Things that have made my day this week:
This great interview / video by IDEO of veteran mechanical engineer and industrial designer Jim Yurchenco
Yurchenco worked on the design of the original Apple mouse, in the video he discusses his approach to design. It is also great to see him actually using real tools, rather than just tapping away at a work station. Yurchenco was retiring last week and leaves IDEO with some 80 patents to his name. Alongside the original Apple mouse Yurchenco also worked on the Palm V, in his own words:
That was a really important product for us, and the industry, Yurchenco says. “It was one of the first cases where the physical design—the feel and touch points—were considered to be as important as the performance
You can read more on Yurchenco’s work here.
Subtraction.com did a great job of collating the user interface (UI) designs done by Territory Studios for Guardians Of The Galaxy.
In the same way that Star Trek, Ghost In The Shell and Star Wars have influenced engineers, who is to say that Territory’s work won’t be the creative DNA of new interfaces in the future?
In the earlier days of the web, interactive content had a distinctly trippy feel, from site design to ‘Mind’s Eye’ videos and The Shamen’s generative screen saver. Japanese group BRDG (Bridge) have gone back to that psychedelic feel with this brilliant discordant video:
Twitter cards are something that is interesting me at work at the moment and I was particularly taken by this interactive one from Acura – the upmarket brand of Honda.
Pizza Hut Japan, have managed come up with marketing gold by creating an interactive YouTube series based around the grand opening of a pizza restaurant run by cats. I am just surprised that Jonathan Hopkins and Nando’s hadn’t done it much earlier…
Back in the day shops and businesses where digitised using RFID tags that covered everything from lose prevention in shops and libraries (shop lifting to you and I) to providing payment systems like the Octopus and Oystercard. RFID tags were passive devices with a small amount of information on them; electromagnetic waves from a reader ‘powered’ them allowing the data to be read.
Estimote’s product takes the RFID tag and asks what could be done if the tag became active, self-powered. It is compliant with Apple’s iBeacon standard using low-powered Bluetooth radio transmissions to interact with a smartphone. Estimate defines the nearable as:
… a smart, connected object that broadcasts data about its location, motion and temperature.
The information that it can provide can be dynamic, based on simple sensors included in the electronics package. At the moment nearable stickers cost some $33/unit and a default battery life for three years.
Nearables are here, introducing Estimote stickers | Estimote Blog
Anti-Piracy Lawyer Wants Domain Registrars to Silence Critics – interesting method / approach to the takedown
Android Fragmentation Report August 2014 – OpenSignal – looking at this gives an idea of the kind of challenges devs face
WPP shares rise as profits come in ahead of forecast | City A.M. – as usual Sorrell’s business forecasts are more interesting than the results.
The fashion case for mobile phone covers – FT.com – Keely Warwick, contemporary accessories buyer at Selfridges, which has increased its investment in phone and tablet cases by 30 per cent for autumn/winter 2014, says tech accessories are one of the store’s “most rapidly expanding categories” – are cellphone cases the new affordable luxury alongside make up and perfume? Back when I worked on the Palm V there was also luxury cases back then: Jean-Paul Gaultier, Mulberry, Coach et al (paywall)
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Virtual Reality (The Verge) – this feels more like a Wired magazine piece than a Verge piece, interesting nonetheless
Behind Bold Designs, A Thin Skin: Zaha Hadid Sues Publisher For Defamation | Co.Design – this could be the architectural PR home goal equivalent of the McLibel trial
The story behind the shrinking ranks of Goldman partners – Quartz – shrinking partners as it tries to cut its cloth to suit the new size of banking
Kay Tye, Maryam Shanechi, and Other Pioneering Young Technologists | MIT Technology Review – its a shame that there isn’t great industrial designers in the group, but some great technologies
Facebook Assault on Google’s DoubleClick Coming This Fall – The Information – (paywall)
But this mix from Norman Cook (Fat Boy Slim) from the beginning of the month at Cafe Mambo in Ibiza may partly make up for the rain gods.
