Lego for girls, this time hardware-hacker style
One hacker has her own idea of what a Lego set for girls should be. If 10,000 people agree with her, the toymaker could find itself producing her hacker-focused design.
Full Story: CNET
Have you seen the New Aesthetic? Everyone in the Twittersphere was talking about it. Depending on whom you ask, it was a “shareable concept,” (James Bridle) a “theory object,” (Bruce Sterling) and a “weird, hot, movement” (Ian Bogost). Or simply “things James Bridle posts to his Tumblr,” as Bogost quips — and to which we might add, “which got really popular really fast and I wish I knew what it actually was.” Bridle’s Tumblr became a SXSW talk in March 2012. And then a week later, Bruce Sterling wrote a 5,000-word opus on the New Aesthetic for Wired. As if to a younger sibling, praising and cautioning in equal measures, he contextualized the New Aesthetic as not just a Tumblred accumulation but the art movement 21st century creatives had desperately been waiting for. The essay was a flash point, prompting a flood of responses. What better empyrean spark than the convergence of SXSW and, as he describes himself on his Twitter bio, “one of the better known Bruce Sterlings”?
Jan van Toorn’s calendar for 1972/73, designed for the Dutch printer Mart.Spruijt, is one of the most extraordinary and provocative graphic artifacts of its era. The calendar proposed a new form of engagement for the graphic designer as a mediator and manipulator of photographic meaning. The project still looks utterly remarkable 40 years later. How did such an uncompromising object get made? In collaboration with the designer Simon Davies, I published the piece in its entirety in Jan van Toorn: Critical Practice, my monograph about Van Toorn. Until then the Dutch designer’s masterpiece was known by just a handful of frequently reproduced pages. Now Mark Schalken at de Ruimte, a design company in Amsterdam, has photographed and reprinted the entire calendar — it was launched at a public event to mark the designer’s 80th birthday — giving a chance to experience its 50 pages at their original scale. (via A classic calendar by Jan van Toorn has been reprinted: Observatory: Design Observer)
The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a survey collecting expert opinions on one a hot new(-ish) concept amongst the Silicon Valley digerati: gamification. The survey offers some interesting insights and features commentary from folks like danah boyd, Clay Shirky, Jeff Jarvis, and Amber Case; it also cites me a bit talking playbor (play labor) and weisure (work leisure). The survey shows that tech commentators are split on whether gamification is destined to become an ubiquitous feature of the Web (53% agree, 42% disagree). The subtext of these sorts of conversations—given that tech commentators overwhelmingly have backgrounds in business—is: How can we use gamification to make a killing. We shouldn’t be to suprised about all the excitement from those invested in the tech industry. After all, gamification is all about getting people to view labor (i.e., the production if value) as play. And, if workers don’t view work as work, they may just do it for free. (via Question for PEW: Does Gamification Encourage Exploitation? » Cyborgology)
Cisco’s has recently shut down a short list of strangely named products — Eos (social blogging platform), Umi (video conferencing), and Cius (tablet) — and while the first two might be interpreted as Cisco backing away from consumer products, the third is the opposite: companies embracing consumer products. Apparently, companies aren’t provisioning their employees with tablets: they are letting employees bring their own.
Quentin Hardy, Why Cisco Stopped Making Tablets via NYTimes.com
It blames what the industry calls B.Y.O.D., or bring your own devices.
Cisco said it realized that 95 percent of organizations now “allow employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the office, and 36 percent of surveyed enterprises provide full support for employee-owned devices.” Cisco said the trend toward universally deployed devices “will continue to gain momentum.”
Cisco’s Cius was a nice piece of technology if you were looking for a corporate device that would hook into a Cisco IP phone, which was connected to (probably Cisco-run) Internet technology. It was a good product, designed for a company with an enterprise sales force that liked selling comprehensive systems. As Cisco itself noted, however, those big, comprehensive sales are less and less common. And, away from a Cisco-dominated environment, it lacked the functionality and fun of an Apple iPad or even a Google Android tablet.
Both iPad and Android products have picked up most of the market, but others will continue to find a place inside the enterprise.
A sort-of knee-bone-connected-to-the-leg-bone logic might follow from this, and spread into other areas of the enterprise. If businesses allow workers to use and provision their own mobile devices, won’t the mobile device users start deciding the software they want to use on them, too? Won’t they choose to use Yammer as a work media tool instead of Cisco’s Quad? And really: do corporations need a centralized telephony system nowadays, when most people would rather use their own cell, and they are away from their desks for most of the day?
Considering the maturity of today’s mobile devices, the sophistication of SAAS solutions, and the level of innovation in the open marketplace for software, the allure that enterprise solution providers like Cisco had for enterprise clients is waning. Companies don’t need someone to come in and roll out all that communication infrastructure, when people have an alternative in their pockets already. Yes, the company still has to provide internet connectivity but (leaving aside requirements for regulated industries) not much else.
I bet 75% of the products on Cisco’s website will quickly share the same fate as Cius.
And that’s the model like… the App model, where you say: «it’s a dollar and it’s probably awful, but hey it’s just a dollar and you can play it while you’re having a crap.» And I don’t want to make games that are reduced to something to do when you’re on a toilet.