Killing Time at Lightspeed
Interstellar travel time dilation and status updates: a clever narrative combo.
Interstellar travel time dilation and status updates: a clever narrative combo.
Designing primarily in a laptop web browser and testing with a mouse rather than fingers may come to look very out of date soon.
A look at long-term cultural and linguistic preservation through the lens of Egyptology.
Typeset In The Future is back with another cracking analysis. This time—following on from 2001 and Moon—we’ve got Alien.
In her final recorded message before hypersleep, Ripley notes that she is the sole survivor of the Nostromo. What she forgets to mention is that she has not once in the past two hours encountered any Eurostile Bold Extended.
I’m at Disney World for a special edition of An Event Apart, so this lightning talk from Dan Williams seems appropriate to revisit.
Patty’s excellent talk on responsive design and progressive enhancement. Stick around for question-and-answer session at the end, wherein I attempt to play hardball, but actually can’t conceal my admiration and the fact that I agree with every single word she said.
This is basically porn for me.
Bernal spheres, Stanford tori, and O’Neill cylinders, oh my!
A deeply thoughtful piece (as always) by Wilson, on the mindset needed for a sustainable way of working.
When we start with the assumption that optimizing for rapid, unbounded growth is a goal, we immediately narrow the possibility space. There are only so many choices we can make that will get us there. The same choices that made annual monoculture and the shopping mall the most efficient engines for short-term growth and profit are the same qualities that made them unsustainable in the long term.
There are more ways to scale than growth. There are more ways to deepen our impact than just reaching more people. What if we put just as much effort into scaling the impact of our work over time? Can we build digital products around sustainable systems that survive long enough to outlive us, that are purpose-built to thrive without our constant cultivation?
Jason writes about the closing of Ficly. This is a lesson in how to do this right:
We knew as soon as we decided to wind down Ficly that we wanted to provide users with continued access to their work, even if they couldn’t create more. We’re still working on some export tools, but more importantly, we’re guaranteeing that all original work on the site will live on at its current URL far into the future.
Tom Scott’s energetic dConstruct talk.
A peak at a near-future mundane dystopia from Joanne McNeil that reminds me of Brian’s spime story
This fetching red future friendly T-shirt would look quite good on you. Just down beam down to any planetary surfaces as part of an away team.
Profits go to the Internet Archive.
The Internet forgets every single day.
I’m with Jason.
I encourage you all to take a moment and consider the importance of preserving your online creations for yourself, your family, and for future generations.
For your consideration.
If enough people want a print run of this lovely Future Friendly T-shirt, then they’ll make a new batch.
The profits go to the Internet Archive.
John peers behind the surface veneer of the web’s current screen-based setting:
The challenge for us as developers and designers for the web becomes less about screens and pixels and buttons and much more about how the web augments our lives, both actively and passively; how it makes us know ourselves and our homes and workplaces and environments better.
Here’s a dystopian vision of the web in ten years time, where professional developers are the only people able to publish on the web.
My interest in rich client-side apps has almost entirely reversed, and now I’m more interested in doing good ol’ server rendering with the occasional side of progressive enhancement, just like we did it in 2004.
This post resonates with me 100%.
The transcript of Anab Jain’s talk from the FutureEverything Festival.
We better get used to them…
A short sci-fi film from director Wanuri Kahiu set in the aftermath of a worldwide water war.
Documenting depictions of dystopian futures and tracking which ideas are turning out to be predictions.
This has the potential to be a terrific little documentary. What say we get it funded?
Eileen Gunn writes in the Smithsonian magazine on the influence of science fiction.
Science fiction, at its best, engenders the sort of flexible thinking that not only inspires us, but compels us to consider the myriad potential consequences of our actions.
I finally got around to reading Red Men by Matthew De Abaitua recently. It’s like Nick Harkaway crossed with Jeff Noon.
Here’s hoping that this short film will be developed into a full-length feature.
Okay, this might just be my new favourite blog:
This site is dedicated to all aspects of movie and TV typography and iconography as it appears in Sci-Fi and fantasy movies.
The first post is all about 2001, and the writing is just the right shade of fun.
I’m already looking forward to future posts. (See what I did there?)
A great series of articles on the sci-fi films of the ’60s and ’70s:
The Laser Age examines a rich period in the history of science-fiction filmmaking that began in the late 1960s and faded away by the mid 1980s.
…all wrapped up in a nice responsive design too.
Coming from anyone else, this glorious vision might seem far-fetched, but Anne is working to make it a reality.
This was my favourite moment from the Handheld conference in Cardiff.
Michael Chabon muses on The Future, prompted by the Clock of the Long Now.
I heartily concur with Lyza’s mini-manifesto:
I think we need to try to do as little as possible when we build the future web …putting commonality first, approaching differentiation carefully.
It’s always surprised me how quickly developers will reach for complex, potentially over-engineered solutions, when—in my experience—that approach invariably creates more problems than it solves.
