- Hands on Learning (HuffPo) — Unfortunately, engaged and enlightened tinkering is disappearing from contemporary American childhood. (via BoingBoing)
- Dark Patterns (Slideshare) — User interfaces to trick people. (via Beta Knowledge)
- Bill Gates is Naive: Data Are Not Objective (Math Babe) — examples at the end of biased models/data should be on the wall of everyone analyzing data. (via Karl Fisch)
ENTRIES TAGGED "design"
Enlightened Tinkering, In-Browser Tor Proxy, Dark Patterns, and Subjective Data
Icon Font Fun, Rails Security, Indie Economics, and GitHub MITMed in China
- Icon Fonts are Awesome — yes, yes they are. (via Fog Creek)
- What the Rails Security Issue Means for Your Startup — excellent, clear, emphatic advice on how and why security matters and what it looks like when you take it seriously.
- The Indiepocalypse (Andy Baio) — We’re at the beginning of an indiepocalypse — a global shift in how culture is made, from a traditional publisher model to independently produced and distributed works.
- China, GitHub, and MITM — No browser would prevent the authorities from using their ultimate tool though: certificates signed by the China Internet Network Information Center. CNNIC is controlled by the government through the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. They are recognized by all major browsers as a trusted Certificate Authority. If they sign a fake certificate used in a man-in-the-middle attack, no browser will warn of any usual activity. The discussion of how GitHub (or any site) could be MITM’d is fascinating, as is the pros and cons for a national security agency to coopt the certificate-signing NIC.
Open Source Metrics, BitTorrent to TV, Tumblr Value, and Variable Fiction
- Open Source Metrics — Talking about the health of the project based on a single metric is meaningless. It is definitely a waste of time to talk about the health of a project based on metrics like number of software downloads and mailing list activities. Amen!
- BitTorrent To Your TV — The first ever certified BitTorrent Android box goes on sale today, allowing users to stream files downloaded with uTorrent wirelessly to their television. The new set-top box supports playback of all popular video formats and can also download torrents by itself, fully anonymously if needed. (via Andy Baio)
- Tumblr URL Culture — the FOO.tumblr.com namespace is scarce and there’s non-financial speculation. People hoard and trade URLs, whose value is that they say “I’m cool and quirky”. I’m interested because it’s a weird largely-invisible Internet barter economy. Here’s a rant against it. (via Beta Knowledge)
- Design-Fiction Slider Bar of Disbelief (Bruce Sterling) — I love the list as much as the diagram. He lays out a sliding scale from “objective reality” to “holy relics” and positions black propaganda, 419 frauds, design pitches, user feedback, and software code on that scale (among many other things). Bruce is an avuncular Loki, pulling you aside and messing with your head for your own good.
Comms 101, RoboTurking, Geek Tourism, and Implementing Papers
- How to Redesign Your App Without Pissing Everybody Off (Anil Dash) — the basic straightforward stuff that gets your users on-side. Anil’s making a career out of being an adult.
- Clockwork Raven (Twitter) — open source project to send data analysis tasks to Mechanical Turkers.
- Updates from the Tour in China (Bunnie Huang) — my dream geek tourism trip: going around Chinese factories and bazaars with MIT geeks.
- How to Implement an Algorithm from a Scientific Paper — I have implemented many complex algorithms from books and scientific publications, and this article sums up what I have learned while searching, reading, coding and debugging. (via Siah)
Design Trends, Researching Online Culture, Choosing Connection, and 3D Printing Creativity
- 13 Design Trends for 2013 — many of these coalesced what I’ve seen in websites recently, but I was particularly intrigued by the observation that search’s growing importance to apps is being reflected in larger searchboxes.
- How Twitter Gets In The Way of Research (Buzzfeed) — tl;dr: our culture increasingly plays outline, but scraping and otherwise getting access to the data stream of online culture sees researchers struggling in the face of data volumes and Twitter et al.’s commercial imperatives.
- The Post-Productive Economy (Kevin Kelly) — The farmers in rural China have chosen cell phones and twitter over toilets and running water. To them, this is not a hypothetical choice at all, but a real one. and they have made their decision in massive numbers. Tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions, if not billions of people in the rest of Asia, Africa and South America have chosen Option B. You can go to almost any African village to see this. And it is not because they are too poor to afford a toilet. As you can see from these farmers’ homes in Yunnan, they definitely could have at least built an outhouse if they found it valuable. (I know they don’t have a toilet because I’ve stayed in many of their homes.) But instead they found the intangible benefits of connection to be greater than the physical comforts of running water.
- Crayon Creatures — We will bring to life the kid’s artwork by modeling a digital sculpture and turning it into a real object using 3D Printing technology.
Silicon Beats Meat, Workers against Machines, Quora Design Notes, and Free Data Science Books
- Robots Will Take Our Jobs (Wired) — I agree with Kevin Kelly that (in my words) software and hardware are eating wetware, but disagree that This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. This is a race with the machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots. Ninety percent of your coworkers will be unseen machines. Most of what you do will not be possible without them. And there will be a blurry line between what you do and what they do. You might no longer think of it as a job, at least at first, because anything that seems like drudgery will be done by robots. Civilizations which depend on specialization reward work and penalize idleness. We already have more people than work for them, and if we’re not to be creating a vast disconnected former workforce then we (society) need to get a hell of a lot better at creating jobs and not destroying them.
