It may be the middle of summer, but you’d never know from looking around offices, where, on the hottest days of the year, it’s not uncommon to see workers wrapped up in sweaters at their desks. As temperatures outside rise, most corporate office buildings become hermetically sealed, air-conditioned ice cubes, forcing workers everywhere to grab a Snuggie. In a study of government office buildings, for instance, 60% of workers complained of thermal stress—that they’re too hot or too cold in their workplace. Why can’t we manage to keep offices at a comfortable temperature?
Most garages are terrible but necessary (for now) sores on the urban landscape. But why do they have to only do one thing?
Fluidly move from space to space, if people around you get too chatty. Need to have a focused business meeting? Take a screen-free stroll on the meandering walkway on the office perimeter.
It’s easy to build something that’s more powerful than an iPad—and very, very hard to do it without introducing complexity.
Over at Medium, MG Siegler (parislemon) has a nice piece likening the iPad to a typewriter. He means the comparison to a defunct piece of technology as a compliment: Writing on an iPad with an external Logitech keyboard, he says, strips away all the distractions of other applications and web services and lets you focus on your thoughts and the words.
I know what he means. For almost three years now, I’ve used an iPad with a keyboard as my primary computer. About 85% of everything I’ve produced for publication in that time, I’ve pounded out on my tablet.
I like the fact that iPad apps run in full-screen mode and usually aren’t overwhelmed by interface clutter or features I’ll never use. I like the fact that I don’t have to spend much time maintaining my iPad, and don’t have to futz with stuff like anti-virus software. I like the fact that my iPad has built-in LTE wireless Internet which is (AT&T willing) available the moment I turn on the tablet. And I absolutely love the fact that I dependably get 10 hours of battery life on a charge, which means that I can be smugly productive while those who tote notebooks are frantically hunting for wall outlets.
In short, an iPad with a keyboard—my current fave is Belkin’s Qode Ultimate Keyboard case—is the closest thing I’ve found to the ideal general-purpose PC for me. I still run into folks who tell me I’m nuts, but there seem to be fewer hidebound naysayers than in the past. And more people like MG Siegler.
Merge is the entry from New York’s Pensa in the Urban Utility Bike design contest. What does a bike designed for the Big Apple’s streets (and traffic) look like?
NPR (npr) One rethinks everything, even ditching the Like button.
Stark white and minimally designed, the new NPR One app looks like a paradigm of technology. But surprisingly, the app isn’t powered by algorithms, filters, or other pseudo-intelligence—it’s still good old human editor curation on the backend.
“For us, the algorithm that programs the app is very importantly focused on the human curation part of it,” says NPR VP of digital media Zach Brand. “A lot of people tend to think of it in terms of machine learning—which is a portion as well—but we have dedicated staff making sure that the most important stories are populated from the outset that represent the best experience right at the first moment. As we get to know the listener, it then tailors even more to them.”
If you want to think about what the future of the Internet of Things (IoT) will look like, walk along Boston’s 400-year-old streets.
“Organs-on-a-chip” don’t look like much: They are very thin clear pieces of plastic, but when they are filled with cells, they take on a life of their own and mimic human systems far more effectively than simple petri dish cell cultures. - The Coming Human Body On A Chip That Will Change How We Make Drugs
No more animal testing and no more guesswork about whether drugs that work on animals might also work on humans. Scientists are making an entire electonic set of organs that can test our drugs quickly and easily.
Tell it your prescription, and the experimental screen makes blurry images clear for you.
People with vision problems, rejoice: A team from Microsoft, U.C. Berkeley, and MIT has created an experimental screen technology that would allow you to view your devices clearly without your glasses.
The three-year-old startup has developed a front-end interface for helping web shoppers find the perfect fit.
A woman shopping for summer clothes spots a dress on Pinterest and clicks through to the retailer’s product page. She zooms in on the pattern, selects the coral version, and decides the price is within her budget—but then, she hesitates.
For most online shoppers, that moment of hesitation is the result of inconsistent sizing, a problem costing the fashion industry over $3 billion per year.
It’s like a 90-second history lesson in creative innovation from a single brand.
Curl up with your iPad while the archives are free
So far, the best thing about the New Yorker’s digital revamp is not the new site design, but rather the opening of the magazine’s storied archives. For the next three months, articles dating back to 2007 (plus select additional features) are free to all visitors, offering non-subscribers a chance to revisit some of the best design writing of the past decade.
In Frankfurt, Germany, a team of students has found a new way to make buildings “climate neutral” without raising rents: Build a new rooftop apartment with each installation.