Newsletter 157 – January 2010
——– MANTEX NEWSLETTER ——–
Number 157 – January 2010 – ISSN 1470-1863
Arts, Culture, and Technology as seen from
the digital hub of Media city Manchester UK
** 12,900+ subscribers will see your AD **
eBook Special – eBook Special – eBook Special
0— Pub Quiz Question #1
What was the name of Charles Darwin’s survey ship?
0— ‘Remix: Copyright and the Hybrid Economy’
This is a mind-altering and paradigm-shifting
study for all those interested in media and
modern information technology.
Lawrence Lessig is a lecturer in law at
Harvard University and a leading authority
on intellectual property rights in the
This is the latest in a long line of books
he has written in support of creativity and
the free exchange of information.
Nothing controversial about that, you might
think. But he’s also against the abuse of
copyright to restrict such free exchange.
We quote from other people’s works when writing.
Why not quote then, when composing films or music?
His argument covers books and music, film, and
the new possibilities created by advances in
modern digital technology. Full review here –
0— Pub quiz – Question #2
Where did the battle of Waterloo take place?
0— What does a Mashup look like?
Mashups are re-combinations of existing
information to make a new product.
The term was coined for layering the
lyrics from one song over the music from
But here’s a pretty impressive example
from the world of public information –
flights tracked in and out of Schipol
0— Pub quiz – Question #3
Which north African country has the longest coastline?
0— ‘Penguin Postcards’ – smart design
Penguin Books are fairly clever at re-cycling
their back catalogue.
The latest idea is a set of 100 useable
postcards made from jacket cover designs.
They’re bundled into a fat, book-shaped
box which makes an excellent gift for book
lovers and stationery enthusiasts.
If you want an even more stylish production
which tells the full history of Penguin book
jacket design, have a look at Phil Baines’
‘Penguin by Design’.
0— Pub quiz – Question #4
What was the first commercial jet airliner?
0— Weird Books from Abe
Abe Books sent out a collection of
nutty publications as their Xmas list
‘My Visit to Venus’
‘Bowl Better Using Self-Hypnosis’
‘Teleportation – a How-to Guide’
‘Semen for Sale’
‘How Green Were the Nazis?’
‘Is your Dog Gay?’
‘People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead’
and my special favourite –
‘The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories’
If you think I’m making this up, have a
0— Pub quiz – Question #5
How many balls are on a snooker table at the start of a game?
0— ‘The Original of Laura’ – a new Nabokov novel
Even though he’s been dead for over thirty years,
Vladimir Nabokov is still writing novels. His son
Dmitri has just published the latest.
Well, actually, that’s a lie on two counts.
First of all he wrote it whilst he was still alive –
but said that it should never be published.
Second, it’s not really a novel – but the *start*
of one. It has all his usual trademarks – linguistic
invention, black humour, and well-observed detail.
The book itself is presented in the form of the
index cards on which Nabokov composed his novels.
These are perforated so theoretically they can be
removed from the book and arranged in a different
order if required.
Oh, and it contains scatterings of what the Sun
newspaper usually refers to as ‘Rumpy-Pumpy’ –
so maybe it will sell well. Full review here:
0— Pub quiz – Question #6
At sea, how long is a ‘dog watch’?
0— Disappearing Technology – 2010
Twelve things that became extinct
during the decade 2000-2010.
* Phone calls *
Texting is now more popular.
That’s why BT is offering free calls
* Classified ads in newspapers *
The money is going into online advertising
That’s why newspapers are disappearing
* Dial-up Internet *
Remember all that twittering downline?
* Printed Encyclopedias *
Going for a song second-hand
Wikipedia is ten times bigger
* CDs *
Now replaced by downloadable music
That’s why they are so cheap in the shops
* Landline phones *
Customers have pulled the plug
Most people use mobiles now
* Film cameras *
Wonder why Kodak went bust?
