Simple and Square

Simple can’t come to the UK soon enough! It’s about time banking had some innovation.

Simple VISA card Just look at the care and quality that has gone into their website, their app, even the package they send your card in.

Compared to this, using HSBC internet banking is a trial. They don’t even have an app for regular customers yet.

The other cool personal finance product I would like to see come over from the States soon is Square, an iPhone accessory that lets merchants swipe credit cards.

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Penguin cartoon update


To any of you who have followed my cartoon penguin saga, I can happily report that Google has recently re-discovered my illustration, and have seen fit to return it to the search result pages. Just like nothing happened, I am suddenly getting an extra 100+ visits per day from ‘cartoon penguin’ seekers. There is one small difference however: In its finite wisdom, Google has decided that this stub page is the best result now, not the actual blog post which includes a much larger image.


The Common Crawl Foundation

Common Crawl: 5 billion web pages indexed, ranked, graphed and the data made freely available.

Today […] we have an open repository of crawl data that covers approximately 5 billion pages and includes valuable metadata, such as page rank and link graphs. All of our data is stored on Amazon’s S3 and is accessible to anyone via EC2.

Common Crawl is now entering the next phase – spreading the word about the open system we have built and how people can use it. We are actively seeking partners who share our vision of the open web. We want to collaborate with individuals, academic groups, small start-ups, big companies, governments and nonprofits.

(via Common Crawl Enters A New Phase)

It seems like you could do pretty much anything with this data, including getting a head start making your own search engine. Blekko have a cool Grep the Web section which is full of ideas for the kinds of information you could discover if you had access to such a database. Basically, any kind of semantic analysis.

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The Social Graph is Neither

A brilliantly written deconstruction of the ‘social graph’, which Maciej Ceglowski argues is neither a graph, nor social. Essential reading for social media types.

We have a name for the kind of person who collects a detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others for personal advantage – we call that person a sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep into stalker territory with their attempts to track our every action. Even if you have faith in their good intentions, you feel misgivings about stepping into the elaborate shrine they’ve built to document your entire online life.

Open data advocates tell us the answer is to reclaim this obsessive dossier for ourselves, so we can decide where to store it. But this misses the point of how stifling it is to have such a permanent record in the first place. Who does that kind of thing and calls it social?

The Social Graph is Neither –

Khoi Vinh: On the Grid

Khoi Vinh: On the Grid from The Color Machine on Vimeo.

We sat down with Khoi Vinh, former Design Director of to discuss the subject that has made his work most noteworthy: the grid. And in his case, the “g” almost deserves to be capitalized. The result is an illuminating conversation about Khoi’s plans for the future, first interest in the field of design, and even the grid’s complex relationship with emotion.

Avería: The Average Font

Here’s an interesting generative typeface, created by averaging a large collection of fonts on a computer: Avería.


Then it occurred to me: since my aim was to average a large number of fonts, perhaps it would be best to use a very simple process, and hope the results averaged out well over a large number of fonts. So, how about splitting each letter perimeter into lots of (say, 500) equally-spaced points, and just average between the corresponding positions of each, on each letter? It would be necessary to match up the points so they were about the same location in each letter, and then the process would be fairly simple.

The result is a surprisingly readable typeface, with an appealing hand-drawn quality.

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