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digital internet technology ways of use

do you still rss?

IFTTT trigger service

These two posts:
Douglas Rushkoff – Not Out, Through: The Best Way to Deal With the Onslaught of Technology
Russell Davies – Big up to the rss massive

made me think about me being one of those who’s had to have a good think about what to do after a Google Reader shutdown. I’ve not worried about not finding a good alternative (although probably not as good as the original reader pre-gplus integration). It’s all sorted out-

RSS is one of the best web technologies, if you will, that never hit the masses, and now it seems even more unlikely. When, in fact, it should be the opposite. It’s very much the solution to volumes of crap, irrelevance and time consuming sifting through.

“I love blogging without tweeting about it. I know who I’m talking to – you lot who still do RSS. You’re my people.”

– Russell Davies

I like these things (www.ifttt.com), that I’ve just started mucking about with. A more consumer friendly version of Yahoo Pipes in a sense. If/Then sentences and triggers – the most low-level form of programming. That, I think many people who are unknowing, would actually love and benefit from, and now it’s getting simple and hence useful.

Delicious to Evernote trigger

Categories
creativity design digital technology video clip ways of use

design as building invisibility

government uk screen shot

“Something we’re trying to do in particular is let design get out of the way and let the user get to what they want,” Terrett says. “You shouldn’t come to the website and go: ‘wow, look at the graphic design’. We haven’t yet achieved that in most web interfaces; they’re still getting in the way [and] you can see the graphic design everywhere. We need to get past that.”

– Ben Terrett, Government Digital Service, UK

Design is a multifaceted word/occupation/skill/mindset/purpose/tool/thing/etc. Being much about removing as much as possible, making things invisible, takes it into a very interesting place. A place where Google has been for very long, but very few brands would consider worth going. A place where many art directors would freeze to death, yet a place many artists have lived. A place where minimalism is a close relative.

“I don’t know if I want to make any strong predictions, but I hope that technology disappears more and more from my life and you forget that you’re using it all the time instead of feeling like you’re burdened [by it].”

– Alexander Chen, Google Creative Labs

Whether or not this makes you sad, it kinda indicates what you pride yourself in doing, and what design is to you. If design is making things prettier or more useful. One designer (definition 1) could design useful, human centric service, and another designer (definition 2) could make that design “pretty”. Both say they’ve done their “design duties”. Personally, working in strategy, and creativity that activates that for brands, I’m very much for being purpose driven and hence defining what you do by what happens, the outcome. Everything in-between is a means, and really quite unimportant for very long in a project. The in-betweens, for all I care, can be invisible.

“We’re trying to get design out of the way” from Dezeen on Vimeo.

Categories
creativity design digital technology video clip ways of use

brutal focus, simplicity and consequence

An example of brutal simplicity and great (for some) value is this little alarm clock that goes off if it’s sunny, and you really should get outside, and doesn’t if the weather is shit. Perfect for weekends and holidays.

Nivea Sun, Sun Alarm App from AgênciaClick Isobar on Vimeo.

do your exercise or experience blackout

Slightly more advanced idea here, but brutally focused and determined to actually work. Many digital services can fail at solving the real “flesh life problem” because they can be forgotten about, overlooked or – due to laziness and self-deception – not used enough or discontinued altogether. Sure, positive motivational drivers can be effective or maybe even more effective than threat of loss, but that’s another discussion.

From PSFK:

The FitBit tracker is able to monitor and log in various activities such as steps taken, amount of sleep, and calories burned. The hack works by connecting WeMo, an Internet-controlled power outlet, to the FitBit device. When a certain goal isn’t achieved, the power outlet automatically turns off, shutting down connected electronic devices like a gaming console, computer, or even the fridge.

The online/offline marriage is really interesting when the two, if you will, have real consequences and effects for each other should [criteria] not be met. The quantified-self-fork from this years’ CES is one example where this is highly relevant. Let’s call it real life gamification, where the game ain’t necessarily all fun…

Categories
digital internet just a reflection social media technology video clip ways of use

another kind of 2.0

I’ve recently come across quite a few articles and posts about technology, social media and how we use it and how it effects us. Not seldom in a negative way. Unsurprisingly there’s an upswing at the end of a year and beginning of a new. Wise to stop, and reflect over life in general. How to get more time over. Stay in better contact. Or the opposite. There’s this post (swedish) about digital downshifting and how it’s a trend and this post about Adam Brault quitting Twitter for a month, reflecting over the Dunbar number and how twitter is “outsourced schizophrenia”.

Twitter is outsourced schizophrenia. I have a couple hundred voices I have consensually agreed to allow residence inside my brain

In conversations about interfaces, interaction and the roll of the internet in peoples’ lives, I keep arguing that the most used interaction method will be close to invisible. I don’t agree with those saying “touch is the ultimate method” because it demands of me that I’m interested in interacting.

