Re: Why Web Design is Dead

[Note:  This comment comes from friend Bob Frankston.  DLH]

From: “Bob Frankston” <bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com>
Subject: RE: [Dewayne-Net] Why Web Design is Dead
Date: July 5, 2015 at 13:37:17 PDT
To: dewayne@warpspeed.com

 

 

Symptom 5: Mobile is Killing the Web

 

 

 



Rather than seeing “mobile” vs “the web” we should be asking why we buy into 
the idea that they are different. Instead we should see a combination of 
different elements that are mixed and matched — mobility, invocation (URL, 
icon, whatever), local computing vs. passive pages, etc.

The current distinctions are borne more of efforts to keep users captive with 
silos than real distinctions.

Why Web Design is Dead

 

High quality templates, mature design patterns, automation, AI, and mobile 

 

technology are signaling the end of web design as we know it.

 

By Sergio Nouvel

 

Jun 8 2015

 

<

http://uxmag.com/articles/why-web-design-is-dead

>

 

Re: Where is Google taking us?

[Note:  This comment comes from friend Bob Frankston.  DLH]

From: “Bob Frankston” <bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com>
Subject: RE: [Dewayne-Net] Where is Google taking us?
Date: July 5, 2015 at 13:29:32 PDT
To: dewayne@warpspeed.com

If all you have is a hammer then every problem is solved with a nail. There 
are indeed many new frontiers opened by having all this data available but it 
also biases towards approaches that build on that neat idea.

There is a hubris that goes along with the singularity assumption of the one 
true future and evolution as progress. There is indeed a value in making a 
deep investment in some ideas and allowing the kind of experimenting that 
rarely funded. But we need to be careful to appreciate the need for diverse 
ideas and the expectation that there will be complex consequences and 
countervailing forces. And to remember that not all problems can be solved as 
parts rather than wholes.

I’m reminded of the story of the sewing machine being kept off the market for 
ten years out of fears it would be seamstresses out of working leaving women 
with few alternatives for making money. It took a half century to accept the 
idea of welfare and we still haven’t come to terms with the implications.

As to Loon and Google Fiber — those being more in my area of focus. I find 
them extending the telecom paradigm rather than challenging it.

Where is Google taking us?

 

Tim Adams was invited to hang out at Google’s California HQ, where some of the 

 

world’s brightest minds are working on innovations, such as driverless cars, 

 

that will transform our lives. But is society ready to go along for the ride?

 

By Tim Adams

 

Jul 5 2015

 

<

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/05/google-taking-us-california-innovations-driverless-cars

>

 

Why Web Design is Dead

Why Web Design is Dead
High quality templates, mature design patterns, automation, AI, and mobile technology are signaling the end of web design as we know it.
By Sergio Nouvel
Jun 8 2015
<http://uxmag.com/articles/why-web-design-is-dead>

Web design is (finally!) dying of irrelevance. Web pages themselves are no longer the center of the Internet experience, which is why designers need to move on to the next challenges—products and ecosystems—if they want to stay relevant.

Web design has no future—a risky statement I know, but this article explains why it has no future and what we, as designers, can do about it. As a discipline, web design has already exhausted its possibilities, an emerging combination of tech and cultural trends highlight the need for a broader approach.

Let’s start with the symptoms of this inminent death.

Most of the content that you see on the web today is run by some framework or service—WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, you name it. Frameworks provide you a foundation and shortcuts so you spend less time struggling with the creation of a web site, and more time creating content.

As a consequence of the ubiquity of these frameworks, a whole world of free and paid templates lets you get started with a professional-looking design in minutes. Why hire a web designer if you can achieve a fairly acceptable design for a fraction of the cost using a template? Actually, many web designers (especially the ones on the cheaper side) just pick a pre-made template and make some minor branding customizations.

Either way, if your web page is a standard, informational one, there’s probably a template out there that can do the job for you.

Symptom 2: Web Design Patterns are Mature

What is the latest web design innovation you can point a finger on? Responsive design? That’s digital ages old. Parallax? Useless eye-candy. The web has had all the user interface components and patterns you might need for a while now (and no, parallax is not something we really ever needed). And that’s why you don’t see much innovation in web patterns as of late.

This maturity is good for users: they will find consistency in their daily use of the web. Checkout forms, shopping carts, and login pages should all behave in a similar way. Trying to get creative at this point will probably be pointless or even harmful.

