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Category: Technology (page 1 of 3)

Enough emojis already

This will bring the total number of official emojis to more than 3,000. I think that’s plenty and maybe it’s time to start describing how we feel with words again.

Link: 230 New Emojis in Final List for 2019

The Internet is Fake

I know that internet and social media companies are the devil. I’ve known this for a long time. I also know that things are much worse than I allowed myself to believe.

Is 2019 the time for me to get out of this nonsense? Is it even possible to go analog?

New York Magazine: How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.


I never would have predicted I’d spend so much of my adult life identifying which photos show traffic lights and store fronts.

How to see without your glasses

Panorama outside Ljushuset

The Ljushuset store (“Light House”) on Mäster Samuelsgatan lights up a rainy day in Stockholm. Click the image for a larger view.



My “First Time”

In July, I was featured in The Courier-Journal, the daily newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky. For their “First Time” segment, the paper asks notable Louisvillians to reflect back on an important moment in their life when something (non-sexual!) happened for the first time. Here’s what I wrote:

View the original at

Louisville native Scott Ritcher publishes K Composite Magazine, has run for mayor of Louisville and the Kentucky Senate, and now lives in Sweden.

Here he shares the moment when his career as a designer and publisher essentially began.

In 1988, in a Kinko’s copy shop on South First Street near the University of Louisville, lit by fluorescent tubes and decorated with all the charm of an abandoned conference room, I used a Macintosh computer for the first time.

Nestled in a tiny cubicle with worn carpet underneath it was a 13-inch-tall beige box bearing a rainbow Apple logo and the name Macintosh SE.

The machine had a 3.5-inch floppy disk slot on the front and a 9-inch black and white screen with a resolution of 512 by 342 pixels. Those pixels were so big and so few that the machine’s entire screen could now be fully displayed 16 times on your iPhone 5, or nearly 24 times on the MacBook I’m using to type this today.

I was at Kinko’s working on the liner notes for an upcoming cassette album by the Louisville skate-punk band Spot which would be released on Slamdek, my record label.

In those days, there were no scanners, color printers or design software to speak of; however, earlier that year, a brand-new device called the Apple LaserWriter had been released. The Mac and LaserWriter brought publishing power literally to your desk.

Before that happened, I visited a printing shop for any typesetting I needed. I’d type out the text on a typewriter and hand that sheet of paper over to a man who would enter it into a Linotype machine to make it look pretty, charging me by the word. Even that was a world away from the scratch-on letters that preceded it.

By renting time on a Mac at Kinko’s for $6 an hour, I could cut out the middleman and begin experimenting with typography myself. The power this gave me was seriously exciting.

On this early Mac I was still only playing with the dozen or so fonts available on the machine — most often sticking with Helvetica or Geneva — and typing out everything on a blank page in MacWrite. I’d print out those pages of text on the LaserWriter and cut them up. The actual “design” part was still quite analog and the tools were X-ACTO knives and glue sticks. You know, cutting and pasting.

When I think back on my first time with the Mac, it seems like I knew at the time that it was an important moment. Typography and design are what I do now. Without them and without the Mac, I surely wouldn’t be making magazines in one of the world’s design capitals and living (what I consider to be) the dream.

Sigvard Bernadotte

Sigvard Bernadotte

Comic Sans in Greek

I thought I could go a whole week without seeing Comic Sans, but nope, there’s a version of it in the Greek alphabet.

Time Capsule

I just found this while moving stuff. Absolutely no idea what’s in it. It was in the bottom of the bag I brought to Sweden in February 2009, so it’s at least four years old. Updates to follow!

Good night

Every night my phone goes into “do not disturb” mode, one of my favorite IPhone features.

God natt alla glada manniskör. Vi ses på fredag, och grattis på den.

Good night all you happy people. See you on Friday and congratulations for that!

Illuminated Door Handles

These restroom door handles in Stockholm glow in different colors to show you if someone is inside.

Help me win a trip to space

Today I entered a contest to win a chance to a trip into space. I desperately need your help to make it happen.

All you have to do is follow this link [link removed] and click on the “rösta” button next to my picture.

If you’re a truly wonderful person, you might even share this with all your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!

I’ve written about my love of space exploration a few times here. After you vote, come back and enjoy some of those articles.

Thirty and Forty Years Ago, 20 July 2009

Sweden: Not So Far Away After All, 21 April 2009

James B. Irwin Was the Eighth Man to Walk On the Moon, 26 January 2010

All In One Lifetime, 21 September 2012

iPhone Background Image

As a Saturday afternoon Photoshop project, I made a custom background image for my new iPhone 5.

In the spots which aren’t filled with app icons I positioned old school yearbook photos of some of the famous people who have made my life more enjoyable. Interesting group, I know.

There are download links below if you’d like to use it on your own iPhone.

Top row: Stephen Colbert, Ross Perot, Evel Knievel

Second: Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Larry David (!), Kurt Cobain

Middle: Lindsay Lohan, Claire Danes, Steve Martin, Steve Jobs

Fourth: Johnny Cash, Bobby Kennedy, Barack Obama, Emma Stone

Last: Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, David Letterman, Grace Kelly

I really wanted to include Annika Norlin, but I just couldn’t find a childhood photo of her online. Apparently school yearbooks aren’t a widespread phenomenon in Sweden like they are in the US.

