Demo-Scene proposed as part of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Demoscene, which is born at the heart of the home computer revolution, has been showing how skills and creativity can be stimulated and implemented in a dynamic cultural practice adopted to digital contexts. Many of its techniques and mindsets became core techniques and influences of the digital change, and are still vibrant today.

Having been part of the demo-scene for many years myself, this is – at least to me – big news. Starting with the arrival of computers and first commercial software, crackers started copying others intellectual property and made an effort overcoming copy protection. Groups formed to not only solve the technical difficulty to ‘crack’ these systems, but also distribute the results. Soon, pretty presentations were included with these files, to advertise the group that managed to overcome copy protection. Shortly after, these presentations turned into their own discipline, giving programmers, music- and graphic artists an opportunity to compete in artistic demos.

The first demos I remember include 42 by halcyon, 4 kings by orange or daze by urinate. Given the first exposure to the hardwares limits, these were fascinating productions that never failed to amaze me. A close friend from the mailbox scene pointed me to the immortal ‘Second Reality‘ by Future Crew, that finally blew my mind.

Second Reality by Future Crew
Second Reality by Future Crew

Among my peers, this demo was the starting point for many people that I spent a lot of time with and some of whom I am still proud to call my friends. The years following I had the opportunity to not only attend many demo parties but actively contribute my own work to competitions and learn fundamental technology from idols I was lucky to meet at these events.

Now recently, Andreas Lange & Tobias Kopka have started an initiative to bring the demoscene onto the list of the UNESCO intangible world cultural heritage. The initiative advocates the mindset and innovation this scene has developed, contributing technology to culture and leveraging technology to create art. It will likely take a long time to proof this influence and all that I have seen in the past twenty years is well worth bringing this scenes achievements to a broader audience.

Demoszene

Source: Demoscene – The Art of Coding – Digital culture as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Pyramid of product manager needs

Benoit des Ligneris describes a model in his article about the environment in which product management has to navigate. This environment has many influences, and a product evolves with influences from many sources. The Maslov inspired pyramid of Product Managers needs starts with real world dependencies. The market is the basis for any product, hence is the most needed input to any product and the product management. Further in the article Benoit describes the individual layers and why they are relevant to the Product Management organisation.

While objectively everybody will agree a Product Manager will need to mediate between these layers, it may be worthwhile to evaluate the level of influence each individual layer has in a particular organisation. Most often the influence on the product is reversed and higher levels influence outcomes more than they should.

It’s the product management organisations responsibility to feed the product by its needs and not just represent but balance all layers in the decision management process. A lot like in the Maslov pyramid, a healthy product starts with basic needs.

Product Management Pyramid
Product Management Pyramid

A useful and visual mental model that represent the product management role in relation to its environment.

Source: The pyramid of the product manager needs (Maslow inspired)

The terrifying, hidden reality of Ridiculously Complicated Algorithms

Leseempfehlung: Ein Journalist spricht mit einem anonymen Big Data Engineer/Analyst über die Komplexität von Algorithmen. Wie erschreckend die Abhängigkeit von undurchschaubaren Komponenten geworden ist gegenüber dem Einfluss den Maschinen damit auf unser Leben haben.

Man kann das auch als Laie verstehen, wie ich meine, selbst mein Verständnis von Big Data reicht nur so weit als das als realistisch einzuschätzen.

‘I’ll lose my job if anyone knows about this.”There was a long silence which I didn’t dare to break. I had begged to make this meeting happen. And now the person I had long been trying to meet leaned towards me. “Someone is going to go through your book line by line,” he said, “to try to work out who I am.”He’d been a talented researcher, an academic, until his friend started a small technology company. He had joined the company and helped it to grow. It eventually became so big that the company had been acquired by one of the tech giants. And so, then, was he.He was now paid a fortune to help design the algorithms that were central to what the tech giant did. And he had signed solemn legal documents prohibiting him from speaking to me, or to anyone, about his work. But as the…

Source: The terrifying, hidden reality of Ridiculously Complicated Algorithms