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 (5 Oct)

In this week’s reads: music that “thinks for itself,” economics and video games, the somewhat disturbing use of data in presidential campaigning, digitizing a personal library, and time-creation strategies.

Quotes of the week

Kill Your Business Model Before It Kills You

Ron Ashkenas

Here’s the thing: Glass doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of living up to its futuristic hype, but I understand why so many people want to believe it might. Somewhere deep down, you want to be a cyborg. We all do. In fact, most of us already are.

Ryan Block

Articles of the week

  • Wired UK: Brian Eno on music that thinks for itself
    An interview detailing the ideas behind a recent generative music project by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers, called Scape. It’s an app-album designed to never sound the same twice, and is part of a growing trend in interactive music apps.
  • Washington Post: The economics of video games
    A fascinating tale about the world of economics inside a game. The fact that two game companies hired full-fledged economist to help them build better games provides a clue as to the complexity of those game worlds and what could be learned from them.
  • FT: Inside Obama’s HQ
    FT provides an in-depth look into the Obama campaign’s use of data. It’s impressive and scary at the same time. Definitely worth a read even if it’s unlikely that those kind of mechanics will be ever applicable outside of the US. Nevertheless, all of this will dominate social media / big data decks for the next two years.
  • The Literary Platform: Building a digital library
    Rachel Coldicutt explains in great detail how she and her partner performed the painstaking, time-consuming task of digitizing the large collection of books they have at home, and what they learned in the process.
  • Caterina Fake: How to Create Time
    The serial entrepreneur outlines briefly how she makes more time for herself so that she can use her days less frantically and more productively. One interesting strategy of hers: sleeping in two shifts. (Also read the NYT article on the same topic.)

Illucia is a physical instrument for codebending

illucia: a modular codebending instrument from paper kettle on Vimeo.

Art meets code meets psychical objects. This is very now-now.

Codebending is the exploration of software with “patch points.” Patch points expose the inner workings of computer programs, and allow for atypical connections between things like games, music making software, office suites, etc. illucia is a USB device with physical jacks that correspond to software patch points, which can be connected and disconnected using patch cables. Thus, illucia is a console for routing information between computer programs, and opens strange relationships across systems that don’t usually interact – it turns systems themselves into play objects.