What we read this week (22 November)

Our favorite articles of this week. Have a great weekend.

Articles of the week

  • What Screens Want
    Brilliant web essay by Frank Chimero, and not only because he features James Burke and The West Wing. I bet that this one will come up in a lot of conversations in the next months.
  • Prada Revolutionaries
    “Bright Green has become the left's version of right-wing transhumanism: an excuse to not solve today's problems, because tomorrow's technology will fix them for us.”
  • Tom Armitage » Driftwood
    “Driftwood is a talk I gave at Playark 2013. It was meant to be a talk about leftovers (the theme of the conference being ‘reclaim’), and about Hello Lamp Post. In the writing, it turned into a broader overview of my own work – on six years of projects around cities and play.”
  • Meet The ‘Assassination Market’ Creator Who’s Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins – Forbes
    “Assassination Market, a crowdfunding service that lets anyone anonymously contribute bitcoins towards a bounty on the head of any government official–a kind of Kickstarter for political assassinations.”
  • Ross Andersen – Humanity’s deep future
    "When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?"
  • Bitcoin As Protocol | Union Square Ventures
    “There is no other widely used protocol in the world today that accomplishes this: with bitcoin anyone can make a statement (a transaction) and have this be recorded in a globally visible and fixed ledger.”
  • Content economics, part 4: scale | Felix Salmon
    "It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of the CMS when it comes to the question of who’s going to win the online-publishing wars."
  • InMoov » Project
    "Here is “InMoov”, the first life size humanoid robot you can 3D print and animate. You have a 3D printer, some building skills, This project is for you!!"
  • Apple and Google Maps, and Defaults | Matt Mullenweg
    “If Microsoft did this a decade ago we’d call for the DoJ to reopen their investigation. Apple has the best phone, best tablet, and in many ways the best operating system — we should not give them a pass for this blatantly self-interested and user-hostile stance.”
  • Instagram and Youtube — Benedict Evans
    "WhatsApp and Instagram are not in different categories – they're direct competitors for time and attention." – This spot on.

What we read this week (29 Mar)

A short story on meat and machines, a new weather service, Vice and “gonzo journalism,” Mac apps and the configuration process, and cracking passwords.

Quote of the week

They made the machines. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.

Terry Bisson

Articles of the week

An update on the Quantified Self

In this article, we check up on the current goings-on in the realm of QS.

A few months back, we put together a series of blogposts on the Quantified Self. We’ve had a look around at what’s been happening in the QS field in the meantime, and have put together this update, with some interesting new apps, products and articles.

Apps and gadgets

TenXer is a personal assistant startup, founded by Jeff Ma, who as it happens was a member of the MIT Blackjack Team. It aims to increase your productivity at work by helping you track your progress in relation to set goals. RescueTime, a competitor, operates under a similar concept, monitoring your computer activity to give you feedback on how you’re spending your time.

Alohar is a platform that includes a software development kit for Android and iPhone, and services that gather detailed data on location (how many times you’ve been there, how often you usually stay) and movement. Applications for this information could be both QS-related and commercial.

HealthyShare is the product of a cooperation between Facebook and General Electric. Just in time for the Olympics, the two giants bond for a piece of the QS cake, in the form of an app that provides the user with a selection of Olympian-sponsored challenges to promote good health.

Lift is an iPhone app designed to help people achieve any kind of goal, big or small. This startup with the rather ambitious desire to “eliminate willpower as a factor in achieving goals” has been backed by Twitter’s founders and is set to launch in August 2012.

Samsung S Health, an app for the Galaxy S III phone, allows users to track their weight, blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Nike and Microsoft have come out with Nike+ Kinect Training, an exercise program for Xbox 360. Combining two hugely popular platforms, this could be big.

The Garmin Swim watch (article in German) is designed for swimmers to keep track of their exercise.

Articles

Mashable: Wearable Tech
An infographic giving a helpful overview of various kinds of wearable gadgetry, some of which are QS-related.

