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Quirks in Tech

An informal space where I think about the oddities of technology, politics, and privacy. Also some other stuff.

Stop trying to sell me wrist-worn smartphones ∞

It absolutely baffles me who, exactly, smart watches are being designed for. The notion that something would be buzzing on my wrist (in my own, very anecdotal case) hundreds of times a day as I receive email, retweets, LinkedIn invites, text messages, hangouts messages, and so forth is absolutely absurd. That’s noise that I want to avoid or minimize, not enhance and maximize.

I own one, very nice, watch that I wear on special circumstances. It’s beautiful and is powered by kinetic motions. It’s light enough that it doesn’t annoy the hell out of me, but heavy enough that it’s comfortable on my wrist. And, in all cases, it doesn’t beep, buzz, or otherwise interfere with my daily life.

To my mind, the ‘rationale’ for smart watches is really predicated on the absurd sizes that smartphones are reaching. With phones increasingly being sold with 5 inch, or larger, screens the devices are eyesores whenever they’re pulled out and their screens examined. 

That’s a very, very bad rationale to build a product on and (to my mind) indicates the failure of smartphone design. And the solution that failure isn’t smart watches but more humane-sized phones.

Sep 6, 2014

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And then there’s the sheer randomness of it all. Some services you can’t access for no apparent reason, others are so slow that you can’t figure out if they’re blocked or just snail-paced. And as I experience this, I wish some of our politicians and media people, those who see net neutrality as the enemy, I wish they’d come here and experience what a radical version of non-neutrality is. Again, I have a VPN service to overcome most of this (at the cost of speed) but most people don’t and/or can’t afford one.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that not enshrining net neutrality is the equivalent of doing what the Chinese (or Iranian, or Indian) government does. But I look at the UK’s blocking mechanisms supposed to protect children but really targeting just about any kind of site for arcane reasons that no one can figure out, and I think that what I have here is an extreme version of the same thing.

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– Benoit Felton, “Behind the Great Firewall

Sep 4, 2014

"The Great Celebrity Naked Photo Leak of 2014 – or perhaps we should call it The Great Celebrity Naked Photo Leak of August 2014, given that this happens so often that there won’t be only one this year – is meant to remind women of their place. Don’t get too high and mighty, ladies. Don’t step out of line. Don’t do anything to upset or disappoint men who feel entitled to your time, bodies, affection or attention. Your bared body can always be used as a weapon against you. You bared body can always be used to shame and humiliate you. Your bared body is at once desired and loathed."

– Roxane Gay, “The Great Naked Celebrity Leak of 2014 Is Just the Beginning

Sep 2, 2014

Listening In: The Navy Is Tracking Ocean Sounds Collected by Scientists ∞

This is one of the coolest surveillance/national security/academic research-related news article I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended!

Aug 20, 2014

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