State of Technology #20
August 12, 2011
· Wolfram released CDF (Computable Document Format) based on ever popular Mathematica
· Browser is the new tablet – Amazon’s Kindle-on-Cloud reads GREAT
· Not AAA rating, it’s AAPL
#architecture – Is ‘Open Office Layout’ bad for brain and good for bugs?
Very interesting debate forming out there –
“Jordon quoted Joel Splosky when he mentioned that open-office layouts and the similar concept of war rooms are the places where bugs are bred. According to him, in such settings, no-one can concentrate for long due to constant interruptions and distractions.”
#code – Absurdity of some software patents –
#design – The best ever education on password strength
#essay – GPS is changing our brains faster than we think –
“There is an idea popular in technophilia, dating back at least to Marshall McLuhan, that some technologies may be considered an “extension” of our own minds or selves. Scott Adams, sounding not unlike the drones who spin corporate techno-jargon in his comic strip Dilbert, has said just such a thing about GPS devices, claiming that they are part of our “exobrain” (and that this means that “technically, you’re already a cyborg”). It seems a rosy picture with a rosy appeal: GPS gives us additional abilities in physical space; therefore it extends our abilities into space; therefore it is an extension of us, or of our minds or brains. More precisely, as Adams puts it, “your regular brain uses your exobrain to outsource part of its memory, and perform other functions.””
#mobile – Not disk capacity; RAM capacity; of course not number of transistors – Battery charging time has improved the LEAST (PDF) over last few decades. iPhone can only accept ~2.5 Watts while charging, humans generate 100 watts running on treadmill – can we hook up iPhone with ourselves and charge?
#social – Analytics to replace counseling?!
#tweaks n’ hacks – Useful ‘how-to’ algorithms to enhance images – how to ‘beautify’ a face; change B&W to Color
- ‘Introduction to Algorithms’ – started as MIT class notes – sold 500,000th copy
- Why are restaurant websites so awful? “Restaurant sites are the product of restaurant culture. These nightmarish websites were spawned by restaurateurs who mistakenly believe they can control the online world the same way they lord over a restaurant. “In restaurants, the expertise is in the kitchen and in hospitality in general,” says Eng San Kho, a partner at the New York design firm Love and War, which has created several unusually great restaurant sites (more on those in a bit). “People in restaurants have a sense that they want to create an entertainment experience online—that’s why disco music starts, that’s why Flash slideshows open. They think they can still play the host even here online.”
#parting_thought – “Some very considerable part of the gestural language of public places, that had once belonged to cigarettes, now belonged to phones” – William Gibson in ‘Zero History’