Adult Women Now Make Up Half of All Gamers, Outnumber Boys Under 18 Years Old – Gamers gonna game. – which moves gaming back to where it was when Atari made consoles. I wonder if the proportion of men over 30 playing games is still as high as it was
Tony Alva Interview / Slam City Skates Blog – interview with one of the pioneers of skateboarding
Smart wristbands gaining traction for site-specific payments and passes | JWT Intelligence – Disney showed the way, though it could be considered to be an evolution of the likes of Octopus and Oyster cards
Jolla boss says mobile innovation has stalled | Marketing Interactive – stalled probably isn’t the word that I would use, I would say that we’ve hit a lull in mobile innovation and that innovation in general is ‘lumpy’
The Internet of Things will be vulnerable for years, and no one is incentivized to fix it | VentureBeat – keep your home dumb
Chinese internet censors target collective activities more than sensitive subjects, says Harvard report | South China Morning Post – implications in this for crisis monitoring
Why John McAfee Is Paranoid About Mobile | Dark Reading – probably a reason why the US Government is now investigating stinger usage
Most smartphone users download zero apps per month – Quartz – it kind of makes sense once I find something I tend to stick with it, am sure my app downloads would be below one a month now unless something with compelling utility comes a long. But then I don’t game
Sony selfie camera pictures leaked ahead of launch | BGR – interesting idea. I know some people who have a Chanel perfume bottle shaped iPhone case so the look and feel makes sense. Would they use this alongside an iPhone though?
Amazon China to Deliver Foreign Products Directly — China Internet Watch – Amazon is less than 3% of Chinese e-tailing
Promiscuous media: News needs to go where the people are, not the other way around – Media companies like BuzzFeed, NowThis News and Fusion are increasingly creating content that is designed to live on other apps and services rather than just including links to their websites. – Web 2.0 model repeated with attribution being the important thing since that will bring people in to then see advertising
The last time I was excited about about anything coming out of the World Mobile Congress was 2007. It was held in early February 2007, some four months before the launch of the first iPhone. Nokia was king of the world, their beautifully made hardware was made with magnesium alloy chassis’ on the E-series business handsets. Symbian was a user friendly if flakey operating system.
Nokia took business smartphones to the next level with the E90 Communicator; a powerful handset with a full sized keyboard hidden beneath the exterior of a candy-bar phone.
The e90 was a leap forward from the previous 9X00-series communicators in computing power and connectivity. The E90 supported Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, numerous bands of GSM, UMTS cellular radio and HSDPA – which heralded a near broadband web experience – network permitting. Beyond connectivity, the phone sported a decent-sized screen some 800 pixels wide, a full keyboard that I managed to type blog posts on in real-time and a GPS unit that allowed you to tag photos on Flickr or use Google Maps.
There was also a built-in camera that was ideal for use with Skype when you had a wi-fi connection. Setting up an IMAP email account was a doodle. And unlike one of the current crop of phablets I could fold the clamshell case and put in the side pocket of my carpenter jeans. I used the E90 Communicator as a lightweight laptop replacement, similar to the way I currently use the MacBook Air.
The achilles heel of the E90 Communicator was the Symbian software. I had some 3,500 contacts at the time in my computer, when I attempted to synch it across to my phone it bricked. I had to have it reflashed. It was not a memory issue, but that the OS seemed unable to handle a business contact book. I managed with a sub-set of the contacts on there. Eventually while in Hong Kong on business, the phone stopped holding a charge, it would chew through a battery in 30 minutes. I got a replacement battery for it but it made no difference. Given that mine was a developer programme model phone, no one in Shenzhen would attempt to repair the device.
The sticker in the back of the phone was like kryptonite for the most hardened shanzhai hardware hacker.
Things that made my day this week has a lot of a Japanese feel, this maybe some sort of invisible psychological hand of some sort as I am currently reading Ghost In The Shell Man-Machine Interface by Masamune Shirow, but more on that later.
First up Bose have been positioning their brand as having a love for music through a series of short films, my favourite one was about how Japanese people have taken the Jamaican dancehall sound and done their own thing with it.
Usagi Yojimbo is an American comic drawn by a Japanese American author Stan Sakai and based on classic Japanese chambara film, so you can imagine how psyched I was to know that this was a proof-of-concept prior to a possible animated film.
Toyo Tires have combined their Japanese heritage with tire technology to come up with yakatas (traditional summer weight kimonos) with a tire tread based print that still didn’t seem out of place.
