Archive:
2017

Future historians probably won’t understand our internet, and that’s OK

Future historians probably won't understand our internet, and that's OK The internet once promised to offer archivists an unprecedented opportunity to record and track our era. But with social media silos offering "pervasive, unique, personalized, non-repeatable" experiences, it is proving increasingly difficult to preserve our internet. Every major social-networking service uses opaque algorithms to shape…

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Stephen Bush: On the Tube, I saw the father I’d never met – and was happy to find that I had nothing to say to him

Stephen Bush: On the Tube, I saw the father I’d never met – and was happy to find that I had nothing to say to him An extraordinary piece of writing by Stephen Bush, about bumping into someone who didn't know he was his father. I’ve learned to enjoy the upsides of having an absent…

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Talking to Léonie Watson about computer vision and blindness

Talking to Léonie Watson about computer vision and blindness Peter Gasston interviewed Léonie Watson, an accessibility consultant who is blind. In this extract, they discuss computer vision -- technologies that can extract information from photos and videos using machine learning. It sounds like massively promising technology. I was sitting in a hotel having breakfast not…

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Facebook’s algorithm hijacked this $8 billion company to sell cat blindfolds

Facebook’s algorithm hijacked this $8 billion company to sell cat blindfolds Online retailer Wish was developing a cult following for its incredibly bizarre Facebook ads. Among the products displayed to users: cat blindfolds, cocaine sweatshirts and "plastic tongue things". It's yet another unforseen consequence of algorithms driving everything, and yet another indication that companies desperately…

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I made my shed the top rated restaurant on TripAdvisor

I made my shed the top rated restaurant on TripAdvisor Brilliantly entertaining article by someone who managed to game TripAdvisor into ranking his fake establishment as the number one restaurant in London. When he staged a deliberately-awful opening night, some of the patrons asked to come again. The Shed at Dulwich has suddenly become appealing.…

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What product managers can learn from teachers about running great workshops

What product managers can learn from teachers about running great workshops As it happens, I was recently talking to a colleague about the links between teaching and running workshops. I have come to appreciate the similarities this year. A couple of my colleagues used to be teachers, and working with them has made the parallels…

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The media perspective on burger emoji: An unexpected analysis

The media perspective on burger emoji: An unexpected analysis The burger emoji: A first-hand analysis of the media coverage Media analyst Thomas Baekdal unexpectedly went viral last month when he tweeted about the inconsistencies between the burger emojis for Apple and Google. He has published two articles about it. The first examines why his tweet…

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There’s a digital media crash. But no one will say it

There’s a digital media crash. But no one will say it A huge, huge, huge amount of digital media is funded by venture capital... The big picture is that Problem #1 (too many publications) and Problem #2 (platform monopolies) have catalyzed together to create Problem #3 (investors realize they were investing in a mirage and…

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Debunking the myth of the 10,000-hours rule: What it actually takes to reach genius-level excellence

Debunking the myth of the 10,000-hours rule: What it actually takes to reach genius-level excellence The 10,000 hour rule has obviously always been more complicated than that -- not least because you would have to be mad to spend 10,000 hours on something you're not very good at. This article outlines some of the nuances…

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Designers, it’s time to move slowly and fix things

Designers, it’s time to move slowly and fix things Another reflection on how the culture of tech and design probably needs to change, this time from Basecamp product designer Jonas Downey. Designers and programmers are great at inventing software... Unfortunately we’re not nearly as obsessed with what happens after that, when people integrate our products…

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The most popular strategies companies use to save money also kill innovation

The most popular strategies companies use to save money also kill innovation An interesting take on business process improvements such as Lean and Six Sigma. It suggests that while such process improvements improve reliability, they also make innovation plummet. Moreover, the effects are difficult to spot because they take so long to emerge. Innovation requires…

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Woman reports rape to police — and is arrested on immigration charges

Woman reports rape to police -- and is arrested on immigration charges The woman, who was five months pregnant at the time of her arrest, attended a London police station in March to report that she had been kidnapped and raped in Germany between September 2016 and March 2017. Officers took her to the Havens…

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Wealth inequality is even worse in reputation economies

Wealth inequality is even worse in reputation economies Cory Doctorow on how reputation economies (like the rating system satirised in the Black Mirror episode Nosedive) have a series of undesirable effects. ...reputation is useless as a hedge against the real nightmare of a setup like Ebay: the long con. It doesn’t cost much, nor does…

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Twice this year I have been sent customer feedback surveys before I have even received the items, because they were delayed so badly

Twice this year I have been sent customer feedback surveys before I have even received the items, because they were delayed so badly. Arse, meet elbow. If you're interested, the guilty parties are Specsavers (my glasses took 6 weeks to arrive) and Currys PC World (I'm still waiting on my new Chromebook).

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Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers

Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers It definitely feels like there has been a sea-change in people's perceptions about Silicon Valley in the past year or so. This article goes some way to explaining why. MBA jerks used to go and work for Wall Street, now wealthy white geeks…

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Nick Clegg meets Richard Thaler: ‘All it would take to stop Brexit is a couple of dozen brave Tories’

Nick Clegg meets Richard Thaler: ‘All it would take to stop Brexit is a couple of dozen brave Tories’ The Guardian set Nick Clegg up for a Skype interview with Richard Thaler, who has recently been awarded the Nobel economics prize. Thaler was a big influence on the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition and it is clear…

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Faux grid tracks

Faux grid tracks Now that we have CSS grid, people apparently want to know how to style the divisions between the rows and the columns. Here, Eric Meyer explains one way to do it. At this stage, I can't help feeling that no matter how many features get added to CSS, it always results in…

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