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Copy & Paste the Real World into Cyberspace

A very clever and impressive tech demo by Cyril Diagne allows you to copy & paste objects from your real-world surroundings into Photoshop using your smartphone:

The code is available on GitHub and it’s probably worth pointing out that BASNet, the machine learning smarts responsible for object recognition, are available on GitHub as well.

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Larry Tesler passed away

A very sad loss. Read John Markoff’s obituary for the New York Times here.

Most of the press is highlighting the invention of cut/copy/paste as his greatest contribution, while others are highlighting his passionate aversion against modes, but when I hear the name Larry Tesler, I’ll always think first of his law of the conservation of complexity.

 

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Virtual Reality Apartment in Oculus Quest

Pretty neat. A great example of how VR and AR connect.

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How to open items in the enclosing folder directly from a Spotlight search in macOS

You can also hold down Command and double-click the item in the results list. Holding down Command by itself reveals the path to the file or folder without opening the enclosing folder.

Thanks Macworld!

There have been many occasions were this would have been useful, but I didn’t know until now. That Spotlight doesn’t show the path to the file by default is completely baffling to me.

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Evolution of the Scrollbar

Sébastien Matos recreated a number of scrollbars from different operating systems of the past few decades, starting with the Xerox Star (1981) scrollbars. I think I might just like the NextStep (1989) ones best, but Windows XP (2001) and Windows 10 (2015) are also good. The current Mac OS ones are, of course, not great.

(via Kottke)

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User Inyerface

userinyerface

User Inyerface is a deliberately terrible user interface created by design agency Bagaar.

It deliberately violates many fundamental principles of good user interface design and is a great showcase of what happens when these principles aren’t followed. If you can make it to the end, congratulations: you’re definitely more patient than I am.

(via)

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Blocking JavaScript

Brent Simmons recently wrote about two features he wants most in a web browser: The ability to block cookies and JavaScript by default and whitelist them on a case by case basis.

To which Nick Heer added the following observation:

When you think about it, it’s pretty nuts that we allow the automatic execution of whatever code a web developer wrote. We don’t do that for anything else, really — certainly not to the same extent of possibly hundreds of webpages visited daily, each carrying a dozen or more scripts.

Which, if you put it like that, makes a lot of sense. So I’ve been trying (and struggling) to approximate the desired behavior of a JavaScript whitelist recently – there are browser add-ons and extensions for that, but most of them are not very good (or not what I had in mind). The one I like best after trying several, both large and small, was the generically named Javascript Control for Firefox by Erwan Ameil. Maybe it works for you, too. Or maybe I’ll give up on this little experiment within a week, once I realize that today’s web doesn’t function without client-side JavaScript.

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❤️ Palm

The Palm Pre launched ten years ago today (as I was helpfully reminded by The Verge’s eminent Palm enthusiast Dieter Bohn), which gives me the opportunity to dig out another article by Dieter Bohn that I’ve always meant to post here but never got around to: What the iPhone X borrowed from the Palm Pre.

I have a soft spot for Palm in my heart – not just the new Palm webOS, but the original Palm OS as well. Back in 2007 when I first laid hands on the iPhone, I was struck by the similarity to Palm OS (especially the application launcher) and I do believe that our current smartphone platforms owe some debt to the work of Palm.

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From our Grim Meathook Future: Inmates in Finland are training AI as part of prison labor.

Now that’s a dystopian near-future scifi novel just waiting to be written right there.

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50 years on from the Mother of All Demos

Fifty years ago today, on December 9th, 1968, Douglas Engelbart presented the Mother of All Demos, introducing the oN-Line System (NLS) to the world and with it then novel concepts such as the computer mouse, hypertext or remote collaborative document editing. In my humble opinion it is probably the most important moment of HCI history in the 20th century.

Watching this today, it is astonishing how seemingly simple and (nowadays) familiar technologies such as the computer mouse had to be explained from the ground up back then. If you got an hour and a half to spare, spend some time (re-)watching the event (now available on Youtube, but still also available at Stanford), or read about its importance and legacy at Wired or Ars Technica. Wired also shared a fascinating look at how they pulled it all off.

(Previously)