IFTTT vs ifttt

You may have noticed some very short posts recently. Today actually. Except they are from a while ago. I have a recipe on If This Then That that posts the description field of my Pinboard bookmarks tagged with “blog” to Playpen. I used it to link blog more frequently, but got out of the habit of it because I couldn’t remember the format. Obviously I wasn’t doing it frequently enough.

Today I wanted to write the post about the Millennials using this method, so I checked the recipe. Apparently the IFTTT recipes are case sensitive and it was looking for the tag “blog”, not “Blog”. When I changed the recipe, it found several bookmarks of blogs that I had tagged, not surprisingly, “Blog” and auto-posted them. I initially deleted the posts again, but since they’ll show up in the RSS feed and are interesting links anyway, I have restored them. They are quite old discoveries though.

In retrospect, using the tag “blog” as a trigger was pretty dumb. I’ve changed it to something else now. Maybe it will increase the frequency of my link posts—a format that Twitter has largely killed off.

The Cheapest Generation

The Cheapest Generation is an interesting piece over at The Atlantic about “why millennials (Gen Yers) aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy.”

In short, the emotional appeal of owning a car or house that their parents had is no longer so strong. They prefer, instead, to have access to connectivity—everything from smartphones to car and bike sharing services.

Whilst some economists will panic because of the decline in selling big, physical things, the article points out that in places like Germany (where I live) home ownership has long been low and the German economy is the healthiest in Europe. People rent here for many years. To live in the same rented place for 30 years is not uncommon. This has a useful side-effect, which is to prevent the housing market from overheating so much that nobody can afford anything without heavily overextending on credit (c.f. Sydney) and we all know where that ended up.

I see a lot of the kind of “closed suburbs” in Germany that the article also mentions. Many people cycle here and, as a result, many services are nearby, which means families need either only one car or no car at all.

Services, not products. Access, not ownership. It’s the key to decoupling resource usage from economic growth.

Protection Racket

On Thursday, Google launches a new service called Contributor that Gigaom bills as “a crowdfunding platform for publishers.” According to Gigaom, the program is “designed to allow web users to pay sites that they visit a monthly fee, and in return see no Google ads when they visit those sites.”

Google still takes a cut of that revenue, so now they get their money either way. In other words, the lack of click throughs become irrelevant. Readers see a thank you message or, possibly, no ads at all.

In what way is this “crowdfunding”? It’s simply a subscription model, only worse. Google are heavily responsible for the web being filled with the cruft of their poorly designed ads. Now publishers have an incentive to fill their pages with more of them, just so users will pay to turn them off.

Think of the reverse-UX behind that for a moment: “We know these ads are annoying, but instead of making them less annoying, we see an opportunity to charge people for ignoring them.” Of course, they’ll get some useful data out of that too.

It’s a protection racket. “Nice webpage you’re reading here, pal. It would be a shame if someone filled it with ads.”

Presentation Notes to my Design to the Powers of Ten UX Futures Talk

Join me for Interaction 14 South America

isa14

Update: The workshops are now open for registrations and there are early bird discounts available.

I’m super looking forward to taking part in Interaction 14 South America in Buenos Aires where I’ll be giving a talk and running a workshop on Creación y Blueprinting Servicios Multicanal (sounds good huh?). I’ve never had the chance to visit Buenos Aires and always wanted to. I’m only sad I can’t stay longer (then I would have brought my family too).

An added bonus is that this is a conference in which I know almost all the other speakers. It’s a fantastic line-up and many of them are Rosenfeld Media authors, but most of them I have never met in the flesh.

If you’re going to be coming along, ping me a tweet. Your friendly “consultor de servicio y diseño de interacción, escritor y educador.”