Category: Newsletter

The Thoughtful Web #9: Teens, Things and TMI

This is the lat¬≠est of my semi-reg¬≠u¬≠lar col¬≠lec¬≠tions of links to the best writ¬≠ing about the web and tech¬≠nol¬≠o¬≠gy, infor¬≠ma¬≠tion, soci¬≠ety, sci¬≠ence, and philo¬≠sophy. I also send this out as an email newslet¬≠ter, a for¬≠mat bet¬≠ter suit¬≠ed to the ‚Äėslow web‚Äô ethos I‚Äôm try¬≠ing to sup¬≠port. If you agree, you can sub¬≠scribe to the newslet¬≠ter.

The Links

I promise I‚Äôve read every sin¬≠gle one of these, and can rec¬≠om¬≠mend them all.

The Inter¬≠face Lay¬≠er: Where Design Com¬≠modi¬≠tizes Tech
Scott Bel¬≠sky makes the case that the future of dig¬≠i¬≠tal ser¬≠vices lies in build¬≠ing a sim¬≠ple inter¬≠face over con¬≠ve¬≠nient util¬≠i¬≠ties and ser¬≠vices ‚ÄĒ a reverse of the atom¬≠i¬≠sa¬≠tion of apps and ser¬≠vices we‚Äôre cur¬≠rent¬≠ly seeing.

Mobile First
No, not that mobile first. This is Ben Thomp¬≠son‚Äôs the¬≠o¬≠ry that we‚Äôre see¬≠ing a shift where prod¬≠ucts and ser¬≠vices ‚ÄĒ online and phys¬≠i¬≠cal ‚ÄĒ are under¬≠go¬≠ing changes dri¬≠ven by smart¬≠phone cul¬≠ture. Based on some spec¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tion about an unan¬≠nounced prod¬≠uct, but pret¬≠ty sound the¬≠o¬≠ry nonetheless.

Tech­nol­o­gy Has Made Life Dif­fer­ent, but Not Nec­es­sar­i­ly More Stressful
A study indi¬≠cates that fre¬≠quent inter¬≠net and social media users are no more stressed than those who use tech¬≠nol¬≠o¬≠gy less often, and some women even show a reduc¬≠tion in stress when using dig¬≠i¬≠tal tools. By Claire Cain Miller. I love see¬≠ing data that goes against the gen¬≠er¬≠al narrative.

The Inter¬≠net of Things needs a few SMACS
Scott Jen­son lays out the require­ments for the ThingNet, and it’s more than just the things and a stan­dard protocol.

Europe is Wrong to take a Sledge­ham­mer to Big Google
Search becomes more use­ful the more it knows about you, and forc­ing a breakup of Google would make all of its ser­vices less use­ful. Evge­ny Moro­zov argues that what we need is not to hob­ble big ser­vices, but to pro­vide data reg­u­la­tions to allow thou­sands of small­er com­pa­nies to compete.

Read the full article

Thoughtful Web #8: The Only Way is Ethics

A spe­cial, short, pre-Christ­mas newslet­ter / link dump, with a hand­ful of arti­cles on moral­i­ty and ethics. Con­cepts for us to mull over with mulled wine; prob­lems to be resolved in our New Year’s resolutions.

Tech­nol­o­gy and the Moral Dimension
Om Malik on the emerg­ing tech­nol­o­gy sector’s lack of under­stand­ing of moral imper­a­tive, and the need to add an emo­tion­al and/or moral dimen­sion to the prod­ucts we make. We dis­agree on the need for regulation.

Do Arti­facts Have Ethics?
Fol­low­ing on from Om’s post above, Michael Sacasas pos­es some ques­tions we might ask in order to define the moral dimen­sion of prod­ucts, if one exists.

Col­lab­o­ra­tive Econ­o­my Com­pa­nies Need To Start Shar­ing More Val­ue With The Peo­ple Who Make Them Valuable
That title pret¬≠ty much says it all. Lisa Gan¬≠sky on why the ‚Äėshar¬≠ing econ¬≠o¬≠my‚Äô favours the plat¬≠form own¬≠ers over the participants.

Social¬≠ize Uber
Fur¬≠ther to the link above, more dis¬≠cus¬≠sion of how the ‚Äėshar¬≠ing econ¬≠o¬≠my‚Äô cre¬≠ates a low-wage work¬≠force under the con¬≠trol of tech com¬≠pa¬≠nies. By Mike Kon¬≠czal and Bryce Covert.

