Friday reading #15

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 10 August 2012

Friday reading is very thin on the ground this week - I think because of a combination of me having one eye on the Olympics, and then a bunch of things I marked as “Read for later” being less interesting than I thought. So here is a handful of things I’ve picked up form the intertubes which you might find fun to download to the ereading or save-for-later app of your choice.

Friday reading

“Sketchbook: Dark Matter” - Dan Hill, City Of Sound
“The iPhone, say, is successful not simply due to Jonathan Ive’s team’s designs but also Apple’s lawyers, their IP holdings, their creative interpretation of the legislative environment, their grip on manufacturing and logistics networks framed in contracts and agreements (including moves that prevent competitors using the same infrastructure or raw materials), their deals with telecoms companies, with record labels, with movie studios, their organisational culture, their ‘parallel production’ model of interdisciplinary work, and so on. This is all dark matter. You can’t perceive any of it, holding the iPhone in your hand, but it is all this, and more, that makes the thing a successful product and service.”
Read the full article

“The dirty secret that your UX engineers are not telling you” - Siddharta, Tour My App
“Good design is not about more features or less features. It is about helping users achieve their goals. Sometimes it just takes one button for the user to do that. At other times, it really does take a fair amount of complexity to get there. Scratching out features and building a shallow product in the name of good design isn’t good design at all.” - this is a great quote in a decent article, although it does rather tar all Uxers with the same brush in the name of selling their own product.
Read the full article

“Design Tip: Never Use Black” - Ian Storm Taylor
“When you put pure black next to a set of meticulously picked colors, the black overpowers everything else. It stands out because it’s not natural. All of the ‘black’ everyday objects around you have some amount of light bouncing off of them, which means they aren’t black, they’re dark gray. And that light probably has a tint to it, so they’re not even dark gray, they’re colored-dark gray.”
Read the full article

“Legitima Typeface: An Experience Of Fossils And Revivals” - César Puertas, Smashing Magazine
“I have been interested in everything concerning evolution and dinosaurs ever since, so much so that I even considered a career in paleontology when I was younger. Later, when I got involved in typeface design, I realized that the process of reviving a typeface is comparable to the reconstructions done by paleontologists when they imagine how creatures long extinct might have looked. Even more fascinating is that both processes usually start with isolated findings and incomplete evidence, but imagination and informed speculation come to the rescue and help to fill in the missing pieces.”
Read the full article

“If You’re Not Pissing Someone Off, You're Probably Not Innovating” - Philip Auerswald, Harvard Business Review
“If you’re really creating change, it is quite likely you will reach a point when you’ll ask your customers to do more to support your work than just buy your product. They will need to stand up for your business, your product, your very right to exist in the marketplace. You’re going to be asking for their time. Depending on where you’re working and what you’re selling, you may be asking for their courage. To make such requests, you’re going to need to have built a hell of a personal bond.”
Read the full article

“How Introverts Can Become Better Innovators” - Francesca Gino, Harvard Business Review
“We further examined these relationships in a laboratory experiment in which we encouraged participants to adopt either a more introverted or extroverted behavior. We found that introverts tend to listen carefully to the creative ideas suggested by others, and they help others feel valued and motivated to do their work. By contrast, extroverts tend to feel threatened by the innovative ideas proposed by others and are thus less receptive to them.”
Read the full article

“A timeline of women in world computing” LPETRIELLO, Feministing
“I thought it might be interesting to compile–so to speak–a timeline of women in computing around the world. Hopefully this can be of use as historical research or even just inspiration.”
Read the full article

Things you may have missed

“Behind the scenes when Richard E. Grant was the Doctor” - Martin Belam, currybetdotnet
“When I worked at the BBC, I used to get to go to all sorts of staff only presentations and events, and one of those in 2004 was about the making of ‘Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka’ and a whole series of webcasts the BBC had done online.”
Read the full article

Forthcoming talks and events

I’ll be talking and teaching at the following events over the next couple of months:

And finally...

The Guardian recently published my book about the Olympics for Kindle. “Keeping the Torch Burning: Terror, Protest and the Games” is an alternative history of the Games, that focuses on the social and political events that have defined each competition, from a protest about the exclusion of women athletes in 1896, through the Nazi Games of 1936, to the modern era of Black Power salutes, terrorist attacks and Cold War boycotts.

Keeping the torch burning cover

Keep up to date on my new blog