Sarah Palin’s English
In fact, a lot of what Sarah Palin says sounds like it’s been poorly translated from the Latin. With her “he who” and “one who,” she’d sound almost Ciceronian if it weren’t for the holes in her logic and the way those complicated sentences sometimes dribble off into vaguely sinister, possibly offensive nonsense.
Activist Engineering
We’re better than this. As software engineers and designers, we’re in the room when decisions are shaped, and the only ones who have the power to actually execute them. It’s our responsibility not to forsake the people who trust the apps we make with our silence. To stand up and refuse to implement unethical systems and dark patterns. And even more, to educate stakeholders on the real human costs of their business decisions: the time, attention, money, and trust of their customers.

It’s harder, yes, and riskier. But they can’t build it without us. We get a say. Even if it’s not in that meeting, we can think about the goals they’re trying to accomplish and propose alternatives. We don’t have to hide in our sit-stand nap pods and eye-roll while we engineer a worse world. We can do more than write code. We can research and present better alternatives. We can write memos and make a slide decks to convince them of of our position. We can be activist engineers.

Even though these bad ideas may buttress the metric-of-the-week, they’re at the direct expense of consumer trust and customer satisfaction. They’re a tax on our company’s reputation. We have to push the people making the decisions to measure more than just the number they’re trying to increase. Look at reviews, net promoter score, social media mentions, and team morale. All of these trends matter to the long-term health of the company, and should be treated as such.
design  ethics  blog 
4 days ago
What Facebook's On This Day shows about the fragility of our online lives
But there’s more to learn from the On This Day feature than simply another lesson in how creepy Facebook is and how difficult it is to get away from. Certainly the discomfort we feel in the face of these unwelcome “looks back” is partially to do with Facebook’s invasive qualities, and the revelation of how much of ourselves we have volunteered to it. But part of the palpable dissonance clearly comes from the fact that many of our posts were never intended to become “memories” in the first place. An important question gets raised here: what’s the purpose of all this “content” we serve to platforms, if it’s useless in constructing a remotely valuable history of ourselves? Are we creating anything that’s built to last, that’s worth reflecting on, or have social media platforms led us to prize only the thoughts of the moment?

These platforms have led to a shift in the daily computer user’s thinking and self-expression. In a world of status updates and tweets the longform idea starts to become a luxurious rarity; our primary means of receiving and processing news and culture becomes the “take”, a shareable response designed for live conversation and the ideas of the day, not for the authority of permanence. So many of the things we post lose energy and purpose outside of their intended moment. Even some of my own columns I’ve written on daily issues startle me, in that in five years – no, even in one year – the context will have well and truly passed, leaving ideas dangling, illogical, useless outside their time.
facebook  blog 
4 days ago
Netflix wants to ditch 5-star ratings
Netflix wants to ditch its five-star-rating system and find a better one, according to the company’s CPO, Neil Hunt.

The problem, Hunt tells Business Insider, is that people subconsciously try to be critics. When they rate a movie or show from one to five stars, they fall into trying to objectively assess the “quality,” instead of basing the stars on how much “enjoyment” they got out of it.

Here's an example. Let's say you had fun watching a crappy movie, but still gave it a two-star rating because you know it's not a "good" film. That presents Netflix with a problem. The system thinks you hated the movie.
netflix  blog 
5 days ago
Netflix's most important metric
Netflix has been looking to change its five-star rating system because the company thinks people tend to rate shows based on how objectively good they consider them, and not how much they enjoyed watching them.
netflix  blog 
5 days ago
With Pour-Over, the Coffee Machine Is Just a Human
To choose pour-over coffee instead of Keurig, then, isn’t entirely a choice of human craft over machine labor. It’s more an issue of priorities—craft depends on processes that are beholden to people, creating an intimate relationship in which the human producer is valued above the anonymity of mass production, even when both play necessary roles. In the Keurig, the means of making coffee are abstracted and hidden inside an opaque, plastic shell; the human deliberation of the pour-over method makes visible what the Keurig abstracts.
coffee  blog 
5 days ago
The Useless Agony of Going Offline
At the end of the experiment, I wasn’t dying to get my phone back or to access Facebook. I just wanted to get back to being better informed. My devices and the Internet, as much as they are sometimes annoying and frustrating and overflowing with knuckleheads, help me to do that. If getting outside and taking walks, or sitting in silence, or walking dogs, or talking with loved ones on the phone got me to that same place, I’d be more than happy to change things up.
socialmedia  information  blog 
6 days ago
How to become a successful consultant : LifeShifter Articles
Send an email to everyone you know that you think may be able to help with getting you leads and let them know you are available to consult. Personal notes are best. Think of something useful to share with the contact such as a link, news, recommendation of a restaurant or whatever they are into - whatever might be useful to them then let them know you have transitioned and are available for consulting and bullet point the exact kinds of companies you want to work with and mention you would appreciate any intros they can make to any relevant organisations.

