Friday Reading 30

I have managed to do this 30 times. That must be enough to have formed a habit by now. Anyway I only managed to write this as a meeting got cancelled which is a bonus (for me, you might have hoped for a week without this pointless curation).

After a week in which the continued focus on Twitter Trolls and their awful sexist/threatening/outright criminal behaviour has been almost as depressing as the UK Home Office taking to social media, it is a wonder anyone uses the Internet at all.

Someone who was forced off the web (and I have mentioned a few times before as a bit of a hero), Kathy Sierra, was back on Twitter and with a new blog as well. She published an amazing first post on the cognitive drain interface designers place on people. it ties in so well with a few things that are really bothering me about banking, especially security related, interfaces. Other things to make my brain smile were a letter from a director at NASA to a nun, a deep web heist, JP Rangaswami on customers and flow, William Heath Robinson, why most innovative companies aren’t and the info ladies in Bangladesh.

This image also caught my eye this week. My first thought was that it is hilarious, my second is that when someone is responsible for destroying art/fun/creativity etc then their face should be on that decision…I would like to see something similar in my place of work.




Your app makes me fat

If your UX asks the user to make choices, for example, even if those choices are both clear and useful, the act of deciding is a cognitive drain. And not just while they’re deciding… even after we choose, an unconscious cognitive background thread is slowly consuming/leaking resources, “Wasthat the right choice?”


Why explore space?

Very fortunately though, the space age not only holds out a mirror in which we can see ourselves, it also provides us with the technologies, the challenge, the motivation, and even with the optimism to attack these tasks with confidence. What we learn in our space program, I believe, is fully supporting what Albert Schweitzer had in mind when he said: “I am looking at the future with concern, but with good hope.”


The blockbuster heist that rocked the Deep Web

On May 15, 2013, just as HackBB was attempting to reestablish its primacy, a second attack brought the forum to its knees. The attacker was thorough and deceptive in ways even these experienced hackers and criminals hadn’t expected. During the first attack, Boneless had used his admin powers to create other, hidden accounts under his control, then granted them administrator status. It was as if, before leaving, he had dropped a half-dozen secret keys around the property.


Thinking about customers and flow

Scale begat lobbies. And lobbies begat regulation. And somehow or other these regulations enshrined the new status quo, of pace being set by manufacturer and distributor not customer.


Heath Robinson: the unsung hero of British eccentricity and innovation

In the run up to and during World War One, Robinson became known for a series of drawings in magazines such as The Sketch and The Tatler, poking fun at modern living, carrying normal tasks to ridiculous extremes often using complex or convoluted contraptions — described as “simple devices” — to perform trivial tasks, such as potato peeling,wart removal and pancake making. Very quickly his work became popular, allowing him to command healthy commissions.


Why the Most Innovative Companies Aren’t

The larger the company, the deeper the orthodoxy. Leaders of complex organizations tend to surround themselves with likeminded people, which reinforces their conventional approaches. At every stage in the life of a new idea or initiative, compliance crushes dissent. The Point: According to executives the biggest challenge they face is connecting the dots between departments, regions and other companies which is inhibited by organizational design and control-based rules


‘Info ladies’ go biking to bring remote Bangladeshi villages online

As she approaches the village, Sathi rings her bicycle bell and the children come running to meet her, shouting “Hello, hello”. Women emerge from their homes one by one. Sitting in the middle of a beaten-earth yard, Sathi carefully places her laptop on a plastic chair, plugs in headphones and launches a session on Skype. The faces of village men working thousands of kilometres from here appear on the screen.


Have a lovely weekend. Feel free to subscribe to these reads via email or via RSS here or you know, don’t bother. I am happy if you got this far.

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