Moving away from the land of the rising sun to China, Apple’s new iPad featuring Yaoband who use an iPad in a similar way to the way the Art Of Noise used the Fairlight CMI or hip-hop producers used the famous Akai MPC workstation series. It’s interesting that Apple is focusing the light back on creativity.
Finally a vintage film about the MTR in Hong Kong complete with a stuffy voiceover and pseudo-Krautrock backing track. The trains look retro-futuristic in a Logan’s Run kind of way
I was going to write a post on the ALS ice bucket challenge but Thomas Gessemer said pretty much everything that needs to be said on this Bloomberg video.
I am waiting for this to start appearing on agency presentations trying to seduce clients with promises of free advertising.
- To allow organic opportunities to engage
- Have a real-time relationships with supporters
- Don’t get obsessed with the numbers
- Social is key to spot opportunities ‘white swan’ rather than ‘black swan’ events and then rallying followers around it. Which is tough when you work in an area where this is hard to justify. Don’t expect to see it happening around prisoner rehabilitation for instance
IWC Aquatimer Deep 3 vs ORIS Aquis – Gear Patrol – Oris’ approach is a really elegant design solution
Are processors pushing up against the limits of physics? | Ars Technica – the struggle to extract greater parallelism from code. Even low-end smartphones now have multiple cores, but we’ve still not figured out how to use them well in many cases.
A portable router that conceals your Internet traffic | Ars Technica - inexpensive pocket-sized “travel router”
A brief history of USB, what it replaced, and what has failed to replace it | Ars Technica – I found an ADB connector keyboard at the weekend
Telegraph “Forgets” Its Own Stories Documenting Google “Right To Be Forgotten” Removals | Marketingland – something recursive in the nature of this and straight from the pages of Franz Kafta
VCs suck (but there’s a way you could prove me wrong) | Fortune – issues in data transparency
Number of Cars Per Household Stagnates in Japan | WSJ – peak car in Japan (paywall)
More Than a Third of Americans Have No Retirement Savings | TIME - shocking and astonishing
Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet – Atlantic Mobile – one of the nicest pieces I have read in a while. Lastly other forms of communications are harder to search or keep a record of.
Orange Bear | Facebook for Business – is it just me or is anyone else trying to see the business case / causality in this case study? It looks like a press release with bursts of numerical tourettes
Lenovo becomes China’s top smartphone supplier: IDC – interesting that Lenovo managed to get a jump on the likes of Xiaomi and Huawei
The simple reason smartphones are getting bigger | Quartz – APAC market preferences dictating global move
Back when I was at Ruder Finn, I gave variations of the presentation below
Google’s zero moment of truth echoes the merits of an intent-based approach.
Ooredoo heralds commercial launch in Myanmar | TotalTelecom – interesting how Facebook was used to engage Burmese early adopters and potential retail partners. (Disclosure: I worked on Telenor Myanmar, a rival of Ooredoo)
China vs. Qualcomm: Chip’s ‘Nationality’ Still Matters | EE Times – would prefer a bit more balance in the editorial but still interesting article
Oracle rolls out 32-core SPARC M7 chip with in-memory processing – 3 to 4 fold performance improvement
Facebook PMD Sprinklr’s Newest Acquisition: TBG Digital – finally someone bought TBG, they’d been shopped around long enough
Sands China sets first-half record | SCMP – interesting how this US gaming outfit has improved despite an overall cooling in gambling
I don’t know what it was about this week, but I ended up looking at a whole pile of time lapse videos:
First up slow motion footage of summertime in New York, this doesn’t give you a real feel of the humidity in New York
Next a time lapse video that zooms pans and warps time in Pyongyang, North Korea
Pirate Jams put together a mix of late 1980s to early 1990s tracks and their own recordings that sampled many others for i-D magazine and came up with this joyful mix
The Vinyl Factory put together 20 tracks as an introduction to the early balearic sound for generation-z
Burberry put together a great video showcase that shows how they use the Tencent WeChat / Weixin platform or as they put it Burberry and WeChat have created a series of creative collaborations and platform firsts that leverage WeChat’s unique functionality and responsive content capabilities.