What we read this week (23 Nov)

This week we read about Gulf futurism from the female perspective, Misfit Wearables’ new shiny gadget, what new things Valve is up to, ‘native advertising’ and Twitter’s core identity.

Quote of the week

The thing we give our information to today is not necessarily the thing that will have it tomorrow.

Warren Ellis

Articles of the week

  • Dazed Digital: The Desert Of The Unreal
    Gulf futurism, and why the oil-rich region’s restrictive desert consumerism holds the keys to the future. A fantastic insight into the female perspective on youth and art culture in Arab countries.
  • Forbes: Misfit Adds Shine To Wearable Health
    A small sensor created by Misfit Wearables that not only tracks movement, but on top of that is waterproof and carefully designed in a way that will not make the wearer want to hide it.
  • AllThingsD: Valve’s Gabe Newell on the Future of Games, Wearable Computers, Windows 8 and More
    Gabe Newell doesn’t look for the spotlight, but when the managing director of Valve speaks, people should usually listen. Don’t put him aside as the guy who runs that gaming company. Yes, Valve produces games – like Half-Life – and yes, it distributes them – through its very successful Steam service – but it is potentially on the brink of building its own gaming console. Not only that, the company is openly exploring how gaming can solve big issues.
  • Jack Marshall: What is ‘Native Advertising’?
    After having caused a lot of buzz in the media and advertising industry, the term ‘native advertising’ gets broken down and redefined by some of the advertising heavyweights out there.
  • Dalton Caldwell: Twitter is pivoting
    Everyone inevitably goes through a time when it is necessary to redefine oneself. That time has also come for Twitter. After reading this, the claims that Twitter has been befallen by the Myspace illness will seem less exaggerated.

What we read this week (26 Oct)

This week we read about that the continuity of thought is not necessarily a positive thing, geopolitics of energy, the Micheal Brutsch and Reddit case, drones and the modern design.

Quote of the week

(…)the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved.

Jeff Bezos

Articles of the week

  • 37signals: Some advice from Jeff Bezos
    We tend to criticize people who are like a flag in the wind, i.e. changeable, but Jeff Bezos serves us a completely different view on that. He believes the smartest people are those whose regularly change and revise their opinions.
  • Steve Le Vine: Ten indicators you should watch to predict the geopolitics of energy
    Hillary Clinton said that global occurrences connected to the energy supply often result in weighty geopolitical consequences. They lead to disharmony in the power division across the globe. Often, but not always. Not all of the events have an impact on the geopolitics. In order to learn how to distinguish them, Steve Le Vine came up with a set of 10 indicators which might help us understand what event may lead to a serious geopolitical disruption.
  • Lauren Weinstein: An Internet Monster, Reddit, and Free Speech
    Even though it is not the easiest for the author to write about certain topics, he decided he needed to make a firm stand. Lauren picked up the very important subject of free speech and responsibility of the online social media services, which provide an audience and a certain type of nourishing feedback for some nasty thinkers to thrive on. The Michael Brutsch and Reddit case.
  • BookTwo: Under the Shadow of the Drone
    James Bridle writes about the drones and describes the network they are a part of. He also points at very important issues connected with the usage of a drone: how we all now live under the shadow of a drone, even if we can’t see it, how the technology of obscuration and violence boldly makes its way into our daily lives.
  • Helge Tennø: How do we design for the everyware
    Helge Tennø’s insightful slideshow where he dissects the idea of the “design”, discusses the common mistakes the past and the modern designers keep committing without learning from each other and points out that it is not the visuals that matter, but the behavior that should determine the way in the design.

What we read this week (28 Sept)

This week we read about the new things we are not seeing, how to beat a community of hackers, the potential last resort for journalism and Etsy’s new policy adjustments.

Quote of the week

As soon as you declare something a movement, everyone either wants to be a part of it or wants to destroy it.

James Bridle

Articles of the week

  • aeon: The machine gaze
    Will Wiles, having interviewed James Bridle on the New Aesthetic, draws some interesting conclusions about what it’s all about – “the new things we are not seeing,” because just as we are noticing these artifacts, they are becoming ordinary and unquestioned.
  • superflux: Design for the New Normal
    Anab Jain asks how you operate as a design company when your competitor is an open source community of hackers – selling 3d printed objects from virtual environments like Minecraft for a profit. In this presentation, she shows how superflux is approaching this challenge.
  • The Guardian: A £2-a-month levy on broadband could save our newspapers
    The Guardian’s David Leigh proposes a £2 levy – a tax, if you will – to save journalism. The tax could be collected through ISPs and regulated by an agency. That’s certainly a fresh edition to the discussion and we’re happy to promote it a bit while not necessarily agreeing with the proposal.
  • The Atlantic: A Conversation With Randall Munroe, the Creator of XKCD
    Megan Garber interviews Randall Munroe about the stories behind XKCD and its spinoff What If, as well as general ideas about work and staying creative and interesting. Some useful information in there for anyone who regularly creates content.
  • Wired: Can Etsy Go Pro Without Losing Its Soul?
    Good product sells itself. But what to do if our hands are tied by strict polies and orders keep coming in in large numbers? Being confronted with that, Etsy implemented a set of changes which hopefully will allow it to find a solution for those sought-after users who would like to expand their businesses.

What we read this week (17 Aug)

This week we read about the future of the existing social web, the possible changes standing in front of it, digital marketing and the solution to dietary incompetence served by Reddit.

