December 14, 2023

A sense of design?

This post is dedicated to Mark, a troubled soul.

A sense of design?
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white laptop computer on brown wooden table
Photo by Ben Szymanski / Unsplash

A sense of place.

A few days ago, I learnt that a friend, we shall call him “mark” died, I thought he was a troubled soul who was haunted, perhaps, by inner demons. Sadly, he fell victim to his long-standing illness, and I mourn his passing.

For whatever reason he never really seemed to fully integrate into our community. To me it was a great shame, because he lived in an area full of beauty. I remember I walked with him for miles and introduced him to many of places that I have loved since childhood. I thought that perhaps he might become more integrated, become part of it all. Sadly, he was too busy wrapped up in his own thoughts.

I have often said that our town is very much a marmite town you either love it or hate it. I love it, I have spent 27 years living there and I hoped that I would make old bones there. Maybe that’s not going to happen who knows?

I suppose beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder, and I perhaps to many, strangely, have a love of the building material concrete. A viewpoint not shared by many. I think that all people really do appreciate nature though. Apart from the fictional character Dundridge who was the planning officer in the book and the television series called Blott On The Landscape, He adored concrete, he abhorred nature. He in the television series and book, was sent to prison because of his actions, and didn’t want to leave because he enjoyed it! I think there are some who don’t really take pleasure in beauty sometimes, who fly against my argument, or who, at least do not see the beauty that I see. It takes all sorts.

Sometimes people’s attitudes and even state of mind change when they are exposed to the beauty of nature, having nature surround them and nurture them. Take them away from that, and I think that their humanity is almost threatened. We all need to see the beauty of nature in my opinion.

I think you must see the beauty of nature, the detail, not only the detail of the large but the detail of the small, I’m sure that perhaps the former leader of Apple computer would not enjoy nature? Apparently, he first saw the prototype of the Macintosh motherboard, and asked “Why is the motherboard asymmetrical?” He demanded that the motherboard was redesigned so that all the chips on the motherboard were symmetrical. It delayed the production by many weeks.

Jobs was famously a believer in design being simple. I suppose he was the opposite of me in that I could never be a minimalist even though I know many people who are. Jobs famously had a very austere office, and an even more austere house. Apparently, somebody who went to visit his house noticed that the only thing he had in his living room of note was an Nakamichi stereo system. He had very high standards with regards to design. But were his standards correct ones? I think that industrial design was an important driver for Steve Jobs, and as I said in a previous blog post, the success of his products was very much a part of that drive towards good industrial design and wanting us to be a part of the machine. To gain great pleasure of ownership not just by the operating system or what you do with it, but by looking at it and getting great pleasure from owning it. When the first Macintosh computer was built, even though you couldn’t open it, and couldn’t easily see inside all the signatures of the developers was etched into the abs plastic. But they were there all the same. Steve knew that those signatures were there, and he insisted on them being put there. Such was his attention to detail.

I think people have their own ideas, and some people never ever get the chance to air their views. I think it’s important for people to have a voice. to not be ignored, and some people, people like me never stop giving their viewpoints to others. There are some on the Internet who cannot even live a moment without telling people what they’re doing, what they’re eating, and who they are with. That to me would be hell on Earth. But many do get pleasure from that. Some get annoyed with other people’s views, but even though we might be annoyed with their views, or vehemently disagree with them, they have every right within law to do that.

We all need to have a sense of place a sense of stamping our identity on the world. Some like me get pleasure from technology and the liberating space that it provides. Others see technology as a living hell. Maybe they’re right? But I suppose it all depends on what you do with that technology. If we go back to Steve Jobs then we can see he was one of the people that developed the empowerment of people to use technology to liberate their thoughts and feelings. Steve put life into his product through its design and its interface. Without him perhaps the development of the World Wide Web would have been a completely different one to what we have now. So perhaps we owe so much to a man who inspired so many people and probably infuriated just as many as well.

Mark, is missed. I hope, he did not suffer too much in his final weeks. You saw our town as a form of purgatory. Now you are set free.