November 21st, 2012, 3 Comments »
1029 Internet years ago, in 2003, I started something called the Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness. It compiled “wacky, bizarre, surreal and otherwise strange examples of technical documentation”, collected from my own travels and through user submissions.
I think of the Hall as the first thing I ever created that the Internet liked. It was covered in Boing Boing, and images from the Hall appeared in the great British show, The IT Crowd.
As often happens with Web projects, I moved on to other distractions and a redesign of this site killed the wonky gallery software I was using to run the Hall. It’s been offline for three or four years now.
It occurred to me the other day that Pinterest would make a convenient and reliable new home for the hall. It seems like the natural environment for vaguely-amusing technical drawings and signs. And I found some free time to set up a board and start posting images.
Witness the revival of The Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness, 2012 edition.
“When boxing up your baby, ensure the lid securely fastened.” on Pinterest
I’ve got about 100 images to upload, so I’ll get the rest up over the coming days. New Hall submissions are always welcome.
UPDATE: Eight years later, Boing Boing wrote about the Hall again. Ah, the circle of geeky life.
UPDATE: I meant to credit the Wayback Machine, which managed to preserve my captions.
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January 19th, 2012, 5 Comments »
I like online satire. The technology world takes itself pretty seriously, and deserves its fair share of skewering. When it’s done correctly, satire doesn’t have to be mean-spirited. It’s cutting, and pokes gentle fun at the ideas and projects we may be taking too seriously.
Pinterest.com has exploded onto the start-up scene. In the current parlance, it’s a “push-button curation” site. A cousin to Tumblr, you use Pinterest to collect images from the web and ‘pin’ them to ‘boards’. To me, it’s mostly Delicious for pictures or collages of “stuff I want to buy”.
It represents the convergence of a few trends. First, and most importantly, there’s the crunchy, Etsy, DIY movement that’s popularized knitting and other crafty practices, and is reflected in the hipster ethos. Add to that mix the maturation of online shopping, where a lot of people spend a lot of their time (particularly on tablets like the iPad) browsing online stores. Then bake in the mainstream understanding of social sharing, thanks mostly to sites like Facebook and Twitter.
I’ve barely used the site–I haven’t thought of a personal or professional use for it yet. I was wondering about it on Twitter and somebody (I’m afraid I’ve forgotten who) suggested that it wasn’t for me, but rather for “co-eds to make visioning boards for The Secret“. Ouch.
Is anybody Pinterested?
Pinterest is ripe for satire. And I wish I had a good idea about how to satirize it. But life is a bit hectic at the moment, and, as I said, I’m a Pinterest noob.
I suggested on Twitter that the satirical site ought to be at Disinterest.com, but that’s already taken by a mortgage company. Then Paula suggested Dishinterest.com, which sounds excellent to me. So I registered it.
Now what should go there? What are the characteristics of Pinterest that most deserve a critique? In my limited time on the site, I see a lot of these quotations-in-image-form that are popular on Tumblr (ironically, it’s become immediately popular to use this collage site to collect blocks of text). This isn’t a great idea, but maybe the site is just a board full of the most banal objects one can find: a pencil, a clump of dirt and so forth?
What do you think? Any good ideas for Pinterest-related satire?
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