Archive for the ‘tech’ Category
For consumers, technology should get out of the way — it’s a means, not an end. Consumers don’t have the mindset or training of IT techies, they don’t have the time or focus to build a mental representation of a network of devices, their interactions and failure modes.
[Well that might be a bit extreme, but *I* am certainly not interested in setting up all that infrastructure. And I do want my devices to work, and slowly ever so slowly, things are creeping in that direction.]
Want to know why Chromebooks that “don’t do as much as my “laptop” picked up a bit this year? Want to know why iPads and the like are a growing segment? Because they cross the 80% line of what so many people do. No doubt some of us do all kinds of complicated things that require “more” in some sense. And maybe as networking continues to improve and “cloud” resources become less general and more tailored this to will change. But for now, Sure. You can’t run Pro Tools in the cloud etc.
That said, lots and lots of folks don’t do that stuff and can work perfectly comfortably with a web browser alone. Would I want to code in Github’s web interface only? Not at the moment. But I’ve already checked in changes when I was out and about and someone mentioned a bug or problem that I knew I could easily fix. The build system takes it most of the rest of the way, and another phone app completes the process. It’s a long way from impossible, and that’s just one example of something that we “assume” in many cases require heftier hardware. And sometimes it does. For now. Maybe.
But many of us do things that are simpler from an experience standpoint. If you use Amazon, Facebook, Google for mail or documents or spreadsheets, etc. there’ almost no need for something more complicated than the pads or the Chromebooks. And they’re far simpler to run each in their own way.
More often than not a simpler experience is a better experience and is the disruptive force that topples company after company in the tech field (and others as well).
To me, the two things, the software development and the blogging, are one and the same. That’s why my site is called Scripting News. It’s about scripting, and it is the result of scripting. It’s news, and it’s the thing used to build news.
[Congrats Dave! Your continuing pursuit of your software ideas and art is a reminder to anyone that Ars Longa. There are no shortcuts. Always keep digging.]
I have gone to buy a computer, and had the salesperson speak to my husband and not to me, even though I am a professional game developer and my husband has trouble using a printer. I have had men in my department throw a Halo launch party and not invite me, assuming that as a woman I have no interest in games. I have had my professional opinion on server purchases overruled by men that were talking over me in meetings, and then watched those men be fired when the systems they purchased didn’t work.
Those life events inform my experiences and opinion. And, they inform my perspective on 2013 Tomb Raider. And, with respect, if you only have people voting on game of the year from a very singular opinion — generally white, straight and male — it’s missing so much information that it loses its validity.
This doesn’t mean guys can’t have awareness of issues affecting women. And it doesn’t mean women have a singular, monolithic opinion on games or even sexism. Even among my female friends, we have vastly differing opinions about 2013 Tomb Raider. Some of us love Bioshock Infinite; some of us hate it. But more viewpoints need to be represented in discussing games. We need more female games journalists who have a more central part of the dialog.
Sometimes, though, you run into a guy with empathy, who takes multiple points of view into account, not just his own. He might not even think of himself as a feminist. When 2011’s Vanquish came out, former IGN editor Ryan Clements was extremely enthusiastic. Then, in the middle of glowing praise of “watching an enemy explode into a cacophony of pieces” and “feeling entire highways crumble away under your feet,” Clements makes the following offhand remark in his video review.
“I say this game needed more badass girls, but that’s just me.”
[I agree. the world needs better representation for girls/women/ other folks etc. Expand the point of view of your company, team, whatever as widely as you can. It raises everyone's level. We also need more folks who are badass at whatever they do and whatever field they do it regardless of gender or other ways people falsely divide themselves. ]
My hope — my expectation, even — for 2014 is that the fog starts to lift.
As much as I like using the fog metaphor, the thing about surveillance is that there is no actual fog. You can’t see it. It’s everywhere and gets in everything, and it still looks like a sunny day on the internet.
[Now that are our eyes are open, and we continue to add to the piles of data companies like Amazon, Google, Twitter, etc. know about us and of course, the vast amounts of data the Government knows about us what do we do? As a technologist I have a few ideas of where I can make things better for some people. And that's what I'm going to do.]
