Recommended Reading: An inversion of nature: how air conditioning created the modern city

I just read and enjoyed this:

The shopping mall would have been inconceivable without air conditioning, as would the deep-plan and glass-walled office block, as would computer servers. The rise of Hollywood in the 1920s would have been slowed if, as previously, theatres had needed to close in hot weather. The expansion of tract housing in postwar suburban America relied on affordable domestic air conditioning units. A contemporary museum, such as Tate Modern or Moma, requires a carefully controlled climate to protect the works of art.

Read “An inversion of nature: how air conditioning created the modern city”

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Recommended Reading: OLPC’s $100 laptop was going to change the world — then it all went wrong

I just read and enjoyed this:

It was supposed to be the laptop that saved the world. In late 2005, tech visionary and MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte pulled the cloth cover off a small green computer with a bright yellow crank.

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Recommended Reading: The Lottery Hackers

I recently read and enjoyed this:

Gerald Selbee broke the code of the American breakfast cereal industry because he was bored at work one day, because it was a fun mental challenge, because most things at his job were not fun and because he could—because he happened to be the kind of person who saw puzzles all around him, puzzles that other people don’t realize are puzzles: the little ciphers and patterns that float through the world and stick to the surfaces of everyday things.

Read “The Lottery Hackers”

Recommended Reading: Ways to think about machine learning

I just read and enjoyed this:

We’re now four or five years into the current explosion of machine learning, and pretty much everyone has heard of it. It’s not just that startups are forming every day or that the big tech platform companies are rebuilding themselves around it – everyone outside tech has read the Economist or BusinessWeek cover story, and many big companies have some projects underway. We know this is a Next Big Thing.

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Recommended Reading: LEGO and Augmented Reality

I just read and enjoyed this:

There’s no doubt in my mind that augmented reality is going to be amazing and that people will build incredible new experiences with Apple’s ARKit, version 2 of which was announced earlier this week at the company’s annual World Wide Developers Conference. But in order for that reality to come into focus, developers—and designers—are going to need to bring greater thoughtfulness and creativity to the new medium, or at least more than was on display during the LEGO demonstration portion of the keynote.

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Recommended Reading: Reconsidering the Hardware Kindle Interface

I just read and enjoyed this:

I’ve been using Kindles on and off ever since they launched. Our relationship has been contentious but I’ve always been seduced or re-seduced by their potential. At their best, they are beautiful devices. At their worst, infuriating. They are always so close to being better than they are.

I’m a big fan of my Kindle Paperwhite, but I would like it a lot better if it had hardware buttons for page turning. There are a number of interesting observations regarding the UI design implications of the Kindle as a single purpose device for reading (in comparison to multi-purpose smartphones or tablets) in here as well:

When is a generic hardware bucket great? When the objects placed into it are unpredictable. And more so when the purpose of the objects is unpredictable. Hardware buttons inextricably tie you to a specific interaction model. So for the iPhone to be a flexible container into which anything can be poured it makes most sense to have (almost) no hardware controls.

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Recommended Reading: The Greatest Computer Network You’ve Never Heard Of

I just read and enjoyed this:

Nearly 60 years ago, in the modest college towns of Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, an educational computer system, built with federal funding acquired amid the space race, took its first formative steps toward existence.

The PLATO System probably isn’t quite as well known as Sketchpad, NLS or the Xerox Alto, but I consider it one of the great inventions in the history of HCI.

Read “The Greatest Computer Network You’ve Never Heard Of”