Simplicity is powerful.
See that helmet? That’s my helmet. Jim borrowed it for this video.
And now I think that the Future Friendly posse has a theme song.
You can now purchase some very fetching Future Friendly T-shirts from United Pixelworkers and fly your Future Friendly freak flag high!
Best of all, all the profits go to the Internet Archive.
A design fiction video depicting technology that helps and hinders in equal measure.
A really great interview with Nick Bostrom about humanity’s long-term future and the odds of extinction.
I think it’s a bit of a shame that Brett is canning his mobile-first device-detection library, but I totally understand (and agree with) his reasons.
There is a consensual hallucination in the market, that we can silo devices into set categories like mobile, tablet, and desktop, yet the reality is drawing these lines in the sand is not an easy task.
The out-of-copyright books of Olaf Stapledon are available to download from the University of Adelaide. Be sure to grab Starmaker and First And Last Men.
I really like these thoughts on the importance of design systems for the web. It’s not about providing a few perfect deliverables that won’t survive once they go live; it’s about designing for the unexpected, the unpredictable:
Design for every state, not the best state.
This is quite an astounding piece of writing. Robert Lucky imagines the internet of things mashed up with online social networking …but this was published in 1999!
Yet another write-up of this year’s dConstruct.
A nice write-up of dConstruct that focuses on three ideas that were threaded throughout the day:
Another thoughtful write-up of this year’s dConstruct, weaving a thread between the talks from Jason Scott, James Burke, and Tom Armitage with a detour via Italo Calvino.
This is my favourite write-up of dConstruct so far. I love that way that, rather than simply giving a linear description, Laura weaves together the implicit strands that were running throughout the day — a very thoughtful, considered approach.
And how about this for an opening line:
After a weekend of reflection, I’ve decided that dConstruct 2012 had the best talks of any conference I’ve ever attended.
I like this! Andrew Johns found a thread in this year’s dConstruct that ran parallel to its official tagline of “Playing With The Future”: Education.
Another really good description of this year’s dConstruct that describes each talk.
A lovely write-up of this year’s dConstruct:
Curated well by the Clearleft team, its speakers are always intelligent, insightful, and on the whole, world-class. Pouring out insights through divergent thought, challenging norms and touting innovation.
Those clever chaps at The Guardian are experimenting with some mobile-first responsive design. Here’s how it’s going so far.
The opening keynote from Warren Ellis for this year’s Improving Reality. I’d like to walk into space with this man.
A classic piece of design fiction written by Mark Weiser 21 years ago.
The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.
A great write-up of this year’s magnificent dConstruct and its theme of playing with the future.
Some more thoughts on how our workflow needs to adapt to the current ever-changing device landscape.
I, for one, welcome our Manufactured Normalcy Field overlords.
Aaron should definitely skyblog more often if this is the result.
It’s not enough to have the same Photoshopped image from Back To The Future trotted out every. single. year. …now you can pass this meme around every minute of every day of every month of every year. Thanks a lot, Seb.
Magazine covers created by Tom Southwell for background scenes in Blade Runner.
Trent offers some excellent advice for dealing with the effects of the iPad’s retina display on your websites. That advice is: don’t panic.
A great step-by-step tutorial from Brad on developing a responsive site with a Content First mindset.
Josh responds to Jakob Nielsen’s audaciously ignorant advice on siloing mobile devices. Josh is right.
Nielsen says his research is based on studies of hundreds of mobile experiences, and I don’t doubt it. But because he’s finding tons of poor mobile websites doesn’t mean we should punt on creating great, full-featured mobile experiences.
It’s great to see the Future Friendly call-to-arms being expanded on. Here it’s university sites that are being looked at through a future-friendly lens.
BBC News are using the mobile subdomain to plant the seed of responsive design. It’s a smart move that’s been really nicely executed.
A new publication from New Scientist dedicated to future thinking. The first issue has articles and stories from Bruce Sterling, Margaret Atwood, China Miéville, and Alastair Reynolds.
Yet another great post from Brad:
Whenever I think of the concept of “One Web” and providing universal access to information on the web, I tend to break it down into something much simpler: give people what they ask for.
A sweet little meditation on the nature of the web and responsive design.
A collection of articles on the tricksy art of Futurism from—amongst others—Bruce Sterling, Annalee Newitz, and Matt Novak, creator of the Paleofuture blog.
Neal Stephenson speaks at Solve For X on the relative timidity of scientific (and science fictional) progress in our current time.
Luke outlines three different solutions to delivering a site to multiple devices.
A great article from Sara Wachter-Boettcher on crafting future-friendly content. The content prioritisation described here mirrors what I’ve been doing in workshops.
Here’s a great braindump from Paul following the Responsive Summit, detailing multiple ways of potentially tackling the issue of responsive images.
