Interesting stuff club
Our monthly roundup of anything we’re doing and learning in our own time.
“A few articles on Medium have piqued my interest over the past month. The first being a series of articles by the Guardian Mobile Innovation Labs team on ‘telling stories in web notifications’. Over a series of 5 articles the team describe how using the emerging web notifications tech they were able to adopt new strategies on delivering content to their users. A quite novel strategy that the notifications enabled was allowing users to explore different paths of a story in small segments (“show me good news / show me bad news”). The articles also cover auto updating notifications with election results and live polling to allow users to contribute to the conversation (using the EU Referendum as an example). All in all a fascinating case study of how content delivery on the web can innovate as technologies change. There’s also a couple of great technical write ups too.
The second article was Exploring The Physical Web (Without Buying Beacons). Having recently just purchased tickets to the ever excellent ffconf on seeing this article I was reminded of a talk a few years ago on the same subject. It had interested me then, and seeing the ever increasing blurred boundaries between digital and physical with Pokemon Go I’m determined come up with a reason to play with this more. The post gives you some great instructions on how to use your computer or android phone as a beacon.”
“I listened to another really thought provoking podcast again on Planet Money. As I said before they’re quick 15 minute podcasts that cover a new interesting topic each time. This one was ‘when women stopped coding‘. In the first wave of digital computers in the 50s/60s, there were some pretty high profile female software developers, but then it became a bit of a men’s occupation. The podcast talked about a girl starting university to study software development and there was a boy in her class who seemed to already know a hell of a lot before even one lecture. When asked how he had all this knowledge, it was because he’d always had a computer and had been programming since he was about 15, but the girl had never owned a computer before. There was a survey at the time to see how this fared in general and it found that a lot more males had a computer at home. After further investigation to see why, it seems to be the fault of marketing! Computers were marketed as toys and primarliy targeted at boys. Females said that if they wanted to use a computer, it was in their brother’s room and they had to ask for permission. Thankfully, a more recent survey in America has found that it’s much more even now.”
“I went to Spain this month and got a great holiday read from Brick Lane book shop called Just My Type by Simon Garfield. I’ve always loved typography and I’m a bit of a history buff, so this was a great choice for me, but I also think anyone with a vague interest in type would enjoy it. It’s really well written – in more of a story format which doesn’t make it feel like you’re reading a reference book. One chapter in particular was pretty relevant and explained the history Edward Johnston’s font for London Underground, which has just been given an update for it’s centenary to Johnston 100. It was commissioned for corporate promotions on the underground, and wasn’t intended for the full shebang. It wasn’t until after Johnston’s death that it was used as the font for Transport for London, and is unique in that it is a font primarily used for one brand only. The recent update has seen a few tweaks to the thickness of the letters, and has seen the addition of new weights, as well as a ‘#’ sign, as this was obviously not required when the original font was designed in 1916!”