Postworthy: 2017, Week 02

Here’s your Postworthy reading list for week 2 of 2017:

Why is Git so hard to learn? by Jesse McGrew

“The tricky part is, Git uses unfamiliar names for everything. If you know a command in some other version control system, like “checkout”, and you see that Git has a command with the same name, there’s a good chance it does something completely different in Git. Maybe even two or three different things!”

How Product Image Size Impacts Value Perception [Original Research] by Ben Labay

“We thought that larger images for experience goods (like shirts) would be viewed as more expensive/valuable. However, it was the opposite. People viewed experience goods as less valuable (generally) when larger images were used. However, it was the converse for search goods (like hard drives). Larger images made people perceive the products as being more expensive/valuable.”

The mind-blowing AI announcement from Google that you probably missed by Gil Fewster

“The short version is that Google Translate got smart. It developed the ability to learn from the people who used it. It learned how to make educated guesses about the content, tone, and meaning of phrases based on the context of other words and phrases around them. And?—?here’s the bit that should make your brain explode?—?it got creative. Google Translate invented its own language to help it translate more effectively.”

I wore men’s clothes for a month – and it changed my life by Lucy Rycroft-Smith

“We need to talk about pockets. The clothes I’m wearing now have bountiful, multifaceted, capacious pockets. I have nine of them today. I counted ’em. On a typical day of wearing womenswear, I have NONE. Another realisation like a wet herring to the face: the ‘handbag vs pockets’ thing is huge confidence-underminer, another terribly effective, if inadvertent way, to hold women down. I remember being crouched over my handbag, furiously ferreting for a business card while my male colleague coolly produced one from his manly chest-cavity as though he lactated them to order.”

How Terrible Code Gets Written by Perfectly Sane People by Christian M. Mackeprang

“What I discovered after some months working there, was that the authors were actually an experienced group of senior developers with good technical skills. What could lead a team of competent developers to produce and actually deliver something like this? What I’ve come up is a list. These are some bad habits that even experienced teams can get into which will severely affect your end product, more than any static code checker or development methodology could rescue it from.”

The true tragedy of the commons by Dylan Wilbanks

“And that’s the tragedy of the commons we’re now facing — not that the world is trampling our parks because it’s free, but that they’re burning the park down because they can and we will let them. I wish we’d known back then. Simple ban lists weren’t enough. “You own your own words” wasn’t a strong enough statement. We failed to let people own the consequences of the things they made and the horrible ways they could be used.”

Kodak ‘Investigating What it Would Take’ to Bring Back Kodachrome by PetaPixel

“Kodak made what was probably the most popular (and unexpected) photography announcement of CES: the company is bringing back the beloved Ektachrome film stock. But Ektachrome might only be the beginning. According to Kodak CMO Steven Overman, Kodachrome might come back next!”

Facebook makes it harder to notice when posts are edited by Ken Yeung

“Facebook appears to have quietly done away with a feature that tells you if a particular post has been edited. As it stands now, the only way that you’ll be able to determine something has changed is by clicking on the edit history option, which will only show if an edit has been made and is available in the post menu option.”

Record shares of Americans now own smartphones, have home broadband by Aaron Smith

“Roughly three-quarters of Americans (77%) now own a smartphone, with lower-income Americans and those ages 50 and older exhibiting a sharp uptick in ownership over the past year, according a Pew Research Center survey conducted in November 2016. Smartphone adoption has more than doubled since the Center began surveying on this topic in 2011: That year, 35% of Americans reported that they owned a smartphone of some kind.”

Hero Patterns

“A collection of repeatable SVG background patterns for you to use on your digital projects.”

Tim Wu: ‘The internet is like the classic story of the party that went sour’ by John Naughton

“Looking back at the 00s, the great mistake of the web’s idealists was a near-total failure to create institutions designed to preserve that which was good about the web (its openness, its room for a diversity of voices and its earnest amateurism), and to ward off that which was bad (the trolling, the clickbait, the demands of excessive and intrusive advertising, the security breaches). There was too much faith that everything would take care of itself – that “netizens” were different, that the culture of the web was intrinsically better. Unfortunately, that excessive faith in web culture left a void, one that became filled by the lowest forms of human conduct and the basest norms of commerce. It really was just like the classic story of the party that went sour.”

What is Postworthy?

Every Friday I publish a list of articles, videos, and other content related to the web and how we use it I found of value in the past week. Some of the content is new, some is old, some cover hot topics of the moment, others are timeless pieces of reflection. I do not necessarily stand behind the opinions put forward by the original authors, rather I feel they are worthy of exposure.

If you find an article you feel should be on a future list, send me a link on here on LinkedIn or on Twitter @mor10. If you read an article this week you feel should have been on the list, leave it in the comments below.

Informing Your Empathy for More Human Designs and Communities

The prevailing narrative in the web community hails empathy as a cure for much of what ails our modern digital spaces. Empathy seems a worthy tool for making our designs and interactive experiences more human, but used indiscriminately it may do more harm than good. To design experiences that fit the real lives of the people who use them, we need to take a critical look at our methods and make empathy the first step in a larger process.

An Incomplete, Chronological, Continuously Updated List of Articles About Murderous Self-Driving Cars and the Trolley Problem

Have you heard? Google, Apple, Tesla, and other tech giants are working hard to kill you. No, wait. They are working hard on a car that will kill you. No, wait. They are creating an algorithm to decide who gets to live and who must die. No, wait. They trying to figure out who their self-driving cars should kill.