A few thoughts, in no particular order.
- Forget ‘smartwatch’, Pebble is better described as a HUD on your wrist. You can ignore your phone, not worry about missing anything, not have to keep flicking the screen on in case you’ve got notifications. You can just get on with things — and that brings the ‘smartphone’ age into a more positive balance for me.
- Smartphones have created a swarm of new common habits, while simultaneously becoming overkill to perform them. Apps can surface their most important actions or information in a far more convenient way. And because there are often so many, the time saved adds up fast.
- I want more of this “spoke and hub” design to my gadgets. Why not have my iPad act as a central brain, with its solid processor and battery, powering all these little devices? Then my iPhone could just be a connected screen, my Pebble could be a dumb little eInk screen, Nest is a dumb sensor on the wall etc. I imagine the challenges are not insurmountable.
- The App Store is at once very exciting and very disappointing. Currently it’s really hard to discover new apps and know which ones are worth trying. But the best ones are real gems.
- Should you get one? As much as you should buy yourself any toy you don’t need. It’s not in the realm of whether you could live without it, it’s more about whether you’re the kind of person who will get a kick out of what it lets you do.
Some of my favourite everyday uses:
- Checking items off my Evernote shopping list
- Bus/ train times in a click or two
- Multiple countdowns and timers for cooking
- Google Maps turn-by-turn directions on my wrist
- Controlling Chromecast, Netflix, Spotify remotely
May 22nd, 2014
May 8th, 2014
Survival had been drummed into him for months as part of Singaporean army training. He’d survived for two weeks on 48 hours’ worth of rations before; he’d been in the top 10 per cent of recruits. He wanted to go on to do paratrooper training, commando training. But when he was deployed to Brunei he misjudged how hungry he’d already be when the survival phase begun, and he “wolfed” his rations sooner than he should. The only reason he didn’t steal food from a starving friend was because he didn’t have the energy to.
April 2nd, 2014
My thoughts on Econsultancy:
Furthermore, because Twitter Cards can be based on existing metadata of websites, they can be simply generated at scale. For example, Amazon can immediately translate any product listing into an accompanying Card.
At that stage, what’s to stop you making a page of the cards, searching by its metadata and cutting out the middle man? Or creating a simple shopfront by creating a search filter of friends’ “Buy” cards?
Read the rest: Twitter Cards are becoming the smallest unit of ‘web’
April 2nd, 2014
By me at Wired:
The idea would take a key element of Apple’s heritage and sidestep the assumption that a wearable device has to rely on your sense of sight or touch. Apple has an opportunity to recall one of the strongest motifs of its iPod days and put the humble earphone back in the spotlight.
Read the rest at Listen up Apple: build a smart EarPod or someone else will
April 2nd, 2014
All of this takes time. That’s why we’ve elected to sacrifice something else as opposed to accuracy or accessibility. The sacrifice is speed — we’re rarely going to be the first organization to break news or to comment on a story.
This is an interesting choice. I think our ability to make a rapid but rough call on data can often give you 80% of the picture — which makes me question how often that extra 20% of insight is worth the delay.
I like data but I remain healthily suspicious of its fetishisation as more become possible with it.
March 18th, 2014
Every time a story comes up about the details of what is and isn’t healthy for you, I come back to this article. Eating 80% healthily isn’t insanely hard, but trying to nail down the details of the last mysterious and often contradictory 20% always seems a mess.
From the article:
That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. I hate to give away the game right here at the beginning of a long essay, and I confess that I’m tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a few thousand more words. I’ll try to resist but will go ahead and add a couple more details to flesh out the advice.
Like: A little meat won’t kill you, though it’s better approached as a side dish than as a main. And you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That’s what I mean by the recommendation to eat “food.”
Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.
March 5th, 2014
The Government’s Year of Code is off to a mixed start, to say the least. But it is possible that increasing the next generation’s knowledge of these valuable tools could be key to increasing our country’s future prosperity. So what are we to do?
Drawing on my own childhood computing interest and some classic ‘blue sky thinking’, here are a few suggestions to get things moving.
1. Turn off the App Stores
It can be done. Egypt has done it, Syria has done it — isn’t it about time someone used filtering of communications as a force for good? With access to the exciting and useful array of apps now gone, the App Store home pages can be replaced with a guide to writing your first programme. Or the source code for Flappy Bird and Snapchat. Today’s industrious youth will have hacked together an alternative in no time — I mean, what else are they going to do, read a book?
2. Give the project to Reddit to run instead
Loading up the home page and seeing George Osborne grinning back at you is enough to put anyone off. Seriously though, the Government is not cool, school is the biggest institution you ignore the advice of, and men in suits who work at Google are not aspirational figures. Reddit is an online community founded by young guys who had no idea what they were doing and smashed their way to success. And if nothing else, the community gets things done.
3. Bring back TV storylines where kids hack computers to change their grades
This used to happen in literally every children’s TV show when I was young and they made it look easy enough to try. Given the state of most Government IT, they probably stand a good chance at success.
Joking aside, if you want to learn more about the Year of Code and get a more optimistic view on the subject, you could do worse than read this analysis by Benjamin Southworth. Ben was previously in the belly of the beast as Deputy CEO of the Tech City project so his perspective is not your average Joe’s.
But hopefully, if all else fails, my suggestions above can remain a solid Plan B. Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments.
March 4th, 2014
““We fully expect that we when write a story about soccer, we’re going to be referring to it as ‘football’ in the U.K. headline,” Hansen said. “It’s millions of decisions like that that will determine the success of this kind of expansion.””
I hope they have their best men on the job.
February 28th, 2014