Blog posts

  • 'Amazing' is definitely the right word

    Looking closer: Amazing Worlds II

    [Via The Morning News]

  • The Third & The Seventh

    Do yourself a favour and watch Alex Roman's short film The Third & The Seventh on the highest resolution screen you have available to you. You won't regret it, I promise.

    Gorgeous work.

    [Via The Next Picture Show Podcast - Episode 23]

  • 'Bots won't replace apps. Better apps will replace apps.'

    Dan Grover, whose occasional essays about the user interfaces used in smartphone apps in the Chinese market have provided a worthwhile sense of perspective on how smartphones can be used, has written the best take I've read on the current bout of bot-mania:

    This recent "bot-mania" is at the confluence of two separate trends. One is agent AIs steadily getting better, as evidenced by Siri and Alexa being things people actually use rather than gimmicks. The other is that the the US somehow still hasn't got a dominant messaging app and Silicon Valley is trying to learn from the success of Asian messenger apps. This involves a peculiar fixation on how these apps, particularly WeChat, incorporate all sorts of functionality seemingly unrelated to messaging. They come away surprised by just how many differently-shaped pegs fit into this seemingly oddly-shaped hole. The thesis, then, is that users will engage more frequently, deeply, and efficiently with third-party services if they're presented in a conversational UI instead of a separate native app.

    It's that part which, having spent the past two years in my current job eating and breathing messaging, seems a major misattribution of what makes chat apps work and what problems they're best at solving.

    Definitely worth a read.

    [Via The Overspill]

  • Thinganomics in action

    Dr John Bates, CEO of end-to-end IoT and M2M application platform company Plat.One has a vision of how the Internet of Things is going to bring about a pay-as-you-go economy:

    [Rather than] buying new [tires for their car], people could lease them. 1

    This Tyres-as-a-Service model also comes with big data analytics services "so the thinganomical principal is, sensor-enable the products that you sell, extract the data from the channel and then sell them as analytics services".

    "All these are ways of making money, saving money, making it more attractive for customers," Dr Bates said.

    Dr Curran 2 also said that there is nothing to stop this model of IoT PAYG being copied in for instance, door mats (counting people), smart radiators (charge per heating use), smart sofas (charge per person sitting down and how long), fish tanks (charge per person looking at the fish with camera scanning for faces), headphones (charge per use), and so on.

    So, as long as you're reasonably well off you'll be fine with your smartphone (or your iotWallet) sending off micropayments as you're charged as you walk through the shopping mall. No doubt the smart door mat at every entrance will check your ID and credit rating and only unlock the door if your credit rating is high enough.

    [Via @evgenymorozov]

    1. Just the tires? Surely they'll be using the IoT to ensure they pay for the entire car by the mile?

    2. Dr. Kevin Curran is described as a member of the IEEE.

  • Prince, RIP

    Prince has gone to join his guitar in heaven.

    I know this isn't even him performing one of his own songs and he doesn't even take centre stage until a couple of minutes in, but he certainly makes his mark.

    It's one of the great mysteries of the late 20th century music business that Prince only ever got to the top of the UK singles chart once in his own name. But oh, the albums…

    How the hell could I pick a favourite of his own material? Even trying to decide which of his albums I love the most doesn't work, because the man had a run of releases from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s where just about every 1 album 2 he released contained at a minimum one or two tracks that were simply breathtakingly good and I just can't settle on one of them. Most of his albums from his long, glorious imperial phase did a hell of a lot better than one or two.

    If you've not heard Parade, Lovesexy, Purple Rain or Sign o' the Times then do yourself a favour and find out what you've been missing.

    1. Yes, even his Batman soundtrack. (For the record, those tracks would be Lemon Crush and Electric Chair, IMHO.)

    2. OK, I have to admit that Graffiti Bridge was an exception to the rule. But in fairness it's been a long time since I heard it, so I may be forgetting something.

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