Surfing The Deathline #4 Page 1

Here’s the more or less completed version of the first page from Surfing The Deathline book 4. I haven’t really put a lot of work in to SDL of late, what with all the sculpure stuff I’m doing at college, but a few new digital tools have got me back into things.

New Studio

My new studio at NAS. I’ve set up a few studios over time, but this is possibly the most hardcore functional space I’ve ever had. Close the doors and it’s pitch black. It’s cool even on a hot day, and it’s small enough that I should be able to heat it effectively. It’s got its own water supply, lots of power points, extractor fans, and as you can see, ample bench space.

The other big win is the screen I found – once I add wheels to it, I’ll be able to work on hanging vertical pieces from both sides.

Room. Of. Win.

iTunes Subscription Madness.

So the other day, Apple announced a change in their iOS developer rules that enables apps to have subscription billed content.

Anyone who reads a magazine app now has an Apple-mandated choice to subscribe and buy content wholly within the app. Yes, choice.

Now the tech blogosphere pundit-tards are losing their freaking minds because Apple mandated that consumers have a choice of how to subscribe, and whether they want to give their personal info to publishers. It’s easy to see why some companies like Rhapsody are looking at taking their bat and going home when you consider their sales plan:

  1. make a free app which acts as a reader / viewer for your content.
  2. Get your customers to download that app from the appstore, for which Apple will wear the hosting and bandwidth costs.
  3. Sell access to content yourself, keeping all the profits, while stiffing Apple with the expenses.

Yeah, that was going to work. Apple are idiots, you see. They’re a social-good commons that all people should be able to exploit for nothing while reaping the benefits, right?

Oh wait, that’s not what’s happening, is it? No, the way it works now is:

  1. make a free app which acts as a reader / viewer for your content.
  2. The customer chooses if they want to subscribe through your website, or internally within your App.
  3. If they buy in-app, the customer chooses if you get their personal details (which you sell to advertisers) or not.
  4. You keep 100% of revenue when you process the subscription on your site, Apple keeps 30% when it’s done as an in-app purchase.

Ironic really that pundit-tards scream about Apple locking down consumer choice, then when they actually come up with a policy that mandates consumers get a choice, it’s not the right choice. Rhapsody are talking legal action, yeah have fun with that, and many organisations are threatening to leave the platform.

Well, don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out. You see folks, what all these companies either fail to grasp, or are well aware of and weeping into their hats about, is a fundamental fact about what the obsession with design has meant for Apple:

Apple’s products are better at being what they are, than (any) developer’s apps or publisher’s content are at being what they are.

The iPhone is a better music player than Rhapsody is a music service. The iPad is a better tablet than the Kindle App is a book buyer/reader. For the vast majority of consumers, the Apple product experience is so much better than the competition that non-Apple “exclusive” software or content simply doesn’t enter the equation. This isn’t a matter of market abuse, monopolies or anti-trust, it’s a simple case that noone else has built a device that is close enough to being on par with Apple devices, that content availability is a factor in purchase decisions.

Why do you think the lack of Flash has meant bugger all to the vast majority of iOS users? Content is only king, if all other factors are equal.

Surfing The Deathline Part 4

Well, last week I managed to finish the rough pencils for the final part to Surfing The Deathline. It’s a pretty momentous occasion for me, given how long the project has taken. Most satisfyingly, I was able to see the conclusion, which has been kicking around in my head for a number of years, finally out on paper.

The last couple of days I’ve be reacquainting myself with my 3D toolset, and having finished the first major shakedown, I finally have the first panel of the new cyberspace-type sequence set up.

Bringing many of the old textures across from the software I used back in book 2, I’m quite pleased that the new models still look like they’re from the 80s.

Preview Oddness

Here’s an interesting comparison of PDF rendering between Apple’s Preview and Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. The text shown has a drop shadow applied to it in InDesign. It looks correct in Acrobat, looks correct when rendered in Photoshop, and looks correct on the iPhone. Preview seems to render a different black point or something, because the drop shadow ends up looking like an outer glow when applied over a dark background.

Oh yes, and that’s the copyright for Surfing The Deathline book 4. More about that to come. :)

Welcome To The New.

In the past 48 hours, Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Switzerland Post Finance & the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office have all been taken offline to varying degrees by DDOS attacks.

This is a true seismic change we’re witnessing in activism. The entire protest culture from the 60s to the present has really had debatable achievements (civil rights being a notable, if slow exception), and in the post-September 11 era has been almost completely impotent. Some of the biggest protests in history were against the Iraq war, and they had not the slightest effect on the policies of elected leaders.

Now we are seeing real action. A distributed group of people in their bedrooms are able to wage information war against governments and major corporations, at zero cost to themselves, and with no reactionary-propaganda-friendly bloodied policemen or smashed plate glass.

More importantly, this has all been done with tools that are packed with memetic humour. I mean just look at it.

The thing that’s most amusing about this, is it proves yet again the most important rule on the internet. You don’t fuck with 4Chan. I suspect eventually, 4Chan will be appraised as one of the strongest influences of our era in Western, and indeed world culture.

Interesting times are ahead.

End of the year

Well, finally another year of college is over, and the task of updating the site begins. For now, there’s a new gallery with all the lifedrawing from 2010 in chronological order.

At the end of the week I’ll put in posts for the individual drawings, as well as the sculpture from the past year.

Finally, with college out of the way, I can get back to work on finishing Surfing The Deathline.

Nervous Spaces

On June 22nd, my first solo show opens. It’s an exhibition of photography at St Vincent’s Hospital, in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Works on display are photographs in the 24×36″ range.

Heavy Metal

I’m in a bronzecasting exhibition, so check it out.

Opening night May 20th 6pm. National Art School, corner of Forbes & Burton St, Darlinghurst.

Damn Right.

Steve Jobs’ clean, methodical takedown of Flash.

Everything about Adobe these days is summed up by this basic point.

Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Adobe has been obsessed for the past decade with the idea of becoming a platform vendor, rather than a tool vendor. As a maker of tools in the desktop publishing era, they were fantastic, but once Acrobat became something more than a convenient printing format, and especially once they were infected by Macromedia, this ridiculous notion of Adobe as a platform, Acrobat, Creative Suite and Flash, gained ascendancy.

We are all poorer for it, because innovative nimble companies can’t get the market share and finance to directly compete with, for example, Photoshop; instead relying on crumbs by making low end, budget “recreational” visions of Adobe apps. I haven’t used CS5, but CS4’s primary characteristic is that it feels old, as in “take that old dog out behind the woodshed and shoot it”.