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Category Archives: fun


The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

• Hashtags: worth a thousand pictures, good for branding and ready for the mainstream?

• What happens when a geeky comic meets a funny geek? They upstage all the suited, corporate talk at NExTWORK and in 45 minutes provide an irreverent and insightful view of technology today. Watch and you’ll see Jimmy Fallon in conversation with Sean Preston. You know it is going to be a good conversation when Fallon, having just met Preston, opens with “how did you write Sexyback?”

• And speaking of NExTWORK, two new words heard during the conference: #intercloud and #intracloud.

Everything is a remix.

• Do you remember these 12 designs that changed the web?

• We want one of the world’s first QR coins.

• JK Rowling announces Pottermore.com and possibly changes book publishing and reading (again.)

Dutch lawmakers adopt Net Neutrality law: “The Netherlands on Wednesday became the first country in Europe, and only the second in the world, to enshrine the concept of network neutrality into national law by banning its mobile telephone operators from blocking or charging consumers extra for using Internet-based communications services.”

• And lastly, developing your creative practice with some tips from Brian Eno.

While strolling through Noho the other day, I was stopped in my tracks by the recent Batman: The Dark Knight movie poster. The image of Heath Ledger as The Joker, with his shoulders hunched, dark coat and white face paint immediately called to mind one of my favorite movie characters – The Crow.

The similarities in the graphics and toys from the two movies are striking.

Besides the obvious visual examples, there are notable common elements regarding the characters and actors. Although the characters are on opposite ends of the “good vs. evil” spectrum, they were both profoundly affected by losing someone they loved, resulting in the need to transform their appearances and seek revenge. The most startling similarity, of course, is the shocking deaths of both movies’ stars. Neither Brandon Lee nor Heath Ledger lived to see their films released. Both died tragically at age 28.

So what do you think? Did Batman’s marketing department intentionally mirror the graphics with the goal of subliminally tapping into the cult phenomenon of Brandon Lee’s Crow? Or is it just an eerie coincidence?

Sharon Terry is a marketing and public relations consultant at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa. She’s partial to Batman even though she married a joker.

Download Day 2008 Help the Firefox community set a Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours by downloading Firefox 3 on Download Day (some time in June).

You can pledge and get buttons and banners at the Download Day Headquarters.

Update 2008-06-12: The date of the download day has been set: Tuesday, 17 June 2008. While you wait, check out Deb Richardson's Field Guide to Firefox 3 to get an overview of all the new features and improvements.

Update 2008-06-17: Today is the day, but Firefox 3 won't be available until 10 am PDT.

Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

In pursuit of finding some free fonts to load onto the new iMac, I stumbled across The Rather Difficult Font Game, which proved not to be toooo difficult, but there were some challenging ones in there. If you think you know your typefaces and are in need of some validation that you’re as awesome as you think you are, give it a go!

After being slightly bitter about my score of 29/34, I decided to search through the rest of the I Love Typography website, and it really has a lot to offer. The blog posts are thorough, and they’ve compiled a significant amount of typography resources that are worth checking out. But for now, I’m going to go study some fonts so I can get my score into the Hall of Fame!

The Rather Difficult Font Game

Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a comedy sketch show broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974, was conceived, written and performed by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Little did they know how ahead of their time they were with their homage to SPAM, a canned & precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation.

Revisiting this sketch this morning made me further appreciate the sketch’s melodious repetition as I deleted another 1575 Spam posts from my email box. If you get a lot of Spam, I highly recommend watching this video. It will ease the pain of dealing with this unruly menace. If you’re on a Mac, I recommend SpamArrest, which does a pretty good job of learning (with your assistance) what to keep and what to mark as Spam. Finally, if you’re eating dinner, I recommend feasting on anything other than SPAM…

Dave Fletcher is a Founder and Creative Director at theMechanism, a multi-disciplinary design agency with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa. He admits to having tasted SPAM as a youngster, but cannot recall how sick it made him.

For the love of Suprema…

August 24th, 2007  |   fun

As anyone who frequents theMechanism in New York knows – Friday is “pizza day” for the famished denizens of the Creative Bunker. And anyone who knows a little more about the inhabitants of the Creative Bunker, appreciates that we dig our pals at Pizza Suprema at 413 8th Ave, New York, NY. (212) 594-8939. Not only do they spin a particularly toothsome pie, but they also are always sure to send their best regards to Jeffrey and Dave, and a kindly joust at Josh Ingber (who enjoys the pizza, but doesn’t share the same nearly religious love for the “Suprema” as Jeffrey and Dave).

With all of that said, we want to give our pals at Pizza Suprema a nice shout out – because when our savory and saucy cheese pizza arrived today, there was no charge. Pretty cool considering we live in a city of roughly 8,008,278 and these pizza kings manage to make us feel like we’re living in a small town with the fast service and familiarity.

Next time you’re anywhere near MSG in Manhattan (Suprema is one block South-West from the Garden), we implore you to stop in, order some za, say “Boo-ya!” and tell them that the theMechanism forcibly commanded you to do so.

Bon appetit…

I’m a fan of StumbleUpon, a service that helps the bored surfer find random websites that fit within user-defined criteria. It’s also part community and another part rating system for the web. Also, yet another part of StumbleUpon is a handy toolbar for your Firefox browser that makes it easy to send your preferences to StumbleUpon’s massive database of web sites, allowing future sessions to be even more precise.

This morning on my pre-work Stumble session, I came across a pretty impressive graphic displaying Apple’s history in pictorial format. It may not be complete, yet it is nonetheless, a lovely snapshot of a product that has defined many a designers’ lifestyle for nearly 20 years.