Whistling in the dark

Yaffa Phillips writes sporadically

Archive for April, 2012

I love World Book Night

Yesterday was World Book Night and Middlesbrough Literary Festival on Twitter asked people to share their favourite books. RESULT below!












As if the ability to thank an author who has given me a lot of joy, whose books I have read hundreds of times over many years, and receiving a tweet in return was not enough, this morning a colleague at work, who was a book giver, had extra copies and handed them out to half the department inspiring the idea of a work book group to take place every few months.

World Book Night is a powerful force.

Programme for Middlesbrough Literary Festival 2012 available here.

If you’re looking for a great story to read with strong and funny female heroines try The Hero and the Crown followed by The Blue Sword.

The covers I grew up with are below. The first, The Hero and the Crown was given to be for my 12th birthday. A classmate gave it to me, I think he may have bought it from a supermarket nearby with a rotating book rack, as a I saw another copy of it a few days later. I ended up reading this book hundreds of times, as comforting as any well worn, fuzzy, blanket.













The continuation of the story was actually released before its prehistory above. I read The Blue Sword, in a hardcover version, many times over taking it out of my school’s library. It may have confused any other students who took it out to see my name multiple times on the card slipped into the pocket glued to the inside of the back cover.

posted by Yaffa in books and have No Comments

Darlington Cultural Conversation – 21 April 2012

Went to the Darlington Cultural Conversation at the Darlington Arts Centre hosted by Culture Vulture’s Emma Bearman and Michael Chitty from Realise Development.

Again impressed with them both, Emma takes great care to make every person feel welcome, makes introductions and in general keeps a constant eye out for incoming attendees.

Michael instills a sense of order even in the unconference format with a light touch.

An unconference has no set agenda, people suggest topics for conversation they are willing to lead. These are then organised into time slots. Pick the conversation you want to join or have a side chat, no worries.

There was also an art fair going on in the Arts Centre at the same time. Bought a few felt button pins from one of the traders – too cute!

As with the previous convo, people brought food to share. Thank you anonymous person who brought homemade cupcakes – the chocolate one was delicious!

Reconnected with someone from the first cultural convo I attended and met a few new folks.

Conversations on mayors, art made of books and Bar and Books and the potential for an art book project in the area, on money and the importance of art-y people having  business skills or access to people who do and the ability for the two tribes to converse in a common language – Art-biz-speranto? and where do we go from here on Teesside…

Projects I learned about yesterday in alphabetical order:

Cafe Create

Darlington for Culture

n0tice.com via Foodie Sarah

Openart Studio

Send a book to Mali

Vane Women

Hope a few people were intrigued enough with Bar and Books and #borotweetup to come on 4 May.

Thank you to the lovely and talented designer Amanda Bradley who gave me a lift home.

Thanks Mike for posting an RSA Animates video on your blog. Off to watch them all now! Though the playlist is embedded below these are worth watching in full-res on youtube.

FoodieSarah’s report from the event.

May have convinced Glen to get a Samsung Note too.

posted by Yaffa in art,Teesside and have Comments (2)

Time for a new phone – thoughts on HTC One X vs Samsung Galaxy Note

My HTC Desire was great for a while. There was the HTC miracle thankfully while I have been in contract. Unfortunately for a while it has had storage issues so I’ve gone out to look at new phones. Went to look at two models. The HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy Note.

The HTC is running the latest version of Android and has a slightly faster chip.

The Galaxy Note has a gorgeous screen and a nice calendar app. Should have the new  Android at some point and additional apps to make use of the stylus it comes with. It is a bit large for a phone, future / retro a la old school mobile phones. Mostly use my phone for internet and tweetdeck so the size is a plus and the AMOLED screen is really nice.

While the HTC One X seems like it would be a great phone (a worthy successor to the desire), and have also had friends say great things about the Samsung Galaxy S,  in terms of my usage the Note potentially does away with a desire for a tablet, and stays highly portable.

Took notice of the Note because of this preview by Hugh MacLeod of Gaping Void [well done Samsung marketing people.]

One thing that bothers me a bit about rushing out to get one of these is though I like having new gadgets, I appreciate it’s not the greenest thing in the world. [interesting startup for dealing with small consumer electronics was recently featured on good – eco atm.]

It does seem that gadgets are designed to be replaced in cycles of contracts or less. [planned obsolescence.]

The HTC One X does not allow you to open the case. It comes with a good amount of internal storage but for additional storage it gives you a free dropbox account for 2 years. The length of most contracts for a pricey new gadget. I think they assume you will replace it in that window so you shouldn’t mind not getting storage that is yours to keep or it’s a continuation of a model where content, storage, etc. is accessed not owned and stored in THE CLOUD (there I’ve said it).

The Samsung Galaxy Note comes with less internal storage but with the ability to add up to a 32g micro sd card.

The note also comes with a stylus. I like the idea of being able to write over images. Though I am wondering how much of this is due to not thinking digitally a la Erin McKean of Wordnik’s talk at Thinking Digital. Making the pen electric, is it a skeuomorph? [see the video below]

Either way it might end up cost saving – make me stop buying journals and notepads with pretty designs and textures from TK Maxx. Saving money already! :o)

One small point of annoyance, the Note is not being offered by t-Mobile so in order to buy it have to go through phones4u or carphone warehouse to stick with a t-mobile contract.

Update: the folks in the T-mobile shop in Middlesbrough at the Hillstreet centre were awesome and they also stock the Note instore!!

Looking to buy your own new gadget?

posted by Yaffa in technology and have No Comments

Happy Passover and Happy Easter

Nice seasonal song from a singer-songwriter I like.

Just found out this book exists. Sad I didn’t get it in time for the holiday.

and Happy Easter

Enjoy Jesus Shaves by David Sedaris or this shorter live version

posted by Yaffa in Jewish and have No Comments