In Which I Spend Far Too Much On Ethereal Objects

I have a sickness: I fund far too many Kickstarter and IndieGoGo projects. But I am trying to change: in the past I’ve funded projects solely because I wanted to see them succeed, whereas now I’m paying money to ventures for products that I actually intend to use. A quick survey:

  • My support for Star Citizen continues: my collection of (currently unflyable) digital spaceships has grown to include an Aegis Retaliator.
  • skylockI have a Skylock on order: a solar powered, iPhone-activated bike lock with theft attempt alerts, and my deposit for a Lily drone camera is still in place.
  • I’ve backed probably the nerdiest thing I’ve ever seen: a reissue of the original 1975 “worm” NASA graphics standards manual.
  • I’ve been a big fan of ScotteVest multifunction garments for a long time, and I’m always looking for more, so it was natural for me to back the blazer cut of “The World’s Best Travel Jacket
  • As part of my web design and development teaching, I’ve funded Richard Rutter’s handbook of Web Typography.
  • Finally, I’ve backed the construction of thDome Lighte Dome Light 2.0, a steampunk-esque LED Edison light.

I’ve been very tempted to buy an Electric Object, but the current
physical limits of the hardware (particularly an ugly, thick colored power cord, making wall hanging unreasonable) and the current exchange rate places it just out of reach at the moment.

The Perfect Home For Books

I have finally found the perfect residence for me. This “shelf-pod” house in Osaka, Japan was specifically designed by the Kazuya Morita Architecture Studio to store a client’s collection of books on Islamic history. It is built with modern materials using traditional Japanese construction techniques in proportions associated with Islamic architecture: an exotic hybrid that succeeds wonderfully.

What Does 20 Years of Reading Look Like? (Chapter 2)

Following the project to make a poster from the cover of every movie I’ve watched over the last seven years, I wanted to do the same for the covers of my books. Obviously, I couldn’t fit the cover of every book I’ve ever read on a poster: short of making the poster truly gigantic, the individual covers would no longer be legible, as there are roughly 50% more books than movies in my collection. In addition, a high percentage of the books stored in my copy of Delicious Library continue to lack cover art, due to their rarity.

I settled on using 850 or so covers, using a variation of this technique. Delicious Library does not appear to store book cover art as separate files – I suspect that they are retained as BLOBS in its database – so the first technical hurdle was to extract them. While DL has a bunch of publishing options, they do not include “images only“. However, “publish as web pages“ worked: using one of the templates supplied by the application exports the cover images as PNGs, along with a bunch of supporting HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Unfortunately it also exports the “blank” images of books without covers, leaving a bunch of all-black images mixed in with the rest. But since PNG is a lossless format, all the “blank” images were 20 or 24KB in size, making it easy to sort the contents of the exported images folder by size and eliminate those images that fell in that range.

What Does 20 Years Of Reading Look Like?

In my case, it looks something like this.

This is a “working pile” as I scan my books into Delicious Library and add cover art and other details: about 1200 volumes, all told. Of course, that does not include library books, magazines, or the few books I still have left in New Zealand, but it is a good approximation. (Design, technology and programming books are not in this pile: they are back at my office.)

Delicious Library is working very well as a cataloging system; I only wish its search routines were a little more precise (finding the particular year of publication for a volume can be difficult when it has print runs over decades, and locating cover art not supplied by Amazon is a Google image search for the book’s title, rather than title + author.)