I’d probably start with aesthetics, because it’d be the thing I could see, and then hope it would eventually lead me somewhere deeper. As I look at the iconographic choices, color palette, and typography, there’s a tendency to overindulge in very visible ways (such as the bright, almost garish colors and the use of transparency and blurring) and undervalue more subtle ways of establishing graphic tone (such as the use Helvetica as the primary typeface instead of something with more character and better suited for interfaces). Basically, there’s not much nuance there, but there’s not much room for subtlety when one has to give the impression of stark newness. Maybe this lack of nuance also comes from Ive’s lack of familiarity with interface design? Usually expressive visual choices like these seem good in isolation, then become overbearing when viewed together. Experience gives a person the eyes to imagine their small choices in aggregate.
The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.
I am signed into Facebook right now. At a quick glance, the entire list of posts on the first screen are irrelevant to me. If I scrolled down I can find 4 stories I actually care about, from a list of about 30. The most important page on Facebook has more than three-fourths of absolutely useless content.
Surprising. Facebook is a company with a very large number of talented people. They know a lot about me. Yet, their product looks like one of those spam filled mailboxes from the nineties.
This book is a balefully seminal work in which neither author has the language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing. “What Lockheed Martin was to the 20th century,” they tell us, “technology and cybersecurity companies will be to the 21st.” Without even understanding how, they have updated and seamlessly implemented George Orwell’s prophecy. If you want a vision of the future, imagine Washington-backed Google Glasses strapped onto vacant human faces — forever. Zealots of the cult of consumer technology will find little to inspire them here, not that they ever seem to need it. But this is essential reading for anyone caught up in the struggle for the future, in view of one simple imperative: Know your enemy.
So our Director of Photography went to a studio that is so clearly raytracing averse and essentially said “We’re raytracing everything. True reflection and refraction in the eyes reflecting actual SCENEGEOMETRY and not a brickmap. Yep – we’re refracting through the cornea onto the sclera and iris. Oh and all your shadows are raytraced now – no more shadowmaps. Nope. None. Yes I know you like them but no. And global illumination! We’re doing that now. By default. Everywhere. Oh and I almost forgot – all reflective surfaces will do real true reflection….and deciding what’s reflective will be a shading decision instead of a lighting one. Yes you heard me right. Now get to work” It was extremely controversial, but it made a huge impact and really was one of the true success stories of the film. And now I’m working on that.
There are fewer and fewer jobs in journalism, but last week an ultimate job was posted. Twitter, fast becoming the basic source, tool, and distribution point in news, is looking for someone to run its news operation:
“You will be responsible for devising and executing the strategies that make Twitter indispensable to newsrooms and journalists, as well as an essential part of the operations and strategy of news organizations and TV news networks. You should have a strong vision for the broad potential of Twitter and news, while also being able to rigorously manage and scale the news team’s daily impact.”
Well, there. The whole ball of wax.
This is, arguably, a bigger news job than Jeff Zucker’s job running CNN. Given the choice between being the executive editor of the New York Times or being the first Twitter news chief, you’d be well advised to think twice.