Archive for the ‘Environment’ tag
In a recent Forbes article, the the popular, SEO is Dead / Death of SEO topic took center stage. The article highlighted how questionable SEO tactics (particularly for link building) will no longer be valid. Marketers need to focus on creating truly great content, which in turn earns the right to…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
"One of the more interesting panels at the 2012 Aspen Environment Forum was a discussion of whether…"
“One of the more interesting panels at the 2012 Aspen Environment Forum was a discussion of whether “nature” was even still a viable concept. It’s broadly accepted that humankind has had such a profound impact on the Earth that there remains no part of the planet yet untouched, no part of our ecosystems that hasn’t been altered by human activity. Even Antarctic lakes kilometers under glacial ice are subject to human fiddling. The question is, is this a permanent change? Can we do anything to reverse the Anthropocene?” (via wildcat2030)
Nationwide restaurant operator OTG is deploying more than 7,000 third-generation iPads at its eateries located in three international air hubs after recognizing a strong demand for entertainment in the normally staid airport environment.
Editor’s Note: This guest post is written by Kwindla Hultman Kramer, who is the CEO of Oblong Industries — the company known for developing the gestural interfaces in the film Minority Report. The company’s current customers and partners include Boeing, SAP, GE, and others.
When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years
Mark Twain, ”Old Times on the Mississippi”
Atlantic Monthly, 1874
When I was a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab fifteen years ago, my research group went on a retreat every year with Famous Computer Scientists from Xerox PARC. I greatly admired these people and their work. But I was young and in a hurry to get where I thought I was going. And it sometimes seemed that every time us young folks talked about our research, or showed a demo, someone would say something like, “oh, that’s very nice, when we did that at PARC ….”
Fast forward to the present. For the last few years, every time I see a new piece of small, open, hackable, networked hardware, or a new reputation engine, or a generative art piece, or a product built around location tracking plus real-time information push, or — well, you get the idea — I have to bite my tongue and think of the PARC folks to keep myself from saying, “oh, that’s very nice, when we did that at the Media Lab ….”
All of which just proves that the wheel of history revolves. New work is always new, by definition, even if it’s not entirely new (which nothing can ever be).
That’s a long introduction to a short essay on programming tools. In particular, I’ve been intrigued by the online discussion recently around some very nice work on interactive development environments by Bret Victor and a related Kickstarter project — and now YCombinator company — called Light Table, by Chris Granger.
Bret’s stuff is great. And Light Table is great. If you’re anything like me, you want to use the tools these two people are building. Go contribute to the Kickstarter project right now.
The funny thing is, though, that we had pretty interesting versions of these tools twenty years ago. By the late 1980s, professional LISP and Smalltalk environments were more than a little like Light Table.
When I discovered Visual Age Smalltalk in 1996 I was blown away. Visual Age (and other Smalltalk tools) were built around snippets of code representing objects and methods. There were very few file operations. You could run your code and make live changes to the source, which were reflected in the running process.
There was no distinction between the development environment and the runtime. You could save out your working “image”. There were good tools for managing forks, versioning and merge — not just of source code, but of the full system image.
If you were writing a GUI application in Visual Age Smalltalk, all the elements on screen were interactively inspectable from inside the debugger. And all the system internals, including the virtual environment, the compiler and the debugger, were introspectible and hackable just by writing a little more Smalltalk code.
When I raved about this to my friends, some of whom had old SparcStations sitting in their coat closets running their home networks, they said, “oh yeah, that’s nice, when we built all that stuff into our LISP machines ten years ago at Symbolics ….”
I can think of a few possible reasons.
These days, we have two classes of languages.
We use heavily engineered languages that are very, very static in their aesthetic and implementation choices. Truly interactive development environments are difficult to build for these C-family languages. And C-family languages have remained dominant until very recently, because they have both real advantages and “worse is better,” inertial advantages.
Second, I think that the web-enabled explosion of programming and programmers has set back the development of software tooling just as it (temporarily) set back user interface design.
