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What will make or break the iPad

ipad

OK, I have all these links that I’ve been meaning to assemble into a weekendly clickables post for like a month now, but the fact is that they’re like 99% stale at this point. And what’s interesting is that it’s my iPhone’s fault — I do so much of my web consumption on that thing these days, and it’s — just — hard enough to turn around and create blog posts on that it frequently doesn’t happen.*

Which brings me to the iPad. Which, first of all, but correct me if I didn’t predict it almost a year ago? Yes, I did. The big difference between between the iPad and what I predicted is Mobile Safari, which I think is also going to determine whether the iPad will work for me (and, by extension, the billions of people who are LIKE ME). I currently use Perfect Browser, which is an improvement over iPhone’s built-in Safari, but uses the same rendering engine and is in many ways tied down in the same way. All sorts of little things are difficult or impossible to do.

Just by the nature of its larger screen, the iPad alleviate some of these pains. And we’ve seen that the Apple apps will be custom-tailored to the device, and more powerful then their small-screen rivals. But whether this turns out to be enough to make the device useful enough to earn its $500 price tag remains to be seen. We don’t need that much, really. But I think that it’s going to take opening up the platform to some true alternative browsers. I want Chrome and/or Firefox, otherwise I’m going to be spending lots and lots of time at the Apple store playing with this thing before I put my money down.

* If you want to be bored with the details, it’s just hard grabbing URL links from all sorts of places and jumping to my web-based blogging window and pasting them in, then jumping somewhere else and being able to return. Plus there are scores of little inconveniences everywhere, wherein websites recognize that you’re on an iPhone and put you, in one fashion or another, into a sandbox. Show me how to get to ask.metafilter.com’s search box in mobile safari. Show me how to post an embedded video to tumblr. The list goes on…

Posted: Sunday February 21, 2010 by Alesh Houdek · Permalink · Comment [6]

 

What goes on: February artwalk and more

february artwalk

OK, here we are at Lost & Found, home of awesome food and bafflingly slow service. Check out this harmless-looking sculpture that adorns the tables, which my friends and I deconstructed: taken from the top, we have a cluster or orchids (the most vaginal of all flowers, right?), right under that little egg-like shapes, then a column of bananas, all planted atop a metal cup with a cock on it. Not pictured is a wisp of another type of flower protruding from the orchids on one side which apparently are called baby’s breath.

february artwalk

Catalina’s pretty paintings at Hardcore.

february artwalk

Also at Hardcore, Kate Krets’ man-eating vagina purse.

february artwalk

Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova updates Locust Projects with a carpet installation. I was exited to learn that the supporting structures were built to support people, so these things are completely climbable, but I’m bummed out about the seams around the protruding pieces.

february artwalk

Christina Pettersson at Spinello. She had some fantastic drawings that you ought to go see, but the thing that I like about her work is its connection to the physical world and her intervention in it, so this video really captivated me.

february artwalk

I think this dog was sent by Satan to tell me something important, but I slipped out before he got a chance. Missed opportunity!

february artwalk

I don’t know why we don’t have poetry exhibitions more often at Bas Fisher. Which reminds me, you have like less then a month left to get your submissions in to the Knight Foundation for that amazing project you are totally going to do.

february artwalk

If you only have one cupcake at the Friends with You store make it a red velvet cupcake. Honestly, I wanted these to be better than they were. They were good, but I guess I was really in the mood for an amazing cupcake, and it does not seem like it would have been that hard to pull off, right? Isn’t it just a matter of putting in a ton of Crisco or something? Whatever, any cupcake is better then no cupcake.

february artwalk

Wow, Danny makes a really good Pee-wee. Also, I think it has now—I think!—been six images with nothing vagina-related.

february artwalk

I think that if there is one lesson that planet graffiti can learn from planet art, it is the importance of proper illumination. Step it up, folks.

february artwalk

A series of mixed-media bunny pieces by Shelter Serra in the Castillo Annex. Go look!

february artwalk

Gallery Diet. Did not get the name of the artist, too scared to go look at the website.

february artwalk

More unexpected poetry, here made to order on the corner of 23rd Street one block over from NW 2nd Avenue.

february artwalk

Impenetrable film at World Class Boxing. Or maybe not. Impenetrable, that is.

february artwalk

I certainly enjoyed Sylvie Fleury’s crushed Fiat more. So, uh, what is it with all the pink things, anyway?

