fastcodesign

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“Cables that are a little more than two inches thick line our ocean floors, culminating in over half a million miles in length, transmitting terabytes of data across the globe every second. What about satellites? As of 2006, they represented just 1% of telecommunications traffic. Most of our information flows through these underwater pipes, laid by ships off gigantic spools.”

I remember the moment I realized that cables must be all over the ocean floor. It was during one of those lazy afternoon conversations with Charlie when we were living in Boston, and since then, I think about those cables from time to time. I’ll definitely be spending some time poring over this beautiful, vintage-looking map of our current underwater cable situation.

It’s also got stats on which countries use the most data and what the delay is for sending info between countries. So fascinating.

vimeo

Twine, a brilliant puck filled with sensors, detects anything from moisture to magnetism: Stick it anywhere, and it’ll Tweet status updates among generating other actions at your command. And there’s no coding skills required.

via Kickstarter & FastcoDesign

Via FastCoDesign and Information Is Beautiful:

How Many Lines Of Code Is Your Favorite App?

A military drone has 3.5 million lines of code inside. That’s roughly three times as many as we find in bacteria, meaning that mankind has, at least by one metric, constructed semi-autonomous machinery more complex than life itself.

Interestingly enough, you’ll note that software is not getting longer as time goes on. Windows Vista (2007), for instance, had 50 million lines of code, while Windows 7 shaved that figure down to 40 million. […] Meanwhile, mobile operating systems like Android have been engineered as ultra lightweight, built from just over 10 million lines of code.

But be sure to read the graphic all the way to the bottom. The kicker is a doozy.

Adobe Muse: Awesome-sauce.

External image

Adobe dropped a brand new beta on the creative community recently: Adobe Muse. Its geared towards designers who want to create web content with zero coding. The community has been split down the middle with some hailing it as a great success and others demanding its execution and claiming it hurts the industry. There’s a great, balanced article over at Fast Co Design discussing Muse’s reception.  I posted a comment there with my take, which I’ll repeat here…

There are always going to be two extreme sides that people lean towards when something like Adobe Muse comes out:

1) The non-developers who tout Muse as the “ultimate solution” that will allow them to compete at the level of a true developer. (which is false)

2) The developers who claim that Muse is just a shoddily hacked together application that shouldn’t warrant any further thought because, “Gosh darnit, anything that doesn’t code how I do needs to die.” (which is also false).

In my mind, Adobe Muse is a great step forward.  And it’s not because it will put web developers out of a job OR because it will allow your brother’s kid to create a stellar website.  A tool is only as good as the one who wields it.  Your brother’s kid still isn’t going to create a great website if he has no design sense. Conversely your dyed-in-the-wool, Zeldman-worshipping coder who meticulously crafts his/her code to finest degree, STILL won’t have a great website if they have no design sense.

Hey developers, take a chill pill. There’s no reason to get up in arms over a tool that makes design more accessible. No one’s going to take your job on top of the ‘clean code’ hill.  But hey, your coder superiority card just became worth a little less, so why not pay more attention to the design and UX of your site instead of obsessing over code-optimization as the be all, end all.

Hey designers, take a chill pill. This app in no way puts you on the heels of your developer brethren. It allows you to more easily inject your carefully cultivated UX scenarios and awesome looking graphic creations, but its still not clean code. So don’t think you can brush off the need for that knowledge.

Honestly, Adobe Muse is awesome for so many reasons in my book.  As a designer/developer hybrid, I’m loving it.  It allows me to build insanely good interactive, nearly pixel perfect prototypes in record time.  Is the code as clcean as could be? Nope.  Is the overall design improved and time from concept to production greatly reduced? Absolutely! It allows me to be much, much more productive and iterate much faster so that I end up with a really slick product in the end. I’d much rather have a higher emphasis on design and turnaround time at the beginning of a project.  If and when the client decides to move forward with a particular design/scenario, then we can invest the time streamlining the code set.

Which brings me back around to how I’ve been using it most: prototyping. No other tool in my arsenal has allowed me to create interactive prototypes as quickly as Muse has with such a high degree of fidelity.  I’m not talking about website prototypes… I’m talking iOS, Android, and Mac/Win software protoypes. Being able to quickly create and link screens for applications, dump them into a public folder on dropbox, and then share with the client in way that that they can easily access them without any special software (via the web) has proven invaluable.

Perhaps I’m ranting now, but let me sum it all up: Its just a tool at the end of the day.  Use it how you will to make yourself more productive.  Just don’t knock the tool because its causing you to feel insecure. Adobe seems to get a lot of haters, especially from the Mac side of things. I don’t understand it. Are there major things they could improve? Definitely.  But you don’t anyone else innovating and dominating the creative space like they do. Pay due respect.

Caffeine crystals by Annie Cavanagh and David McCarty

“This false-coloured scanning electron micrograph shows caffeine crystals. Caffeine is a bitter, crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. In plants, caffeine functions as a defence mechanism. Found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves and fruit of some plants, caffeine acts as a natural pesticide that paralyses and kills certain insects feeding on the plant. The main crystals of caffeine were 400-500 microns long; however, this crystal group formed on the end of the larger crystal and measures around 40 microns in length.”

Featured in 10 Of The Year’s Most Amazing Science Photos

Sculptures Made By Measuring Wi-Fi Signals

Austrian artist and architect Peter Jellitsch, then, is a kind of scientist. Jellitsch measures the invisible forces around us–electromagnetism, for example–and then documents his findings in drawings, models, and installations. In 2011, he used a common modeling algorithm to simulate wind patterns, then translated them into delicate ink-and-paper compositions. “I am not interested in depicting something that I’ve seen in the real world,” he said at the time. “My interest lies in transforming something that I’ve seen in the virtual world.”