Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Blog Title

I should explain the title of this blog it is from a Haiku I made up as part of an artwork I created some years back

" How would you know it was just a dream if you don't know you're asleep!"

I was pretty pleased with it as it is not just the 17 syllable rule that make it a Haiku but there has to be some reference to time or seasons passing. I hope the shift in tense between would and don't, imply the difference between a waking and sleeping state hence the passage of time.
Even without the time reference, I still love John Cooper Clarke, the Punk Poet's skit of a Haiku

"Writing a poem in seventeen syllables is very dific"

Any favourites?

Landscape or Portrait?

Yesterday saw the launch of the iPad and finally, for computers, the question of Landscape or Portrait becomes irrelevant. In a way, it has been quite arbitrary that our screens have always been landscape when so much of what we have done on them is to create documents that will be printed in Portrait orientation. What about photographs I hear you say, but when computers started out, their makers could hardly have dreamed of the current blossoming of digital images poured onto a world wide web by non-technical bods. Perhaps they oriented their "Monitors" landscape-wise because they resembled TV screens and no they probably weren't thinking that one day you would be able to watch TV on your computer! Of course, back in those days, you couldn't see a representation of your document on screen - just text and that was in a primitive screen font - no fonts, styles, WYSIWIG or GUI. You had to type till your screen was full and then press the PrtScn key to send all that text to the printer then Scroll down to some fresh screen and carry on. Computers are like archaeological sites with bits of the past sticking up here and there - the PrtScn key is still there and very useful it still it is. It has a slightly different usefulness but its really still doing the same thing - it sends whatever is on the Screen to the Clipboard from whence you can paste it into a graphics programme and have your wicked way with it.
Going back to Photos you might argue that most of them are landscape but when they are not then they end up being so much smaller in Portrait than their broad bottomed sisters and brothers sitting in Landscape - either that or YOU get a crick in the neck looking at them. Of course, with the advent of laptops you could stand them on their side - the keyboard side forming a handy prop but still not very handy for editing.
When the web page came along things got more complicated still - how big is a web page when you come to print it - after all some pages just go on and on or should that be down and down! Sometime ago, on the now defunct Mo'time blog platform, I attempted to create pages that looked the same both on screen and when printed out. You can still see them and judge their success at .
Now I dare say there were already some snazzy (and expensive) monitors that could be swizzled round to show things in portrait but it was mobile phones that really gave us the two way screen - those little computers in our pocket - those little gems of consumer lust. Re-orient the picture on the screen and the Portrait/Landscape dilemma is a thing of the past and of course if you own an iPhone with its quintessential Apple design ethos then the edge to edge picture gives no clue as to whether the device even has an orientation. So now, in a convergence of computer, picture, phone and almost anything else you can think of and write an "App" for - carried forward to the iPad we can at last choose to view photos and documents in either Portrait or Landscape but you will be able to use the qwerty keyboard at the bottom of the portrait touch-screen to edit a document in Portrait!
How do you like them Apples?