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San Francisco; or, How to Destroy a City | Public Books
"As New York City and Greater Washington, DC, prepared for the arrival of Amazon’s new secondary headquarters, Torontonians opened a section of their waterfront to Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, which plans to prototype a new neighborhood “from the internet up.” Fervent resistance arose in all three locations, particularly as citizens and even some elected officials discovered that many of the terms of these public-private partnerships were hashed out in closed-door deals, secreted by nondisclosure agreements. Critics raised questions about the generous tax incentives and other subsidies granted to these multibillion-dollar corporations, their plans for data privacy and digital governance, what kind of jobs they’d create and housing they’d provide, and how their arrival could impact local infrastructures, economies, and cultures. While such questioning led Amazon to cancel their plans for Long Island City in mid-February, other initiatives press forward. What does it mean when Silicon Valley—a geographic region that’s become shorthand for an integrated ideology and management style usually equated with libertarian techno-utopianism—serves as landlord, utility provider, urban developer, (unelected) city official, and employer, all rolled into one?1

We can look to Alphabet’s and Amazon’s home cities for clues. Both the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle have been dramatically remade by their local tech powerhouses: Amazon and Microsoft in Seattle; and Google, Facebook, and Apple (along with countless other firms) around the Bay. As Jennifer Light, Louise Mozingo, Margaret O’Mara, and Fred Turner have demonstrated, technology companies have been reprogramming urban and suburban landscapes for decades.2 And “company towns” have long sprung up around mills, mines, and factories.3 But over the past few years, as development has boomed and income inequality has dramatically increased in the Bay Area, we’ve witnessed the arrival of several new books reflecting on the region’s transformation.

These titles, while focusing on the Bay, offer lessons to New York, DC, Toronto, and the countless other cities around the globe hoping to spur growth and economic development by hosting and ingesting tech—by fostering the growth of technology companies, boosting STEM education, and integrating new sensors and screens into their streetscapes and city halls. For years, other municipalities, fashioning themselves as “the Silicon Valley of [elsewhere],” have sought to reverse-engineer the Bay’s blueprint for success. As we’ll see, that blueprint, drafted to optimize the habits and habitats of a privileged few, commonly elides the material needs of marginalized populations and fragile ecosystems. It prioritizes efficiency and growth over the maintenance of community and the messiness of public life. Yet perhaps we can still redraw those plans, modeling cities that aren’t only made by powerbrokers, and that thrive when they prioritize the stewardship of civic resources over the relentless pursuit of innovation and growth."



"We must also recognize the ferment and diversity inherent in Bay Area urban historiography, even in the chronicles of its large-scale development projects. Isenberg reminds us that even within the institutions and companies responsible for redevelopment, which are often vilified for exacerbating urban ills, we find pockets of heterogeneity and progressivism. Isenberg seeks to supplement the dominant East Coast narratives, which tend to frame urban renewal as a battle between development and preservation.

In surveying a variety of Bay Area projects, from Ghirardelli Square to The Sea Ranch to the Transamerica Pyramid, Isenberg shifts our attention from star architects and planners to less prominent, but no less important, contributors in allied design fields: architectural illustration, model-making, publicity, journalism, property management, retail planning, the arts, and activism. “People who are elsewhere peripheral and invisible in the history of urban design are,” in her book, “networked through the center”; they play critical roles in shaping not only the urban landscape, but also the discourses and processes through which that landscape takes shape.

For instance, debates over public art in Ghirardelli Square—particularly Ruth Asawa’s mermaid sculpture, which featured breastfeeding lesbian mermaids—“provoked debates about gender, sexuality, and the role of urban open space in San Francisco.” Property manager Caree Rose, who worked alongside her husband, Stuart, coordinated with designers to master-plan the Square, acknowledging that retail, restaurants, and parking are also vital ingredients of successful public space. Publicist Marion Conrad and graphic designer Bobbie Stauffacher were key members of many San Francisco design teams, including that for The Sea Ranch community, in Sonoma County. Illustrators and model-makers, many of them women, created objects that mediated design concepts for clients and typically sat at the center of public debates.

These creative collaborators “had the capacity to swing urban design decisions, structure competition for land, and generally set in motion the fate of neighborhoods.” We see the rhetorical power of diverse visualization strategies reflected across these four books, too: Solnit’s offers dozens of photographs, by Susan Schwartzenberg—of renovations, construction sites, protests, dot-com workplaces, SRO hotels, artists’ studios—while Walker’s dense text is supplemented with charts, graphs, and clinical maps. McClelland’s book, with its relatively large typeface and extra-wide leading, makes space for his interviewees’ words to resonate, while Isenberg generously illustrates her pages with archival photos, plans, and design renderings, many reproduced in evocative technicolor.

By decentering the star designer and master planner, Isenberg reframes urban (re)development as a collaborative enterprise involving participants with diverse identities, skills, and values. And in elevating the work of “allied” practitioners, Isenberg also aims to shift the focus from design to land: public awareness of land ownership and commitment to responsible public land stewardship. She introduces us to several mid-century alternative publications—weekly newspapers, Black periodicals, activists’ manuals, and books that never made it to the best-seller list … or never even made it to press—that advocated for a focus on land ownership and politics. Yet the discursive power of Jacobs and Caro, which framed the debate in terms of urban development vs. preservation, pushed these other texts off the shelf—and, along with them, the “moral questions of land stewardship” they highlighted.

These alternative tales and supporting casts serve as reminders that the modern city need not succumb to Haussmannization or Moses-ification or, now, Googlization. Mid-century urban development wasn’t necessarily the monolithic, patriarchal, hegemonic force we imagined it to be—a realization that should steel us to expect more and better of our contemporary city-building projects. Today, New York, Washington, DC, and Toronto—and other cities around the world—are being reshaped not only by architects, planners, and municipal administrators, but also by technologists, programmers, data scientists, “user experience” experts and logistics engineers. These are urbanism’s new “allied” professions, and their work deals not only with land and buildings, but also, increasingly, with data and algorithms.

Some critics have argued that the real reason behind Amazon’s nationwide HQ2 search was to gather data from hundreds of cities—both quantitative and qualitative data that “could guide it in its expansion of the physical footprint, in the kinds of services it rolls out next, and in future negotiations and lobbying with states and municipalities.”5 This “trove of information” could ultimately be much more valuable than all those tax incentives and grants. If this is the future of urban development, our city officials and citizens must attend to the ownership and stewardship not only of their public land, but also of their public data. The mismanagement of either could—to paraphrase our four books’ titles—elongate the dark shadows cast by growing inequality, abet the siege of exploitation and displacement, “hollow out” our already homogenizing neighborhoods, and expedite the departure of an already “gone” city.

As Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti muses in his “Pictures of the Gone World 11,” which inspired Walker’s title: “The world is a beautiful place / to be born into / if you don’t mind some people dying / all the time / or maybe only starving / some of the time / which isn’t half so bad / if it isn’t you.” This is precisely the sort of solipsism and stratification that tech-libertarianism and capitalist development promotes—and that responsible planning, design, and public stewardship must prevent."
cities  shannonmattern  2019  sanfrancisco  siliconvalley  nyc  washingtondc  seattle  amazon  google  apple  facebook  technology  inequality  governance  libertarianism  urban  urbanism  microsoft  jenniferlight  louisemozingo  margareto'mara  fredturner  efficiency  growth  marginalization  publicgood  civics  innovation  rebeccasolnit  gentrification  privatization  homogenization  susanschwartzenberg  carymcclelland  economics  policy  politics  richardwalker  bayarea  lisonisenberg  janejacobs  robertmoses  diversity  society  inclusivity  inclusion  exclusion  counterculture  cybercultue  culture  progressive  progressivism  wealth  corporatism  labor  alexkaufman  imperialism  colonization  californianideology  california  neoliberalism  privacy  technosolutionism  urbanization  socialjustice  environment  history  historiography  redevelopment  urbanplanning  design  activism  landscape  ruthasawa  gender  sexuality  openspace  publicspace  searanch  toronto  larenceferlinghetti  susanschartzenberg  bobbiestauffacher  careerose  stuartrose  ghirardellisqure  marionconrad  illustration  a 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Goodbye Big Five
"Reporter Kashmir Hill spent six weeks blocking Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple from getting my money, data, and attention, using a custom-built VPN. Here’s what happened."
microsoft  google  facebook  amazon  apple  kashmirhill  technology  2019  internet  web  attention  online 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Ep. 359) - Freakonomics Freakonomics
"ROBERTO: “I’d like to open a new kind of grocery store. We’re not going to have any branded items. It’s all going to be private label. We’re going to have no television advertising and no social media whatsoever. We’re never going to have anything on sale. We’re not going to accept coupons. We’ll have no loyalty card. We won’t have a circular that appears in the Sunday newspaper. We’ll have no self-checkout. We won’t have wide aisles or big parking lots. Would you invest in my company?”



"So we put on our Freakonomics goggles in an attempt to reverse-engineer the secrets of Trader Joe’s. Which, it turns out, are incredibly Freakonomical: things like choice architecture and decision theory. Things like nudging and an embrace of experimentation. In fact, if Freakonomics were a grocery store, it might be a Trader Joe’s, or at least try to be. It’s like a real-life case study of behavioral economics at work. So, here’s the big question: if Trader Joe’s is really so good, should their philosophy be applied elsewhere? Should Trader Joe’s — I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but … should Trader Joe’s be running America?"
traderjoes  2018  freakanomics  retail  groceries  psychology  choice  paradoxofchoice  decisionmaking  michaelroberto  competition  microsoft  satyanadella  markgardiner  sheenaiyengar  economics  behavior  hiring 
december 2018 by robertogreco
iPad Pro (2018) Review: Two weeks later! - YouTube
[at 7:40, problems mentioned with iOS on the iPad Pro as-is for Rene Ritchie keeping it from being a laptop replacement]

"1. Import/export more than just photo/video [using USB drive, hard drive, etc]

2. Navigate with the keyboard [or trackpad/mouse]

3. 'Desktop Sites' in Safari [Why not a desktop browser (maybe in addition to Safari, something like a "pro" Safari with developer tools and extensions?]

4. Audio recording [system-wide like the screen recording for capturing conversations from Skype/Facetime/etc]

5. Develop for iPad on iPad

6. Multi-user for everyone [like on a Chromebook]"

[I'd be happy with just 1, 2, and 3. 6 would also be nice. 4 and 5 are not very important to me, but also make sense.]

[Some of my notes regarding the state of the tablet-as-laptop replacement in 2018, much overlap with what is above:

iOS tablets
no mouse/trackpad support, file system is still a work in process, no desktop browser equivalents, Pro models are super expensive given these tradeoffs, especially with additional keyboard and pen costs

Microsoft Surface
tablet experience is lacking, Go (closest to meeting my needs and price) seems a little overpriced for the top model (entry model needs more RAM and faster storage), also given the extra cost of keyboard and pen

Android tablets
going nowhere, missing desktop browser

ChromeOS tablets
underpowered (Acer Chromebook Tab 10) or very expensive (Google Pixel Slate) or I don’t like it enough (mostly the imbalance between screen and keyboard, and the keyboard feel) for the cost (HP x2), but ChromeOS tablets seem as promising as iPads as laptop replacements at this point

ChromeOS convertibles
strange having the keyboard in the back while using as a tablet (Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro, ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA, Google Pixelbook (expensive)) -- I used a Chromebook Pro for a year (as work laptop) and generally it was a great experience, but they are ~1.5 years old now and haven’t been refreshed. Also, the Samsung Chromebook Plus (daughter has one of these, used it for school and was happy with it until new college provided a MacBook Pro) refresh seems like a step back because of the lesser screen, the increase in weight, and a few other things.

Additional note:
Interesting how Microsoft led the way in this regard (tablet as laptop replacement), but again didn't get it right enough and is now being passed by the others, at least around me]

[finally, some additional discussion and comparison:

The Verge: "Is this a computer?" (Apr 11, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7imG4DYXlM

Apple's "What's a Computer?" iPad ad (Jan 23, 2018, no longer available directly from Apple)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llZys3xg6sU

Apple's "iPad Pro — 5 Reasons iPad Pro can be your next computer — Apple" (Nov 19, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUQK7DMys54

The Verge: "Google Pixel Slate Review: half-baked" (Nov 27, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOa6HU_he2A
https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/27/18113447/google-pixel-slate-review-tablet-chrome-os-android-chromebook-slapdash

Unbox Therapy: "Can The Google Pixel Slate Beat The iPad Pro?" (Nov 28, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lccvHF4ODNY

The Verge: "Google keeps failing to understand tablets" (Nov 29, 2018)
https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/29/18117520/google-tablet-android-chrome-os-pixel-slate-failure

The Verge: "Chrome OS isn't ready for tablets yet" (Jul 18, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu9JBj7HNmM

The Verge: "New iPad Pro review: can it replace your laptop?" (Nov 5, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LykS0TRSHLY
https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/5/18062612/apple-ipad-pro-review-2018-screen-usb-c-pencil-price-features

Navneet Alang: "The misguided attempts to take down the iPad Pro" (Nov 9, 2018)
https://theweek.com/articles/806270/misguided-attempts-take-down-ipad-pro

Navneet Alang: "Apple is trying to kill the laptop" (Oct 31, 2018)
https://theweek.com/articles/804670/apple-trying-kill-laptop

The Verge: "Microsoft Surface Go review: surprisingly good" (Aug 7, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7N2xunvO68
https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/7/17657174/microsoft-surface-go-review-tablet-windows-10

The Verge: "The Surface Go Is Microsoft's Hybrid PC Dream Made Real: It’s time to think of Surface as Surface, and not an iPad competitor" (Aug 8, 2018)
https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/8/17663494/microsoft-surface-go-review-specs-performance

The Verge: "Microsoft Surface Go hands-on" (Aug 2, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmENZqKPfws

Navneet Alang: "Is Microsoft's Surface Go doomed to fail?" (Jul 12, 2018)
https://theweek.com/articles/784014/microsofts-surface-doomed-fail

Chrome Unboxed: "Google Pixel Slate: Impressions After A Week" (Nov 27, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfriNj2Ek68
https://chromeunboxed.com/news/google-pixel-slate-first-impressions/

Unbox Therapy: "I'm Quitting Computers" (Nov 18, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3oRJeReP8g

Unbox Therapy: "The Truth About The iPad Pro..." (Dec 5, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXqou3SVbMw

The Verge: "Tablet vs laptop" (Mar 22, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm_zQP9JIJI

Marques Brownlee: "iPad Pro Review: The Best Ever... Still an iPad!" (Nov 14, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1e_voQvHYk

Engadget: "iPad Pro 2018 Review: Almost a laptop replacement" (Nov 6, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZzmMpP2BNw

Matthew Moniz: "iPad Pro 2018 - Overpowered Netflix Machine or Laptop Replacement?" (Nov 8, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0ZFlFG67kY

WSJ: "Can the New iPad Pro Be Your Only Computer?" (Nov 16, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMCyI-ymKfo
https://www.wsj.com/articles/apples-new-ipad-pro-great-tablet-still-cant-replace-your-laptop-1541415600

Ali Abdaal: "iPad vs Macbook for Students (2018) - Can a tablet replace your laptop?" (Oct 10, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIx2OQ6E6Mc

Washington Post: "Nope, Apple’s new iPad Pro still isn’t a laptop" (Nov 5, 2018)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/11/05/nope-apples-new-ipad-pro-still-isnt-laptop/

Canoopsy: "iPad Pro 2018 Review - My Student Perspective" (Nov 19, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4dgHuWBv14

Greg' Gadgets: "The iPad Pro (2018) CAN Replace Your Laptop!" (Nov 24, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3SyXd04Q1E

Apple World: "iPad Pro has REPLACED my MacBook (my experience)" (May 9, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEu9Zf6AENU

Dave Lee: "iPad Pro 2018 - SUPER Fast, But Why?" (Nov 11, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj6vXhN-g6k

Shahazad Bagwan: "A Week With iPad Pro // Yes It Replaced A Laptop!" (Oct 20, 2017)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhHwv9QsoP0

Apple's "Homework (Full Version)" iPad ad (Mar 27, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IprmiOa2zH8

The Verge: "Intel's future computers have two screens" (Oct 18, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deymf9CoY_M

"The Surface Book 2 is everything the MacBook Pro should be" (Jun 26, 208)
https://char.gd/blog/2018/the-surface-book-2-is-everything-the-macbook-pro-should-be-and-then-some

"Surface Go: the future PC that the iPad Pro failed to deliver" (Aug 27, 2018)
https://char.gd/blog/2018/surface-go-a-better-future-pc-than-the-ipad-pro

"Microsoft now has the best device lineup in the industry" (Oct 3, 2018)
https://char.gd/blog/2018/microsoft-has-the-best-device-lineup-in-the-industry ]
ipadpro  ipad  ios  computing  reneritchie  2018  computers  laptops  chromebooks  pixelslate  surfacego  microsoft  google  apple  android  microoftsurface  surface 
november 2018 by robertogreco
GitHub - Microsoft/ELL: Embedded Learning Library
"The Embedded Learning Library (ELL) allows you to build and deploy machine-learned pipelines onto embedded platforms, like Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, micro:bits, and other microcontrollers. The deployed machine learning model runs on the device, disconnected from the cloud. Our APIs can be used either from C++ or Python.

