Skeuomorphs

She peels at the corner of the coffee table. A wood sticker.

Stop! Doing that! Not breaking the table it’s a piece of sh—. It’s from IKEA. And it’s going to break anyway, but peeling the corner! Page curls are patented, you know. We could get in big trouble.


What kind of sick puppy librarian wears Smell of Books™ in America’s first digital library? I mean really. Designed to look like quote an Apple Store endquote but actually looks like a car rental counter gone rogue. Good! I mean who needs ‘em.


It’s like the allegory of the cave-ish. We see pictures of things not the things themselves. An “analog”—well shit, I’m defining a term by using it. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about. A clock from the Swiss Railway, the circle kind. They made it so that the motor holds the hands at the top of every minute just long enough to check in with the other clocks. That way they could keep railroadtime. Anyway your clock just looks like it. So much that the Swiss sued and won. That’s what they think a picture of a clock with pictures of hands that spring forward is worth to consumers. A $21 million shadow. Or ode, I don’t know.


Do you remember that story the purple crayon about the kid who could draw whatever right in space? It’s like we got that. WE HAVE THE PURPLE CRAYON. Not by melting metaphysical crayons or some shit but by turning the world into pictures and teaching everyone they’re real. Little kids and old people were the first ones to get it. Or lose it. Whatever. Somebody got internet famous off a video of their little girl trying to swipe a magazine, the pulpy kind.


It’s called direct manipulation.

I’m not THAT old but I’m old enough to remember a game set in the jungle teaching you how to point and click with that godforsaken hockey puck.

Direct manipulation is so trendy it even appears as a transition between scenes of a luxury building by Frank Gehry. Le resident taps his iPad and later a finger (his? ours?) swipes our own frame from one scene to the next. Light assembled as woodgrain. This is luxury? This IS luxury! This is luxury.


Listen…I’m not saying this to freak you out. But you should know how to tell the difference between a porch screen and a computer screen.

If you move your head back and forth a little, on a porch screen you’ll see that the pixels change. That’s basically how to tell there’s something beyond. Depth of field.

Most computer screens’ll just not change when you do that. Some will. They figured it out.

[Sigh.]

Okay. Good.