Categories
Design Google Interface New York Photography

World Wide Weave

A tapestry of variously colored blocks representing the Google homepage.
Rafaël Rozendaal, 2017. Part of the “Programmed” exhibition at the Whitney Museum, 2018.

Abstract Browsing 17 03 05 (Google) is a machine-woven tapestry depicting an abstract version of the Google browser’s interface. To produce his Abstract Browsing series, Rafaël Rozendaal created a plug-in for Google’s Chrome browser; available to anyone online, it reduces images and text on any website visited to colored rectangles. The artist surfs the web every day using his plug-in and compiles thousands of screenshots, which he then narrows down to a small selection to be produced as tapestries. The tapestries are created at the Textile Museum in Tilburg, the Netherlands, where Rozendaal’s screenshots are converted into a file for output by a weaving machine. His project connects layers of machine abstraction: the initial transformation of the webpage exposes a composition optimized to grab our attention, while the tapestry references the roots of computing in nineteenth-century weaving machines that automated the creation of patterns.

The Whitney Museum of American Art
Categories
Amazon Economics Google Technology

Planet Strawberry

Who pursues their goals with monomaniacal focus, oblivious to the possibility of negative consequences? Who adopts a scorched-earth approach to increasing market share? This hypothetical strawberry-picking AI does what every tech startup wishes it could do — grows at an exponential rate and destroys its competitors until it’s achieved an absolute monopoly. The idea of superintelligence is such a poorly defined notion that one could envision it taking almost any form with equal justification: a benevolent genie that solves all the world’s problems, or a mathematician that spends all its time proving theorems so abstract that humans can’t even understand them. But when Silicon Valley tries to imagine superintelligence, what it comes up with is no-holds-barred capitalism.

Ted Chiang: Silicon Valley Is Turning Into Its Own Worst Fear

Categories
Android Apple Google iOS

“An Apple every 20 seconds…”

This is your brain on mobile: A critique of destructive smartphone habits diagnosed by someone that makes a living off of them.

Fight your FOMO.

Categories
Android iOS

Life is a series of tradeoffs

I wouldn’t have given up unlimited data unless I could swap it for something I wanted even more than the ability to stream Netflix 24/7… something that hadn’t existed during my previous five years as an iPhone owner.

A great Android phone.

— Andy Ihnatko: Why I switched from iPhone to Android

Use whichever product’s tradeoffs are acceptable to you. Save the emotional investment for things that really matter.

Categories
Android Design Interaction Interface

The Alan Gilbert Setting

The incident last year in which Alan Gilbert stopped the New York Philharmonic toward the end of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 to demand an end to an iPhone’s marimba play-along and my own irritation with patrons at Carnegie Hall who do not heed the projected request to turn your devices off reminded me of an idea I posted for integrating phone ringer settings and calendar events. Here is the phone side of that idea, with the addition of location-based smarts to prevent the setting taking effect if you decide not to attend the event.

Sound and vibrate settings for a smartphone during a calendar event.
Device settings during an event.

The device should learn which setting is used for a given location and use that as the default once it can do so confidently — after maybe 2 or 3 uses of the same setting for the same location.

Categories
Android Design Google Interface

Red Light, Green Light

One nice feature of some Android phones is the ability for apps to choose from a few different colors for status light notifications. Facebook flashes the LED in blue and Evernote flashes green to notify you a note has been synced — subtle touches that convey useful information about app activity.

Along these lines, it would be nice if the Google Talk app used a red light when you receive a message while your status is set to Away and green when Available. I feel comfortable waiting to respond to messages when my status is set to Away. You would have to turn your screen on to see which app triggered the light if you have several that use the same color, but it’s no different from every app using the default LED color.

Categories
Amazon Android iOS

Our Cloudy Future

The PC is dead. Rising numbers of mobile, lightweight, cloud-centric devices don’t merely represent a change in form factor. Rather, we’re seeing an unprecedented shift of power from end users and software developers on the one hand, to operating system vendors on the other—and even those who keep their PCs are being swept along. This is a little for the better, and much for the worse.

Jonathan Zittrain: The personal computer is dead

How much computing freedom and personal privacy are we willing to give up for convenience? I’m less and less comfortable with the balance being struck.

Categories
Amazon Google Interaction

Googlezon Maps

Combining the Amazon Yellow Pages‘ street-level images of businesses with Google Maps:

  1. The info balloon for a “Tula’s, Seattle WA” search result.
  2. Clicking the left arrow several times moves up the block to Mama’s Mexican Kitchen.

If you haven’t seen it already, Robin Sloan’s future history of mass media, “EPIC 2014” is somewhat entertaining.

Categories
Google Meta-data

EXIF in RDF

Continuing my EXIF jag…

One way Google could present EXIF meta-data for searching.

Categories
Browsers Google Interface

GIS Browser Contextual Menus

For image contextual menus, browsers could present a “Search Google for Similar Images” command, with the query constructed from the image’s filename, alt and title text (conjunctions would be removed), and perhaps the page’s meta keywords.

EXIF meta-data would be an even better source of information upon which to base such a query and would probably deliver more accurate results.