Symptom 3: Automation and Artificial Intelligence are Already Doing the Job

There’s a new trend of automated web design services, arguably started by The Grid. It’s a service to build basic websites which makes design decisions—semantic ones—based on artificial intelligence. It analyzes your content to detect the best layouts, colors, fonts, and extra imagery for your site. Using cleverly chosen design basics (made by humans) as the foundation, it’s hard to go wrong with it, and the result will probably be better than what an average web designer can do.

When something can be successfully automated, it means that its practices and standards are established enough as not to need much human input. And this is obviously the beginning. There will be a fierce competition about which service can deliver better designs, faster, and with less human intervention.

Symptom 4: Facebook Pages as the New Small-Business Homepage

In the late 1990’s, future-minded businesses would buy their .com’s, purchase expensive hosting plans, and hire a “web master” in order to have The Web Page, the one that would make them visible to the rest of the Internet. By 2005, creating a site in Blogger or WordPress.com was more than enough for your new wedding photo business (it was also quick and free).

Today, this function has been completely overridden by Facebook pages. They are free, made to be viral out of the box, offer powerful tools only available to big businesses a decade ago (like subscription for updates or media posting), and are as easy to set up as your own profile page. They are so efficient in making a business visible that they are rendering basic web pages useless.

Symptom 5: Mobile is Killing the Web

How often do you visit a web site from your mobile device by directly typing the address? Only when you don’t have the app, right? People don’t seem to think much in terms of web pages these days: they think of digital brands, which mostly translate to apps or subscriptions (likes, follows, etc). That’s why most big websites, blogs, and portals are pushing their mobile apps to you—out of home screen, out of mind.

Mobile web has always been slow and cumbersome. Typing addresses is weird. Navigating between tabs is weird. Our underpowered mobile devices and saturated data networks don’t help create a smooth web experience like the one we have in our desktop machines.

[snip]

Europe’s Many Economic Disasters

Europe’s Many Economic Disasters
By Paul Krugman
Jul 3 2015
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/opinion/paul-krugman-europes-many-disasters.html>

It’s depressing thinking about Greece these days, so let’s talk about something else, O.K.? Let’s talk, for starters, about Finland, which couldn’t be more different from that corrupt, irresponsible country to the south. Finland is a model European citizen; it has honest government, sound finances and a solid credit rating, which lets it borrow money at incredibly low interest rates.

It’s also in the eighth year of a slump that has cut real gross domestic product per capita by 10 percent and shows no sign of ending. In fact, if it weren’t for the nightmare in southern Europe, the troubles facing the Finnish economymight well be seen as an epic disaster.

And Finland isn’t alone. It’s part of an arc of economic decline that extends across northern Europe through Denmark — which isn’t on the euro, but is managing its money as if it were — to the Netherlands. All of these countries are, by the way, doing much worse than France, whose economy gets terrible press from journalists who hate its strong social safety net, but it has actually held up better than almost every other European nation except Germany.

And what about southern Europe outside Greece? European officials have been hyping the recovery in Spain, which did everything it was supposed to do and whose economy has finally started to grow again and even to create jobs. But success, European-style, means an unemployment rate that is still almost 23 percent and real income per capita that is still down 7 percent from its pre-crisis level. Portugal has also obediently implemented harsh austerity — and is 6 percent poorer than it used to be.

Why are there so many economic disasters in Europe? Actually, what’s striking at this point is how much the origin stories of European crises differ. Yes, the Greek government borrowed too much. But the Spanish government didn’t — Spain’s story is all about private lending and a housing bubble. And Finland’s story doesn’t involve debt at all. It is, instead, about weak demand for forest products, still a major national export, and the stumbles of Finnish manufacturing, in particular of its erstwhile national champion Nokia.

What all of these economies have in common, however, is that by joining the eurozone they put themselves into an economic straitjacket. Finland had a very severe economic crisis at the end of the 1980s — much worse, at the beginning, than what it’s going through now. But it was able to engineer a fairly quick recovery in large part by sharply devaluing its currency, making its exports more competitive. This time, unfortunately, it had no currency to devalue. And the same goes for Europe’s other trouble spots.

