"design" entries

Four short links: 3 February 2016

Four short links: 3 February 2016

Security Forecast, Machine Learning for Defence, Retro PC Fonts, and Cognitive Psych Research

  1. Software Security Ideas Ahead of Their Time — astonishing email exchange from 1995 presaged a hell of a lot of security work.
  2. Doxxing Sherlock — Cory Doctorow’s ruminations on surveillance, Sherlock, and what he found in the Snowden papers. What he found included an outline of intelligence use of machine learning.
  3. Old-School PC Fonts — definitive collection of ripped-from-the-BIOS fonts from the various types of PCs. Your eyes will ache with nostalgia. (Or, if you’re a young gun, wondering how anybody wrote code with fonts like that) (my terminal font is VT220 because it makes me happy and productive)
  4. Cognitive Load: Brain GemsWe distill the latest behavioural economics & consumer psychology research down into helpful little brain gems.
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Chrissie Brodigan on user research at GitHub

The O’Reilly Design Podcast: Product development, user research, and identifying blindspots.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Design Podcast, our podcast exploring how experience design—and experience designers—are shaping business, the Internet of Things, and other domains.

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In this week’s Design Podcast episode, I sit down with Chrissie Brodigan, manager of user experience research at GitHub. Brodigan will be be speaking at OReilly’s inaugural Design Conference. In this episode, we talk about user research and product development at Github, and the blindspots in product development and organizational development.

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

Our internal philosophy around research is about when we make our design decisions, we come up with hypotheses about how that design change will impact behavior as well as user experience. We may need to add a particular control to the workflow, but if it has a negative consequence on the overall experience of our users, we may decide that that’s not the right decision for us. Even if it’s helpful in one area, it causes unhappiness in another. We measure impact with controlled experiments, which a lot of people would refer to as ‘AB testing.’ We do do some variance testing, which is short term, but we also do longitudinal analysis, which is to study a cohort over a longer period of time. Internally, we’re always asking ourselves ‘Why?’

Read more…

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Four short links: 21 January 2016

Four short links: 21 January 2016

Hidden Networks, Dissolving Sensors, Spies Spy, and Redirected Walking

  1. Big Bang Data: Networks of London (YouTube) — guide to the easy-to-miss networks (fibre, CCTV, etc.) around Somerset House, where an amazing exhibition is about to launch. The network guide is the work of the deeply talented Ingrid Burrington.
  2. Sensors Slip into the Brain and then Dissolve When Done (IEEE Spectrum) — pressure and temperature monitors, intended to be implanted in the brain, that completely dissolve within a few weeks. The news, published as a research letter in the journal Nature, described a demonstration of the devices in rats, using soluble wires to transmit the signals, as well as the demonstration of a wireless version, though the data transmission circuit, at this point, is not completely resorbable. The research was published as a letter to Nature.
  3. GCHQ Proposes Surveillable Voice Call Encryption (The Register) — unsurprising, but should reiterate AGAIN that state security services would like us to live in the panopticon. Therefore, don’t let the buggers anywhere near the reins of our communication systems.
  4. These Tricks Make Virtual Reality Feel RealScientists are exploiting the natural inaccuracies in people’s own proprioception, via a technique called “redirected walking,” to create the perception of space where none exists. With redirected walking, […] users can sense they are exploring the twisting byways of a virtual city when in reality they are simply walking in circles inside a lab. Original Redirect Walking paper.

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Four short links: January 15, 2016

Four short links: January 15, 2016

Bitcoin Resolution, Malware Analysis, Website Screw-Ups, and Dronecode.

  1. The Resolution of the Bitcoin ExperimentIf you had never heard about Bitcoin before, would you care about a payments network that: Couldn’t move your existing money; Had wildly unpredictable fees that were high and rising fast; Allowed buyers to take back payments they’d made after walking out of shops, by simply pressing a button (if you aren’t aware of this “feature” that’s because Bitcoin was only just changed to allow it); Is suffering large backlogs and flaky payments; … which is controlled by China; … and in which the companies and people building it were in open civil war?
  2. Malware Analysis Repository the materials as developed and used by RPISEC to teach Malware Analysis at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Fall 2015.
  3. How Websites Screw Up Experiences (Troy Hunt) — they’re mostly signs of a to-the-death business model.
  4. Dronecode Moves Forward — Linux Foundation’s Dronecode project has 51 members, is used commercially, and has technical working groups looking at camera and gimbal controls; airspace management; and hardware/software interfaces.
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Four short links: 13 January 2016

Four short links: 13 January 2016

Object Lessons, Data Programming, Generational Adoption, and Product Observations

