The Thinking Mechanism – A Series Of Weekly Posts

March 25th, 2011  |  random

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

• Last week at SXSWi Stephen Coles, Frank Chimero, Tiffany Wardle and Jason Santa Maria presented the “Cure for the Common Font” panel, a web designer’s introduction to typeface selection. They have now made the slides, audio and comprehensive list of resources available online. Good typography is not just for print anymore.

• From The New York Times comes “today’s quiz: What company derives 96 percent of its revenue from advertising, has a video platform that is currently negotiating with the National Basketball Association, a movie studio and various celebrities, and is developing a subscription service that would be plug-and-play for publishers and consumers the world over. Time Warner? News Corporation? Viacom? Nope. Google.”  Whether they want to admit it or not, Google is turning into a very large media company, especially as they continue to lose ground to Facebook.

• And speaking of the grey lady, as they prepare to roll out their paywall there has been much discussion about how poorly implemented it is, how incomprehensibly expensive it is, and lastly, how this $40-50M investment, years in the making, has already been thwarted by 4 lines of code. We can’t help but wonder, what needs to happen for newspapers to learn that the key to successful paid digital transactions is simplicity?

• We all have our digital alliances, the computers, devices and app ecosystems we prefer, but part of progressive digital thinking requires stepping out of our comfort zones to explore everything available. We are paying very close, platform-agnostic, attention to tablets, from the ridiculous to the sublime. Via Business Week we learn ”Google says it will delay the distribution of its newest Android source code, dubbed Honeycomb, at least for the foreseeable future. The search giant says the software, which is tailored specifically for tablet computers that compete against Apple’s iPad, is not yet ready to be altered by outside programmers and customized for other devices, such as phones.” This is disappointing and very surprising. We like our iPads but we like competitive innovation more.

• And speaking of progressive digital thinking, 14 year old self-proclaimed web designer, developer and geek J-P Teti demonstrates incredible insight explaining why, coupled with the above news, 2011 will be the year of the iPad. Seriously, go read his post. Smart.

•  The heart of all things digital is the browser, even in an ever growing app world. (Go ahead, try working for an hour without touching a browser.) The past couple of weeks have brought us some very relevant browser updates. Firefox 4 was released. On the same day Chrome 11 Beta was also released with some interesting features, including use of the HTML5 speech input API, which allows you to talk to your computer and Chrome interprets it. Microsoft  released IE9 while still encouraging us to get rid of IE6 (and good riddance.) And WebKit (the engine behind Safari) continues to make their nightly builds available. Let’s hope all these releases are a sign of everyone moving towards universal standards compliance.

• And now for something a little more analog. What can you do with all those things that technology is rendering obsolete? Make amazing art of course. Next time you have some money to spare, consider this.