Weekend tech reading: How Minority Report has led to bad interfaces

By on March 3, 2013, 3:11 PM

How 'Minority Report' trapped us in a world of bad interfaces I wish I could get away with charging my clients a fee for every time they say "Minority Report" to me. I’m a commercial artist in L.A., and 90% of commercial art is shutting up and giving the client what they want. That means I spend a lot of time trying to repackage Steven Spielberg’s vision of the future: floating graphical windows with video hovering in them, typography flickering and animating in response to actors’ actions, interfaces appearing and disappearing when fingers reach out to poke them. The Awl

Apple award cut with new trial for some Samsung products Apple's $1.05 billion victory against Samsung in a patent-infringement case was cut about 45 percent by a judge who ordered a new trial on damages for some Samsung products after finding the jury erred. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, yesterday reduced the jury’s damages award by $450.5 million. The jury based its award for 14 Samsung products on an incorrect legal theory, Koh ruled, saying the companies should consider appealing her ruling before any trial begins. Bloomberg

Why teens are tiring of Facebook To understand where teens like to spend their virtual time nowadays, just watch them on their smartphones. Their world revolves around Instagram, the application adults mistook for an elevated photography service, and other apps decidedly less old-fashioned than Mark Zuckerberg's social network. And therein lies one of Facebook's biggest challenges:...Facebook has become a social network that's often too complicated, too risky, and, above all, too overrun by parents to give teens the type of digital freedom or release they crave. CNET

From dream to disaster: the story of Aliens: Colonial Marines On December 11, 2006, Sega announced that they had snagged the rights to the much-beloved sci-fi franchise Aliens. Eager to get people excited, Sega quickly announced that they had two big games in the works: a role-playing game and a first-person shooter. In the coming years, one would be cancelled. And the other probably should have been. Aliens: Colonial Marines, the shooter released earlier this month for PC and consoles, has been almost unanimously declared a bad game. Kotaku

Saving private gamer The debate over violent video games has re-emerged over the past few months, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. This is due largely to prominent conservatives arguing that the moral corruption of the games is a danger to society. These arguments are generally countered on the grounds that video games constitute protected speech, that studies indicating that games increase aggression are inconclusive at best, or that blaming games is a distraction from more relevant issues like gun control. The American Prospect

Futurism Cory Arcangel was making a drawing, but he wasn’t holding a pen. In a small, high-ceilinged studio in Industry City, a warehouse-lined wedge of Brooklyn between New York Harbor and the Gowanus Expressway, he was sitting at the keyboard of a Macintosh computer. Arcangel had bought an old printer on eBay -- a pen plotter manufactured in 1983, when he was five -- and hacked together the code for it. As he typed, a mechanical arm across the room whirred around a piece of paper, making linked acute angles, in black ink. The New Yorker

Enraged by abusive lawsuits, anonymous troll slayers fight back When a couple (we'll call them the Smiths) received a letter from their ISP -- one saying they were being threatened with a copyright lawsuit -- they were scared. The middle-aged immigrant couple moved to the United States from Eastern Europe more than a decade ago. Both have advanced degrees, but they knew very little about the US legal system. They denied (and still do deny) the plaintiff's accusation that they downloaded a pornographic film on BitTorrent... Ars Technica

Evernote security notice: service-wide password reset Evernote's Operations & Security team has discovered and blocked suspicious activity on the Evernote network that appears to have been a coordinated attempt to access secure areas of the Evernote Service. As a precaution to protect your data, we have decided to implement a password reset. Please read below for details and instructions. In our security investigation, we have found no evidence that any of the content you store in Evernote was accessed, changed or lost. Evernote

Goodbye Groupon: Andrew Mason's dance with the devil In the wake of Andrew Mason's firing as CEO of Groupon, there's been a lot of negativity towards the young entrepreneur. In part it's because Mason was always a character, someone who largely refused to take things seriously, and who preferred to defuse tension with humor, as he did in his hilarious resignation letter yesterday. This was charming at first, then increasingly less so as Groupon's financial health, business practices and accounting came into question. The Verge

German book retailers team up against Amazon with new eReader German book retailers have teamed up with Deutsche Telekom to produce their own eReader to challenge the dominance of Amazon.com in the growing market for digital books. Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel and Club Bertelsmann will start selling the 'Tolino' eReader from March 7, with over 300,000 books available for download, to compete with Amazon's Kindle and Apple's tablets, the companies said in a joint statement on Friday. Reuters

Microsoft: We can update Office-by-subscription every 90 days Microsoft may upgrade Office 2013 as often as four times a year, the company's top Office executive said this week, a massive change from decades of more measured development.The faster release pace for Office has been repeatedly touted by Microsoft as one of the benefits to customers who switch from the traditional "perpetual" licensing model...to the Office 365 software-by-subscription plans introduced this year. Computerworld

YAJ0: Yet another Java zero-day Through our Malware Protection Cloud (MPC), we detected a brand new Java zero-day vulnerability that was used to attack multiple customers. Specifically, we observed successful exploitation against browsers that have Java v1.6 Update 41 and Java v1.7 Update 15 installed. Not like other popular Java vulnerabilities in which security manager can be disabled easily, this vulnerability leads to arbitrary memory read and write in JVM process. FireEye

Nickels, dimes, and quarters The video game industry is just that. An industry. Which means that it exists in a capitalistic world. You know, a free market. A place where you’re welcome to spend your money on whatever you please… or to refrain from spending that money. Those companies that put these products out? They’re for profit businesses. They exist to produce, market, and ship great games ultimately for one purpose. First, for money, then, for acclaim. Cliff Bleszinski

Open and shut Tim Wu, writing for The New Yorker “News Desk”, has done us all a grand favor by penning a sort of grand unified theory on how the “open beats closed” axiom can be true in the face of Apple’s decade-long success: “Does a Company Like Apple Need a Genius Like Steve Jobs?” Wu’s conclusion: yes, Apple is falling back to earth sans Jobs, and the normalcy of open beating closed will return any moment now. Let’s consider his argument. Daring Fireball

Seagate to cease production of 7200rpm mobile hard drives this year Seagate Technology, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hard disk drives, plans to cease production of mobile hard drives with 7200rpm spindle speed late this year as the mainstream market demand will shift to different products, such as solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs). The company will continue to offer 5400rpm HDDs for value notebooks. X-bit labs

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