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

Can an App Make Staying in Touch Too Easy? – “But the progression of communication platforms that make it increasingly easier to get in touch made me wonder whether it’s time to apply the brakes. As we try to mine the good feelings we get from connecting with our friends with less and less effort, at some point, perhaps we won’t be connecting with them at all—just tricking ourselves into thinking that we are.”

One Big Thing: a simple way to do more by planning less (Thanks to Brian Zimmer for recommending this article) – “My best work happened when I spent hours in flow, intensely focused on a single task. These projects didn’t need to be sliced into neat to-dos. They didn’t need to be managed — I needed to clear my schedule and do them.”

Usability Testing of Inline Form Validation: 40% Don’t Have It, 20% Get It Wrong (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “During the past 7 years of checkout testing we have consistently found inline validation – when implemented correctly – greatly improves the user’s error recovery experience. Luckily, this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the e-commerce industry at large, as we have observed a 4-fold increase in implementations during the last 4 years.”

The Rise of the (Truly Awful) Webcam Job Interview (Thanks to Andrew Sellenrick for recommending this article) – “The robo-interview hasn’t replaced human interaction completely. Many companies use it as a replacement for first-round screening interviews, followed by more traditional one-on-ones. But for interviewees who would rather go back to the old way … that’s not happening. Organizations can look at more people, and a more diverse set of people, with the video interviews, and save money on top of that.”

The Surprising Backbone of the Internet of Things – “Streetlights and traffic signal poles are different. They’re part of the public right of way; they’re assets that are often owned and maintained by cities themselves, or by the local power company. With streetlights and signal poles, a city stands a chance of pushing along a competitive and innovative world of Internet of Things and sensors and data transmission, as long as it acts decisively to open those street lights and signal poles on a standard technical basis — again, like an electrical outlet.”

Productivity isn’t about Getting Things Done anymore – “The success of the elite worker will depend upon that person’s ability not to get things done, but to have breakthroughs — to use access to knowledge and automation to deliver explosive ideas. To do that which only a human can do.”

This Robot Will Rake Your Leaves, Cut The Grass & Shovel Snow (Thanks to Brian Zimmer for recommending this article) – “Waelbers sees potential health and environmental gains from people adopting the Kobi. Each year, 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled while refueling lawn equipment, according to the EPA. Shoveling snow increases the risk of heart attacks because the combination of an arduous task and cold weather is dangerous for those with heart problems or high blood pressure.”

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