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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Bots Grade Your Kids’ Schoolwork—and They’re Often Wrong – WSJ – not surprising that Bots get grading wrong. A lot of ‘AI’ is math, it isn’t that far along from Business Intelligence systems of the 1990s. What would have been called fuzzy logic in the 1990s is now ‘AI’ bots; both of which rely on mathematics from the 1960s. ‘AI’ bots using Bayesian statistics rely on mathematics from the 18th century. ‘AI’ bots require a large amount of training. Bots don’t develop a ‘universal’ intelligence.

Battery life: the race to find a storage solution for a green energy future | Financial TimesMIT’s Prof Sadoway believes that technologies need to be based on more abundant materials than those used in lithium-ion and vanadium batteries such as aluminium, sulphur, calcium and antimony. In 2005 he helped develop a liquid metal battery that uses calcium and antimony and a molten salt electrolyte. The company that developed it, Ambri, was backed from the beginning by Mr Gates, who invested in it after watching Mr Sadoway’s chemistry lectures online

Xi’s aim to double China’s economy is a fantasy | Financial Times – challenged by demographics and politics

‘Humaning’ and the greatest marketing bullshit of all time – Marketing WeekMaslow built his model from qualitative research on the Native American inhabitants of the Blackfoot reservation who later pointed out that his whole theory was entirely incorrect when applied to their culture and identity. The hierarchy has subsequently been criticised on the basis of missing stages, putting stages in the wrong sequence and the fact stages change according to circumstance, culture and geography. So basically everything. But the dreaded hierarchy proved a hit with marketers who had no formal training but wanted something scientific-looking and faintly European-sounding to beef up their empty marketing plans. Its prevalence across every crap marketing plan (along with the equally redundant SWOT analysis) serves only one positive: to identify badly trained marketers and crappy marketers at 50 paces.

Stop playing politics or face a ban, Nintendo warns Animal Crossing gamers | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP – I suspect that this is less about Hong Kong and more about the political chasm in the US

Celebrity deepfake porn cases in Japan point to rise in sex-related cybercrime | South China Morning Post – the old law of the adult entertainment industry pioneering with technology a la film to VCRs and cable and online paywalls strikes again

Scaling back – Why commercial ties between Taiwan and China are beginning to fray | Business | The Economist“Little Taipei”, as Kunshan is known, illustrates a broader phenomenon. Exact estimates vary, but as many as 1.2m Taiwanese, or 5% of Taiwan’s population, are reckoned to live in China—many of them business folk. Taiwan Inc has not let fraught political relations with China, which views the island as part of its territory, get in the way of business. Taiwanese companies have invested $190bn in Chinese operations over the past three decades. Foxconn, a giant Taiwanese contract manufacturer of electronics for Apple and other gadget-makers, employs 1m workers in China, more than any other private enterprise in the country

Grocery Drives Walmart Online Orders – Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLCAmong all US Walmart.com customers, CIRP estimates Walmart+ has 2.6 million-3.4 million members as of October 31, 2020, with 12%-15% of Walmart.com customers joining. US Walmart.com customers that shop for groceries at Walmart.com are two times more likely to report a Walmart+ membership. “Walmart launched the Walmart+ membership service in the quarter, and we estimate a range of membership that suggests about 3 million Walmart.com customers joined,” said Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. “At that level, it seems like a success, especially after only six weeks. Of course, grocery customers found it particularly attractive. Like Amazon Prime, Walmart+ is most valuable to regular Walmart.com shoppers, so it appealed to those grocery shoppers right away. And like Amazon’s experience with Prime, Walmart appears to want to build on that natural affinity to gain greater share of online shopping for those customers, and then to entice less frequent shoppers to grow their online shopping habits.” – groceries are over 30% of sales (food, household and pets 25%, clothing shoes & accessories 16%, same for pharma and electronics and office supplies were about 12%) (PDF)

Muddy Waters accuses YY and Bigo of faking their revenuesSingapore-based analyst Ke Yan of DZT Research, told Bloomberg that the strategies discussed in the Muddy Waters report are aimed at boosting YY’s popularity among users instead of inflating revenue. Chen Da, executive director of Anlan Capital, offered Bloomberg a similar view. “You can’t really apply the research methods used to collect fraudulent evidence against real-economy or manufacturing firms to internet firms.” He added that their “business model does pay off and there is real cash flow brought in after the fakes ‘get the ball rolling’.” – sketchy growth hacking rather than fraud

How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps | Vice News – surprised if they didn’t. More related posts here.

