Blog / Roundup: archaeology revealed, provoking prototypes, slow downloads, digital psychology, join costs, and more

August 17, 2018

Parch marks - Lawrence R

https://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2018/aug/15/uk-archaeology-sites-made-visible-in-heatwave-pictures

The prolonged hot weather over summer has helped to reveal previously undiscovered archaeological sites, by displaying a series of ‘parch marks’ – areas where crops or grass have discoloured based on what’s underneath it. For example if there is a hard surface close to the surface (e.g an old wall) it will inhibit the way the crop grows, revealing a pattern. It’s like large scale natural graffiti. Read more about the phenomena here: http://www.pastperfect.org.uk/archaeology/parchmarks.html

Provotypes - Lawrence R

https://uxdesign.cc/provotypes-how-making-annoying-things-can-help-you-design-better-64f9a0a7e361

Love the idea of these “provotypes” prototypes that are not designed in any way to be similar to the end solution, but act as playful provocation. One way of using them is to get workshop participants to create the worst possible experiences first. Once they have learnt how to make it bad, not only have you got a blueprint for success (by implementing the opposite) but have good reasons why implementing the bad ideas won’t work. I also like the idea of provoking a user testing participant into becoming a designer for a moment by presenting something so aesthetically horrendous that they have no choice but to assume that role!

The Mystery of the Slow Downloads - Murray S

https://panic.com/blog/mystery-of-the-slow-downloads/

This article from Panic Inc. explains how they solved a mystery of slow downloads for some of their users. The network debugging elements of the story are really interesting to me, as I am pretty sure I’d fall into the trap of thinking that the whole internet is an even playing field for all users. Of course it’s not, and without spoiling the article too much, the culprit in this case was a single ISP whose bandwidth for access to the servers Panic’s downloads were hosted on was limited. The article serves as a useful reminder that we need to fight for strict net neutrality rules.

Digital psychology - Lawrence R

https://digitalpsychology.io/

A relatively cynical list of the psychologies and biases used in digital today. Whilst this list seems far from comprehensive, I enjoyed the presentation with a narrative that runs through each section including some tangible examples of the theory applied to reality.

Cost of a Join - Elena T

https://www.brianlikespostgres.com/cost-of-a-join.html

A very detailed demo of how to benchmark joining 50 tables, each with 1 million rows.

Serverless Docker - Elena T

https://zeit.co/blog/serverless-docker

Pretty cool to see the ability to abstract away your infrastructure woes when you’re running on Docker and get the added productivity bonus of super quick deployments.

Strawberry Pop-Tart Blow-Torches - Elena T

http://www.pmichaud.com/toast/

A scorchy article about how to create your very own homemade blow torch with food. If you’d like to extinguish your curiosity, read on.

Track of the Week - Neil vB

A straightforward choice of artist this week as the world lost the ‘Queen of Soul’. This is the late Aretha Franklin singing in 1970.

Aretha Franklin - I Say a Little Prayer