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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nike Japan: Create with Air Max by AKQA. Japan seems to be particularly open to an augmented reality AR campaign in general. This AR campaign taps into the challenges that COVID-19 lockdown represented to creators and the wearing sneakers. The purpose of the AR campaign was three fold:

  • Reinforce the cultural aspect of the Air Max
  • Emphasise innovation in the Nike brand through the AR campaign functionality
  • Encourage customisation

More Nike related content here.

It isn’t usual to be proud of your government’s IT department. COVID Tracker Ireland on the App Store – had the highest uptake of tracker applications in a country’s population. It was based on Apple and Google’s APIs. Ireland has shared its code as an open source project – Ireland donates its COVID Tracker app to Linux Foundation. Singapore did something similar early on the year. Northern Ireland is said to be adopting Ireland’s code base for their own tracking app – Coronavirus: Northern Ireland rejects UK’s COVID-19 contact-tracing app | UK News | Sky News

Beatboxing and digital sampling technology meets meditation in this video by Yogetsu Akasaka, a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk ‘Heart Sutra’ vocal live looping remix.

How Taiwan’s Unlikely Digital Minister Hacked the Pandemic | WIRED – Audrey Tang has been doing some interesting press briefings on how the Taiwan government deals with disinformation. A lot of creativity is used; inspired by behavioural science. More on this podcast as well.

The Korean Tourism Organisation collaborates with Netflix to promote Korea as a travel destination. The ad spot highlights locations drawn from food travelogues to Korean dramas on the platform. Korean drama already has an international following, previously it has been on specialist sites and DVD boxsets. Netflix has made the potential reach for Korean dramas even larger. At least some of the Netflix audience won’t have heard of ‘hallyu’, or K-pop. Netflix had helped improve access to international dramas in general. That’s the audience that the KTO is trying to tap into with this ad creative.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 4 minutes

New York Times Will Move Part of Hong Kong Office to Seoul – The New York Timesa sweeping national security law passed by China in June — aimed at stymieing opposition and pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong — has unsettled news organizations and created uncertainty about the city’s prospects as a hub for journalism in Asia. Some Times employees in Hong Kong have faced challenges securing work permits, hurdles that are commonplace in China but were rarely an issue in the former colony. – The visa comments are interesting as we’ve previously only seen this with the FTjournalist Victor Mallet. In August 2018, Andy Chan (then of the Hong Kong National Party) gave a talk at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) and Victor Mallet was the chairperson for the event. Chan went on to be arrested numerous times. Victor Mallet had his work visa renewal rejected on October 2, 2018 – one day before his old visa ran out.

12 things I learned by switching from the 13-inch MacBook Pro to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro | MacworldI really wanted it to work. A couple of weeks ago I closed my MacBook on a Friday afternoon with no plans to open it for a week. I wasn’t going on vacation—rather, I was testing the theory that the iPad could actually be “a computer….”Sadly, it didn’t work out. I spent more time fighting my iPad than loving it, and when push came to shove, it was just too difficult to get things done as quickly and efficiently as I do on my Mac. Some of it is muscle memory, of course, but there are still fundamental issues with the iPad that prevent it from being the work-first device Apple wants it to be. So I’m giving it up – not terribly surprised as they’re very different use cases

Why older people really avoid technology.| SlateAccording to the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of people over 65 in the U.S. use the internet, up from 14 percent in 2000. The older the person, the less likely she is to embrace the internet, social media, or smartphones, but those who have adopted these technologies use them a lot and learn new skills to do so. Seniors are the fastest growing online demographic, though some remain holdouts. In many of those cases, the real barrier to entry isn’t technological—it’s personalmore on old people’s of technology

driven by experimentation, NIKE ISPA is a bold approach to functional design – nice profile of Nike’s ISPA team who have taken up where Nike Considered left off

China will punish Britain for defying its will. We need allies to hold the line | The Guardian – whilst the historical facts in the op-ed are all true, what’s more interesting is the media tone against all aspects of UK society against China now. This indicates a failure in Chinese elite-focused influence campaigns in the UK to deliver soft power. What is more concerning is the lessons that China might take away from these defeats, will they double down on ‘victimhood’ and aggression, or will they try and broaden their ‘base’ of appeal

Signal’s New PIN Feature Worries Cybersecurity Experts – VICE – move away from telephone numbers. Its a tough call as there are no easy decisions to make when telephone numbers can be a security vector

Musique Strategies – oblique and practical strategies for music – what happens when music production meats Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies

Engineers of the Soul: Ideology in Xi Jinping’s China by John Garnaut – Sinocism – what business leaders should read before entering China. Understanding Chinese Communist Party neo-Stalinist thought is essential

In Australia, concerns mount that China could use TikTok to spy on users | South China Morning Post – the bigger threat would be an influence operation

Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time | Ash Centersince the start of the survey in 2003, Chinese citizen satisfaction with government has increased virtually across the board. From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rate the government as more capable and effective than ever before. Interestingly, more marginalized groups in poorer, inland regions are actually comparatively more likely to report increases in satisfaction. Second, the attitudes of Chinese citizens appear to respond (both positively and negatively) to real changes in their material well-being, which suggests that support could be undermined by the twin challenges of declining economic growth and a deteriorating natural environment. – Fascinating and mostly reassuring reading for the Chinese Communist Party

Hong Kong’s Richest Li Ka-shing Loses Friends in China, the West – Bloomberg – this is an interesting squeeze for ‘Superman’ Li Ka-shing

Daring Fireball: AirPods Versus AirPods Pro – this comment about relatively small amounts of ‘feel’ demonstrates how artefacts count

This smart face mask can translate your conversations into nine languages | Dazed – 208K doesn’t sound a lot of dev costs

Why Consulum Isn’t Flinching About Promoting Hong Kong – good piece of analysis by Arun on Hong Kong’s selection of Consulum. Most of the budget is going into baseline mapping and research. That might come in haney for communications, or targeting extra-territorial prosecutions under the nascent National Security Law…

Is good trade with China more important than keeping Huawei out of the 5G network? | YouGov – whilst Huawei targeted the elites; they should have gone to the court of public opinion. It also indicates a likely soft power problem for China

Is Drop Retail the Next Step in the Digital Transformation of Beauty Brands? | Luxury Society – luxury stealing from streetwear’s playbook

Vast majority of US research institute disclosure violations related to China | South China Morning PostHigh profile cases include the June indictment of Charles Lieber, a former chair at Harvard University’s chemistry and chemical biology department who gave false statements regarding his involvement with the Thousand Talents programme to bring leading researchers to China. In May, Li Xiao-jiang, a former Emory University professor and participant in Thousand Talents, pled guilty to filing a false tax return that did not report foreign income from working overseas at Chinese universities. The Van Andel Research Institute in Michigan agreed last December to pay US$5.5 million to the US Department of Justice over allegations of not disclosing Chinese grants for two of its researchers. – The problem seems to be vain greedy senior academics who think they’re above it all

Qatar Airways Issues Passenger PPE Kits With Face Shields | Travel Codex – amazing bit of service design by Qatar Airways

一齊走!We leave together! Explaining some common protest phrases – interesting insights into Hong Kong culture

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 6 minutes

EXP TV – not quite sure how to describe it, its just tremendous. In there words “EXP TV’s daytime programming is called “Video Breaks”—a video collage series featuring wild, rare, unpredictable, and ever-changing archival clips touching on every subject imaginable. Similar to how golden era MTV played music videos all day, daytime EXP TV streams non-stop, deep cut video clips filtered through our own distinct POV. Our Nite Owl programming block features specialty themed video mixes and deep dives on everything under the sun: Bigfoot, underground 80s culture, Italo disco, cults, Halloween hijinks, pre-revolutionary Iranian pop culture, midnight movies, ‘ye ye’ promo films, Soviet sci-fi, reggae rarities, psychedelic animation and local news calamities. On any given night you could watch something like our Incredibly Strange Metal show followed by a conceptual video essay like Pixel Power—our exploration of early CGI art. Aside from our unique tone and deep crate of video materials, one thing that really sets us apart in 2020 is our format. We are *not* on demand, we are *not* interactive—just like old TV! You can tune in anytime and something cool will be on. That’s EXP TV in a nutshell. It’s funny, it’s art, it’s music, it’s infotainment, it’s free and it’s 24/7.” It reminded me a lot of the pioneering night time TV programming that used to run on British TV.

Gen Z wants brands to be ‘fun,’ ‘authentic’ and ‘good,’ study says | Marketing DiveGen Zers prefer brands that are authentic, with 82% saying they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, while 72% said they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. Product quality, positive ratings and reviews and customer service are the top three characteristics that establish trust in a brand among Gen Zers – really? I am sure if you asked any cohort through time of the same age that would have come out as the result. More on ‘generations‘ here

Why Corporate America Gave Up on R&D – Marker – great conversation about basic research and its place in the economic life of a business

The Changing Structure of American Innovation: Some Cautionary Remarks for Economic Growth – basically US innovation is dying out as corporate basic research is no longer happening. It echoes the work that people like Judy Estrin has done in the past

Produce your own physical chips. For free. In the Open – FOSSi Foundation – interesting that Google is supporting open source silicon prototyping on 130nm process – not cutting edge but moving things forward massively for electronics designers

China ‘trying to influence elite figures in British politics’, dossier claims | Politics News | Sky News – not terribly surprising. I’d be surprising if Chna wasn’t trying these things. More fool the UK for allowing it to happen passively

Exclusive: Digital natives see PR as ‘press releases and gin-soaked lunches’ – Sorrell | PR Week – depending on the industry its probably pretty fair, though probably less gin than there was previously

What’s really behind “tech” versus “journalism” | Revue – really management vs employees – it seems to have got much more toxic than when I worked at Yahoo!

