Tag Archives: qotd

Pandora’s Vox

From Carmen Hermosillo’s (aka humdog) 1994 essay Pandora’s Vox

i have seen many people spill their guts on-line, and i did so myself until, at last, i began to see that i had commodified myself. commodification means that you turn something into a product which has a money-value. in the nineteenth century, commodities were made in factories, which karl marx called “the means of production.” capitalists were people who owned the means of production, and the commodities were made by workers who were mostly exploited. i created my interior thoughts as a means of production for the corporation that owned the board i was posting to, and that commodity was being sold to other commodity/consumer entities as entertainment. that means that i sold my soul like a tennis shoe and i derived no profit from the sale of my soul. people who post frequently on boards appear to know that they are factory equipment and tennis shoes, and sometimes trade sends and email about how their contributions are not appreciated by management.

Seventeen years later, it’s still the same, but in one sense it’s worse. Before it was just selling ads based on traffic. Now we’re processing the text of your posts for sentiment. Processing your social connections to determine whether your or one of your friends are more of an “influencer.” We’re trying to peer into meaning. Typically the concerns about text-mining / social-network-analysis / big-data revolve around privacy, which I believe mostly clouds the issue.

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If Your Child Reads Only One Book…

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

John Rodgers

Silicon Valley, Lasers, and Airplanes

The San Francisco Bay Area, has two airports in the top five for laser-aircraft incidents according to the FAA. While the FAA didn’t release the total number of incidents, the relative ranking of the airports are are:

  1. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor
  4. Mineta San Jose
  5. Oakland

Money quote from the article:

The U.S. Marshals Service Office theorizes it may be due to the number of people involved or interested in high tech. While some portion of the laser shooters are thought to be middle-aged methamphetamine users looking for thrills, other shooters are young, well-educated and interested in science, science fiction and are tech-savvy, officials believe.

SFO? Where are you?

Users and Choice

People will often want more information than they can actually process. Having more information makes people feel that they have more choices. Having more choices makes people feel in control. Feeling in control makes people feel they will survive better.

The Psychologist’s View of UX Design by Susan Weinschenk

versus

Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.

Barry Schwartz, “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less”, 2004, Chapter 5

via Unknown 8 Bit

The Cult of Done Manifesto

This has been kicking around the tubes for a while, but
Bre Pettis of Make, Thingiverse, and of NYC Resistor fame, along with Kio Stark have written what they call The Cult of Done Manifesto. It’s only 13 lines, but it boils down to the same sage advice that’s been around for years.

  1. Start today.
  2. Build one to throw away.
  3. Nothing is ever finished.
  4. Nothing succeeds like success