This project has been developed by a team of researchers at Microsoft Research. It's a work in progress, and we expect it to change rapidly, including breaking API changes. Despite this code churn, we welcome you to try it and give us feedback!

A good place to start is the tutorial, which allows you to do image recognition on a Raspberry Pi with a web cam, disconnected from the cloud. The software you deploy to the Pi will recognize a variety of common objects on camera and print a label for the recognized object on the Pi's screen."
machinelearning  embedded  arduino  ai  raspberrypi  microsoft  code  microcontrollers  via:clivethompson 
july 2017 by robertogreco
The Weird Thing About Today's Internet - The Atlantic
"O’Reilly’s lengthy description of the principles of Web 2.0 has become more fascinating through time. It seems to be describing a slightly parallel universe. “Hyperlinking is the foundation of the web,” O’Reilly wrote. “As users add new content, and new sites, it is bound into the structure of the web by other users discovering the content and linking to it. Much as synapses form in the brain, with associations becoming stronger through repetition or intensity, the web of connections grows organically as an output of the collective activity of all web users.”

Nowadays, (hyper)linking is an afterthought because most of the action occurs within platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and messaging apps, which all have carved space out of the open web. And the idea of “harnessing collective intelligence” simply feels much more interesting and productive than it does now. The great cathedrals of that time, nearly impossible projects like Wikipedia that worked and worked well, have all stagnated. And the portrait of humanity that most people see filtering through the mechanics of Facebook or Twitter does not exactly inspire confidence in our social co-productions.

Outside of the open-source server hardware and software worlds, we see centralization. And with that centralization, five giant platforms have emerged as the five most valuable companies in the world: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook."



"All this to say: These companies are now dominant. And they are dominant in a way that almost no other company has been in another industry. They are the mutant giant creatures created by software eating the world.

It is worth reflecting on the strange fact that the five most valuable companies in the world are headquartered on the Pacific coast between Cupertino and Seattle. Has there ever been a more powerful region in the global economy? Living in the Bay, having spent my teenage years in Washington state, I’ve grown used to this state of affairs, but how strange this must seem from from Rome or Accra or Manila.

Even for a local, there are things about the current domination of the technology industry that are startling. Take the San Francisco skyline. In 2007, the visual core of the city was north of Market Street, in the chunky buildings of the downtown financial district. The TransAmerica Pyramid was a regional icon and had been the tallest building in the city since construction was completed in 1972. Finance companies were housed there. Traditional industries and power still reigned. Until quite recently, San Francisco had primarily been a cultural reservoir for the technology industries in Silicon Valley to the south."

[See also:

"How the Internet has changed in the past 10 years"
http://kottke.org/17/05/how-the-internet-has-changed-in-the-past-10-years

"What no one saw back then, about a week after the release of the original iPhone, was how apps on smartphones would change everything. In a non-mobile world, these companies and services would still be formidable but if we were all still using laptops and desktops to access information instead of phones and tablets, I bet the open Web would have stood a better chance."

"‘The Internet Is Broken’: @ev Is Trying to Salvage It"
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/technology/evan-williams-medium-twitter-internet.html]

[Related:
"Tech’s Frightful Five: They’ve Got Us"
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/technology/techs-frightful-five-theyve-got-us.html

"Which Tech Giant Would You Drop?: The Big Five tech companies increasingly dominate our lives. Could you ditch them?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/10/technology/Ranking-Apple-Amazon-Facebook-Microsoft-Google.html

"Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are not just the largest technology companies in the world. As I’ve argued repeatedly in my column, they are also becoming the most powerful companies of any kind, essentially inescapable for any consumer or business that wants to participate in the modern world. But which of the Frightful Five is most unavoidable? I ponder the question in my column this week.

But what about you? If an evil monarch forced you to choose, in what order would you give up these inescapable giants of tech?"]
alexismadrigal  internet  2017  apple  facebook  google  amazon  microsoft  westcoast  bayarea  sanfrancisco  seattle  siliconvalley  twitter  salesforce  instagram  snapchat  timoreilly  2005  web  online  economics  centralization  2007  web2.0  whatsapp  evanwilliams  kottke  farhadmanjoo 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Cyborgology: What is The History of The Quantified Self a History of?
[from Part 1: https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2017/04/13/what-is-the-history-of-the-quantified-self-a-history-of-part-1/]

"In the past few months, I’ve posted about two works of long-form scholarship on the Quantified Self: Debora Lupton’s The Quantified Self and Gina Neff and Dawn Nufus’s Self-Tracking. Neff recently edited a volume of essays on QS (Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life, MIT 2016), but I’d like to take a not-so-brief break from reviewing books to address an issue that has been on my mind recently. Most texts that I read about the Quantified Self (be they traditional scholarship or more informal) refer to a meeting in 2007 at the house of Kevin Kelly for the official start to the QS movement. And while, yes, the name “Quantified Self” was coined by Kelly and his colleague Gary Wolf (the former founded Wired, the latter was an editor for the magazine), the practice of self-tracking obviously goes back much further than 10 years. Still, most historical references to the practice often point to Sanctorius of Padua, who, per an oft-cited study by consultant Melanie Swan, “studied energy expenditure in living systems by tracking his weight versus food intake and elimination for 30 years in the 16th century.” Neff and Nufus cite Benjamin Franklin’s practice of keeping a daily record of his time use. These anecdotal histories, however, don’t give us much in terms of understanding what a history of the Quantified Self is actually a history of.

Briefly, what I would like to prove over the course of a few posts is that at the heart of QS are statistics, anthropometrics, and psychometrics. I recognize that it’s not terribly controversial to suggest that these three technologies (I hesitate to call them “fields” here because of how widely they can be applied), all developed over the course of the nineteenth century, are critical to the way that QS works. Good thing, then, that there is a second half to my argument: as I touched upon briefly in my [shameless plug alert] Theorizing the Web talk last week, these three technologies were also critical to the proliferation of eugenics, that pseudoscientific attempt at strengthening the whole of the human race by breeding out or killing off those deemed deficient.

I don’t think it’s very hard to see an analogous relationship between QS and eugenics: both movements are predicated on anthropometrics and psychometrics, comparisons against norms, and the categorization and classification of human bodies as a result of the use of statistical technologies. But an analogy only gets us so far in seeking to build a history. I don’t think we can just jump from Francis Galton’s ramblings at the turn of one century to Kevin Kelly’s at the turn of the next. So what I’m going to attempt here is a sort of Foucauldian genealogy—from what was left of eugenics after its [rightful, though perhaps not as complete as one would hope] marginalization in the 1940s through to QS and the multi-billion dollar industry the movement has inspired.

I hope you’ll stick around for the full ride—it’s going to take a a number of weeks. For now, let’s start with a brief introduction to that bastion of Western exceptionalism: the eugenics movement."

[from Part 2: https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2017/04/20/what-is-the-history-of-the-quantified-self-a-history-of-part-2/

"Here we begin to see an awkward situation in our quest to draw a line from Galton and hard-line eugenics (we will differentiate between hardline and “reform” eugenics further on) to the quantified self movement. Behaviorism sits diametrically opposed to eugenics for a number of reasons. Firstly, it does not distinguish between human and animal beings—certainly a tenet to which Galton and his like would object, understanding that humans are the superior species and a hierarchy of greatness existing within that species as well. Secondly, behaviorism accepts that outside, environmental influences will change the psychology of a subject. In 1971, Skinner argued that “An experimental analysis shifts the determination of behavior from autonomous man to the environment—an environment responsible both for the evolution of the species and for the repertoire acquired by each member” (214). This stands in direct conflict with the eugenical ideal that physical and psychological makeup is determined by heredity. Indeed, the eugenicist Robert Yerkes, otherwise close with Watson, wholly rejected the behaviorist’s views (Hergenhahn 400). Tracing the quantified-self’s behaviorist and self-experimental roots, then, leaves us without a very strong connection to the ideologies driving eugenics. Still, using Pearson as a hint, there may be a better path to follow."]

[from Part 3: https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2017/04/27/what-is-the-history-of-the-quantified-self-a-history-of-part-3/

"The history of Galton and eugenics, then, can be traced into the history of personality tests. Once again, we come up against an awkward transition—this time from personality tests into the Quantified Self. Certainly, shades of Galtonian psychometrics show themselves to be present in QS technologies—that is, the treatment of statistical datasets for the purpose of correlation and prediction. Galton’s word association tests strongly influenced the MBTI, a test that, much like Quantified Self projects, seeks to help a subject make the right decisions in their life, though not through traditional Galtonian statistical tools. The MMPI and 16PFQ are for psychological evaluative purposes. And while some work has been done to suggest that “mental wellness” can be improved through self-tracking (see Kelley et al., Wolf 2009), much of the self-tracking ethos is based on factors that can be adjusted in order to see a correlative change in the subject (Wolf 2009). That is, by tracking my happiness on a daily basis against the amount of coffee I drink or the places I go, then I am acknowledging an environmental approach and declaring that my current psychological state is not set by my genealogy. A gap, then, between Galtonian personality tests and QS."]

[from Part 4 (Finale): https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2017/05/08/what-is-the-history-of-the-quantified-self-a-history-of-the-finale/

"What is the history of the quantified self a history of? One could point to technological advances in circuitry miniaturization or in big data collection and processing. The proprietary and patented nature of the majority of QS devices precludes certain types of inquiry into their invention and proliferation. But it is not difficult to identify one of QS’s most critical underlying tenets: self-tracking for the purpose of self-improvement through the identification of behavioral and environmental variables critical to one’s physical and psychological makeup. Recognizing the importance of this premise to QS allows us to trace back through the scientific fields which have strongly influenced the QS movement—from both a consumer and product standpoint. Doing so, however, reveals a seeming incommensurability between an otherwise analogous pair: QS and eugenics. A eugenical emphasis on heredity sits in direct conflict to a self-tracker’s belief that a focus on environmental factors could change one’s life for the better—even while both are predicated on statistical analysis, both purport to improve the human stock, and both, as argued by Dale Carrico, make assertions towards what is a “normal” human.

A more complicated relationship between the two is revealed upon attempting this genealogical connection. What I have outlined over the past few weeks is, I hope, only the beginning of such a project. I chose not to produce a rhetorical analysis of the visual and textual language of efficiency in both movements—from that utilized by the likes of Frederick Taylor and his eugenicist protégés, the Gilbreths, to what Christina Cogdell calls “Biological Efficiency and Streamline Design” in her work, Eugenic Design, and into a deep trove of rhetoric around efficiency utilized by market-available QS device marketers. Nor did I aim to produce an exhaustive bibliographic lineage. I did, however, seek to use the strong sense of self-experimentation in QS to work backwards towards the presence of behaviorism in early-twentieth century eugenical rhetoric. Then, moving in the opposite direction, I tracked the proliferation of Galtonian psychometrics into mid-century personality test development and eventually into the risk-management goals of the neoliberal surveillance state. I hope that what I have argued will lead to a more in-depth investigation into each step along this homological relationship. In the grander scheme, I see this project as part of a critical interrogation into the Quantified Self. By throwing into sharp relief the linkages between eugenics and QS, I seek to encourage resistance to fetishizing the latter’s technologies and their output, as well as the potential for meaningful change via those technologies."]
gabischaffzin  quantifiedself  2017  kevinkelly  garywolf  eugenics  anthropometrics  psychometrics  measurement  statistics  heredity  francisgalton  charlesdarwin  adolphequetelet  normal  psychology  pernilsroll-hansen  michelfoucault  majianadesan  self-regulation  marginalization  anthropology  technology  data  personality  henryfairfieldosborn  moralbehaviorism  behaviorism  williamepstein  mitchelldean  neoliberalism  containment  risk  riskassessment  freedom  rehabilitation  responsibility  obligation  dalecarrico  fredericktaylor  christinacogdell  surveillance  nikolasrose  myers-briggs  mbti  katherinebriggs  isabelbriggsmeyers  bellcurve  emilkraepelin  charlesspearman  rymondcattell  personalitytests  allenneuringer  microsoft  self-experimentation  gamification  deborahlupton  johnwatson  robertyerkes  ginaneff  dawnnufus  self-tracking  melanieswan  benjaminfranklin  recordkeeping  foucault 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Future Agency - The Verge
"“It's really easy to freak people out with science fiction. It's a heavy responsibility,” says Tellart co-founder Matt Cottam when I first meet him and Scappaticci at the company’s New York outpost, located in the corner of a Chelsea loft. He cites a maxim from the author and New School sociology instructor Barbara Adams: “Every act of future making is an act of future taking." Cottam continues, “While creating a high fidelity image of the future may broaden people's imagination for what's possible, it can also really narrow their perception of what's possible or what their options are.”"



"The agencies are paid to adapt unstable emerging technologies to marketing and branding efforts, and in the process normalize and commodify them for a mainstream audience. If you see facial recognition technology at the Museum of Future Government Services, for example, then you might not be so shocked when it actually shows up in airport security. The experiential fiction acclimatizes you to the future in advance."
sciencefiction  scifi  future  futurism  2017  kylechaykra  google  microsoft  googlecreativelab  microsoftresearch  tellart  museumofthefuture  design 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Your phone is becoming your favorite screen, even when you’re at home - Recode
"Everyone says mobile is the future of digital. But when they talk about mobile, lots of people still talk about it as something you take with you, on the go.

And that’s true! But mobile is also something you turn to when you’re at home and have plenty of other screens to turn to.

We’ve been tracking this for years. Way back in 2011, for instance, Vevo said that most of the mobile views for its music videos were actually happening in bedrooms and living rooms.