Again, I hasten to make clear that I think what the web hath wrought is wonderful, on balance. But there’s no free lunch, and for ten years most of the tech world turned its attention to building out a new global platform that could not, in its early days, support very much in the way of new user interfaces or sophisticated runtime architecture work.
Third, screen real estate matters. The traditional “everything is a file” approach is wonderfully portable. You can build an environment for working with files even for a very small display. Heck, you can work with files if all you have is a line-mode terminal. But flexibly arranged code snippets and fully interactive graphical debuggers require a lot of pixels.
And there aren’t always enough pixels. I’m amazed at how often I visit Big Companies and see full-time programmers working at their desks on single, 15″ monitors. That’s an enormous missed opportunity to enable productivity.
Pixels have gotten really cheap, though, and come in more and more form factors. We actually could build, today, a development environment designed to make use of a laptop screen and a tablet screen, simultaneously. A MacBook Air and an iPad, used together, would give me more pixels than I had on my dual-monitor desktop back when I fired up Visual Age Smalltalk every day.
Finally, if we really want to get away from files and static representations of programs, maybe we want to get away from text altogether. There’s been lots of good academic work on graphical — as in, really, graphical — programming environments over the years. But that’s another entire conversation.
Here are a couple of good pages on LISP Machines, which really were the future before the future was quite possible to build. And, as far as I know, the closest anyone has ever gotten to creating a full dynamic environment for a C-language platform is Alexia Massalin’s Synthesis operating system. If you are a programmer of any kind, I’ll wager that Alexia’s dissertation will blow your mind.
So, let’s make the old tools new again. I want to use Light Table, and whatever Light Table catalyzes that we can’t yet imagine. But I do promise that when that new thing comes along, I’ll tell you we built an early version of it at the Media Lab at the tail end of the last century.
"Good design is innovative Good design makes a product useful Good design is aesthetic Good design…"
- Good design is innovative
- Good design makes a product useful
- Good design is aesthetic
- Good design helps us to understand a product
- Good design is unobtrusive
- Good design is honest
- Good design is durable
- Good design is consequent to the last detail
- Good design is concerned with the environment
- Good design is as little design as possible
– Dieter Ram’s ten commandments of good design, via Brain Pickings
Ah yes – there IS an app for everything. Even when doing the inconceivable in the bathroom while your significant other is right outside the door.
Modest couples everywhere are thanking Leo Burnett Tailor Made. And so is the environment, so said modest couples don’t waste water (while trying to cover up embarrassing noises from the bathroom).
A large part of how quickly you get into the zone and how much work you get done when you’re there has to do with your surroundings—physical aspects like the level of ambient noise around you all the way to psychological distractions, like the ones we’ve mentioned before. Don’t underestimate the importance of making sure your physical surroundings match up with your work however, from having everything you need within reach to making sure the environment is quiet enough to focus. More »
A startup called Apperian just raised $12.4 million to help businesses build their own apps and access them on tablets and smartphones.
The company developed its Enterprise App Services Environment (EASE) platform to let companies create and deploy apps for their employees to use. Instead of dealing with the approval process to publish an app to the Android Market or the iOS App Store, which can take time and resources, businesses can publish their apps with Apperian.
By logging in with your company’s credentials, you only see the apps for your company, unlike the mainstream app stores. Apps can also be customized based on each employee’s department, so the sales staff can’t access the IT department’s apps and vice versa.
Last fall, Apple reported that 93 percent of Fortune 500 companies have deployed or are testing iPads, and Apperian is hoping to capture a piece of that market. Apperian is also trying to get in on the bring-your-own-device movement, in which more and more employees are bringing their own phones and tablets to use at their jobs.
Apperian competes with SAP, which offers pre-made apps for businesses to do work on phones and tablets.
Apperian is based in Boston and recently opened offices in the United Kingdom and France. This round of funding came from existing investors North Bridge Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ iFund, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Common Angels. The company has raised $24 million to date. Apperian is available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry.
Business people with tablet image via Shutterstock