Net ​nostalgia: the online museums preserving dolphin gifs and spinning Comic Sans

 

Scott is interested in conserving the stuff we have forgotten has value. Increasingly, our culture plays itself out on the internet, yet even now we have a tendency to view what we do on there as trivial. Or we make the mistake of assuming that digital means for ever. “The problem is, the internet’s systems have been designed as though everything goes on indefinitely,” he says. “There are no agreed-upon shutdown procedures. When users die, what do you do? Because their accounts live on, and suddenly Facebook is telling you your dead friend also likes Snickers bars. Often, you don’t even know who’s running a site. It’s as if you didn’t know who was in charge of your water supply; then one day, it just stopped …”

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Net ​nostalgia: the online museums preserving dolphin gifs and spinning Comic Sans

 

Scott is interested in conserving the stuff we have forgotten has value. Increasingly, our culture plays itself out on the internet, yet even now we have a tendency to view what we do on there as trivial. Or we make the mistake of assuming that digital means for ever. “The problem is, the internet’s systems have been designed as though everything goes on indefinitely,” he says. “There are no agreed-upon shutdown procedures. When users die, what do you do? Because their accounts live on, and suddenly Facebook is telling you your dead friend also likes Snickers bars. Often, you don’t even know who’s running a site. It’s as if you didn’t know who was in charge of your water supply; then one day, it just stopped …”

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What’s the future of interaction?

 

The proliferation of connected devices, especially the Internet of Things, was spurred by access to cheap parts. Anyone can now affordably slap a chip, accelerometer, gyroscope, and 3D-printed shell together to build something smart. But they still face one major challenge: how to give users control of their brand-new thing. Some manufacturers opt for a smartphone app; others build a touchscreen control panel right into their gadget. The touchscreen is easy, affordable, and involves no user learning curve. But still, the touchscreen presents its own problems.

Read the full story here

What’s the future of interaction?

 

The proliferation of connected devices, especially the Internet of Things, was spurred by access to cheap parts. Anyone can now affordably slap a chip, accelerometer, gyroscope, and 3D-printed shell together to build something smart. But they still face one major challenge: how to give users control of their brand-new thing. Some manufacturers opt for a smartphone app; others build a touchscreen control panel right into their gadget. The touchscreen is easy, affordable, and involves no user learning curve. But still, the touchscreen presents its own problems.

Read the full story here

More thoughts on digital design education

I was invited to share my thoughts on digital design education over on Medium as a contribution to the Interaction Design Education conference being held at the end of the month in Helsinki.

It’s a more considered response to the original article that sparked all this off – this time with some rather interesting facts and figures that demolish the argument that digital design education is ‘broken’.

For example:

According to the Design Council, digital design contributed £30 billion to the UK economy and £12 billion in exports in 2013. This grew 39.3% domestically and 58.3% globally from 2009–13. It the fastest growing design sector in the UK representing one in four design companies operating in the UK and employing 608,000 people (nearly 40% higher than in 2009). 68% of those working in digital design have a degree or higher — the largest proportion of all design disciplines.

Head on over to Medium to read the article, and please add your voice – whether you agree or not:

No, digital design education is not broken

Instant film and a record player were top sellers on Amazon for the holidays

Apparently, the biggest sellers on Amazon’s US site this Christmas were a turntable and film for an instant camera.

Why? The Verge’s Jacob Kastrenakes has a theory:

Is it weird that cheap analog products beat out modern alternatives? Kind of. But as someone who ordered a physical book and a pack of film just yesterday, none of this seems too hard to explain away. Jensen’s turntable is a low-cost way to get someone started with vinyl, which is growing in popularity right now very much because of its analog and anachronistic qualities; plus, with built-in speakers, there’s no need for a full stereo setup alongside it, either. And while I’m surprised to hear that Fuji’s Instax Mini line has such a following, it’s worth remembering that these products have a lot less competition than any individual digital camera or home speaker — since there are fewer products to pick between, the ones that do exist are going to capture more sales.

If you want to get into something, it’s always helpful if the cost of entry is low, so the risk is low. Tom Kelley, in The Art Of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, talks about another aspect which is ease of entry. He noticed that fishing was overly complicated for kids to get in to but, more importantly, their parents hadn’t fished as kids and so didn’t know how to teach their own children. So he designed a one-piece fishing rod that meant kids could quickly try it out and, if they liked it, get more involved in it.

Vinyl seems easy enough – buy a record, put it on the record player. But like those non-fishing parents, if you’ve not got a record player in the house, you need to buy one and then you’re into a different territory. As the Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch above makes painfully clear. Same with photography. No one wants to look like an idiot, so make it easy. The fact we all have cameras on us now hasn’t dampened the interest in photography, but increased it. So if camera shops want to capitalise on that, make it less baffling to take the next step.

Digital images can’t be trusted, says war photographer Don McCullin

Don McCullin, one of the world’s finest photographers of war and disaster, said the digital revolution meant viewers could no longer trust the truthfulness of images they see. He said photography had been “hijacked” because “the digital cameras are extraordinary. I have a dark room and I still process film but digital photography can be a totally lying kind of experience, you can move anything you want … the whole thing can’t be trusted really.”

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Newspapers face up to the ad crunch in print and digital

The print advertising market, which still remains the lifeblood of income for most publishers on the path to digital sustainability, has been down unprecedented levels of as much as 30% in some weeks over the past six months. Most of the UK’s top 10 newspaper advertisers have stripped their budgets: the biggest, Sky, has cut its spend by 20% in the first nine months, according to unofficial figures. Second ranked BT has lopped 18% off its national newspaper ad budget so far, Asda is down 47% and the once ever-reliable Tesco is down 39%.

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Instagram is already getting lazy about ad quality

What is an Instagram ad? Back when the company first announced it would be interrupting everyone’s photo feed with ads, Instagram said that brands would have to be “creative and engaging” in their approach. They’d have to fit in seamlessly alongside the never-ending stream of food shots, pet photos, vacation scenes, and newborn babies we all constantly swipe through. In a blog post, Instagram said, “After all, our team doesn’t just build Instagram, we use it each and every day.” And sure enough, the initial batch of advertisers stayed true to Instagram’s vision and delivered ads that looked like they belonged on the platform. They were actually photos — often pretty good ones. Instagram even gave the brands special tools that regular users still can’t access. Advertisers can make galleries, whereas you and I still have to post every photo individually like buffoons. Brands can also post 30-second videos. But normal humans? We’re still limited to half that length. And yet, even with all this special treatment, the quality of ads on Instagram is taking a very noticeable dive.

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How Is Digital Technology Changing London Fashion Week?

Digital presentations have given new designers a route into fashion week which allows them to present their collections at a fraction of the cost that expensive theatrical live shows often spiral into. This has been hugely positive for breaking new talent – and is again where London comes into its own.  Designers like Carri Munden of Cassette Playa have used digital presentations to amazing effect – attracting just as many VIPs and press to her screenings – which underlines the fact that designers no longer need to present a traditional catwalk.

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