New meta-theme: design!

The chart below, from David Wolf's Silicon Hutong site, is not meant to be taken in 100% straight-faced earnest -- I think. It's a flow chart for deciding whether to buy a book as a new hard cover, a used hard cover, or a Kindle-style ebook, including the complication that Wolf is based Beijing and can find only so much in the local shops. (I say: choose whatever form you want, but just buy the damned book!!!)


It's connected to a more earnest but quite interesting discussion by Wolf of the role of physical books in a personal library, even when ebooks are available. And I'll use it as an intro to the next running meta-theme here: various aspects of design.

I realize that many of the leads and items I am interested in discussing and thinking about -- once the art course is over and the flu has passed and I'm caught up with, ahem, my "real" work -- really concern design in several aspects.

  •  Design of cities, including the ones springing up all over China, as hinted at in this introductory Beijing-vs-Shanghai post several weeks back.
  • Design of "tools for thinking," which generally includes software and which I find particularly provocative and rich in the emerging (for me) intersection of straight text and graphics. I don't mean photo illustrations; I mean "mapping" and "visualization" programs of several sorts that I, as a pure-text guy from way back, find increasingly useful.
  • Design of hardware for thinking and learning, not excluding the familiar Kindle and the even more familiar PC and Mac.
  • Design of the working environment, the reduce the threat posed by the Number One Killer of Modern-day Thought, non-stop distraction

More on all of that later. This is fair warning. Now, real work again for a while.