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    This is TMAP

    Cell phones probably aren't ruining us.

    Cell phones probably aren't ruining us, but worrying about them is a good thing to do.

    Here's an article from FastCompany chastising Apple for a recent ad they made.

    From the article:

    "In what should be a warm, humanizing montage, people are constantly directing their attention away from one another and the real, panoramic world to soak in pixels. They’re choosing the experience of their products over the experience of other people several times in quick succession. And Apple has a warm voice in the background, goading us on."

    Where I agree with this article is at its core. We're definitely seeing more times and experiences getting overtaken my these devices. Apple, in doing a perfectly reasonable thing for their business, is either intentionally or unintentionally "consecrating the behavior". That makes me a little uneasy too. All of this technology is still new, and we're still working on developing social etiquette around it. We don't have a "normal" or an "appropriate" established yet, and it's not helping to have Apple tell us that it's normal to have their products in bed with us and our cute children.

    But, in Apple's (maybe I mean "in American culture's") defense, cell phones, which are very sophisticated tools, still spend most of their time in pockets, because most people are still just using them as tools. The ability to easily and quickly catalog beautiful things and wonderful moments in our lives is one of the most amazing things that cell phone cameras have done for us, and because this is an ad for those products, it makes sense to show videos of people using Apple products during those moments.

    It can, of course, be a problem when the ability to catalog becomes a compulsion to catalog, or when it interferes with a person's actual participation in reality. I'm sure there are thousands of hours of home camcorder footage of someone saying "put the camera down". I think this is the underlying fear informing this article's disparaging message. It doesn't trust anyone to not be the person viewing the world filtered through the pinhole lens of a device. It's incredibly frustrating to watch the people around you uploading their presences to the internet, but most of the people I know are still good at being people, and setting good boundaries, so I'm not inherently afraid of people using their silly little cameras to snap a shot of some trifle they wish their siblings could see. I'll speak up only when I worry about them failing to experience where they are.

    So, it is okay to act like the people in these ads sometimes - to have these products present in our most beautiful moments - but only when they disappear into the number of times that we are too distracted by our experiences to think about cataloging them.

    Business cards

    Our business cards have just arrived. I can't wait to see you and give you one in person. Until then we'll have to settle for a photograph of a printed document.



    You'll be pleased to know that the background of this image has french cuffs.

    TMAP classes in Seattle

    Lately I've been teaching a lot of classes around town. At the Seattle Public Libraries I've been teaching folks how to maintain their bicycles. Mostly this is a matter of breaking the fear barrier. I've found that the number one obstacle to bicycle maintenance is not lack of knowledge, but the belief that that knowledge is forbidden.

    Also, at Makerhaus I've begun teaching an intro to metalworking class.

    I designed a wall sconce for the students to copy if they wanted to, but in the first class I told them: This class is about prototyping. I encourage you to modify this design heavily. There's a lot of flexibility built in to it, and beyond that, you don't even have to make a wall sconce if you don't want to.

    One student is making a mug out of sheet metal with a certain well-known number milled into the outer surface.


    Then another one is cutting the classic section of a bottle opener into a piece of aluminum round bar.


    I'm impressed by their fearlessness. These tools are completely new to them, and they want to dive into unknown projects.

    I'll post updates on their progress over the remaining two classes.

    Urban design and the movable chair

    Architecture wasn't always a living pun. There was a time when conversations about architecture could include words like chair, tree, and sidewalk. The discussion could revolve around simple concepts. An essay could have an identifiable and usable thesis.

    Occasionally I encounter a thing which rekindles my fascination with architecture and reminds me what about it is so appealing. This video is one such thing. How perfectly comprehensible and actionable is the information delivered in here.


    William H. Whyte: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces - The Street Corner from MAS on Vimeo.


    Perhaps a bit of a departure, but this video is superb first for its content and second for how unconcerned they are with sounding smart (and how smart they sound as a result). Kudos to the people who made it!


    In old probably-fabricated memories from my childhood I can hear this advice from my dad: son, you ought to avoid taking jobs that require a uniform.

    This advice has stirred in my mind for the last two decades and is on the cusp of becoming a manifesto about identity. It informs my clothing choices at the very least, and it has certainly has an effect on the shape of TMAP.

    It's easy to pick a look and wear it every day. There are many people with similar beliefs and personalities to yours. The internet will show you thousands of options, and they can each bend slightly further in your direction. If you're lucky, you'll effectively be wearing your own clothes. Besides, you'll save the people you meet a lot of time when they can quickly drape you in shared cultural associations. But after three days, the outfit wears you, so you'd better choose wisely.

    Being a professional is not about wearing a pinstripe suit any more than it is about wearing a heavy cotton duck work coat, or ordering people around, or having an MBA. Being a professional is about taking what you do seriously, and being confident in the knowledge that when you do it, it's worth money.

    We wear outfits to suit our environment. At a wedding you wear a suit because that's what's done. Under a truck you wear black everything to hide the grease stains. At a cocktail party you get a little weird.

    Knowing where you are and what the context demands of your behavior; knowing what's expected of you and how to do it: these are the marks of professionalism. It's how you know you're the one wearing the suit and not the other way around.