When data gets creepy: the secrets we don‚Äôt realise we‚Äôre giv¬≠ing away
Dr Ben Goldacre on the leak¬≠i¬≠ness of our per¬≠son¬≠al data, and the ethics of reveal¬≠ing how much organ¬≠i¬≠sa¬≠tions know about you.

Thoughtful Web #7: Identity, Privacy, and Society

For a few months now I‚Äôve been send¬≠ing a semi-reg¬≠u¬≠lar email newslet¬≠ter con¬≠tain¬≠ing links to some of the most inter¬≠est¬≠ing medi¬≠um-long arti¬≠cles I‚Äôve read, on the sub¬≠ject of soci¬≠ety, tech¬≠nol¬≠o¬≠gy, phi¬≠los¬≠o¬≠phy, cul¬≠ture, and the web. A few peo¬≠ple request¬≠ed that I also pub¬≠lish it in blog form, so as of now you can choose to read The Thought¬≠ful Web here, or get it in your inbox. Per¬≠son¬≠al¬≠ly, I pre¬≠fer email, it more close¬≠ly cap¬≠tures the ‚Äėslow web‚Äô eth¬≠ic I‚Äôm going for; if you agree, why not sub¬≠scribe?

The Links

I promise I‚Äôve read every sin¬≠gle one of these, and can rec¬≠om¬≠mend them all.

Hyper­text as an agent of change
On the nature of the web, and what its share¬≠able nature means for the future of com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ca¬≠tion. Tran¬≠script of a talk by Mandy Brown.

The Group That Rules the Web
Paul Ford explains how web stan¬≠dards are forged, between the W3C and the WHATWG. Intend¬≠ed for a non-tech¬≠ni¬≠cal audi¬≠ence, it‚Äôs also a decent refresh¬≠er for those of us work¬≠ing in the field.

The Secret Life of Passwords
Fas­ci­nat­ing look at why and how we use pass­words, and what they say about us. By Ian Urbina. Per­son­al­ly I find pass­words a pain in the back­side and would like to see them disappear.

Thoughts on Google+
That title real­ly doesn’t do the arti­cle jus­tice; it’s more broad­ly thoughts on pri­va­cy, dig­i­tal iden­ti­ty and rep­u­ta­tion, and the unde­liv­ered promise of Google+. By Chris Messina.

Who pays for us to browse the web? Be wary of Google’s lat­est answer
Evge­ny Moro­zov on Google’s exper­i­ment to allow users to pay to remove ads, track­ing user behav­iour to make dig­i­tal assis­tants, and the web’s ten­den­cy towards neolib­er­al systems.

The Programmer’s Price
Lizzie Wid¬≠di¬≠combe on the Hol¬≠ly¬≠wood agency that‚Äôs rep¬≠re¬≠sent¬≠ing coders. Part of me thinks this smells fun¬≠ny, as it pro¬≠pogates the ‚Äėrock¬≠star‚Äô par¬≠a¬≠digm. On the oth¬≠er hand, why shouldn‚Äôt key work¬≠ers be bet¬≠ter rewarded?

Bea­con, oh Bea­con, where­fore art thou Beacon?
One of the archi¬≠tects of Google‚Äôs new ‚Äėphys¬≠i¬≠cal web‚Äô idea, Scott Jen¬≠son, talks about main¬≠tain¬≠ing con¬≠trol over pri¬≠va¬≠cy in a world of low-cost ubiq¬≠ui¬≠tous Blue¬≠tooth beacons.

The Best

My favourite arti­cle since the last newsletter.

God’s Lone­ly Programmer
For 10 years, a pro­gram­mer with schiz­o­phre­nia has been build­ing an oper­at­ing sys­tem to com­mu­ni­cate with his god. Jesse Hicks writes a thought­ful piece on obses­sion and men­tal illness.


I‚Äôve updat¬≠ed my Speak¬≠ing page to include more con¬≠fer¬≠ences, more videos, and a lit¬≠tle on my speak¬≠ing require¬≠ments and pref¬≠er¬≠ences. I‚Äôm plan¬≠ning to cut down on the num¬≠ber of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to inter¬≠est¬≠ing offers and oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ties, so please get in touch if you‚Äôre organ¬≠is¬≠ing an event.

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