October 27, 2021

Internet of bad daytime cable tv

In many ways, it feels like the logical endpoint for the current landscape of internet platforms is just a weird home shopping network where the hosts act like they’re friends with you.

— Ryan Broderick in Garbage Day

October 15, 2021

Yum yum

When software eats the world, it’s not software anymore.


October 15, 2021

300,000 emails and the Bauhaus

Ben Evans:

In 1800, if you’d said that you wanted something made by hand’, that would be meaningless - everything was hand-made. But half a century later, it could be a reaction against the age of the machine - of steam and coal-smoke and dark satanic mills.’ The Arts and Crafts movement proposed slow, hand-made, imperfect craft in reaction to mass-produced perfection’ (and a lot of other things besides). A century later this is one reason I’m fascinated by the new luxury goods platforms LVMH and Kering, or indeed Supreme. How do you mass-manufacture, mass-market and mass-retail things whose entire nature is supposedly that they’re individual, or convince people that a piece of mass-manufactured nylon and plastic is unique?

October 2, 2021

The Time (and Complexity) Tax

Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic:

The issue is not that modern life comes with paperwork hassles. The issue is that American benefit programs are, as a whole, difficult and sometimes impossible for everyday citizens to use.

I’m running in to a related issue at work, not so much in Government but in commercial organisations. Computing has let companies have very complex policies about how they can sell services but they haven’t much considered how to get people through non-standard workflows.

There’s a tipping point after which the goodwill and effort of customer support staff stops being useful — unanticipated workflows become part of the standard workflow and throw out the assumptions baked in to the service design.

October 2, 2021 war-camaro11420200204150006
September 19, 2021

Robust Convenience

Christopher Butt disagrees with Eóin Doyle’s assessment of the VW ID.Life:

it truly is a Volkswagen among electric cars’, with a focus on exuding longevity, ease of use and robust convenience, rather than pseudo-high-tech sophistication. Instead of making a song and dance about automatic doors, lids or a retractable roof in the usual concept car fashion, ID.Life features simple fabric covers on its front boot and cabin roof.