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. ]
So I’d think twice about deciding your online persona is “righteous asshole.” If it seems like a good idea, think two more times. You are not speaking truth to power. It is not a litmus test for determining your true friends. You are not guaranteed that only the “right” people will be pissed off. And you will build an audience that rewards you for being unkind—which makes it all too easy to cross lines you shouldn’t. When you get called on it, it’s too late to rip off your asshole mask and protest that’s not who you really are.
And it’s not just keyboards. It’s ebook readers. Flashlights. Not your smartphone, but the removable battery in your smartphone. (Have you noticed it running down just a little bit faster?) Your toaster and your kettle are just the start. Could your electric blanket be spying on you? Koomey’s law is going to keep pushing the power consumption of our devices down even after Moore’s law grinds to a halt: and once Moore’s law ends, the only way forward is to commoditize the product of those ultimate fab lines, and churn out chips for pennies. In another decade, we’ll have embedded computers running some flavour of Linux where today we have smart inventory control tags—any item in a shop that costs more than about £50, basically. Some of those inventory control tags will be watching and listening to us; and some of their siblings will, repurposed, be piggy-backing a ride home and casing the joint.
The possibilities are endless: it’s the dark side of the internet of things. If you’ll excuse me now, I’ve got to go wallpaper my apartment in tinfoil …
[Know your sources folks, it's going to get worse before it gets better. And since I am one of those folks that for years has been waiting for all these devices to talk to each other for my good, it's obvious that I'll have to do stuff to make sure I understand how they're doing what they're doing and if anyone else has joined the party without my knowing.]
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.]