By MATHIAS EICHLER   Issue #36: November/December 2014   'Year End Bliss'

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‘Happy Birthday Wilderness’

Great article celebrating and explaining the ‘Wilderness Act':

The idea of government-designated wilderness contains a contradiction — one that people who work with wilderness ponder a lot. It’s this: To keep these places untouched by humankind, humankind has to manage the hell out of them.

I’ve always been struggling with the concept of ‘wilderness’. As a European I am more than comfortable enjoying the outdoors well-managed, well-populated and established. Here in the US we celebrate the true ‘wilderness’. Consider it a goal to spend lots of time in a place where there is nothing but nature. For me this ‘nothing’ is too little. Once you experience this, after a hike you might agree with me. Until then, enjoy your blisters for nothing, fool.


New MLS Logo Poop

Whenever a established brand redesigns their logo there is immediately a huge commotion on Twitter, and often enough it turns into a shitstorm.
This commotion usually turns into several Medium-published think-pieces. And so goes mine.
Usually when this happens I’m trying to throw myself into the camp of embracing the new visual direction a organization is taking. And although in the past that direction not often makes sense even after lengthy introduction videos and photo collages I try to stay positive.

Well, I hated the Gap logo – but so did everyone.
I liked the American Airlines rebranding, which I was probably the only one.

When I first saw the new logo this morning unveiled on Twitter I immediately hated it.
But, make up your own mind, here it is in all it’s glory, oh wait, no. I mean this one.

And here is MLS’s official explanation:

WORDMARK: MLS stands for Major League Soccer.
SLASH: The slash refers to soccer’s speed and energy. The slash >begins outside the perimeter and drives upward at a 45-degree >angle to illustrate both the nonstop nature of our game and the >rising trajectory of our league. It bisects the crest to create >a “first half” and “second half.”

STARS: The three stars represent the pillars of our brand: For >Club, For Country, For Community.

PERIMETER: The perimeter represents the lines that mark off the field of play.

FIRST HALF AND SECOND HALF: The first half contains MLS and the three stars. The second half is an open white space that brings you in and out of the MLS world.

Let me start with the positive here:

The old logo needed refreshing. It was outdated, childish and is past it’s prime. Way past.

I love that the new logo is modern. I’ve always been a fan of modern, clean design. American Sports League have the tendency to wallow in nostalgia, so I appreciate the break from that and the embrace of the future. It’s bold, even courageous. That, I give them.

I also love the idea of giving every team a way of customizing the new logo with their own team colors.

So far so good.

But the rest is complete and utter crap:

The shield:
Almost every MLS team uses a crest-like shape, so using such a similar shape the MLS logo is actually competing rather than complimenting the teams’ logos.

The stars:
I get that this is America and we need stars and stripes on everything, but stars are nowhere to be found in soccer, so why use them there?

The MLS word mark placement:
It’s completely forced into the left corner making the whole thing feel way lopsided.

The slash:
What the hell is that supposed to be?
If the outside lines of the shield are supposed to be representing the lines on the pitch (and if that’s the case, why not make the box rectangular or round, like some of the shapes that can actually be found on a soccer pitch) then why does the line begin on the outside of the pitch? No soccer play happens outside the lines. That completely doesn’t make any sense at all.
Further makes the whole logo feel completely lopsided. And unless the MLS is hoping to turn the game on it’s head and wants to introduce some groundbreaking new rules/ideas to the game this doesn’t feel right at all.

The two halves:
One half feels cramped, crowded and has a completely mis-placed red gradient in it.
The second half is completely empty, white and boring.
If those halves are supposed to be representing the two periods of play than why are they so lopsided and not evened out?

Where is the f^*&ing soccer ball?
I mean, if we’re all about symbolism and are trying to be obvious and stuff, why are we leaving out the most symbolic element that has visually represented soccer for many generations? The ball?

So, there you have it. Craig Robinson summed it up nicely:

The new MLS logo looks like the designer had a deadline and was distracted by the need to poop at the same time.

That!


Another CNN Typo

By now we’ve gotten used to the endless stream of screenshots capturing typos on TV news programs.

What I am wondering about is, if TV stations don’t care anymore and the ‘everything was better in the past’ motto holds true here, or if the typos have always been there and only now, that we are all watching with our ‘second screen’ in hand and that one with a camera attached no less, we are able to capture those mishaps and post them on Twitter for all of us to chuckle and the poke fun at the medium.

Just wondering.


How to review a new Tech Product

And by tech product I mean the new iPhone, of course.

Panzarino ups the ante and takes the review units to Disneyland. Great idea. This really sets the bar for future reviews, since this time around most reviews felt a bit… flat from what I am gathering around the internet.

Apple, I’d love to take the next phone out for a hike in a National Park. Let me know where I can pick up a unit.


DIN

Quartz:

The Apple Watch typeface, on the other hand, was made to do one thing: read well on the (tiny) screen it was designed for. It borrows heavily from DIN, a legible and space-efficient typeface introduced in Weimar Germany for road and train signs, but updates the letterforms with rounder shapes that are better suited for a digital setting.

Yes! Love that font. It’s beautiful, legible, simple and strong. And has more character than Helvetica. I used DIN for all my signage when we had Einmaleins as a retail store.


I wish Wind Turbines would kill more Cats

Inhabitat:

Naysayers like to point to wind turbines as brutal bird-killing machines, wiping out huge populations of birds, but new research sheds some new light on the controversy. According to a massive study supported by the American Wind Wildlife Institute, wind turbines account for around 214,000 – 368,000 deaths each year.

The neighborhood cat causes far more damage to bird populations, with cats killing 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds each year.


Ticket Prices for Olympics in Rio announced

Cool interactive page sharing a ton of great insight, and announcing prices and availability for tickets to the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio. The event will employ 8,000 staff, 35,000 contractors and 45,000 volunteers… incredible operation.


Going Independent

The same week John Gruber talks at XOXO about independent publishing and encourages people to revive their indie blogs Jason Snell, after ‘leaving Mac World‘ is starting ‘Six Colors‘.

Fascinating time to be a blogger, still.


Think Clearly Newsletter

On how to use handwritten notes to gather your thoughts.

Awesome inspiration worth subscribing to.

Also check out the iBook on using the app Paper for inspirational note taking.


Rick Steves of USA

Been following Rick Steves on PBS now for a long time. His travel shows about Christmas time in Germany/Austria bring tears to my eyes, every time. I’ll be seeing him speak live for the first time this week and I’m excited.

I’m also curious if there is such a personality/host for traveling around the US. And if not, why not. Any ideas? Perhaps I’ll get a chance to ask him this coming Saturday.


Respect for the White Lady

Der Spiegel:

Every year, some 30,000 people attempt to climb Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, and a shocking number die on the mountain. The reason, say locals, is overcrowding, foolhardiness and a lack of respect for the White Lady.

The Alps are just so damn accessible. It’s so easy to get ‘up there’ into the zone that in every other mountain range would require alot more foresight, preparation and organization. It’s fantastic up there. But the mountains will always, always demand respect from us.


Internet Rage Machine

Peter Cohen:

If you fall into that camp, let me speak very plainly: I have no sympathy for you. I have trouble thinking of a more self-indulgent, “first world problem” than saying “I hate this free new album I’ve been given.”

Via Daring Fireball

I like U2. I like Apple. I’m biased, therefore I have to shut up. No, you shut up.


Renewable Energy in Germany

NYT reports on the challenges of switching an entire country to renewable energy.

“Indeed, the German people are paying significant money,” said Markus Steigenberger, an analyst at Agora, the think tank. “But in Germany, we can afford this — we are a rich country. It’s a gift to the world.”

That’s an investment into the future. Photo apps are nice too.


Tiiny, Another Photo-sharing App

Just what the world needs.

It’s fun, it’s gimmicky, it’s another app in my ‘social app’ folder that will be downloaded, used for 2 days and never touched again. Sorry, Kevin Rose, I love the creative hunger but I wish that energy would be invested into stuff that can change lives.

I know, tall order. Not ti(i)ny at all.


West Coast Public Transportation

Danny Westneat for the Seattle Times:

I had to end my bus life eventually (I have kids to ferry around). I knew I’d had enough after that time two buses in a row passed me by. I found myself growing bitter, cursing if the addled driver tried to cram more riders on (after cramming me on, of course). This isn’t me, I thought. The bus life in boomtown was turning me into that get-off-my-lawn guy!

So I got a car and life got easier. For me. I see my old bus buddies still lined up at the stops, sometimes three-dozen deep. Will it come? Will they get on? Will government leaders get their acts together and figure out how to provide services with all this growth?

It’s a crapshoot in the world-class city.

Just spend a couple of days in Munich and was reminded again of what good public transportation looks and feels like. West Coast cities, probably most American cities for that matter, ignored the need for public transportation for so long that by now it feels the answer lies somewhere in the UBER future. But we most likely gotten that excuse for the past several decades of political ignorance already. It’s just getting more and more expensive to consider a good subway system build from scratch for a major metropolitan area. And yet, Stuttgart 21 is being built and although extremely expensive it is, it promises the future of travel in Europe. Our family took the ICE from Stuttgart to Munich, a 3+hr drive with the car turned into a comfortable and enjoyable 2+hr train ride.


Whistler Gondola

Links to Facebook, not sure it’ll work!

Whistler Blackcomb is in the process of replacing one of their gondolas. We actually saw the new ones being installed earlier in the Summer when we were up there. And, the old ones, they are now selling… damn, I want one. For what? Not sure, but I’m sure a few searches on Pinterest would come up with some cool ideas.


Almdudler

Amazon sells it in the US, for 24 1liter bottles for $200. Yeah, that seems about right.

Delicious when hiking in the Alps: #thoughtsfromEurope.


US is for Weekdays – Europe is for Weekends.

First entry in my collection of #thoughtsfromEurope. There will be a few. Some longer, some shorter.

I love my work here. Love the focus on technology. Love getting up and stepping on to the computer and work on great and interesting projects utilizing my skills I obtained working for years on the Mac. I love modern communication and the feeling of being fully connected and plugged in.

But only during the week, only 8-5.

On Weekends when things slow down, and they should, I feel lost. I have nothing to do here and the weekends calls with awesome stuff to do, I’m just on the wrong continent for it.

I miss the cakes, the hikes and walks and friends and the beer and the millions of easy, free, cheap, simple, close by things one can do by just stepping out the front door and meeting with friends. Already, less than a week back and I miss it.


iOS Battery Drain

Scotty Loveless:

I worked on the Genius Bar for almost two years, and the most difficult issue to solve was short battery life. It was extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why someone’s battery was draining.

Linking to it so I can remember it now, and find it later.


Goodbye iPod Classic

The iPod had such a profound impact on the way many of us listen to music that it seems to have been around forever.

RIP to this incredible product. I remember when Steve Jobs introduced the product and there was this sense in the air that computers would finally become so much more than just desktop work machines. What a ride it has been.