- Why Workers are Losing the War Against Machines (The Atlantic) — There is no economic law that says that everyone, or even most people, automatically benefit from technological progress.
- Early Quora Design Notes — I love reading post-mortems and learning from what other people did. Picking a starting point is important because it will be the axis the rest of the design revolves around — but it’s tricky and not always the first page in the flow. Ideally, you should start with the page that serves the most significant goals of the product.
- Free Data Science Books — I don’t mean free as in some guy paid for a PDF version of an O’Reilly book and then posted it online for others to use/steal, but I mean genuine published books with a free online version sanctioned by the publisher. That is, “the publisher has graciously agreed to allow a full, free version of my book to be available on this site.” (via Stein Debrouwere)
Reverse PR, Cyberbullying Research, Design Notes, and Evaluating CEOs
- Amazon’s Product Development Technique — the product manager should keep iterating on the press release until they’ve come up with benefits that actually sound like benefits. Iterating on a press release is a lot less expensive than iterating on the product itself (and quicker!). (via Fast Company)
- Bullying in a Networked World — Harvard literature review on cyberbullying. (via Kinder Braver World)
- Lamps (BERG London) — design notes from a project Google did with BERG a year ago. I treat these like backstory in a novel or film: you see a little bit, but the author has imagined a complex history and world that you only see the consequences of. Similarly, BERG spend a long time making complex stories behind the simple objects and interactions they design.
- How AH Evaluates CEOs (Ben Horowitz) — my experience backs this up 150% percent. Filed under “stuff I wish I’d known a decade ago”.
SQL Indexes, Instagram Effects in JS, Evil Fake Keyboard, and Preschool UX
- Use The Index, Luke — free ebook on tuning SQL database access.
- Don’t Stick That There — USB device pretending to be a keyboard. The benefit of this is that even with USB auto-run disabled, our exploit will still work as it emulates a keyboard. No one ever blocks USB keyboards! (via David Sklar)
- Best Practices: Designing Touch Tablet Experiences for Preschoolers (Sesame Workshop) — the good people at Sesame Street Workshop tell what works and what doesn’t when you make tablet touch UIs for kids. Double Tap: Children expect immediate feedback from their touch and tend to think the app is unresponsive when a double tap is required. We suggest only using double tap to prevent a child from accidental navigation (e.g., leaving an activity, accessing parent content).
Changing Cities, Design Documentary, Non-Evil Business, and Rebuilding The Lost Web
- 10 Trends That Are Changing Cities Forever (Business Insider) — the only one of these “The n (Massive|Coming|IBM|Important|Critical|Deadly|Brobdignagian) Trends That Will Transform <noun> Forever And Herald The End of Days So Grab Your Ankles And Kiss Your Ass Goodbye Sinners ‘Cos This Is Doom Writ Large Mofos And You Better Get Your Act Together Or You’ll Be Left Behind Along With The Westboro Baptist Church and Everyone Who Ever `Liked’ Carly Rae Jepson on Facebook Yo” articles that ever said anything I was interested in reading. (via Alex Howard)
- Objectified — documentary about design. (via Jim Stogdill)
- I’m Not The Product, But I Play One On The Internet (Derek Powazek) — his point is that it’s not business model that’s to blame, it’s that companies do not respect their customers. [W]e should not assume that, just because we pay a company they’ll treat us better, or that if we’re not paying that the company is allowed to treat us like shit. Reality is just more complicated than that. What matters is how companies demonstrate their respect for their customers. We should hold their feet to the fire when they demonstrate a lack of respect.
- Rebuilding The Web We Lost (Anil Dash) — [T]here’s a huge opportunity to make a great new generation of human-friendly apps with positive social values. Cf Derek’s article above, there’s a lot of thoughtful reflection happening right now.
Evidence-Based Movie Arguments, Open Source on Github, Reality Glitches, and Lens-Up Displays
- Kiwi Bond Films Are The Most Violent (Peter Griffin) — it wasn’t always furry-footed plucky adventurers in Middle Earth, my friends. Included to show that you can take an evidence-based approach to almost any argument.
- Are Githubbers Taking Open Source Seriously? — nearly 140 of the 175 projects analyzed contain such an easily findable license information, or more precisely 78%. Or, alternatively 22% of Github projects don’t have easily findable license information. zomg. (via Simon Phipps)
- The Oh Shit (Matt Jones) — the condition of best-laid plans meeting reality. When all the drawings, sections, detailed drawings and meticulous sourcing in the world clash with odd corners of the physical world, weather, materials and not least the vagaries of human labour. It’s what Bryan Boyer calls the “Matter Battle”. He puts it beautifully: “One enters a Matter Battle when there is an attempt to execute the desires of the mind in any medium of physical matter.”
- Text Messages Direct to your Contact Lens (The Telegraph) — I want this so bad. It’s a future I can believe in. Of course, the free ones will have spam.