Here’s another data point: Sandvine, a broadband services company, says that 30 percent of internet data usage at home comes from phones and tablets.

[graph]

That’s up from 20 percent in 2013 and 9 percent in 2012. So you can see where this is going.

But the road to the future isn’t always a straight line. When you think of streaming, for instance, you probably aren’t thinking about Windows PCs. But you should!

Note, for instance, that in the chart Windows machines still account for more data usage than any other kind of device. Ah! You say. Maybe those Windows users are gaming, or spreadsheeting, or doing something else to gobble up all those gigabytes!

Yup! Could be! But also, they are streaming a lot of video. Here, for instance, is Sandvine’s breakdown of streaming machines during one day of NBC’s Olympics coverage this month:

[graph]

Surprising, no? Now, if Microsoft got itself into the phone business, it might really have something.

Oh. Right."
mobile  digital  media  smartphones  reading  howweread  microsoft  internet  web  online  2016 
september 2016 by robertogreco
a16z Podcast: The Meaning of Emoji 💚 🍴 🗿 – Andreessen Horowitz
"This podcast is all about emoji. But it’s really about how innovation really comes about — through the tension between standards vs. proprietary moves; the politics of time and place; and the economics of creativity, from making to funding … Beginning with a project on Kickstarter to crowd-translate Moby Dick entirely into emoji to getting dumplings into emoji form and ending with the Library of Congress and an “emoji-con”. So joining us for this conversation are former VP of Data at Kickstarter Fred Benenson (and the 👨 behind ‘Emoji Dick’) and former New York Times reporter and current Unicode emoji subcommittee member Jennifer 8. Lee (one of the 👩 behind the dumpling emoji).

So yes, this podcast is all about emoji. But it’s also about where emoji fits in the taxonomy of social communication — from emoticons to stickers — and why this matters, from making emotions machine-readable to being able to add “limbic” visual expression to our world of text. If emoji is a (very limited) language, what tradeoffs do we make for fewer degrees of freedom and greater ambiguity? How exactly does one then translate emoji (let alone translate something into emoji)? How do emoji work, both technically underneath the hood and in the (committee meeting) room where it happens? And finally, what happens as emoji becomes a means of personalized expression?

This a16z Podcast is all about emoji. We only wish it could be in emoji!"
emoji  open  openstandards  proprietarystandards  communication  translation  fredbenenson  jennifer8.lee  sonalchokshi  emopjidick  mobydick  unicode  apple  google  microsoft  android  twitter  meaning  standardization  technology  ambiguity  emoticons  text  reading  images  symbols  accessibility  selfies  stickers  chat  messaging  universality  uncannyvalley  snapchat  facebook  identity  race  moby-dick 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The Color Gradient Reader BeeLine Shows Promise for Speed and Attention in Reading - The Atlantic
"In the era of attention deficits, the new text will not be black and white."



"The colors in this text are rendered in a precise and strategic way, designed to help people read quickly and accurately.

The most important feature is that each line begins with a different color than the line above or below. As Matthew Schneps, director of the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, explained it to me, the color gradients also pull our eyes long from one character to the next—and then from the end of one line to the beginning of the next, minimizing any chance of skipping lines or making anything less than an optimally efficient word-to-word or line-to-line transition.

Improving the ease and accuracy of the return sweep is a promising idea for readers of all skill levels. And yet it’s one that’s gone largely ignored in the milieu of media technologies. Today many of us read primarily on screens–and we have for years–yet most platforms have focused on using technology to attempt to recreate text as it appears in books (or in newspapers or magazines), instead of trying to create an optimal reading experience.

The format—black text on white lines of 12 to 15 words of equal size—is a relic of the way that books were most easily printed on early printing presses. It persists today out of tradition, not because of some innate tendency of the human brain to process information in this way.

Meanwhile, people who aren’t especially skilled at intake of text in the traditional format are systematically penalized. People who don’t read well in this one particular way tend to fall behind scholastically early in life. They might be told they’re not as bright as other people, or at least come to assume it. They might even be diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, or a learning disability, or overlooked as academically mediocre.

“The book format was effective, but not for everyone,” said Schneps. “This is not just technology that could help people who are struggling with reading; this is technology that could help a lot of people.”

* * *

Our minds are not as uniform as our text. We all take in information in different ways. Some people read more quickly and retain more information when lines are shorter, or when fonts are bolder, or in different colors. The color-gradient pattern above is rendered by a product called BeeLine, developed by armchair linguist Nick Lum. He got the idea after learning about the Stroop Effect, the famous phenomenon where it becomes difficult to read words like “yellow” and “red” when they are written in different colors. Lum thought, “What if instead of screwing people up, we tried to use color in a way that helps people?”

After he won the Stanford Social Entrepreneurship and Dell Education startup competitions with the idea in 2014, Lum took to developing the technology full time. So far, the response from people tends to be binary: for some it’s a shrug, but for others, particularly people with dyslexias, it’s like turning on a light bulb. As Lum describes it, people tell him “Holy cow, this is how everybody else reads.”

The idea has been well received by reading experts, too.

“Most of the academic research is figuring out entirely what your eyes are going to do on one line,” said psychologist and Microsoft researcher Kevin Larson. “That has been such a challenge that it's rare for anyone to pay much attention to what happens during that line return movement.”

At the University of Texas at Austin, Randolph Bias has studied the optimal length of lines of text for reading comprehension and speed. The two are generally at odds: Short lines make for a quick and accurate return (the movement is easier because it allows our eyes to take a greater downward angle than if the line were longer.) The downside is that because our brains process information during return sweeps, shorter lines don't afford us that time. We also don’t get to take full advantage of peripheral vision – which is key. (He cites this as the problem with Spritz, the reading technology where single words rapidly flash before a reader.)"



"The other big opportunity for the technology is in educational settings. Later this year, BeeLine will be rolling out in libraries across California, as part of a licensing partnership. This is how Lum sees the company growing. The basic Google Chrome extension and iPhone app are free. But large-scale licensing deals with platforms and institutions like school systems could be more lucrative—and make the option accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise think to try reading in color.

In early experiments, some students do seem to benefit from the color gradients. Last year, first-grade students in two general-education classrooms in San Bernardino, California, tried out Beeline, and many did better with comprehension tests afterword. “Because of my background in visual processing, I immediately wanted to check it out,” said Michael Dominguez, an applied behavioral analyst who directs the San Bernardino school district’s special education program. “Based on everything I know, it should work great.”"

[See also (referenced in the article):
http://www.beelinereader.com/
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/ie/2014/03/04/introducing-reading-view-in-ie-11/ ]
howweread  reading  dyslexia  education  cyborgs  adhd  color  text  jameshamblin  kevinlarson  via:ayjay  michaeldominguez  beeline  chrome  browser  browsers  extensions  accessibility  assistivetechnology  microsoft  attention  technology  edtech  nicklum  linguistics  randolphbias  spritz  ereading  kindle  pdfs  epub  pdf 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Bot Power List 2016 — How We Get To Next
"Science fiction is full of bots that hurt people. HAL 9000 kills one astronaut and tries to kill another in 2001: A Space Odyssey; Ava in Ex Machina expertly manipulates the humans she meets to try and escape her cell; the T-800 is known as The Terminator for obvious reasons.

Even more common, though, are those bots clever and sentient enough to have real personality but undone through their naïveté — from Johnny Five in Short Circuit to the robotic cop in RoboCop, sci-fi is great at examining the dangers of greater intelligence when it’s open to manipulation or lacking concrete moral direction. A smarter bot, a more powerful bot, is also a bot that has more power to do evil things, and in the process expose human hubris.

These are all fictional examples, of course, but since we’re starting to see the tech industry shift its focus toward conversational bots as the future of, well, everything, maybe it offers us a useful way to define the power that a bot has. In this case, we’ll say that a bot is powerful if it could do powerfully evil things if it wanted to.

We’ve asked a number of experts to suggest what they think are the most powerful bots around today, in what is still an early stage for the industry. Together, those suggestions make up our first-ever Bot Power List."
bots  2016  googlenow  alexa  siri  ai  xiaoic  wordsmith  watson  hellobarbie  jillwatson  viv  cortana  amazon  apple  google  microsoft  facebook  eliza  luvo  lark  quartznwws  hala  cyberlover  murdock  bendixon  brucewilcox  neomy  deepdrumpf  rbs  josephweizenbaum  irenechang  ibm  mattel 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Inclusive on Vimeo
"Learn how human-led design makes a deep and connecting impact, leading to innovative and inclusive solutions.

Learn more at inclusivethefilm.com

Participants:
Catharine Blaine K-8 School
Susan Goltsman - MIG, Inc
Will Lewis and Ted Hart - Skype Translator
TJ Parker - Pillpack
Graham Pullin - University of Dundee
The High School Affiliated to Renmin University Of China (RDFZ) Beijing
Jutta Treviranus - OCAD University
Mike Vanis - Interaction Designer"
inclusion  inclusivity  microsoft  via:ablerism  2015  design  catharineblaine  susangoltsman  willlewis  tedhart  tjparker  grahampullin  juttatreviranus  mikevanis  video  documentary  audiencesofone  sewing  aging  retirement  work  ambientintimacy  memory  nostalgia  presence  telepresence  inclusivedesign  technology  translation  healthcare  prescriptions  playgrounds  seattle  sanfrancisco  captioning  literacy  communication  hearing  deaf  deafness  skype 
june 2016 by robertogreco
The Minecraft Generation - The New York Times
"Seth Frey, a postdoctoral fellow in computational social science at Dartmouth College, has studied the behavior of thousands of youths on Minecraft servers, and he argues that their interactions are, essentially, teaching civic literacy. “You’ve got these kids, and they’re creating these worlds, and they think they’re just playing a game, but they have to solve some of the hardest problems facing humanity,” Frey says. “They have to solve the tragedy of the commons.” What’s more, they’re often anonymous teenagers who, studies suggest, are almost 90 percent male (online play attracts far fewer girls and women than single-­player mode). That makes them “what I like to think of as possibly the worst human beings around,” Frey adds, only half-­jokingly. “So this shouldn’t work. And the fact that this works is astonishing.”

Frey is an admirer of Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Prize-­winning political economist who analyzed the often-­unexpected ways that everyday people govern themselves and manage resources. He sees a reflection of her work in Minecraft: Running a server becomes a crash course in how to compromise, balance one another’s demands and resolve conflict.

Three years ago, the public library in Darien, Conn., decided to host its own Minecraft server. To play, kids must acquire a library card. More than 900 kids have signed up, according to John Blyberg, the library’s assistant director for innovation and user experience. “The kids are really a community,” he told me. To prevent conflict, the library installed plug-ins that give players a chunk of land in the game that only they can access, unless they explicitly allow someone else to do so. Even so, conflict arises. “I’ll get a call saying, ‘This is Dasher80, and someone has come in and destroyed my house,’ ” Blyberg says. Sometimes library administrators will step in to adjudicate the dispute. But this is increasingly rare, Blyberg says. “Generally, the self-­governing takes over. I’ll log in, and there’ll be 10 or 15 messages, and it’ll start with, ‘So-and-so stole this,’ and each message is more of this,” he says. “And at the end, it’ll be: ‘It’s O.K., we worked it out! Disregard this message!’ ”

Several parents and academics I interviewed think Minecraft servers offer children a crucial “third place” to mature, where they can gather together outside the scrutiny and authority at home and school. Kids have been using social networks like Instagram or Snapchat as a digital third place for some time, but Minecraft imposes different social demands, because kids have to figure out how to respect one another’s virtual space and how to collaborate on real projects.

“We’re increasingly constraining youth’s ability to move through the world around them,” says Barry Joseph, the associate director for digital learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Joseph is in his 40s. When he was young, he and his friends roamed the neighborhood unattended, where they learned to manage themselves socially. Today’s fearful parents often restrict their children’s wanderings, Joseph notes (himself included, he adds). Minecraft serves as a new free-­ranging realm.

Joseph’s son, Akiva, is 9, and before and after school he and his school friend Eliana will meet on a Minecraft server to talk and play. His son, Joseph says, is “at home but still getting to be with a friend using technology, going to a place where they get to use pickaxes and they get to use shovels and they get to do that kind of building. I wonder how much Minecraft is meeting that need — that need that all children have.” In some respects, Minecraft can be as much social network as game.

Just as Minecraft propels kids to master Photoshop or video-­editing, server life often requires kids to acquire complex technical skills. One 13-year-old girl I interviewed, Lea, was a regular on a server called Total Freedom but became annoyed that its administrators weren’t clamping down on griefing. So she asked if she could become an administrator, and the owners said yes.

For a few months, Lea worked as a kind of cop on that beat. A software tool called “command spy” let her observe records of what players had done in the game; she teleported miscreants to a sort of virtual “time out” zone. She was eventually promoted to the next rank — “telnet admin,” which allowed her to log directly into the server via telnet, a command-­line tool often used by professionals to manage servers. Being deeply involved in the social world of Minecraft turned Lea into something rather like a professional systems administrator. “I’m supposed to take charge of anybody who’s breaking the rules,” she told me at the time.

Not everyone has found the online world of Minecraft so hospitable. One afternoon while visiting the offices of Mouse, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that runs high-tech programs for kids, I spoke with Tori. She’s a quiet, dry-­witted 17-year-old who has been playing Minecraft for two years, mostly in single-­player mode; a recent castle-­building competition with her younger sister prompted some bickering after Tori won. But when she decided to try an online server one day, other players — after discovering she was a girl — spelled out “BITCH” in blocks.

She hasn’t gone back. A group of friends sitting with her in the Mouse offices, all boys, shook their heads in sympathy; they’ve seen this behavior “everywhere,” one said. I have been unable to find solid statistics on how frequently harassment happens in Minecraft. In the broader world of online games, though, there is more evidence: An academic study of online players of Halo, a shoot-’em-up game, found that women were harassed twice as often as men, and in an unscientific poll of 874 self-­described online gamers, 63 percent of women reported “sex-­based taunting, harassment or threats.” Parents are sometimes more fretful than the players; a few told me they didn’t let their daughters play online. Not all girls experience harassment in Minecraft, of course — Lea, for one, told me it has never happened to her — and it is easy to play online without disclosing your gender, age or name. In-game avatars can even be animals.

How long will Minecraft’s popularity endure? It depends very much on Microsoft’s stewardship of the game. Company executives have thus far kept a reasonably light hand on the game; they have left major decisions about the game’s development to Mojang and let the team remain in Sweden. But you can imagine how the game’s rich grass-roots culture might fray. Microsoft could, for example, try to broaden the game’s appeal by making it more user-­friendly — which might attenuate its rich tradition of information-­sharing among fans, who enjoy the opacity and mystery. Or a future update could tilt the game in a direction kids don’t like. (The introduction of a new style of combat this spring led to lively debate on forums — some enjoyed the new layer of strategy; others thought it made Minecraft too much like a typical hack-and-slash game.) Or an altogether new game could emerge, out-­Minecrafting Minecraft.