People now use digital cameras
* Yellow Pages *
Out of date as soon as they are printed
Mine goes straight into the bin
* Fax machines *
Now only used by estate agents
* Hand-written letters *
When did you last write to someone?
Now it’s email, text, and Facebook
0— Pub Quiz – Question #7
At what age were women first allowed to vote in the UK?
0— Bestsellers 1900-2000
Daniel Immewahr writes from University of
California at Berkeley.
“This is to alert readers to a website I have
put up that lists, for every year of the
twentieth century, the top ten sellers in
fiction and nonfiction as recorded by
Publishers Weekly, the Book-of-the-Month
Club main selections, and other notable
and influential books.
In all, around 3,500 books are listed. I hope
that it will be useful to those interested in
the history of publishing as well as those
interested in the intellectual and cultural
history of the United States. It is called
The Books of the Century and is available at -”
0— Pub Quiz – Question #8
Zen is a form of which religion?
0— Forget eBooks – the book of the future is here
Adam Penenberg, writing in a recent issue
of Fast Company, argues that the eBook’s
days are already numbered.
“A visionary author could push the boundaries
and re-imagine books in wholly new ways.
A novelist could create whole new realities,
a pastiche of video and audio and words and
images that could rain down on the user,
offering metaphors for artistic expressions.”
If Adam signed up for this newsletter, he might
find that this was already being done.
See our featurette on the Digi-Novel below.
0— Pub Quiz – Question 9#
Astrakhan comes from which creature?
0— Should eBooks be copy protected?
No matter which eBook reader you decide to buy,
you’ll be locked in to their proprietary format.
Buy an eBook on Kindle, and you can’t transfer
it to your iPhone – and vice versa.
Some writers argue that ‘open’ formats should
be the norm; others think that piracy would result
in a loss in sales.
Best-selling technical author David Pogue sums
up the dilemma in the New York Times.
But equally best-selling Cory Doctorow argues that
writers have nothing to lose but their chains.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #10
What does the musical term ‘crescendo’ mean?
EXTRAS – EXTRAS – EXTRAS – EXTRAS
0— Waste Your Money: It’s What We Do
The Department of Health has just
commissioned a new logo to celebrate
the sixtieth birthday of the NHS.
A design agency added just two numbers –
6 and 0 to the traditional NHS logo – and
charged the taxpayer GBP 12,000 for
doing so. Remember – it’s your money.
0— Wallpapered furniture – novel design idea
Here’s a design idea you could easily
follow in the comfort of your own back room.
Snap up that old side-table from the antique
shop, buy roll of good quality wallpaper,
and cover it. Voila! – you’ve got chic
customised furniture for next to nothing.
These examples from Bryonie Porter sell well.
0— The Digi-Novel – you saw it here first
Anthony Zuiker is the creator of CSI: Crime
Scene Investigation – the biggest television
property in the world.
His latest work introduces the ‘Digi-Novel’ to
the world of book publishing. The Level 26
trilogy is complemented by a comprehensive
online and digital component featuring
cinematic content on a dedicated website
The site is an interactive extension of the
book series, and the books and the site combine
to form a ‘digi-novel’, a multi-platform experience
that moves the reader from passages in the books to
supporting videos, developed by Zuiker and his
CSI production team.
0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS
#1 What was the name of Charles Darwin’s survey ship?
ANSWER: The Beagle
#2 Where did the battle of Waterloo take place?
ANSWER: In Belgium
#3 Which north African country has the longest coastline?
#4 What was the first commercial jet airliner?
ANSWER: The de Havilland Comet
#5 How many balls are on a snooker table at the start of a game?
#6 At sea, how long is a ‘dog watch’?
ANSWER: Two hours
#7 At what age were women first allowed to vote in the UK?
#8 Zen is a form of which religion?
#9 Astrakhan comes from which creature?
#10 What does the musical term ‘crescendo’ mean?
ANSWER: To gradually increase in volume
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