Walking around on a sunday thinking about maybe going to the modern museum doesn’t mean that I want to interact with my fingers – all I want to know is the opening hours and what exhibitions are on. All I need is an answer. In a far future, when a chip is in my brain, and the internet knowledge is indistinguishable from my “flesh knowledge” questions thought are questions asked – and answered. Internet – interacting.

So I found this film very interesting. A very true 2.0 about technology is more about it being a bit boring. It’s when most of it is invisible. When it’s so obvious that we all can do almost everything but why should we.

Connecting (Full Film) from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

Categories
design digital just a reflection technology ways of use

urbanized technology

Some interesting thoughts, on the urban design note, from this year’s Picnic festival; urbanized technology. How cities “hack” technology that doesn’t take the context, i.e. city, into account. One example being the car, which isn’t utilized in the city in a way that the technicians behind it would have prescribed, if you will. Kind of makes sense. The new cars of today, the hybrids and the electrical ones, can be said to much better take this context into account. A hybrid runs on batteries in city environment and city driving; made possible not only because we have to cut down on fossil fuel usage, but because we know what city driving is like and so technicians and engineers take that into account.

It feels like much of the technological advancements we’re making today is about urbanizing technology. Or perhaps better explained; making technology contextually interactive. Giving data based on usage, and taking in data based on context. Urbanized technology is kind of the next step in every technology used. So we haven’t failed before, we just haven’t been there. Technology has been sand-boxed, whereas now it’s acting in an “object oriented programming” type of way. Manipulating other objects, and being manipulated by them.

Categories
digital internet media organizational strategy technology

the role of journalism and reader participation

There’s an important discussion going on here in Sweden at the moment, about online newspapers and the possibility to comment on articles, and wether or not it’s working. Some leading newspapers think it’s not at the moment. Leading representatives are heavily engaged in this discussion, that reached some sort of climax (and resulted in shut-downs or changes to the commenting functionality) due to extremely racist comments, but not solely because of that, during the tragic incident in Norway.

They are, quite rightly, looking at this from a technical, resource and reader involvement perspective. Recently a media industry expert (Sofia Mirjamsdotter, Resumé) said it’s no surprise that this happened (closing down, limiting and/or changing privacy policies) as none of the newspapers had a participation/comment strategy. That’s looking at things from a very narrow perspective given the massive impact of (possible) reader involvement in online journalism. You don’t have a strategy for comments, you have a strategy for online news publishing, if at all that’s what you choose to call what you do.

Anna Hjalmarsson of Aftonbladet hopes that in five years, they’ll have found better ways of handling discussions where readers openly, and respectfully, meet each other and newspaper representatives. She also says that many active commenters express themselves as if nobody from Aftonbladet is going to read what they write, as if the discussions in the comment fields is something for the readers only.

Now that’s spot on, and it’s most likely contributed to a negative language and a tone. If an official representative (i.e. article author) revisits and responds, well, we’d probably have a more nuanced discussion. Maybe even a professional one. A comment function has less to do with the possibility to make yourself heard, and more to do with getting a response, a reaction. We talk to/with people. If the response is from somebody calling you an idiot, wishing you dead. Well.

Björn Hedensjö of DN.se says they’re genuinely interested in reader involvement, but at the same time they have limited resources. He says that the editors must make an active selection when it comes to which subjects should be discussed and then also engage in that following discussion. That’s a very good start. Selecting what articles and pieces are most relevant and likely to inspire, and facilitate, discussion. And because selecting is already a key aspect of journalism, it’s a natural extension of that. What is news worthy and what’s not, is a constant question. Why shouldn’t what is talk worthy? Often they overlap, but far from always. They are different and have different selection criteria. Especially considering the resource issue.

So considering this, I think we arrive where the real challenge sits. The key question with regards to journalism in general today, is the role it plays in society. Media (organisations), traditionally defined by the properties of the specific media (TV was always very different from radio, technically speaking), the organizational structure (ownership and possibly political associations) and funding/financing (licence and/or ad financed).

Media has always been institutions in society. They’ve always helped shape culture in the broadest and biggest sense. But newspaper journalism has mostly been about them writing and telling us about things. It’s been about sender-receiver. It’s been like that because of the technical context when it started, and when it was defined, explicitly or not. The technical properties of media used, did that. It’s all a product based on what was even possible. Now that’s changed. When an article starts and stops is changed. Finite has become infinite. What news story telling is (can be), has changed. So really what needs to happen, which is the reason it’s not about a strategy for comments, but rather a strategy, and definition, of online news journalism, is rethinking the sole purpose and role of online journalism. Which, of course means, the role of journalism in general. In this case mostly, but not exclusively, from a written word point of view. I really hope the question is answered on this level, and not mostly on a technical level, as many comments seem to suggest.

