Showing all posts tagged culture:

How Computer Became Ubiquitous - Through the Lens of Law & Order

The first Law & Order computer. Blurry, but not on, according to Thompson. Season 1, Episode 1.

A typical early-'90s computer—off to the side and not powered up. Season 1, Episode 22.

By the fifth season, computers began appearing on characters' desks. Season 5, Episode 89.

A modern pose: A character checks her phone in close proximity to other humans. Season 18, Episode 411.

$10 Juice: A Cultural Symbol for Gentrification



While waiting for Uber in front of the newly renovated Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles, a security guy struck a conversation and asked me what the juice I was drinking tasted like. I kindly replied and said it’s made out of pineapple, cucumber, kale and ginger and it sort of tastes like watered-down pineapple juice. He still seemed quite curious and eventually walked away as if he was embarrassed about the whole situation.

Perhaps he didn’t understand why I was drinking something that didn't seem to taste particularly great and costs as much as what he probably makes in an hour. Perhaps the security guy may have been right. Buying a $10 juice didn't seem economical at all. In fact, my decision to purchase the juice may be creating a rather uncomfortable gap in social equality.

Later that day, I wanted to find out whether there is a correlation between juice bars and gentrification. So I screen-grabbed the search results for “juice" on Google Maps, which displays the promoted businesses that sell juice. I then compared the pattern from Google Maps to the map on Zillow based on houses for sale with the price of $500,000 and above. Ditto! There seems to be some correlation between the two. Not a huge surprise, but the simple comparison does tell a lot about the trajectories that gentrification will follow.

Where do you expect the gentrification will happen next in Los Angeles?




Relevant Article:

How to Learn to Use Something

Smartphones and laptops seem so ubiquitous to us all. But in reality, the ubiquitousness we experience every day is based on a series of learned behaviors. Someone once said that, "The only intuitive interface is the nipple. Everything else is learned."

For example, using something as simple as magazine seems like a piece of cake, but in reality a series of interaction involved in using such object is quite complex — as depicted in the parody of iPad reader/ebook apps below created by Khoi Vinh.

Khoi Vinh and Andrew Losowsky poking fun at the failures of magazines on iPad



Often times, conjecturing up an image of known disposition to communicate how a system works is very effective. When Apple released Apple Macintosh 128k, an one of a kind personal computer ever released, Apple introduced a handful of mental models to help understand basic principles such as file system and page scrolling that were not clearly understood at the time.


Apple Macintosh manual - explaining how mouse works


Apple Macintosh manual - explaining how scrolling a page works


Apple Macintosh manual - explaining how file system works

Play Macintosh 128K Guided Tour Tape (1984)

Garments of Paradise by Susan Elizabeth

"The new devices do not aspire to visual complication or unconventional semantics beyond what their 'customizable' interfaces allow. Indeed customization in digital devices is often a lie about personal modification (control) when choices are actually predetermined—although the devices might be hacked by individual users making unscripted changes." -- Susan Elizabeth





Ivan Sutherland's first computer VR heads-up display, Sword of Damocles from 1960s. You can read more about this in the book.


via io9

Wearable Cellphone Charger Reminds People to Donate Blood



"Y&R Moscow recently partnered with Azerbaijani cellular network Nar Mobile to create a wearable device called Donor Cable, which lets one smartphone owner easily donate power to another. Worn as a bracelet, the charging device is clever enough, but it's also inscribed with the message, 'Donate energy to save a phone, and donate blood to save a life.'"

via AdWeek

Magna Cortica: A Guiding Principle for Ethicality of Wearables & Beyond

The Institute for the Future created a guideline for ethical rules around cognitive augmentation -- whether the device goes on your body or inside your body.

"'Magna Cortica is the argument that we need to have a guidebook for both the design spec and ethical rules around the increasing power and diversity of cognitive augmentation,' said IFTF distinguished fellow, Jamais Cascio. 'There are a lot of pharmaceutical and digital tools that have been able to boost our ability to think. Adderall, Provigil, and extra-cortical technologies.'"

Here are some basic principles outlined in the guideline:
1. The right to self-knowledge
2. The right to self-modification
3. The right to refuse modification
4. The right to modify/refuse to modify your children
5. The right to know who has been modified