6 Points to Consider Before Betting the Farm on ‘All Made in China’ | EE TimesSome “three-nos” companies with “no experience, no technology, and no talents” have joined the IC industry. Some companies have insufficient knowledge of the law of IC development and blindly start projects. The risks of horizontal duplication of construction are apparent, and even the construction of individual projects is stagnant, and the factory buildings are empty, causing waste of resources. In this regard, Wei said that we must respect the law of industrial development and overcome the rapid development shooting for quick success. Since 2007, China’s wafer manufacturing capacity has increased rapidly in the world, far higher than other countries and regions. In 2019, China has 199 integrated circuit wafer manufacturing production lines (above 4 inches), of which there are 28 12-inch production lines and 35 8-inch production lines (including 1 pilot line). The enthusiasm for investment and construction of factories in various places is high, but a number of manufacturing projects are facing unfinished shutdowns. The blind impulse that violates the development law of the semiconductor industry is worthy of vigilance

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Type Matters by Jim Williams

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Why would I care about a book like Type Matters? Back at the beginning of the PC era; Apple sought to differentiate itself through its understanding of design. Steve Jobs had the Macintosh team apply the knowledge he’d gained dropping into a college course on typography. Fonts and kerning became important.

Type Matters

Jobs also drove his team to distraction. The original Macintosh operating system had a 2D graphics library called QuickDraw that was a core part of the system. It could create primitive objects such as lines, rectangles, polygons and arcs. Jobs berated his developers. They didn’t have an oval or a rounded rectangle in its capabilities. He took them outside looked around the real world and pointed these shapes out to them.

Decades later, we care about the principles of UX; but don’t pay quite the same attention to typography. Books are often designed to be to be read on screen and then a paper version is printed from the same layout. Often the sole consideration that will be given to typography will be by the digital designer who will be wondering what web font will be used. Spacing and kerning won’t have that much attention paid to it. Instead we accept ‘good enough’ in the way that the word appears on the web or in an app.

Which is where I think Type Matters comes in. Jim Williams brings decades of experience of graphic design to the book. The book is a thin Moleskine sized volume that provides a good guide to fonts and their use. It’s a book that is easy to read cover-to-cover, or dip in and out of as you feel like it.

It combines good design practice with a history lesson on the elements and consideration of putting words on a page: whether its made of velum, paper or pixels. Williams’ writing is accessible for the non-designer. It provides a better understanding about readability and legibility considerations. More design related posts here.

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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

House music producer Roy Davis Jr put together an amazing mix for Phonica Records and I have been vibing off it for most of the week.

Roy Davis Jr for Phonica Records

An old, but good music video put together by my long time colleague Haruka. It’s a mix of found footage and painting done on 16mm film.

Gates to the city by Haruka Ikezawa

I’m not so sure if it was the best portable stereo; but the JVC / Victor RC-M90 was an archetypal boombox of the 1980s beloved by hip hop fans and gadget lovers. Techmoan does a good tour of the device. What’s interesting is how quality seems to have reached a peak in the late 1970s, early 1980s in hi-fi equipment. Quality seems to have declined as more overseas manufacturing was undertaken by the Japanese brands.

If you are buying a major Japanese brand like Sony etc; try to buy a ‘Made in Japan’ product is still a great rule of thumb. More gadget related posts here.

Leo Burnett did a great advert for McDonalds. It tells the story of story of a single mum trying to get her son into the Christmas spirit. However, she faces an unresponsive child; until his inner child wins out. The Drum did a walk through of the ad with the creative team who worked on it at Leo Burnett here.

Leo Burnett for McDonalds UK

Finally, the IPA did a three hour webinar A New Way to Track Consumer Demand, that is now available online.

Finally Sony launched the PlayStation 5 in the UK this week. As I write this, there is a strong secondary market at three times the original retail price of the consoles. They’re the hot item for Christmas.

This was supported by buzz marketing with a takeover of London Underground signs at Oxford Circus station. The square logo (all the shapes are from the PlayStation controller) contrasts with the closed Microsoft store behind it.

Social media spread images of the signs and it was all very nice. I think part of its success was the counterintuitive aspect of a stunt in a high footfall area in central London – during the COVID19 lockdown, when other brand marketers are spending their budgets online…

playstation5 taken by Ian Wood
London Underground sign photo by Ian Wood

Bonus content: Clifford Stott is an expert in policing. He walked away from a Hong Kong government review into the 2019 protests. He goes into failings of the review and everything that went on in this report: Patterns of ‘Disorder’ During the 2019 Protests in Hong Kong: Policing, Social Identity, Intergroup Dynamics, and Radicalization by Clifford Stott, Lawrence Ho, Matt Radburn, Ying Tung Chan, Arabella Kyprianides, Patricio Saavedra Morales.

He talks about his findings with the Hong Kong Free Press.