November 6, 2013
"Unfortunately we live in a world where all too often, laws are for the little people. Nobody at GCHQ or the NSA will ever stand before a judge and answer for this industrial-scale subversion of the judicial process. In the absence of working law enforcement, we therefore do what internet engineers have always done - build more secure software. The traffic shown in the slides below is now all encrypted and the work the NSA/GCHQ staff did on understanding it, ruined."

— Really love that Google lets its employees speak their mind (or at least doesn’t seem to take issue after the fact). Here, security engineer Mike Hearn issues “a giant FUCK YOU” to NSA, GCHQ and others.

September 15, 2013

Functioning “mechanical gears” seen in nature for the first time. Deep science with an added dash of art and community collaboration. Charming.

September 10, 2013
"

What I hope for you:

That you combine that edgy mixture of self-confidence and doubt.

That you have enough self-confidence to try new things.

That you have enough self doubt to question.

That you think of technology as a verb, not a noun; it is subtle but important difference.

That you remember the issues are usually not technical.

That you create opportunities to improvise.

"

Facebook’s Margaret Stewart remembers ITP’s Red Burns, who used to welcome students with a list of things she wanted them to know… and things she hoped for them. Pretty lovely and a salient message for us all.

September 4, 2013
"You are not visualizing the system, you are visualizing measurements of the system. No measurement is ever fully accurate."

Let the Data Speak — great interview with data visualizer, Jer Thorp.

August 14, 2013
"We are also reminded that Nixon was ahead of his time. Back then, his malevolent and obsessive quest to stem “the leaks, the leaks” at “any cost” was viewed as a sort of psychic illness; today, both the sentiment and the extralegal pursuit of leakers that followed is considered downright presidential."

Reading Born Again in Jail, by Barrett Brown, the Anonymous-related writer who’s “facing decades in prison” is a hilarious but sobering review of a book from the Nixon era that seems somehow quaint by today’s standards. Brr.

June 20, 2013

Haven’t been tracking Vines at all, but this is really lovely and amazing. By, well, a video producer at Twitter, Ian Padgham.

May 20, 2013
"Instead of robust public education, we have Mr. Zuckerberg’s “rescue” of Newark’s schools. Instead of a vibrant literary culture, we have Oprah’s book club. Instead of investments in public health, we have the Gates Foundation. Celebrities either buy institutions, or “disrupt” them."

— George Packer on "Celebrating Inequality." A sobering read.

May 16, 2013
"History is changed by people who get pissed off. Only neo-vegetables enjoy using computers the way they are at the moment. If you want to make computers that really work, create a design team composed only of healthy, active women with lots else to do in their lives and give them carte blanche. Do not under any circumstances consult anyone who (a) is fascinated by computer games (b) tends to describe silly things as ‘totally cool’ (c) has nothing better to do except fiddle with these damn things night after night."

Happy birthday, Brian Eno, you fabulous person, you.

April 16, 2013
"Ultimately, the left will lose. Big business will pollute the planet, capitalist culture will kill off the arts and humanities, schools will all be privatised, libraries will all close, social mobility will cease, the gulf between rich and poor will grow and everything beautiful will die. The left may note little human rights victories – gay marriage and the odd bit of better pay – but the machine is rolling inexorably forwards to crush it."

Really incredible piece by British stand-up comedian Stewart Lee on why there are no right wing stand-ups. Read to the last line, which actually made me gasp out loud, and I pride myself on having no shame when it comes to “bad” words.

April 10, 2013
"We weren’t tackling the hard problem of figuring out how to actually make the ads good enough to integrate with the user experience. With phones, there’s no room for a right-hand column of ads. That forced us to think about what the business looks like on mobile."

— Don’t know if it’s just me but with comments like this, Mark Zuckerberg sounds like all the magazine and newspaper publishers I’ve known over the years. And so the wheel turns.

April 8, 2013
"Publishers might be a necessary thing,” he said. “but it’s inevitable that they will shift the focus from games being made by people who want to make good games to people who want to make money."

Thoughtful, fascinating profile of Minecraft creator, Notch. I think we’ll see more (private) companies rising up which are not driven by the capitalistic imperatives of the past. Suddenly wealthy, young founders have different ideas about management, and are designing corporate systems that suit their own philosophies and thinking. In this case, Notch employs twenty or so people at his company Mojang, which has a flat management struture and no set working hours. “When you have the kind of success Minecraft has brought, you can just choose yourself the way you want to do things,” says Persson, which includes not rabidly pursuing the Next Big Thing. “I try to have a studio where people go to make games for the fun of it, not just because some investor has said we have to make money.” This is a small company, of course, but just imagine how this might float up to influence larger corporations, who always need to be able to attract and hire talent.

March 22, 2013
How beautiful is this? Christo’s Big Air Package, a ginormous piece in the Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany, and the artist’s first major project sans partner in life, Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009. As the blurb puts it, at 90 meters high, with a diameter of 50 meters and a volume of 177,000 cubic meters, “the work of art is the largest ever inflated envelope without a skeleton.” I die.
Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2013 Christo

How beautiful is this? Christo’s Big Air Package, a ginormous piece in the Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany, and the artist’s first major project sans partner in life, Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009. As the blurb puts it, at 90 meters high, with a diameter of 50 meters and a volume of 177,000 cubic meters, “the work of art is the largest ever inflated envelope without a skeleton.” I die.

Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2013 Christo

March 18, 2013
"I don’t know what I could do with the money. I’d just start another social networking site. I kind of like the one I already have."

Mark Zuckerberg on turning down Yahoo’s offer of a billion dollars for his then-fledgling social startup. Whatever you think of the young founder and Facebook, that takes some guts.

March 15, 2013

The Alan Partridge movie. Oh no oh no oh no (oh yes).

[via Emily McManus]

March 14, 2013
"We must abandon invisibility as a goal for interfaces; it’s misleading, unhelpful and ultimately dishonest. It unleashes so much potential for unusable, harmful and frustrating interfaces, and systems that gradually erode users and designers agency. Invisibility might seem an attractive concept at first glance, but it ignores the real, thorny, difficult issues of designing and using complex interfaces and systems."

Beautiful, thoughtful piece by Berg’s Timo Arnall, on the fallacy of “invisible” interfaces. Must-read.