Colophon

Almost Cool, v1.0

Almost Cool was created in the fall of 2004, while recovering from disc surgery, and trying not to go insane with boredom. The impetus for, or rather the catalyst to doing the actual design and coding was an “article”:http://www.designbyfire.com/000158.html written by Andrei Herasimchuk at “Design by Fire.”:http://www.designbyfire.com

*About the Name*
Do we all remember the heart warming cold-war story of *The Hundredth Monkey*? For those who are too young or too old, the premise of the story is that once a certain percentage of a population learns a lesson (in this case, one hundred monkeys), the whole of the population spontaneously shares the knowlege. I am the 97th monkey. I am not the first monkey, nor the 10th, but I am in that lead group, albeit at the tail end. Hence, almost cool.

*About the Code*
This is where I giggle with glee. I wrote the code by hand! All of it! Tee hee! I’ve never done this before, having relied on Dreamweaver in its various forms and guises to do the work for me. Almost Cool uses valid xhtml and css, and one tiny table (though I won’t tell where).

I use “Textpattern”:http://www.textpattern.com to manage the blog, mostly because 1, it’s free, and 2, I could figure out how to install it. As it turns out, once one becomes familiar with its paradigm, it’s simply brilliant.

*About the Author*
Having already compared myself to a monkey, and not a particluarly bright one at that, you may well be wondering who it is pushing the buttons behind the scenes. I dislike having to sum one’s self up in a few sentences. Who am I? Oh boy, there’s a loaded question. Let’s just say this: I am a father to two incredible girls. I am a husband to the love of my life. I am a loved and loving son. I am an ex-bike racer, an ex-windsurfer, and ex-snowboarder (don’t worry, only until my back is better). I am an avid reader, a dis-interested gardener, and a lover of fine foods and wine. I’ve studied business and art, and practice both. I live by the words “help others make wealth, and wealth will come to you”.

How’s that?

You mean I have to get off my ass?

!/images/20.gif (underworld 1992-2002)!:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000E6XJQ/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/103-6557341-5300629?v=glance&s=music

I want this album. I want it now. But I can’t get it. Oh, it’s at the iTunes store. But I live in Canada, and iTunes doesn’t like us canucks. It may well be available at “puretracks”:http://www.puretracks.com but I’m on a mac, and my friends at puretracks don’t like macs:

bq. We value our Mac audience, however the Windows Media player for the Mac platform is not currently compatible with Microsoft protected audio content. Puretracks is currently working to make our service available to Mac users.

This is very irritating. It also offers an interesting insight. I take it for granted that when I want to purchase _intellectual_ goods (ie software, books, music, etc) I can do it without moving my physical body from place to place. All I want is the intellectual good. I don’t want or need the physical packaging that holds the goods (unless it comes in one of “these”:http://www.jewelboxing.com). I listen to most of my books on my ipod these days, thanks to the fine folks at “audible”:http://www.audible.com, and any music I purchase is going straight into iTunes.

It takes an incident like this to shake me out of my reverie. For a few seconds there, I was really annoyed. Then my mind flashed back to an article I read back in the golden age of Wired. It talked about a futuristic technology that had just been deployed at a big US school – Stanford or MIT, I don’t remember. The article described an on-demand music system running over a local network. Sitting at his workstation, the inventor could simply type the name of the song (it was running on unix), _and it would start playing!_ “Yeah right”, I remember thinking.

Flash forward what feels like 15 minutes, and I’m _actually annoyed that I have to go to the music store_. What a world!

This trip down memory lane also reminds me of an article “Nicholas Negroponte”:http://web.media.mit.edu/~nicholas/ wrote about the way we assign value to the physical (atoms) vs the intellectual (bits). At the time, Negroponte had been asked to assign a value to his laptop upon checking it in while touring a nuclear facility. “$20,000” was his reply, to which the clerk went “huh?” Clearly, the clerk was thinking “what’s it gonna cost to replace this at best buy”, while Negroponte was thinking “the cost to replace the software, the cost to replace the hardware, plus the cost to re-do all the work this machine holds” (which, as an aside, would make for an interesting exploration: what happens to the value of an intellectual good if it’s stored in multiple places? More on this later).

My point being that the differentiation between the atom and the bit has begun to melt. When forced to convert to the old paradigm, I get annoyed. I shall henceforth dub this *atom rage*, and report on it faithfully.

What about you? Have you experienced atom rage?

About Almost Cool

!/images/21.gif (97)!

Almost Cool is the wildly derivative web log of the Toronto-based freelance designer Peter Flaschner. This blog was created after reading “this”:http://www.designbyfire.com/000158.html.

*Now, to explain the name:* Do we all remember the heart warming cold-war story of *The Hundredth Monkey*? For those who are too young or too old, the premise of the story is that once a certain percentage of a population learns a lesson (in this case, one hundred monkeys), the whole of the population spontaneously shares the knowlege. I am the 97th monkey.

By the time I become aware of a trend, it’s only weeks away from being blithely tossed off in a _New Yorker_ metaphor (“He was Sisqo to her Eva Mendes”), or appearing on a late, late show monologue.

I am, in other words, a barometer of cool. A _cool-o-meter_, if you will. Now, this is not nearly as glamorous as it may sound, stuck as I am on the corner of Nebbish and Cool. But it does have certain benefits. I’m a fairly good predictor of average. Given that I make my living interpreting and communicating my clients’ messages to the widest possible audience, knowing that audience comes in handy.

As for the “Wildly Derivative” part, I think it was Picasso who said “good artists copy, great artists steal”. Far be it from me to edit the master, but I think what he’s _really_ saying is that all experience is derived from the experiences that preceeded it. _Almost Cool_ is the logical extension of the truly cool work that has come before it.