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Violante Placido Has No Use for Chairs

violanteplacido_crop.jpgvia WBE

Happy Holidays: Kanye made this Christmas song for you because he wants your respect. What has Taylor Swift done for you lately? [Vulture]

Welcome to the Internet: Mark McNairy enters the world of e-commerce with a flood of suede longwings. [Free/Man]

The Funniest People on Twitter: A round-table talk with four guiding lights of 140-character comedy. [Splitsider]

Strapping: The first iPod Nano watchstraps we can even think about endorsing. [Design Boom]

Barbarians at the Gatefold


Full albums have had a rough time lately for lots of reasons—unlike mixtapes, they cannot convey how you really feel—but the shift to mp3s and iPods certainly hasn’t helped. Luckily for Pink Floyd fans, Apple’s getting ready to throw them a bone.

Jobs & Co’s upcoming tablet computer is being hailed as a potential savior for the album format because of its easy display of ancillary materials like virtual booklets, liner notes, and pictures of Brian Eno. All that extra swag will supposedly convince the youth to listen to long-players the way God intended, but we’re not so sure. Last time around, the industry didn’t have rap skits to deal with.

Time for a Cocktail


You can usually count on Apple to be at least one gadget ahead of everyone else. So now that iPhones are rendering the average iPod obsolete, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ve got a third item up their sleeve ready to change the game yet again.

It’s all still guesses, but the smart money is on a tablet computer dropping just in time for Christmas, codenamed Cocktail and resembling either an enormous iPod touch or a hyper-intelligent dinner tray. (The above pic is an unofficial rendering, naturally.) It’s a gadget type that’s been seen at press events for years now, most notably from Microsoft, but they’ve never quite made it into stores. More importantly, it’s the ideal tool for the artsy endeavors Apple specializes in—graphic design, software editing, digital collage, and so on—provided they can convince their users to get rid of that keyboard.

Copy Artists


Ad men have been enjoying quite a bit of attention, so the time is ripe for a gushy documentary covering some of the industry’s greatest hits. Who came up with that “got milk” business, anyway?

Art & Copy (via Josh Spear) tracked down the creatives in question—in this case, Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby—along with a slate of other names like George Lois of the famous 60s Esquire covers and Hal Riney of the 1984 Reagan campaign. Together they’re responsible for some of the most iconic images of the past 50 years. We’re thinking of the “I Heart NY” logo, the Energizer bunny, and the more recent dancing silhouette iPod ads…but we’re sure you have a favorite of your own.

It’s not bad as a profile of an industry, and we’re sure there are more than enough outsized personalities to fill up 90 minutes—especially whoever was unselfconscious enough to offer the quote, “we’re doing exactly the same thing as the guys who were painting on caves.”

A master marketer should have known how that was going to sound.

See the trailer after the jump»

Detroit Revisited


Much as we like cars, the four-door is getting a little long in the tooth. Where are the cars we were promised in Total Recall?

It looks like they’re almost here. This is the PUMA prototype, a collaboration between GM and Segway that might be the electric urban raider the world’s been waiting for—whenever it goes into production, that is. At the moment, the main problem is presentation…

Those hazard stripes aren’t doing anyone any favors, and the whole thing could stand to be a bit sleeker. Lest we forget, it was design that made the difference between the iPod and the slew of mp3 gadgets that came before. Is anyone out there ready to throw a few sketches together?

See the PUMA in action»

Wheels of Progress


Apple’s been pretty consistent with their store designs—hewing to the everything-looks-like-an-iPod school of interior design—but not everyone’s happy about it. Specifically, the kind souls in the Georgetown area.

In case you’re less familiar with our nation’s capital, Georgetown is the rigidly quaint high-rent district with lots that look more like J. Crew than Popular Science. So when the Jobs Army came a-knocking back in September ‘07, Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission turned them down flat. But give them credit for persistence: in the intervening 18 months, they’ve submitted three more designs, each of which has been subsequently turned down.

We’re not entirely surprised. Apple’s sleekness and Georgetown’s nostalgia are pretty tough to blend, but the surprising thing is how well the sketches end up bringing them together. Apple still has one of the best design teams in the country, so if anyone can do it they can.

See the other designs»



Now that the cultural novelty of the iPod has worn off, we’re left with a lot of distant-looking people in public places. We aren’t suggesting you start talking to people on the subway—we’re not crazy—but disengaging from the world is rarely an attractive thing, and probably best kept private and unadvertised, like knitting or watching Heroes.

All of which means you’d do best to keep it off your tie.