Luca Mondini

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Monitors that only you can see

If you really care about privacy, you can follow the instructions in this video (linked by Lifehacker) and make a monitor that only you can see through special glasses.

Ok, I know, everybody is thinking about porn but maybe this technique could be applied to other domains, like ATMs.

What is innovation?

So, what is innovation?

Those other dots.

The ones others miss.

And having the certainty to know that the dots you see are not only valid but necessary if the world is to move forward.

A video by Rafa Galeano based on David Brier‘s essay on innovation.

Via FastCompany

Google: The Redesign

Google design

Google is not Apple, especially if we talk about design. We all know that.

However no one can deny that Google has made great progress on improving the design of its products in the last couple of years: white spaces, cards, clean typography and a consistent interface among all the services.

A great article by Farhad Manjoo (Co.Design) explains how Google’s approach to design has changed over the years. Some points worth thinking about:

  • Only the CEO can get the entire company to focus on something. As Farhad says: “if you ask a Google designer to mark the shift between Google’s old approach to design and its new one, you’re likely to get a precise date: April 4, 2011. That’s the day Page became CEO.” A strong commitment by the top management is necessary to make Design a core value of a company.  In 1980s, Apple followed the same same path, according to Hartmut Esslinger’s new book (thanks to Alberto for pointing it out).
  • Designers must be involved in early stages of product creation. Asking for their support just before going to market can not lead to real innovation.
  • If you want to create something really novel, you have to search for a design innovation rather than a technical one. Technology alone is not enough.

What do you think about?

TopSitePerCountry_InternetPopulation

A map, by Information Geographies, illustrating the most visited website in each country.

Welcome, Kindle

After some weeks of indecision, I decided to buy an ebook reader, precisely the new Kindle Paperwhite.

Why an eBook reader instead of a tablet (my iPad1 really sucks!)? Well, because I realized that I have been using my tablet primarily for reading articles and blog posts via Pocket, Zite or Feedly. The smartphone is enough for all the other needs.

My first feelings after few days with the new “toy”:

  • I really needed a dedicated device for reading. Less distractions, no notifications, more focus on what I read.
  • Reading texts and comics (yes, comics!) on the new higher contrast Carta display is very close to reading them on paper. This is my first ebook reader, so I can’t make any comparison to other devices.
  • Battery life is something I wasn’t used to. Several hours of use and the indicator is still full. It looks like a miracle!
  • Sending articles from the web is almost painless thanks to Amazon’s “Send to Kindle” extension and the integration with Instapaper (even if it doesn’t support pictures). The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to send articles from my mobile browser.
  • Integrated dictionary for me is priceless. Just one click to look up a word in the dictionary. I haven’t tested the new X-Ray feature.
  • Amazon ecosystem is something unbelievable, especially if you read also English books.
  • Kindle doesn’t support EPUB format but Calibre can help you.

So, no complaints? No, except the lack of a power adapter which is sold separately (come on Amazon!) and the price of leather covers: I bought the honey one and it’s cool but for € 34,99…

In conclusion, I’m really in love with my new Kindle and I think it’ll really improve my reading experience.

Tactile touchscreen prototypes by Disney

Disney Research is about to present at ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology the results of its research on tactile rendering algorithm to simulate rich 3D geometric features (such as bumps, ridges, edges, protrusions, texture etc.) on touchscreen surfaces.

The Washington Post, that firstly reported the news, says:

The process behind it is, predictably, both technical and confusing, but the basic premise is that small, electronic pulses can trick your fingers into perceiving bumps and texture, even if the surface is actually flat.

That’s not a new discovery — scientists have known since 2001 that friction is the predominant force that lets you perceive textures. But Disney’s findings [...] suggests sweeping applications in devices we already use, like smartphones and tablets.

More details available at the project page.

Tools is the biggest collaborative collection of designers’ tools and techniques (in Italian). Another great idea from the guys at Sketchin.

Transform your Android in one click

If you like to customize your Android phone, you probably know MyColorScreen: awesome themes, but hard to install on your own device due to the plenty of settings (icon packs, wallpapers, custom launcher, tweaks, …).

Themer by MyColorScreen, currently in private beta, aims at removing all the headaches and making the install process as simple as possible. Just one click and your phone gets a completely new dress. Cool, isn’t it?

So, sign up for limited beta, wait for the code in your mailbox (I received mine only yesterday!) and download the app from the Play Store.

The Evolution of the Geek
An interesting infographic by Flowtown explaining the evolution of the word “geek” from the original negative meaning to the recent cool connotations.
Look for yourself! :)

SpaceshipSizeComparison

DeviantArt user Dirk Loechel has completed a size comparison of random spaceships from movies, series, universes, and tabletop games. The author is still working on it (Dune, for example, still needs to be done) and he’s also experimenting colored backgrounds to improve readability.

Don’t miss the full size version (3985×4442) for any reason.

Via FlowingData

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