Posts tagged “collection”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Polyvore, a fashion Web site for the masses [The New Yorker] – Lee and her colleagues like to keep tabs on exactly how people are using Polyvore. They know that the average user spends ten or eleven minutes per session and clicks on twelve Polyvore pages per visit; they know that users “import” 1.2 million products per month. But they are boundlessly curious about the Polyvore setmaker’s process. And so Lee invited Gail Helmer, the user from Calgary who goes by the handle MyChanel, to come to Mountain View and let the engineers observe her at work on a set. Lee called it “usability testing,” as if Helmer­chosen because of the quality, consistency, and popularity of her sets­were a lab rat. “She’s very fashion-savvy,” Lee told me. “She’s one of the top members.” Helmer arrived at the offices straight from the airport, wearing jeans from Zara tucked into black boots, a gray sweater she’d bought for ten dollars, and a white ruffled shirt. “Banana,” she said, pinching a ruffle. “The Republic of.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Jobs on the Kindle, January 2008 – Today he had a wide range of observations on the industry, including the Amazon Kindle book reader, which he said would go nowhere largely because Americans have stopped reading.

    “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

  • Roger Ebert’s Books Do Furnish A Life (plus a ton of amazing comments) – I cannot throw out these books. Some are protected because I have personally turned all their pages and read every word; they're like little shrines to my past hours. Perhaps half were new when they came to my life, but most are used, and I remember where I found every one. The set of Kipling at the Book Nook on Green Street in Champaign. The scandalous The English Governess in a shady book store on the Left Bank in 1965. The Shaw plays from Cranford's on Long Street in Cape Town, where Irving Freeman claimed he had a million books; it may not have been a figure of speech. Like an alcoholic trying to walk past a bar, you should see me trying to walk past a used book store.

    Other books I can't throw away because–well, they're books, and you can't throw away a book, can you? The very sight of Quick and Easy Chinese Cooking by Kenneth H. C. Lo quickens my pulse. Its pages are stained by broth, sherry, soy sauce and chicken fat.

  • Seats Of Gold – A writer's experience in the newly-redefined "luxury" seats at the new Yankee Stadium. Fascinating as Wall Street hyper-greed spills into other industries and illustrates how to kill loyalty dead. Hard to summarize this piece, but it's a great case study and a well-written piece as the author documents their own experience supplemented with a lot of background interviews.

Inventory Porn

I pulled a page out of Newsweek a year ago, intending to do something with the article, anyway a year later, I finally get around to blogging Everything I Ate: A Year in the Life of My Mouth, mostly as Yet Another example of what I would call Inventory Porn (of which Taschen books might be a leading example) – if you go to some extreme length and document something (a big collection, all the stuff in your home, every manhole cover, gum wads, lost pet posters, bowling pins) at length, it becomes some publishable hipster NPR-reporting bloggable story.

It’s sort of the ultimate in DIY (or sorry, I mean User Created Content); anyone can seemingly visit every Starbucks in the US. Most won’t. But the person that does can get a book/movie/TV deal.

Some of these efforts are fun, some offer some insight, but others are just tedious. I might like to photograph the hotel doorknob of every room I stayed in over the last 3 years. Do you want to look at those pictures? What if I tell you engaging stories about each doorknob? Or each hotel? Or each trip? Well….maybe.

I admit it’s compelling to consume and create, but I’m also feeling a little burned out with this stuff. Perhaps it’s the lowbrow ethno vibe the whole thing gives off, that it’s an aesthetic and attitude of being into the details of consumption more than the implications or outcomes of the study (if it is even study; perhaps it’s just documentation).


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