Sunday, 7 January 2018

Anachronicons 4

This is a tricky one; is the following an anachronicon?
Microphone icon
There's obviously a "retro" vibe going on here (it reminds me of microphones from 1930s/1940s radio sound stages) but I have a suspicion that even modern high-end microphones have similar cradle-like mounts. Nonetheless, I'm guessing very few people have seen a microphone looking like this in real life that wasn't aimed at the "retro" market.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Anachronicons 3

Telephones haven't looked like this for a long time:

Telephone icon
But if you search for a telephone emoji in a Unicode font, you're likely to find something much like that. In fact, mining for "telephone" in the Unicode character set delivers a rich seam of nostalgia:
  • TELEPHONE SIGN, U+2121
  • TELEPHONE RECORDER, U+2315
  • BLACK TELEPHONE, U+260E
  • WHITE TELEPHONE, U+260F
  • TELEPHONE LOCATION SIGN, U+2706
  • TELEPHONE RECEIVER, U+1F4DE
  • LEFT HAND TELEPHONE RECEIVER, U+1F57B
  • TELEPHONE RECEIVER WITH PAGE, U+1F57C
  • RIGHT HAND TELEPHONE RECEIVER, U+1F57D
  • WHITE TOUCHTONE TELEPHONE, U+1F57E
  • BLACK TOUCHTONE TELEPHONE, U+1F57F
And my favourite:
  • TELEPHONE ON TOP OF MODEM, U+1F580

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Anachronicons 2

Here's another common anacronicon:
File Save icon
Everyone knows it's the icon to save a file; but when was the last time you saved anything to a 3.5" floppy disk?

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Anachronicons 1

If you look at icons and symbols in everyday use, you'll notice something strange. A few of them use old representations of a concept in order to differentiate them from similar visual elements. I call them "anachronicons". Take, for example, the speed camera UK traffic sign from The Highway Code:
Speed Camera Traffic Sign (UK)
Everyone (in the UK, at least) knows what it means, but isn't it strange that the graphic designer used the image of a late nineteenth-/early twentieth-century camera? It's not as if the sign just hasn't been updated; cameras of this form were already defunct when speed cameras (and presumably their signs) were introduced to the UK.

Tellingly, it only seems to be the UK that uses an old-fashioned camera in this way; other countries use words, radar "waves" or images of more modern cameras.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Double Negative T-Shirt


There ain't nothing worse than a double negative

Friday, 24 February 2017

Synthetic Phonics Audio Resources

Chilli recently volunteered to help adults learn and improve their English reading and writing skills. This meant having to teach herself about synthetic phonics.

Looking at the various free resources available on the web, it quickly became apparent that there wasn't a single page where you could easily listen to the forty-two phonic sounds using a nice clean interface. The BBC has an excellent interactive phonics tool, but it relies on Adobe Flash which makes it unsuitable for some devices.

Fortunately, the good folks at Jolly Learning Ltd have made available audio files that I've wrapped in a minimum of HTML5 for use on most devices (including iPads).


The forty-two sounds are divided into their seven groups and can be played with either a British or American accent: here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Three More Letterboxd Lists

After completing my Monsters of the Movies list, I decided to curate three more lists on letterboxd.


"theyshootpictures.com Top 50 Horror Movies (2016)" is fairly self-explanatory, providing that you realise that they're horror movies from the 2016 TSPDT list, not just movies released in 2016! So far, I've seen forty of them.

"99 Years, 99 Movies" has one film from each year 1901 to 1999 inclusive. Mostly, they're critically-acclaimed movies, but for the sparse years at the beginning of the century, I selected films that are popular on letterboxd. I've currently only seen 39 of the 99.

Finally, "Twentieth Century Movies by Duration" is a quirky list of 100 films ordered by duration in minutes from 61 minutes to 160 minutes (as reported by letterboxd). Again, it includes classic movies with some oddballs to fill the gaps. I've seen 68 of them.

Needless to say, I'm going to be ploughing through these lists over the next few months, desperately trying to improve my "scores".

STOP PRESS: TSPDT has released their 2017 list, but I don't believe any of the lists above will have changed as a result.