What you won’t see in what you’re about to read
- Any helpful tips, hints or hacks for your life. You’re doing fine. Probably. Hopefully.
- Any dangling of free “content” carrots and threats of not getting so much more of said “content.” That is because this isn’t content. It’s writing. And other stuff. And let’s face it, I know, you know, nobody is going to pay for this thing.
- Anything that will cause sinus pain. I can assure you that any and all collective sinus troubles you may have or have had this month are now taken on by me. You’re welcome.
Hi. I’m Jim, your host for this newsletter. I am here to entertain, sort of inform, and do whatever I do to make this thing happen every month or so. That thing is the only place on the internets where you can read about design, rock ’n roll, remedial economics, snacking, the state of the world and obscure references all in one place.
If a friend or colleague forwarded this to you, tell them immediately they are a prince/princess/etc and you owe them your life, and potentially mine. You can of course always subscribe yourself.
Of course, it would be fantabulous if you could forward this to a friend, spread the love and joy that only this newsletter can bring to the world. Send it to everyone, your mom, Uncle Bob, John in Accounting, bring the whole gang along. Forwarding is easy and fun for the whole family!
You can always unsubscribe here, if you are that insane, in which case, maybe you should. You can also check out all the back issues, assuming they aren’t carved into granite on a large monument in your front garden already.
Oh yeah, I’ve been reinventing enterprise communications when I’m not busy singlehandedly reinventing media and literature with this newsletter. So a new job. More on that later. Right now, I need to bring happiness to you with the rest of this newsletter.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole decentralised economy kerfuffle and what it all means. I haven’t worked on any sort of DLT/blockchain/dweb project for a bit and it’s good to get some perspective on it. I’m still keen on making it actually usable for regular people, but that’s going about as well as fixing climate change. But as NFT’s have basically cropped up everywhere, I of course had to dip my toes into the water and bash out my two cents of which is a bit further down.
As I clearly don’t have my act together, the March newsletter didn’t quite happen. This means though for one time only you have an March Top 10 and an April Top 10 together. This month only two for one for free!
If you’re in the mood to figure out the trajectory of your life, what you should be telling people at work to be doing or how to decide on your breakfast cereal options, you might want to check out this smashing article on Triangle and Square Design.
Most importantly, we (it’s actually “me,” shhhhhh, but you know “we” so it seems way more of a big deal) meaning Halfman, through a groundbreaking business design pivot, is now a Creative Agency™. If you want to create a thing, you email me and ask me something and then I give you likely some ridiculous ideas that might make you laugh for half a second. Creative®!
Productivity is a cancer, but I’m guessing you already know that.
Bring me your troubled hearts and your weary minds and tell me your tale of not quite making it.
I’ve written semi-extensively here and here about what design failure looks like in real life. If you read part two about the death of my thing, you’ll find that there is no grand narrative or heroic lesson beyond it just didn’t work.
If you want to share your similar story of making a thing that didn’t quite make it, let’s chat. I don’t know what this and other stories will be, but I’m thinking something along the lines of a compendium of design-tech social realism. Hard hitting gonzo accounts of crushed app dreams. Or something like that. Email me and we’ll commiserate. Or you can just rest your tired head on my proverbial design shoulders and weep with me for a moment.
Putting Those Arts Degrees to Work Mom
And man, oh man, wouldn’t she be proud. I drew a thing my kid said one day in the car that stuck with me like a Public Enemy line. Sure enough I got around to drawing it roughly four years later, and made actual A3 risographs of it, thanks to the kind folks who somehow are right across the street at Risoparadiso.
I was debating creating a North American English version, but got talked out of it. Please forward diatribes and threats to my wife about this, it was her idea. She hates freedom. I’m also easily talked out of things like this. I’m happy to lose more of my hybrid Trans-atlanticism anyhow, just like I lose at making money from things.
This leads to a delicious irony I just realised upon opening these up. I used the British English “chip” (“fries” to the rest of us) and shipping to Britain which “took back control” means you have to pay tariffs for the honour. Brilliant! But if you’re in the EU and you say “chips (Ireland!! Malta!!) it will be easier to send it to you.
So Jim, Tell Me About the Future
Art IS Fungible
I can tell you one thing, and that is NFT’s are likely unsustainable in a number of ways to be the future. Well, not in their current form at any rate. I write about it here in We Can Do a Lot Better with NFT’s. In this, I’m not clever enough to come up with the phrase “Ecocidal fuckery” which Adam Greenfield did.
This little corner of the Blockchains World (or as I prefer to call it Distributed Ledger Technology Domain) has blown up immensely with people minting pictures and who knows what else that there is “only one of” which you can buy and sell. The bubble will likely burst shortly and people won’t be paying US$59,000,000 for a JPGE of Joe Biden made out of lollipops for much longer probably. But this whole thing leads to lots of questions:
- The actual math on this stuff? It may not be as simple as Memo Akten’s calculations I cite in the article. But this is not the point. The fact that the production, “life” and commerce of the art depends on millions of computers across the world pointlessly solving equations and wasting energy is the point.
- How does throwing already desperate artists down a rabbit hole they likely don’t quite understand so investors who are mainly interested in yet another asset class to pump and dump help art again?
If you’re looking for a more reasonable and very well measured examination of NFT’s, you should probably check out this article.
The Future of History and Storytelling in General should look like The Book of Darryl. Probably. Either way, it’s so simple, and entertaining and oh yeah, books and stories are supposed to do that. You have a book, you know what those look like, and then you can animate stuff that is still in the book by looking through your phone.
The Pudding kill it yet once again with a endearing and accessible AI-aided essay slash personal tale of love and loss with Nothing Breaks Like A.I. Heart.
Super Serious Forwards
The Great Green Wall
In a follow up to February’s Map Men, I’m bringing you yet more geospatial amaze in the form of The Great Green Wall.
I love this in so many ways. If this even half happens, and apparently it’s 15% of the way already there, it would be one of the most epic things mankind has done POSITIVE for this fucking planet and entirely African led.
Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.
Chalk is still a thing apparently
How to quit your job
How you and I have quit jobs in general sucks. Its uncomfortable and awkward and nobody is really good at it….that is except this guy who positively shreds through his power metal message to his soon to be ex-coworkers!
Halfman endorses: mid to late 90’s hardcore album and t-shirt graphic design, Rites of Spring, honey, The Dead Boys, Stiff Little Fingers, most types of salad, lighting thirty minute intellectual debates with old bosses comparing various music scenes with tech developments, Action Bronson, Czarface, Fake Names, decorative rugs, getting lost on new trails, Working Memory Capacity research and Japanese Kamon logos.