Tag Archives: Tech

How technology transformed long-distance relationships

Last year, I was obsessed with the internet. I spent months writing and thinking about online intimacy, a whole summer meeting nobody in person, relying simply on apps. Most of my romantic encounters took place online, many of them never crossing over to ‘real life’ at all; my phone was littered with names like ‘Richard Hinge’, ‘Simon Tinder’, ‘Sophie OkCupid’. Dutifully putting them in my phone on Friday nights, Sunday mornings, by Tuesday the conversation was dead: I had no idea who these people in my phonebook even were.

So it was a surprise to me, too, when I met someone at a party and we fell in love. There was no preamble, no holding each other at arm’s length, no weeks or months of online Read the rest

Microsoft’s redesigned Office icons showcase the future of the software suite


Microsoft has unveiled brand new icons for all the apps in its Office productivity suite.

The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant announced the sweeping changes to its Office app icons in a blog post on Thursday. Each of the new Microsoft Office app icons will be rolling out over the next few months.

The design changes to the Office icons mark the first time in 5 years that Microsoft has updated the productivity suite logos. The apps that will be sporting redesigned icons include Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, OneNote, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, and Skype.

The redesigns implement Microsoft’s Fluent Design language which the company has incorporated into Windows 10 since last year. Read more…

More about Microsoft, Design, Microsoft Office, Tech, … Read the rest

Finally, a mobile guide that makes pulling your phone out in a museum worth it


If you’ve ever gazed at a giant Jeff Koons ballon dog and thought, “what the heck was Koons thinking?” now there’s a way for you to get answers to that question, instantaneously.

On Saturday, the Hirshhorn Museum, which is the U.S. national museum of modern art, launches a new smartphone museum companion called Hirshhorn Eye (or, Hi). Hi allows museum visitors to scan pieces of art with their phones, and generate videos featuring iconic artists like Koons or Yayoi Kusama talking about their work. The best part? It’s Not. An. App.

More about Art, Design, Museums, Tech, and SmartphonesRead the rest

This slick looking device is the world’s first modular hearing aid


The world’s first modular hearing aid is here, and it could change the game for people with total or partial hearing loss.

Melbourne-based hearing aid designers Blamey Saunders won Australia’s prestigious Good Design Award of the Year and the CSIRO Design Innovation Award for their groundbreaking device, dubbed Facett, at a glitzy ceremony at Sydney Opera House on Thursday.

So, what makes this hearing aid different to other models? The device works with a core, linked to an app, and is powered by a rechargeable module, which magnetically clicks into place — for anyone who’s tried to change a hearing aid battery in the dark, or had … Read the rest

3D printing and pottery come together at this design studio


Alterfact is an experimental design studio created by Lucile Sciallano and Ben Landau in 2014. They push boundaries of a traditionally plastic-based medium and use clay instead to print cool 3D clay pottery.

Alterfact has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Read more…

More about Tech, Technology, Design, Mashable Video, and 3d PrintingRead the rest

News From Backchannel

We’re now officially and totally integrated into Wired. But we won’t be gone.

Dear Backchannel readers,

Steven here. First, the news: Starting with the new year, Backchannel will be fully integrated into WIRED. While this means that there won’t be a weekly drop of Backchannel stories and columns — and we won’t be producing them from solely within a five-person unit — you’ll be still seeing those stories and reading the same writers who produced them when you visit the WIRED site. In fact, Backchannel will live on in the form of a new section on wired.com, which will launch in the coming weeks. More on that to come.

In the meantime, you will still be able to read stories from Jessi Hempel and me … Read the rest

Backchannel Is Moving to Wired

Starting mid-June, we’ll publish even more of the work you care about in a new weekly format.

(Illustration by Laurent Hrybyk)

Dear Backchannel readers,

Last summer, Backchannel joined Condé Nast as part of the Wired Media Group. For all of the reasons you imagine, it made sense. Though we have our own distinct personality, we’re a lot like Wired. In fact, Steven and Jessi both hail from Wired. And like the editors there, we have a deep conviction that accurately reported news presented with context is a critical tool for understanding the future.

And now, a year later, we’re closing the circle. Backchannel is joining forces with our sister publication. Starting June 21, we will begin publishing Backchannel as a weekly digital magazine on … Read the rest

The Queen of the Internet Surveys Her Kingdom

Everything is looking up, according to Mary Meeker, even if global smartphone growth is trending down.

(Bloomberg / Getty Images)

Hi Backchannel readers, it’s Jessi.

On Wednesday, Kleiner Perkins investor Mary Meeker delivered her annual internet trends report at Code Conference, the annual south-of-Los Angeles gathering that feels as much like a summer camp reunion as a tech confab. Meeker always presents early in the morning of the second day. To tech newbies, her presentation must seem like one of the strangest rituals in the industry — a core dump of stats, charts, and headlines, dense with exotic acronyms and hockey-stick curves. But it’s ambrosia to tech business insiders. At Code, attendees tend to meander in and out of sessions depending on the popularity of the … Read the rest

Sheryl Sandberg’s Accidental Revolution

How Sandberg’s grief became the catalyst for a new, emotionally honest management style at Facebook and beyond.

Sheryl Sandberg’s husband died of a heart arrhythmia on a Friday evening. They’d been vacationing in Mexico, and from the moment she saw him on the resort’s gym floor, a life built on relentless order — in the workplace, in the home, and especially in balancing the two — was thrust into terrifying chaos. She flew home and broke the news to her two young children. She listened to Bono perform “One” in front of 1,700 people crammed into the Stanford Memorial Auditorium for a memorial. She spent seven days welcoming friends for the traditional Jewish shiva, accepting food she mostly didn’t eat.

Then, on the following Monday, Sandberg … Read the rest

Inside the Glowing-Plant Startup That Just Gave up Its Quest

Taxa Biotechnologies promised a light-emitting plant that could replace street lamps. Here’s why that project failed.

Down in a basement along bustling Third Street in San Francisco’s SoMa startup district, Antony Evans unzipped a black tent. It’s the same kind of tent that marijuana growers use, he told me. But it was heavy, earthy patchouli, not skunk, that hit me when I stepped inside the brightly lit cube. Petri dishes piled high on a table contain clusters of green moss.

Evans had invited me to stop by his lab in late January. He was excited to share his latest news. After four years of false starts and failed plants, his startup Taxa Biotechnologies was now two months away from finally shipping its first product, a patchouli-scented … Read the rest