Quietly, Japan has established itself as a power in the aerospace industry | Ars Technica – really interesting analysis of Japan’s aerospace industry
‘No Morals’: Advertisers React to Facebook Report – The New York Times – “Now we know Facebook will do whatever it takes to make money. They have absolutely no morals.” Surprised that advertising execs are going hard on Facebook
Asda beats Waitrose and Harrods in Which? mince pie taste test | Business | The Guardian – Having done a student job at Cereal Partners I realise how arbitrary taste tests can be, but the most interesting part of the article was the sub headline: Supermarket tops consumer group’s chart but general standards drop due to rising cost of ingredients
Inside the hype and reality of Alexa, Siri and the voice assistant ‘revolution’ – Recode – “Smart speaker listeners are much more passive,” she added. “People with voice interfaces tend to accept what’s given to them.”
The seven deadly paradoxes of cryptocurrency | Bank Underground – great write-up that everyone should read
A contest wants to build an environmentally friendly air conditioner — Quartz – people generally choose their air conditioners based on price, there is little innovation in the market for a more- efficient AC. There is a need to re-engineer the incentives as well as the technology
Things that made my day this week:
Luxxury has released a new track I wanna be everything
A YouTube video on the history of Unix. Now before you roll your eyes and move on to another site. Think about the ubiquity of unix. Key parts of the internet run on Unix. It’s also the reason why URLs and email addresses aren’t case sensitive. Most telecoms equipment runs on Unix or an analogue of the operating system. I am writing this on a Mac, the core of the operating system is based on BSD – a variant of Unix. If you’re using Windows 10; it owes a lot to VMS – an operating system developed as a Unix analogue in the early and mid 1970s by Digital Equipment Corporation.
As for Linux; it was originally developed because Linus Torvalds didn’t realise he could download a free version of BSD…. Linux now powers Android smartphones, smart televisions and all of the internet of things stuff that poses a huge security risk in your home. In terms of a written thing; Unix must be right up there with the works of Shakespeare or JRR Tolkien in terms of its importance in the modern world.
The presentation also puts a bit of personality into what could have been quite a dry subject.
I found this on Core 77; Nestle posted some epic videos from its Japanese Kit Kat factory. I love the enthusiasm of the presenters in their workwear as they take you through the manufacturing line: K. Kohno and H. Matsumoto are stars. Japanese Kit Kat is not the same as the sad loser biscuits that you pick up in your weekly shop. Instead they are beautifully packaged and come in a constantly changing variety of flavours like cherry blossom or green matcha tea. The process itself is beautiful to watch. In particular look at the packaging automation.
The New York Times made a lot of allegations about Facebook and its reaction to Russian election tampering. Scott Galloway was on had to do TV interviews that poured petrol on the fire.
Great video on Johnny Cash’s live concert At Folsom Prison. It is up there with Live at San Quentin also by Johnny Cash.
Paul Rand’s slim book Thoughts on Design was originally written after World War 2 when he was in his 30s. He hadn’t yet done some of his most iconic work such as the IBM or TV network ABC.
Straight out of the gate it focuses on design and its applicability to the job in hand. My friend Stephen used to talk about designers falling into two categories:
- Idea led designers that focus on the communications problem
- Style-led designers. Their work has a particular look and feel, that might be fashionable (for a while). The Designers Republic as falling into this category
Rand is blunter in his assessment under a section called The Beautiful and The Useful. His point isn’t that they are mutually exclusive. Obeying classical art rules creates useless design unless it addresses the communications. The sad thing is that 70 years later it still needs to be said with the same urgency.
Rand describes the designers challenge as an overlap with strategy and planning functions in agencies. Rand started in agencies a generation before planning emerged as a discipline. Planning started in London advertising agencies. The idea of leaving pre-conceptions out of the process is a keystone of planning and strategy.
Finally, Rand focuses less on typography than one would expect. Instead he focuses on the creative use of space and direction. He viewed debates around the use of typography as an unnecessary distraction. Typography decisions would be resolved by wider thinking on space and direction. Thoughts on Design is surprisingly accessible.
I, Cringely Red Hat takes over IBM – I, Cringely – interesting analysis
iOS vs. Windows – Input and Office – Radio Free Mobile – no real surprise here. One only has to go back to the late 1970s / early 1980s experience of the HP 150 mini computer with a touch screen to see the productivity issue. Keyboards work, and they work better now that more people are reasonable touch typists. Tablets are still interesting as consumption devices, the question is what the market is?
Oath will soon be rebranded as Verizon Media Group – The Verge – what is more interesting is how Verizon changes management approach (presumably after losing Tim Armstrong)
Snapchat Lenses are coming to the desktop and Twitch streams | TechRadar – integration with Twitch will fuel further speculation on an Amazon buy-out