Sunday, May 13, 2012

Order takes its knoll

On Facebook, Friend Wendy alerts me to a term that I did not previously know: the verb to knoll. This refers to aligning or squaring things (as on a desk), or more broadly, arranging things in what might be considered an uber-anal-retentive way. (Salon calls it "A design meme for neat freaks." ) Here's a desk that's been knolled:

Here's what a knolled store might look like, courtesy of the artist Andreas Gursky:

The infallible Wikipedia relates this origin story:

The term was first used in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor at Frank Gehry's furniture fabrication shop. At the time, Gehry was designing chairs for Knoll, a company famously known for Florence Knoll's angular furniture. Kromelow would arrange any displaced tools at right angles on all surfaces, and called this routine knolling, in that the tools were arranged in right angles—similar to Knoll furniture.

WP further notes that the sculptor Tom Sachs incorporated the rule "Always Be Knolling" (ABK) into his "10 Bullets" training film. You can see the relevant clip here:

I appreciate knolling for its aesthetic, and I aspire to becoming a knoller, tho this would not be evident from anything like, say, my desk. But at least I know a word for that thing I would like to do.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Computer not included

A couple of times in the last week I've run across the term BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. In what looks like  the most common usage today, it refers to employees using their personal devices (smartphones, tablets) for work-related tasks.

It's not entirely new, but it's, you know, trending. Here's a sequence:

In the few minutes I spent looking, the earliest cite I could find was in 2004, in an academic paper titled simply BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. Significantly, this usage does not refer to the personal-in-corporate-settings usage that's common today. (The paper is about using personal devices to interact with public displays.)

The currently popular usage seems to have emerged in 2010 and broken big in 2011 and it's going way strong right now. If the actual trend it describes really takes hold and becomes mainstream, I suppose that the term might become obsolete, inasmuch as it will be as self-evident as BYOL (bring your own lunch), BYOC (bring your own clothes), and so on.

Update: Meant to add as a personal note that my wife originally got a smartphone precisely so that she could use an app that's helpful for her work. (She's in medicine.) In effect, BYOD was her reason to get the D at all.