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From Publishing Perspectives: Shock and Outrage Expressed By Amazon Acquiring Goodreads

by | Posted May 2nd, 2013

Some tweets and reactions to the Amazon/Goodreads merger.

Last month, Amazon announced that it had acquired Goodreads, a social networking site where both readers and authors can join to review and recommend books. Following the announcement, many fans on Twitter were not very pleased by the upcoming merger. Publishing Perspectives highlighted some of the wittier and more vocal tweets. Many joked about the price of ads increasing, banning authors from reviewing any books, and whether Amazon would not target readers based on the previous reviews of books readers have written.

In the press release announcing the partnership, Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President of Kindle Content said, “Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading. Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books, and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world.” Only time will tell whether readers and authors will warm up to this merger and how it will be used by both in the long run.

When Graphic Typography Mixes with Baroque Pop Music

by | Posted May 1st, 2013

There is almost nothing better than finding something new and innovative in the way of creating art. I’m always fascinated when I see a music video that has a creative concept to it, yet appears to be relatively simple. Husbands’ new video from their single, “Dream,” is another example of that; although, the making of it was more complicated than it looks.

Created by French visionary duo, Cauboyz (made up of photographer Bertrand Jamot and graphic designer Philippe Tytgat), they created a concept for “Dream” that “fools viewers into thinking the flashing retro typographies are done digitally.” Upon closer inspection, this is not the case. In the “Making of / Husbands – “Dream”” video, we see that in order to create the effect of digital typographies, Cauboyz assembled light-up boxes in a wooden frame with “each box connected to a control panel with switches assigned to each phrase or word in the song.”

What I found amazing about this is I see digitally typographic lyric videos all the time, but I enjoyed watching this video the most, especially after I learned that it was, in fact, not digitally created.

Previous videos created by the Cauboyz include “Set You Free” by The Black Keys where the words appear on a revolving can, and AgesandAges, “No Nostalgia” where the words to the song appear on a green background written in white chalk.

Source: The Creators Project


Husbands – “Dream” from Cauboyz on Vimeo.

From Brain Pickings: Presenting The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook

by | Posted April 30th, 2013

From The Artist’s and Writer’s Cookbook

Ever wonder what some of your favorite artists’ and writers’ favorite recipes are? Look no further than The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook, “a lavish 350-page vintage tome, illustrated with 19th-century engravings and original drawings.” Brain Pickings recently wrote a review on the 1961 published book, featuring “220 recipes and 30 courses by 55 painters, 61 novelists, 15 sculptors, and 19 poets.” Some artists featured include John Keats, Harper Lee, and Anna Tolstoy, daughter of famed writer, Leo Tolstoy. Several artists take creative liberty with their recipes, but the end result is something any artist and writer can enjoy.

From The Artist’s and Writer’s Cookbook

From First Job to Dream Job

by | Posted April 29th, 2013

I started at MSU in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities in 2008. So, a couple of things here: The fall of 2008 was the beginning of the Great Recession, and of all things to invest in during turbulent economic times, I’d chosen a program that elicited a chorus of truly unoriginal jokes about job prospects wherever I went.

Junior year I found a second home in the Professional Writing program. And while the economy had seen some recovery, the doubters’ chorus had just become louder in its refrain: I would graduate and go live in my parents’ basement.

I had an entirely different set of plans, though. Plan A was still to immediately find a great job that would rocket me to stardom. If that didn’t work out by the end of my lease, plan B was to crash with family on Lake Charlevoix while continuing my job search. I have the greatest parents in the world, but moving into their basement was somewhere around plan X.

My job search prior to graduation was largely unsuccessful. I had little time, my portfolio wasn’t done, and I was trying to plan for my future in a field that only fills vacancies in the present. But following my graduation ceremony, I started making progress. I cast a wide net, searching a number of job sites, reaching out to my network, and researching the companies where I’d be happy to work for free (but looking for opportunities to be paid). Nine applications, three interviews and two offers later I’d accepted a job as the Visual Communication Coordinator at Adrian College.

Relocating to the small town that is Adrian, Michigan was never something I’d considered. However, I would have moved to Antarctica to be titled a Visual Communications Coordinator and to be given the opportunity to work in higher education marketing, so relocate I did. When I applied, when I was interviewed, and when I was hired, I felt really prepared to do the work I’d been hired for. There were a few quite practical things I wasn’t prepared for, though.

  1. I underestimated how hard it would be to move somewhere I’d never been, away from everyone I’d ever known. While I’d do it again tomorrow, I wish I’d better appreciated the support system I was leaving behind and the work it was going to take to forge new relationships.
  2. As many internship and work experiences as I accumulated over my four years at MSU, I did not yet have a grasp on workplace politics. Nor did I understand that navigating social aspects of my workplace would be a frustrating and unwritten responsibility of my job.
  3. Not everyone I encountered would have the same appreciation and respect for great communication that I’d assumed it demanded. (more…)

Is Your Creativity Being Stifled by Your iPhone?

by | Posted April 27th, 2013

What do you do while waiting in line, sitting in class, or even laying in bed at night, before you fall asleep? Most people would say they reach for their iPhone and check social media, play a game, or even check email. The smart phone was the ultimate cure for boredom. But what effect does this cure have on us?

A recent post on Read Write explores the possibility that the iPhone is killing a person’s creativity. The average user spends more than two hours a day on their phone, with the majority of that time being “wasted” on surfing the web, checking social networks, and playing games.

While spending your free time on your phone may not seem all that bad, this post reminds us that boredom may be a good thing. “Psychologists from the University of Central Lancashire have conducted research into the potential upsides of boredom and found that the time we spend daydreaming could improve our creative ability.”

The verdict is still out, however, as many users argue that phones can also help enhance creativity. Do you think the cultural phenomenon of the smart phone is killing creativity? Let us know @msuwrac.

From Cool Infographics: “Social Network Overload”

by | Posted April 25th, 2013

A large portion of the population is addicted to Twitter, Facebook, or some other form of social media. A lot of you reading this probably got to this post from a link on Twitter, right? I thought so.

This post from Cool Infographics demonstrates the “Social Network Overload.” A lot of people feel unplugged if they don’t check their social media accounts. 62% of people are afraid they will miss something if they don’t check, and 40% of people said they would rather run a marathon, get a root canal, or wait in line at the DMV than get rid of their social profile.

Are you a victim of social media overload? Check the rest of this infographic to find out!


From My Modern Met: The Keyboard Couch

by | Posted April 23rd, 2013

This is pretty much the coolest couch, ever. Designed based on the theory that “sooner or later, at home or at work, we all end up by falling asleep on our computers keyboard.” With that, these designers created this soft, comfy sofa bed, designed to look like a keyboard.

What’s more, the couch is completely customizable by remote. Each cushion, or key if you may, can be adjusted to any height.

I want this couch in my home! Do you? Check out more pictures here.