Big Mischief

Cofounder and Creative Director at Firespotter Labs.

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Soccer Thesaurus

Sports commentators in the US would describe a point gained in the most literal way: “He shoots, he scores”. British commentators, by contrast, are keen to light up your thesaurus to describe the same action.

The 2014 World Cup is perfect evidence. Ian Darke (and Martin Tyler before him) make even the most banal occurrence, fascinating, solely via their choice of language. Below are some of the standouts thus far, with their US translations (will continue to add as the tournament progresses).

British Commentary - American Commentary
Scans for a willing accomplice - Looks for someone to pass to
Makes his stately way forward - The player walks
Taken from a position of menace - A free kick close to the goal
Conducting the hassling - Playing defense
Door still very much ajar - There is a lot of time left
Has a sniff of something - He almost scored
Referee taking a benevolent view - The...

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Why It’s Impossible to Make Plans Anymore

In the landline-days of old, a plan had to be a solid commitment. Now, it more closely resembles a series of nebulous inklings. For some context, we made this video:

If you do decide to embark on making plans in 2014, I have also prepared this glossary of terms:

A Plan: Once heralded as a firm commitment to an event in the future, a plan is now largely considered to be a string of noncommittal text messages leading up to a series of potential, though unlikely, events.

A Cellphone: Your primary device for making plans. More specifically, the medium with which most plans are conceived and later altered. It’s imperative that you keep your cellphone on your person at all times, as you can expect all plans to dissolve into an amorphous cloud upon conception.

Reconfirmation: A reconfirmation is a neurotic reiteration of plan that has already been confirmed. There may be dozens of these...

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The Peculiar Traveler: Tokyo

We visited Tokyo in March and I shot a lot of random footage. I compiled it into a typical travel montage, but then had some fun experimenting with a voiceover, and turned it into this weird little travel programme. I thought it’d be an interesting way to make, what is essentially a personal travel diary, into something more widely accessible. I love Tokyo, and hopefully this video captures that and inspires you to take a trip to this wonderful place!

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Drones on Demand

What will the consumer drone market look like in a year? In five? I think about this a lot, and created a new product to explore the possibilities: Gofor: Drones on Demand.

Gofor will make drone technology useful to the consumer, as opposed to merely being relegated to solely aerial imaging. Using the Gofor app, drones can be requested to perform a multitude of tasks; from location scouting to personal security, Gofor’s tasks are basic, but undeniably helpful.

Gofor’s vision of the future is documented here, with a comprehensive execution of the website, promo videos, and iOS app interface.

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An App for Escaping Awkward Situations

I thought of a very important mobile app. It’s called Tickle and it helps you escape awkward situations. Using your phone’s accelerometer, Tickle can sense awkward gestures, and in turn, generate a phantom phone call to allow you to gracefully excuse yourself from whatever awkward situation you’re in. A video demo is above.

This app is important because people still insist on having large birthday dinners. Ex-girlfriends often go grocery shopping at the same time as you. And overly talkative commuters always ride that bus you take to work. These and other situations necessitate a mobile tool to save the day.

Tickle is part of a new generation of apps that has no UI. The app does one thing and it does it well: it calls you when you touch your phone in an awkward way. It’s the ultimate exercise in restraint; once installed, there is no visual interface – the app is...

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Road Trip Iceland: A Custom Map

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Iceland is the best country in the world for a road trip. The variety of the scenery is unparalleled; one road circles the entire country and darts through some of the most incredible landscapes you will ever see.

My friends and I travelled there in May 2013 and circled the Ring Road over the course of eight days. When we returned, I wanted to document our adventures with an artifact of some kind. My initial thought was to find a map of the country and annotate it to show our route. There were a number of options, but nothing felt quite right visually; either the map had too much extraneous information or it just wasn’t cool enough.

I decided to draw my own map of Iceland, on a massive canvas, and include the photos, stories, and logistics of our journey. The focus was the route, but I also included illustrations and notes to call out memorable moments of the trip. It was a...

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Quitting, and My Occupational Phantom Limb

When I quit my job two weeks ago, the array of sentiments that followed was predictable, but also complex, in one very specific and intriguing way.

Reducing my responsibilities substantially, in an instant, was of course relieving, but it’s been complicated by a perpetual sense of muddled, nonexistent urgency. Not unlike a phantom-limb, I still feel the presence of my professional duties. The rhythmic flow of tasks, emails and meetings had become so constant, so familiar, that my present mind has almost fabricated a reality where they still exist.

The primary symptom of this occupational phantom-limb is compulsive phone monitoring. Despite my new schedule, I still adhere to my old routine of pulling out my phone every few minutes, expecting important emails, reminders and events. Of course now, my phone repeatedly presents me with a striking lack of responsibilities. I can...

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Blank & Blank: Apparently This Is How To Name Your Small Business

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It seems there is a stubborn trend governing the naming of small businesses. Especially if a shop purveys handmade jewelry, reclaimed boat magnets, or organic plum muffins, you can be sure they’re doing business as a combination of obscure nouns. The effect is unabashedly grassroots, and when paired with lowercase letters and a wispy “+” symbol, you can’t help but fawn over how artisanal, hyperlocal and bespoke the shop’s wares must surely be.

Some real world examples: Hammer + Vine. Dapper and Wise. Satchel & Sage. Whimsey & Spice. Standard & Strange. Frank & Oak.

Now let’s make some up: Froth and Coin. Sail & Sword. Tooth + Anchor. Duck&Goose. cane + apple. Heart & Honey.

As you can see, it’s as easy as snatching two random words and plopping them together. Meaning-be-damned, the combination need not make logical sense, so long as the vibe conjured would...

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Drones, HUDs, San Francisco

Our Drone Future is a look at the imminent condition of unmanned aerial vehicles. My video explores the technology, capability, and purpose of drones, as their presence becomes an increasingly pervasive reality in the skies of tomorrow.

As portrayed, cities use semi-autonomous drones, specializing in predictive analysis, for urban security. Human officers monitor the drone feeds remotely, and data reports are displayed with a detailed HUD and communicated via a simulated human voice (designed to mitigate discomfort with sentient drone technology). This portion shows a landmark security drone surveying San Francisco landmarks and encountering fierce civilian resistance.

Created with DJI Phantom Drones, After Effects, Premier, Logic, GoPro, and a liberal interpretation of FAA regulations.

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The Best Clock Money Can Buy

pugg 2.png

This is the best wall clock money can buy. When considering a wall clock, three factors are relevant: style, value and utility. No clock excels quite like Ikea’s PUGG in all three categories at once.

Style: The PUGG, as its name suggests, may not be gunning for a spot at the MOMA, but it’s mid-century modern at a glance, and that’s all most people give it. While close inspection reveals the PUGG houses some clumsy numerical curves, at a distance it looks like a stylish artifact from a time long past.

Value: When you take price into account, the PUGG dominates. It retails for $15. Wall clocks in this weight class typically resemble props from daytime television, not classic timepieces.

Utility: The PUGG performs its primary function of displaying the time, for a long time. It runs on single AA battery and lasts approximately three years. When it’s dead, it...

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