Newsletter 139 – April 2008


Number 139 – April 2008 – ISSN 1470-1863

Music, Arts, Culture, and Technology
as seen from digital hub Manchester UK

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0— ‘Working Spaces’ – interior design

I’m in the process of moving office, and was
looking for some inspiration on interior
style in a working space.

Wow! This book really delivers. It’s packed
with examples of design studios, architects
offices, and houses which double as meeting
rooms and living spaces.

The examples also have lots of interesting things
in common – such as a complete lack of clutter
and an absence of carpets. If you want to
work from home in style, have a look at this.

Mantex Newsletter Working Spaces

0— Pub Quiz Question #1

Is chloroform a gas, liquid, or salt?

0— ‘Bloomsbury Rooms’ – interior design

The Bloomsbury Group people had more than
artistic talents in common. Many of them
lived in fairly stylish homes.

This superbly illustrated book is a study
of their artistic theories applied to
interior design. It also argues that they
were more politically radical than is
commonly supposed.

But it’s the paintings, photographs, and
the voluminous record of their furniture,
ceramics, fabrics, and decorations for
household and public interiors which make
this book such a visual delight.

Mantex newsletter Bloomsbury Rooms

0— Pub quiz – Question #2

Which vitamin can help people to see in the dark?

0— Household Tips from Viz Magazine

“My husband and I save pounds every
year on household wear and tear by
living in a tent in the garden.”

Mrs Peaseworth – Brighton

0— ‘Facebook: the missing manual’ – new book

Facebook leapt from nothing to fifty million
users within four years, and yet it’s never
had a users’ guidance manual – until now.

You’d be surprised how many extra features
there are in addition to posting pictures
of yourself.

It can be used for all sorts of social
networking, collaborative working, and
even as a marketplace – along the lines of
eBay. If you want to look more closely,
this is a clearly written guide.

Mantex newsletter FaceBook: The Missing Manual

0— Pub quiz – Question #3

On which island in New York is Brooklyn?

0— Marcel Proust: an illustrated life

I came across these excellent little
paperbacks recently. They are potted
biographies and introductions to the
work of famous writers.

Proust was a fascinating character.
He did a lot of his writing at night,
in bed, closed up in a cork-lined room,
from which he emerged occasionally to
visit male brothels.

What makes these books so attractive is
that they are packed with interesting photos
of the author, their social backgrounds,
and memorabilia. This one is a gem.

redbtn Marcel Proust: An Illustrated Life

0— Pub quiz – Question #4

In what style did Cannelloni paint?

0— ‘Doing Creative Writing’ – new book

If you’re thinking of enrolling on a
creative writing course as an undergraduate
or postgraduate – read this book first.

It’s an account of what happens on creative
writing courses in colleges and universities,
and it tells you what to expect when you enrol.

It also has case studies of students who have
taken creative writing courses, showing what
they have gone on to do next.

redbtn Doing Creative Writing

0— Household Tips from Viz Magazine

“Avoid wasting hot water by emptying the
bath into a series of Thermos flasks and
storing it until required again.”

Mrs Arkwright – Lower Ditton

0— Pub quiz – Question #5

What is the name of the ghost that haunted Macbeth?

0— ‘Tools for Complex Projects’ – new book

This is one for project managers – building
either large-scale oil refineries or eCommerce
web sites.

It’s a study of exactly what creates the complexity
in the first place – then offers strategies for
dealing with them.

These range from devices such as splitting up
large projects into a series of smaller units,
to making risk assessments for averting delays
and budget over-runs.

redbtn Tools for Complex Projects

0— Pub quiz – Question #6

Which army was commanded by General Bramwell Booth?

0— ‘Teaching Academic Writing’ – new book

Students are pouring (or being pushed) into further
and higher education in ever greater numbers – many
of them from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds. This is
government-speak for saying that they might not be
able to write properly.

So they have to be taught when they get there. This
leaves subject tutors with an extra job to do.

This book is designed to help those tutors. It’s
written by a group of Open University teachers and
sets out a range of strategies for improving
students’ writing skills.

It’s particularly good in the sections on assessment
and feedback, and also includes tips for what you’ll
need for working on line. Recommended.

redbtn Teaching Academic Writing</a>

0— Pub quiz – Question #7

Who was the first American president to be assassinated?

0— ‘Visualizing Data’ – new book

Edward Tufte is normally regarded as the Boss
where the visual presentation of data is concerned.
And his work is marvelously presented. See examples at

redbtn Edward Tufte’s ‘Envisioning Information’

But even this is only for the static display
of information. Ben Fry’s new book is based on the
same principles, but he shows how data can be shown

He displays data as bar charts, tree maps, and
scatter diagrams – but he adds the f.r.e.e Java
software he has developed. This allows you to
update, re-arrange, and present your data in
exciting new formats. See further details at –

redbtn Visualizing Data

0— Pub quiz – Question #8

Which two countries are separated by the Ionian sea?

0— Bloomsbury Group – Portraits

I’ve created a portrait gallery of the main
characters in the Bloomsbury Group – with links
to potted biographies. So if you want to see what
the unlikely lovers Bertrand Russell (‘victim of
halitosis’) and Ottoline Morrell (two baths a year)
looked like, go to –

redbtn The Bloomsbury Group: a portrait gallery

0— Pub quiz – Question #9

In which European city is “The Third Man” set?

0— Samuel Beckett – an illustrated life

Most people know who Samuel Beckett is, but
know very little about his life. This isn’t
surprising, because he was a rather private
person. He even sent his publisher to collect
his Nobel Prize.

But this short biography opened my eyes to
what was a far from straightforward man.

He came from a well-to-do background, was a
very talented academic, lived a rather bohemian
existence, had little success for many years,
and had multiple relationships with women,
all of which required him to ‘timetable’
his private life.

Lots of rarely seen photographs here, as well
as shots of his theatrical productions.

redbtn Samuel Beckett: An Illustrated Life

0— Pub quiz – Question #10

Which Malaysian port is associated with a walking cane?

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 Is chloroform a gas, liquid, or salt?
ANSWER: Liquid

#2 Which vitamin can help people to see in the dark?
ANSWER: Vitamin A

#3 On which island in New York is Brooklyn?
ANSWER: Long Island

#4 In what style did Cannelloni paint?
ANSWER: Cannelloni is a type of pasta, not a painter

#5 What is the name of the ghost that haunted Macbeth?
ANSWER: Banquo

#6 Which army was commanded by General Bramwell Booth?
ANSWER: Salvation Army

#7 Who was the first American president to be assassinated?
ANSWER: Abraham Lincoln

#8 Which two countries are separated by the Ionian sea?
ANSWER: Italy and Greece

#9 In which European city is “The Third Man” set?
ANSWER: Vienna

#10 Which Malaysian port is associated with a walking cane?
ANSWER: Malacca

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ISSN 1470-1863
The British Library


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