Quotes of the week

What isn’t real about the digital world?

Behzod Sirjani

Articles of the week

What we read this week (6 July)

This week we read about the science fiction architecture, innovation on the edges, the quality of the digitalised life, the God particle and what your e-book says about you.

Quotes of the week

It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.   Tim Kreider

Articles of the week

  • Matt Jones: The City Is A Battlesuit For Surviving The Future
    That the architecture derived from science fiction has changed the urban design, is unarguable. Matt Jones talks about the proto-bloggers, the Archigram collective, about their magazines from the 60s and how it influenced the architecture and design back in the day and managed to make its way through into the present.
  • Joi Ito: Innovation On the Edges
    It is pretty common for MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito to choose the unknown paths. In this article, he speaks about his plans for strenghtening the Media Lab, and about how he plans on stimulating the innovativion processes through networking, collaboration and emergence.
  • The New Inquiry: The IRL Fetish
    The overflow of the digital content deprived us all of our real and meaningful lives. Even when we finally get to experience a real life situation, including a very private visit to the bathroom, it is still oversaturated with digitalism, as if it was insidious. The article presents reflections on the side effects of the always-on approach.
  • The Guardian: How the Higgs boson explains our universe
    While it may not be directly relevant to your digital strategy, you have to admit it’s pretty damn awesome to learn that the universe is filled, metaphorically, with treacle, and that the Large Hadron Collider turns out not just to be cool, but actually useful.
  • Alexander Alter: Your E-Book Is Reading You
    They say don’t judge a book by its cover. What they don’t say yet is that the book might just as well judge you! What was unknown back then is being served on a plate today. E-books give the publishers the possibility not only to check what books we read, but more importantly how engaged we are with the book. Read more to find out how the publishers are planning to put this data to use.

What we read this week (15 June)

This week was all about speculations. Standing with one foot in the present and one foot in the future, we were reading about the downfall and rise of contemporary technologies, what science fiction has to do with economics, a futuristic urban art project and the digital metamorphosis of Starbucks.

Quotes of the week

The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense.

Tom Clancy

Articles of the week

  • Chris Ziegler: Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS
    The “international darlings” Palm and webOS disappeared in the sea of the global irrelevance within only 31 months. Read about the factors that undermined the foundations of the promising device and platform.
  • Wired: Economist Paul Krugman Is a Hard-Core Science Fiction Fan
    Paul Krugman: American economist, Professor at Princeton University and science fiction amateur. He claims that nothing else gives you more opportunities to think about possibilities than science fiction. In this interview conducted by Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy, Krugman talks about psychohistory, trends among fellow economists and his deep affinity for science fiction.
  • Under Tomorrows Sky with Liam Young
    Under Tomorrows Sky is a project initiated by Liam Young in collaboration with the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and a variety of inventive people such as scientists, digital poets or speculative gamers. It aims at developing a proposal for a future city with complete visionary structure. The project will be exhibited at MU art space in Eindhoven (NL) on August 10th.
  • Venture Beat: How Starbucks is turning itself into a tech company
    The biggest international coffee company and coffeehouse chain is turning the tide when it comes to running an expansive business today. The article explains, step-by-step, the digital success of Starbucks and why it should be perceived as a role model in digital engagement.
  • Splatf: Exploring The New Foursquare
    If we could say that growth is the new business currency, then we could say that Foursquare is becoming pretty rich. Last week, the new version of Foursquare was published. Its creators decided to slightly modify the concept behind the previous versions of Foursquare in order to improve the user experience and meet their new expectations.

What we read this week (1 June)

Our reads this week: the successful phenomenon of mobile money in the emerging markets, the advantages Google has over Facebook without having to push Google+, news on cyberwar (against Iran, once again), the case against share buttons in social media and some pretty nauseous reflections on the future.

Quotes of the week

More than a billion people in emerging and developing markets have cell phones but no bank accounts.

Beth Cobert, Brigit Helms and Doug Perk

Articles of the week

  • The Atlantic: How Google Can Beat Facebook Without Google Plus
    Alexis Madrigal’s excellent analysis of why Google Plus isn’t working as planned, and how it might find its way in social media by taking a completely different, more organic approach to community building.
  • Wired: Meet ‘Flame,’ The Massive Spy Malware Infiltrating Iranian Computers
    After Stuxnet and Doqu, we will apparently have to remember Flame (or Flamer) in the list of viruses/malwares that represent the state of cyberwar. Wired’s Threat Level has a detailed report on this one.
  • Robin Sloan: Pictures and vision
    Robin Sloan explains how the Google vs Facebook battle could evolve in a very different way from what we might expect right now. He points out that the concepts that drive the two companies’ success might come down to photos and what he calls ‘vision,’ or making sense of what we’re seeing.
  • Information Architects: Sweep the Sleaze
    iA’s Oliver Reichenstein explains why the now all-too-familiar share buttons that appear on the edges of so many websites only depreciate the value of content. He makes the case for removing these buttons altogether.
  • Ribbonfarm: Welcome to the Future Nauseous
    You don’t have to wait 10 years for the future to happen because the future is basically happening as we speak. The article takes us on a virtual time travel, asking us to reflect on the changes that have taken place. The environment changed, but we stayed all the same. How are we able to prepare for, plan and deal with the future, at the same time managing to deny it taking place right here and right now?