Categories
design digital technology video clip ways of use

arduino – a perfect open source wedding

Hadn’t seen the documentary about the Arduino project before. I was struck by the the 3D printer built on open hardware Arduino, printing open source coat hangers and how this is the ultimate wedding of the connectedness, collaboration and openness of the internet, and how that is power in numbers. I’ve been facinated by MIT Media Lab for a long time, so was happy to find that representatives of MEDEA Collaborative Media Initiative down in Malmö, Sweden, were part of the Arduino project, although started in Ivrea in Italy (Arduin being an important character for the city of Ivrea) and soon consisting of a great mix of people and co-collaborators. Watch the film, there’s an interesting story behind the hardware and an inspiring case of collaboration across boarders, based on mutual interest.

Arduino The Documentary (2010) English HD from gnd on Vimeo.

Categories
digital just a reflection technology video clip

real-time translation technology and implications

Ray Kurzweil on Translation Technology from Nataly Kelly on Vimeo.

From Singularity Hub

I wonder if we have any idea (well we have some) of the possible implications of this? I mean, the obvious ones are, well, obvious. But what about the role language plays in keeping societies and cultures intact. That is, actually feeling like a specific culture as opposed to all other cultures. In socialization and learning a language amongst other things, you get spoon fed your culture (albeit small spoons). What you say where and to whom and in which situation is different between cultures, so imagine instant translation amongst foreigners. It’s bound to have an effect. Imagine not being able to keep things from foreigners?

It’s like the equivalent of people mistakenly posting a little too much on Facebook and hence to everyone, but in use of language. Instant translation gadgets would effectively force you to mind your every word and not just your every Facebook post. Ubiquitous real-time translation that you might not even be aware of in any given situation. Oops.

Categories
business creativity digital ideas internet media technology video clip ways of use

being buyable takes mental and physical availability


Found at adverblog

This is an absolut brilliant take on the physical availability aspect, and it’s overall genius problem solving. And, knock on wood, one of the few examples of great use of QR codes, as more often than not they just constitute a higher barrier to entry (bit.ly/reveal is much better and memorable, and device independent, than a QR code that you leave behind when the bus comes…). It’s a school book example and highlights the advertising ideas vs. marketing ideas chapter, and the importance of mastering and understanding technology (and of course usage and penetration of it, which in this case is quite high given it’s South Korea) and how it can be used based on current behaviours. Mind-blowingly great I say. And it ends up being physical digital physical availability which is twisted concept.

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business internet just a reflection technology video clip

the revolution that wasn’t a revolution

A man in a large crowd stares into the camera. His eyes are wide open. If you didn’t know what was happening, you’d have a hard time telling if he had a stare of anger, victory or happiness. It was a mix of all three. He was in the start of a revolution.

There was a panel discussion at FutureEverything in Manchester some time back, about digital and the future. Ela Kagel, a curator focusing on free culture and the open web, had a talk about value transfer, crowd funding and the challenge of future revenue models for artists and cultural workers. It’s a very interesting subject, and indeed her project called Free Culture Incubator is too.

What I find quite interesting with this is that arts grants and other official cultural support functions have been about the process of creating art. Support for the doing, so that artists can then sell the final product. And although many artists, who have always struggled, may find bootlegging and copying a major problem and maybe even a spit in the face, they now have so many new ways of getting support for the process and the actual doing from a much larger community. A visionary idea or project like Molly Crabapple’s Week In Hell can get $17,000 from supporters that don’t know what’s going to come out at the end. We don’t just buy the final art, we buy into a thought, idea, culture or movement. Below is a graph of the different types of projects that get funding from Kickstarter.

“Are we prepared for after the revolution?”

That was the key question that made me squirm in my seat up in Manchester. “Are we prepared for after the revolution?” Well that makes no sense at all, which, seen as I can’t shut up, proclaimed loudly. I got a quiet stare back. The fact of the matter is that only if you’ve been asleep for the last 20 years can you wake up after a revolution. What we’ve been in for quite some time now (quite being the key part) is an evolution and not a revolution. An evolution that many have handled brilliantly and others not so brilliantly. But to blame it on being a victim of a revolution is crazy. Revolutions explode. Those prepared for this revolution are those who saw it as, and treated it as, an evolution early on. Those interested in, or at least realizing, the change. So the question has the answer already. For those who see it as a revolution; no, you’re not prepared.

Why is it important to distinguish a revolution from an evolution? Because it better helps corporations, organisations and brands making sense of it all. That it’s not making sense of something new, but continuously making sense of ongoing change. It might be about an implementation. Only not a solution, but rather a mindset or approach. The quicker they come to terms with the fact that never again will it move so slowly, the better. It’s not a change. It’s change.

But still, wise words from a man who wrote poetry from his thoughts about revolutions. Revolutions will not be televised because the actual revolution has already happened in the hearts and minds of revolutionaries. That cannot be televised. Revolutions, he said, happen within. Only the effects can be viewed and broadcast, and here’s how it looks.


Romanian revolutionaries taking over mass media, a good sign of a revolution.