As you start consulting, meet with as many people as you can in person, over coffee/tea/a drink to see what opportunities may exist. Pay for their drink. As you get busier, try to meet with at least 2 people a week on an ongoing basis.

Research and identify the organisations you are interested in working with then reach out to them directly and introduce yourself and how you can help. The goal is to get them on the phone so you can learn about their needs and then offer how you can help. A meeting might not result in a project immediately, but could result in a project at some point - anywhere from a few weeks, to a few months or a year later.

Position yourself as an expert by speaking, writing, sharing advice and becoming the “go to” person for your skills.
6 days ago
Hospitals Employ Email ‘Empathy’ To Help Doctors And Patients Keep In Touch
Startups like HealthLoop are promising that their technologies will help patients stick to their treatment and recovery regimens, avoid a repeat hospital stay, and be more satisfied with their care. Similar companies in the “patient engagement” industry include Wellframe, Curaspan, and Infield Health.

HealthLoop’s technology is being tested at reputable medical centers including the Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente-Southern California, the University of California, San Francisco, and the Newport Orthopedic Institute in Orange County, company officials said.

Doctors can send daily emails with information timed to milestones in surgery prep and recovery and ask patients or caregivers for feedback on specific issues patients may face during recovery.

The doctors may write their own email scripts, as Newport Orthopedics’ physicians did, or use the company’s suggested content. An online dashboard helps doctors and administrators keep track of which patients are doing well and who might need more follow-up care. Patients can also communicate with office staff about medications and office visits. Their responses to daily emails can trigger a call from the doctor’s office.

A patient might see this message: “How are you? Let me know so I can make sure you’re okay. I have four questions for you today.”
personalai  healthcare  ai  blog 
6 days ago
The internet bundle is already here
The bundle is already here, it came from places we haven't been watching closely enough, and it has many names. There's more than enough doomsaying about the issues related to Instant Articles, Internet.org, and Binge On. Instead, I'd like to take a minute to doomsay what could become the other opponents to the kind of free, transparent, and open internet we all want: Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Facebook M, and Google Now.

These intelligent assistants are great. I use them every day and expect I will continue to use them for, well, ever. But there's a problem that's built into them: they only seem to work with certain parts of the web and — here's the real rub — certain apps.
netneutrality  blog  ai  bots  personalai 
7 days ago
A Minimum Viable Product Is Not a Product, It's a Process
An MVP is a process that you repeat over and over again: Identify your riskiest assumption, find the smallest possible experiment to test that assumption, and use the results of the experiment to course correct.

When you build a product, you make many assumptions. You assume you know what users are looking for, how the design should work, what marketing strategy to use, what architecture will work most efficiently, which monetization strategy will make it sustainable, and which laws and regulations you have to comply with. No matter how good you are, some of your assumptions will be wrong. The problem is, you don’t know which ones. 1.

In a post-mortem of more than 100 startups, CB Insights found that the number one cause of startup failure (42% of the time) was “no market need.” Nearly half of these startups spent months or even years building a product before they found out that they were wrong in their most central assumption: that someone was interested in that product in the first place.

The only way to find that out—the only way to test your assumptions—is to put your product in front of real users as quickly as possible. And when you do, you will often find that you have to go back to the drawing board. In fact, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board not just once, but over and over again.
lean  mvp  startup  blog 
9 days ago
The Secret Cost of Research
The reason design projects that neglect research fail isn’t because of a lack of knowledge. It’s because of a lack of shared knowledge. Creating something of any complexity generally requires several different people with different backgrounds and different priorities to collaborate on a goal. If you don’t go through an initial research process with your team, if you just get down to designing without examining your assumptions, you may think your individual views line up much more than they do. Poorly distributed knowledge is barely more useful than no knowledge at all.

