Recommended Reading: Apple TV, Apple TV, Apple TV, and Apple TV+

Dustin Curtis explains “Apple TV, Apple TV, Apple TV, and Apple TV+”:

I just read and enjoyed this:

‪Apple TV is a hardware device. ‪Apple TV is an app on Apple TV that curates content you can buy from Apple and also content you can stream through other installed apps (but not all apps, and there is no way to tell which ones).

Michael Tsai helpfully created a color-coded version, which is still confusing.

Recommended Reading: WoW Classic Brings The Community Back To World Of Warcraft

During WoW Classic’s early demo days I called the game “the hell we asked for.” Compared to modern World of Warcraft, with all of its conveniences and shortcuts, yeah, it is hellish. But it’s also filled with like-minded players willing to band together to see it through. It reminds me of the neighborhoods I lived in growing up in the pre-internet age when I knew my neighbors’ names and everyone was willing to help each other out. It’s an amazing feeling.

Read “WoW Classic Brings The Community Back To World Of Warcraft”

Oh man, sometimes I really miss World of Warcraft. I probably spent 10.000 hours in this game between 2005 and 2010. Easily my favorite game of all times, and a large part of that are the people I played with for many years. Even the new classic servers can’t bring that back.

Recommended Reading: The Place of UX

I just read and enjoyed this:

Debates continue to rage about the role of UX designers, user research, and how far knowledge about the user should permeate the organization. On one extreme, UX is seen as a specialized pocket of knowledge that informs the definition of projects and sets requirements. On the other, UX is something for which the entire organization should somehow feel responsible.

A few concepts can facilitate a deeper discussion by drawing meaningful distinctions.

Read “The Place of UX”

Recommended Reading: I Cut the ‘Big Five’ Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell

I just read and enjoyed this:

A couple of months ago, I set out to answer the question of whether it’s possible to avoid the tech giants. Over the course of five weeks, I blocked Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple one at a time, to find out how to live in the modern age without each one.

To end my experiment, I’m going to see if I can survive blocking all five at once.

Read “I Cut the ‘Big Five’ Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell”

Removing Facebook and Microsoft from my life seems doable, but removing Amazon, Apple or Google seems downright impossible.

Recommended Reading: A lengthy ramble through many responses to that FaceTime Attention Correction tweet

I just read and enjoyed this:

The latest beta of iOS 13 came out, and there’s a feature called FaceTime Attention Correction which, on video calls, silently manipulates the image of your face so that you’re looking the other person directly in the eye. Which on first blush to me sounded cool (eye contact is good! Maybe?) but on further thought made me do a weird face.

Read “A lengthy ramble through many responses to that FaceTime Attention Correction tweet”

A good ramble with some interesting links for earlier research on gaze detection that I hadn’t been familiar with.

My gut reaction to the news of FaceTime manipulating video call imagery to redirect the gaze of callers was a feeling of uneasiness. Which is interesting, because I don’t find the idea of a “beauty filter” that removes skin blemishes etc. particularly irritating. Perhaps it’s because we’ve become accustomed to the idea of image manipulation for changing the appearance of a person in advertising and media, whereas the novelty of manipulating the behavior of a person is still troubling (c.f. deep fakes). Whatever the reason, these are useful reminders that digital communication is always mediated (even when it doesn’t feel that way, as in the case of video calling) as Matt Webb points out.

Recommended Reading: Anatomy of an AI System


The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources:

A cylinder sits in a room. It is impassive, smooth, simple and small. It stands 14.8cm high, with a single blue-green circular light that traces around its upper rim. It is silently attending. A woman walks into the room, carrying a sleeping child in her arms, and she addresses the cylinder.
We start with an outline: an exploded view of a planetary system across three stages of birth, life and death, accompanied by an essay in 21 parts. Together, this becomes an anatomical map of a single AI system.

Related (previously): a preliminary atlas of gizmo landscapes

(As an aside, rediscovering this article after more than nine years was more difficult than anticipated. I’m just glad it’s still available.)

Also related (previously): iPhone Deconstructed

(Which sadly appears to have vanished from the internet many years ago, thus the link.)

Also (kinda) related: Leonard E. Read’s 1958 essay I, Pencil, making the argument that no human knows enough to create something as seemingly simple as a pencil. (Disclaimer: I don’t fully buy into the Invisible Hand narrative, but I wouldn’t entirely dismiss it either.)

Recommended Reading: Better Words

I just read and enjoyed this:

Last year I jotted down in a notebook: “Art is anything that’s better than it needs to be.” (Consider it an extension or adaptation of Brian Eno’s “Culture is everything we don’t have to do.”) I don’t know how well my definition holds up for others, but at the very least it’s a fun and generous thought exercise.

Read “Better Words”

Recommended Reading: Notes on AI Bias

I just read and enjoyed this:

Machine learning finds patterns in data. ‘AI Bias’ means that it might find the wrong patterns – a system for spotting skin cancer might be paying more attention to whether the photo was taken in a doctor’s office. ML doesn’t ‘understand’ anything – it just looks for patterns in numbers, and if the sample data isn’t representative, the output won’t be either. Meanwhile, the mechanics of ML might make this hard to spot.

Read “Notes on AI Bias”

Recommended Reading: The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected

I just read and enjoyed this:

The Future Book was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very environment into its story—the name of the coffee shop you were sitting at, your best friend’s birthday. It would be sly, maybe a little creepy. Definitely programmable. Ulysses would extend indefinitely in any direction you wanted to explore; just tap and some unique, mega-mind-blowing sui generis path of Joycean machine-learned words would wend itself out before your very eyes.

Read “The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected”