Apr. 28th, 2012

terriko: (Pi)

The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption
by Clay A. Johnson

I expected the diet metaphor to get strained, but it actually worked better than I expected: consume less-processed information just like you consume less-processed food, and don't consume mindlessly and continuously. The author's approach to dealing with information "obesity" isn't the standard reactionary "Get off the internet! Go play outside!" but a more nuanced look at how to consume better information rather than just less. I particularly liked the looks into why headlines are terrible (overdone and outright false headlines get clicks, clicks = money), and how using your friends to filter information can result in a dangerously narrow point of view. I was less thrilled about how much of the examples were very American politics oriented, but obviously the author has to write from what he knows. And politics in America does provide some interesting examples of over-information warfare, as it were.

What's most striking about this book to me aren't the ideas, though (as a research scientist, going to the source and avoiding "junk" information is already part of my daily routine), but the fact that it's a life-hacking book that doesn't suffer from extreme bloat where the author repeats himself endlessly for 300+ pages. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given the topic, that the author would be able to write succinctly, but after my experience trying to read volumes like The 4-Hour Workweek or Getting Things Done, this brevity and ability to get the point across in a nice slim volume were much appreciated.

XS: Small Structures, Green Architecture
by Phyllis Richardson

This is pretty much a tiny coffee table book filled with beautiful pictures of unusual architecture fitting the small structures, green architecture theme. Fun to flip through and see some unusual projects from around the world. If you're the sort of person who clicks on "look at this cool house!" links on the internet or just loves photography of strange objects d'art, this is a little treasure trove of neat things.
terriko: Yup, I took this one. The eyes are paper, not photoshop (chair)
I don't normally review craft books, but since I've started getting them from the library and need some way to keep track of the ones I've seen and might want to get out again for projects, I figured book reviews was a good solution.

Knit Your Own Royal Wedding
by Fiona Goble

Instructions for very cute and slightly kitschy William & Kate royal wedding dolls. Lots of pictures and details in the clothing, so it's fun even if you haven't got time to knit and just want to look at the little doll dioramas. I think my favourite are the little corgis.

Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
by Joelle Hoverson, Anna Williams

As a newbie knitter, I definitely appreciate patterns for things that are small and have estimated times attached. Unfortunately, the books are starting to all blur together since most contain variations on the same hats, socks, scarves, small bags, etc. The thing that makes this particular volume stand out is actually the photography and the careful use of colour (there's even a whole section about it!)

Positively Crochet!: 50 Fashionable Projects and Inspirational Tips
by Mary Jane Hall

I loved many of the patterns, many of which are nicely modern (surprisingly hard to find in a crochet book!) though I found the "positive" sidebars totally insipid. If, like me, you find that's not your thing, at least it's easy enough to ignore. I liked the mix of small and large projects, and the couple of patterns I've tried from this book have been clear and well-written. Looking forwards to trying a few more in the future!

Simply Crochet: 22 Stylish Designs for Everyday
by Robyn Chachula

A beautifully photographed collection of nicely modern crochet designs. I haven't tried any of the patterns yet, but it looks like the instructions are very clear, and many projects are photographed from a variety of angles so that you can see the detail of the pattern and the places where joining might be tricky by instruction alone. I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to buy my own copy rather than constantly renewing the library one before I start any patterns, which is the reason I haven't done any yet.
terriko: Adorable icon care of John (pax)

I'm not sure I've *ever* laughed so hard while reading a comic book. These stories would probably be funny satire of the romance genre on their own, but paired with vintage romance comic art they're downright hilarious. Highly recommended to anyone who's ever made snarky comments during a romantic comedy!

For the MBL crowd: this is the romance version of that Ghost Stories anime Jamie had, just as hilarious in juxtaposition but a little less reliant on the random gags.
terriko: (Default)
As many of you know, I've been working on a pattern for making pones based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

I finally sat down and stuck the pattern and the pictures together, so now you can all make ponies! And best of all, the pattern is free! (This is mostly 'cause I'm that kind of person, but it is complex for me to sell anything due to the conditions of my work visa here in the US. Which is to say please don't ask me if I can sell you a finished pony; I can't.)

The pattern as a pretty printable PDF
The pattern in HTML
The pattern on Ravelry
The pattern on DeviantArt (No good reason for this except that there's lots of bronies there and I might as well share where the community is!)

And to remind you, here's what you'd be making:

More photos here.

I'm really nervous about this because it's the most complex pattern I've ever posted online and because I know other people really want it. I hope people enjoy it!
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