Imagine too, how such glasses would affect something like the proctoring of an exam. A cheater could use their glasses to read the questions (OCR) and give them the answers. It’s not practical to administer all tests within Faraday cages, and for some subjects, like math, you wouldn’t even need network access to facilitate the cheating: just the camera and HUD. ↩
[Up until this last paragraph of the footnote I was in agreement. I find the single use versions much more compelling than the walk about town version. Riding my bike with a HUD? Nice. Operating heavy machinery with an overlay of whatever's important? Sure. Exam proctoring? Tests taken in a classroom? That's not the future.]
There are industries of people throwing money at other people saying they’ve found a breakthrough way of doing X for Y, where X is Instagram and Y is something that couldn’t possibly be a dishwasher because that wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever. There are companies like Everpix who try to fulfill what some other companies are promising and what we all want, but they run out of money. To the extent that they can’t survive because no one wants to pay and all the funding’s gone to Twitter-optimized coupon sites that don’t know five years in how to turn a profit, yeah, we’re screwed.
But we’re not screwed because no one wants to pay for anything and would rather file status updates during Christmas dinner. We’re screwed because no one dares to actually break the mold. No one wants to unhinge everything and fucking fix it. No one wants to stop making photo library apps for 2001 where it’s just cool that you can have those family photos on the computer or the photo sender app for 2006 where you can send pictures to people outside of the room(!) and make the photo library app that will be needed as everything will be going digital, everything will be kept forever and accessible from everywhere and no one will even remember there being a discussion about no one remembering paper copies or rolls of film.
I promised some ideas and there’ll be ideas, but I can’t do this alone. Stop wondering about what version numbers the next versions of Windows and OS X will have. Start wondering about how the hell we’re even getting along with what we have.
Source: Brent Simmons
ongoing by Tim Bray · More Things About TV: Said by “Bob” in the comments:
If consumers are going to be given 4k or 8k, then to “see” that resolution they need to have the frame subtend a large angle at the eye. Either they sit very close to the screen or they have very large screens. Viewers will resist this so long as images continue to be composed for small-screen viewing.
[ I think this is well said, but I suspect there's an age related aspect to this. Noah cannot possibly sit/stand/play close enough to the screen regardless of size. (I grant that the largest screen in the house is a 42" diagonal). Still I doubt that a larger screen would change his desire for immersion and ability to ignore the pixels. So at some collection of distance/acuity/lighting etc. a 4k 80" screen may not have value, but it certainly does for other cases.]
I don’t know if Stephenson is speaking out of cultural deafness or cynicism, but he’s obscuring the point: There is no subsidy. Carriers extend a loan that users pay back as part of the monthly service payment. Like any loan shark, the carrier likes its subscriber to stay indefinitely in debt, to always come back for more, for a new phone and its ever-revolving payments stream.
I was told as much by Verizon. In preparation for this Monday Note, I went to the Palo Alto Verizon store and asked if I could negotiate a lower monthly payment since Verizon doesn’t subsidize my iPhone (for which I had paid full price). Brian, the pit boss, gave me a definite, if not terribly friendly, answer: “No, you should have bought it from us, you would have paid much less (about $400 less) with a 2-year agreement.” My mistake. Verizon wants to be my loan shark.
In the meantime, AT&T has finally followed T-Mobile’s initiative and has unbundled the service cost from the handset. If you pay full price for your smartphone, an AT&T contract will cost you $15 less than with a subsidized phone on a 2-year agreement. This leads one to wonder how long Verizon can keep its current indifferent price structure.
All this leaves carriers with conflicted feelings: They like their iPhone salesman but, like short-sighted bosses who think their top earner makes too much money, they angle for ways to cut commissions down.
On the other side, Apple’s teams must be spending much energy finding ways to keep generating high monthly revenues for their “victims”.
[This system remains quite a mess. Almost as bad as the same folks supplying us our Internet connectivity....]
The device is not without flaws. The Revolv’s current logic doesn’t recognize multiple smartphones. If I happen to leave the geofenced areas, the Revolv doesn’t know that my wife happens to still be in the house and doesn’t want the temperature to drop to 62 degrees. But those are trivial annoyances in an otherwise fantastic device.
[Really a "trivial" annoyance? Seriously people, get a grip. There's nothing trivial about that problem. A complete non-starter for me and my first world problems.]