Surviving being senior (tech) management:

[F]ind some folks in your industry, with similar job scope. Get together regularly. Talk shop. But the real shop. The stuff you don’t talk about when the people you work for or the people who work for you are around. This should be off the record. This isn’t a meet up. Start with a small group. Intimacy is the name of the game. Alcohol can help. Ask people, they’ll say yes, everyone needs to talk.

What you’ll find out is everything is fucked up everywhere.

Emphasis mine.

Julian Assange reviews The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen for the New York Times:

[W]hile Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Cohen tell us that the death of privacy will aid governments in “repressive autocracies” in “targeting their citizens,” they also say governments in “open” democracies will see it as “a gift” enabling them to “better respond to citizen and customer concerns.” In reality, the erosion of individual privacy in the West and the attendant centralization of power make abuses inevitable, moving the “good” societies closer to the “bad” ones.

I only just got around to reading it and the fact this was published about a week before news of the PRISM program broke is rather remarkable.

The Reading List

It’s been a year since I last did one of these, so I guess it’s more than due to clear out the reading list backlog:

Google Glass hacked with malicious QR code to yield its pictures and video

Researchers at mobile security company Lookout discovered a security flaw in Google Glass which allowed them to capture data being sent from the head-mounted device to the web without the users knowledge.The flaw used the fact that the head-mounted Glass camera scans any photo it takes for a QR code in order to set up Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections to a smartphone for internet access.Whenever the Glass software detects a QR code, it decodes it to see if it names a Wi-Fi network to connect to. It will do this even if the code does not occupy the whole of the frame – so a hacker could get a Glass owner to hack their own device just by standing near a printout of special QR code.

Google Glass hacked with malicious QR code to yield its pictures and video.

It’s news like this that make me feel like living in a science fiction novel.

Kit FUI

kitfui

Fantasy User Interfaces, Fictional User Interfaces, Fake User Interfaces, Futuristic User Interfaces. Regardless of what the F stands for, they all represent the same thing, the user interfaces and heads up displays found in many popular movies and television shows.

Most FUIs are not actual computer programs but simply animations being played back at the correct time or added in post production. These graphics and animations are designed in applications like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D.

Kit FUI is an IMDb-like database that makes it easy to find screenshots, videos and the designers of these FUIs.

Kit FUI by Noteloop.

An IMDB for fictional UIs. Let’s hope this can grow and expand.

ZXX

zxx

Over the course of a year, I researched and created ZXX, a disruptive typeface which takes its name from the Library of Congress’ listing of three-letter codes denoting which language a book is written in. Code “ZXX” is used when there is: “No linguistic content; Not applicable.” The project started with a genuine question: How can we conceal our fundamental thoughts from artificial intelligences and those who deploy them? I decided to create a typeface that would be unreadable by text scanning software (whether used by a government agency or a lone hacker) — misdirecting information or sometimes not giving any at all.

ZXX by Sang Mun. (via)

See also: CV Dazzle.

Love is all

Probably not quite safe for work.

Love is all
Video, Kinect, RGBD Toolkit (2012)
Direction, edition: Alejandro Gómez-Arias

Love… is a study of the body, movements and energy delivery during the sex, the relation between sculpture and video. The original idea come from a philosophical phrase of two french writers, Deleuze & Guattari: “Every love is an exercise of depersonalization on a body without organs yet to be formed.” – A Thousand Plateaus

Love is all from Alejandro Gómez-Arias / MEME on Vimeo.

A few brief notes on iOS 7

After last week’s WWDC, Apple’s Developer Conference, the whole web is brimming with commentary on the radical design changes that Apple plans to introduce with iOS 7 this fall.

I have a few (conflicting) thoughts of my own, but there’s little reason to go into them at length, considering the number of words spent on the topic across tech news websites and personal weblogs over the past week. I’ll briefly jot down my top three annoyances and concerns anyway, to revisit at a later point:

  • I think the new lockscreen design is a failure, inadvertantly prompting the user to swipe up instead of left-to-right, potentially tarnishing one of the very first interactions users will experience with their new iOS 7 device. I expect this to be changed pre-release.
  • I’m not a fan of the new homescreen app icons (like everone else), but they don’t worry me too much because they’ll probably also get fixed pre-release.
  • My biggest gripe and probably the one that won’t get fixed is the use of text labels as buttons – I think a button should look different from a label and you should be able to distinguish between the two without ambiguity with a quick glance.

Overall what we saw of iOS 7 at WWDC looked incoherent and unfinished, but then again, it probably is. A comprehensive, systemwide user interface overhaul of this magnitude is an enormous undertaking and I have little doubt that Apple’s designers and developers will keep polishing and refining until the very last minute before they ship. What we saw this week gave us a valuable preview of the design direction that iOS is headed in, but I expect things to improve significantly before iOS 7 actually ships.

One parting thought that few people seem to be talking about: I’m sad that the iOS user interface as we knew it for 6 years will soon be a thing of the past. For all its shortcomings it was a beautiful user interface, certainly more beautiful and polished than Android and Windows Phone in my eyes. Its look might have gotten stale over the years and many users might have gotten bored by its staunch familiarity, but to think that it will be gone for good so soon seems almost tragic to me.

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