MullenLowe merges Profero and Open in UK – surprised that that this wasn’t on the cards sooner to be honest with you

Lessons from the fall of luxury e-tailer Leflair – Vietnam based luxury start-up goes under with $280,000 in unpaid goods

TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong – Axios – interesting how they got out ahead of Facebook, WhatsApp etc. TikTok might feel its mainland app Douyin can be swapped in. It is an interesting canary in the coal mine for Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc

Holographic Optics for Thin and Lightweight Virtual Reality – Facebook Research and Alphabet buys a rival company North who do similar technology Our focus on helpful devices: Google acquires North – more related posts here.

Interesting French short film about the future from 1947. In some ways it is a better predictor of technology usage than Star Trek some two decades later.

La Télévision, œil de demain (1947) – J.K Raymond Millet

‘What Big Tech does to discourse, and the forgotten tech tool that can make tech less big’ with Cory DoctorowIt is a conspiracy is to have an energetic mastery of wrong information. And sometimes that information in fact provides a good, not evidentiary basis, but a good fact pattern to support skepticism of a regulator – Cory Doctorow’s speech is long but well worthwhile.

Luckin Coffee investors oust founder | Financial Times – this looks very similar to WireGuard. The problem is that audited books can’t be trusted due to local law. And locally written analyst reports have to self-censor allowing this kind of thing to happen. China doesn’t seem to be moving to change its law in the same way that Germany is to try and protect shareholders

Facebook Suspending Review of Hong Kong Requests for User Data – WSJ – based on the Xi administration’s concerns about national security and cyber sovereignty; one can expect China to extend Great Firewall into Hong Kong with this. Which will then impact multinational companies who have traditionally used Hong Kong as an exit point for China operation VPNs. It will also affect Hong Kong’s position as a regional base. Firms would no longer want to use the data centres and backbone networks that Hong Kong has. More from the FT: Facebook and Twitter block Hong Kong authorities from accessing user data | Financial Times – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram have all given the Chinese Communist Party the finger. They have a strong incentive to. Chinese drop shipping businesses like Shein or Wish will suffer more than Facebook. And it plays well in parliaments and distracts from the other troubles that they may have. China gets burnt because of its information warfare games on these platforms. Facebook et al provide Chinese marketing teams a gateway into markets around the world that WeChat and TikTok don’t – which dings the Chinese government’s economic goals

‘Abolish Silicon Valley’ vs. ‘Always Day One’: Who’s Right About Fixing the Tech Industry? | OneZero – this conversation wouldn’t have even happened 10 years ago, but its needed. If not from ethics perspective, then from its failing in innovation as outlined many years ago by Judy Estrin.

Encryption-Busting EARN IT Act Advances in Senate | WIRED  – if you care about privacy, this is frankly terrifying

Above Avalon: Apple Is Pulling Away From the Competition – the obvious candidates missing here are Huawei, Xiaomi and the BBK firms (Oppo, Vivo etc) which have driven the smartphone market into the middle in China and opened a can of whoop ass on the premium sector overall

Philip K Dick’s Metz speech is mind blowing. It was done at an international science fiction festival in 1977, held in Metz, France.

Did China Steal Canada’s Edge in 5G From Nortel? – Bloomberg – short answer yes. Though it probably didn’t help that they had a management team that had failed to act when they were warned about infiltration, a infrastructure business reliance on the frame relay network market and partnered with Microsoft on a lot of enterprise technology. Some fantastic stuff in this article – Did a Chinese hack kill Canada’s greatest tech company? – BNN Bloombergin the late 1990s, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country’s version of the CIA, became aware of “unusual traffic,” suggesting that hackers in China were stealing data and documents from Ottawa. “We went to Nortel in Ottawa, and we told the executives, ‘They’re sucking your intellectual property out,’ ” says Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who headed the agency’s Asia-Pacific unit at the time. “They didn’t do anything.” By 2004 the hackers had breached Nortel’s uppermost ranks. The person who sent the roughly 800 documents to China appeared to be none other than Frank Dunn, Nortel’s embattled chief executive officer. Four days before Dunn was fired — fallout from an accounting scandal on his watch that forced the company to restate its financial results — someone using his login had relayed the PowerPoints and other sensitive files to an IP address registered to Shanghai Faxian Corp. It appeared to be a front company with no known business dealings with Nortel. The thief wasn’t Dunn, of course. Hackers had stolen his password and those of six others from Nortel’s prized optical unit, in which the company had invested billions of dollars. Using a script called Il.browse, the intruders swept up entire categories from Nortel’s systems: Product Development, Research and Development, Design Documents & Minutes, and more. “They were taking the whole contents of a folder — it was like a vacuum cleaner approach,” says Brian Shields, who was then a senior adviser on systems security

Why China’s Race For AI Dominance Depends On Math | The National Interest – concerns about STEM education outside China

“Who Sells Bricks in Hong Kong” Hopes to Introduce New Actors | JayneStars – as dark as things are for Hong Kong’s film industry, ViuTV drama looks to Hong Kong film past for inspiration