It’d be like if somebody showed up at your house and dropped off a military jet and said,
‘OK, fly it.’

A member of the Geek Squad, on Baby Boomer’s relationship to technology

Baby boomers first learned about computers when they were big, expensive machines that lived at universities or companies. Having those devices in their home now is exciting—but also intimidating.

Too long; didn’t read | CR

When social media came along, it created a new realm of possibilities and potential pitfalls for copywriting. What happened next will amaze you…

Short version: the pitfalls won. Ten years on from the dawn of Twitter, we stand on a battlefield strewn with the corpses of dead slogans, with vacuous hashtags victorious. Clever headlines have been decapitated, replaced by formulaic ‘what happened next’ clickbait. Ideas lie choking on the floor, while brand storytellers patrol vague emotional territories, inviting the fleeing public to join a conversation.


The irony is that, until social media came along, brands were good at being social. The best slogans got inside our heads, language and culture by being memorable and meaningful. Now brands are so keen to host a conversation that they have forgotten how to say something interesting.

Lego used to be just a big box of bricks, and you used to take the bricks, pour them on the carpet and then make stuff. And that’s exactly what Minecraft is.

The Minecraft Generation

This is what computer scientists call computational thinking, and it turns out to be one of Minecraft’s powerful, if subtle, effects. The game encourages kids to regard logic and if-then statements as fun things to mess around with. It teaches them what computer coders know and wrestle with every day, which is that programs rarely function at first: The work isn’t so much in writing a piece of software but in debugging it, figuring out what you did wrong and coming up with a fix.

Minecraft is thus an almost perfect game for our current educational moment, in which policy makers are eager to increase kids’ interest in the “STEM” disciplines — science, technology, engineering and math. Schools and governments have spent millions on “let’s get kids coding” initiatives, yet it may well be that Minecraft’s impact will be greater.

Clippy’s Back: The Future of Microsoft Is Chatbots | BusinessWeek

Of course, one person’s walled garden is another’s happy place where everything just works. People gravitated to apps because they’re easy. You pick the one you want, download it in seconds, and you’re good to go. If Microsoft wants to design the successor to that, bots have to be easier to find and use.


Microsoft has tried to create artificial entities to help its users before, the most infamous example being Clippy, the much ridiculed animated paper clip of the 1990s. Clippy was meant to be a virtual assistant for Microsoft Office users, but it didn’t know enough to be useful or when to shut up.