[snip]

The Dark Web as You Know It Is a Myth

[Note:  This item comes from friend David Rosenthal.  DLH]

The Dark Web as You Know It Is a Myth
By Joeeph Cox
Jun 18 2015
<http://www.wired.com/2015/06/dark-web-know-myth/>

The ‘dark web’ may be close to becoming a household name. After  the conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the owner of the drug marketplace Silk Road, and a stream of articles claiming that the Islamic State is using secret websites to plan out attacks, this hidden part of the Internet is being talked about more than ever.

But for the most part, the story you’ve been sold about the dark web is a myth.

I know this because I’ve been there. Since 2013, I’ve interviewed the staff of drug marketplaces about their paid DEA double-agents, tracked how technologically sophisticated pedophiles cover up their tracks, and also discovered that active Uber accounts were being sold on the dark web for as little as a dollar each. I’ve also learned that the real story is not at all the one you commonly hear—the tale of a gigantic space below our usual web, where hard-to-find vices are traded among sordid individuals totally beyond the grasp of the authorities. That is not what the dark web is.

The Rest of the Web Is Just as ‘Dark’ 

Read nearly any article about the dark web, and you’ll get the sense that its name connotes not just its secrecy but also the low-down dirty content of its shadowy realms. You’ll be told that it is home to several nefarious things: stolen data, terrorist sites, and child porn. Now while those things may be among what’s available on the dark web, all also are available on the normal web, and are easily accessible to anyone, right now, without the need for any fancy encryption software. 

For years there have been sites where you can instantly buy a stranger’s Social Security Number, date of birth, full name, address and phone number for under a dollar, or others that host reams of stolen credit card details, ripe for a fraudulent spending spree. 

Terrorist forums are also hiding in full view of anyone with an Internet connection. Regular websites allow extremist supporters and prominent jihadis alike to communicate with one another and post brutal propaganda videos. Al Qaeda’s first forum was launched way back in 2001, and although that site was shut down, a handful of other violent Islamic extremist sites continue to exist on the normal web and are used heavily today. Shutting these sites down is “like a game of whack-a-mole,” Evan Kohlmann from Flashpoint, an intelligence company, told me last year.

Despite reports, there are only shreds of evidence that the Islamic State is using the dark web. One apparent fund-raising site highlighted by the Washington Post had managed to garner exactly 0 bitcoins at the time of writing, and this was also the case with another I discovered recently. It’s worth pointing out that both of those sites simply claimed to be funneling the cash to the terrorist group, and could easily have been fakes. The one Islamic extremist dark web site to actually generate any revenue mustered only $1,200earlier this year. Even it doesn’t explicitly mention the Islamic State.

And yes, child porn is accessible on the normal web. In fact, it is rampant when compared with what’s available from hidden sites. Last year, the Internet Watch Foundation, a charity that collates child sexual abuse websites and works with law enforcement and hosting providers to have the content removed, found 31,266 URLs that contained child porn images. Of those URLs, only 51 of them, or 0.2 percent, were hosted on the dark web.

It’s More Like a Dark Nook

What we call the dark web is tiny. The World Wide Web has swelled to over a billion different sites, while current estimations put the number of Tor hidden sites at between 7000 and 30,000, depending on what methodology you follow. That’s 0.03 percent of the normal web. Barely a fraction of content available elsewhere. The collection of all these hidden sites is not, as is commonly spouted by governments and many members of the media, several orders of magnitude larger than the normal web.

[snip]

Four Decades of the Wrong Dietary Advice Has Paved the Way for the Diabetes Epidemic: Time to Change Course

[Note:  This item comes from friend Shannon McElyea.  Shannon’s comment:’A lot about the deadly effects of sugar these days… well to be heeded.’.  DLH]

Four Decades of the Wrong Dietary Advice Has Paved the Way for the Diabetes Epidemic: Time to Change Course
By Jeff Ritterman, M.D., Truthout
Jun 5 2015
<http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/31193-four-decades-of-the-wrong-dietary-advice-has-paved-the-way-for-the-diabetes-epidemic-time-to-change-course>

In 1977, the McGovern Commission, chaired by then-Senator George McGovern, issued dietary guidelines that we follow to this day. The commission recommended that Americans receive no more than 30 percent of their energy requirements from fat and that we consume no more that 10 percent of our calories as saturated fat.

Dr. Robert Olson, professor of medicine and chairman of the Biochemistry Department at St. Louis University and an expert on nutrition science argued that the recommendations were not supported by the available science. In Dr. Olson’s words:

“I pleaded in my report and will plead again orally here for more research on the problem before we make announcements to the American public.”

