A nice way to find out how much you'll hate tomorrow's weather
- Blog Post by: James Lileks
- April 19, 2013 - 12:29 PM
I hate that headline. I hope you did too. Let me explain.
I could write “this is the coolest car ad you will see all day,” but
REASON #1. I’ve begun to loathe that web cliche as much you’re doing it wrong or anything other attempt to address me with presumptive familiarity. Flavorwire: “Your Favorite Poets’ Favorite Books of Poetry.” Really? Dante? Rilke? E.B. White? Nope. Lots of people I’ve never heard about. So the headline’s wrong, then. Pajiba: “10 Movies from 1993 That You Should Immediately Add to Your Netflix Queues.” Plural? I only have one queue. what if none of them appeal? Lifehacker: “The Best Streaming Music Services You Aren’t Using (But Should.)” Hah! I use one of them! Gizmodo: “You’ve Never Heard of Inhon, But It Made This Laptop Which is Just 10.7 mm Thick.”Oh, knock it off.
The worst recent example might have been a review for Yahoo’s new weather app: “Yahoo’s New Weather App Will Change Every Day of Your Life.” I think that’s making a rather broad claim for a weather ap. It will not change my life in the sense of reordering my priorities, making me rethink my direction, cause me to face my flaws and strive for life that has more meaning.
Unfortunately for me, who’d like to make a big stink out a stupid headline, it’s literally true, and I don’t mean “literally” in the modern sense of “figuretively.” The photos change every day. They’re not all stock images, either - since Yahoo has flickr, it uses that gargantuan photo pool to supply it with images. I'm using the App store images, b/c everything from the Minneapols feed comes with a copyright, and who knows what sort of trouble I'd get in.
Tilt the phone sideways, and you get the entire photo, with credit. The first Mpls image is a spectacular sunset shot by Dan Anderson; tap the name and you go to his Flickr page.
As you see, it's got lots of data - keep scrolling down for more to get everything from maps to the apogee of the sun, if you wish. All very Flat and Modern and Clean. It's now my favorite weather app, and I go through a lot of them.
Does this signal tighter integration between Apple and Yahoo? Some say yes. Apple doesn’t want to be tied to Google, and Yahoo! has a lot going for it, aside from its stupid name. Anyway: the nice thing is that you don’t have to sign up and log in. I downloaded a photo app this morning, and it asked me to sign up and log in so I could share my photos. It doesn’t let you save pictures unless you follow people. I could not care less about this. Delete. It’s like buying a new camera, and the moment you point it at something to capture a fleeting moment it shoots out a small prepaid postcard, asking you to mail in your name and address before you can take the picture.
REASON #2. Perhaps you won’t think the car ad is cool at all. You might be sick of the “Mad Men” influence. You may find the desaturated colors a dismaying example of the influence of Instagram or Hipstamatiic, and the pernicious spread of “retro” filters. After all, the colors of the era seem oversaturated now; why not make this thing pop?
Anyway, here it is.
ART Storm Thorgerson died. He designed album covers - a lost art, perhaps, since the canvas has shrunk to 300 pixels. Here's a list of ten favorites. Everyone knows the “Dark Side of the Moon” cover, but the photographic covers are better. There was always something off about his covers. Something wrong, but not bad. Something unnerving and amusing. He’s credited with the Pink Floyd “Animals” cover - the one with the giant inflated pig balloon overing over the Battersea power station - and therein hangs a tale:
The balloon was inflated with helium and manoeuvred into position on 2 December, with a trained marksman ready to fire if it escaped. Unfortunately inclement weather delayed work, and the band's manager Steve O'Rourke neglected to book the marksman for a second day; the balloon broke free of its moorings and disappeared from view. It eventually landed in Kent and was recovered by a local farmer, who was apparently furious that it had "scared his cows".
The balloon was recovered and filming continued for a third day, but as the early photographs of the power station were considered better, the image of the pig was later superimposed onto one of those.
Possibly the only record-album photo shoot that was complicated by the lack of a trained marksman.
Off to work on columns; see you around. Notice the lack of weather talk? Right. We just don’t use those words in a family paper.
© 2013 Star Tribune