But for now, its grip is strong. And some are trying to strengthen it further by making it more accessible to lower-­income children. Mimi Ito has found that the kids who acquire real-world skills from the game — learning logic, administering servers, making YouTube channels — tend to be upper middle class. Their parents and after-­school programs help them shift from playing with virtual blocks to, say, writing code. So educators have begun trying to do something similar, bringing Minecraft into the classroom to create lessons on everything from math to history. Many libraries are installing Minecraft on their computers."
2016  clivethompson  education  videogames  games  minecraft  digitalculture  gaming  mimiito  robinsloan  coding  computationalthinking  stem  programming  commandline  ianbogost  walterbenjamin  children  learning  resilience  colinfanning  toys  lego  wood  friedrichfroebel  johnlocke  rebeccamir  mariamontessori  montessori  carltheodorsorensen  guilds  mentoring  mentorship  sloyd  denmark  construction  building  woodcrafting  woodcraft  adventureplaygrounds  material  logic  basic  mojang  microsoft  markuspersson  notch  modding  photoshop  texturepacks  elinorostrom  collaboration  sethfrey  civics  youtube  networkedlearning  digitalliteracy  hacking  computers  screentime  creativity  howwelearn  computing  froebel 
april 2016 by robertogreco
The Problem With Flat Design, According To A UX Expert | Co.Design | business + design
"Paying attention to the older users—the ones who don't "like" flat design—might help to solve flat design's usability issues sooner. This insight echoes the ideas of other technology companies moving toward "inclusive design," or the notion that by designing for ignored or underserved users—including the elderly or disabled—products will become better for all. Inclusive design has quietly spurred some of the biggest technological leaps of our time: Cliff Kuang, writing about the evolution of this approach, recently pointed out that the typewriter, email, and even the telephone evolved out of designs for the blind and deaf.

Now, the same idea is being embraced at larger companies including Microsoft and Ford, leading a new wave of inclusive design in technology. Interface design, which is so deeply connected to competition between major operating systems and fashion in general, has been slower to adapt. Yet Meyer's research, along with products Learn To Quit—an app designed alongside psychologists specifically for mentally ill users—show that the same ideas are making their way into UI.

What's more, the scientific process is finally being leveraged by designers to differentiate between what users "like" and what they actually use. The difference, it turns out, is larger than you'd think."
design  flatdesign  ui  ux  microsoft  katemeyer  2016 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Microsoft's Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking | Co.Design | business + design
"De los Reyes wasn’t proposing that Microsoft become a sidewalk company. He was proposing a metaphor. He was hoping to find the digital world’s equivalent of the curb cut, something elegant that let everyone live a little easier. At a meeting of Shum’s top deputies, de los Reyes mooted this idea of making Microsoft’s design accessible to all. On its face, this idea flattered Microsoft’s culture. Remember how Windows famously let you adjust the setting on almost anything you wanted, while Apple didn’t? That wasn’t an accident, but rather the perfect expression of Microsoft’s abiding belief, descended from the great garage-hacker Bill Gates, that users should be able to adjust everything they touched as they saw fit. So for Microsofties, it was only natural to think that users, including the disabled, should have as many settings as they wanted. But de los Reyes was after something more ambitious. Kat Holmes, there at the meeting with Shum, supplied another puzzle piece."



"One of Holmes’ first insights was that she didn’t have to figure out all these problems on her own. Other people already had. After all, real personal assistants think every day about getting their clients to trust them, providing the right information at the right time, being helpful before you’ve been asked. So Holmes sought them out. She found real personal assistants who’d served demanding clients ranging from celebrities to billionaires. By studying how they delicately cultivated trust, Holmes was able to recommend a series of behaviors for Cortana. The best personal assistants have logs about client preferences, but they’re also transparent about why they’re recommending certain things. Thus, Cortana, unlike Siri or Google Now, has a log of all the preference data that it has extrapolated about you, which users can edit. Cortana also behaves like a human would, though she doesn’t quite have a personality: Instead of simply giving you a flippant joke when befuddled by a question, like Siri does, Cortana admits to what she does and doesn’t know. She asks you to teach her, just like a trustworthy personal assistant would.

The point wasn’t simply to copy what those personal assistants did, it was to figure out why they were doing what they did. Instead of tackling a thorny problem head on, Holmes had found an analogue to give structure to what she was doing, to provide a framework for the endeavor.

And then Holmes saw the movie Her, a visionary sci-fi film in which a love-lorn everyman played by Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with a digital assistant voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Holmes wangled her way into a connection with the movie’s production designer, K.K. Barrett, and asked him how he’d come up with such a credible-looking vision of the future—one which, in fact, she’d been working on even as the movie was being shot. Barrett answered with a curveball: He said that to make the technology look futuristic, he’d taken everything out that was technology. His approach was to simply let the director Spike Jonze focus only on what was human. All at once, Holmes saw it: She figured that in trying to understand how computers should interact with humans, the best guide was how humans interacted with humans."



"De los Reyes and Holmes, with the help of design experts including Allen Sayegh at Harvard and Jutta Treviranus at the Ontario College of Art and Design, eventually hit upon a vein of design thinking descended from Pat Moore, and universal design. Dubbed inclusive design, it begins with studying overlooked communities, ranging from dyslexics to the deaf. By learning about how they adapt to their world, the hope is that you can actually build better new products for everyone else.

What’s more, by finding more analogues between tribes of people outside the mainstream and situations that we’ve all found ourselves in, you can come up with all kinds of new products. The big idea is that in order to build machines that adapt to humans better, there needs to be a more robust process for watching how humans adapt to each other, and to their world. "The point isn’t to solve for a problem," such as typing when you’re blind, said Holmes. "We're flipping it." They are finding the expertise and ingenuity that arises naturally, when people are forced to live a life differently from most."



"As promising as these smaller projects might be, Holmes and de los Reyes believe there is a bigger opportunity. Today, we are drowning in interactions with smartphones and devices, such as our cars and homes—all of which suddenly want to talk to our phones as well. We live in a world of countless transitions. Instead of one device, there is actually an infinite number of hands-off between devices. There needs to be a new kind of design process to manage those seams. "The assumptions about computing are that our devices are one-on-one with visual interactions," Holmes points out. "The design discipline is built around those assumptions. They assume that we’re one person all the time."

Holmes believes that inclusive design, by bringing a diverse set of users into a design process that typically strips away differences and abstracts them into what seems user-friendly to the maximum number of people, can actually help with the fact that our capabilities change throughout the day. We don’t simply have a persona, fixed in time and plastered on a storyboard, like most design processes would have it. We have a persona spectrum. When you’re a parent with a sprained wrist, or you’re reaching for your phone while holding your groceries, you share a world, albeit briefly, with someone who has only ever been able to use one hand. "There is no such thing as a normal human," Holmes says. "Our capabilities are always changing."

The hope is that in seeking out new people to include in the design process, we can smooth away the gaps that bedevil our digital lives. Which brings to mind Pellegrino Turri and his typewriter, Alexander Graham Bell with his telephone, and Vint Cerf and email—these were inventors who all started with the disabled in mind but eventually helped everyone else. The difference is that while each of those inventors stumbled upon an analogue that helped them invent something that everyone else could use, Microsoft is starting with the analogues. They're seeking out the disabled and the different, confident that they've already invented exactly the solutions that the rest of us need.

For de los Reyes, the promise of this new design process isn't in just a better Microsoft: "If we're successful, we're going to change the way products are designed across the industry. Period. That's my vision.""
disability  microsoft  design  conversationalui  accessibility  2016  augustdelosreyes  cortana  siri  googlenow  katholmes  ux  ui  interface  juttatreviranus  allensayegh  julielarson-green  albertshum  stayanadella  normal  inclusivedesign  incluive  inclusivity  disabilities 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Why Do I Have to Call This App ‘Julie’? - The New York Times
"Technologies speak with recorded feminine voices because women “weren’t normally there to be heard,” Helen Hester, a media studies lecturer at Middlesex University, told me. A woman’s voice stood out. For example, an automated recording of a woman’s voice used in cockpit navigation becomes a beacon, a voice in stark contrast with that of everyone else, when all the pilots on board are men.

Ms. Hester lives in London, where the spectral sound of robotic women is piping from nearly every corner. Enter the Underground and you hear a disembodied woman announcing “the next station is Mornington Crescent” and the train’s signature canned message, “please mind the gap between the train and the platform.”

A similar voice — emotionless, timeless, with an accent difficult to place — emits from clocks and traffic lights, and inside elevators and supermarkets. The “coldness, the forthrightness of the voice” is what Ms. Hester finds striking. What human speaks with such emotionless authority? And, as Ms. Hester points out: “It’s not real authority. There’s a maternal edge to all of it. It is personal guidance rather than definite directions.”

And, she says, these voices can even play into people’s expectations of male authority because they aren’t actual women. People hear a woman’s voice, realize it is robotic, and “imagine a male programmer” did the actual work.

No one seems to market tech products in the image of the most famous virtual assistant in film history. Hal from “2001: A Space Odyssey” was so brilliant and manly that it attempted to kill off the crew of the spacecraft it was built to manage. Instead, people build what I call “Stepford apps.” These are the Internet’s answer to those old sci-fi robots in dresses mopping floors with manufactured enthusiasm."
ai  artificialintelligence  gender  joannemcneil  voices  siri  cortana  alexa  2015  sexism  apple  amazon  microsoft 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Goodbye privacy, hello Alexa: here's to Amazon echo, the home robot who hears it all | Technology | The Guardian
"We had Rory Carroll invite ‘Alexa’ aka the Echo into his home. There was helpful cooking assistance, endless facts and figures, an amusing misunderstanding – and concerns over what exactly Amazon does with all that interaction data"



"People who think about technology for a living have a wide range of views on Alexa. “With Amazon Echo, it was love at first sight,” wrote Re/code’s Joe Brown. “The allure of Alexa is her companionship. She’s like a genie in a sci-fi-looking bottle – one not quite at the peak of her powers, and with a tiny bit of an attitude.”

In an interview Ronald Arkin, a robot ethicist and director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, was more phlegmatic. Technology advances bring benefits and drawbacks – you can’t stop the tide but can choose whether to stay out, paddle or plunge in, he said.

“Amazon and Google have all sorts of data about our preferences. You don’t have to use their products. If you do, you’re saying OK, I’m willing to allow this potential violation of my privacy. No one is forcing this on anyone. It’s not mandated à la 1984.”

It is up to us if artificial intelligence technology makes us smarter or dumber, more industrious or lazy, says Arkin. “It is changing us, the way we operate. The question is, how much control do you want to relinquish?”

The Echo, says Arkin, is a well-engineered advance in voice recognition. “What’s interesting is it’s another step into turning our homes into robots.” The prospect does not alarm him. “You see this in sci-fi: Star Trek, Knight Rider. It’s the natural progression.”

Ellen Ullman, a writer and computer programmer in San Francisco, sounded much more worried. The more the internet penetrates your home, car or body, the greater the danger, she said. “The boundary between the outside world and the self is penetrated. And the boundary between your home and the outside world is penetrated.”

Ullman thinks people are mad to use email supplied by big corporations – “on the internet there is no place to hide and everything can be hacked” – and even madder to embrace something like Alexa.

Such devices exist to supply data to corporate masters: “It’s going to give you services, and whatever services you get will become data. It’s sucked up. It’s a huge new profession, data science. Machine learning. It seems benign. But if you add it all up to what they know about you ... they know what you eat.”

Ullman, the author of Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents, is no luddite. She writes code. But, she warned, every time we become attached to a device our sense of our lives is changed. “With every advance you have to look over your shoulder and know what you’re giving up – look over your shoulder and look at what falls away.”

Ullman’s warning sounds prescient. Yet I’m not rushing to banish Alexa. She still perches in my living room, perhaps counting down the days until her Guardian media embed ends and she can return to Seattle.

She turns my musings and requests into data and uploads them to the cloud, possibly into the maw of Amazon algorithms. But she’s useful. And I am weak.

I bow to the god of convenience. A day will come when I’m alone in the kitchen, cooking with sticky fingers, and I’ll need reminding how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon."
amazon  alexa  echo  privacy  data  technology  cortana  microsoft  2015  amazonecho  ethics  surveillance  technophilia  internet  ellenullman 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Microsoft Hackathon 2015 winner extends OneNote to improve learning outcomes for students | News Center
"Education is a must-have ingredient for success. And to succeed in education, reading and writing is essential. The challenges that come with language barriers and learning disabilities such as dyslexia are vast and varied, but luckily technology is able to help many students overcome literacy obstacles.

One solution is coming from a team at Microsoft that spans collaboration between Windows, OneNote, Bing and Microsoft Research: the OneNote for Learning extension. The team and their project emerged victorious over more than 3,300 other projects and 13,000 other hackers around the world competing in the company’s second annual //oneweek Hackathon during the last week of July.

Sebastian Greaves, a Vancouver-based OneNote developer, thinks of the extension as a toolbox with many small tools that can solve big problems. It has special text formatting tools that can make reading, writing and note-taking easier. Features include enhanced dictation powered by Bing speech recognition services, immersive reading that uses Windows services of simultaneous audio text playback with highlighting, and natural language processing that relies on Microsoft Research.

“One of the key things we wanted to achieve is to make sure no student ever got behind in their education because of difficulties with reading,” says Greaves, who drove down to Redmond, Washington, with others from his office to work side-by-side with the entire team during Hackathon. “We wanted to make sure that was as little a barrier as possible, so they can focus on what they’re learning.”

More than a dozen of Greaves’ teammates worked together for more than eight weeks to create the free OneNote extension, which will debut this fall in several schools in the U.S. and France.

“One of the great things about this project was that we utilized loads of different services,” Greaves says. “It meant that we could do so much more than we could’ve done if we had to write it all from scratch.”

By connecting with so many existing technologies across Microsoft, the team was able to do a lot in a short period of time. Every team member made key contributions to push the project forward, says Jeff Petty, the accessibility lead for Windows for Education and the program manager who led the grand prize-winning team.

“It takes a tremendous amount of work to envision it, pull it together and then deliver it in such a way where it just makes sense for people,” says Petty. “I don’t think we could have done something as powerful without having real breadth and depth on the team.”

Petty was interested in finding opportunities to deliver better learning outcomes for students and teachers. He focused on dyslexia, which affects as much as 20 percent of the population. He connected with a team in OneNote that was working on solving problems for dyslexic readers, such as visual crowding. That team found ways to put more space between letters, which makes words more readable.

That team had won an internal OneNote hackathon in the spring for that idea, led by Valentin Dobre, a software engineer, and Greaves.

Petty recognized this was a great start, but soon he and the expanding team also realized they could do more to pull together a more wide-reaching solution for students.

“When you address challenges with reading and writing, the benefits extend far beyond the original audience you had in mind,” says Petty. “By solving a problem for one audience, we’re actually going to make life easier for many more people.”

In his work with Windows, they were able to take advantage of the immersive reading function, with the ability to highlight text and have it read aloud, which increases reading comprehension. The next big connection was finding font and reading experts in Windows research.

“They helped us gel,” Petty says. “They backed up our solutions with science. Nothing that we built came from what we just thought was a good idea. It’s all based on prior research. These are proven interventions for students with dyslexia and also techniques that create a better reader for everybody.”

The researchers provided additional ideas for improving the team’s tool chest, like breaking words down into syllables to improve word recognition, and reading comprehension mode, which highlights different parts of speech like verbs and subordinate clauses.

Mira Shah was the team’s user research expert and formerly a speech pathologist. She gave them a real-world perspective with her experience in schools and seeing firsthand what worked and what didn’t.

Petty served as the glue to the team, bringing a broad perspective to reading and writing, and kept them on track with guiding principles, such as developing something backed by science, and keeping everyone focused on delivering something that would make a difference in people’s lives – something they could all be proud of, regardless of the outcome.

