Here are some of the articles we’ve been reading around this office this week.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Others, Aim For Royalty-Free Video Codecs – “The issue of patent licenses and royalties continues to plague the video industry. While H.264/AVC video had relatively cheap licensing, it looks as if its successor, H.265/HEVC, is going to be considerably more expensive. Organizations that derive significant income from patent royalties and IP licensing weren’t happy with the low-cost model used for H.264, and so are pushing back.”

Everyone Is A Designer (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “If you have ever had to solve a problem, you used techniques that are commonly used by designers. Chances are that you weren’t aware of those techniques—divergent thinking, convergent thinking, analysis, synthesis, etc.—but you still arrived at a satisfactory solution and continued on with your life.”

How Machine Learning Has Saved Microsoft Millions – “Putting money where its mouth is, the company incorporates this predictive analytics technology into its own operations. Microsoft vice-president for machine learning, Joseph Sirosh, told us that machine learning techniques have saved the business millions of dollars every month.”

Anil Dash And The Firehose Of Nerd-dom (Thanks to Matt Babcock for recommending this) – “Jay asks Anil what project he’s most proud to work with, and Anil deftly avoids the question by observing that computer science programs don’t have ethics classes baked in, like law or medicine programs do. This is an odd disconnect, Anil feels, because software has immense power to create and alter culture. So a lot of the organizations Anil has gotten involved with address the intersection of technology, policy, and culture.”

How The Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive – “My experience with fountain pens suggests a new answer. Perhaps it’s not digital technology that hindered my handwriting, but the technology that I was holding as I put pen to paper. Fountain pens want to connect letters. Ballpoint pens need to be convinced to write, need to be pushed into the paper rather than merely touch it. The No.2 pencils I used for math notes weren’t much of a break either, requiring pressure similar to that of a ballpoint pen.”

UX Is a Canary In A Coal Mine (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “The morale of a UX team is a canary in a coal mine because everything a company does and is impacts the end user experience — the strategy, scope, process, and talent all manifest in the design. Yet the design team often feels the least empowered to fix the experiences they’re responsible for designing. If designers are not happy, it likely reflects larger issues with the company that impact current and future products under development.”

The Four Best Productivity Tricks I Learned At Google – “While a startup can be much nimbler than a large corporation, Conquergood and the rest of the PicMonkey team decided to incorporate four productivity tricks they learned at Google in their new venture.”

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