Research is necessary for a successful design project because it gives you a shared basis for decision-making, grounded in evidence rather than in sheer authority or tenacity. And this saves time and money.
research  blog 
9 days ago
Powerful people are terrible at making decisions together
The very traits that compel people toward leadership roles can be obstacles when it comes to collaboration. The result, according to a new study, is that high-powered individuals working in a group can be less creative and effective than a lower-wattage team.
Researchers from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, undertook an experiment with a group of healthcare executives on a leadership retreat. They broke them into groups, presented them with a list of fictional job candidates, and asked them to recommend one to their CEO. The discussions were recorded and evaluated by independent reviewers.
The higher the concentration of high-ranking executives, the more a group struggled to complete the task. They competed for status, were less focused on the assignment, and tended to share less information with each other. Their collaboration skills had grown rusty with disuse.
management  collaboration  blog 
11 days ago
How Facebook Squashed Twitter
Facebook, meanwhile, in 2009 made perhaps the most significant change to their service since the introduction of the News Feed, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that said change is roughly correlated with Twitter’s slowdown in growth: the News Feed added items beyond friends and family status updates, and it switched from being chronological to being algorithmic. Yes, the early adopters who had gone to the trouble to tune their feed complained, but the real beneficiaries were users who didn’t want to go to the trouble of making sure they saw something interesting — whether related to friends and family or not — whenever they visited Facebook. And, starting in 2009, those users had even less motivation to get Twitter working: Facebook was good enough.

Or, to put it in Twitter terms, Facebook has developed its own interest graph that is far more powerful and effective and easier-to-use than Twitter’s ever was. Yes, Twitter still owns niches like NBA Twitter, and news hounds like myself (and most of you reading this article) will continue to find it essential, but for nearly everyone else in the world5 it is Facebook that is the first thing people check, not just in the morning but in all of the empty spaces of their lives. In short, it’s not simply that Twitter needs to convince users to give the service a second-chance, something that is already far more difficult than getting users to sign up for the first time; it’s that even if the service magically had the perfect on-boarding experience leading to the perfect algorithmically-driven feed, it’s not clear why the users it needs6 would bother looking up from their Facebook feeds.
facebook  blog  twitter 
12 days ago
An End to Parking?
Unlike human drivers, robot cars wouldn't need to look up the route or the location of the nearest passenger, so they wouldn't waste time dithering, as humans do. Robot cars could also drive much more closely to one another, packing far more vehicles onto a street. (Computer scientist Peter Stone even created software that would let robot cars do away with traffic lights; instead of stopping at an intersection, they would simply weave around one another, navigating street corners nearly 10 times faster than cars do today.)

What's more, they'd never need to park. At the University of Texas-Austin, Kara Kockelman—a professor of transportation engineering—modeled the impact of autonomous ride-sharing vehicles and found that each one could replace up to a dozen regular cars. The robocars could drive all day long, stopping only to refuel or for maintenance; at night, when there was less demand, they could drive out to a remote parking spot on the outskirts of town. The upshot, Kockelman figures, is that if you shifted the entire city to autonomous cars, it would need a staggering 90 percent less parking than it needs today. It'd be speedy travel: In Kockelman's model, when people called for a car, one typically came along in about 20 seconds. It'd be profitable: When she spec'd out the cost of running an Uber-like fleet of robot cars, she calculated it would cost $70,000 to buy and deploy each vehicle, but that each would earn a 19 percent profit on investment every year. And rides would only be about $1 per mile, even if just a single passenger rode at a time—half as cheap as today's typical Austin cab fare.
cars  transportation  urbandesign  blog  selfdriving 
12 days ago
Anywhere but Medium
We can avoid this, it's not too late. You have a choice. Post your writing to places other than Medium. And when you see something that's interesting and not on Medium, give it some extra love. Push it to your friends. Like it on Facebook, RT it on Twitter. Give people more reasons to promote diversity on the web, not just in who we read, but who controls what we read. 
medium  openweb 
12 days ago
Keeping Up with Tim Cook's Apple
Apple is also a company of secrets. I believe their latest and greatest software is often intended for hardware that hasn’t shipped. We’ve already established proper testing requires testing all possible devices. But that can’t happen for Apple software developers who target hardware still on the drawing board. Worse still, app developers can’t test an application of a framework without the necessary hardware.

