Posts tagged “turn signals”

The FreshMeat archives

(oo) Fresh                  
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From 2001 to 2005, FreshMeat was a semi-regular email column about the relationships between business, culture, technology, products, consumers, and so on. As this blog found its voice, it gradually replaced FreshMeat as our outlet for the same sort of commentary.

This is a jump page for archived FreshMeat issues.

4/29/05 – Push to Talk
1/04/05 – Total Recall
7/26/04 – License to Shill
4/05/04 – The More The Merrier
12/23/03 – Pun Americana
6/30/03 – Livin’ La Vida Luxa
5/21/03 – The Houses of the Wholly
2/18/03 – She Blinded Me With Silence
11/07/02 – American Girl, Mama Let Me Be
8/05/02 – Free Agent Irritation
4/06/02 – Get Down Off the Shelf
1/16/02 – The Name of the Game is the Name
12/07/01 – Why The Cleaning Lady Won’t Do Windows
11/21/01 – A Load On Their Mind
11/09/01 – Beaming Up Scotty
10/30/01 – Got Zeitgeist?
10/04/01 – Everyone Remembers Their First Time
9/28/01 – If I Had A Hammer…Would Everything Look Like A Nail?
9/18/01 – Take Pictures, Last Longer!
9/04/01 – Cleaning Up On Aisle 5
8/27/01 – Reading FreshMeat Declared Safe!
8/17/01 – We Love to See You Smile?
8/09/01 – Every Product Tells a Story (Don’t It?)
8/01/01 – Blue Hawaii, or Viva Las Vegas

Note: TurnSignals (PDF) – originally sent out by fax – was an antecedent to FreshMeat.

Snapshots of Cultural Phenomena, a blast from the past

If you recognize this little guy, you probably saw Turn Signals back when we put it out at GVO, at random times between 1995 to 2000.

I just acquired a missing issue and have updated the compilation/archive here (PDF link). Check it out! Last-century references to Grant McCracken, the inventor of ramen noodles, Don Norman, and gorillas…among others.

Turn Signals…in a time before blogging, we used to take interesting articles from the paper and photocopy ’em, highlight interesting parts and put them in each other’s mailboxes. Someone suggested we turn this into something for our clients, and so we (in conjunction with a graphic design firm) created the brand, name, identity and so on. We took stories from the press, but rewrote them in a pithy/wry voice.

In its earliest days, Turn Signals was sent out by fax. We used a fax-merge program on a Mac and it would sit and dial and redial for days upon end. We didn’t have the greatest database, ended up calling people at home in the middle of the night with a fax tone. It was not a good system, but there was something about the push, the paper version. We heard stories back bout it being posted in the bathroom or left on coffee tables. Or people would fax us back with a scribbled note, or a request to be added to the distribution. We probably had a stronger identity, visually and voice, than the company did, overall. I don’t think we ever fully leveraged that, though.

Eventually we went to PDF as an email attachment. It was opt-out, which I think went with the times, although maybe we’d want to take a different approach now.

On the subject of me: Five Things

Troy Worman pings me for this new-ritual blogger effort (it’s called a meme, but is a chain letter a meme? The propagation is built-in, rather than being a side-effect of the compellingness of the content….) where you post “five things” about yourself. And then tag a bunch of other bloggers to do the same thing.

There’s no threat of deadly peril as in old-school chain letters, so that’s nice. But I’ve found it a bit exclusive. The “cool” folks got pinged months ago with this thing. In the interest of inclusiveness, I’m going to throw this open to anyone who wants to contribute their own five things. If you’ve got your own blog and want to participate, consider this your opportunity. Email me, or trackback, or comment, and I’ll add you to the body of this post. If you don’t have a blog (and let’s face it, most don’t) then leave your five things in the comments. If you want them anonymized more than the blog will let you, email me, and I’ll post it for you.

Five things about Steve

  1. In my public school (called elementary school in the US) the default assumption was that boys took shop and girls took home economics. I was the first boy to take home-ec. I simply asked. They weren’t trying to stop me, but they were very worried when they called my mother to verify this was acceptable. If it had been 10 years later, they would have drafted a release from liability, just in case. The next year, of course, all students took both. I was no Rosa Parks, but I did create a small change that was past due.
  2. Our dog Brody (Golden Retriever, 5 1/2, rescued) is my first pet (I’m not counting several goldfish named George).
  3. Back in the 90s, Tom Williams and I tapped into the latent storytelling need that would re-emerge as blogging when we created Turn Signals. A fax (originally) newsletter that took stories from the press and rewrote them in a dryly bemused tone. Indeed, we were always passing photocopied articles to each other in the office and so it was suggested that we productize it. You can see a few issues here (PDF).
  4. I really like cereal. I have my preferred cereal system, where boxes are stored in a cabinet from oldest to newest, so nothing goes stale. I like to have two boxes open at one time; where one is sweeter and the other is healthier (although they are all pretty damn sweet these days).
  5. In 1992 I started the first online community for Rolling Stones fans. It’s still going to this day.


About Steve