Senator McGovern, speaking for the commission stated that:

“Senators don’t have the luxury the research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in.”

Senator McGovern’s comment concerning “every last shred of evidence” was widely off the mark. It was never a question of having supportive, but incomplete, evidence. There simply was no convincing scientific evidence at all in support of the commission’s recommendations. There still isn’t.

At the time that the commission issued its dietary guidelines, only 2,500 men had been studied in randomized control trials, the gold standard in clinical research. No study included women. No study showed that a low-fat diet was superior to a diet higher in fat content in any measure of health outcome. In fact, in the one study that compared a 10 percent saturated fat intake to a diet with unrestricted saturated fat, the low-fat subjects had a higher death ratefrom all causes, including heart disease.

Yet, without any study recommending the dietary guidelines, and without any science to back up the guidelines, and with some evidence that the contrary was in fact true, 220 million Americans were advised to lower their saturated fat intake.

Unfortunately, these recommendations were not only wrong, they were dangerously wrong. They have helped lead the way to the present epidemics in type-two diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, and hypertension: the modern day “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

When the food manufacturers started removing the fat from our food, the taste went with the fat. The answer: Add sugar and lots of it. This worked well economically as the introduction of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) made cheap sugar plentiful.

It didn’t work so well metabolically. The huge increases in our sugar intake have exceeded our physiologic limits. The result is the pathophysiology that we see all around us.

Let me explain.

[snip]

FBI and Media Still Addicted to Ginning Up Terrorist Hysteria – But They Have Never Been Right

FBI and Media Still Addicted to Ginning Up Terrorist Hysteria – But They Have Never Been Right
Why do we keep parroting FBI terror warnings when they never actually predict anything?
By Adam Johnson /  FAIR
Jul 1 2015
<http://www.alternet.org/fbi-and-media-still-addicted-ginning-terrorist-hysteria-they-have-never-been-right>

On Monday, several mainstream media outlets repeated the latest press releaseby the FBI that country was under a new “heightened terror alert” from “ISIL-inspired attacks” “leading up to the July 4th weekend.” One of the more sensational outlets, CNN, led with the breathless warning on several of its cable programs, complete with a special report by The Lead’s Jim Sciutto in primetime:

The threat was given extra credence when former CIA director—and consultant at DC PR firm Beacon Global Strategies—Michael Morell went on CBS This Morning (6/29/15) and scared the ever-living bejesus out of everyone by saying he “wouldn’t be surprised if we were sitting [in the studio] next week discussing an attack on the US.” The first piece of evidence Morell used to justify his apocalyptic posture, the “50 ISIS arrests,” was accompanied by a scary map on the CBS jumbotron showing “ISIS arrests” all throughout the US:

But one key detail is missing from this  graphic: None of these “ISIS arrests” involved any actual members of ISIS, only members of the FBI—and their network of informants—posing as such. (The one exception being the man arrested in Arizona, who, while having no contact with ISIS, was also not prompted by the FBI.) So even if one thinks the threat of “lone wolf” attacks is a serious one, it cannot be said these are really “ISIS arrests.”  Perhaps on some meta-level, it shows an increase of “radicalization,” but it’s impossible to distinguish between this and simply more aggressive sting operations by the FBI.

In any event, this nuance gets left out entirely. As I’ve previously shown, in the media’s rush to hype the threat, the fact of FBI-manufactured—or at least “assisted”—terror plots is left out as a complicating factor altogether, and the viewer is left thinking the FBI arrested 50 actual ISIS sleeper cells.

Nevertheless, the ominous FBI (or Department of Homeland Security) “terror warning” has become such a staple of the on-going, seemingly endless “war on terror” (d/b/a war on ISIS), we hardly even notice it anymore. Marked by a feedback loop of extremist propaganda, unverifiable claims about “online chatter” and fuzzy pronouncements issued by a neverending string of faceless Muslim bad guys, and given PR cover by FBI-contrived “terror plots,” the specter of the impending “attack” is part of a broader white noise of fear that never went away after 9/11. Indeed, the verbiage employed by the FBI in this latest warning —“we’re asking people to remain vigilant”—implies no actual change of the status quo, just an hysterical nudge to not let down our collective guard.

There’s only one problem: These warnings never actually come to fruition. Not rarely, or almost never, but—by all accounts—never. No attacks, no arrests, no suspects at large.

[snip]