empowering kids to create

raul gutierrez:

The best toys - Tinkertoys, Lego, Play-Doh, Lincoln Logs - allowed us to build and rebuild almost endlessly. With my kids, I noticed that these kinds of toys have become increasingly rare. Lego bricks are sold primarily as branded kits. Instead of a pile of blocks that could become anything, they are now essentially disassembled toys. Instead of starting with a child’s imagination of what could be, play is now fixed on a single endpoint, predetermined by Lego’s designers.

more and more often i feel the same way about computers. compare this to alec resnick's article how children what?:

And so in the twenty-three years since the creation of the World Wide Web, "a bicycle for the mind" became "a treadmill for the brain." One helps you get where you want under your own power. Another’s used to simulate the natural world and is typically about self-discipline, self-regulation, and self-improvement. One is empowering; one is slimming. One you use with friends because it's fun; the other you use with friends because it isn't. One does things to you; one does things for you. And they certainly aren't about helping us to do things with them.

the web we lost

Anil Dash (original post):

We've increasingly coupled our content and our expression to devices that get obsolete more and more quickly. And when you get to this sense of these new devices, formats get harder and harder to preserve and this is especially true when they're these proprietary or underdocumented formats. Because we've given up on formats. The reality is: those of us that cared about the stuff have lost. Overall we've lost. Very very few the consumer experiences that people use or the default apps that come with their devices work around open formats. There's some slight exceptions around photos, obviously JPEG is doing pretty well, HTML is doing okay, but the core interactions of a small short status update or the ability to tell somebody you like something, those things aren't formats or protocols at all. They're completely undocumented, they can be changed at any time. And just even the expectation that they would be interoperable, that is perhaps the most dramatic shift from the early days of the social web.

the problem with the web we have today isn't that it is worse than the web we had. it's actually better in most regards - except it's harder and more closed up. the opposite is what need, otherwise people will keep on stumbling into seemingly open ad-supported spaces, not realizing what they are doing. until the day they decide they want to leave and can't. kinda like the hotel california:

You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!

information entropy

oliver reichenstein on information entropy:

It's incredibly complex to calculate the number of moves that someone can make in a user interface. It is similar to chess where three moves is already for the pro's. One, two, three, a lot of possibilities. And in user interface design you also need to reduce the amount of possible moves to win, as within chess. So you need to reduce your application so the basics really works nicely. And so you have the time and space to care for the details. You care for the details not just to show that on the other side there was a human designing this, but to make things clear.

compare this to what don norman was saying in emotion & design: attractive things work better:

Good design means that beauty and usability are in balance. An object that is beautiful to the core is no better than one that is only pretty if they both lack usability.

all my blogs are dead

paul neave in why i create for the web:

But the most amazing thing about the web is simple yet devastatingly powerful, and the whole reason the web exists in the first place. It's the humble hyperlink.

paul is right. however links randomly disappear, move and change. carter maness writes:

Despite the pervasive assumption that everything online lasts forever, the internet is inherently unstable. We assume everything we publish online will be preserved. But websites are businesses. They get sold, forgotten and broken. Eventually, someone flips the switch and pulls it all down. Hosting charges are eliminated, and domain names slip quietly back into the pool. What’s left behind once the cache clears? For media companies deleting their sites, legacy doesn’t matter; the work carries no intrinsic value if there is no business remaining to capitalize on it. I asked if a backup still existed on a server somewhere. It apparently does; I was invited to purchase it for next to nothing. I could pay for the hosting, flip the switch on, and all my work would return. But I’d never really look at it. Then, eventually, I would stop paying the bills, too.

imagine books disappearing randomly from your bookshelf from time to time. however, this is a funny thought as it pretends books were always available to everyone trivially.

i for myself started archiving outgoing links in the wayback machine with a zsh snippet like this one. i know well that this is no real solution to this problem, but i hope it helps. for now.

function ia-archive() { curl -s -I https://web.archive.org/save/$* | grep Content-Location | awk '{print "Archived as: https://web.archive.org"$2}'; }

project managers, ducks, and dogs marking territory

rachel kroll:

Anyway, about the duck. As the story goes, the artists had created all of these animation cycles for their game, and it had to pass through the review stage of a project manager. One of the artists knew the way these guys tended to want to "leave their mark" on things, and did something a little extra. Supposedly, the PM saw this and said "it's great... just remove the duck". So, the artist went in and removed the duck (which had been carefully placed to make that easy), and that was that. The sacrificial duck kept the meddling manager away from the stuff that was important. It's almost like they want to be able to point at any given part and say "I'm the reason that happened".

compare this to cody powell's article you're not a software development manager, you're a software helper:

I believe it's actually easy to earn trust as a manager, provided you understand a few very important things. It's the team who contributes the key, valuable actions behind great software like writing, reviewing, and designing code, not you. The people on your team are way better at this than you are, and they have far more context. As a result, your team's contributions are much more important than your personal contribution.

also mike hadlow in coconut headphones: why agile has failed:

Because creating good software is so much about technical decisions and so little about management process, I believe that there is very little place for non-technical managers in any software development organisation. If your role is simply asking for estimates and enforcing the agile rituals: stand-ups, fortnightly sprints, retrospectives; then you are an impediment rather than an asset to delivery.