A customer experience issue you can’t avoid any longer: the PXA

A customer experience issue you can’t avoid any longer: the PXA:

Any product that shares data needs will engage this issue sooner or later. And it may seem like a lot to handle, for the executives and product managers involved. But times have changed. It’s no longer enough, as in years past, to have the lawyers draft up a privacy policy to slap onto the homepage. Users want control of their data, and if they can’t get it from your product, they’ll move on to a competitor.

[We pay a ton of attention to this issue. Still working at it.]

Source: Creative Good » Blog – Article Feed

David Berreby – The obesity era

David Berreby – The obesity era:

Consider, for example, this troublesome fact, reported in 2010 by the biostatistician David B Allison and his co-authors at the University of Alabama in Birmingham: over the past 20 years or more, as the American people were getting fatter, so were America’s marmosets. As were laboratory macaques, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys and mice, as well as domestic dogs, domestic cats, and domestic and feral rats from both rural and urban areas. In fact, the researchers examined records on those eight species and found that average weight for every one had increased. The marmosets gained an average of nine per cent per decade. Lab mice gained about 11 per cent per decade. Chimps, for some reason, are doing especially badly: their average body weight had risen 35 per cent per decade. Allison, who had been hearing about an unexplained rise in the average weight of lab animals, was nonetheless surprised by the consistency across so many species. ‘Virtually in every population of animals we looked at, that met our criteria, there was the same upward trend,’ he told me.

It isn’t hard to imagine that people who are eating more themselves are giving more to their spoiled pets, or leaving sweeter, fattier garbage for street cats and rodents. But such results don’t explain why the weight gain is also occurring in species that human beings don’t pamper, such as animals in labs, whose diets are strictly controlled. In fact, lab animals’ lives are so precisely watched and measured that the researchers can rule out accidental human influence: records show those creatures gained weight over decades without any significant change in their diet or activities. Obviously, if animals are getting heavier along with us, it can’t just be that they’re eating more Snickers bars and driving to work most days. On the contrary, the trend suggests some widely shared cause, beyond the control of individuals, which is contributing to obesity across many species.

[Reductionism seems ill equipped to make sense of this system.]



The emphasis on text is also striking. More than just content, text has replaced iconography in many cases. Look at Camera: the modes — VIDEO, PHOTO, SQUARE, PANO — are represented by text for the first time ever on iOS. This to me is proof that “clarity” has taken top priority. iOS is available in a number of countries and languages, which means every piece of text has to be localized (translated) many times over. This isn’t only time consuming, it’s disruptive to UI design: a short word in English is not necessarily short in German, and suddenly things don’t fit on screen anymore. I attended many meetings at Apple where people cringed at changing a word shortly before release, because it meant a whole new round of localize-then-build-then-test.

[Yes to cringing over text changes are easy.]

Source: Apple Outsider

Scripting News: The quiet war in tech.

Scripting News: The quiet war in tech.:

I said a while back that if you want to understand politics you have to become deeply immersed in tech. The political reporters and bloggers have been totally too casual about that, even the smart relatively open-minded ones, and that even includes Glenn Greenwald. Is he really prepared to listen to Snowden, or can he just report an approximation of what Snowden tells him? It’s the latter, because as smart as Greenwald is, he hasn’t been spending the last N years schooling himself in the technology that we’ve built our existence around.

So think about it, how are we going to boot up the intelligence we need to make sense of this situation in time to make a difference?

Serious question, and heavy times.

[Go read. Thoughts?]

Source: Scripting News

Frank Chimero × Blog × Generosity of Perspective

Frank Chimero × Blog × Generosity of Perspective:

Designers are usually the most aware of the problems in their work, and I can imagine a bunch of them in Cupertino reading Twitter during the keynote saying, “I told you we had to fix that before we shipped!” Every time I assume a talented person isn’t painfully aware of the flaws in their work, I am wrong.

[Frank’s post is named Generosity of Perspective, and while he claims some remorse for his knee jerk tweeted reaction, even in this post I think he’s missing his own point. This software has not shipped! This is a developer oriented preview shipping months and months from now. I suspect iOS7 is not the sort of thing you’d want to install on your every day iPhone. Again, it’s not supposed to be. It’s shipping months from now!! So if we are to be generous in our perspective, and while so many of us in the design and development community can get all riled up for good or bad with what Apple does, could we at least give the designers and engineers a chance to ship? Seems like that is the last amount of generous we could be. BTW, Frank, love your book!]

President Obama’s Dragnet – NYTimes.com

President Obama’s Dragnet – NYTimes.com:

Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.

The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.

Based on an article in The Guardian published Wednesday night, we now know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency used the Patriot Act to obtain a secret warrant to compel Verizon’s business services division to turn over data on every single call that went through its system. We know that this particular order was a routine extension of surveillance that has been going on for years, and it seems very likely that it extends beyond Verizon’s business division. There is every reason to believe the federal government has been collecting every bit of information about every American’s phone calls except the words actually exchanged in those calls.

[Those of you who swore to me (and at me) that this President would be different, and that things were going to change… I’m now collecting all the rewards, drinks, etc. you promised.]

Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’

Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’ – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education:

One such harm, for example, which I call aggregation, emerges from the fusion of small bits of seemingly innocuous data. When combined, the information becomes much more telling. By joining pieces of information we might not take pains to guard, the government can glean information about us that we might indeed wish to conceal. For example, suppose you bought a book about cancer. This purchase isn’t very revealing on its own, for it indicates just an interest in the disease. Suppose you bought a wig. The purchase of a wig, by itself, could be for a number of reasons. But combine those two pieces of information, and now the inference can be made that you have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy. That might be a fact you wouldn’t mind sharing, but you’d certainly want to have the choice.

[A great read an why we’re about to make a huge mistake in the US. Reductionism fails again on this issue. Looked at as a whole, it is frightening.]

Verizon and the N.S.A.: The Problem with Metadata : The New Yorker

Verizon and the N.S.A.: The Problem with Metadata : The New Yorker:

But with each technological breakthrough comes a break-in to realms previously thought private. “It’s really valuable for law enforcement, but we have to update the wiretap laws,” Landau said.

It was exactly these concerns that motivated the mathematician William Binney, a former N.S.A. official who spoke to me for the Drake story, to retire rather than keep working for an agency he suspected had begun to violate Americans’ fundamental privacy rights. After 9/11, Binney told me, as I reported in the piece, General Michael Hayden, who was then director of the N.S.A., “reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”

Binney, who considered himself a conservative, feared that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program was so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.”

As he told me at the time, wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, but data mining is an automated process, which means that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, the government could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he said. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

[And hasn’t the attitude in Washington about this been entirely clear? I always worry when someone tells me something is “for my own good.”]