february artwalk

Outside Snitzer, an optimistic Bert Rodriguez semi-appologetically explains that Fred locks up at 9 pm, SHARP, and you my friend would be well served by showing up more promptly in the future. Or better yet coming to the artist’s reception the night before, as you were told to do.

february artwalk

Oh right, so the Noise Conference! Here’s Rene Barge and Gustavo Matamoros performing at Sweat. (Actually, I got there late, too, and it’s really Gustavo performing and Rene putting his shit away, but the sounds were sweet!)

february artwalk

And now on to Churchill’s for the Main Event! And if the rules were (1) No Droning (2) No Laptops (3) No Mixing Boards, then this guy was breaking at least two of the three but no matter, he was pretty incredible. I’m eventually going to go back into the computer and make this picture much darker and more dramatic, but yes, that is a big lump on the back of his head, and sorry but I couldn’t help but wonder whether that had anything to do with how amazing his music was.

february artwalk

Here he is literally flinging his sound all over a stunned Miami audience.

february artwalk

And when I say “stunned” I am not exaggerating. Also: wow. Between this and the photo from in front of Snitzer I think we have proof of need for a new Miami fashion photo blog. Where are the camera-toting UM club kids when you need them? Come on camera-toting UM club kids, get it together here.

february artwalk

You know what the other thing about the Noise Conference is? It’s actually not that loud. I guess maybe certain acts are pretty loud, but it’s not at all what you’d expect. It’s quite pleasant actually, and really the single distinguishing characteristic these bands all share is an inclination towards the theatrical. (I also was going to say something here about being sandwiched between all these people, and just how disgusting my clothes smelled when I got home, but really, just nevermind.)

february artwalk

Wow… hate to end on a somber note, but here but for the grace of God goes you if you keep driving drunk. Big cars may protect you in a crash, but I sure hope it’s true that small nimble cars are more likely to let you evade a crash before you get stuck in it. Let’s all be careful out there my people.

Posted: Friday February 19, 2010 by Alesh Houdek · Permalink · Comment [4]

 

Burj Al-Arab

(via)

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A morsel of Haitian history

Haitian revolution

First, the bits that you already probably more or less know: in the 1700s and 1800s, European powers gradually colonized huge swaths of the world, including the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East. (For an explanation of how this happened, Guns, Germs, and Steel is highly recommended, although I can not be held responsible for any blown minds.) The big players here were Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal. The island of Hispanola was fought over by Spain and France, partially because this was fun and partially because it was just the perfect place for the production of coffee, sugar, and indigo (yes, indigo). They settled things in 1697 with the Treaty of Ryswick, which basically carved the island down the middle, giving the French the western half and the Spanish the eastern half. And for the next hundred years or so, the western half thrived. Came a huge influx of French, and with them African slaves, into what became one of the more brutal slavery regimes of the time — a third of the Africans died within a few years of arriving.

In 1789 came the French Revolution, and word spread to the colony and caught fire among the slaves, who started a revolution of their own. Napoleon sent in a few tens of thousands of soldiers, but vast numbers of them were killed by yellow fever the devil, and by 1804 the nation of Haiti was established. (Bonus fact: about ten thousand refugees left the island during this time, and ended up settling in New Orleans, in effect doubling its population and forever changing its culture.)

Now here’s the bit you didn’t know. In 1825, the King of France, Charles X, sent over an armada of ships and soldiers, and under threat of invasion, war, and re-enslavement, then-president Jean-Pierre Boyer signed an “indemnity” under which the French recognized Haiti’s independence in return of a payment of 90 million Francs (actually, it was originally 150 million, reduced to 90 in 1838). And where did Haiti get the money to make this deal? They borrowed it, of course, and from French banks. And what sort of terms did they get? Well, I believe the term is “merde.” (In case you are wondering, the internet’s best guess is that this would be $21 billion in today’s money.)

But whatever, right? These sort of deals are made all the time, and they’re usually dropped when the leadership changes or comes to its mind. But no. For the next hundred years, Haiti made payments on this debt while its people mostly practiced subsistence farming. Instability from it resulted in a crippling series of coups (38 in Haiti’s 200-year history) and left an obviously problematic political and economic heritage.

Does this explain everything that’s happened in Haiti since? Of course not. But it sure does explain some of it.

Image source.

Posted: Thursday February 4, 2010 by Alesh Houdek · Permalink · Comment [3]