TW Reads: November 2014

Five of our favorite articles from this month featuring Qinn Norton and Dan Hill.

What is required is not less technology, but more compassion.

Laurie Penny

  • Clockwork City, Responsive City, Predictive City and Adjacent Incumbents
    Dan Hill about the impact of predictive analytics on cities is not only a good critic of some “smart cities thinking.” It also features a convenient list of links to all the problem with Uber (minus the one from this week).
  • Against Productivity
    Quinn Norton might just be our favorite writer of this year. But even by her standard, this an exceptional piece that beautifully questions our common thinking. This one will stick for quite some time.
  • The Dads of Tech
    Astra Taylor and Joanne McNeil are challenging our assumptions about the gendered history of tech. Also, strong criticism of the tech pundit caste.
  • Make technological utopia easier with this one weird trick
    Paul Graham Raven picks up Kevin Kelly’s “desirable-future haikus“ thing and shows how we can have motivating and positively challenging utopias by leaving one all too common specifier out of the equation.
  • Sharing you can Believe in
    Cameron Tonkinwise can look back on more than a decade of researching what is known today as the “sharing economy” (never without the quotes). So he shows us what a complex and serious criticism of this current hype can look like.

What we read this week (22 Feb)

A reality check on 3D printing, how voice commands on Android are being improved with neural networks, what the skyscraper of the future could look like, the dangers of being judged by our data, and trying to diagnose traffic problems with the help of SimCity.

Quote of the week

By trying to understand more of the world, we’ll probably feel like we understand less.

Roel van der Ven

Articles of the week

What we read this week (11 May)

This week, we read about a new approach to the alarm clock, shopping by Facebook Likes, considering the opportunities and dangers of the IoT, what a networked city of the future might look like, and James Bridle’s thoughts on digital culture.

Quotes of the week

The internet is human fanfiction.

-James Bridle, at NEXT12

Geography is now only about how far your body is away from your phone.

-Alexander Bard, at NEXT12

Articles of the week

  • Huffington Post: An Interview With James Bridle of the New Aesthetic
    James Bridle coined the term “New Aesthetic,” and so is the appropriate person to approach about what it means. For exactly a year, he used a tumblelog by the same name to collect examples of where the virtual overlapped with the tangible to form a new aesthetic. He tells Robert Urquhart of the Huffington Post about his observations in digital culture.
  • Deutsche Welle: The Internet of Things and sustainability
    Our friend Martin Spindler, a freelance IoT consultant, tells the Deutsche Welle about what IoT can do for us, and why it’s important to explore the benefits of possible implementations before dismissing them as being too risky in terms of privacy and data security.
  • design mind: The Networked Urban Environment
    Jan Chipchase, chief researcher at frog, gives a great primer on networked cities in this article. He shows the opportunities but also explains the questions we have to ask about all the data creation and the involvement of private companies in our shared city lives.
  • Selectism: UNIQLO Wake Up App
    Japanese apparel producer UNIQLO shows how brands can add both value for, and touchpoints with, their customers. In this case, they built a gorgeous multi-platform wake up app that pulls in live ambient data to create customized wake up ring tones.
  • The Verge: Real-time Facebook ‘likes’ displayed on Brazilian fashion retailer’s clothes racks
    C&A is experimenting with live data in Brazil. They’ve equipped their clothes hangers with a display that tells shoppers how many Facebook likes an item of clothing has received, in real time. It will be interesting to see how this feature affects consumer behavior and whether it catches on. A good example of how IoT might be integrated into everyday life.

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.”