linehan, Russell T Davies and others shared their secrets … Continue reading Twitter: where monologues collide

On BRICs and broken boxes

Adam Greenfield takes issue with the recently coined abbreviation BRIC, which arbitrarily lumps together the peoples of Brazil, Russia, India and China into a single multi-billion-sized unit. Terms like this are: antimatter to clarity of insight, or more accurately, some malignant linguistic equivalent of ice-nine: to drop one of them into a sentence is not merely … Continue reading On BRICs and broken boxes


Thus somebody - and nobody quite seems to know whom - said of Johannes Gutenberg. But even with the belated arrival of the "w" to make up the Latin alphabet to 26, this once mighty army now seems barely enough to log into Bebo. There are forces at work. Web-based services demand that users have … Continue reading ШITH TШЗИTУ-FIVЗ SФLDIЗЯS ФF LЗДD HЗ HДS CФИQЦЗЯЗD THЗ ШФЯLD

Sous les pavés, la plage

The payphone has bluescreened... ... the departure board has 404ed... ... the giant TV screen is somebody's Windows desktop... Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! Since posting my three broken technology pictures, I've been suffering the blogger's equivalent of what the French call "l'esprit de l'escalier," and for which German has the … Continue reading Sous les pavés, la plage

By Their Words You Shall Know Them

Recently I've been spending time around online advertising people and I'm starting to wonder: if they're so smart at communicating, do they ever listen to themselves? For some reason this industry has adopted the most aggressive and unattractive jargon - targeting, eyeballs, cut-through, impressions, and so on. It doesn't have to be this way. The … Continue reading By Their Words You Shall Know Them