July 26, 2020

Written by

Chris Gonzales


Zoltan Tasi

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.

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🖥🖼: Getting tired of sitting at home with the same old view outside your window? You’re gonna love this new website called WindowSwap — a quarantine project by Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam — that brings a bit of the world into your home by letting you peek at the view from other people’s windows.

Every time you load the page, you’re presented with a randomly chosen user-submitted video, with sound, featuring the window view from that person’s locale. In the words of Rion Nakaya, “This is a balm.”

🗣: On the subject of neat web stuff, there’s a video chat/presentation service in the works called “mmhmm” that aims to make your Zoom calls, virtual meetings, online presentations, livestreams, and remote conference talks more fun and entertaining.

I’m sure I’ll be writing a more detailed “neat item” post about it eventually, but as it’s currently in beta, for now I’ll just link you to their 5-minute explainer video — featuring former Evernote CEO Phil Libin, who has since gone on to found All Turtles, the company behind mmhmm.

🚀🏙: Developed in collaboration with the Space Port Japan Association and others, Noiz Architects has unveiled imagery and details for their their SPACEPORT CITY concept, depicting a futuristic transportation hub that “connects traditional means of transportation with commercial space shuttle operation, but also encompasses all functions associated with discovering space and learning about it.”

Would love to see this become a reality, it looks amazing.

🎤🥁: Remember that unreal beatboxing video by “Bigman” that I linked to a few years ago? Well, after going viral and even going on Ellen, he’s since gone on to build up a healthy YouTube following for himself (583K subs as of this writing!), with loads of great videos for you to enjoy.

It’s hard to pick just one to showcase here because they’re all killer, but his cover (er, self duet?) of The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” definitely shows how far his vocal abilities have come:

Those harmonies 🤩

🗽⛽️🛣: In 2016, the Library of Congress published the John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive into the public domain, containing over 11,700 hi-res color photos of US roadside attractions photographed by architectural critic and curator John Margolies over a span of forty years (1969–2008).

From the collection’s overview page:

The John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive is one of the most comprehensive documentary studies of vernacular commercial structures along main streets, byways, and highways throughout the United States in the twentieth century. [The] collection consists of 11,710 color slides (35mm film transparencies). Frequent subjects include restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, motels, signage, miniature golf courses, and beach and mountain vacation resorts. Approximately half of the slides show sites in California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Texas, but all 48 contiguous states are represented.The Library of Congress began to acquire portions of the archive in 2007, with the bulk of the materials arriving in 2015. These holdings form the core of what Margolies considered the exemplary images of his subject matter.

Margolies’ Roadside America work chronicled a period of American history defined by the automobile and the ease of travel it allowed. Emerging with the prosperity of the post-WWII era, roadside and commercial structures spread with the boom of suburbanization and the expansion of paved roads across the United States. Yet, in many instances, the only remaining record of these buildings is on Margolies’ film, because tourist architecture was endangered by the expansion of the interstate system and changing travel desires. Margolies’ work was influential in the addition of roadside buildings to the National Register of Historic Places beginning in the late 1970s.

As an Oklahoma City native, the Townley Milk Bottle shown on that page is something I’ve driven by many times — my wife grew up right around the corner from there, so we’ve spent a lot of time in the area — so that was cool to see.

Anyway, as with all releases of this nature, this is a treasure trove of Americana imagery that you should take some time to peruse. You can narrow down the search results by location — here’s the rest of OKC, just for example — or if you want to view the entire collection in chunks, you can see them in paged groups of 100, , 200, 500, or whatever other number you like by editing the c=??? bit at the end of that URL.

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Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.