Beautiful steampunk case mod

Long, long ago, when the spike was little, and computers were still steam-driven and made of wood, I posted a selection of case mods that recall this elegant Victorian era of computing, or were otherwise notable for originality and craftmanship.

I’d like to add one to that collection. Made by Ryan Sawyer (if I’m not mistaken), an illustrator of considerable skill, he posted a few pictures under the name Absinthetic to his LiveJournal. (Not only is that a blogging platform I just don’t get, but links from there get hidden in dark, dusty recesses by my own WordPress dashboard. Bad WordPress. But then, LiveJournal isn’t very nice to WordPress users either. But that’s a different rant for a different day.)

The computer is just beautiful, but the photos appear a little rushed, sadly. They could do with a more carefully set up, lit and staged shoot. Still, a couple are well worth reproducing here. He has some more views of his classy steampunk box, and while you’re there, check out the funky grandfather clock too. (Update: My bad. It’s a Chronotheric Fluxing Capacitron, not a clock, geriatric or otherwise. It does have a time-related function, though, since it served the Victorians as a flux capacitor.)

Absinthetic, shellac & brass

Absinthetic, shellac & brass

Nice work, Absinthetic. I’m all a-goggle.

Bullard’s mistake

Chris Moerdyk on David BullardPosting numbered updates to this story is getting tiresome, so here’s a new post, freshly baked.

BizCommunity, which has been following the David Bullard affair comprehensively since it broke, has published well-known marketing writer Chris Moerdyk’s take on the issue. It is the clearest, most definitive analysis I have yet read.

With one reservation, I agree with his comparison:

Bullard clearly did not learn any lessons from the fate of Sowetan sub-editor Llewellyn Kriel who was fired by Sunday Times owners, Avusa, in November last year for criticising his employers in a blog published on a competitor’s website.

Kriel’s blog can be found on ThoughtLeader, where Moerdyk blogs too (as, in the interest of disclosure, do I). Wisely, Kriel has left the blog defunct since taking up his new position.

Kriel played the incident up as his martyrdom for free speech, but that was a suspect defence. An employer has every right to expect staff to protect the company’s interests in public, and has every right to axe staff who are not prepared to do so. His post was, I thought, rather ill-considered. In the case of a media organisation, a dismissal is not a denial of freedom of speech either, since the disaffected journalist could simply go to a competitor to tell the full story. He’ll surely find someone to give him a platform to disclose the facts, if the facts merit disclosing.

Bullard, ironically, has more claim to a free speech defence than Kriel did, because he was ostensibly fired over perceived racism in his Sunday Times column, and not over his criticism in Empire. It would have been far less complicated and controversial had Mondli Makhanya, the Sunday Times editor, simply acted then, on grounds of betraying the trust of an employer. Or even if instead of denying it, when asked if this was the real reason, he’d answered simply: “Well yes, we were none too happy with that either, and that alone would be sufficient cause for dismissal.”