Friday Reading #7

The world wide web seems to provide us with an endless source of knowledge and intrigue. Isn’t it brilliant? Here are some articles that caught my eye/mind this week. Here is any easyish to consume eReader friendly version.

Africa’s Grassroots Mobile Revolution: A Traveller’s Perspective

 “Understanding consumers in emerging markets – many of whom have very different requirements of a phone – has spurned the development of handsets with multiple phone books, phones marketed as torches and even handsets with no screen. If you think that most of the innovation is going on in the West, take a moment to look at what’s happening in India and Africa.”


Joy in the task

“You might not care much about fine dining or coffee. But you probably do value the skills of the artisan and might well believe that food is one of the ever-dwindling number of domains where individual human flair and creativity cannot be bettered by the mass-produced and mechanised. If so, you should care about the challenge to your assumptions that the rise of capsule coffee represents.”


The future according to Google’s Larry Page

“Page’s chauffeurless car service is no mere parlor trick. It is, as Page will tell anyone who’ll listen, the future of transportation. Never mind that most people think the mere idea of computer-driven cars is (1) preposterous, (2) dangerous, or (3) not much fun. Page makes the case for self-driving cars with the dispassionate logic of an engineer.”


Suds for drugs

“As the cases piled up after his team’s first Tide-theft bust, Thompson sought an answer to the riddle at the center of the crimes: What did thieves want with so much laundry soap? To find out, he and his unit pored over security recordings to identify prolific perpetrators, whom officers then tracked down and detained for questioning. “We never promised to go easy on them, but they were willing to talk about it,” Thompson says. “I guess they were bragging.” It turned out the detergent wasn’t ­being used as an ingredient in some new recipe for getting high, but instead to buy drugs themselves.”


Why did infinite scroll fail at Etsy?

“Seeing more items faster is presumed to be a better experience”, McKinley said. But the A/B tests showed various negative effects of the feature, including fewer clicks on the results and fewer items “favorited” from the infinite results page. And curiously, while users didn’t buy fewer items overall, “they just stopped using search to find these items.”


Total Recall: notes from my Leeds Digital Conference talk

“The more I thought about it, the more I realised my reluctance to walk away was due to a sense of waste. I’d paying into this particular digital pension for over six years, and it hadn’t yet matured. I don’t know what it was going to mature into exactly, but the urge to keep going was considerable.”


Bonus link i.e. one of my old posts that vaguely relates to Dean’s talk linked above.



Social networks or Data Repositories

“Can these repositories offer something unique worth sharing? A call to action tailored to that user? The thing that data repositories can easily generate are stats. Everyone loves stats. Especially if they are in pretty graphs or in small digestible formats.”


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