Download Links
Feel free to download it and use it on your own iPhone. Here are the links to the the full resolution versions for iPhone 5 and for all other iPhones. If you’re reading this on your iPhone, just tap one of the links to see the image, then hold your finger on it until the option pops up to save it to your library.

Here’s how it looks in action:

Oops! I did it again.

Oops! I did it again. My new iPhone 5 has arrived after three weeks on the waiting list.

Is that a MacBook Pro?

I thought it was a MacBook Pro, but it was a MacBook Air in disguise. The mustache made it look more powerful. Like Stalin.

Scaffolding 2

The scaffolding across the street has completely surrounded the building and is now going over the top.

This is a sequel to my previous action-packed report: Scaffolding.

Rebuilding the iPhoto library was never cozier

Here’s cozy evening scene at the kitchen “table” (a board on top of a box) with a view out the window. I’m taking a few steps to speed things up in my iPhoto library of 50,000+ images that date back more than ten years.

Magenta Toner Accident

Magenta toner accident outside the Officemakers store in Gamla Stan, Stockholm.

Stockholm Architecture Museum

The Architecture Museum in Stockholm was free today, so I stopped in and took a look around.

This is a 1967 architectural model for the construction of the NK department store in Fittja, a neighborhood near Botkyrka, Sweden.

I took this photo with my iPhone using only the automatic focus and no artificial editing. I spent a few minutes taking photos to get the exact image I wanted.



Details in a Singer’s Voice

Last night I bought some nice headphones and for the first time in years, I really felt what the sound of music can do to my insides. (That’s a medical term for a person’s guts and butterfly box.)

Late in 2000, I began shedding my belongings to live in different cities. Along with my belongings went my stereo equipment and speakers. Records soon followed.

When I arrived the following year in Providence, Rhode Island, for a two-year stint, I had a period of trouble finding work. One by one, the used CD store around the corner became the inheritor of my collection.

A Reasonable Approximation

At the time, I had a bubbly, translucent iMac on my desk, so I dumped all my music into it before selling the discs.

As a result, much of the old music I still today have today has been with me in the digital form of bits on hard drives and iPods since then.

All those songs were scanned in at 128 Kbps more than ten years ago. My music collection has been a virtual one.

Sometime in the mid-2000s, back in Louisville, my last pair of nice headphones met their demise when my friend Sarah fell on them. I forgave her, but aparrently I didn’t forget the accident. I didn’t replace them.

So for the past six or seven years, when I haven’t been in a recording studio, I have been listening to music through small speakers and super-portable pocket earphones of the iPod in-ear type.

Recently, after borrowing a few listens on my boss’ AKG headphones, I realized something significant had been missing from everything I had listened to for who-knows how long. I resolved to remedy the situation.

The Hunt

I visited a few stores in Stockholm to test drive a variety of headphones. If you can imagine what super-minimalist Scandinavian furniture stores look like, well, Swedish pro audio boutiques look even more like sets from futuristic movies. They’re clean, white, polished spaces with crisp lighting and little in the way of unnecessary details.

Monday night I finally broke down and went home with some headphones in a bag.

They’re not the world’s most expensive headphones but they weren’t cheap. I spent 1700 kronor on them, about $260.

Most of the stuff in these stores is labeled with price tags that cause hiccups.

Coming to Life

Upon arriving home, I plugged the new headphones into my iPhone just to give them a quick “line check” (that’s music business talk for a quick test to ensure the equipment is working, as opposed to a “sound check” which actually evaluates the quality. Stick around me, you might learn something).

The line check floored me.

A random song was selected by the “shuffle songs” feature on my iPhone, and the Phil Ochs song it picked, recorded more than forty years ago, never sounded so fantastic to me.

I ended up sting in front of my computer for a while trying to listen to something of everything I love, and everything I had loved in the past.

As the songs passed through me in unbelievable clarity, I began to feel alive. The inside of my chest felt like I was 17.

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. But if what you’ve got is slowly taken away over a period of years and replaced by a decreasingly accurate version, well, then you don’t really know what you had until you find it again.

Whether it has been Phil Ochs, Nina Persson, Elvis Presley or Jerry Lee Lewis, I haven’t really been hearing the true voices of my favorite artists for years. I feel like I’ve only been hearing a general, rounded average of what these great voices sound like. Now I’m actually hearing the grain and the detail again.

Time for church 

Time for church 

Waiting for Tim

Waiting for Tim.

Warm up your iPads

Warm up your iPads. K Composite issue 19 is just hours away.

Peanut butter accident

Open-face peanut butter sandwich accident.

10,000 kronor on Cissi Wallin

I’m putting 10,000 kr on Cissi Wallin in the Snackis category in the Swedish Blog Awards.

My co-worker Fredrik Oinonen and I are enjoying an after work beer while doing some betting. We both agree that PT-Fia is a sure bet for Hälso- och Träningsblogg.

Okay, honestly, there’s no money exchanging hands. This is just friendly wagering.

Swedish Royal Institute of Technology

Today I’m talkin’ to kids at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) about independent publishing on the iPad and the *massive* audiences available for publishers who interview their friends and non-famous people.

We choose to go to the moon

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” Sept 12, 1962. Fifty years ago today.

A short pause

The Young Publisher

The young publisher in his pre-K Composite years. Here I am seen at about age 12, working on my magazine Cosmicpolitan.