As I write this post I am sitting in the Caltrain, passing through various suburbs of the San Francisco Bay peninsula on my way to the city. It’s comforting to be surrounded by so many familiar sites once again.
My wife and I have had quite a journey: 17 countries, dozens of cities, and countless airports/train stations/bus stations. We’ve witnessed both staggeringly beautiful phenomena (Northern Lights in the Yukon Territories) and horrifying moments (a mob beating up some dude in the streets of Istanbul) along the way. Fortunately, my wife and I came out the other end of our trip completely safe and with a lifetime of memories.
I’ve delayed writing this post as long as I could; it’s been taking me a while to process what I’ve learned from this trip. The short answer is: a lot.
I may not be able to cover all the lessons I’ve learned…
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What should we do with the quiet kids? A conversation with Susan Cain on the future of classroom education.
Susan Cain sticks up for the introverts of the world. In the U.S., where one third to one half the population identifies as introverts, that means sticking up for a lot of people. Some of them might be data engineers overwhelmed by the noise of an open-floor-plan office. Others might be lawyers turning 30, whose friends shame them for not wanting a big birthday bash. But Cain particularly feels for one group of introverts: the quiet kids in a classroom.
Cain remembers a childhood full of moments when she was urged by teachers and peers to be more outgoing and social — when that simply wasn’t in her nature. Our most important institutions, like schools and workplaces, are designed for extroverts, says Cain in her TED Talk. [Watch: The power of…
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Remember how weird it was to ask questions about sex as a teenager? High school teacher Al Vernacchio answers his students’ questions about everything from DIY birth control to how to tell when a guy really likes you, in an excerpt from his new book.
On the first day of my Sexuality and Society class, I don’t pass around anatomy drawings. I don’t hand out pamphlets about safer sex, although those are stacked on a table near the door. Instead, the first thing I do is establish ground rules. People should speak for themselves, laughter is OK, we won’t ask “personal history” questions, and we’ll work to create a community of peers who care about and respect one another. Only then can we get to work.
I’m all about context. Talking about sexuality, intimacy, relationships, and pleasure can’t be done in a vacuum.
In the back corner of my classroom is an…
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Everywhere you turn, it seems, people are talking about how understanding context is the most important aspect of building a better web.
No one, though, has captured it as well as Code and Theory’s Dan Gardner, co-founder and executive creative director of the creative agency, and Mike Treff, managing partner of the agency’s product design group, who wrote an article for FastCompany titled “The Next Big Thing in Responsive Design.” (Among other accomplishments, Code and Theory redesigned the LA Times website and Mashable, and created award-winning marketing programs for Burger King, Dr Pepper and Maybelline New York.) Though the whole thing is worth reading, this is the sentence that matters most for our purposes:
“As brands become more publisher-like, they’ll also need to incorporate a responsive philosophy that adapts to the user so that they can reach them at the right time, with the right messaging, and an understanding of…
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There’s an app for that.
No really, it is not just a catch phrase anymore! There is literally an app for almost anything you do in your daily life- from getting up in the morning to grocery shopping.
And while the apps for personal use are booming with programs that clip recipes and keep track of family schedules, there has also been an unprecedented amount of growth in app technology for offices and private businesses.
And for good reason.
Beyond IPad cash registers and attachments that make credit card swiping easy, mobile apps offer businesses of all varieties ways to streamline their work while keeping organized with the added bonus of saving a few extra trees.
Apps are truly here to stay and, if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of convincing your app-resistent company to jump on the bandwagon, here are a few points to get you started.
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According to an intriguing report in New Scientist, Google is building a next-generation information database called Knowledge Vault that’s designed to index and store what we can reasonably term facts. And not just some facts — the Vault is intended to continually catalog and store all facts about our world and our history.
The Vault project is building upon Google’s existing crowdsourced database, Knowledge Graph, and so far has cataloged about 1.6 million facts. Google researchers will present a paper on Knowledge Vault next week at the Conference on Knowledge Discovery at Data Mining, in New York.
It’s all part of a larger initiative, in the information technology arena, to improve the manner in which we interact with machines and databases. Similar knowledge bases are being built by companies like Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft and IBM.
One of the first practical applications for these ultra-database systems is to create a new generation of virtual personal assistants.
Down the line, the Knowledge Vault could serve as the foundation for advanced augmented reality networks. The database would provide instant data, via heads-up display, on virtually anything you look at.
The Knowledge Vault could also be used, eventually, to model all of human history and society as a vast collection of pure data. That knowledge, in turn, could be extrapolated to make predictions about the future.
I thought it would be as easy as hitting print. Then, voila a miniature robot! A pencil holder! A pair of stunner shades! A Bulbasaur planter!
3D printing has the potential to change everything in our world: the Army is considering using it as an easy way to replace parts during war, and NASA even just sent a printer to space. So when I was given the chance to try printing an object for the first time, of course I wanted to try it.
Then I opened the lid on the 3D printer and saw a wet tangled mess of lasered plastic. Oh. 3D printing, it turns out, is not the perfect life-changing tool I had imagined.
While my colleague Signe Brewster can tell the difference between objects that came off a really great 3D printer and those produced by a mediocre one, I looked down at a lump of…
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