Weeknotes 109 – peak vacation edition

Vacation version of this newsletter. It is not me that is on vacation, but the rest of the world is for sure. I think last and this week is peak vacation, next week things are starting up and preparing for the new year.

However, the news was intense with the Beirut explosion that was almost felt like a live experience. Combining all the footage will make it into a frightening AR experience (not too soon I hope, or better never).

Also: Reels is there. TikTok competitor on Instagram. The battle begins now for real (no pun intended): experience vs status. You now see that the ‘professional’ Tiktok-makers refer to Instagram-accounts to make money out of their videos. But the experience of a Tiktok stream is some much more appealing as Reels is now. Read this great essay on TikTok cultural tricks.

Finally, to follow-up last weeks announcement of my visit to Boymans Drive-Thru museum at Ahoy. The super short review: it is a fun experience. And the experience is more about the setting than the art. Partly because it misses background information on the pieces itself. It is interesting how it changes your relation with the art if you are trapped in a cocoon…

I did not capture as much news items as usually, which is fine. Still some nice and interesting reads….

A Satellite Spots 11 New Emperor Penguin Colonies

A Satellite Spots 11 New Emperor Penguin Colonies

Nothing will remain hidden…. Especially when you focus on poo-tracking apparently. We learned before that our sewage system is an early indicator for COVID cases, here some other use… “An orbiter saw signs of almost a dozen previously uncounted colonies in Antarctica, boosting known numbers for a threatened species. The discoveries were made by spotting the distinctive red-brown guano patches the birds leave on the ice.”

Speaking about hidden intelligence…

Here’s why Apple believes it’s an AI leader—and why it says critics have it all wrong

Never a reason not use big words. But I think that indeed the hidden AI is much more interesting for user experience than the focus on the ultimate assistant.

I am think that we should rename AI to Artificial Understanding; or something.

And speaking about Artificial Understanding…

Dutch Hackers Found a Simple Way to Mess With Traffic Lights

Is it a hack or a form of citizen participation you could debate: “by reverse engineering apps intended for cyclists, security researchers found they could cause delays in at least 10 cities from anywhere in the world.”

I would propose to make this into a feature.

Dennis Crowley on Twitter: “For example, at @Foursquare Labs we’ve had some good experiences using audio as “poor man’s AR” …

Let me share this here too. I think it is interesting indeed to think about the role of audio as AR and especially in combination with edge-computing on devices like the AirPod. The next generation might very well be extended with a GPS and accelerometer and intelligent behavior to switch between personal (noice cancelled), social (transparency) and AR-mode.

Some reads with nice visuals…

Designing the society-centered design manifesto by David Marques

Designing the society-centered design manifesto by David Marques

I shared the society-centered design before as it came out, in this post they explain what design choices were made for a compelling manifesto. Useful in case you might up to creating a manifesto some time.

Asia’s Largest Rooftop Farm Is a Rice Terrace on Top of a University

Asia’s Largest Rooftop Farm Is a Rice Terrace on Top of a University

Not directly related to intelligent systems, IoT or robotics or life automation, to name a few of the common themes in this newsletter. But it is looking very nice and it is about possilble futures for cities, so I think it fits: “A building of Bangkok’s Thammasat University is now home to Asia’s largest rooftop farm.”

Video game moments in real life Shibuya chronicles EPISODE1

Video game moments in real life Shibuya chronicles EPISODE1

I’m pretty sure you might have seen this one pass by on twitter etc. It is a nice real-life incarnation of game life… Will this become a meme on TikTok?

And some more DIY projects to kill corona times…

A TZXDuino inside a Cassette Tape? It can be done!

A TZXDuino inside a Cassette Tape? It can be done!

For the makers. That are old enough to know the concept of cassette tapes, or retro-loving enough to excited by this. 

He squeezed some TZXDuinos into Cassette Tape Cases and I’m really pleased with the result.

Closing with two pointers for other newsletters…

Tis.tv – 5 new video kids on the block!

Nice to share the Tis.tv newsletter for one time. Often nicely curated videos combining new and known in a theme. This one is about the new tools for making online meeting more exciting. The version of this week is on delivery robots, but those you all have seen in this newsletter before of course :-)


I think it was Dries that pointed us via a tweet on this newsletter. Super to have these kind of niche formats that are very attractive and learning at the same time.

Ben Kraal is revisiting a UX related paper from 1992 and reflects back what happened with the insights.

Let’s see if peak vacation will be over next week indeed. Enjoy the heat wave!

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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