Newsletter 151 – May 2009
——– MANTEX NEWSLETTER ——–
Number 151 – May 2009 – ISSN 1470-1863
Music, Arts, Culture, and Technology
as seen from digital hub Manchester UK
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0— ‘iPod: The Missing Manual’ – new book
I’ve bought three iPod Touches in the last few weeks,
but the blooming things come without a guidance manual!
This is the answer to that problem – a full-colour
book which takes you through from the amazing
touch-screen controls to downloading podcasts and
videos (all f.r.e.e of course).
You can also check your emails, find your way
around using Google Maps, and download any of
the 20,000 applications which have been created in
the last twelve months to delivery everything from
f.r.e.e language lessons to games,
They’re a marvel of good design and usability,
but I guarantee you’ll need a manual to understand
all that’s on offer. If so – this is the one!
0— Pub Quiz Question #1
In Roman mythology, who was the husband of Juno?
0— Henry James – ‘The Diary of a Man of Fifty’
This is something of a rarity – a little-known
story by the Master. It wasn’t even included in
his collected tales. It comes from Hesperus Press,
who specialise in re-printing rarities in rather
stylish paperback editions.
This volume also contains ‘A Handful of Letters’ and
‘The Point of View’. Full review here:
0— Pub quiz – Question #2
Who wrote ‘The Napoleon of Notting Hill’?
0— Espresso Book Machine – POD Now!
Blackwell’s bookshop in London have installed
the latest thing in print-on-demand. It’s a
machine which prints individual copies of books
whilst you wait.
If you want to actually see the thing working,
have a look here –
and here –
Here’s the full story
0— Pub quiz – Question #3
How was Alexander the Great’s body preserved?
0— Cover Versions – design
“Hello Guardian Reading Middle-class media
rebel types!”, sneers LittlePixel, “I’ve
embarked on remaking a set of classic record
sleeves, as if Joe Stalin had won the cold war
and all popular beat combo releases were
expressed in the form of modernist paperbacks
like the penguin books in the sixties. Maybe
you’ll like them? – they’re probably the
records you listened to in your pot-noodle
eating student waster days.”
Story lifted shamelessly from www.b3ta.com
Record Sleeve Graphics
0— Pub quiz – Question #4
Who invented the game of roulette?
0— Amazon in the news
Amazon got egg on its face when it
re-classified its stocks of fiction using
some prudish form of algorithm.
Suddenly, fashionable writers of gay
and soft p.o.r.n were removed from
the best-seller lists.
But then they got credit for lowering prices
in the downloadables. In a move to grab
the custom from iTunes, they have dropped
their prices to as low as 29p per tune.
Good news for all iPodders!
0— Pub quiz – Question #5
Whose last words were ‘Let’s do it’?
0— Vita Sackville-West – ‘The Edwardians’
This novel became a genuine best-seller
as soon as it appeared in 1930 – and it
has remained popular ever since.
It’s a story of an aristocratic family
and the great Elizabethan house and country
estate where they live, supported by a small
army of housekeepers, cooks, chambermaids,
gardeners, and gamekeepers.
Sackville-West was a terrible snob in real life,
but this book presents an immensely critical
and very witty picture of the end of an era and
the decline of a social class.
Trust the tale – not the teller!
0— Pub quiz – Question #6
Which is the only fish that can hold objects in its tail?
0— It’s Smashing! – Good Design Here
We’ve been recommending the design, typography,
and layout tutorials at Smashing Magazine for
months now – and the Guardian has finally caught
up with us.
See Jack Schofield’s recent article here, which
repeats what we’ve been telling you for weeks!
0— Pub Quiz – Question #7
From which alphabet did all Western alphabets originate?
0— Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’
If you’ve been living on Mars for the last hundred
years, you might not know that Conrad’s ‘Heart of
Darkness’ is regarded as one of the key texts of
the modern era.
And if you are studying the novella in any depth,
you might need help with what is a deep, dark, and
disturbing story – which is still (unfortunately)
relevant today when certain European countries
go throwing their weight around in the rest of
This is an excellent compilation of background
guidance, study references, and an excellent
collection of essays which illustrate the various
ways the narrative has been interpreted.
0— Pub quiz – Question #8
What is the state capital of Louisiana?
0— iPod Apps – the latest
Overcoming two decades of prejudice, I bought my
first Apple product recently. No – not the iPhone
– because I don’t use mobile phones much.
This is its equally impressive but much cheaper
iPod Touch. I got it just to store MP3s in my
long-running attempt to learn Spanish – but I
was blown away to discover that it picks up any
nearby broadband wirelessly, and you can grab
your emails, surf the Net, watch videos, and
download tons of f.r.e.e stuff.
These devices really have revolutionised
handheld computing. Look at this for instance.
Newsweek has an article about the latest weapons
in the US military’s arsenal. The iPod Touch and
the iPhone are being adapted as general purpose
handhelds for soldiers in the field.
The US Department of Defense are developing
military software for iPods that enables soldiers
to display aerial video from drones and have
teleconferences with intelligence agents halfway
across the globe.
Snipers in Iraq and Afghanistan now use a
“ballistics calculator” called BulletFlight for
the iPod Touch and iPhone. Army researchers are
developing applications to turn an iPod into a
remote control for a bomb-disposal robot
(tilting the iPod steers the robot).
0— Pub quiz – Question #9
When did Britain last go to war against the United States?
0— Police mugshots of the famous
This is a site for lovers of Schadenfreude.
Famous people sometimes get arrested by the
police – and when they do, they’re not always
looking – ahem – at their best.
Phil Spector looks even more bonkers in 2003
than he did last month when sentenced for murder.
Nick Nolte looks like he’s been hired to scare
children and is waiting for the bolt through his neck.
See Frank Sinatra with a full head of hair,
Ozzy Osbourne looking quite healthy and normal
and David Bowie showing how to look cool when
0— Pub quiz – Question #10
Which planet lies between Venus and Mars?
0— How rapidly the Internet moves
It’s only in the last issue that we
featured Jorge Colombo’s amazing iPhone
pictures, drawn with his fingers, at night.
He only started doing these in February 2009,
and now they are available as prints at the
20X200 gallery in New York. See here:
iPhone Finger Paintings
0— Late Extra – WIRED reappears in the UK
It’s a magazine that combines technology, popular
science, and social innovations – plus fairly
There was a UK version a few years ago, but it
folded. Now it’s back under the shield of the
Conde-Nast group – which means adverts for big
ticket cars, clothes, and watches – which pay to
keep the dead-tree press alive.
May’s relaunch edition features IT movers and
shakers, reviews of gadgets such as mini data
projectors, folding bikes, and small cars.
UKP 3.90 per issue – but subscriptions for half
that price at –
0— Coming soon
‘iPhone UK Manual’
0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS
#1 In Roman mythology, who was the husband of Juno?
#2 Who wrote ‘The Napoleon of Notting Hill’?
#3 How was Alexander the Great’s body preserved?
ANSWER: In a large jar of honey
#4 Who invented the game of roulette?
ANSWER: Blaise Pascal
#5 Whose last words were ‘Let’s do it’?
ANSWER: Gary Gilmore [at his execution]
#6 Which is the only fish that can hold objects in its tail?
#7 From which alphabet did all Western alphabets originate?
#8 What is the state capital of Louisiana?
ANSWER: Baton Rouge
#9 When did Britain last go to war against the United States?
#10 Which planet lies between Venus and Mars?
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