"attention" entries

Four short links: 12 May 2009

Four short links: 12 May 2009

Storage Superfluity, Data-Driven Design, Twit-Mapping, and DIY Biohacking

  1. Lacie 10TB Storage — for what used to be the price of a good computer, you can now buy 10TB of storage. Storage on sale goes for less than $100 a terabyte. This obviously promotes collecting, hoarding, packratting, and the search technology necessary to find what you’ve stashed away. Analogies to be drawn between McMansions full of Chinese-made crap and terabyte drive full of downloaded crap. Do we need to keep it? Are there psychological consequences to clutter? (via gizmodo)
  2. In Defense of Data-Driven Design — a thoughtful response to the “Google hates design!” hashmob formed around designer Douglas Bowman’s departure from Google. When you’ve got the enormous traffic necessary to work out if miniscule changes have some minor, statistically significant effect, then sure, if you can do it quickly, why wouldn’t you? But that’s optimization that should happen at the very end of the design cycle. The cart goes after the horse. Put it the other way ‘round and you have a broken setup. It doesn’t mean horses suck. It doesn’t mean carts suck. Carts are not the enemy of horses. Optimization is not the enemy of design. Get them in the right order and you have something really useful. Get them the wrong way around and you have something broken.
  3. Just Landed: Processing + Twitter + Metacarta + Hidden Data — Jer searched Twitter for “just landed in”, used Metacarta to extract the locations mentioned, and then used Processing to build visualizations.
  4. Do It Yourself Genetic Sleuthing — MIT is starting a hotbed of DIY biologists. The 23-year-old MIT graduate uses tools that fit neatly next to her shoe rack. There is a vintage thermal cycler she uses to alternately heat and cool snippets of DNA, a high-voltage power supply scored on eBay, and chemicals stored in the freezer in a box that had once held vegan “bacon” strips. Aull is on a quirky journey of self-discovery for the genetics age, seeking the footprint of a disease that can be fatal but is easily treated if identified. But her quest also raises a broader question: If hobbyists working on computers in their garages can create companies such as Apple, could genetics follow suit? It’s unclear what those DIY-started “genetics” companies would look like–the potential is there, but it’s yet to met the right problem. (via Andy Oram)

Just Landed – 36 Hours from blprnt on Vimeo.

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When Distraction is Good

Distraction is getting a bad name. This past month, I've been heads down on a few projects and noticing something I'd not been very conscious of before now. When I get "stuck" or when I reach a natural break point on a piece of work, the menu of potential distractions includes everything from email and telephone calls to getting…

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RIP: Returned Every Email

I fell in love with email in 1983. I was a computer-savvy educator and children’s librarian teaching teachers about the new technologies 
available to them. Email came into my life, offering immediate gratification: no stamp, no trip to the post office, no phone tag, no long messages. Questions were answered quickly. Personal exchanges often felt as intimate as a written…

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Is it Time to Retire the Never-Ending List?

One afternoon, earlier this year, as I was scanning a long list that I was adding to endlessly, I realized, I'll never get it all done. That's probably just fine. But this endless list and this feeling of being completely scheduled's not working right now. I met some friends for dinner and put the question out: Do you have a…

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"Ask a Ninja" Creators Use Web for Shot at Hollywood

The founders of the "Ask a Ninja" Web video series have turned popularity into revenue and opportunities in the movie industry.

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