  1. Object Lessons — Bogost and Schaberg edit a series about the hidden lives of ordinary things, from advocates to attendants, heresies to shares. For anyone who cares about products.
  2. A Data Programming CS1 Course (PDF) — We have found that students can be motivated to learn programming and computer science concepts in order to analyze DNA, predict the outcome of elections, detect fraudulent data, suggest friends in a social network, determine the authorship of documents, and more. The approach is more than just a collection of “nifty assignments”; rather, it affects the choice of topics and pedagogy.
  3. Cars and the Future (Ben Thompson) — This generational pattern of adoption will, in the history books, look sudden, even as it seems to unfold ever so slowly for those of us in the here and now — especially those of us working in technology. The pace of change in the technology industry — which is young, hugely driven by Moore’s Law, and which has largely catered to change-embracing geeks — is likely the true aberration. After all, the biggest mistake consistently made by technologists is forgetting that for most people technology is a means to an end, and for all the benefits we can list when it comes to over-the-top video or a network of on-demand self-driving vehicles, change and the abandonment of long-held ideals like the open road and a bit of TV after supper is an end most would prefer to avoid.
  4. CES 2016 Observations for Product PeopleThe big challenge is no surprise. Software development is unable to keep up with the hardware. What is going to separate one device from another or one company from another will be the software execution, not just the choice of chipset or specs for a peripheral/sensor. It would be hard to overstate the clear opportunity to build winning products using stronger software relative to competitors. Said another way, spending too many cycles on hardware pits you against the supply chain for most products. The whole piece is solid.
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Four short links: 12 January 2016

Four short links: 12 January 2016

Civilian Drone Market, Things Learned, Playful Things, and Bottom-up CS

  1. Overview of the Civilian Drone Market (DIY Drones) — Six categories: toy quadcopters; FPV/racing; consumer camera drones; prosumer camera drones; consumers, industrial, agricultural, NGO and Research drones; winged and VTOL drones.
  2. 52 Things I Learned in 2015 — very high strike rate of “interesting!”
  3. How to Turn Complicated Things into Playful Things (Tom Whitwell) — Children are the apex players, at the top of the hierarchy. Only when they’re absent will adults play. […] You know when play is working, because the room gets noisy.
  4. Bottom Up Computer ScienceA free, online book designed to teach computer science from the bottom end up. Topics covered include binary and binary logic, operating systems internals, toolchain fundamentals, and system library fundamentals.
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Four short links: 14 December 2015

Four short links: 14 December 2015

Design for the Surveilled, Concept Learning, Media Access, and Programming Challenges

  1. Please Stop Making Secure Messaging Systems — how to design for the surveilled, and the kinds of tools they need BEYOND chat.
  2. Human Level Concept Learning through Probabilistic Program Induction — paper and source code for the nifty “learn handwriting from one example” paper that’s blowing minds.
  3. Access Denied (The Awl) — media had power because they had an audience, but social media gives celebrities, sports people, and politicians a bigger audience than media outlets. So, the media outlets aren’t needed, and consequently, they’re losing “access.” A reporter that depends on access to a compelling subject is by definition a reporter compromised. A publication that depends on cooperation from the world that it specializes in is likewise giving up something in terms of its ability to tell the truth about it. And nearly the entire media as it exists today is built around these negotiations.
  4. Stockfightera series of free, fun programming challenges […] suitable for programmers at all experience levels.
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Four short links: 2 December 2015

Four short links: 2 December 2015

Regulating Addictive Attention, Microservice Middleware, Better 3D Scanning, and Anti-Disassembly Tricks

  1. If the Internet is Addictive, Why Don’t We Regulate It? — an excellent look at behaviourism, gambling machine flow, design-for-addiction, attention, regulation. As Schüll puts it: ‘It just seems very duplicitous to design with the goal of capturing attention, and then to put the whole burden onto the individual.’
  2. Zipnish — using varnish as middleware for your microservices, with Zipnish to create Zipkin-style analysis of your API performance.
  3. Using Polarisation to Improve 3D Scanning (PDF) — The proposed technique can resolve finer detail than some laser scannners
  4. Anti-Disassembly Tricks Used in Malware — also “things I remember from trying to break copy protection in 1980s games.”
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Mike Kuniavsky on the tectonic shift of the IoT

The O'Reilly Radar Podcast: The Internet of Things ecosystem, predictive machine learning superpowers, and deep-seated love for appliances and furniture.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Radar Podcast to track the technologies and people that will shape our world in the years to come.

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In this week’s episode of the Radar Podcast, O’Reilly’s Mary Treseler chats with Mike Kuniavsky, a principal scientist in the Innovation Services Group at PARC. Kuniavsky talks about designing for the Internet of Things ecosystem and why the most interesting thing about the IoT isn’t the “things” but the sensors. He also talks about his deep-seated love for appliances and furniture, and how intelligence will affect those industries.

Here are some highlights from their conversation:

Wearables as a class is really weird. It describes where the thing is, not what it is. It’s like referring to kitchenables. ‘Oh, I’m making a kitchenable.’ What does that mean? What does it do for you?

There’s this slippery slope between service design and UX design. I think UX design is more digital and service design allows itself to include things like a poster that’s on a wall in a lobby, or a little card that gets mailed to people, or a human being that they can talk to. … Service design takes a slightly broader view, whereas UX design is — and I think usefully — still focused largely on the digital aspect of it.

Read more…

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Four short links: 13 November 2015

Four short links: 13 November 2015

CEO Optimism, Fibbing Networking, GPU TensorFlow, and GUI Font Design

  1. CEO OptimismCEOs always act on leading indicators of good news, but only act on lagging indicators of bad news. (Andy Grove)
  2. Fibbing — lie to your router table to get the most from your network. Clever!
  3. TensorFlow for GPUs — Amazon image of TensorFlow ready to run on their GPU compute cloud.
  4. metaflop — UI for metafont that makes it super-easy to design your own sweet-looking font. (via BoingBoing)
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