So if Apple relies on third parties to test their frameworks, they have to wait until the target hardware also ships. Only then can they observe a true, rigorous test of their new frameworks.

Consider the skills required of Tim Cook’s role—Chief of Operations—before becoming CEO. Apple is a large manufacturing business. From the outside, this would require an elaborate logistical machine to manufacture and procure enough hardware components for a future product. Timing must be planned years in advance. If the right components don’t exist when Apple wants to ship a new product, they can’t deliver that product. It appears Tim Cook’s ascent during his tenure at Apple is due to their manufacturing pipeline becoming the most efficient in the world.

Tim must have a mind for logistics to understand and grapple the manufacturing problems faced by a company of Apple’s size and complexity.

That is the same mind I believe tackled Apple’s biggest problem: How do they ship frameworks and new technologies to support hardware that won’t exist for years? Harder even, how do they keep it a secret and share this technology with millions of developers so it can be properly tested?
apple  technology  blog 
13 days ago
Guilt And Shame As A UI Design Element
The worst shame offender of all, however, is quickly becoming the mailing list opt-out guilt trip. When visiting a website, a pop-up implores you to sign up for their fantastic mailing list. The only way to get rid of this list is to click on the fine print at the bottom. But too often, this doesn’t merely say “Opt out” or “No thanks.”
No. It forces you to click a statement acknowledging you are a terrible, deplorable, disgusting human being.
It is not just enough that you don’t want to subscribe to the mailing list about political news. You must admit that “no, I DON’T care about being well-informed and reading great journalism.”
content  blog  ethics 
13 days ago
The Edges
When I use a sketching program on my computer, it runs as a standalone, sovereign application, and therefore using it is straightforward, if not easy. But when I use a video conferencing application on my computer, it has to talk to multiple correspondents on their various computers and browsers, each one with their different brands of microphones and web cameras, and then the image is sent to a projector, and the sound is sent to external speakers. Each different product by each different vendor has built into it just a small amount of uncertainty about the behavior of the other guy.
From the user’s point of view, that well-designed button loses a lot of its clarity. When all or part of that button’s function, purpose, state, or consequences take effect in another vendor’s product, there is every likelihood that the situation has neither been fully thought out nor verified in real-world conditions. When I push “Submit” on a website, I generally know what that means on that website, but I may have no idea what that means on a related or connected site.

What each organization has to do today is to regard the edges of its products with as much diligence and attention as they give the center. The quality of both their outside system connections (known as application program interfaces, or APIs) and their user interfaces demand levels of expertise and investment that have historically fallen short.
usability  blog 
13 days ago
“One Damn Slide After Another”: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech
PowerPoint provides a common infrastructure, a template for the organization of speech, and for the logic of argumentation. As such, it shapes and produces the world. Nevertheless, the application has been almost entirely unremarked upon by critical scholars of media, technology, and the digital humanities. Why? Despite extraordinary claims about the total domination of algorithms, protocols, the digital, bits, and information, the material conditions of mundane software use go largely under-recognized as key sites for cultural work. Where, for example are the books about tax software, bug databases, or personal calendaring applications? Perhaps the omission is part of a larger failure to enact an everyday turn. Perhaps it is simply hard to see the forest for the trees.
history  software  powerpoint  blog 
13 days ago
Words of welcome
No intricate JavaScript; no smooth animations; just some words on a screen encouraging a human connection.
onboarding  blog 
14 days ago
Highlight the power of creativity from below
For example, during the workshop it was said that it does not make much sense to see waste pickers as complete victims. It makes more sense to see them as small-scale entrepreneurs who are creating wealth. They are not excluded, but they are not being recognized for what they are doing. Through skilled sorting and recycling, they are giving material that others regard as worthless new value. This change of perspective has gigantic implications, and not least for climate change.

