Rian van der Merwe for A List Apart:
A “shiny citadel” from far away, as The Guardian once wrote, up close Brasília has “degraded into a violent, crime-ridden sprawl of cacophonous traffic jams. The real Brazil has spilled into its utopian vision.”
This problem echoes across today’s web landscape as well, where the needs of ordinary users spill constantly into designers’ utopian vision. All around us we see beautiful, empty monuments erected not for their users, but for the people who built them – and the VCs who are scouting them.
‘Digital Brasílias’ is a great term for all the beautiful – yet ultimately useless – products emerging from the Valley. Product discovery can help us not only design things better, but design better things.
Knate Myers stitched together this wonderful time-lapse video, using photographs taken from the International Space Station. The music is Sunshine (Adagio In D Minor) by John Murphy.
Roger Ebert on the recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado:
This would be an excellent time for our political parties to join together in calling for restrictions on the sale and possession of deadly weapons. That is unlikely, because the issue has become so closely linked to paranoid fantasies about a federal takeover of personal liberties that many politicians feel they cannot afford to advocate gun control.
We’re building a real-time social service where users and developers come first, not advertisers.
Our team has spent the last 9 years building social services, developer platforms, mobile applications and more.
We believe that advertising-supported social services are so consistently and inextricably at odds with the interests of users and developers that something must be done.
Help us create the service we all wish existed.
Putting my money where my mouth’s been for the last few years, and backing this audacious project. I hope it succeeds.
Every community-based site in the history of the web has essentially been a stab at creating a social network. Most of them fail as businesses, with the rare exception of small, lucky communities that become self-sufficient but not exactly prosperous. What if that’s just the way it is?
CEO, Tony Fadell on Nest’s first advertising campaign:
We hope the video allows people to take a brief pause in the day and to see the world through fresh eyes. And we hope it brings a smile to their faces too.
I enjoyed Anna Debenham’s excellent response to Marco Arment’s ridiculous assertion that every web designer needs to buy a retina MacBook Pro:
If you’re a web designer, you really, really need to get a cheap Dell monitor so you can see how bad your site looks on it and fix it.
The games are so close, I can almost taste them.
A million people in Silicon Valley walk into a bar. No one buys anything. Bar is declared a rousing success.
I view the latest announcement from Twitter to independent developers with a suspicion bordering on contempt. Delivering a consistent Twitter experience is a comprehensive rejection of everything that Twitter has stood for and that has made Twitter great.
Twitter’s original decision to scale the business before working out how it would make money seems to be backfiring. It turns out all the things that make Twitter a great product, fly in the face of what’s needed to generate revenue. This is especially true given its pursuit of an ad-supported business model – a strange choice when many would happily pay to use it.
I’ve always felt the idea behind Twitter would have been more successful in the long term if it had been designed more like a protocol rather than a product. By taking the route it did, it’s destined to become another service on the web that will ultimately fade into obscurity.
Twitter could have been the new email. Instead it’s likely to become the next Myspace.
Everything new from Google is prima facie fantastic, and served with the best intentions. Google is a monolithic company, sure, but it’s filled with geniuses who want to make your life easier through technology. Nobody’s faulting their ambition, or questioning its motives. But we have to wonder: Are these new things meant for regular people, or the data-obsessed, grace-deficient Silicon Valley nerd vanguard?