Inside the ‘Wire Center’ That Connected Manhattan to the World
documentary photography

Back in the days when people used landline telephones strung together with copper wire, most calls into lower Manhattan passed through a 31-story art deco building at 140 West Street. Behind its gilded doors lay the cables and switches that connected landlines throughout southwest Manhattan. Just a handful of people work there today, and much of the building is being converted to condos. But the copper wire remains. “You’d never guess in 100 years that behind that door is a telephone vault,” says...

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016
These Colossal Pillars Are a Beautiful Embodiment of Grief
Design

Can a structure give shape to something as enigmatic as grief? Artist Taryn Simon and architects OMA recently collaborated to find out, creating a memorable—albeit temporary—setting for Simon’s performance piece, An Occupation of Loss, at New York’s Park Avenue Armory. The work, which comes down Sunday after a short two week run, features 30 “professional mourners,” representing traditions from around the world, simultaneously weeping, chanting, singing, playing music, and performing other grief-related...

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Friday, 23 September 2016
Song Exploder: Peter Bjorn and John’s ‘Young Folks’ Almost Didn’t Happen
Culture

On the Song Exploder podcast, host Hrishikesh Hirway talks to musicians who take apart their songs and, piece by piece, tell the stories of how they were made. Listen below. In 2006, Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John released their third album, Writer’s Block. For months and months after that, it felt like you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing the first single from that album, “Young Folks.” It was on top 10 lists for Song of the Year in places...

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Thursday, 22 September 2016
Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Close to Event[0]’s AI
ai

As I drift through the lobby of the Nautilus, a derelict spaceship I’ve found myself stranded on, the shipboard AI starts playing music. I see a terminal across from me in the room. I go to it, and Event, out now for PC, starts revealing itself to me. Developed by an independent team called Ocelot Society, Event wants you to talk to it. The terminal has a real-time typing interface and a conversation partner in the form of that shipboard...

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Thursday, 22 September 2016
Beck Built His Latest Music Video From Killer Instagram Clips
Design

With help from a slew of a digital artists, Beck and director Grady Hall turned most of “Wow” into a “music video art gallery.” The post Beck Built His Latest Music Video From Killer Instagram Clips appeared first on...

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Monday, 19 September 2016
This Tiny Gadget Turns Any Old Speakers Into a Stereo System
Design

A few years ago, Paul Cocksedge began noticing something odd on his walks through his East London neighborhood. “I kept seeing these old speakers on the street with little post it notes on them saying, ‘Please take me, I’m still working,’” he says. Cocksedge, a designer known for his high-end objects, was intrigued by the discarded devices. So he started stashing them in his studio. His unusual collection inspired him to design the Vamp, a small, seven-sided cuboid that turned any speaker into...

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Why Can’t Twitter Do What Instagram Just Did?
abuse

Instagram now offers a tool that automatically blocks comments if they include certain abusive words. It’s a wonderfully simple way of dealing with the harassment and the other nastiness that plagues so many of today’s online social networks, including the photo-happy, Facebook-owned Instagram. And it makes us wonder: Why aren’t others doing the same thing? Or, more specifically, why isn’t Twitter doing the same thing? Harassment and hate speech is a pretty serious problem on the Internet, and particularly on...

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Monday, 12 September 2016
What to Do With Your Old iPhone
apple

Did you just preorder a new iPhone? Planning to upgrade in the near future? Give some thought to how you can make the best use of that old device you’re leaving behind. Sell It to Amazon You could sell your device as an independent seller on Amazon, but the easier path is to let Amazon sell it for you. You can use Amazon’s trade-in service to get an estimate based on your iPhone’s capacity, finish, and condition. Amazon gives you...

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Saturday, 10 September 2016
Vizio Takes On Sonos With Its Double-Duty Wireless Speakers
bluetooth speakers

Sonos speakers are great, and they’ve popularized multi-room wireless audio. They still have weaknesses. They don’t do Bluetooth, they need to be plugged into power outlets, and even when Sonos opens itself up to Spotify early next year, you need Sonos’s app to play music from other sources. Vizio sees those shortcomings as opportunities. The company has been making soundbars to slot under its affordable televisions a while, but its new SmartCast Crave speakers are its first standalone speakers designed...

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Saturday, 10 September 2016
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