I’ve long believed that as a general rule the useful outcome of any meeting is inversely proportional to the number of people who attend, but this does rather seem to be taking things to extremes…
It’s always hard, when you see a new version of something you’re accustomed, to be sure how much of your response is rooted in mere unfamiliarity, and how much has timeless validity, but I have to say I recoiled at Google’s new Gmail logo:
…which struck me as clunky, charmless, and not a patch on the old traditional:
A little googling revealed that I’m not alone. Probably the most interesting comment I came across was this one, from https://www.creativebloq.com/news/gmail-logo-google-workspace:
An excellent criterion, I thought, for a good logo: that it be impossible to confuse with anything else.
On the cusp, I was struck by a photo of Trump wearing one of those MAGA baseball caps. Idly wondering whether this was a first – for a candidate to use the exact same slogan in consecutive elections – it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t recall the slogan from the opposition camp. Judging by these supposed candidates reported by Wiki, it’s hardly surprising:
The enduring appeal of MAGA does make you wonder whether such slogans ever really make a difference. I suspect the answer’s yes. Amidst chaos and contradiction, their simplicity and clarity helps coalesce half-grasped convictions into a powerful, unified “Yes! That’s right!” that fires people up and drives them to the polls. (See also ‘Get Brexit Done’.)
My daughter recently lent me a book I’d not come across, with the striking name Drunk Tank Pink – psychologist Adam Alter’s look at the ways ‘our environment shapes our thoughts and actions…without our permission or even our knowledge’. I’m not quite sure what the writer of that blurb meant, in talking about permission, but the second part is striking. For example…
Weird, huh? One thing it brought to mind for me was the way IBM famously used to have little signs up all around their offices which read, simply, THINK. I guess they worked…
Largely to compensate for my abysmal thumbsmanship, I frequently dictate messages into my phone, letting Google take care of turning them into actual text. Mostly it does an excellent job, including learning my quirks, so that after I’ve corrected its interpretations a couple of times, it gets it right the third and subsequent times.
One thing that really does throw it, though, is foreign expressions. Even what you might think of as common and pretty obvious ones. I was tickled the other day by its groping attempts to get a grip on my (increasingly carefully pronounced) plus ça change, which I was trying to get, complete with cidilla, ready for copy ‘n pasting.
First attempt: Cruise fashion. Second: Flu sachets. Then Blue sessions. After Plusa Shoreditch, I decided it might be time to try a different route.
My daughter thought I might like this film:
She was right. One of the best bits of infographics I’ve ever come across.
A friend said ‘I knew about the Russian losses, but the scale of Chinese deaths was a revelation to me.’ It was to me too, but the thing that really struck me was the power of good infographics to make those Russian losses, which we all ‘know about’, come to life. You just sit there mouth agape watching the column grow, thinking ‘how much higher?’, and it just goes up, and up, and up…
Communication gets no better.
The most depressing nugget of copy I’ve come across lately, summary headline on the BBC’s week-ahead forecast:
This week: summer turns to autumn
Ah well, couldn’t go on forever…
A friend was kind enough to send me a recipe to deal with my tomato glut, from the Ministry booklet given him by his mum, which he swears by:
Love that title! You can imagine that nowadays it would be called Preserving fruit & veg at home, or even Let’s preserve! Your guide to preserving fruit & veg. Back in the day they had no time for that kind of nonsense. “Pay attention. Sit up straight.”
The tone keeps up superbly when you get into the recipes…