Labnotes

Weekend Reading — Like IP addresses to lightbulbs

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Cartoon: Spring Fever

This week we learn about fluency and discipline as pre-cursors to creativity; we build desktop and iOS apps with HTML and JS; we burn out on open source; we learn the secrets of great (and toxic) managers; we laugh/cry with James Mickens; we come to terms with our ad blocking future; and we find out why millenials are obsessed with food.


Design Objective

Refreshing Search: Testing Search Box Variations Consider this the next time you're looking for the right icon to use in your app:

Put another way, the most universally recognized icon for search isn’t a magnifying glass, it’s a wide rectangular box.

How to Design for Impact

How can you get the thing that's in your head that you're personally really excited about and share with more people and get that feedback about how the people feel about it?

4 Invisible User Experiences you Never Knew About Great design is invisible.

When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China Interesting overview of how people in China use WeChat for everything, from messaging to hailing taxis to paying bills.

Learning Fluency

To me, creativity stems from an intense and intimate understanding of a mechanism.

The Newly Competitive Wheelchair Jean Market

Features of Alter UR Ego jeans include a high waisted back, a tummy control panel, pockets on the thigh, straps for ease of dress and a catheter opening.

@KevinHawkinsDC

"Who turns off CSS when reading the web? Users of Screenreaders, Instapaper, Pocket, Readability, Flipboard, etc!" --@JenSimmons #AEADC #web


Tools of the Trade

AppHub "Use git push to instantly update your iOS apps." Build iOS apps using React Native, and push out updates without the infamous App Store delay.

Building a desktop application with Electron You can follow each step by checking out its git tag.

Simple collaboration from your desktop New GitHub desktop app is out, puts common operations at your fingertips.

big-list-of-naughty-strings This is a fantastic resource, I can't believe I only now found about it:

The Big List of Naughty Strings is an evolving list of strings which have a high probability of causing issues when used as user-input data … useful for whenever your QA engineer walks into a bar.

Unsplash It Placeholder images from Unsplash.

JMAP Designed to replace IMAP, a transport-agnostic, stateless JSON-based API for synchronising a mail client with a mail server.

@iamdevloper

If you die in Vim, you die in real life too.


Lingua Scripta

nodejs/io.js -> nodejs/node The upcoming release is Node 4.0, which is basically io.js 3.0.


Lines of Code

@Argorak

Never underestimate the ability of devlopers to put unrelated things into hierarchies.

@manisha72617183

Protip:If you are unwilling to delete anything, be it code or comments, then perhaps you should be an antique dealer instead of a programmer

Throwing in the towel Burning out on open source:

basically we’ve built an industry on free labour, and we’ve concluded that we’d much rather make people work for free in their spare time to produce adequate software and shame them into supporting it when somehow it surprisingly doesn’t do exactly what we want than fairly compensate for their labour and get good software out of it.

@nelhage

OH: NP stands for “Naming Problem” – “NP-Hard” means a problem is as hard as naming things, which is the hardest problem we know of.

@uhoh_itsmaciek

Ironically, my hatred of debugging distributed systems is both consistent and highly available.


Peopleware

Average Manager vs. Great Manager Fantastic. Everything you need to know about managing people, in 10 sketches.

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace Employees describe what it's like to work under "the Bezos ideal, a meritocracy in which people and ideas compete and the best win:"

Another employee who miscarried twins left for a business trip the day after she had surgery. “I’m sorry, the work is still going to need to get done,” she said her boss told her.

@StuFlemingNZ

"So, this is an unpaid internship?"

"Yes. Think of it as a doorway to business success"

"Like your business?"

"Yes"

"That can't pay interns"


Locked Doors

Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security (with slides) The bleakest/funniest talk about internet security:

We don't know how to use electronic devices. We don't know how to protect electronic devices. And yet for some reason, we're giving IP addresses to lightbulbs.

Insider Trading Hack: 5 Takeaways How do you hack secure trading networks? You don't. You snatch press releases and trade on the news:

"The lesson here is that if you're a major corporation, you have to look at your information supply chain - your PR firm and your general counsel - and evaluate the security those entities have in place to defend against this type of attack"

Security Tool Tricks Workers Into Spilling Company Secrets This is brilliant. Human pentest, or as they call it "Human Vulnerability Scanner". And it's open source.

Hackers Cut a Corvette's Brakes Via a Common Car Gadget You'll be surprised (or not at all) what hackers can do with the cheap dongles "used by insurance firms and trucking fleets to monitor vehicles’ location, speed and efficiency".

Security at Automatic: How We Keep You Safe And here's a company that's building connected applications for cars, and takes security seriously! (I own and use an Automatic dongle)

HTC caught storing fingerprints AS WORLD-READABLE CLEARTEXT If you own an HTC phone, please reset your fingerprints.

Lenovo used a hidden Windows feature to ensure its software could not be deleted How to hide persistent malware in the BIOS.

Imploding Barrels and Other Highlights From Hackfest DefCon Not your ordinary tech conference.


Techtopia

The ethics of modern web ad-blocking My sentiments exactly:

All of that tracking and data collection is done without your knowledge, and — critically — without your consent. Because of how the web and web browsers work, the involuntary data collection starts if you simply follow a link. There’s no opportunity for disclosure, negotiation, or reconsideration.

@auxilit

Alan Kay weighs in on ad-blocking. In 1972 — http://www.mprove.de/diplom/gui/Kay72a.pdf


Startup Life

The 9 Delusions From the Halo Effect "This is how X got successful" posts considered harmful:

Wait, which is it? In 2014, product expansion from the LEGO Movie helps push the company to new heights. In 2004, the LEGO Harry Potter line, TV shows, and the first attempt at video games nearly pushes it to bankruptcy. During each period, we push narratives and recommendations that contradict themselves. Go back to your core base! Wait, never mind! Expand into new products!


None of the Above

@bafeldman "need it to live. next question"

Puzzle: Are You Smarter Than 53,133 Other New York Times Readers? Give it a try, it's one question, and leads you into a worthwhile "850 words about human psychology and behavioral economics explaining the error of your ways."

Facebook user gets away with nearly a full day of trolling Target commenters Trolling done right:

I Feel That You're a Misogynistic Jackass: A Case Against "I" Statements This:

“I feel” language came out of relationship counseling. It’s for someone with whom you are in a loving relationship. It is not for your boss, or someone you’re negotiating with, or a stranger, or a guy who hates gay people.

@samuelgoodwin

The road to hell is paved by last-minute changes.

A Simple Fix for Drunken Driving Instead of taking the car from people who drink, the 24/7 Sobriety program helps people remove alcohol from their life. There's a side effect:

counties using 24/7 Sobriety experienced not only a 12% drop in repeat drunken-driving arrests but also a 9% drop in domestic-violence arrests.

Everyone's Upstairs Neighbors Being the noisy upstairs neighbor is an art form.