“I think we can make reading and writing better for everybody,” Petty says. “And if we really focus on people with disabilities, and we understand what works for them, we can bring those designs and solutions to our products that benefit everyone.”

Once the team came together, they shared a common drive to finish what they started.

“At no point did we think we were not going to ship,” Petty says. “OneNote was not interested in doing this as an experiment. Hackathon forced us to create a prototype they could polish to take it to schools in the fall.”

During the three very intense days of the //oneweek Hackathon, everyone on the team met each other for the first time, working practically nonstop under the Redmond tents that housed 3,000 people during the working sessions. Having the Vancouver-based OneNote development members – Greaves, Dominik Messinger and Pelle Nielsen – join the rest of the team was critical to their success.

“We could not have done it without them being there,” Petty says. “It was a completely different way of working, to get rapid feedback and iterate and iterate and iterate. We’d give them protected blocks of time where they got no additional feedback. Then we’d come back together for joint review. We were doing iterations while they were coding, then we had to decide to either refine functionality or bring new features. There is no way we could have made the same progress had we not all been there.”

At the Hackathon, the team also met the mother of a daughter who has severe dyslexia, working with another team. She believed what the OneNote for Learning team was doing was going to make a difference, and her reaction gave them even more confidence they were on the right track.

And for developer and team member Dominik Messinger, whose native language isn’t English, the project provided him with better tools to improve his own language skills, such as dividing words into semantic units for better comprehension – and pronunciation.

“I caught myself reading out some notes for OneNote documentation, and just listening to it, discovered some words I’ve totally pronounced wrong. Text to speech is pretty useful,” Messinger jokes. “Also, having short term goals and having all this energy, coding really fast and collaborating really, really fast – that was quite an experience. We can be proud of what we achieved in so few days.”

For the whole team, the Hackathon exemplified the best things about being able to tap into the entire company for resources.

“I think there’s a lot of strength in working across orgs and teams, and getting to work with people we might otherwise not get to work with, such as the accessibility team,” Nielsen says. “Learning how important it is to choose the right color scheme or font was eye opening.”

While everyone brought their own strengths to the project, its ultimate purpose served as a north star that maintained the team’s focus.

“We wanted to make sure this was a non-stigmatizing feature. This is something anybody could use. Someone using the extension wouldn’t raise a big red flag that they’ve got a disability,” Nielsen says. “For me, the most important thing was recognizing the value of our goal. It doesn’t matter how cool the tech is if it doesn’t help anyone. That’s what is so compelling about this project. We’re making learning easier for every single student.”"
microsoft  onenote  reading  howweread  immersivereadin  dyslexia  2015  education  literacy  readability  mirashah  assistivetechnology 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Web Design - The First 100 Years
"Today I hope to persuade you that the same thing that happened to aviation is happening with the Internet. Here we are, fifty years into the computer revolution, at what feels like our moment of greatest progress. The outlines of the future are clear, and oh boy is it futuristic.

But we're running into physical and economic barriers that aren't worth crossing.

We're starting to see that putting everything online has real and troubling social costs.

And the devices we use are becoming 'good enough', to the point where we can focus on making them cheaper, more efficient, and accessible to everyone.

So despite appearances, despite the feeling that things are accelerating and changing faster than ever, I want to make the shocking prediction that the Internet of 2060 is going to look recognizably the same as the Internet today.

Unless we screw it up.

And I want to convince you that this is the best possible news for you as designers, and for us as people."



"So while Moore's Law still technically holds—the number of transistors on a chip keeps increasing—its spirit is broken. Computers don't necessarily get faster with time. In fact, they're getting slower!

This is because we're moving from desktops to laptops, and from laptops to smartphones. Some people are threatening to move us to wristwatches.
In terms of capability, these devices are a step into the past. Compared to their desktop brethren, they have limited memory, weak processors, and barely adequate storage.

And nobody cares, because the advantages of having a portable, lightweight connected device are so great. And for the purposes of taking pictures, making calls, and surfing the internet, they've crossed the threshold of 'good enough'.

What people want from computers now is better displays, better battery life and above all, a better Internet connection.

Something similar happened with storage, where the growth rate was even faster than Moore's Law. I remember the state-of-the-art 1MB hard drive in our computer room in high school. It cost a thousand dollars.
Here's a photo of a multi-megabyte hard drive from the seventies. I like to think that the guy in the picture didn't have to put on the bunny suit, it was just what he liked to wear.

Modern hard drives are a hundred times smaller, with a hundred times the capacity, and they cost a pittance. Seagate recently released an 8TB consumer hard drive.

But again, we've chosen to go backwards by moving to solid state storage, like you find in smartphones and newer laptops. Flash storage sacrifices capacity for speed, efficiency and durability.

Or else we put our data in 'the cloud', which has vast capacity but is orders of magnitude slower.

These are the victories of good enough. This stuff is fast enough.

Intel could probably build a 20 GHz processor, just like Boeing can make a Mach 3 airliner. But they won't. There's a corrollary to Moore's law, that every time you double the number of transistors, your production costs go up. Every two years, Intel has to build a completely new factory and production line for this stuff. And the industry is turning away from super high performance, because most people don't need it.

The hardware is still improving, but it's improving along other dimensions, ones where we are already up against hard physical limits and can't use the trick of miniaturization that won us all that exponential growth.

Battery life, for example. The limits on energy density are much more severe than on processor speed. And it's really hard to make progress. So far our advances have come from making processors more efficient, not from any breakthrough in battery chemistry.

Another limit that doesn't grow exponentially is our ability to move information. There's no point in having an 8 TB hard drive if you're trying to fill it over an AT&T network. Data constraints hit us on multiple levels. There are limits on how fast cores can talk to memory, how fast the computer can talk to its peripherals, and above all how quickly computers can talk to the Internet. We can store incredible amounts of information, but we can't really move it around.

So the world of the near future is one of power constrained devices in a bandwidth-constrained environment. It's very different from the recent past, where hardware performance went up like clockwork, with more storage and faster CPUs every year.

And as designers, you should be jumping up and down with relief, because hard constraints are the midwife to good design. The past couple of decades have left us with what I call an exponential hangover.

Our industry is in complete denial that the exponential sleigh ride is over. Please, we'll do anything! Optical computing, quantum computers, whatever it takes. We'll switch from silicon to whatever you want. Just don't take our toys away.
But all this exponential growth has given us terrible habits. One of them is to discount the present.

When things are doubling, the only sane place to be is at the cutting edge. By definition, exponential growth means the thing that comes next will be equal in importance to everything that came before. So if you're not working on the next big thing, you're nothing.



A further symptom of our exponential hangover is bloat. As soon as a system shows signs of performance, developers will add enough abstraction to make it borderline unusable. Software forever remains at the limits of what people will put up with. Developers and designers together create overweight systems in hopes that the hardware will catch up in time and cover their mistakes.

We complained for years that browsers couldn't do layout and javascript consistently. As soon as that got fixed, we got busy writing libraries that reimplemented the browser within itself, only slower.

It's 2014, and consider one hot blogging site, Medium. On a late-model computer it takes me ten seconds for a Medium page (which is literally a formatted text file) to load and render. This experience was faster in the sixties.

The web is full of these abuses, extravagant animations and so on, forever a step ahead of the hardware, waiting for it to catch up.

This exponential hangover leads to a feeling of exponential despair.

What's the point of pouring real effort into something that is going to disappear or transform in just a few months? The restless sense of excitement we feel that something new may be around the corner also brings with it a hopelessness about whatever we are working on now, and a dread that we are missing out on the next big thing.

The other part of our exponential hangover is how we build our businesses. The cult of growth denies the idea that you can build anything useful or helpful unless you're prepared to bring it to so-called "Internet scale". There's no point in opening a lemonade stand unless you're prepared to take on PepsiCo.

I always thought that things should go the other way. Once you remove the barriers of distance, there's room for all sorts of crazy niche products to find a little market online. People can eke out a living that would not be possible in the physical world. Venture capital has its place, as a useful way to fund long-shot projects, but not everything fits in that mold.

The cult of growth has led us to a sterile, centralized web. And having burned through all the easy ideas within our industry, we're convinced that it's our manifest destiny to start disrupting everyone else.

I think it's time to ask ourselves a very designy question: "What is the web actually for?"
I will argue that there are three competing visions of the web right now. The one we settle on will determine whether the idiosyncratic, fun Internet of today can survive.



Vision 1: CONNECT KNOWLEDGE, PEOPLE, AND CATS.

This is the correct vision.



Vision 2: FIX THE WORLD WITH SOFTWARE

This is the prevailing vision in Silicon Valley.



Vision 3: BECOME AS GODS, IMMORTAL CREATURES OF PURE ENERGY LIVING IN A CRYSTALLINE PARADISE OF OUR OWN CONSTRUCTION

This is the insane vision. I'm a little embarrassed to talk about it, because it's so stupid. But circumstances compel me.



There's a William Gibson quote that Tim O'Reilly likes to repeat: "the future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet."

O'Reilly takes this to mean that if we surround ourselves with the right people, it can give us a sneak peek at coming attractions.

I like to interpret this quote differently, as a call to action. Rather than waiting passively for technology to change the world, let's see how much we can do with what we already have.

Let's reclaim the web from technologists who tell us that the future they've imagined is inevitable, and that our role in it is as consumers.

The Web belongs to us all, and those of us in this room are going to spend the rest of our lives working there. So we need to make it our home.

We live in a world now where not millions but billions of people work in rice fields, textile factories, where children grow up in appalling poverty. Of those billions, how many are the greatest minds of our time? How many deserve better than they get? What if instead of dreaming about changing the world with tomorrow's technology, we used today's technology and let the world change us? Why do we need to obsess on artificial intelligence, when we're wasting so much natural intelligence?


When I talk about a hundred years of web design, I mean it as a challenge. There's no law that says that things are guaranteed to keep getting better.

The web we have right now is beautiful. It shatters the tyranny of distance. It opens the libraries of the world to you. It gives you a way to bear witness to people half a world away, in your own words. It is full of cats. We built it by accident, yet already we're taking it for granted. We should fight to keep it! "
technology  web  webdesign  internet  culture  design  history  aviation  airplanes  planes  2014  constraints  growth  singularity  scale  webdev  siliconvalley  technosolutionism  boeing  intel  microsoft  cloud  raykurzweil  elonmusk  williamgibson  inequality  mooreslaw  timoreilly  software  bloat  progress  present  future  manifestdestiny 
july 2015 by robertogreco
What's the Point of Handwriting? | Hazlitt Magazine
"Maybe handwriting is neither a lost art nor an anachronism; perhaps new technology will show there is some useful alchemy left in the way language, the body, and our sense of identity intertwine."



"Maybe the limitations of the body carry some hidden benefit: that in marking out ideas at a pace slower than typing, there is some link between neural and muscle memory."



"Unlike digital’s precision, writing is blurry individuality under a general system. But in addition to this, we all have our own personalized understanding of arrows, squiggles, double-underlines and so on—little personal codes we develop over time to “talk to ourselves.” To write by hand is to always foreground an inevitable uniqueness, visually marking out an identity in opposition to, say, this font you’re reading right now.'



"If one can draw over and annotate a web page and then send it to a friend, the web at least feels less hegemonic, recalling the kind of interactivity and freedom of expression once found in the now-broken dream of blog comment sections."



"For all that, though, what pens do offer is both practical and symbolic resistance to the pre-programmed nature of the modern web—its tendency to ask you to express yourself, however creatively and generatively, within the literal and figurative constraints of a small, pre-defined box. There is a charming potential in the pen for activity that works against the grain of those things: to mark out in one’s own hand the absurdities of some top ten list, or underlining some particularly poignant paragraph in a way that a highlight or newly popular screenshotting tool doesn’t quite capture. Perhaps it’s the visual nature of the transgression—the mark of a hand slashed across a page—that produces emblematically the desire for self-expression: not the witty tweet or status update, nor just the handwritten annotation, but the doubled, layered version of both, the very overlap put to one’s own, subjective ends. And then there is more simple pleasure: that you are, in both an actual and metaphorical sense, drawing outside the lines. If one can draw over and annotate a web page and then send it to a friend, for example, the web at least feels less hegemonic, recalling the kind of interactivity and freedom of expression once found in the now-broken dream of blog comment sections."



"Identity online is fraught. You could make the argument that our collected personas—the affected shots of Instagram; the too-earnest Facebook status updates; the sarcastic, bitter tweets—are all an attempt to form some approximation of who we believe ourselves to be: we perform ourselves to become more authentic versions of ourselves. I know I at least do something like this, and have made winding, verbose arguments that documenting ourselves into being is how we use social media to become more human.

Yet I have also, in the writings of those such as Rob Horning, found reason to be deeply skeptical of the economic and ideological motives behind that push. Now that the web is a place of data collection, of surveillance, and of that strange urge to perform one’s personal brand in the right way, such naive notions of performance are no longer tenable. And yet … we still do it: inscribing shards of the self upon screens, despite the fact that, in a variety of ways, we must see and build our identities through the prisms that are handed to us, shaping ourselves to the nature of the newly corporatized web."



"Have you ever seen hand-drawn ink on a page, magnified? It is jagged and rough, full of an impossible number of imperfections. Zoom in far enough and even the most sophisticated digital algorithms would find it difficult to track the cartography of just one letter. There are simply too many undulations, too many indecipherable points to make sense of it. And perhaps this is what appeals with digital ink, too, as symbol, as metaphor—as just a fool’s hope: that in that discomfiting glide of a nib atop glass, there is still the human yearning to say, “I know who I am—here, let me show you.”"
navneetalang  handwriting  writing  2015  technology  slow  bodies  body  typing  memory  musclememory  digital  precision  annotation  uniqueness  individuality  microsoft  tablets  identity  robhorning 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Chris Hedges: Boycott, Divest and Sanction Corporations That Feed on Prisons - Chris Hedges - Truthdig
"Former prisoners and prisoners’ relatives—suffering along with the incarcerated under the weight of one of the most exploitative, physically abusive and largest prison systems in the world, frustrated and enraged by the walls that corporations have set in place to stymie rational judicial reform—joined human rights advocates at the church to organize state and nationwide boycotts inside and outside prisons. These boycotts, they said, will be directed against the private phone, money transfer and commissary companies, and against the dozens of corporations that exploit prison labor. The boycotts will target food and merchandise vendors, construction companies, laundry services, uniforms companies, prison equipment vendors, cafeteria services, manufacturers of pepper spray, body armor and the array of medieval instruments used for the physical control of prisoners, and a host of other contractors that profit from mass incarceration. The movement will also call on institutions, especially churches and universities, to divest from corporations that use prison labor.

The campaign, led by the Interfaith Prison Coalition, will include a call to pay all prisoners at least the prevailing minimum wage of the state in which they are held. (New Jersey’s minimum wage is $8.38 an hour.) Wages inside prisons have remained stagnant and in real terms have declined over the past three decades. A prisoner in New Jersey makes, on average, $1.20 for eight hours of work, or about $28 a month. Those incarcerated in for-profit prisons earn as little as 17 cents an hour. Over a similar period, phone and commissary corporations have increased fees and charges often by more than 100 percent.

There are nearly 40 states that allow private corporations to exploit prison labor. And prison administrators throughout the country are lobbying corporations that have sweatshops overseas, trying to lure them into the prisons with guarantees of even cheaper labor and a total absence of organizing or coordinated protest."



