20 January 2014
One diabetic’s take on Google’s Smart Contact Lenses
And yet, I cannot get over what seems to me a tone-deaf approach by Google’s scientists. It also highlights Google’s fundamental challenge: it fails to think about people as people, instead it treats them as an academic or an engineering problem. Instead of trying to understand the needs of actual people, they emerge with an elegant technological solution.
It is not just this one time. Google+, their social network, is a fail because it fundamentally isn’t social or about people — it is an effort to solve Google’s need for social data for better advertising using machines. Similarly, Google Glasses are a cringe-worthy assault to the social interactions of normals, but because a certain subset of Googlers — including co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page — have a cyborg fetish, it is okay to make that design. It is frustrating for me to keep repeating this, because Google is a company with huge resources and those resources could be deployed more effectively and have a much more positive impact, more quickly. And to do that, the company needs to learn to be human and develop compassion for human condition.
Charlie Stross: Why I want Bitcoin to die in a fire
To editorialize briefly, BitCoin looks like it was designed as a weapon intended to damage central banking and money issuing banks, with a Libertarian political agenda in mind—to damage states ability to collect tax and monitor their citizens financial transactions. Which is fine if you’re a Libertarian, but I tend to take the stance that Libertarianism is like Leninism: a fascinating, internally consistent political theory with some good underlying points that, regrettably, makes prescriptions about how to run human society that can only work if we replace real messy human beings with frictionless spherical humanoids of uniform density (because it relies on simplifying assumptions about human behaviour which are unfortunately wrong).
13 December 2013
Anil Dash: What Medium Is
11 June 2013
Design wunderkind Frank Chimero’s thoughts on iOS 7
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.
7 June 2013
The Internet Is a Surveillance State
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.
4 June 2013
The Facebook experiment has failed. Let’s go back.
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.
3 June 2013
The Banality of Don’t Be Evil by Julian Assange
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.
28 May 2013
Pixar’s Chris Horne Sheds New Light on their move towards ray tracing for the lighting in Monster University
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 SCENE GEOMETRY 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.