How do we know that something is ours? A recent profile of musician Regina Spektor in the New York Times reminds me that often it’s a flaw that makes an object personal. According to the story, Spektor and her father, Ilya, an amateur violinist and professional photographer, were cleaning their home together one Sunday when an accident occurred:

“We were dusting stuff, and he dropped a crystal vase onto the piano and chipped off a bunch of wood. He was so upset. But to me it became my favorite part of the piano, it was how I knew it was my piano — it was the one with the chip in it.”

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Have laptop, will travel. Soundtrack M. Ward.

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As both a piano player and a typewriter enthusiast, this modified Olivetti Lettera 32 caught my eye (and ear). I’m hoping that designer Fabien Cappello’s Web site Typing the Sound will be updated soon.

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Gary Hustwit’s Objectified examines a range of everyday products through the eyes of their creators. His feature-length documentary includes thoughtful conversations with Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Hella Jongerius, Apple’s Jonathan Ive and other creative types who weigh in on the complex ways that mass-produced objects influence the way we live now and in the future.

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SoundCloud is an ingenious audio platform that makes it easy for musicians to share files. Collaboration is seamless because the content lives online. Though designed for professionals, there’s big consumer potential—particularly with SoundCloud’s embeddable player. What I am most excited about is a new iPhone field recording app, FiRE from AudioPhile Engineering, that will allow me to sample and store sounds (and interviews) on SoundCloud, and stream them on my Facebook page.

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Kevin Kelly, who talks about Web 3.0 in the video below, describes a “semantic Web”—a unified “cloud” of linked data. In this brave new Internet paradigm, humans are merely extensions of one big machine. Each person is a building block with a database of personal artifacts—our vacation photos uploaded via hand-helds, Facebook pages, Tweets and blogs—to name just a few. In this digital universe, Kelly defines true “currency” as an individual’s ability to capture and hold our attention. What will happen to analog holdouts? Will they cease to “exist”? The implications seem both exciting and terrifying. I’m also intrigued by Kelly’s thoughts on information that is embedded in the material world. His examples include a Nike running shoe with a smart chip in the heel and a car with a GPS device. As our possessions evolve, we will be increasingly integrated in to the “ONE.”

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