ISSUE 23  News & opinion | July 2001 | updated 2/3/03   

  Name your site, name your band?

I can't decide if this site is a harmless update of a Dadaist random word association game or another indication of the decline of Western civilization. Here it is anyway. (As of Feb. 2003, the NameRazor site is unavailable.)

With a click of the mouse the self-named NameRazor generates a list of very hip-sounding names for you to consider. The 450+ words used often result in predictable combinations like MegaTrade and DigiDesign, but are sometimes more poetic: DarkTyphoon, DreamProfessional. And for your heavy metal band, how about IronRazor?

A helpful feature is that each name is linked to a domain registration site that tells you if the name is already in use. I couldn't believe that the maker of carnival rides hadn't already snapped up DizzyFun.com. And as of July 11, 2001, ConsultingWhirlwind was still waiting for some hyperactive entrepreneur to plunk down $15. Go slice & dice a name for yourself.

Attention design students & faculty!
The online magazine LOOP, produced by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, has announced a new competition for interactive work produced by undergraduate and graduate students. In recognition of the realities of the educational environment, there are two categories: finished projects and partially working or prototype projects.

This is a great opportunity for students and institutions to gain recognition for their work. Projects will be displayed "indefinitely" as LOOP Issue No. 4. Deadline is September 30, 2001.

More information should soon be available at the website (not yet as of July 11, 2001). You can also email a request for information.

[ Website ]  [ Email ]

More designer salaries
Last month's article Are you paid what you're worth? reviews two useful salary surveys with results available online. Another survey, this one including industrial, interaction, exhibit and interior designers as well as graphic designers, is available at Coroflot.com. This survey is based on responses from visitors to the sponsoring website, so is less reliable than ones that use larger sample groups. Still a good starting point, though.

[ Salary survey results ]

Digital art revisited
In May we talked about the current state of digital art (It's digital, but is it art?). The online magazine Visual Arts Trends (as of Feb. 2003, no longer online) has a thorough discussion of this topic in the form of an extended review of a recent digital art competition and exhibit called bit by bit. The author, Julia Ptasznik, analyzes styles, historical references, and trends to come to the conclusion that digital art is "not a movement but a method."

It's an interesting article, well illustrated with traditional paintings compared to digital work from the bit by bit show. Ptasznik warns of the danger of attempting "art by filter," a pitfall all Photoshop users must learn to avoid. She shows how technology and technique are no substitute for meaning. Good points, all of them. But I think that the article still misses the boat entirely. The work discussed is all static. While it was shown in a gallery on computer monitors, it appears to me that most, if not all, would be equally effective as printed pieces.

Used in this way the computer is indeed simply a method. But used to create interaction (hypertext, hypermedia, games) the computer is more than a tool. It is a medium that offers new possibilities beyond imitating other media. For an idea of what this might mean, try one of our previously-reviewed books, The Interactive Book by Celia Pierce and/or Interface Culture by Steven Johnson.

We spent the last two weeks in June on Kelleys Island, in Lake Erie about 70 mi. west of Cleveland. No yardwork, no computer, no bathroom remodeling to finish. Aaah...

There's something about an island that has a whole different feel to it. A simple 20 minute ferry ride is enough to let you mentally downshift to a slower gear. Proof of that? The KI public library now has an Internet connection, but I only checked my email once a week.

The house we rented has a beautiful view of the lake, not like the one from the end of my street at home, but more like this. I don't swim, don't kayak, don't even wade all that often, but sitting on the beach early in the morning and late at night were well worth the expense. And then there's the outdoor hot tub...

-Al Wasco, July 11, 2001


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