Trivial Posts #14: Serifs, Trolly Dollys, and Lego In Space

The great thing about the internet is the amount of random stuff you can find, and then share. Which is the point of ‘Trivial Posts’, my (ir)regular newsletter and posts of things that I’ve stumbled over and remembered to bookmark. As alway, you can read the posts here, or sign up to the mailing list.

Something To Suck On For Landing?

Okay, the flight doesn’t actually take off, but Air Hollywood’s ‘theme park style’ adventure lets you fly First Class on a 1960’s Pan-Am 747 with all the trimmings, meals, drinks, service, and Mad Men references you can think of. Join Flyer Talk’s Amanda Cyr as she takes off with the trolly dollys.

Flyer Talk Gets The Pan Am Experience

I Think I Bought Her A Cup Of Tea Once

It’s wonderful to see Sue Black finally get the appreciation she deserves for her efforts in saving Bletchley Park. And starting TechMums. And a million other little projects that have made a difference. If you ever doubt the power of one determined person to change the world, talk to Sue first…

The Geek Goddess Of London

But What Does The Story Look Like?

When I sit down to blog, my head has the sea of a shape and momentum of a story, which means this infographic (by Maya Eilam) of shapes created by noted writer Kurt Vonnegut represents the scaffolding of a fantastic writer. I’m definitely lifting a few of these for my mental filofax.

Kurt Vonnegut Diagrams the Shape of All Stories

Bad Google

Google changed its logo and branding last week. In broad strokes it went from serif to sans serif. Naturally nobody likes it, and here’s New Yorker’s Sarah Larson to explain why:

Its old logo’s typeface—reminiscent of literature, newspapers, printing—had a reassuring hint of history, paying its respects to what it had come to improve upon and replace. The letters’ literary old serifs were subtly authoritative: the sturdy, handsome “G,” the stately, appealing little “oo,” the typewriterish, lovable “g,” the elegant “l,” the thoughtful “e.”

The new logo retains the rainbow of colors but sheds the grownup curlicues: it now evokes children’s refrigerator magnets, McDonald’s French fries, Comic Sans. Google took something we trusted and filed off its dignity. Now, in its place, we have an insipid “G,” an owl-eyed “oo,” a schoolroom “g,” a ho-hum “l,” and a demented, showboating “e.” I don’t want to think about that “e” ever again. But what choice do I have? Google—beneficent overlord, Big Brother, whatever you want to call it—is at the center of our lives. Now it has symbolically diluted our trust, which it originally had for all the right reasons.

Why You Hate Google’s New Logo

Lego! In! Space!

Got to hand it to the Danish space agency, when the country’s first astronaut takes off on Wednesday, Andreas Mogensen will not be alone… he’ll have 20 Lego mini fig astronauts with him. The PR shots have them all carrying the correct corporate logos for the Danish agency, ESA, and the International Space Station. What’s not said is if Andreas will get to bring one of his own Lego figures with him. I know if it was me I’d want one of my own minifies to come with me.

Denmark Sends Its First Man Into Space

The Discussions Around The XKCD Survey

I mentioned the XKCD random survey on the blog this week (Randall wants a big pool of silly data so people can do cool things with it) so you should take it, but it’s starting some great discussions online, including this nice thread at the best hangout on the ‘net, Metafilter…

XKCD Survey on Metafilter

This Week’s Long Read: Nick Bilton and The Bubble

Is there another bubble in Silicon Valley? Nick Bilton looks at the evidence and the short answer seems to be ‘it’s rather frothy with lots of little bubbles’. Chances are that the VC’s will be safe this time around (look up ‘drag-along’ clauses for more) and there’s a lot of people hoping that it’s not going to be as career defining/limiting as the last one:

Even if this generation of distribution companies is able to ride the shift from the desktop to mobile—64 percent of American adults now own smartphones—errand running has not proved an infallible business model. Kozmo and UrbanFetch lost so much money on orders and infrastructure that they ended up going kaput. Some more recent start-ups have subsidized their deliveries in a race to gain new users and grow their audience. Even Uber, which is now valued at around $51 billion, is reportedly operating at a loss of almost half a billion. As one prominent author who has written about Wall Street and Silicon Valley said to me, “How long can these companies continue to sell a dollar for 70 cents before you run out of dollars?”

Is Silicon Valley In Another Bubble?

What Have I Been Up To?

Quite a bit since the last Trivial Posts, mostly covering the Edinburgh Fringe with a daily radio show throughout August. That’s over, so Trivial Posts comes back to life. If you missed any of the Fringe shows, you can find them all online at iTunes or the Edinburgh Fringe Show website). It’s also the week of a new iPhone, which means I’m covering the event once more for Forbes. If you’re interested in my predictions, you can find them here.

I’m also nipping down to London next week to attend the Next Radio conference and take in a number of meetings. If you’re around and in need of coffee with a Scotsman, let me know!

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