What we read this week (14 June)

Impending doom for high-frequency trading and ebook DRM, impressive advances in medical 3D printing, James and his drones, and conversations in preparation for the robot future.

Quote of the week

I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things.

Edward Snowden

Articles of the week

  • How the Robots Lost: High-Frequency Trading’s Rise and Fall
    Matthew Philips follows the story of HFTs from their inception to the present, from raking in piles of cash to fighting each other for tiny scraps of profit.
  • What Amazon’s ebook strategy means
    How Amazon’s clever strategy and wild success is revealing its unsustainability in the book market (and others), and why this means that DRM on ebooks must die.
  • Children of the Drone
    Vanity Fair’s portrait of James Bridle and a review of the New Aesthetic’s evolution in its first two years as a concept, covering various perspectives that have surfaced in that time on what this “found art movement (but, confusingly, not a movement of found art)” is.
  • One day it will be possible to 3D-print a human liver
    A look into the current and future uses of 3D printing in medicine. Though it isn’t yet possible to print organs, we are actually surprisingly far along when it comes to implementing 3D printing in this area. Examples of applications range from converting MRI scans of pregnant women’s wombs to produce models of the fetus, to replacing a jawbone with a printed titanium substitute.
  • Will robots boost middle class unemployment?
    “Dinnertime conversation starters” from a roboticist’s point of view to get us thinking about how robots change the traditional relationship between productivity and employment, and another warning that we need to think critically in order to protect the existence of a middle class.

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 (27 Jul)

Our reads this week delve into mobile identity, our feelings towards our work stations, the great gadget-addiction question, a future of 3D printing, and a promising deal between BitTorrent and a musician.

Quotes of the week

I think the space between a person and a typewriter is better than the space between a television and its viewer.

David Banks

Articles of the week

  • Rebekah Cox: Mobile Identity
    An important, thoughtful post by Quora’s lead designer on how identity and your phone go together. It’s one of those articles that will be referred to for the next few years.
  • Cyborgology: Against The Minority Report Computer
    David Banks passionately disagrees with the future vision of computers in Minority Report, because it fails to take into account our emotional attachment to our work stations. Here he describes why this vision undermines our relationship with desktop technology.
  • The Atlantic: Are We Addicted to Gadgets or Indentured to Work?
    In a response to a recent New York Times article on the popular topic of gadget addiction, Alexis Madrigal finds that it is not our use of technology that is making life increasingly stressful, but our relationship with work.
  • Rhizome: The Shape of Shaping Things to Come
    In this article, Adam Rothstein takes the reader onto a journey into the future, where ‘physibles’, 3D-printed objects, have become normality. He develops a mindblowing outlook, extrapolating the current social phenomena of hackers, early adopters and retro-fetishists, and brings them into a place where limits are set by time and creativity rather than resources.
  • GigaOM: DJ Shadow becomes first artist to get paid by BitTorrent
    In an industry first, DJ Shadow struck a deal with BitTorrent Inc, the filesharing company. For every download of a DJ Shadow bundle including some songs and a special software – on which the details are somewhat fuzzy at this point – BitTorrent and DJ Shadow share the revenue generated through that software. It’s an interesting step forward, and surely all eyes in the music industry are on this deal.

What we read this week (27 Jan)

This week’s five top articles feature Youtube’s TV revolution, social media brands, 3D printing piracy, collaborative design and thoughts on ad agencies.

Culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death.

Shawn Parr

The future is where our wishes and fears converge.

Leila Johnston

  • The New Yorker: Will Robert Kyncl and YouTube Revolutionize Television?
    It’s not a secret that Google wants Youtube to become even more then it is today. What their plans are and how they want to achieve them? It’s all in this long and very good article.
  • What do consumers want from social?
    A study from the CMO Council of 1300 looked at the difference of what consumers expect from brands in social media and what marketers think they want. We Are Social has the skinny.
  • The Pirate Bay: Evolution
    The Pirate Bay goes physical, announces to also share blueprints for 3D models: “We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles.” Expect to print your own knock-off Legos soon.
  • Co.Design: Could A Change In Business Model Win Designers A Place In The C-Suite?
    Fuseproject does its design work mostly for equity in startups and is most interested in long-term relationships with the founders to produce better design. Very interesting, alternative business model. A design consultancy that works more like a VC firm.
  • What Do Advertising Agencies Do?
    Faris Yakob explores the real value of advertising agencies and where they’re headed.