Tag Archives: technology

But why do we need “smart” watches or face-mounted computers like Google Glass? They have radically different hardware and software needs than smartphones, yet they don’t offer much more utility. They’re also always with you, but not significantly more than smartphones. They come with major costs in fashion and creepiness. They’re yet more devices that need to be bought, learned, maintained, and charged every night. Most fatally, nearly everything they do that has mass appeal and real-world utility can be done by a smartphone well enough or better. And if we’ve learned anything in the consumer-tech business, it’s that “good enough” usually wins.

Marco Ament – Smart watches and computers on your face

How did JavaScript kick Java’s ass?

Stumbled across a tweet from Brendan Eich today that featured a link to an interview about JavaScript back from 2008. Studying the past can lead to interesting things so I decided to read along. One paragraph caught my interest…

“We saw Java as the ‘component language’ used by higher-priced programmers, where the glue programmers — the Web page designers — would assemble components and automate their interactions using JS.

This division of labor across the programming pyramid fosters greater innovation than alternatives that require all programmers to use the ‘real’ programming language (Java or C++) instead of the ‘little’ scripting language.”

Well, the times are changing. I wouldn’t consider JavaScript being a little scripting language these days. And with Web Components, one of the latest additions, to the browser ecosystem this vision of glueing components together will somehow come true. But without the main player people envisioned back then, without Java. I found this to be interesting and I would like to understand the mechanics behind this change? How exactly did JavaScript kick Java’s ass?

Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to dive into comparing the two languages. It’s not what interests me at all. It has probably been discussed on stackoverflow a thousand times. The question that I would like to think about is: How could this little scripting language oust another language which was somehow considered superior back then? Hm, what about…

Ease of use

No compiler. No SDK or JDK. No Classes. Scripts just run in this thing called browser. You can even just open the console and start manipulating a web page. Getting up and running is so much easier with JavaScript. I think this factor is underestimated a lot and it’s one of the reasons for the success of the Processing platform. It enables people who just want to start creating to do so.

Focus on UI and interaction

Java didn’t take the user interface seriously. Creating awesome user interfaces in Java has always been a pain. There where different libraries (Swing, AWT, etc.) that you could not customize at all. How in the world would you create a Web Component with the help of a Java applet? Good luck. In JavaScript land things were a bit different. The declarative style of HTML and CSS prove to be a good fit for creating UIs. JavaScript just added a little spice on top of it.

So what does that all mean?

Well, I actually don’t really know. Maybe I’m just happy that we (hopefully) agreed on JavaScript being the standard language for UI-Coding of the future and we can now move on to solve the real problems. At least that’s what I hope.

Technological Disobedience

Technological Disobedience – I really like this term. Originally coined by Ernesto Oroza to describe the inventive talent of Cubans during a sad but ingeniously creative period of Cuban history.

“People think beyond the normal capacities of an object, and try to surpass the limitations that it imposes on itself.”
Ernesto Oroza on MotherboardTV

“The accumulation of products led workers to radically question industrial processes and mechanisms. They started looking at objects not with the eyes of an
engineer but those of an artisan. Every object could potentially be repaired or reused, even in a different context from its original design. Accumulation separated the object from the Western intent and lifecycle it was destined for. This is technological disobedience.”
Ernestor Oroza on mkshft.org

“After opening, breaking, repairing, and using them so often at their convenience, the makers ultimately disregarded the signs that make occidental objects a unity, a closed identity. Cubans do not fear the emanating authority that brands like Sony, Swatch, or even NASA, command. If something is broken, it will be fixed—somehow. If it could even be conceived as usable to repair other objects, they might as well save it, either in parts or in its entirety. A new future awaits.“
Ernestor Oroza on mkshft.org

Opening things up. Manipulating things. Turning things upside down. Using objects in ways the original creators not even dreamed of. This is the kind of spirit we should be teaching kids at our schools. Program or be programmed!



Janken Robot beat humans 100% of the time.

From our “Skynet has become self-aware” folder, the University of Tokyo has posted a new video about it’s Janken robot (Janken is the Japanese version of Rock, Paper, Scissors, and in their culture it is taken a bit more seriously). They first posted about their robot about a year ago, but a new video touting a much increased speed (around one millisecond?) in recognizing and reacting to the opposing human players choice. With this incredible ability to recognize nearly instantly, what other applications could a robot like this be used for? Read more about the robot from popular Science here.

Technological progress—in particular, improvements in computer hardware, software, and networks—has been so rapid and so surprising that many present-day organizations, institutions, policies, and mindsets are not keeping up.

Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee(Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy)


The new Optimus Popularis keyboard design from Russian firm Art Lebedev is the latest in the Optimus Project line and will be the first fully customizable keyboard for under $1000. Imagine your workflow using one of these, your productivity in programs like Photoshop and Final Cut would increase ten-fold when you can program all the keys to do different things and SEE what each one does with custom icons.

This is why there’s a stench of panic hanging over silicon valley. this is why Apple have turned into paranoid security Nazis, why HP have just ditched Microsoft from a forthcoming major platform and splurged a billion-plus on buying up a near-failure; it’s why everyone is terrified of Google: The PC revolution is almost coming to an end, and everyone’s trying to work out a strategy for surviving the aftermath.