ballpoint pen

D&T Issue 26

Cognitive biases, The Ballpoint Pen, Milena Marić, Really good UX and the importance of Starlink

Hello there!
Welcome to the world of theoretical empiricists where thoughts don’t matter and actionability is a conflicting emotion.

Anyway, here is the weekly boat of shrimp I have for you this Wednesday.

Why is it that most projects don’t keep up with timelines and end up in delay? Is it because of the people involved, the resources or more specifically because of the biases that people carry around? As this piece points out, we often end up grossly overestimating or underestimating timelines and resources needed based on our previous experiences and certain biases.

A design revolution that changed the world of writing forever- the ballpoint pen. The physical manifestation of simplicity and usefulness. The new ballpoint pens did away with the messy mishaps that the users of fountain pens encountered – leaking ink, smudges and pooling inkblots. It used a special viscous ink which dried quickly and didn’t leave smudges. At the heart of it, the rolling ball in the nib – and gravity – ensured a constant, steady stream of ink that didn’t smear or leave solid pools of ink on the page.
Also, you wouldn’t believe it but it was invented twice.

A look into Einstein’s co-collaborator in all his major works – his first wife, and her contributions which have largely gone unnoticed.

We often dread, fear, and feel downright ashamed for unfinished work. It’s not surprising that many of us don’t even start. Starting is hard because we see the herculean amount of work it takes to finish. There is a vast body of research that shows that instead of being afraid, we should actually embrace things that are unfinished. After all, everything that was ever finished, was at some point unfinished. Deep, I know.

Every time I get onboarded to a product I tend to take screenshots to be able to learn from it later. Much like all noble deeds, this too dies in the corner. Thankfully, here’s a good place where some good people have put together noteworthy user experiences with screenshots and why they are special.

I suppose you, much like me, you too have gone through the phase when the logistics of international container shipping was the hot stuff everyone spoke of as the beautiful yet unsexy business to look into. Here’s a full list of founder interviews from b2b startups who speak of challenges only their specific type can understand. As per the creator, you either get it or you don’t. You know much like most things.
Btw since we are on this topic, check this supercool map of freight routes on the sea as well.

A while back while working with Capsule nets Geoffrey Hinton did speak about the fundamental problems of conv nets (only detecting textures) so it is very comforting to see him reassure the generation about the effectiveness of deep learning. Btw, if this interests you, you might want to listen to Open AI’s Ilya Sutskever on the Deep Learning podcast by Lex Fridman here

You might have come across news of SpaceX’s $100B crossover thanks to the launch of satellite network Starlink. How does it work, what does it mean for us and what is the information systems tech behind Starlink? Here’s a great read. A related visit is, of course, Casey Handmer’s blogs about the misconceptions around Space journalism.

Back in the mid-1900’s Charles and Ray Eames said: “We want to make the best for the most for the least”. The Eames then came up with the LCW chair which has been a legend in Design ever since. The chair cost $20 as it was designed to be affordable. Today it costs around $1200 when Herman Miller sells the same chair. Or you could buy a chair called the “Fathom” from a company called Modway for $145.
Copying is often seen and perceived as a sin but how copying has helped evolved design, software and the world, in general, is an interesting phenomenon worth delving into. From Steve Jobs and the Macintosh GUI to Creative Commons licences and FOSS to design tools like Abstract & Figma and even artists like Vincent Van Gogh, all of them owe their existence and expertise to some level of copying at some stage in the process. The article (book) is an extensive read of how copying has evolved over years and continues to thrive.

Project Amber is a project from Alphabet X that is now available for the mental health community to help build upon. The project originally aimed to identify a specific biomarker for depression, but it has so far failed to do so. Finding a clear biomarker for depression would make it more easily and consistently treatable. So far, the team has found lower EEG activity in response to some activities, but there is not enough data to create a real-world diagnostic tool. The hardware and software are now open-source on GitHub.

Alright until next time!

Canvs Club