– People generally are very creative and innovative. Many anthropological case studies have shown that. If development happens, it does not happen just through large-scale and “top-down” projects, but thanks to some sort of self help at the very lowest level. But often this creativity from below is not appreciated by the authorities or the wider society. Waste pickers who are sidelined or even prosecuted by authorities are just one of many examples. So, this is a wonderful opportunity for anthropologists to jump in and try to change public policies that prevent people from helping themselves.
anthropology  urbandesign  blog 
15 days ago
The Fidelity Curve: How to weigh the costs and benefits of creating UI mockups
The purpose of making sketches and mockups before coding is to gain confidence in what we plan to do. I’m trying to remove risk from the decision to build something by somehow “previewing” it in a cheaper form. There’s a trade-off here. The higher the fidelity of the mockup, the more confidence it gives me. But the longer it takes to create that mockup, the more time I’ve wasted on an intermediate step before building the real thing.

I like to look at that trade-off economically. Each method reduces risk by letting me preview the outcome at lower fidelity, at the cost of time spent on it. The cost/benefit of each type of mockup is going to vary depending on the fidelity of the simulation and the work involved in building the real thing.
blog  wireframing  prototyping 
15 days ago
The strange life of Q-tips, the most bizarre thing people buy
"People have been led to think that it's normal to clean their ears — they think that ear wax is dirty, that it's gross or unnecessary," he said. "But that's not true at all."

Fitzgerald likens ear wax to tears, which help lubricate and protect our eyeballs. Wax, he says, does something similar for the ear canal, where the skin is thin and fragile and highly susceptible to infection.

"Your body produces it [ear wax] to protect the ear canal," Fitzgerald said. "What you're taking out is supposed to be in there. There's a natural migration that carries the wax out when left alone."

Even if our ears were meant to be cleaned, the truth is that Q-tips would still be a terrible thing to use, he says. The shape, size, and texture of cotton swabs is such that inserting them into your ears tends to push wax inward, toward your ear drum, rather than woo it out.
culture  blog 
15 days ago
What the world’s best cities will look like in 2030
First, the city of the future should have the infrastructure and transportation links to address the needs of citizens of all generations. Second, each city should build new housing options to enable older citizens to “age in place.” Thirdly, each city should include access to community health programs with innovative medical technology for seniors. And finally, the city of the future should have plenty of opportunities for continuing work, education, arts and recreation for all ages.
urbandesign  blog 
16 days ago
The Facebook-Loving Farmers of Myanmar
There is a phrase repeated over and over again during my time in Myanmar: From no power to solar, from no banks to digital currencies, from no computers and no internet to capable smartphones with fast 3G connections. It is the mantra of consultants working in these emergent economies. And these emergent economies have one colossal advantage over the entrenched and techno-gluttonous west: There is little incumbency.

There is, however, instability—in government and currency. It’s one of the reasons why a country like Myanmar is just now getting these connections, these devices. The instability significantly increases risk for outside investors and companies. But the residual effect of that instability is a lack of incumbency and traditional infrastructure. And so there is no incumbent electric giant monopolizing rural areas to fight against solar, there is no incumbent bank which will lobby against bitcoin, there are no expectations about how a computer should work, how a digital book should feel. There is only hunger and curiosity. And so there is a wild and distinct freedom to the feeling of working in places like this. It is what intoxicates these consultants. You have seen and lived within a future, and believe—must believe—you can help bring some better version of it to light here. A place like Myanmar is a wireless mulligan. A chance to get things right in a way that we couldn’t or can’t now in our incumbent laden latticeworks back home.
ethnography  facebook  blog 
16 days ago
Changing the Conversation about Product Management vs. UX
Product Management with no User Experience Design creates functional products that don’t make users excited. User Experience Design with no Product Management produces delightful products that don’t become businesses.
blog  prodmgmt 
18 days ago
Above Avalon: Apple Is Moving Beyond the iPhone
However, Apple thinks differently. Apple knows that one day the world will move beyond the iPhone. That day won't be tomorrow, next month, or even next year. It may not even be for another five years. Apple could very well make another trillion dollars of revenue from the iPhone. But it is inevitable that the iPhone will eventually lose relevency. Apple knows the best way of navigating such a future is to be the one that makes the iPhone irrelevant. 
18 days ago
In praise of being alone on our smartphones, together
If you take the transparency argument out of it, however, the act of being with someone – or better yet, a group of people – and on one’s phone is just the modern iteration of a key pleasure of family life: to be among those whom one is sufficiently comfortable with to drift in and out of communication. Like doing homework at the kitchen table, it is the state of doing your own thing while others do theirs around you. The point is, whatever you are doing on your phone, it would be less pleasurable were you to be doing it alone in your room.

