January 2008

Jan. 24, 1984: Birth of the Cool (Computer, That Is)

I can hardly believe that the Mac is 24 years old! I missed seeing the groundbreaking ad during the Super Bowl but I already knew it was coming. I was one of the few who were already working with the pre-Mac Lisa computer that Apple tentatively introduced the year before. Little did I know then that the Mac would change my career and my life.

I am a graphic designer today because of the Mac. The computer was not the green screened machine that used DOS. It did not intimidate me – it welcomed play and work. I remember using the first release of Pagemaker on my Mac SE with it’s dual disc drives and 20MB hard drive. I was constantly popping out the discs to save or use other features. I also remember playing the first version of SimCity on the 9-inch grey screen – often going on until 3am!

I know the iPod has done wonders for Apple – it really brought Apple products to a different audience – but it’s the computer that is the staple of my world. From my G5 at home to my G5 at work (dual displays on both), the Mac will always be a part of my life.

Thanks, Apple!

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DCist: Colbert Portrait Hanging in National Portrait Gallery

The Colbert Report has been blissfully, if not nearly at full speed without its striking writers, back for a little more than a week now on Comedy Central. For three nights straight they’ve been running a series showing Stephen traipsing all over Washington with a portrait of himself strapped to his back, trying to convince one of the Smithsonian museums to actually hang it up. Without dwelling on how we managed to miss out on catching this spectacle up close and personal, the real news is that as of last night, Stephen Colbert was successful in his quest. The National Portrait Gallery confirmed this morning that Colbert’s portrait is in fact now hanging above the bathroom on the 2nd floor, just outside of the America’s Presidents exhibit.

The portrait will be hanging in the museum, which is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., for the next six weeks.

It’s true – Stephen Colbert was at the National Portrait Gallery. While I didn’t see the filming, I did get to typeset the label for the digital image on canvas. Just one little bit of “behind-the-scenes” info: the hacky sack wasn’t his – he borrowed it from one of the art handlers (and graciously autographed it for him, too).

Does getting on the Colbert Report make us a little more hip? Not really, but it’s great to see more people in the gallery.

Here are some other links to sites commenting on the Colbert portrait:

Associated Press
Washington Post Reliable Source
Washington Examiner
Philadelphia Inquirer
NBC 4 news

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Apple – Mac Pro

I know I don’t really need it. I just want it. It would be a very expensive way to upgrade to Leopard.

But I still want it.

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NPR : Bugs Bunny: The Trickster, American Style

Bugs Bunny derived pleasure from driving people crazy. And that, Sutherland concludes, may be why he lasts. He doesn’t seem like a character of the ’40s, but rather a character of today. His wisecracking, gender-bending, anti-authority antics broke ground long before punk rock, or David Bowie, or Jerry Seinfeld. He’s impossible to pin down in any specific sense.

Sutherland believes the only way to truly describe Bugs Bunny is to simply show one of the cartoons, point at the rascally rabbit and say, “Him, in toto, not in parts. From high opera to bullfights, Shakespeare to Brooklyn, from man to woman … he is all of those, and none.”

Bugs is the best!

Click on the link to read the hold article and hear the podcast – complete with audio. There is also a link to a bit of video called “Long Haired Hare” (1949) when Bugs impersonates Leopold Stokowski.

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Au Revoir to the Smoke-Filled French Cafe – washingtonpost.com
In bars and cafes across Paris, in restaurants and casinos throughout France, the once-revered cigarette now is officially banned, relegating one of the Western world’s last public smoking holdouts to the ashtray of history.On Wednesday, the public act that perhaps most epitomized the French as sexy, debonair, sultry, brooding — and perhaps more than a little susceptible to cancer — was snuffed out by the government.

In a single day, Parisian dining establishments and watering holes acquired an entirely new atmosphere.

Davy Kazan took a deep breath and glanced incredulously around the boisterous dining room of the Vaudeville brasserie, which is usually blanketed with smoke by mid-evening.

“You can actually smell the food!” declared Kazan, 39, a Munich resident who is on a New Year’s vacation in Paris.

He said he’s also excited about returning home to visit his favorite sports bar, which became smoke-free Wednesday under tighter smoking restrictions imposed in many German cities and regions.

But Romain Lefevre, a 41-year-old real estate broker, was fuming in the now-smokeless bar of Le Beaujolais Cafe a block from the Eiffel Tower.

“Not smoking during dinner is not a problem, but after eating — yes, I would like a cigarette with my coffee,” said Lefevre, a pack-a-day smoker for 20 years.

Personally, I’m very glad this has come about at last. I love Paris but I hate the smoking everywhere – especially in restaurants.

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