If you still haven’t spent much time getting to know the world of virtual reality, the California Sunday article on the complicated relationship between the Oculus Rift and Hollywood is absolutely spectacular reading. How transformative is it?

If you could tell me how you could accurately and convincingly express what that thing is, that experience to someone who’s never tried it, I’d love to know the words, because I still can’t figure it out.

California Sunday, by the way, launched recently and promises to be a brilliant home for long-form content, in-line with Dark Matter favorite The Alpine Review.

We’re pretty amped about designer Gerald Hastings’ new DodoCase cardboard virtual reality toolkit, which arrived this week. And while a self-constructed hack for VR rollercoaster riding may not sound all that enticing, it was almost as big a hit as our new office-mate Bohdi.

If you’re concerned that Oculus may be a bit tame for your tastes, there’s always OccultUs — a virtual reality experience with live Foley sound. And while we normally save the fun stuff for the end of the email, a group of amateur French drone enthusiasts have connected remote cameras and VR headsets to quadcopters racing through the woods, allowing the pilot to experience — wait for it — the thrill of being on a Speeder Bike in Return of the Jedi.


Another interview, this time with Ed Hess of the Darden School of Business at UVA, gave us this gem:

Change requires human and organizational adaptation, and that means it requires learning. I’ve come to the conclusion that continually learning better and faster than the competition may be the only sustainable competitive advantage individually and organizationally.

If you have the patience, give the full Hess interview your attention, as it’s quite smart stuff on organizational change.

On the other end of the spectrum, Joi Ito published a great piece on the antidisciplinary types — people who fall in-between disciplines — who find a home at the MIT Media Lab. These are, too frequently, the candidates who wouldn’t make it through an HR department’s screening process because they don’t fit archetypes. Your loss, particularly if you’re hoping to ‘learn better and faster than the competition’.

In that same vein, give a few minutes of your time to Adrian Ho of Zeus Jones, who smartly articulates that ‘the mental models of people within companies tend to be shaped by the products that the company makes’.

There was a fascinating piece in the Portuguese news site Publico this week on a government hospital program that allowed for remote photo diagnoses of dermatological conditions, reducing system load on the limited number of dermatologists — like a professional medical deployment of Amazon’s mechanical turk (note: link is in Portuguese. Open in Chrome for translation). The pilot program was so successful that a similar program has been green-lit to reduce wait times for vascular surgery.

If, as Benedict Evans suggests, mobile applications are about to work their way into voice, carrier models are about to get really interesting.

There’s been a great deal of conversation around redundancy in systems and networks lately, which makes the news that snowflake-shaped networks are particularly resilient and easy to repair especially compelling. This will only become more important as the configuration of networks becomes essential to organizational strategies.

What if the Internet of Things never arrives, and instead we get The Physical Web? It’s a very real possibility, especially now that Google (which owns the data) is helping shape the framework.

There’s some real gold in this Wharton piece on the changing relationships between Millennials and brands, particularly as relates to the disappearing distinction between making good products and doing good things. We’ll admit to some skepticism, though, around the notion of ‘identity loyalty’ espoused by the author, so we’d recommend not throwing it around casually in your Keynote decks quite yet.

A thoughtful piece from Robin Hanson on the nature of our beliefs gives us this, worth storing away in the recesses of your Evernote files:

The fact that people aren’t very interested in the accuracy of their pundits suggests we usually give a high priority to presentation style.

“A crowd-curated list of essential books and papers on service design you say?”

“A mobile glossary of UX tools and design principles you say?”

Yes, you should probably read Russell Davies on clarity as a business model. His requisite snark / truth-speaking:

Of course, very often, the challenge is for organisations to get out of their own way – the lack of clarity stems from their relentless instinct to brand things and invent new names for them.

Finally, take 20 minutes out of your otherwise-busy life and watch Tim Malbon of Made by Many, speaking at Kyoorius Designyatra on six ‘what if’ moments in MxM’s history. It’s absolutely delightful and inspiring.


Because we heart the Internet (and Audrey Horne, too):  With Showtime announcing that it’s bringing back the brilliant David Lynch series Twin Peaks for another run, 25 years after the fact, it’s as good a time as any to bring back Filthy Frackers’ loving 8-bit tribute to the opening credits.