The Atlantic: The Measured Man
A detailed and extensive article about the oft-mentioned Larry Smarr, who diagnosed his own case of Crohn’s disease through self-quantification, and who goes to unusual lengths to chart his own health.

San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Biohackers’ mining their own bodies’ data
Dave Asprey is a famous and extreme believer in QS and body-hacking. This article documents the measures he takes to control his own body, discusses the motives behind bodyhacking and explores associated risks.

What we read (New Years Edition)

Welcome back. We hope, you had a great time off. Here’s a collection of articles we read through the break. Let them help you fire up your brain.

Welcome back. We hope, you had a great time off. Here’s a collection of articles we read through the break. Let them help you fire up your brain.

It’s not information overload, it’s information overconsumption that’s the problem.

Clay Johnson

  • WIRED: How Smartphones Are Changing Photography: The Numbers Are In
    No day goes by where we don’t snap a few shots with our camera phones. Yet, numbers on the overall role of smart phones in the world of photography were relatively rare. This just changed. Here are some solid statistics of “regular” cameras vs camera phones.
  • Tencent vs. Sina: The Fight for China’s Social Graph
    While Europe and the US are being dominated by Facebook and Twitter, in China it’s a completely different picture. In the land behind the Great Firewall, Tencent and Sina compete for the number one spot.
  • What It Looks Like Inside Amazon.com
    Ordering things on Amazon is easy. But what happens after we click on the button then sends our order to one of Amazon’s many servers? Here is a look into the inside.
  • Interview: Gabe Newell
    “In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.” – Gabe Newell, Co-founder & CEO of Valve Entertainment, a gaming industry giant that not only developed some of the most successful games, but also is a pioneer in inventing new distribution models.
  • The year in mobile apps: Where we’ve been, where we’re going
    A brief, but nevertheless interesting wrap up about mobile apps in 2011. Attention: US centric.
  • Rediff.com Business: India needs to rethink notion of ‘smart cities’
    India (and China for that matter) are in the unique position of having to build many cities from scratch. With an ever increasing population that demands better living conditions, those countries are poised for this large scale projects. At the same time, the approach to ‘smart cities’ needs to be redefined. Technology should help the people who will be living in those cities.
  • The Spirit of Mega
    Back in 2004, Wired Magazine send out Bruce Sterling on a tour around the world to explore true ‘mega projects’. From the Eiffel tower, CERN and Shanghai, he managed to capture not only the largest accomplishments of humanity, but also the spirit that is required to build them. A fascinating, long read.
  • VICE: The Future of Pointless Things
    Julian Bleecker runs the Near Future Laboratory and he is one of the few people out there who can say that without it sounding a bit over the top. So when he gives an interview to the good people of VICE magazine, it’s obvious for us to read it. If you are interested in a healthy discussion about culture, technology, design, design fiction and reality in general, this is highly recommended.
  • GigaOm: Why Berlin is poised to be Europe’s new tech hub
    Om Malik reports back from his visit in Berlin and shares his analysis of Berlin as a startup hub. His findings aren’t terribly surprising (Berlin has lots of potential but the startup ecosystem is just beginning to bloom), yet it’s always interesting to learn a Silicon Valley veteran’s point of view about the city. Plus, plenty of our friends are featured, including our office mates Gidsy.
  • Mashable: Louis CK Earns $1 Million in 12 Days With $5 Video
    American comedian Louis CK released a holiday special: Exclusive video material of one of his gigs for $5 – no DRM or other copy protection, no marketing. Just a very simple deal. Pay 5 bucks, get a video. In 12 days he made USD 1m, cutting out his publishers completely. Point proven.
  • The age of emotions
    Tariq Krim, CEO of Jolicloud, talks about what he perceives to be the next age on the web: “The age of emotion is the third age of the Internet and marks a certain maturity in how we as application developers should serve the user and respect its inner emotional balance.”