Bye bye BBM

Today we’re announcing that we will be closing BBM consumer service on 31 May 2019.

Three years ago, we set out to reinvigorate BBM consumer service, one of the most loved instant messaging applications, as a cross-platform service where users can not only chat and share life experiences, but also consume content and use payment services.

We poured our hearts into making this a reality, and we are proud of what we have built to date.

The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on… More here.

There was a time back there when BBM absolutely dominated the business world, and a lot of the consumer communications world, but alas the time has come to say goodbye and that feels strange because it was SO popular.

I say ‘alas’ in spite of the fact that there were considerable downsides with such a technology coming along at a time when organisations were not ready to use it responsibly. This resulted in stress building up in said organisations and more importantly the people on the end of the constant pings hitting them throughout the day and night. In that regard it holds some painful memories for me.

The Galaxy has folded

When I first saw the Samsung Galaxy Fold, I was immediately reminded of the Homer Simpson Car. I show this clip to all of my human-computer interaction and user-centered design classes, because it’s a great way to show people the perils of letting users design your products… More here.

That’s a funny and apt article.

Especially since Samsung has had to issue the following statement since so many of the review units broke.

To be fair, it is possible that it is purely because of that protective cover, but I am not convinced of the durable nature of the product at this stage.

The Gruen Airflight

Looks like a watch with 24 date windows, no? Well, look again.

Let’s not beat around the bush: the Gruen Airflight has twelve see-through apertures in the dial. At 1 pm a thin under-the-dial plate shifts automatically to expose the numerals 13 through 24. How cool?! More here. Thanks to Andrew.

I like mechanical watches that include one smart feature. It kind of makes that feature feel more significant.

Behind Brexit lies a yearning for a past we destroyed

Was that period perfect? Of course not. Bad things happened, poverty existed, governments screwed up, and there were wars and reversals and crises. But the general trend was for increased wealth, health, life expectancy, security, openness, home-ownership, saving, disposable income, social cohesion, and acceptance of others. In the years since the mid- to late-80s, to put it mildly, the pendulum swung back. Those gains – and for the vast majority of us, they were substantial gains – have juddered to a halt, stagnated, and then begin to slide inexorably back.

Prior to that, wages were high, growth was almost constant, unions ensured jobs were safe, education was free, productivity was strong, healthcare was well funded, and housing was cheap… More here.

A quite brilliant article.

No one noticed it, no one…

The person putting the dial together didn’t notice.

The person putting the case together didn’t notice.

The person doing the final quality checking didn’t notice.

The person selling it didn’t notice.

The person buying it didn’t notice.

We humans are remarkably blind at times.

Why Do We All Have to Be Beautiful?

With other, smaller mirrors, like those in my bedroom or the camera on my phone, I could prepare myself and decide my approach. But with the mirror on the street I saw myself as I was, plodding down the little hill without grace or charm. All at once I could see the truth so plainly. No matter how long I had spent applying makeup or adjusting my outfit or psyching myself up to go out, I was not beautiful… More here.

Brilliant article.

Apple’s Credit Card

The essence of the design of Apple Card is reduction. Some high-end credit cards move many markings to the back of the card. Apple has gone one step further.

The usually present card number, expiration date, security code (CSC or CVV) and signature blank are completely gone… More here.

Now that is looking deep at something so visually simple.

Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean the algorithms aren’t out to get you

By no means are all malevolent programs an accident; some are designed with mischief in mind. Bots can be used to generate or spread misinformation. Jamie Bartlett, author of The Dark Net (US) (UK), warns of a future of ultra-personalised propaganda. It is one thing when your internet-enabled fridge knows you’re hungry and orders yoghurt. It’s another when the fridge starts playing you hard-right adverts because they work best when you’re grumpy and low on blood sugar. And unless we radically improve both our electoral laws and our digital systems nobody need ever know that a particular message was whispered in your ear as you searched for cookies… More here.

A quick, but good read.