Screen addiction alters this, and there are levels of disengagement that can turn a sentient being into a piece of furniture, but the parameters of acceptable phone use should surely widen at this point to permit some middle way between being on one’s phone and considered rude, or turning the device off altogether.
blog  socialmedia 
19 days ago
Why Big Companies Keep Failing: The Stack Fallacy
The bottleneck for success often is not knowledge of the tools, but lack of understanding of the customer needs. Database engineers know almost nothing about what supply chain software customers want or need. They can hire for that, but it is not a core competency.

The reason for this is that you are yourself a natural customer of the lower layers. Apple knew what it wanted from an ideal future microprocessor. It did not have the skills necessary to build it, but the customer needs were well understood. Technical skills can be bought/acquired, whereas it is very hard to buy a deep understanding of market needs.
innovation  enterprise  blog 
19 days ago
The Family of Things – vulnerability and the unexpected
Here’s the point (maybe, assuming I have one): The conversation about disconnection and loneliness regarding digital technology is old and tired and boring and I don’t think any of us want to have it ever again. But disconnection and loneliness can be more piercingly, viscerally felt in these digital spaces, and they can be confronted in an immediate, nuanced, and difficult way that I don’t think any other arena allows for. The ways in which we’re lonely and why. What exactly we’re afraid of. What hurts. How we want to get well. How we want to reach out and hope that there might be someone reaching back. And how we might not expect that when it happens, because private and public are after all not binary categories and connection means a hopeless number of different things.
socialmedia  technology  blog 
20 days ago
Is There a Streaming Ceiling?
The future is beginning to look like it will be a two tiered system — the top group of music fans will pay for streaming and everyone else will buy a handful of albums a year. Think of all the people you know who bought the Adele album, and I’ll bet that for many of them, it was the only album they bought this year. Many of these consumers aren’t all the interested in what streaming can offer them — they are content with hearing new music on the radio, buying one or two albums a year, and perhaps seeing one or two concerts.
music  streaming  blog 
21 days ago
Don’t tell me what my browser can’t do!
Now, I am a pretty capable technical person. When you tell me that I might be lacking WebGL, I know what you mean. I don’t lack WebGL. I was blocked out because the web site did browser sniffing instead of capability testing. But I know what could be the problem.

A normal user of the web has no idea what WebGL is and — if you’re lucky — will try to find it on an app store. If you’re not lucky all you did is confuse a person. A person who went through the effort to click a link, open a browser and wait for your thing to load. A person that feels stupid for using your product as they have no clue what WebGL is and won’t ask. Humans hate feeling stupid and we do anything not to appear it or show it.

This is what I mean by empathy for the end user. Our problems should never become theirs.
blog  progressive_enhancement 
22 days ago
The Airport Restroom of the Future
The TSB report ends with an appendix on the “Airport Restroom of the Future.” After a surprisingly detailed history of public toilets, the TSB concludes that gender-neutral restrooms would offer travelers the most relief. Not only would they better address evolving gender identity norms, but they would also reduce congestion, maintenance, and accessibility by foregoing the barriers that help create the constriction of today’s restrooms. The TSB’s mockup puts individual sink basins in stalls to avoid flow to a common sink area, and adds a spacious waiting area flanked by two “art vitrines.”
servicedesign  blog 
22 days ago
Why sad songs can be feel-good and noise music can be nice
Sad music might make people feel vicarious unpleasant emotions, found a study published last year in Frontiers in Psychology. But this experience can ultimately be pleasurable because it allows a negative emotion to exist indirectly, and at a safe distance. Instead of feeling the depths of despair, people can feel nostalgia for a time when they were in a similar emotional state: a non-threatening way to remember a sadness.
music  blog 
22 days ago
Prosperity in the Age of Intelligent Machines
The great question today isn’t whether things can be programmed or not — but what we will program them to do. Will we program the world around us to improve everyone’s quality of life? Or will we instruct merely to enrich a tiny number of people — at the cost even of their quality of life? That is the essential distinction between a redefined high and low tech: what we program the new world around us to do. These are two poles of a spectrum. Perhaps the truth, as ever, lies somewhere in between. And yet, we must struggle to make the better choice.
innovation  ethics  blog 
23 days ago
Nest Thermostat Glitch Leaves Users in the Cold - NYTimes.com
We’ve seen this before, with wireless fobs for keyless cars. They are supposed to make life easier by letting us do away with car keys, but they also make it easier for thieves to break in (by using a simple radio amplifier).

