Category Archives: Technology

This whole information business

One of the many revelations from reading Jon Gertner’s magisterial history of Bell Labs, is learning more about the story of Claude Shannon. He was one of any visionaries at the labs, but seems to have been preeminent amongst a … Continue reading

Packets

Nice little movie that simply describes how packet switching allows the page you’re now reading to get delivered to you in under a second:

Incommunicado

As J.B. Priestley noted – “The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” – a thought captured elegantly in this series of photos documenting our obsession with mobile phones by Benjamin McMahon

Anatomy of Distraction

Anyone who has a Smartphone or who lives with or mixes with people who own Smartphone – which is basically everyone in the Western world – will be able to relate to this nicely observed little film. An age old … Continue reading

The Universal Machine

“It can be anything you want it to be. This is the nearest we have got to seeing what I would call a universal machine.” David Hockney, in a 2010 interview

Avatars of the political process

“Drones are avatars of the the political process: they are instantiations of a set of ideologies and beliefs, made visible by their reification in electromechanical systems. When we talk about drones, we are really talking about the politics that demand, … Continue reading

Possessive companies

Typically sharp and incisive piece by Benedict Evans on the tendency for companies to think, and talk, about owning their customers. He relates this specifically to Google Glass but the point relates to all and every business that slips into … Continue reading

Orwell vs. Huxley

Since NSA surveillance became apparent with the leaks by Edward Snowden, sales of Orwell’s 1984 have leapt. Orwell’s view of the future was one in which power deprives us of our liberties. This nice comic strip, via Farnham St blog, … Continue reading

On Fear

Mark Bernstein on digital education Fear of The Digital runs deep. (….) Our fears are nowhere more visible than in our idiosyncratic compulsion to repeatedly study the same tired, settled questions. Do computers improve writing? Do links improve reading?…. (…) … Continue reading

Should you check your email?

Painfully spot on, via Explore

Social serfs?

From a thought-provoking Paul Ford article in the New York Magazine on the $1bn Facebook Instagram deal: “When people write critically about Facebook, they often say that “you are the product being sold,” but I think that by now we … Continue reading

Selling fridges to Eskimos

I gave a talk yesterday to the Local Government Group / The Young Foundation’s Ageing Well Learning Lab at the Design Council. I was asked to talk about Realising Technology’s Potential. My brief was to be provocative. Much of the … Continue reading

Visions of the Future

“In the future, using the internet will be as common as using the telephone services we have today” Two ‘vision videos’ – one from Microsoft in 2011 and the other from Apple circa 1987 and the ensuing debate between two … Continue reading

Devices vs. Things

“The stereo as a device contrasts with the instrument as a thing. A thing, in the sense in which I want to use the term, has an intelligible and accessible character and calls forth skill and active human engagement, A … Continue reading

7 things about technology that an ageing charity might need to know

Last week I gave a talk to the board of Helpage International, a large, very global ageing charity. I had a ‘simple’ brief. Talk to a very varied board – with members from Sri Lanka, USA, Latin America, India, Sri … Continue reading

Facebook Demographics Infographic

via Given my interest in Facebook, maybe I should be on it? 

Nudging Older Drivers

  ILC-UK, a London based think tank that focus exclusively on ageing related matters, launched a report today on older drivers. Specifically, it addresses how ideas from the ‘nudge’ agenda can be applied to the self-regulation of older drivers.  The … Continue reading

Facebook: No country for old men?

I’ve been banging on for ages about the massive rise in the use of Facebook by older people. I’ve been posing as an advertisier and tracking the audience reach Facebook claims to provide to over 65s for over three years … Continue reading

Asimov and the internet

For all those who love the history of the past's ideas about the future: "Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, … Continue reading

Solitude and Sociality?

 "It is what the internet lures out of us – hubris, daydreams, avarice, obsessions – that makes it so potent and so volatile. TV's power is serenely impervious; it does all the talking, and we can only listen or turn … Continue reading

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