Have you ever wondered why Alvin Toffler’s writings seem so strange today? Intellectually you can recognize that he saw a lot of things coming. But somehow, he imagined the future in future-unfamiliar terms. So it appears strange to us. Because we are experiencing a lot of what he saw coming, translated into terms that would actually have been completely familiar to him.

His writings seem unreal partly because they are impoverished imaginings of things that did not exist back then, but also partly because his writing seems to be informed by the idea that the future would define itself. He speaks of future-concepts like (say) modular housing in terms that make sense with respect to those concepts.

When the future actually arrived, in the form of couchsurfing and Airbnb, it arrived translated into a crazed-familiarity. Toffler sort of got the basic idea that mobility would change our sense of home. His failure was not in failing to predict how housing might evolve. His failure was in failing to predict that we would comprehend it in terms of “Bed and Breakfast” metaphors.

This is not an indictment of Toffler’s skill as a futurist, but of the very methods of futurism. We build conceptual models of the world as it exists today, posit laws of transformation and change, simulate possible futures, and cherry-pick interesting and likely-sounding elements that appear robustly across many simulations and appear feasible.

And then we stop. We do not transform the end-state conceptual models into the behavioral terms we use to actually engage and understand reality-in-use, as opposed to reality-in-contemplation. We forget to do the most important part of a futurist prediction: predicting how user experience might evolve to normalize the future-unfamiliar.


The Golden Section in Sherlock: Character Introductions

Here’s Sherlock cinematographer Steve Lawes on the Golden Ratio/Section:

I work on the Golden Section which is basically the rule of thirds, which is where you place things in a frame. You’ve only got to look at fine art and look at framing within fine art and in any particular well-known picture you’ll see that everything is in a particular part of the frame for a reason. It tells the story. The story is told by where things are in relationship in the frame whether they’re central in the frame, whether they’re peripheral. Sometimes I’ll shoot somebody and I’ll frame only half their face. It’s an unconventional frame but you’re actually saying something very important with that frame. I very rarely put some people in the middle of my frame— it’s something that people do all the time. I only put somebody in the middle of the frame when I really want to make it a point of it really being about them. I spend half my time thinking about framing as I do lighting as a cinematographer because I think the story is told via the frame. -Steve Lawes

-from “Each Frame Tells a Story, an Interview with Sherlock Cinematographer Steve Lawes" by mid0nz


A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

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Auditoria de comunicación (II): imagen personal o corporativa

- restringe el campo de comunicación a fuentes y canales destacados, en los que se señalan escritos y textos secundarios http://comunisfera.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/la-escritura-lleva-siglos-delineando.html

- justifica categorías y alcance de discursos institucionales, corporativos o ciudadanos como visibilidad alcanzada por imágenes públicas http://comunisfera.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/dialectica-censura-y-direccion-de-la.html

- representa la eficacia comunicativa de las acciones para dibujar una determinada iconografía http://comunisfera.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/leer-y-explicar-imagenes-iconografia.html

I have recently been struggling to find a word to describe the growing movement of resistance towards the ever more corporate mission of the university. I toyed at first with calling this emerging body of people, ideas and practices the Subversity in recognition of its largely subterranean nature. But it is no longer an underground movement; the resistance may not be immediately apparent, it may not advertise itself overtly, but it is there, unseen in plain sight, functioning side-by-side with the corporate mission. I finally settled on the Paraversity, which I described as a subversive, virtual community of dissensus that exists alongside and in parallel to the corporate university. Had I thought of it at the time, I might well have also coined the term ‘para-academics’ for those individuals who work across and against the corporate agenda of what Bill Readings called the ruined university, whose mission is, as far as I can see, the generation and sale of information (the so-called research agenda) and the exchange of student fees for degree certificates (the teaching agenda). However, it seems that I have been beaten to it by The Para-Academic Handbook.