Information overload is not unique to Digital Age


It is a constant complaint: We’re choking on information. The flood of data on the Web has reached mind boggling proportions, and it shows no signs of stopping. But wait, says Harvard professor Ann Blair in an NPR radio program — this is not a new condition. It’s been part of the human experience for centuries.

Listen to program (or read transcript)

(via InfoDesign)

Study: Millennials prefer sharing over ownership


The idea of sharing things instead of owning them goes against everything we’ve been taught as a consumeristic society.

Those who have spent their lives “keeping up with the Jones’” may find it hard to suddenly relinquish their death-grip on idea that owning things is the path toward happiness. But younger generations, poised to inherit the economic turmoil and environmental disaster caused by consumerism, are increasingly embracing the alternatives offered by collaborative consumption.

Findings of a recent independent study revealed that Millennials (18-34-year-olds) are more willing to used shared vehicles than individuals from previous generations.

The study, commissioned by leading car sharing network Zipcar, surveyed over one thousand adults to better understand the current generation’s attitude toward car ownership.

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Five lessons from the best interaction designs of 2011


Frog’s Robert Fabricant breaks down the themes from the 2011 Interaction Design Awards.

“Technologies like cheap sensors and cloud computing are increasingly being used to augment our daily lives in both magical and mundane ways. Everything we do is an app in the making (a million and counting). But in this environment we are also developing a new sensitivity to the thin line between enrichment and annoyance. Which is why interaction design continues to gain prominence as the discipline with the greatest potential to maintain our sanity in this brave new world of distraction. So it was with high hopes that I joined a gathering of some of the best minds in interaction design today, including Massimo Banzi, Janna DeVylder, Matt Jones, Younghee Jung, Jonas Löwgren, and Helen Walters, to judge the first annual Interaction Design Awards sponsored by the IxDA. Our job was to recognize the best examples from 2011 as well as communicate the critical role of good interaction design in our lives. While I cannot share the winners–yet– this experience was a great moment to reflect on the state of interaction design and what it might hold in the next few years.”

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The Internet gets physical


NY Times technology reporter Steve Lohr writes on how consumer-based Internet technologies are morphing into new uses in energy conservation, transportation, health care, traffic management and food distribution.

Low-cost sensors, clever software and advancing computer firepower are opening the door to new uses in energy conservation, transportation, health care and food distribution. The consumer Internet can be seen as the warm-up act for these technologies. […]

“We’re going to put the digital ‘smarts’ into everything,” said Edward D. Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington. These abundant smart devices, Dr. Lazowska added, will “interact intelligently with people and with the physical world.”

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