Are You Proud of Your Workplace?

I like decorated workplaces. And I don’t mean a cube with a swimsuit calendar and “motivational” posters from http://www.motivational-posters-animal-posters-sunset-beach-photos.com/ (that’s a real address too). I don’t like Despair, Inc Demotivators TM, although I wish I came up with that idea myself. It’s a big business, as illustrated by this spooky picture of their warehouse:

What I do like, is when an office has some artifact or artifacts that everybody is extremely proud of. For instance in Boston office of defunct company iXL they had an Aibo dog (the expensive first version), which they’ve got for creating http://www.aibo.com. I worked in New York office of iXl.

A company that I worship, iDEO, has an office which has the ultimate office decoration. Some engineers went to the airplane scrap yard and brought back a huge WWII bomber wing, which they polished and hung above a meeting room.

Art. Lebedev Studio, a company, which I think will become Russia’s iDEO, and which I also worship, has the coolest collection of old technology

Fog Creek Software (yeah, I worship a lot of companies) strives to provide the best working enviroment possible. From their website: ” … That means the nicest work environment we can get. For now, that means an historic brownstone in an exciting Manhattan neighborhood full of caf├ęs, bookstores, ethnic restaurants, movie theatres, and a rather disproportionate number of Persian rug shops. We have a real garden out back, a full kitchen, a pinball machine, and natural light… ” And that is even more amazing than an airplane wing.

Me? Well, I have a small collection of old vacuum tubes (or valves as Brits call them) in my cube. But I think a nice jet fighter’s helmet and a nice jet instrument panel from eBay’s fine selection would be much cooler.

Ok, I am off to install a 120 gig drive (a bargain at $130) in my Tivo. Wish me luck.

Expensive Book

So far, the most expensive book in my collection set me back $250.
Maybe some day I’ll be able to purchase things like this too. Drooool.

Capek, Karel. R U R ROSSUM’S UNIVERSAL ROBOTS: KOLEKTIVNI DRAMA… [Praha]: Aventinum, 1920. Octavo, pp. [1-6] 7-96 [97] [98: blank] [99: colophon] [100: blank], original decorated lavender wrappers, printed in brown and black, all edges untrimmed. $12500

First edition. 2000 copies printed. Signed by Capek on recto of first leaf.

We Don’t Need No Education!

Well, I thanks to the wonders of email, I found out some things about the sculpture. Pat Willard, who writes for the awesome “Around the Quad” newsletter, was kind enough to answer my question and provide the following info:

The author of this sculpture is a Lithuanian artist V.K. Jonynas. He is pretty famous, and even has his own museum.

The title of the sculpture is “Education”.

The sculpture was knocked down by a truck that backed into it. Very Khrushchevian :).

My favorite web comics Part I

I like comics. I really do. Never mind that they’ve been labeled as lowbrow entertainment. Ok, maybe the Sturgeon’s law is more severe in regards to comics (probably 99.9 percent of all of them are crap), but still…

In print I like to read comics that are more properly called “graphic novels”. Ones like Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” and Ben Katchor’s “Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer”.

I also enjoy funny pages of newspapers and political cartoons. I don’t really read newspapers, but conveniently these are available on the net. I use a small program that puts most of the comics that I like on one page (available here). I am going to write a better program when I have the time. For political stuff I go here.

But my favorite comics fall into “web comics” category.

Dr. Fun – first (and probably the best) comic on the World Wide Web. Dave Farley’s edgy, random and somewhat obscure sense of humor is absolutely great! His drawing style is amazingly expressive. Sometimes you need to know certain things to appreciate the humor. You need to know who Don Knuth is to understand this or it helps if you read Henry Kuttner’s “Twonky” and know what a Handspring module is before looking at this(it’s funny even if you don’t). The jokes can sometimes be hilariously off-color.Certain themes recur frequently in Dr. Fun – squirrels, snacks, microorganisms, Mr Potatoe Head, bathrooms and Star Wars, the Amish and many, many other topics dear to my heart :)

Dr. Fun logos are amazing pieces of art.

Read the FAQ and then go here and read, read, read. Dr. Fun book is coming out soon, email Plan 9 publishing at question @plan9.org and tell them that you want it.