Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘omnibus’

12 MARCH, 2010

Beyond the Business Card: Three Alternative Tools


How to bump strangers, who killed the Rolodex, and what to do about it.

This week, we’re at SXSW, supposedly a mecca of interactivity and tech innovation. And yet we keep bumping into one massive business etiquette dinosaur: The exchange of physical, paper business cards.

So we’ve curated three handy digital tools to help unload the fossils and bring your networking up to speed with the digital age. The Rolodex is dead (we don’t even know anyone who owns one, let alone uses it), long live LinkedIn.


Bump may just be our favorite app ever. Free and available for iPhone and Android, it lets you exchange contact information with another person simply by bumping the two phones together. While it requires that the other person have the app as well, we’ve seen Bump adoption rates skyrocket in the past few months — it’s that good — so it’s bound to spare you a massive amount of number-crunching as you attempt to digitize those crumpled up business cards floating around your laptop bag.

Simple and incredibly fun to use, Bump combines seamless functionality with a kind of delightful playfulness — it’s hard not to smile when you see two grey-haired CEO’s bump fists and chuckle like fifth-graders.

Tip: If you keep your phone in your pant pocket, avoid walking up to people, saying “Let’s bump!” and pointing to said area of your pants. The capacity for martinis tossed in your face is limitless.


Let’s face it, most of us have more online profiles than we know what to do with — Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare… they’re just the tip of the random registrations iceberg. And while a handful of them are actually useful for connecting with people, they’re becoming increasingly hard to manage, let alone share.

Enter, a nifty centralized home for all your digital dwellings. This tiny, update-from-anywhere video-enabled calling card contains all your favorite sites and services, giving you a simple URL to share with people.


We’ve always liked the idea of connecting real-life objects to the virtual world. Enter Stickybits, an ingenious tag-based platform for attaching digital information to physical objects. It’s simple — you get a bunch of barcode stickers, attach something to them online, and start handing them out. A free iPhone and Android app reads the barcodes and relays the embedded information.

Though meant for a much wider array of purposes — from “sticking” a wish on a gift to slapping on your laptop as a bring-it-home system in case you lose it — they’re perfect for sharing your contact info or even your resume.

Grab a pack of 20 barcodes for just $9.95 and start slapping.

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01 MARCH, 2010

Beyond Burton: Art Inspired by Alice In Wonderland


Floating children, the rabbit hole of the social web, and what Dali has to do with manga.

We’re all about the cross-pollination of disciplines and creative domains. So we love seeing one kind of art inspire another inspire another. Take Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, on the lips — and eyeballs — of the world with this week’s much- anticipated release. The film was, of course, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s 1865 children’s classic of the same name (which also sprouted two other excellent films, one in 1933, starring a trippy Cary Grant, and one in 1966 for the BBC), and has in turn inspired a variety of artwork in its own right. Today, we focus on three such examples of art inspired by Alice.


Japanese-born, New-York-based artist Naoto Hattori has a very distinct, Salvador-Dali-meets-manga aesthetic. This illustration inspired by Alice In Wonderland is one of the most stunning pieces of digital artwork we’ve seen in months.

Hattori’s work is part of the Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition at Gallery Nucleus, which opened this weekend and features interpretations of the iconic story by artists who worked on Burton’s feature film and beyond.

via Wicked Halo


From Moscow-born, Bahamas-based artist-turned-underwater-photographer Elena Kalis comes Alice In Waterland, a surreal and whimsical underwater series that blends the alternate-reality feel of Carroll’s world with a wink at the wicked innocence of Burton’s representations.

We love Kalis’ incredible play of light and color, amplified by the water’s reflective properties in a way that combines softness with intensity to a stunning effect.


You may recall Greek illustrator Christina Tsevis, whom we interviewed a few months ago. Much to our delight, Christina recently got in touch with us to let us know that Glamour Greece discovered her via our interview and asked her to create a series of Alice In Wonderland illustrations for the magazine, some of which were reprinted as t-shirts.

Brimming with Christina’s signature style of 2D/3D haunting innocence, the work is a beautiful journey into texture, color and pure whimsy.

Here’s to the power of the social web, the ultimate ride down the rabbit hole.

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16 FEBRUARY, 2010

6 Six Places to Find Affordable Art


Sticker-shockless art, or what good taste and good deeds have in common.

The traditional art world may have spent centuries trying to convince us there’s a direct correlation between price and taste, but the web is here to ruffle some feathers and liberalize art ownership. Here are six fantastic sites that offer affordable art from up-and-coming talent, plus some social good along the way.


You know how Wikipedia harnessed the power of the Internet to democratize knowledge? That’s what 20×200 has been doing for art since 2007, with a simple yet powerful formula.

(limited editions × low prices) + the internet = art for everyone

Twice a week, 20×200 introduces two original pieces of artwork — a photograph and a work on paper — available in three sizes, as cheap as $20. Wonderfully user-friendly and meticulously curated, 20×200 is an absolute treat.

We recently snagged this gem by Clifton Burt, inspired by a John Maeda haiku.


You may recall last month’s special feature on The Working Proof, so we won’t elaborate too much here.

Suffice it to say this online gallery and print shop is a brilliant marriage of good taste and good conscience.


We’ve featured Tiny Showcase some years ago, and it’s still noteworthy as ever. Similarly to The Working Proof, this smart enterprise offers affortdable artowrk from up-and-coming talent — with most prints priced as low as $20 — and even donates a portion of profits to a charity of each artist’s choice. A recent artwork, for instance, raised $28,155 for Haiti relief.

Each week, Tiny Showcase picks turns a new piece of tiny artwork into a limited-run print production, printed on archival Hahnemühle German Printmaking Paper with specially treated and sprayed ink, giving it an archival lifespan of over 60 years.


Another wink at the Brain Pickings archive, we*heart*prints, compiles and sells sticker-shockless prints from contemporary artists.

The site’s semi-democratic model harnesses the best of the crowdsourcing and curation worlds, allowing artists to submit their prints for consideration, but using keen editorial curation to choose the best ones to feature.


A relative newcomer on the affordable art scene, Eye Buy Art offers limited-edition fine art photographs by emerging talent from Canada, the UK and the US, priced as low as $25. (The prints, not the photographers — though how great would it be to buy yourself a photographer for a twenty?)

A jury of professional fine art photographers curate the up-and-comers, releasing one new photograph each week.


We’re longtime fans of society6, the ingenious new platform for empowering artists by connecting them with supporters and matching them with grants. (Check out our exlusive interview with founder Justin Wills.)

Over the past few months, we’ve discovered some incredible talent there, particularly catering to our soft spot for illustration.

Much of the artwork is available for sale, with prints generally priced between $20 and $50 — a jaw-droppingly low range given the uber-talented group of artists in question.

UPDATE: We’ve proudly partnered with Society6 to launch Art Pickings — a curated art portal featuring work by Society6 artists, cherry-picked by Brain Pickings. Check it out.

Know of a great site for affordable art? Do share it in the comments and we may include it in the sequel to this piece.

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