It also happened recently with Fitbit, the maker of wearable activity trackers. The company was hit with a class-action lawsuit in San Francisco asserting that the wristbands failed to “consistently and accurately record wearers’ heart rates,” which is vital for those with certain medical conditions.

I’ve heard dozens of other stories from people with connected homes who were locked out by malfunctioning door touch pads, or about newfangled security alarms going off in the middle of the night because a bug (one with wings, not a digital one) flew by.
iot  blog  nest 
24 days ago
What I Learned In 12 Weeks Of Therapy For Social Media Addiction
Though everyone says they’re addicted, she says, they aren’t necessarily motivated to solve the problem. She compares it to cigarettes. "In the early years, people were smoking like crazy," she says, "and at some point, everybody started to be aware of how harmful it is. I think the same thing will happen with social media, and how it is basically promoting poor mental health."

Social media therapy is not the only aspect of Talkspace that has yet to be fully embraced by the mainstream. The idea that therapeutic help can come from an app, in general, has been met with some skepticism. "Developing a relationship with your patients in online therapies can be a problem, because you can't see emotional cues," Madalina Sucala, a clinical psychologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai who has researched how clinicians feel about e-therapy, told The Verge, "and sometimes you can't convey empathy."
socialmedia  addiction  blog 
24 days ago
gifs are a dumb, limited file format, 
and in the end this is why they are 

they do not belong to anyone.

because of their constraints they
become a design material, to be 
played with, challenged, and 
explored. to try and domesticate
them would be missing the point.
gif  animation  design  blog 
24 days ago
MVP Is Not The Smallest Collection Of Features You Can Deliver
Ultimately, the key here is “maximum amount of validated learning”. This means being systematic about identifying our riskiest assumptions, formulating testable falsifiable hypotheses around these, and using our MVP to prove or disprove our hypotheses. Now, validated learning can certainly be accomplished via a landing page, mockup, wireframes, etc. And it may make sense to do these things. Super. But don’t call them MVPs, because they’re not delivering actual value to the customer.
mvp  startup 
24 days ago
On Net Promoter and Data Golems
This very ubiquity is a huge part of what makes Net Promoter so attractive. It’s a system with an official-sounding name that consistently produces a measurable quantitative output. The score it produces can be easily benchmarked against that of any other company. And this is why, no matter how many times it is critiqued and debunked, Net Promoter only seems to grow in power and pervasiveness. The primary value of Net Promoter is not how effectively it predicts customer loyalty, but rather how effectively it covers your ass. If you choose to use Net Promoter, it is unlikely that you will be held personally accountable for whether or not the resulting score accurately tracks growth. Net Promoter helps you fight off difficult conversations about the relative strengths and limitations of quantitative modeling— and that’s exactly the problem.

But by oversimplifying the multifaceted and highly variable human context around recommendation, Net Promoter falls into one of the biggest pitfalls of the “data-driven” age: it puts forth a data model that does not accurately reflect the underlying social model. When’s the last time you thought to yourself “I am likely to recommend this product to my friends or colleagues” as opposed to something like, “I can’t wait to tell my friend Tricia about this new slow cooker because I know that she doesn’t like to cook things on the stove”?
NPS  blog 
24 days ago
The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems
There’s a better way. For all of us. Resist the reductive seduction of other people’s problems and, instead, fall in love with the longer-term prospect of staying home and facing systemic complexity head on. Or go if you must, but stay long enough, listen hard enough so that “other people” become real people. But, be warned, they may not seem so easy to “save.”
socialentrepreneurship  blog  bestof2016 
24 days ago
The New Intimacy Economy
Pretending at closeness is really the only way forward for anyone who wants to make money on the internet. As such, watch as organizations pretend, with increasing intensity, that they are individuals. Start counting how many times platforms, services and websites entreat you in human voices, with awkward humor, for money. Watch as the things we expect to be invisible, utilitarian, start oozing emojis and winky-smileys. Even Silicon Valley, global epicenter of whitewashed empathy voids and 1-percenter sci-fi wank fantasies, is going to pretend it cares about you. Especially Silicon Valley. Ugh.

