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ASK many travellers what books are found in hotels, and they will mutter feverishly about Gideons Bibles, Readers’ Digest hardbacks and dog-eared Catherine Cookson novels. The very idea of a hotel library is enough to send them running to their Kindles for some sort of digital experience, even though a couple of well-filled shelves can provide a welcome surprise and a decent source of local insight.
This is why I’m rather taken with the work of a company called the Ultimate Library, which chooses and supplies books on behalf of its hotel clients for use in library, lounge and individual rooms. The company was started by Philip Blackwell in 2007 after a few too many stays in book-impoverished lodgings. A former CEO of his family’s chain of bookshops he had the knowledge and the contacts to launch such a business, and in the years since he has sold his library vision to the likes of Aman Resorts, Swire Hotels and the Savoy.
Read the full article @ The Economist.
What came first: the typist or the keyboard? The answer depends on the keyboard. A recent article in Smithsonian’s news blog, Smart News, described an innovative new keyboard system that proposes a more efficient alternative to the ubiquitous “universal” keyboard best known as QWERTY – named for the first six letters in the top row of keys. The new keyboard, known as KALQ, is designed specifically for thumb-typing on today’s smart phones and tablets. It’s an interesting and by all accounts commercially viable design that got me thinking about the rationale behind the QWERTY keyboard. Unlike KALQ, it couldn’t have been designed to accommodate a specific typing technique because, well, the idea of typing –touch typing, at least– hadn’t been invented yet. It turns out that there is a lot of myth and misinformation surrounding the development of QWERTY, but these various theories all seem to agree that the QWERTY layout was developed along with, and inextricably linked to, early typewriters.
Read the full article @ blogs.smithsonian.com.
…at a ceremony in London, the site was named the 2013 Best Design of the Year by the Design Museum, beating out 99 shortlisted buildings, inventions, and cars for the honor. It’s the first website to ever win the six-year-old title, too—which illustrates just how remarkable the achievement really is.
Here’s what makes it so deceivingly special.
Why does a straightforward, cut-and-dry website deserve the award? Because of that straightforwardness, actually. “There were thousands of websites, and we folded them into Gov.uk to make just one,” says Ben Terrett, head of design at the UK’s Government Digital Service, in a Dezeen-produced video. “Booking a prison stay should be as easy as booking a driver’s license test.”
Read the full article on Gizmodo.
Check out this photo then go read the article on DesignBoom.com.
"Much is to be gained by eBooks: ease, convenience, portability. But something is definitely lost: tradition, a sensual experience, the comfort of thingy-ness — a little bit of humanity."
We’re in the process of rebranding some of the output of the NLC (for launch in the new year) and today we’re deciding on the new logo. So, these videos were not only interesting but relevant to what we’re going through right now.