"The corporate state seeks to reduce all workers at home and abroad to the status of prison labor. Workers are to be so heavily controlled that organizing unions or resistance will become impossible. Benefits, pensions, overtime are to be abolished. Workers who are not slavishly submissive to the will of corporate power will be dismissed. There will be no sick days or paid vacations. No one will be able to challenge unsafe and physically difficult working conditions. And wages will be suppressed to keep workers in poverty. This is the goal of corporate power. The 1 million prisoners employed at substandard wages by corporations inside prisons are, in the eyes of our corporate masters, the ideal workers. And those Americans who ignore the plight of prison labor and refuse to organize against it will increasingly find prison working conditions replicated outside prison walls."

[vi: http://scudmissile.tumblr.com/post/116029913728/the-corporate-state-seeks-to-reduce-all-workers-at ]
chrishedges  2015  corporatization  work  labor  costco  microsoft  mcdonalds  kochindustries  verizon  exxonmobil  jimcrow  blackpanthers  aramark  elililly  at&t  kmart  prisons  control  poverty  wages  prisonindustrialcomplex  incarceration  slavery  prisonlabor  submission  power  blackpantherparty 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Warren Ellis Esquire Essay - Warren Ellis Technology Column
"Regardless of what you think of Uber and its corporate behavior, the lesson should not go unlearned: If you build your business on top of someone else's system, eventually they're going to notice. Just last week, the livestreaming app Meerkat, which uses Twitter to transmit, felt a cold breeze pass through the room when Twitter bought the competing system Periscope, which will doubtless be baked into Twitter as soon as possible. Digital businesses can murder and haunt their own parasites.

In the midst of all this? Rich, crazy Elon Musk, who intends to put large and efficient electric batteries into people's homes. Which may not be one of his weird side projects, like Hyperloop, especially since Apple is hiring his car-makers away, and their car sales and shipments are under the projected numbers. And because it fits right in with the "disruption" thing. You know Musk has a solar panel company, right? This seems quite clever: SolarCity will let you lease their panels, or you can take out a 30-year loan with them. SolarCity doesn't charge you for installing or maintaining the system, and you pay SolarCity for the power the system generates, thereby paying off the loan. Electricity as a mortgage. Now, combine that with a rechargeable fuel cell in your home that could probably power your house for at least a week all on its own. Welcome to Basic Utilities Disruption.

Have you been reading this and thinking, Hmm, I'm not very interested in technology and disruption and ghosts and whatever else the hell you're talking about? Well, I bet you're interested in a future where it remains cost-effective for your local electricity substations to be maintained even after a critical number of homes in your area have gone off the grid, or, in the extreme open-market scenario, if it remains cost-effective to even supply electricity to your town at all. And what unforeseeable haunting might happen in the chilly aftermath...

We only sleep at night because Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Elon Musk don't want our businesses. Yet.

Facebook and Google fighting with balloons and drones to bring internet to Africa. Apple making Big Phones. Android NFC wallets versus Apple Pay. iCloud and Amazon Storage. You know what'll happen once these self-driving consumer-facing services go online? They'll be doing same-day purchase deliveries, going head-to-head with Amazon in cities, a fuller and faster version of Google's piloted Shopping Express. Jeff Bezos owns a rocket development firm, by the way, so maybe go carefully with that. Oh, and Apple apparently want into enterprise support business, which will put them against Amazon, where all the enterprise data is stored, and, of course, sleepy, old Microsoft.

Keep breathing. Stay warm. Things are going to get weirder yet."
warrenellis  2015  elonmusk  tesla  energy  publicutilities  utilities  solar  apple  google  microsoft  amazon  facebook  uber  technology  capitalism  competition  electricity  batteries  cars  self-drivingcars  solarcity 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Bruce Sterling Closing Talk by SXSW on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds
"World traveler, science fiction author, journalist, and future-focused design critic Bruce Sterling spins the globe a few rounds as he wraps up the Interactive Conference with his peculiar view of the state of the world. Always unexpected, invented on the fly, a hash of trends, trepidations, and creative prognostication. Don't miss this annual event favorite. What will he covered in 2015?"
makers  making  brucesterling  internetofthings  sxsw  2015  turin  torino  design  climatechange  makerspaces  ianbogost  via:steelemaley  3dprinting  economics  apple  google  amazon  microsoft  future  business  iot 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Why I’m Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft — Backchannel — Medium
"I’d periodically played with Linux and other alternatives on my PC over the years, but always found the exercise tedious and, in the end, unworkable. But I never stopped paying attention to what brilliant people like Richard Stallman and Cory Doctorow and others were saying, namely that we were leading, and being led, down a dangerous path. In a conversation with Cory one day, I asked him about his use of Linux as his main PC operating system. He said it was important to do what he believed in—and, by the way, it worked fine.

Could I do less, especially given that I’d been public in my worries about the trends?

So about three years ago, I installed the Ubuntu variant — among the most popular and well-supported — on a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, and began using it as my main system. For a month or so, I was at sea, making keystroke errors and missing a few Mac applications on which I’d come to rely. But I found Linux software that worked at least well enough, and sometimes better than its Mac and Windows counterparts.

And one day I realized that my fingers and brain had fully adjusted to the new system. Now, when I used a Mac, I was a bit confused."



"As mobile computing has become more dominant, I’ve had to rethink everything on that platform, too. I still consider the iPhone the best combination of software and hardware any company has offered, but Apple’s control-freakery made it a nonstarter. I settled on Android, which was much more open and readily modified.

But Google’s power and influence worry me, too, even though I still trust it more than many other tech companies. Google’s own Android is excellent, but the company has made surveillance utterly integral to the use of its software. And app developers take disgusting liberties, collecting data by the petabyte and doing god-knows-what with it. (Security experts I trust say the iPhone is more secure by design than most Android devices.) How could I walk my talk in the mobile age?"



"So I keep looking for ways to further reduce my dependence on the central powers. One of my devices, an older tablet running Cyanogenmod, is a test bed for an even more Google-free existence.

It’s good enough for use at home, and getting better as I find more free software — most of it via the “F-Droid” download library — that handles what I need. I’ve even installed a version of Ubuntu’s new tablet OS, but it’s not ready, as the cliche goes, for prime time. Maybe the Firefox OS will be a player.

But I’ve given up the idea that free software and open hardware will become the norm for consumers anytime soon, if ever—even though free and open-source software is at the heart of the Internet’s back end.

If too few people are willing to try, though, the default will win. And the defaults are Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Our economic system is adapting to community-based solutions, slowly but surely. But let’s face it: we collectively seem to prefer convenience to control, at least for the moment. I’m convinced more and more people are learning about the drawbacks of the bargain we’ve made, wittingly or not, and someday we may collectively call it Faustian.

I keep hoping more hardware vendors will see the benefit of helping their customers free themselves of proprietary control. This is why I was so glad to see Dell, a company once joined at the hip with Microsoft, offer a Linux laptop. If the smaller players in the industry don’t themselves enjoy being pawns of software companies and mobile carriers, they have options, too. They can help us make better choices.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep encouraging as many people as possible to find ways to take control for themselves. Liberty takes some work, but it’s worth the effort. I hope you’ll consider embarking on this journey with me."
apple  google  microsoft  dangilmour  linux  opensource  2015  community  hardware  dell  cyanogenmod  ios  android  windows  mac  osx  f-droid  ubuntu  firefoxos  firefox  os  mozilla  lenovo  richardstallman  corydoctorow  libreoffice 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Agency vs In-House : part of growing up — Medium
"Much has been written in recent months about winds of change in the business of design — the possible decline of Agency versus the flexing muscle of In-House design. Influential consultancies like Smart Design (in SF) and BERG shut their doors. Others like Teehan+Lax, Adaptive Path, Fjord among several others were adopted by bigger forces.

These changes prompted the design community to wonder who’s gaining ground— sparking some interesting discussion. Two great articles earlier by dear and vastly experienced friends Mike Kruzeniski and Tobias Van Schneider captured their views on this discussion eloquently. I wanted to add 5-cents to a discussion I’ve had for some years now.

Is there ground to be gained? Isn’t this just a process of natural design evolution — part of growing up? Isn’t what we’re witnessing in design institutions just the inevitable process of being children once, growing up with lots of help and soon becoming parents ourselves?

I’ve been fortunate to work as a designer in some of the world’s best known consultancies, agencies and in-house design teams. I see connections in what I’ve learnt from valuable time spent in design teams at Veryday (RedDot’s Design Team of the Year 2014), Teague (who’ve innovated since 1926), R/GA in New York (AdAge’s Agency of the Year 2015) and now in-house at Spotify’s Design Team (which recently crossed 60M active users and 15M paying subscribers).

Like people, products were once just babies. They were conceived and brought into the world, mentored, educated and supported all the way to adulthood and beyond."

[See also:
https://medium.com/@mkruz/11-misconceptions-about-in-house-design-9e4a22579e95
https://medium.com/@vanschneider/the-agency-is-dead-long-live-the-agency-d53365e0dd9
https://medium.com/todays-office/a-year-of-reflection-820d228d999c ]
rahulsen  2015  design  agencies  inhouse  consultancies  ideo  history  smartdesign  veryday  apple  google  microsoft  hp  ge  creatives  creativity  detachment  mikekruzeniski  tobiasvanschneider  janchipchase 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Image Composite Editor - Microsoft Research
"Image Composite Editor (ICE) is an advanced panoramic image stitcher created by the Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the app creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. ICE can also create a panorama from a panning video, including stop-motion action overlaid on the background. Finished panoramas can be shared with friends and viewed in 3D by uploading them to the Photosynth web site. Panoramas can also be saved in a wide variety of image formats, including JPEG, TIFF, and Photoshop’s PSD/PSB format, as well as the multiresolution tiled format used by HD View and Deep Zoom."
microsoft  panoramas  photosynth  photography  imagery  applications  windows  automcomplete  via:alexismadrigal 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Beyond alt-text — Medium
"There’s a wave of new senior corporate positions in accessible technology. But who can they hire?"



"The challenge is not technological, it’s psychological. I am a big believer in the infinite possibilities inherent in innovative thinking applied to advanced mechanical and computing sciences. But first and foremost, those who shape our digital world have to wrap their brains around the fact that not everyone is shaped like them, moves like them, perceives the world like them. Deep and lasting impressions about human diversity need to be made to alter the mindsets of all the creative links in the chain from invention to fabrication to implementation to marketing to sales to end users. One little “oh, I never thought of that” can derail the entire process of making the next big thing great for everyone."



"The challenge is not technological, it’s psychological. I am a big believer in the infinite possibilities inherent in innovative thinking applied to advanced mechanical and computing sciences. But first and foremost, those who shape our digital world have to wrap their brains around the fact that not everyone is shaped like them, moves like them, perceives the world like them. Deep and lasting impressions about human diversity need to be made to alter the mindsets of all the creative links in the chain from invention to fabrication to implementation to marketing to sales to end users. One little “oh, I never thought of that” can derail the entire process of making the next big thing great for everyone."



"Yahoo is searching for two front-end mobile and web engineers — with strong backgrounds in online accessibility. That’s the rub. We need experienced staff who can guide the company’s developers and speak their language and who are steeped in assistive and accessible technology. While we could bring on a great engineer and give them on-the-job training on the various web and mobile accessibility standards, techniques and tools, that just won’t work for us. These new hires need to know more than the existing accessibility team and teach us what’s new and what’s next. This is the kind of knowledge universities should be adding to their design and engineering curricula. And it’s not just Yahoo — every Silicon Valley company is on the hunt for just these kinds of candidates."



"And, if the dreams of many of us in the field can be realized, colleges and universities will eventually be offering specializations or minors or even majors in Inclusive Design or Accessible Technology within their computer science and design departments. We’re working on it."
sarahendren  2015  larrygoldberg  yahoo  microsoft  at&t  ibm  technology  accessibility  apple  flickr  video  online  internet  curriculum 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Blog - Telltale Community
"As 2014 comes to a close, we are delighted to confirm our partnership with Mojang to create a new episodic game series based on one of the most popular video games in history - Minecraft.

Minecraft: Story Mode will be an all-new narrative-driven game series developed by Telltale in collaboration with Mojang. Set in the world of Minecraft, the series will feature an original story, driven by player choice. It will not be an add-on for Minecraft, but rather a separate stand-alone product that will premiere in 2015 on consoles, computers and mobile devices.

Telltale's game series will mix new characters with familiar themes, in an entirely original Minecraft experience, inspired by the Minecraft community and the game that continues to inspire a generation.

For more information on why Telltale and Mojang chose to work together, visit Mojang's blog.

2014 is Telltale's tenth anniversary year; seeing in the climactic finales of the critically acclaimed and best-selling The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead: Season Two. With the recent premieres of both Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands, our 2015 lineup will include the remainder of both of those new series, and now it will also include the premiere of Minecraft: Story Mode.

After ten years of making games, Telltale is JUST getting started! We would like to thank all of our incredible fans across the world, as we continue to forge ahead in creating adventures where the most important author of each story is YOU. We'll have more in the months ahead, but for now, we thank you again, and wish you a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year!"

[via: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/12/mojang-teams-up-with-telltale-for-minecraft-story-mode/ ]
minecraft  2014  telltale  storytelling  narrative  mojang  microsoft 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The Sixth Stage of Grief is Retro-Computing — The Message — Medium
"Imagine having, in your confused adolescence, the friendship of an older, avuncular man who is into computers, a world-traveling photographer who would occasionally head out to, like, videotape the Dalai Lama for a few weeks, then come back and and listen to every word you said while you sat on his porch. A generous, kind person who spoke openly about love and faith and treated people with respect."



"A year after the Amiga showed up—I was 13—my life started to go backwards. Not forever, just for a while. My dad left, money was tight. My clothes were the ones my dad left behind, old blouse-like Oxfords in the days of Hobie Cat surfwear. I was already big and weird, and now I was something else. I think my slide perplexed my peers; if anything they bullied me less. I heard them murmuring as I wandered down the hall.

I was a ghost and I had haunts: I vanished into the computer. I had that box of BBS floppies. One after another I’d insert them into the computer and examine every file, thousands of files all told. That was how I pieced together the world. Second-hand books and BBS disks and trips to the library. I felt very alone but I’ve since learned that it was a normal American childhood, one millions of people experienced.

Often—how often I don’t remember—I’d go over to Tom’s. I’d share my techniques for rotating text in Deluxe Paint, show him what I’d gleaned from my disks. He always had a few spare computers around for generating title sequences in videos, and later for editing, and he’d let me practice with his videocameras. And he would listen to me.

Like I said: Avuncular. He wasn’t a father figure. Or a mother figure. He was just a kind ear when I needed as many kind ears as I could find. I don’t remember what I said; I just remember being heard. That’s the secret to building a network. People want to be heard. God, life, history, science, books, computers. The regular conversations of anxious kids. His students would show up, impossibly sophisticated 19-year-old men and women, and I’d listen to them talk as the sun went down. For years. A world passed over that porch and I got to watch and participate even though I was still a boy.

I constantly apologized for being there, for being so young and probably annoying, and people would just laugh at me. But no one put me in my place. People touched me, hugged me, told me about books to read and movies to watch. I was not a ghost.

When I graduated from high school I went by to sit on the porch and Tom gave me a little brown teddy bear. You need to remember, he said, to be a kid. To stay in touch with that part of yourself.

I did not do this."



