Benedict Evans on Google’s evolving business:

The key change in all of this, I think, is that Google has gone from a world of almost perfect clarity – a text search box, a web-link index, a middle-class family’s home – to one of perfect complexity – every possible kind of user, device, access and data type. It’s gone from a firehose to a rain storm. But on the other hand, no-one knows water like Google. No-one else has the same lead in building understanding of how to deal with this. Hence, I think, one should think of every app, service, drive and platform from Google not so much as channels that might conflict but as varying end-points to a unified underlying strategy, which one might characterize as ‘know a lot about how to know a lot’. 

Fascinating article on the lives of astronauts abord the ISS

Sleep position presents its own challenges. The main question is whether you want your arms inside or outside the sleeping bag. If you leave your arms out, they float free in zero gravity, often drifting out from your body, giving a sleeping astronaut the look of a wacky ballet dancer. “I’m an inside guy,” Hopkins says. “I like to be cocooned up.”

I really have a hard time imagining what it would be like in space for an extended amount of time.


BlackBerry CEO John Chen, however, thinks this is unfair. In fact, he thinks it is so “discriminatory” that he wants legislators to widen the definition of net neutrality to include “application neutrality.”

In other words, if a company makes an app for iOS and Android, they must also make a version for BlackBerry and all other operating systems.

Call him out of “touch.”

Not quite apples to apples but the League of Legends World Championship drew an impressive number of viewers:

Over 32 million fans watched SK Telecom T1 earn the Summoner’s Cup in front of a sold-out Staples Center. At peak, more than 8.5 million fans were watching at the same time.

Compared to the NFL Divisional playoff games:

The NFL announced today that the four divisional round playoff games averaged 34.3 million viewers.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Esports.


The Verge: 

Microsoft has just revealed its next great innovation: Windows Holographic. It’s an augmented reality experience that employs a headset, much like all the VR goggles that are currently rising in popularity, but Microsoft’s solution adds holograms to the world around you. The HoloLens headset is described as “the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen.” It’s a self-contained computer, including a CPU, a GPU, and a dedicated holographic processor. The dark visor up front contains a see-through display, there’s spatial sound so you can “hear” holograms behind you, and HoloLens also integrates a set of motion and environmental sensors.

Don’t count Microsoft out just yet.

Excellent perspective on autonomous cars by Don Norman:

But why do we make it so humans are second-class citizens? Shouldn’t it be the machines that are second-class? Shouldn’t we design by considering the powers and abilities of humans, asking the machine to pick up the remnants? This would be true human-machine collaboration.

Note that there is a wonderful possibility for collaboration. People are especially good at patterns recognition, and dealing with the unexpected, and at setting high-level goals. People are especially bad at dealing with repetitive operations, producing highly accurate, precise actions over and over again, and at vigilance, long periods of monitoring with nothing to do until or unless some unexpected critical even occurs.

Machines are superb at all those tasks people are bad at. So why not devise a collaboration whereby each does what it is best at. The real advantage of this is that the person can always be involved, but at a level appropriate to their abilities. When something goes wrong, the person is in the loop, cognizant of the current state, ready to act.

I recommend reading the entire article.


Typo, the Ryan Seacrest-backed iPhone keyboard, has returned with an iPhone 6 keyboard it says is designed to avoid incurring the legal challenges that forced the company’s first product off the market.

Although the keyboard blocks the iPhone’s Touch ID feature, Hallier said that the Typo’s core base would rather have the fingerprint sensor blocked and be able to more easily tap out messages.

Good idea, no one uses Touch Id anyway. Oh wait…

Oliver Reichenstein:

Structuring websites is painful because thinking is painful. It is less painful to just rely on a technique. It is less painful to blame the client, the method, or the organization. You can wail about this and make snarky comments as much as you want, but no technique or technology is going to solve a lack of thought. On the contrary! Adding stronger, faster, more technology is going to amplify our thoughtlessness. And that’s why the plastic soup of data we’re fouling our online oceans with is not making us any better at solving tangible problems.

When Apple unveiled OS X Yosemite at this years WWDC, I was pleasantly surprised with the design changes. They were practical yet refreshing and more inline with iOS 7.

However, after spending some time with Yosemite there is one item that I have yet to warm up to: Helvetica Neue. Changing the system font is a tall order, especially one that has proven itself over its long span.

Well known typeface designer Tobias Frere-Jones claims:

Despite its grand reputation, Helvetica can’t do everything. It works well in big sizes, but it can be really weak in small sizes. Shapes like ‘C’ and ‘S’ curl back into themselves, leaving tight “apertures”–the channels of white between a letter’s interior and exterior. So each shape halts the eye again and again, rather than ushering it along the line. The lowercase ‘e,’ the most common letter in English and many other languages, takes an especially unobliging form. These and other letters can be a pixel away from being some other letter, and we’re left to deal with flickers of doubt as we read.

Lucida Grande presents open apertures, inviting the eye to move along sideways through the text. It has worked really well–for years, and for good reason. For any text, but particularly in interfaces, our eyes need typefaces that cooperate rather than resist. A super-sharp Retina Display might help, but the real issue is the human eye, and I haven’t heard of any upgrades on the way.

Even if Retina Displays help, they are really not common yet for Macs. Let’s take a look at Apple’s current (July 2014) Mac lineup:

July 2014 Mac Lineup

Only one of the above five have an Apple Retina Display. Granted the Macbook Pro w/Retina Display is probably one of the best selling in the lineup. Still, Retina Macs are simply not pervasive. I suppose we could see new Retina Macbook Airs and iMacs, along with a new Retina Thunderbolt display this year and that would cover the whole line up, but that’s hoping for a lot.

It will take time for Helvetica in OS X to sink in and prove itself.

From the Nord Electro 3 product page:

One of our main focuses is to have dedicated knobs and buttons for all vital functions, and keep the interface simple and easy to use during a performance. We don’t believe in submenus, and the only functions in the Electro 3 that only are available through menus are printed on the panel so you don’t need to read the manual.

“Don’t need to read the manual.”

Jonas Downey:

As builders, we like tools and tech because they’re interesting and new, and we enjoy mastering them. But when you think about the people we’re building for, the reality is usually the opposite. They need simple designs, clear writing, less tech, and fewer abstractions.

There are good reasons to use tools when building stuff, they can speed up the process, reduce barriers, and increase enjoyment. I would be the first to admit I enjoy using the latest frameworks and tools for web development, but it’s not always the right thing to do.