Spike Jonze’s Her – a masterpiece of understated futurism

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Saw Her, by Spike Jonze, last night. It’s a very interesting film, in that it’s not a fantastic film per se, but it’s masterful as a study in how to execute futurism in an understated, ambient way.

I can’t remember when I last saw a film that so seamlessly blended in futuristic technology into our current way of living. I’m not entirely sure about the retro futurist clothing, with the strange grandpa-pants-pulled-up-to-the-armpits look, but the designs for the smartphone, the game Phoenix plays at home, and the outdoor advertising are perfectly believable and realistic. Jonze very cleverly keeps many other details the same as today. notably the mailbox, which still requires its little key, which means you can take in his vision as a whole more easily, as compared to e.g. Minority Report or Bladerunner, where it’s an all-our futuristic assault.

The film also very nicely mixes LA with Shanghai (although they’ve left in some Chinese characters, as the Slate Culture Gabfest pointed out), and uses a gorgeous color palette. The use of color and the design for the smartphone are described in this FastCompany article.

Image © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The iWatch can’t come a day too soon

Faced with the tough choice of whether to wear a smartwatch (Pebble) or a quantified self-tracker (Basis), I had to choose…both.

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I really need Apple to launch an iWatch doing both functions some time this year.

Forbes article including Apple as one of 5 smart home companies to watch in 2014

In this article, Michael Wolf lists smart home companies to watch in 2014, and alongside the usual suspects (Hue, etc), he includes Apple among them.

As I mentioned in this earlier post, I am really hoping that Apple will enter the smart home market and be the one to simplify it enough to go mass market. It’s not a coincidence that the most successful smart home product so far, Nest, was developed by ex-Apple people.

Wolf argues for the iWatch to be the interface, which I’m not sure about. As much as I love my Pebble, it is a bit limited still. The iWatch would have to boil all functions down to simple, yes/no decisions in order for it to work for controlling home devices, I think.