"Technology is What We Share

Technology is what we share. I don’t mean “we share the experience of technology.” I mean: By my lights, people very often share technologies with each other when they talk. Strategies. Ideas for living our lives. We do it all the time. Parenting email lists share strategies about breastfeeding and bedtime. Quotes from the Dalai Lama. We talk neckties, etiquette, and Minecraft, and tell stories that give us guidance as to how to live. A tremendous part of daily life regards the exchange of technologies. We are good at it. It’s so simple as to be invisible. Can I borrow your scissors? Do you want tickets? I know guacamole is extra. The world of technology isn’t separate from regular life. It’s made to seem that way because of, well…capitalism. Tribal dynamics. Territoriality. Because there is a need to sell technology, to package it, to recoup the terrible investment. So it becomes this thing that is separate from culture. A product.

I went looking for the teddy bear that Tom had given me, the reminder to be a child sometimes, and found it atop a bookshelf. When I pulled it down I was surprised to find that it was in a tiny diaper.

I stood there, ridiculous, a 40-year-old man with a diapered 22-year-old teddy bear in my hand. It stared back at me with root-beer eyes.

This is what I remembered right then: That before my wife got pregnant we had been trying for kids for years without success. We had considered giving up.

That was when I said to my wife: If we do not have children, we will move somewhere where there is a porch. The children who need love will find the porch. They will know how to find it. We will be as much parents as we want to be.

And when she got pregnant with twins we needed the right-sized doll to rehearse diapering. I went and found that bear in an old box.

I was handed that toy, sitting on Tom’s porch, in 1992. A person offering another person a piece of advice. Life passed through that object as well, through the teddy bear as much as through the operating systems of yore.

Now that I have children I can see how tuned they are to the world. Living crystals tuned to all manner of frequencies. And how urgently they need to be heard. They look up and they say, look at me. And I put my phone away.

And when they go to bed, protesting and screaming, I go to mess with my computers, my old weird imaginary emulated computers. System after system. I open up these time capsules and look at the thousands of old applications, millions of dollars of software, but now it can be downloaded in a few minutes and takes up a tiny portion of a hard drive. It’s all comically antiquated.

When you read histories of technology, whether of successes or failures, you sense the yearning of people who want to get back into those rooms for a minute, back to solving the old problems. How should a window open? How should the mouse look? What will people want to do, when we give them these machines? Who wouldn’t want to go back 20 years—to drive again into the office, to sit before the whiteboard in a beanbag chair, in a place of warmth and clarity, and give it another try?

Such a strange way to say goodbye. So here I am. Imaginary disks whirring and screens blinking as I visit my old haunts. Wandering through lost computer worlds for an hour or two, taking screenshots like a tourist. Shutting one virtual machine down with a sigh, then starting up another one. But while these machines run, I am a kid. A boy on a porch, back among his friends."
paulford  memory  memories  childhood  neoteny  play  wonder  sharing  obituaries  technology  history  sqeak  amiga  textcraft  plan9  smalltalk-80  smalltalk  mac  1980s  1990s  1970s  xerox  xeroxalto  texteditors  wordprocessors  software  emulators  emulations  2014  computers  computing  adolescence  listening  parenting  adults  children  mentors  macwrite  howwelearn  relationships  canon  caring  love  amigaworkbench  commodore  aegisanimator  jimkent  vic-20  commodore64  1985  andywarhol  debbieharry  1987  networks  porches  kindness  humility  lisp  windows3.1  microsoft  microsoftpaint  capitalism  next  openstep  1997  1992  stevejobs  objectivec  belllabs  xeroxparc  inria  doom  macos9  interfacebuilder 
november 2014 by robertogreco
I’m leaving Mojang | notch.net
"I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.

A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work. I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.

I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them.

I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.

I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.

It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity."

[Also here: http://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM ]

[See also: http://kottke.org/14/09/this-is-phil-fish
http://incisive.nu/2014/ditching-twitter/ ]
games  gaming  microsoft  minecraft  notch  2014  celebrity  making  work  fun  play  philfish  makers  creativity  business  obligation  internet  web  twitter 
september 2014 by robertogreco
First-person Hyperlapse Videos
"We present a method for converting first-person videos, for example, captured with a helmet camera during activities such as rock climbing or bicycling, into hyper-lapse videos, i.e., time-lapse videos with a smoothly moving camera.

At high speed-up rates, simple frame sub-sampling coupled with existing video stabilization methods does not work, because the erratic camera shake present in first-person videos is amplified by the speed-up.

Our algorithm first reconstructs the 3D input camera path as well as dense, per-frame proxy geometries. We then optimize a novel camera path for the output video (shown in red) that is smooth and passes near the input cameras while ensuring that the virtual camera looks in directions that can be rendered well from the input.

Next, we compute geometric proxies for each input frame. These allow us to render the frames from the novel viewpoints on the optimized path.

Finally, we generate the novel smoothed, time-lapse video by rendering, stitching, and blending appropriately selected source frames for each output frame. We present a number of results for challenging videos that cannot be processed using traditional techniques."

[via: http://kottke.org/14/08/the-hyperlapse-algorithm ]
photography  timelapse  stabilization  video  gopro  microsoft 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Internet, Why So Blue? - The Awl
"His version of the internet is profoundly blue, bluer than any internet before, for a reason he didn't realize was personal until long after the decision was made. It had been fortunate for him, a young citizen of the internet, that links, traditionally, are blue. But why are links blue? Did he ever ask?

The man who invented links was writing them to a grayscale screen. The first popular browser, Mosaic, later turned links blue because it was the darkest color available at the time that wasn't black; they needed to stand out, but only just. Blue was the best alternative. Blue always survives the focus group. Blue wins the a/b test. Which is convenient, because blue is usually already there.

Why is the internet blue? The internet is blue because… the atmosphere? And gases. The internet is blue because of its air and its Sun. The internet is blue because the internet is blue, and it's time to go to school. Maybe they'll tell you there."
internet  color  colors  blue  2014  google  instagram  tumblr  twitter  linkedin  microsoft  facebook  johnherrman 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Microsoft made a secret book for Nokia employees before its takeover | The Verge
In the months leading up to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone business, the two compa"nies approached Shoreditch-based media company TCOLondon to secretly build a unique book for the nearly 20,000 Nokia employees set to join Microsoft. The 128-page book was edited and illustrated in London before being printed and shipped to employees in more than 90 cities in 53 countries.

It’s a celebration of the rich history that Nokia and Microsoft both share, including etchings of Nokia’s origins in a paper mill in Finland and Microsoft’s roots in New Mexico. Illustrations range from the first-ever GSM call to surgeons using the Kinect sensor for operations. Nokia and Microsoft approached TCOLondon in mid-December, with the original plan to have the book ready and finished for February 1st. A later-than-expected acquisition meant the book was delivered to employees at the deal closure in late April. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella even visited Finland to present a copy of the “One” book to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. Here are some of the many illustrations inside the 128 pages."
books  design  nokia  finland  microsoft  bookdesign  illustration  2014 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Connecting
"The 18 minute "Connecting" documentary is an exploration of the future of Interaction Design and User Experience from some of the industry's thought leaders. As the role of software is catapulting forward, Interaction Design is seen to be not only increasing in importance dramatically, but also expected to play a leading role in shaping the coming "Internet of things." Ultimately, when the digital and physical worlds become one, humans along with technology are potentially on the path to becoming a "super organism" capable of influencing and enabling a broad spectrum of new behaviors in the world."
costumerexperience  via:tealtan  video  massimobanzi  blaiseagüerayarcas  youngheejung  helenwalters  lizdanzico  raphaelgrignani  robertfabricant  ericrodenbeck  jonaslöwgren  robertmurdock  andreiherasimchuk  jenniferbove  interactiondesign  design  microsoft  interaction  ui  ux 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Tranquil Windows « Scrawled in Wax
"Rather than flitting back and forth between ten different things, even I, hyperactive and attention-deficient, tend to focus for just a little bit longer. Rather than just the frame of the screen, it’s the aesthetics that also hold my attention because it feels like that’s what they’re designed to do.

This isn’t really that different from a tablet. But it’s been interesting the past couple of years to notice this radical different between desktop and mobile–that strange feeling of freedom when you return to a PC that you can do nine things at once, a feeling that, for me anyway, is a bit like putting an alcoholic in front of an open bar. When I can open twenty tabs at once, my brain seems to cry “Moar information!”"

"It is thus intriguing to think about ‘deliberately deficient design’.… I believe the Law of the Father is still a very useful way to think about how we relate to Cupertino’s stuff."
infooverload  tranquility  focus  attention  design  microsoft  2012  navneetalang  windows8 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Brand New: Why Microsoft Got its Logo Right
"There are two interesting threads that build into this logo. The first is Microsoft’s decision to push aside its corporate logo history and not try to revive or recycle any of the previous stylings… nstead they have chosen to build the new logo around the history of Windows, building on the four-color square arrangement first seen in the form of a flag and most recently as a single-color, tilted version in the Windows 8 logo. This is smart. …

The second thread is, obviously, the evolution into the Metro system and the reason why this new logo feels so underwhelming and like not such big news at all. For the past two, three, and perhaps four years, Microsoft has been slowly deploying different interfaces, advertisements, and products that feature this simplified approach helmed by the Segoe font that has become as distinctive of Microsoft as Myriad of Apple."

[Read on for "the interesting reversal of roles between Apple and Microsoft."]
windowsphonemetro  metro  2012  windows  design  branding  logo  logos  apple  microsoft 
september 2012 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe • Suppose you are in a unit with 10 other people....
"Suppose you are in a unit with 10 other people. Your boss thinks every one of you is spectacular. Well it doesn’t matter because at Microsoft, you have to designate two of them as spectacular, four of them as mediocre, and then the rest as terrible. What you’ve done is create a system where every employee is not only trying to do their best, but every employee is trying to make sure that their colleagues don’t. Creating that environment is the exact opposite of what you want to do in terms of encouraging innovation."

—The downfall of innovation at Microsoft | Marketplace.org [ http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/downfall-innovation-microsoft ]

"I first learned about Microsoft’s practice of “stack racking” within teams about five years ago. Ever since then, the company’s fortunes have made a lot more sense to me.

And, not in a good way."
beenthere  hownottodoit  whattoavoid  ranking  adverserialworkplace  competition  howwework  workenvironment  2012  innovation  culture  workplace  kairyssdal  administration  leadership  tcsnmy  control  fear  hierarchy  management  microsoft  merlinmann 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Redesigning the Windows Logo
"Paula asked us a simple question, “your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?”

…But if you look back to the origins of the logo you see that it really was meant to be a window. "Windows" really is a beautiful metaphor for computing and with the new logo we wanted to celebrate the idea of a window, in perspective. Microsoft and Windows are all about putting technology in people's hands to empower them to find their own perspectives. And that is what the new logo was meant to be. We did less of a re-design and more to return it to its original meaning and bringing Windows back to its roots – reimagining the Windows logo as just that – a window."
windows  history  pentagram  paulascher  microsoft  windows8  logo 
february 2012 by robertogreco
A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design
"The next time you make breakfast, pay attention to the exquisitely intricate choreography of opening cupboards and pouring the milk — notice how your limbs move in space, how effortlessly you use your weight and balance. The only reason your mind doesn't explode every morning from the sheer awesomeness of your balletic achievement is that everyone else in the world can do this as well.

With an entire body at your command, do you seriously think the Future Of Interaction should be a single finger?"

[via: http://twitter.com/debcha/status/134055293440106497 ]

[follow-up: http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesign/responses.html ]
interactiondesign  design  future  ux  ui  touch  apple  microsoft  haptic  senses  2011  hands  human  humans  complexity  bretvictor 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Why Microsoft's Vision Of The Future Is Dead On Arrival | Co. Design
"Futuristic interfaces are supposed to solve problems and make life easier. What good are they--besides being eye candy--if the future around them is picture-perfect already? The Microsoft video takes that conceit of perfection and carries it so far that the concepts begin to look ridiculous: You can pick out all kinds of clever touches, such as the way the images on a computer screen can be dragged off screen to become holograms--and then can be controlled with gestures. But by that point, we're way off in future land, where none of these clever touches feel rooted in life. They don't address problems we understand."
berg  berglondon  microsoft  future  problemsolving  realism  johnpavlus  johngruber  interfaces  minorityreport  conceptvideos  2011  interactiondesign 
october 2011 by robertogreco
FYIFV - Wikipedia
"FYIFV (standing for "Fuck You, I'm Fully Vested") or FYIV[1] is a piece of early Microsoft jargon that has become an urban legend: that employees whose stock options were fully vested (that is, could be exercised) would occasionally wear T-shirts or buttons with the initials "FYIFV" to indicate they were sufficiently financially independent to give their honest opinions and leave any time they wished.

In internal usage at Microsoft, it was meant metaphorically to describe intransigent co-workers. In press usage and popular culture, it is often used to imply a predatory business culture reaching even to the programmers."
microsoft  history  attitude  honesty  work  businessculture  behavior  money  wealth 
october 2011 by robertogreco
The beginning of the end of Google, and why Apple is the creator's friend | Technology | guardian.co.uk
"He's extremely tough on Google, stating that the era of search is over because of the rise of specialist search through apps, that Google "about to get a taste of what the music industry has been dealing with for a decade" as the tech world changes around it. He makes the astute observation that it was the lack of differentiation, what appeared to be the equality of information online, that undermined credible brands…

He's evangelical about the iPad and iPhone as devices because of their massive adoption rate, but goes on to say that HTML5 is the greatest creative and business opportunity for content creators since Google and Microsoft began to monopolise and monetize the content of others over the past twelve years…

"Near term, focus your platform strategy on Apple," he advises musicians. "Long term, focus on HTML5. The sooner you commit to HTML5, the more likely you will produce something of economic value."
google  apple  technology  trends  html5  microsoft  applications  iphone  ipad  search  rogermcnamee  web  online  internet  ios 
july 2011 by robertogreco
There Is One Apple, But Many Microsofts: The Company You Don’t Know | Epicenter | Wired.com
"But now, even as I (like most everyone else) use more of Apple’s stuff, I think I’m more fascinated by Microsoft — particularly the Microsoft that most of us don’t usually think about."
apple  microsoft  organizations  timcarmody  2011  business  software  revenue  hardware 
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Coming Cloud Wars: Google+ vs Microsoft (plus Facebook) | Epicenter | Wired.com
"Right now, it’s easy to share links, pictures, location and videos on Google+. Soon, it’ll be equally easy to share maps, office documents, news and shopping deals.

That’s where things really get interesting — particularly if Google can turn its identity system into the kind of purchasing system that Apple and Amazon have, pairing it with its advertising power and ever-present mobile phones to create a virtual mobile wallet.

If Silicon Valley were hosting a basketball tournament for consumer money and mindshare in the cloud, right now we’d be looking at a Final Four of Google, Apple (plus Twitter), Microsoft (plus Facebook) and Amazon (especially if they can make a compelling tablet). Apple just had its earnings call; Microsoft’s is tomorrow.

The stakes are high, the players are ready. It’s a fun time to be a fan."
timcarmody  google+  google  amazon  apple  facebook  microsoft  skype  twitter  social  cloud  cloudcomputing  identity  sharing  notification  communication  bing  search  spotify 
july 2011 by robertogreco
From Transportation to Pixels - Mike Kruzeniski
"…summary of a talk Windows Phone Design Team has given…originally posted on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

In November, myself & Albert Shum drove a few hours north to visit our friends at the Vancouver User Experience Meetup, to talk about Metro & the design philosophy behind Windows Phone. The beginning of the presentation traced the roots of the Windows Phone Metro design language, a topic we’ve spoken about at a number of developer conferences (Watch Albert at MIX 2010). From there, we decided to push the discussion a bit further this time, to look at where we see Metro going next. As you can imagine, this was a lot of fun. Our presentation was over an hour long and covered a lot of material, so rather than just posting the slides up, I’ll describe the talk in its four parts. First, the story of Metro. Second, a look back at history of UI design. Third, visions of future UI design in Science Fiction. Fourth and finally, where we see UI (& Metro) headed in the future."

