- Apple's iOS updates have been gradually making emoji more detailed, realistic and less abstract. While this makes sense in terms of taking advantage of larger, higher resolution displays, it runs counter to the expressive capabilities of more abstract emoji. Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics perhaps sums this up best: the less specific a representation of something is, the more it allows the viewer to project their own experiences and intent onto it. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a peach isn't just a peach.
- Reebok is experimenting with printing parts of their shoes instead of using hard tooling to reduce the time between concept and product. While you should take any story about 3D printing replacing traditional manufacturing with many, many grains of salt, the combination of specifically formulated polymers and a large extruder head makes the process much faster than most printing methods if still a little impractical for making products at scale.
- Building physical products is a process that requires careful thinking about each part of the supply chain. Many of details that make a real difference for the user experience or cost are mundane but ultimately are what separate from the successful from the also-ran. GRIT has a nice behind the scenes blog post looking at what goes into building a better box for shipping their off road wheelchairs.
- Despite all the talk about bringing manufacturing jobs back, U.S. manufacturing has passed a tipping point where automation has outpaced outsourcing in terms of employment impact: the value of goods produced goes up even as the number of jobs goes down.
Bias and Brains:
- Why the outcome of "teach girls to code" programs is likely more complicated than it appears.
- The advertising industry is notorious for carving up populations into artificially discrete demographics so products and services can be pitched to more receptive audiences, however over the decades certain segments of society have been left out because of discrimination. BuzzFeed examines how stereotypes contribute to the lack of marketing efforts directed towards queer women.