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If you are like me and watch an unhealthy amount of professional basketball, it would behoove you to check out Stats.NBA.com and spend the next, oh, 8 hours or so poring over “advanced metrics.” New statistical categories like TS% (True Shooting Percentage), PIE (Player Impact Estimate), and EFF (Efficiency Rating), have been created in the past few years to explain the game in ways plain ol’ points, rebounds, and assists cannot.
The “statistical revolution” in basketball was started by nerds, embraced by bloggers, co-opted by front offices, and is now packaged in friendly charts and graphs. The site is comprehensive, easy to use, and pretty to look at. Check it out.
Despite the looming Mayan apocalypse there are still those looking boldly to the future and offering their prognostications for what our world might be should the poles fail to shift and the tides not rise.
Here is an assortment of trends for 2013 and beyond.
Frog Design examines the future of technology with the Tech Trends that Will Define 2013.
Mashable is looking ahead too with 11 Big Tech Trends for 2013. There is a lot to be excited about. I’ll give you one hint: ROBOTS.
Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2013 is 17-5641, otherwise known as Emerald.
Say hello to baby Thor. Ancient names are among the Baby Name Trends for 2013.
“Snackification” and more in Baum+Whiteman’s Food and Dining Trends for 2013. (PDF)
The National Intelligence Council, the strategic thinking arm of the U.S. government, is looking far ahead to the Global Trends for 2030.
Harper’s Bazaar’s Most Anticipated Hair Trend for Spring 2013: Knots.
What you’ll be watching: the Atlantic’s 18 Films to Look Forward to in 2013.
And finally, no one is looking forward to the apocalypse more than Jets’ fans: 5 Changes the Jets Must Make in 2013.
At W5, we’ve been thinking a lot about mobile phones lately. It’s a fascinating topic for research. The depth of the emotional and physical relationship between the user and the device is sometimes staggering. It makes me think of my own technophilia and wonder if the phantom rings and vibrations I feel are just feelings of love unrequited.
We love our phones, but do they love us back? The relationship tends to be one-sided. There is shockingly little research on the emotional insides of our mobile phones. We never ask “how are you feeling?” and thus we never know.
The fracturing of advertising along media lines and through disruptive technology has created a strange nostalgia in us for the good ol’ days when you could be forced to watch a commercial on television rather than switching to something else or hitting fast forward. It’s not that we want more interruptions, but there was something in that collective, obligatory experience of laboring through advertisements on television that today makes us go all misty-eyed at the thought of “giving the world a Coke.”
The web is a big problem when it comes to emotive advertising. Online ads are functional and easily ignored, most often search algorithms that return relevant but uninspiring results. Google with Project Re: Brief is taking on this challenge by retrofitting four classic advertising campaigns for the web: Coke’s “Hilltop,” Volvo’s “Drive it like you hate it,” Alka-Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing,” and Avis’ “We try harder.” The whole thing is called accompanied by a documentary, the trailer for which is below:
This is Twine.
It doesn’t look like much, but it was the hottest item on Kickstarter this Christmas season, shattering its fundraising goal and acquiring nearly 4,000 donors.
This unassuming little box uses various sensors to capture information about a space or object and send it to the owner through the channel they choose. For example, with Twine attached to your front door, the built-in accelerometer can detect when someone is knocking and send you a text or Tweet while you’re away.
More sensors are in development, as is a breakout board that will allow users to gather other types of information by connecting their own sensors.
Check out the short video.
The iPhone 4S is here (you might have heard) and so is Siri (as I’m sure you’re well aware), an intelligent, voice-activated assistant. I will spare you the effusive, almost gushing praise that has dominated most conversations about Apple’s newest product. I will say this and move on: Siri offers a completely new way of capturing information and so far among consumer electronics products, the spirit of its design best abides by the dictum, “the best interface is no interface at all.”
(Without considering history and without a proper degree of hindsight): Siri “feels” like a big moment in designing technology for humans, a significant dot in the timeline because all those that follow will similarly shed their surface elements for more intuitive (some might say less meaningful) ways of interacting with the device.
For a glimpse into how this might manifest in other types of devices, take the Lytro Camera. It is doing the same for how we capture photographic information.
The Lytro Camera is the first light field camera to hit the market (or will be in early 2012). As a light field camera, it captures all of the available light in a scene, which without getting into the details, means for the user there is no adjusting the aperture and no need to focus. All of these details are manipulated on your computer in post-processing. This drastically simplifies the camera interface. There are just two buttons: power and the shutter.
The interesting aspect from the user perspective is the degree to which Siri and the Lytro Camera change not just how you send text messages or take pictures, but the extent to which these actions are a natural part of your daily life. Does the simplicity of sending a text message or taking a picture make it an unconscious action, requiring less thought or perhaps even less care?
The BBC recently launched How Many Really?, a website that compares the size of current and historical populations with the number of people in your social network. You can see how the number of people you know compares to say, the number of Buddhists in the world, seats on the world’s largest airplane, or if you are interested, the yearly number of Aztec human sacrifices.