Josh goes through the talking points from the recent Responsive Summit he attended. Sounds like it was a great get-together.
A rallying cry for a content-focused—rather than device-focused—approach to responsive design. Despite the awful title and occasionally adversarial tone, this article is making a very good point about being future friendly.
A nice round-up of responsive and future-friendly resources.
Yes! Yes! Yes!!!
Progressive enhancement is the only sane approach to today’s massively divergent landscape of devices. It can’t be repeated often enough.
Stephanie focuses on Android but this is a cautionary tale about trying to impose control over what you’re sending to the multitude of mobile devices out there.
Designing to fixed screen sizes is in fact never a good idea…there is just too much variation, even amongst ‘popular’ devices.
An interactive timeline where we, the wise crowd, can add our predictions (although the timeline for the past, showing important technological breakthroughs, is bizarrely missing Cooke and Wheatsone’s telegraph).
Brad is on a roll. He knocks it out of the park again, this time talking about the difference between supporting the huge range of mobile browsers out there compared to trying to optimise for them.
Some future-friendly musings on mobile from Mozilla and Yahoo.
A great round-up of links and posts relating to the increasingly-important role of content strategy and structured content in our multi-device, responsively-designed online world.
Brent Simmons follows up on that Dave Winer post with some future-friendly thoughts:
If I had to choose one or the other — if I had some crazy power but I had to wipe out either native apps or web apps — I’d wipe out native apps. (While somehow excluding browsers, text editors, outliners, web servers, and all those apps we need to make web apps.)
That’s not the case, though. Nothing has to get wiped out.
Among the proposed projects from the Shimizu corporation are a space hotel, giant lakes in the desert, and a ring around the moon to harness solar energy.
Past predictions of the future in concept videos.
Brent Simmons writes about the desire of regular web users—not just the geeks—to have a comfortable reading experience. Publishers ignore this at their peril.
In a single post, Russell Davies manages to rehabilitate the term “post digital.” And he paints a vivid picture of where our “Geocities of things” is heading.
Luke points out that the web is everywhere: it’s accessible through the browser but also through many native applications. This is the real Web Operating System.
The Web (browser) is inside of every application instead of every application being inside the Web (browser).
Mark continues to hammer home the most important thing to keep in mind when creating responsive designs: design from the content out, not the canvas in.
A thorough hypertext report from those good folks at the Institute For The Future on our fabrication overlords.
A PDF of the slides (with copious notes) from Josh’s brilliant presentation. I love this guy!
Possibly the least imaginative concept video ever made, this piece commissioned by Blackberry shows a dystopian near-future ruled by security departments run by people with very, very tired arms.
This thread on whether HTML5 Boilerplate should include Respond.js by default (and whether the CSS should take a small-screen first approach) nicely summarises the current landscape for web devs: chaotic, confusing …and very, very exciting.
This vision thing commissioned by Microsoft shows a future-friendly networked world where content flows like water from screen to screen.
Josh nails it: publishers need to stop thinking in terms of issues:
Publishers and designers have to start thinking about content at a more atomic level, not in aggregated issues. That’s how we already understand news as consumers, and we have to start thinking that way as publishers, too. This is why Flipboard, Instapaper, and other aggregators are so interesting: they give you one container for the whole universe of content, unbound to any one publisher.
Given some recent hand-wringing about the web as a “platform,” it seems appropriate to revisit this superb article from Ben. The specifics of the companies and technologies may have changed in the past year but the fundamental point remains the same:
Everything about web architecture; HTTP, HTML, CSS, is designed to serve and render content, but most importantly the web is formed where all of that content is linked together. That is what makes it amazing, and that is what defines it. This purpose and killer application of the web is not even comparable to the application frameworks of any particular operating system.
Andy responds to Joe Hewitt’s recent despondent posts about the web. I tend to agree with Andy: I think comparing the web to other “platforms” is missing the point of what the web is.
See also: http://benward.me/blog/understand-the-web
John reinforces the importance of universal access above the desire to build only for the newest shiniest devices:
Universality is a founding principle of the web. It is the manifesto the web has been built on, and I believe one of the key drivers of the almost unimaginable success of the web over these last two decades. We ignore that at the web’s peril.
A great collection of the future-friendly techniques of today: progressive enhancement, mobile first and responsive design.
An insight into Elliot’s current design process which highlights the advantages of designing in the browser when you take a content-first approach.
A speculative timeline of future history.
A terrific presentation on progressive enhancement and mobile web development from Brad at Web Design Day. You can look at the slides, read the notes and watch the video.
Looks like Lyza’s presentation at Over The Air at Bletchley Park was really excellent.
A great little interview with Lyza, wherein she outlines her future-friendly attitude to web development.
Jason takes a high-level look at tackling mobile-first responsive images (his next post will dig into the details). This is a really good summation of current thinking. Be sure to read the comments too: Andy chimes in with his experiences.