Recommended Reading: The best laptop ever made

I just read and enjoyed this:

Apple has made many great laptops, but the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro (2012–2015) is the epitome of usefulness, elegance, practicality, and power for an overall package that still hasn’t been (and may never be) surpassed.

Read “The best laptop ever made”

There’s probably a line to be drawn between lauding the 2015 MacBook Pro 15″ and the frustrating state of USB-C (but maybe I’m just projecting). I tend to agree with Marco Arment’s assessment that things have gone downhill from the 2015 MacBook lineup (even though I personally use and prefer the MacBook Pro 13″) and I find the current MacBook lineup uniquely unsuitable to my needs. Apparently I’m not alone. I could really use a new laptop at work, but there isn’t a single new MacBook model available that I find acceptable on a practical day-to-day basis, mostly because of their lack of ports. Of course I could spend a lot of money on a two year old computer, but somehow I can’t quite convince myself to do that. So for now, I’ll stick with an excruciatingly slow 2010 MacBook Air and wait for USB-C to suck less, which probably shouldn’t take much longer than another three or five years…


Recommended Reading: The long, strange story behind Blade Runner’s title

I just read and enjoyed this:

Most fans of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner are aware that it’s based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, and that the book is not called Blade Runner. If you pick up Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, you’ll notice the term never appears in it.

Read “The long, strange story behind Blade Runner’s title”

Recommended Reading: Analyzing the Gender Representation of 34,476 Comic Book Characters

I just read and enjoyed this:

Female characters appear in superhero comics less often than males — but when they are included, how are they depicted? The recent theatrical release of Wonder Woman briefly catapulted the question of female superhero representation into the mainstream.

Read “Analyzing the Gender Representation of 34,476 Comic Book Characters”

The analysis is beautifully visualised, including some great pixel art.

Recommended Reading: Creation and consumption

I just read and enjoyed this:

It seems to me that when people talk about what you ‘can’t’ do on a device, there are actually two different meanings of ‘can’t’ in computing. There is ‘can’t’ as meaning the feature doesn’t exist, and there is ‘can’t’ as meaning you don’t know how to do it. If you don’t know how to do it, the feature might as well not be there. So, there is what an expert can’t do on a smartphone or tablet that they could do on a PC. But then there are all of the things that a normal person (the other 90% or 95%) can’t do on a PC but can do on a smartphone, because the step change in user interface abstraction and simplicity means that they know how to do it on a phone and didn’t know how to do it on a PC. That is, the step change in user interface models that comes with the shift from Windows and Mac to iOS and Android is really a shift in the accessibility of capability. A small proportion of people might temporarily go from can to can’t, but vastly more go from can’t to can.

Read “Creation and consumption”

Recommended Reading: Myanmar’s Smartphone Revolution

I just read and enjoyed this:

For six weeks in October and November 2015, just before Myanmar held its landmark elections, I joined a team of design ethnographers in the countryside interviewing forty farmers about smartphones. A design ethnographer is someone who studies how culture and technology interact.

Read “Myanmar’s Smartphone Revolution”

I didn’t expect Facebook to hold such a dominant position in people’s lives. There are also some great examples of how routing around infrastructure differences causes completely different usage patterns compared to the US and Europe.

Recommended Reading: Not even wrong – ways to dismiss technology

I enjoyed this article by Benedict Evans, particularly this bit:

In the enterprise, new technology tends to solve existing problems in new ways (or of course solve the new problems created by the new tech). In consumer products, it’s more common to seem to be proposing a change in human behaviour, and so in human desires. You may in some underlying way ‘really’ be replacing an existing behavior in a different way, as Word replaced typewriters and email replaced Word, but that line of reasoning can easily lead you to unfalsifiable assertions when you move up Maslow’s Hierarchy.  ‘Millennials care less about driving because smartphones give them their freedom now’ certainly sounds good, but I have no idea how you could tell if it’s true, far less predict it. This is not a falsifiable analysis. All that you can hold in your hands is that you’re proposing a new human desire, and that’s a subjective view, not the objective analysis one could do of the roadmap for flight in 1903 – worse, it requires a change in your subjective view. You don’t think that you want to listen to music walking down the street, and you don’t think that you want to be able to call anyone from anywhere you might be. The argument for progress here is effectively false consciousness – ‘you think you don’t want this, but you are wrong, and one day you will realise the truth of your own feelings’. But you can’t ever know this – again, you can’t falsify it.

Steven Sinofski made similar observations when writing about platform shifts.