Tech reading list 29th July 2017

Photo taken at The National Museum of Computers at Bletchley. Simple design and easy to navigate.

Welcome to another of my tech reading lists. The name is pretty bland so always on the look out for a different one. One ideas I had was to call it Films and Tech reading list (FAT reading). Let’s leave that one for a moment ….

First up this article ‘How Social Media saved socialism’ (Ben Tarnoff, Guardian, 12/07/18). The article takes the filter bubble and seeks out the positives of living in that bubble. Of course Ben is not naive enough to think that the bubble is the best place and eventually a movement has to break out. This article challenged my assumptions about the social media filter bubble.

That’s why social media is indispensable: it provides a space for incubating new kinds of political thinking, and new forms of political identity, that would be inadmissible in more established channels.

This from Ben Holliday is pretty good ‘Things of the internet: Designing services for the digital age in response to raised expectations’. When technology goes wrong an organisation can fall back on analogue ways of working. As more services become digital what would happen if an organisation could not fall back on analogue ways of work. Worst ( or best ) did not have the staff to deliver the service in an analogue way. But back to Ben.

Many of the services we use in our everyday lives were designed before the internet, especially services that are part of large or public institutions. These services are often the result of technology built on top of analogue processes that have remained unchanged, sometimes for years, decades, or longer.

I think Amazon are the most interesting company in the way they seek to marry the old analogue ways of doing things with digital. Take the Amazon Go shopping experience. This combines the 20th century experience of getting of your sofa to go shopping married to a 21st century digital shopping experience.

Fair to say I am not a huge fan of Slack so best bear that in mind as I share this article by Nivas Ravichandran ‘Dear Slack, Get over Microsoft. You have a bigger problem’. Slack is in some ways akin to Snapchat, it innovated the messaging space for the workplace, got rapid adoption in a demographic that is not far from Snapchats. Now others like Microsoft are just copying it but scaling their versions to work in companies that have thousands of staff who message and collaborate to get things done. Facebook’s Workplace is gaining traction but that brand and the workplace are not always comfortable bedfellows. Microsoft Teams is an enterprise app that will gain traction. One day Microsoft will get around to replying to Slacks Dear Microsoft letter published in the New York Times.

To end I want to highlight a tech film. This week it is Computer Chess (2013). The film is set in the 1980’s when computer geeks would gather at hotels for a weekend sport that pitted computers against humans in a chess game. This is an affectionate and funny look at computer hobbyists experimenting with Artificial Intelligence. All the goings on in the hotel between the computer geeks is funny especially sharing a room with a computer that is not a laptop. As the hotel swingers they meet in the hotel say “You know what the future of computers is. Dating’ to which the computer geek responds ‘You think computers will starting dating each other’. The film is shot in a monochrome black and white with the sound deliberately toned down. This is after all MumblecCore.

Have a good tech weekend.