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a cacophony of ramblings

Category: Technology (Page 2 of 4)

Intelligence

Our Intelligence Services may claim that they need new powers to facilitate online surveillance, but it seems the self-proclaimed muhajirun in Syria are not quite so tech-savvy.

It took me roughly two seconds to find the twitter account of an individual named in news reports today — and glean all sorts of information about their apparent location, recruiting methods, ideological worldview and associates (who are also using wide-open Twitter accounts).

I don’t know if the smartphone generation realise this, but everything that they post on Twitter via an App is viewable by the entire world via a web browser (unless they set their account to private). And you don’t even need a Twitter account to do that.

While I’m not advocating spying on your children, it is true that if parents tried to familiarise themselves with internet technology just a little, they would be well on the way to protecting their children from harm.

If you’re going to give your children smartphones, tablets and laptops, educate yourselves about risks associated with them. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to fix a family friend’s laptop because they didn’t install anti-virus software — or they did, but their internet browsing and downloading habits wreaked havoc. But one example of a multitude of risks associated with Internet use.

It is not acceptable anymore to be generous in spirit — giving your children expensive gadgets — and yet remain oblivious to their effects. Use your intelligence and do whatever it takes to keep your children out of harm’s way.

Computer says no

Everyone seems to think software can magically fix all their problems.

I am the irritating app developer at work who constantly insists that real upgrade we need is in the way we think.

The reason most of these projects fail is because people forget to use their brains: to plan, put processes in place and use their intellect to manage content.

I’ll keep on keep on saying this until they show me the door, but they still just don’t get it.

The demise of brilliance

I always seem to develop a soft-spot for unpopular tablet user interfaces.

First there was WebOS (which barely saw the light of day). Then BlackBerry’s Playbook (I spent many a lunchtime in PCWorld, swiping between apps). And now Windows 8.1 on the brilliant Surface (which Microsoft now seems intent on destroying).

In each case, greedy corporations, eyeing world domination, refuse to accommodate niche markets and prematurely kill products with great potential.

The mass market will always trash great ideas.

Dear Microsoft,

The key lesson you should have learned from the Windows 8 palava is, “Don’t piss people off”.

Assuming this is the lesson you’ve learned, please take note that users like the Windows 8.1 experience on a tablet.

If you dick around with that for Windows 10, a lot of people will be pissed of all over again.

Give desktop users their Start menu back, but just leave the start screen alone for the rest of us.

Yours sincerely,

Windows X

I’m not sure that I like the way Windows 10 is shaping up. I’m one of those few people who really like Windows 8.1 (on a tablet). Swiping gestures, the charms bar, multi-tasking… they all make sense to me.

Granted that Windows 10 is a work in progress and far from the finished product… but so far it feels like they’ve removed all the really nice features of Windows 8, washed all the colour out of it and built a Windows 7 – OSX hybrid.

But maybe I’m just a grumpy technologist, overwhelmed by too much choice.

Cutting through the noise

So I have withdrawn once again – or at least I have closed the door to Facebook. So I am heading for the hills once more – metaphorically speaking. It used to be that in times of crisis we would pull together and seek refuge in like-minded company. But on the internet this time, all we encounter is extreme polarisation. I don’t want to be a part of it. The perpetual cascade of news, opinions and stupidity is too much. The flood of excuses, conspiracy theories and discovered double-standards helps nobody – it just makes us reactionaries.

It was a tough decision. There are those I benefit from immensely, who I will miss. They have become true friends, although thousands of miles may separate us. But sometimes it is necessary to pull the plug – to go Cold Turkey, if you will – when the harm seems to outweigh the benefit. For me, the internal agitation to constantly check for updates, feedback, responses and the latest news. The new micro-rituals of reaching for a phone, or tablet, or switching tabs on the web browser to just quickly check, fifty times a day. A habit first thing in the morning and last thing at night. A growing dependence – an egocentric urge to be always connected to others elsewhere. No time for a break, for quiet reflection, for pause for thought, for silence. It is said, “A wise person once said nothing.” Social media makes no space for nothing.

For me, it was becoming like an addiction, preventing me from venturing out for the evening prayer. Or from making time for supplication and reflection. I could spend hours every evening doing very little, except follow a steady stream of articles, videos and unfounded, spurious claims. There would be no time to read a book. No time to study or learn something. In short, perhaps I have wasted two years of my life.

Yes, I make it sound so bad. What an incredible exaggeration! In truth I have benefited from the experience. I have made new friends. I have benefitted from others. But there is a balance, and sometimes it is hard to get that balance right. Years ago I took the same approach to another addiction. Some people viewed my response as an extreme reaction, but for me it was one of the best decisions I ever made. If you lack the self-restraint which allows you to act with moderation, sometimes the only course of action is to shut down the avenues to return to it completely.

Even now I am feeling the cravings for the news feed, but I am determined to turn back the clock a little, to that era before permanent connectivity. Who remembers the 1990s, or a time before that when we could exist without this perpetual narcissism? Yes, we should live in the age we find ourselves in, not in an imaginary past. But so too must we discover a way of living that provides equilibrium. For me, right now, the way ahead is to make time away from the glowing panels of glass. To make space for paper, driving rain and nothingness. An interlude away from the noise which populates too much of our lives.

in our time

Should we be excited about Intel Curie – or should we be worried?

Should we be excited about Drones which can fly by themselves using Intel’s RealSense technology – or should we flinch in horror at what is to come?

Will it be a brave new world – or Brave New World?

Made in China

I guess the £15 wireless mouse and keyboard combo I just bought was made by slaves in China. Awkward realisation. But there was no way I was going to pay £110 for the proper keyboard (which was probably also made by slaves in China, but sold at a massive mark up). Yes, I want it all cheap. Yes, I am compromised. Life in the twenty-first century.

Koltuk Sosyalist

Yasal Uyarı: Bu anti-kapitalist bir video 2,349 TL maliyet bir iphone yapıldı.

Gratitude for our age

I don’t like to get emotional about an inanimate object, but sometimes you do just have to express your wonderment at advances in technology.

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