Pretending at closeness is really the only way forward for anyone who wants to make money on the internet. As such, watch as organizations pretend, with increasing intensity, that they are individuals. Start counting how many times platforms, services and websites entreat you in human voices, with awkward humor, for money. Watch as the things we expect to be invisible, utilitarian, start oozing emojis and winky-smileys. Even Silicon Valley, global epicenter of whitewashed empathy voids and 1-percenter sci-fi wank fantasies, is going to pretend it cares about you. Especially Silicon Valley. Ugh.
26 days ago
The New Intimacy Economy
We often imagine the inevitable future tech dystopia will be cold, populations marching under the eye of sterile robot overlords, our speech monitored and scrubbed of sentiment and intonation. Increasingly, though, it seems like we’re hurtling toward the opposite: A singularity of smarm, where performative — maybe even excessive — intimacy is the order of the day.
facebook  blog  socialmedia  algorithms  personalai 
26 days ago
Can Packaging Design Make You Feel Better About Eating Fast Food? McDonald's Hopes So.
Yet with its new packaging, McDonald's is betting on turning fast food consumption into a fashion statement of sorts.
mcdonalds  brand  logo 
26 days ago
The Life of Norman (and the Rise of Boring)
Now, all day, every day, redditors construct the intricacies of the life of this unremarkable man, mostly in 500 words or less. Reading through the titles feels like watching paint dry. Norman goes into his office building. Norman makes a steak for dinner. Norman receives a text message. Norman does the laundry. Norman meets a friend and they talk about how they both used to enjoy opening Microsoft Paint, drawing some squiggles, and coloring in the spaces. Life of Norman is possibly the most action-deficient fanfiction series in existence—and that’s what makes it so compelling to its creators and audience.
internet  blog 
27 days ago
The Internet Fantasy of the ‘Perfect Response’
ut the Perfect Response you cheer for and re-post frantically also tends to be one that (a) confirms whatever you already believe and (b) sticks it to someone you already despise. The Perfect Response is, in essence, not a radical new perspective, but simply a person saying a thing you agree with to a person you disagree with. It’s a kind of linguistic record-scratch, a perfectly crafted gotcha that ostensibly stops trolls in their troll-tracks and forces them to deeply reconsider the sad wreckage of their wasted lives. Which means the Perfect Response is also largely a figment of the internet’s imagination.

The Perfect Response, while apparently so bountiful in theory, is actually appealing precisely because, in practice, it’s so rare as to be almost nonexistent. It’s just a fantasy we yearn for, and to which we happily subscribe, because the hurly burly of actual internet interaction can be so imperfect, and frustrating, and wearying, and hard. The give-and-take of real debate can be all of those things as well, but it also has the attractive by-product of potentially leading to change, something no Perfect Response has ever done. Which is how we ended up with the phenomenon of the Perfect Response in the first place — it’s an imperfect response to just how difficult real communication can be.
language  internet  blog 
27 days ago
My Problem With the Bible - Brian Zahnd
Every story is told from a vantage point; it has a bias. The bias of the Bible is from the vantage point of the underclass. But what happens if we lose sight of the prophetically subversive vantage point of the Bible? What happens if those on top read themselves into the story, not as imperial Egyptians, Babylonians, and Romans, but as the Israelites? That’s when you get the bizarre phenomenon of the elite and entitled using the Bible to endorse their dominance as God’s will. This is Roman Christianity after Constantine. This is Christendom on crusade. This is colonists seeing America as their promised land and the native inhabitants as Canaanites to be conquered. This is the whole history of European colonialism. This is Jim Crow. This is the American prosperity gospel. This is the domestication of Scripture. This is making the Bible dance a jig for our own amusement.
27 days ago
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