[Now here: http://kruzeniski.com/2011/from-transportation-to-pixels/
and here: http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2011/02/16/from-transportation-to-pixels.aspx ]
design  mikekruzeniski  windowsmobile7  windowsphone7  windowsphonemetro  ui  typography  motion  digital  vannevarbush  bumptop  designfiction  gestures  eink  2011  wp7  metro  microsoft 
may 2011 by robertogreco
prosthetic knowledge: Photosynth app out for iOS
"Just tried this photo panorama app out on the iPod Touch. Its free, and can take photos from all angles in a good interface, although the output is limited - quality is not as good as some of the other panorama apps out there. Also, images can be sent to Facebook, Photosynth or Bing Maps.

Worth checking out, but far from perfect."

[See also: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/photosynth_for_ios_build_panorama_images_integrate.php ]
photosynth  ios  iphone  applications  microsoft  images  photography  maps  mapping  bing  bingmaps  facebook 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Nokia’s Burning Ships strategy | asymco
"Leaders motivating followers by removing means to surrender or retreat is not uncommon. It’s harsh & brutal. It’s not a natural thing do do: destroying perfectly useful options is value destructive & generates outrage, even mutiny.

In Nokia’s case, institutional inertia with a vestigial Symbian effort would compel the organization to maintain the current platform while treating the new alternative as a pathogen.

Counter-distruption theory states that the response to a disruption requires a focused approach through an autonomous challenger protected from corporate antibodies by the CEO herself. In this case, the autonomous organization is outside the company (Microsoft). Protecting the new effort was not possible w/ a Chinese wall. The only alternative was to simply get rid of the old & start w/ a clean slate…

…Nokia’s new CEO did not just jump off a “burning platform” but that once he jumped he made sure it kept burning so that nobody thought of going back on board."
microsoft  nokia  asymco  mobile  strategy  leadership  management  disruption  2011  symbian  administration 
february 2011 by robertogreco
What is Kodu | Projects | Fuse Labs
"What is Kodu: A visual programming language made specifically for creating games. Accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone."
programming  education  games  kodu  kids  edg  srg  microsoft  xbox360  coding  children 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Microsoft Small Basic
"Mirosoft Small Basic puts the "fun" back into computer programming. W/ a friendly development environment that is very easy to master, it eases both kids & adults into the world of programming.

Small Basic combines a friendly environment w/ a very simple language & a rich & engaging set of libraries to make your programs & games pop. In a matter of few lines of code, you will be well on your way to creating your very own game!

Share your programs with your friends; let them import your published programs and run them on their computer. Using the Silverlight player, you can even post your games on your blogs and websites for them to play your creations in the browser.

Gradual

Learn the programming concepts starting with the fundamentals and move your way up. Small Basic is based on .NET & what you learn here could be easily applied to other .NET programming languages like Visual Basic…using a built-in conversion utility."
smallbasic  microsoft  coding  education  learning  howto  tutorials  edg  srg  windows  programming  basic  kids  visualbasic  children 
december 2010 by robertogreco
4 (More) Tools for Teaching Kids to Code
"We wrote a story earlier this fall with 4 suggestions for some of our favorite programming tools aimed at kids. And that list is worth repeating: the graphical programming language Scratch, the programmable robotics of Lego Mindstorms, the 3D programming environment Alice, and the Android App Inventor.

But in the spirit of National Computer Education Week and the hopes that we can encourage more kids not just to use technology but to build technology, here's a list of 4 more: Kodu, Small Basic, Arduino, and Squeak"
programming  education  children  coding  tools  scratch  kodu  microsoft  arduino  android  edg  srg  tcsnmy  lego  legomindstorms  alice  androidappinventor  smallapp  squeak  glvo  xbox360  mac  windows  via:thelibrarianedge  teaching 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Comic Chat « Snarkmarket
"did not know that a thing called Microsoft Comic Chat ever existed, but now I want it to exist again. Ideally as a web app. Ideally with the option to save comic-chats and post them on your blog.<br />
<br />
Check out the expression selector in the lower right corner! Seriously—I love this."
microsoftcomicchat  comics  comicchat  microsoft  snarkmarket  chat 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Blaise Agüera y Arcas, the Mind Behind Bing Maps | Creating - WSJ.com
"applied a coat of blackboard paint to the wall himself because he dislikes odor of whiteboard marker…manages about 60 people…most stimulating meetings…are "jam sessions," in which people riff on each others' ideas…Prototypes are crucial…most productive moments often occur outside office, w/out distraction of meetings. After he has dinner & puts children to bed…he & wife, neuroscientist at UW, often sit side-by-side working on laptops late into night…Though…greater management responsibilities over years…still considers it vital to find time to develop projects on his own. "You see people who evolved in this way, & sometimes it looks like their brains died"…finds driving a car "deadening," so he takes a bus to work from his home, reading or working on his laptop…When young…dismantled things both animal & inanimate, from cameras to guinea pigs, so that he could see how they worked"
blaiseagüerayarcas  meetings  distraction  microsoft  bing  maps  mapping  nightowls  management  administration  leadership  brainstorming  iteration  prototyping  ommuting  cv  buses  cars  driving  howthingswork  detachment  attention  work  howwework  creativity  invention 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Points of control = Rents - O'Reilly Radar
"last night my Dad said to me: "I can't stand Microsoft and avoid it as much as I can. I've switched to Ubuntu because I got tired of paying Bill Gates a tax so he could run a charity." I thought that was funny."
billgates  microsoft  government  tax  charities  charity  economics  policy  us 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Dawn of a New Day « Ray Ozzie
"to cope with the inherent complexity of a world of devices, a world of websites, and a world of apps & personal data that is spread across myriad devices & websites, a simple conceptual model is taking shape that brings it all together. We’re moving toward a world of 1) cloud-based continuous services that connect us all and do our bidding, and 2) appliance-like connected devices enabling us to interact with those cloud-based services."
rayozzie  cloudcomputing  2010  2005  1939  mobile  technology  microsoft  computing  future  complexity  trends  cloud  connecteddevices  continuousservices  ubicomp  networkedurbanism 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Kodu Offers Pop-Up Computer Programming for Children - NYTimes.com
"Kodu, built by a team at Microsoft’s main campus outside Seattle, is a programming environment that runs on an Xbox 360, using the game console’s controller rather than a keyboard. Instead of typing if/then statements in a syntax that must be memorized — as adult programmers do — the student uses the Xbox controller to pop up menus that contain options from which to choose. Kodu itself resembles a video game, with a point-and-click interface instead of the thousand-lines-of-text coding tools used by grown-ups."
microsoft  xbox  xbox360  programming  scratch  education  learning  children  games  gaming  gamedesign  criticalthinking  edg  srg  tcsnmy  kodu  interface  iteration  computing  classideas  coding  teaching 
september 2010 by robertogreco
How Oracle might kill Google’s Android and software patents all at once — RoughlyDrafted Magazine
"Google doesn’t even have any experience in creating software platforms, having only ever launched a series of web apps and services that are supported by its single revenue machine: paid search, an idea that it appropriated from Overture! Recall that, in a “this all happened before” kind of way, Yahoo bought Overture and then used its new aggrieved subsidiary to demand 2.7 million shares of Google to license the rights to paid search. Google is nothing but a series of infringements snowballed together.<br />
<br />
Anyone who thinks Google looks before it leaps has forgotten that Google only ever leaps, buying up regular new companies on a schedule rather than with a strategy, and blowing out one failed project after another… Google acts like a white trash family who won the world’s largest lottery, which is why it behaves just like Microsoft. Some companies actually early their revenues in a competitive marketplace, and have for generations of technology, like say, Apple."
2010  android  apple  oracle  opensource  microsoft  java  technology  software  property  ip  google  patents 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Lessons from Google Wave and MSFT Kin « Scott Berkun [via: http://berglondon.com/blog/2010/08/13/friday-links/]
"Wave was weird, but cheap. Compared to Kin, which likely involved dozens of people & man-months, Wave was likely done by small team. That was biggest cost! If you’re going to have failures, even visible ones, better cheap & small, than expensive & large…

easy metric of innovation culture is learning—are people at all levels learning, sharing & growing from whatever happens, good or bad. Not lip-service. But actual learning, where people admit mistakes or oversights & what they might have done differently (rather than witch-hunt many big companies confuse w/ learning).

…starts w/ leaders, & leaders on Kin or Wave have much fodder to work w/. Are they going to share what they learned? Progress awaits if they do. But resentment, confusion & high odds for [repeating] will fester if they don’t.

Anywhere people learn from success & failure will outpace places that lack courage to look at failures w/ eyes open & learn from it, as well as places that don’t learn anything at all."
tcsnmy  change  innovation  risks  risktaking  learning  organizations  business  google  googlewave  scale  experience  culture  management  progress  sharing  failure  microsoft  microsoftkin  kin  smallandcheap  leadership  administration  lcproject  cost  unschooling  deschooling  ownership  incentives  motivation  punishment  courage  success 
august 2010 by robertogreco
41Latitude - Bing Maps's Redesign: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
"As you can see from my examples, this was not some incremental improvement that Microsoft gave to Bing Maps—no, this was a vast overhaul. In truth, it seems as though Microsoft has left nothing unchanged in the “new” Bing Maps. And yet even though the “new” maps are unusually light on detail (especially in how few cities they seem to show), they’re now among the most aesthetically pleasing maps on the web.

On an unrelated note, I find the similarities between Windows Phone 7’s UI and the “new” Bing Maps to be quite curious: both use Segoe fonts, both are unflinchingly minimalistic, and both are dramatic breaks from their predecessors. Maybe this really is a new direction for Microsoft."
via:migurski  maps  mapping  microsoft  cartography  design  aesthetics  bing  labels 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Entelligence: Let's get digital -- Engadget
"one of the things I like about WP7 is that it's not a digital UI pretending to be analog. The user interface is flat...no photorealistic depictions of real world items, no shading, & no 3D effects. Everything is conveyed through the use of fonts, shapes & color. It's digital & it's proud. Overall, I like it, & the more I use it, the more I prefer it. Returning to a more digital approach means Microsoft was able to rethink the nature of applications and services and create the concept of hubs, where like functions meet similar functions w/out need for separate applications. It takes some getting used to, but the more I use it, the more natural it feels."

[via: http://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/20098622824 ]
analog  digital  technology  design  wp7  windowsphone7  microsoft  ui  ux  skeuomorph  windowsphonemetro 
august 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: What I wish Bill Gates had learned about education from Microsoft
"What most frustrates me is that Gates doesn't even seem to have learned the lessons which his company could have taught him. It is a classic case of a smart person letting what he doesn't know overwhelm what he does, which is turning out sad for all of us....

What are the Microsoft Lessons for Education? 1. Finding trumps knowing ... 2. Learning doesn't take place via lessons ... 3. There are loads of ways to do things... 4. People fall behind and they race ahead, where you are at any moment really doesn't matter... 5. The blank sheet is better... 6. It takes educators to let learners use the tools in front of them."
billgates  education  technology  microsoft  tcsnmy  lcproject  policy  influence  understanding  learning  experience  rttt  nclb  gatesfoundation  money  power  ignorance  tracking  standardization  agesegregation  standards  accountability  2010  open  cheating  choice  individualized  business  elitism  irasocol 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Microsoft Education Competencies: All Competencies
"Individual Excellence: Building Effective Teams, Compassion...Humor, Integrity & Trust, Interpersonal Skill, Listening, Managing Relationships, Managing Vision & Purpose, Motivating Others, Negotiating, Personal Learning & Development, Valuing Diversity"

[via: http://stevemiranda.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/what-big-companies-like-microsoft-are-looking-for-in-job-applicants/ ]
microsoft  development  education  training  hr  standards  competency  competencies  leadership  21stcenturyskills  management  skills  ambiguity  qualities  tcsnmy  learning  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  whatmatters  administration 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Geek Power: Steven Levy Revisits Tech Titans, Hackers, Idealists | Magazine
"Unlike the original hackers, Zuckerberg’s generation didn’t have to start from scratch to get control of their machines. “I never wanted to take apart my computer,” he says. As a budding hacker in the late ’90s, Zuckerberg tinkered with the higher-level languages, allowing him to concentrate on systems rather than machines.
future  facebook  economics  microsoft  opensource  hackers  hacking  history  copyright  computing  computers  business  technology  programming  gamechanging  idealism  futurism  culture  books 
may 2010 by robertogreco
State of the Internet Operating System Part Two: Handicapping the Internet Platform Wars - O'Reilly Radar
"This post provides a conceptual framework for thinking about the strategic and tactical landscape ahead. Once you understand that we're building an Internet Operating System, that some players have most of the pieces assembled, while others are just getting started, that some have a plausible shot at a "go it alone" strategy while others are going to have to partner, you can begin to see the possibilities for future alliances, mergers and acquisitions, and the technologies that each player has to acquire in order to strengthen their hand.

I'll hope in future to provide a more thorough drill-down into the strengths and weaknesses of each player. But for now, here's a summary chart that highlights some of the key components, and where I believe each of the major players is strongest.

[chart here]

The most significant takeaway is that the column marked "other" represents the richest set of capabilities. And that gives me hope."
amazon  facebook  google  twitter  apple  microsoft  yahoo  future  cloudcomputing  cloud  timoreilly  web  payment  infrastructure  mediaaccess  media  monetization  location  maps  mapping  claendars  scheduling  communication  chat  email  voice  video  speechrecognition  imagerecognition  mobile  iphone  nexusone  internet  browsers  safari  chrome  books  music  itunes  photography  content  advertising  ads  storage  computing  computation  hosting  browser 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Ribbon Hero
"Ribbon Hero is a game for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2007 and 2010, designed to help you boost your Office skills and knowledge. Play games (aka "challenges"), score points, and compete with your friends while improving your productivity with Office. As a concept test, this add-in is not supported, but is an opportunity for you to try out an idea we are working on and let us know what you think. For additional challenges and the opportunity to earn more points, download Office 2010 Beta."

[via: http://www.sippey.com/2010/01/ribbon-hero.html ]
office2007  ribbon  playfulness  education  microsoft  games  development  training  powerpoint  office  excel  play 
january 2010 by robertogreco
ITL Research: Innovative Teaching and Learning
"ITL Research is a multiyear global research program designed to investigate the factors that promote the transformation of teaching practices and the impact those changes have on students’ learning outcomes across a broad range of country contexts."
teaching  learning  microsoft  education  research 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: The Pivotal Education "Innovation" of the Decade
"I'm generally of the view that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to education, and a lot of standard discourse about "change" is really just pendulum-swinging. But I think there is at least one new thing from the past decade (in US public, primary and secondary education) which deserves special mention: schools completely and unabashedly optimized to increase the scores on two (or three or one) specific tests, especially new schools built from the ground up for that specific purpose....Honorable Mention #1: Broad Academy
innovation  education  testing  assessment  optimization  olpc  broadacademy  microsoft  tomhoffman  2009  00s  2008 
january 2010 by robertogreco
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