The Internet of Stupid Things

A more charitable phrase for what many consumers call the Internet of Shit. Yes lots of products can be internet enabled, but should they be? There is a mix of challenges:

  • Products that are internet enabled but shouldn’t be – the Happy Fork or the Griffin Smart Toaster being classic examples. I found the Griffin Smart Toaster particularly disappointing as the company’s products such as the PowerMate are generally really good
  • Products that would be benefit from tech, but shouldn’t rely on the the cloud. I’d argue that Nest would fit in this category where cloud outages could have serious impacts on the consumer

It is interesting to see that Li & Fung (who are famous for global supply chain management provided to western brands and retailers) are involved in this. The qualitative design research they did on skiing wearables for a client – which begs the question of what value Li & Fung’s client brings to the table.

Jargon watch: deep design

Blue deep sea squid

The key underlying belief to deep design is that modern life systems and processes aren’t designed for humans. From industrial design, to administrative processes and algorithms – all could be categorised as ‘inhumane’. If you’ve ever dealt with work visa forms in a foreign country you’ll know what I mean.

Human-centred design was supposed to address this. But it fails to scale or handle complexity. Deep design adds a layer of EQ to this.

More information
Deep design to the rescue: Solving wicked problems of the future | Campaign Asia

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Things that made my day this week.

I had some meetings and discovered what a good meeting space the lobby of the Citizen M Hotel in Bankside is. The downside I managed to lose my favourite pen, that was my fault; not the hotel. Of course, that didn’t take the sting out of it.

My dream chair is an Eames lounger and I am fascinated by production processes. This video from fulfils both admirably; showing how the Eames chair is made.

This week, I went back, way back, back into time and ended up listening to this mix of Jeremy Healy at Hot To Trot. What gets me about this is diversity of the set. The slight crunchiness in the beat mixing early on adds to its charm.

This Chinese made video on privacy has more than an element of truth beneath the humour. It would give Black Mirror a good run for its money.

Last thought… 2018 Q2 Global Digital Statshot by wearesocial

GDPR resources

Partly due to Cambridge Analytica, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is going to have a more profound impact on data usage globally. GDPR would have been seen as an extra-legal reach, but Facebook is making it look like a good idea.

I thought I would pull together a few resources that I thought would be of interest around GDPR since there is a lot of snake oil being sold as consultancy around it at the moment.

Andreessen Horowitz put together a good podcast on it.

Privacy by Design – The 7 Foundational Principles by Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D. (PDF) – is a must read paper for creative agencies and product teams. It is based on work that was started in the late 1990s. Cavoukian lists a site as a reference ‘privacybydesign.ca’ – but that seems to be down.

Via James Whatley’s newsletter this article on UX –  GDPR: 10 examples of best practice UX for obtaining marketing consent seems to be complementary to Cavoukian’s work.

Throwback gadget: Bose Wave Music System

It is a little disingenuous to call the Bose Wave Music System a throwback gadget, mainly because Bose still makes it. It would be reasonable to call it a design classic. There are benefits to picking up a 2006 model Bose Wave Music System, rather than paying the premium of a new device.

BOSE Wave music system専用iPod接続キット

Bose Wave System timeline

The original Bose Wave System was launched back in 1984; this was back when Sony was king due to the Walkman, digital wasn’t really on the horizon with the Discman only launching same year. The Acoustic Wave 1 (AW1) was a new take on the boom box radio that was ubiquitous in households and workplaces at that time. The AW1 featured a cassette deck and a two band radio.

Eight years later digital finally arrived when Bose switched out the cassette for a top-loading CD player instead.

In 1993, the Bose Wave System shrank from about the size of a medium sized boom box to something about as tall as an iPod Classic but featured radio only and was called the Wave Radio.

Five years later a slot loading CD player was integrated. In 2004, the CD player also accepted MP3 based discs and Boselink connectivity.

Boselink

Boselink is unique in consumer electronics in terms of the expandability it allows. It was originally designed as a communications protocol for multi-room sound systems, but is also useful for connecting modules that extend the functionality of the basic Bose Wave System. Compatible accessories include:

  • Multi-CD drive
  • Soundlink – playback of music which is streamed to the device over Bluetooth
  • DAB module – UK-only adapter allowing reception of digital radio as well as AM and FM signals

Bose also offered an iPod kit, which charges your iPod Classic and plays back the music. There is a replacement remote for the Bose Wave Music System which integrates basic iPod playback controls.

Vintage over new

The key benefit of a vintage Bose Wave System over a new device is the display. New devices have a back lit LCD display which wash out and aren’t as legible as the vintage vacuum fluorescent displays.

VFD

Secondly, you still enjoy the ‘big box’ sound created by the diminutive size of the Bose Wave Music System. They use use a folded waveguide, which is a series of passages from the speaker driver to the speaker grill. This attempts to replicate sound from larger systems. Bose claims the waveguide “produces full, clear stereo sound from a small enclosure by guiding air through two 26” folded wave guides.” The design of the wave guides has changed minimally over the years.

My casual listening at home is based on two systems. A 12 year old Apple iPod Hi-Fi A1121, which works as a centre speaker for my TV when I need it. It takes audio in via TOSLink and gives a better sound than most sound bars that I’ve listened to.

I use a Bose Wave Music System of a similar age to the iPod Hi-Fi with the DAB module connected via BoseLink and iPod adaptor as my go to radio around the house. It is the default provider of background music and up to the minute news. It provides a better sound than most of its newer BlueTooth enabled competitors. It wins out over the Apple iPod Hi-Fi, because of its ability to play digital radio and hide out of the way on book shelf.

I then use a dedicated hi-fi for serious music listening of CDs and vinyl records.