Google’s Project Sunroof

Google’s Project Sunroof makes the tricky business of estimating energy savings from a solar panel installation strikingly simple by combining massive datasets and aerial imagery.

The fight against climate changes is a war of economics. Entities at every scale are more motivated to make climate-conscious changes the more those changes benefit the bottom line. Project Sunroof makes that benefit obvious and easy to calculate, replacing a vague sense of doing the right thing with a practical justification. Beyond the big data calculations, Project Sunroof provides information on the solar installation process and will also put you in touch with solar providers in your area. A great example of a massive company helping out the little guy for the greater good.

GOOD Magazine Relaunch


GOOD Magazine has undergone a transformation recently, refocusing on its mission as a journal for the global citizen. In the nearly 10 years since it’s start, GOOD has been unafraid to try new things, which may have gotten it slightly lost along the way. Now, the global climate has prompted it to go back to its roots and relaunch with renewed focus on featuring the stories and people shaping our world.

The spring and summer journals are carefully considered volumes with a great variety of content. There are single-spread profiles, revealing discussions and even some short-fiction for your enjoyment. The magazines feel a little slim to be quarterly but this may be because they’re also slim on advertising.


Aside from some odd design choices (lots of rotated text?) the new GOOD seems to be a great improvement. It’s once again the magazine for people who give a damn. Consider subscribing today.

Steve Case: Get ready, the Internet is about to change again. Here’s how.

The third wave of the Internet is about to break. The opportunity is now shifting to integrating it into everyday life, in increasingly seamless and ubiquitous ways. These third-wave companies will take on some of the economy’s largest sectors: health care, education, transportation, energy, financial services, food and government services. These third-wave sectors — all now ripe for disruption — represent more than half of the U.S. economy.

Steve Case: Get ready, the Internet is about to change again. Here’s how.

These are the sectors I want to be involved in.

The Boring Designer - Cap Witkins

The boring designer chases the right idea over their idea every time. They respect their team and will try almost any idea (whether on a whiteboard or in Sketch or in code) that gets thrown their way.

The boring designer maximizes their process and work for the team and the timeframe.

The boring designer realizes that the glory isn’t in putting their personal stamp on everything they touch. In fact, most of the time, it’s about leaving no trace of themselves.

The Boring Designer - Cap Watkins

Goodbye Zootool

Zootool made us realize that the general idea of running a central service is nothing we believe in any longer. Your data should belong to you and shouldn’t be stored on our servers. You shouldn’t have to rely on us or on any other service to keep your data secure and online.

We had plans to convert Zootool into a distributed software. Everyone would have their own Zoo app running on their own server or computer. Unfortunately the financial situation didn’t make it possible to finish those plans. There might be a chance to launch something in the future, but we don’t want to make any more promises we might not be able to keep.

Goodbye Zootool

Bastian Allgeier has since stated started a newsletter list to collect supporters for a self-hosted, open-source alternative for Zootool.

We need to talk about TED

Commercial information design serves an important function, by helping people navigate spaces, learn new concepts and skills, and do their everyday work. But we could be thinking more about how information design thinking can support individual development and sense-making throughout life.

The “new” and widely untapped frontier that awaits information design is a refocus on maximizing human agency by enabling and expanding what people can be and do in their lives.

Advancing the Human Journey - Michael Babwahsingh

Zero Unemployment

We embrace the humanity in those around us, particularly as the rest of the world appears to become less human and more cold. Who will you miss? That is who you are listening to.

When price and availability are no longer sufficient advantages (because everything is available and the price is no longer news), then what we are drawn to is the vulnerability and transparency that bring us together, that turn the “other” into one of us.

Toward zero unemployment

We need to talk about TED

Instead of dumbing-down the future, we need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded and which are embedded in us. This is not about “personal stories of inspiration”, it’s about the difficult and uncertain work of demystification and reconceptualisation: the hard stuff that really changes how we think.

We need to talk about TED

Netness - Cyborg Anthropology

  1. Everything wants to be connected (or at least to be able to “converse” frictionlessly on an ad hoc basis)

  2. The more things are connected (able to communicate) the better things work.

  3. As connectivity becomes ubiquitous, systems (networks) become fields… connectivity fields…

  4. A new class or state of connectivity is emerging which i’ve been calling “entangled” (many threaded, loosely but deeply connected) as in entangled conversations, lives, communities, networks…

  5. As networks become fields, as lives and things become entangled, two worlds > the world of atoms and the world of bits < become one, greatly enhancing future opportunity and potential capability of all participants

  6. The ability to connect, coordinate, collaborate and share easily everywhere on an ad hoc basis is now replacing Moore’s Law as the most important source of opportunity.”

Netness - Cyborg Anthropology

Email Newsletters from The Slurve

'I find a newsletter personal — more personal than a blog,' Dougherty says. 'It is addressed to you. It’s also a ritual in a sense. I wanted it to have that feeling of, it’s coming to you in a place you’re going to check. This is an email that doesn’t ask you to do anything. A lot of emails come from your boss or a spouse or a parent and they’re asking for something. This just asks to be enjoyed.'

A solo home run: The Slurve is trying to build an authentic, profitable business around email » Nieman Journalism Lab

This is what I want newsletters to feel like but the fact that they’re in the context of my inbox with all the other emails asking me to do something makes them hard to read and enjoy.

Designing for the Social Web

If the interface is too confining, people won’t use it. If the interface is too flexible, people won’t know how to use it. In the middle, the sweet spot, interface designers can create powerful social software that supports the person and their personality, as well as the social environment and the groups they are a part of.

Designing for the Social Web

Finding this sweet spot is an incredible challenge. The most powerful tools are flexible. How can we provide ways for people to learn how to use use flexible and open tools? How steep can the learning curve be? The reward and utility each need to outweigh the effort of learning and using a tool.

The Specialization of Poetry, “Standing by Words,” Wendell Berry, pp. 21-22

Perhaps the time has come to say that there is, in reality, no such choice as Yeats’s “Perfection of the life, or of the work.” The division implied by this proposed choice is not only destructive; it is based upon a shallow understanding of the relation between work and life. The conflicts of life and work, like those of rest and work, would ideally be resolved in balance: enough of each. In practice, however, they probably can be resolved (if that is the word) only in tension, in a principled unwillingness to let go of either, or to sacrifice either to the other. But it is a necessary tension, the grief in it both inescapable and necessary. One would like, one longs in fact, to be perfect family man and a perfect workman. And one suffers from the inevitable conflicts. But whatever one does, one is not going to be perfect at either, and it is better to suffer the imperfection of both than to gamble the total failure of one against an illusory hope of perfection in the other. The real values of art and life are perhaps best defined and felt in the tension between them.

Work/Life Balance - Design Intellection

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