Monthly Archives: September 2011

cycle world sold – again: to bonnier ab

The saga of Cycle World’s future existence continued today on news of the venerable publication’s sale to Field & Stream publisher Bonnier AB, a family held privately owned media group headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. Self-described as, “… a culturally progressive, humanistic organization (with) knowledge-sharing goals,” the European publisher is also involved in book publishing, broadcast, digital, cinema, cultural events and educational efforts.

Many of the company’s best known titles were acquired as part of the Time print selloff in 2007.

News of Cycle World’s (re)sale was predicted before the ink was dry on the June, 2011 sale by HFM to Hearst. Shortly after the transfer, rumors began circulating that the familiar CW brand was for sale by owner, no reasonable offer refused. Bonnier’s titles also include Popular Science and Parenting. In a statement announcing the sale, Cycle World is slotted for Bonnier’s special interest Outdoor channel. The amount of the sale was not disclosed.

Bonnier’s portfolio of titles is impressive, and includes such special interest lifestyle nameplates as Saveur, the Transworld active collection, Motorboating and Yachtbroker. Given the production quality and editorial value of their offerings, Cycle World seems likely to maintain their leadership in print while enjoying a much needed web makeover that could be transformational.

designing for variables – involve, evolve

2011/09 Chris Bangle of Chris Bangle Associates from Creative Mornings/London on Vimeo.

Our speaker at the August 2011 CreativeMornings/London was Chris Bangle, formerly design director at BMW Group and now running Chris Bangle Associates. (chrisbangleassociates.com/) The event was generously hosted by Buro Happold (burohappold.com) and Sense Worldwide (senseworldwide.com). Breakfast was provided by the amazing folks at L’Eto Caffe (155 Wardour Street, Soho) and Vantra (11-13 Soho Street, Soho). Finally, a big shout out to ‘Femi T for providing her photography services on the day.

CreativeMornings is a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types. Each event is free of charge, and includes a 20 minute talk, plus coffee! You can currently join us in New York, Zurich, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. (creativemornings.com)

A big thank you to Nick Culley (nicecreation.co.uk/) for filming and editing the talk.

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chris bangle presentation promotes design accessibility

This provocative August, 2011 Creative Morning/London presentation argued the benefits of extending the design decision loop beyond the purely economic realm of client-designer, and the potential effects a new style of style and design involvement could have on driving societal change.

CreativeMornings is a publicly available series of short hosted seminars and presentations that take place monthly in cities around the globe. Founded and administered by Tina Roth Eisenberg, best known for her SwissMiss design studio and blog, CreativeMornings brings fresh and original insight on design’s role in our daily lives. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities served, you’re already aware of the very high content quality. If not, the second-to-none production quality on the videos is the next best thing to sitting in the audience.

compuserve’s first live digital image

Digital photograph of ASMP Central Florida chapter February, 1993. David Heller (seated, center) provided IT supervision. ©John Siebenthaler

my digital photo first upload viewed live on compuserve

The photograph above is one of the first real time, commercial digital images ever viewed on the internet.

Today we snap anecdotal photos by the billions, using miniaturized smart phone cameras to simultaneously update our visual interests to any number of social sites. It wasn’t always this painless. This is what it looked like in the beginning.

ASMP Central Florida Chapter Newsletter March-April 1993 February, 1993, and commercial digital photography is in the very early stages of development. Essential JPEG (.jpg) algorithms now taken for granted were still being finalized. TIFF was the standard (and inefficient) format for rasterized image content. <download chapter newsletter (left) PDF

At the same time while what we now know as the web and its browser viewed rich content was still being imagined, the internet of the early years ran over household telephone lines behind an impenetrable wall of individual cantons.

I belonged to CompuServe, the first and then largest of a half-dozen or so commercial intranet services (AOL, Prodigy, GEnie, each serving their own customer base and incapable of talking to each other) popular at the time. Members jumped online with dialup modems that connected to local access nodes peppered throughout the continent. Common practice when traveling was to tote along a phone jack hack kit and a list of hit-or-miss toll-free numbers.

first national online site for professional photographers

As an administrator of Compuserve’s Special Interest Group (SIG) Photography forum, I was able to carve out a private niche for the American Society of Magazine Photographers, becoming the first online presence for a national professional photographer’s organization. (I also formed and chaired ASMP’s first technology committee, authoring the first report to address the issue of online digital access and what that might mean to photographers’ usage rights.)

kodakbluechip-2

A regional meeting in Orlando of Florida’s ASMP chapters was the opportunity to photograph members with Kodak’s beta DCS 200mi Digital Camera System. I’d made the loaner list for their $20,000, black and white only, heavily modified motor drive Nikon mated to a small, slow hard drive powered by 16 rapidly drained AAs. (So much for blaming Kodak’s eventual bankruptcy on a lack of digital imaging knowledge – this was the first practical digital image capture commercially developed.)

There was no in-camera preview; the image first had to be transferred (over SCSI cables) to a Mac IIsi for viewing in Photoshop and downsampling before being uploaded to Compuserve’s mainframe in Columbus, Ohio, a process which took nearly half an hour over a staggeringly slow 2,400-bps modem.

To complete the project, Compuserve’s Photography forum owner in Sacramento had to merge the image into the forum library, and within 15 minutes it was available for viewing and download by ASMP members worldwide. As part of the experiment, ASMP members in three separate chapters throughout the country were also able to conduct live online chats within the forum. The photograph above is one of the first near real time, commercial digital images ever viewed on the internet.

product design hits and misses

Fast Company Cries Foul

since you put it that way, what was erik thinking?

Who says you can’t beat that dead horse? Fast Company compares Ulysses to Barcolounger! Whoop! Buell gets a posthumous dressing down over on Fast Company’s Design channel. Their current pictorial serves up a night and day visual of the role design plays in the consumer acceptance cycle. Message? I guess you know it when you see it. Screw around too much and you’ll pay the price: see iPod vs. (M.C.) Hammer clown pants over on the United States of Design for rock solid proof of usually avoidable consequences based on (bad) taste alone. Which is why the t.v. audience for Boise State home games will never exceed friends and family.

bottleneck! your social media workflow

pick and choose what’s manageable

Edelman Digital’s recent post (via David Armano’s typepad driven feed blitz distributed Logic+Emotion blog) announcing their new SlideShare presence adds another layer of social versatility to their expanding toolkit of content sites.

Armano is Edelman PR’s widely followed social guru, operating out of their Chicago office where he spreads knowledge and opinion across the twitter/facebook/linkedin universe. A July post, for instance, presented the case for Google Plus in an extended essay piece that positions the new service as a layer, rather than a channel, then goes on to count the degrees of difference.

so many channels; really, so many channels

But regardless of worthiness, for me it’s yet one more dedicated channel to tend in a garden of tasty greenery run amok. For the small shop and independent practitioner, your fulltime job can easily become a sideline to the babysitting necessary for even basic online maintenance. The connect options presented on their Edelman Digital space (above) include RSS, email, Scribd, SlideShare, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr channels: and that’s just the tip of their social channel spear.

As Delicious prepares to roll out a much needed overhaul courtesy of new owners and YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, I’m split between excitement about what’s to come and concern over management issues. There are no best answers for any one situation. It’s clear, though, that too many channels quickly add up to a weedy, overgrown online presence where your last visited update is months old, stale and reeking of abandonment issues.