Taglinux

Mutation Vectors: Tech Hell Edition

office-space

Status Update

Up is down and down is up. That’s the default “natural” setting on my new MacBook Pro’s trackpad. As a long-time Windows and Linux user, I find that this perfectly sums up the entirety of the Apple experience for me thus far.

See below for my Apple and Linux rants for more on my current experience of tech-hell. But first, a run down of why Twitter has started to suck for many people.

Browsing

I’ve got a ton of stuff in Pocket for reading, perhaps over the weekend, but I don’t have much for you today. But I did really enjoy’s Alan Jacob’s sequence of posts on the state of Twitter, which hits many of my own issues with the Twitter right now, and a few others besides:

I’m not so famous or female that I get inundated with harassment on my timeline, but I do find myself yearning for more granularity in terms of what I see and share.

Many of my friends are nostalgic for Live Journal, which did indeed do a good job of providing that granularity. But I’d hazard a guess that most of us have far more connections on Twitter and Facebook today than we did on LiveJournal in, say, 2005. That makes trying to deal with grouping friends a much more daunting task, especially if you’re starting with a big list of basically everyone you know and need to figure out which groups to put each person in.

Today Google Plus and Facebook offer similar features for publishing posts visible only to only pre-defined groups of people, but I don’t know how widely used they are. And the hassle of trying to categorize a couple-few hundred people into neat groups is a big part of what keeps me from bothering with those features.

Still, if we were able to share stuff on Twitter based on Lists (remember those?), maybe that would be something. Though I’m not sure I’d be willing to spend the time to make a bunch of new lists — I pretty much gave up on that idea back in 2010 or 2011 when Twitter hid that functionality and us worry that it would go away entirely.

Which is another part of the problem: we have no idea which new Facebook or Twitter features will stick around more than a couple months. Why spend time getting used to something when some A/B tester might say “hey, this feature isn’t getting enough traction, let’s hide it to stream line the interface and move those engineering resources elsewhere”?

The indie web can potentially help solve the disappearing feature problem (though most of us will still be at the mercy of what the developers of the software we depend on decide to do). But it could also make granularity more difficult, at least without some widely adopted decentralized authentication system.

(Or we could all just start multiple different e-mail newsletters…)

Watching

On brighter note: season 8 of The Trailer Park Boys just hit Netflix!

Listening

On a darker note, in a good way: Earth’s new album Primitive and Deadly is out!

Continue reading

Mindful Cyborgs: Robotic Emoting Baristas from Enterprise Precariat

Mindful Cyborg

This week on Mindful Cyborgs Chris Dancy and I discuss the rise of the “precariat” and what it means for the future of work:

One thing that’s really been on my mind with regards the Marketplace story about the BART transit strike and the tech industries’ response to that. There was a quote from the CEO of UserVoice, Richard White, and he said, “One of the guys in our team said he’d be putting in his two weeks’ notice once he found out what he could make working for BART.” White said jokingly. His solution to address those disgruntled BART workers, get them back to work, pay them whatever they want and then figure out how to automate their jobs so that this doesn’t happen again.

People have been talking about the automation of work and how technology is potentially displacing workers and there’s a good book on this called Race Against the Machine by some MIT academics. But you don’t really see a lot of tech CEOs who are openly calling for blue-collar workers, or any workers, to be replaced by technology. Forrester even did a report a couple years ago suggesting that tech company’s downplay the potential of technologies to replace workers. So, it’s really unusual to see the CEO of a tech company just openly saying, “I want these meddling workers to be replaced by machines. So the inconvenience that it causes me has diminished.”

It was a pretty surprising thing to see somebody really just come right out and say and there’s this subtext to it that really bothers me as well, the bit about, “Oh, you know, one of my workers was going to quit and go work for BART,” just suggesting that they already get paid too much even though as noted in the article they’re not actually making what their family needs to get by in the area. The BART workers aren’t. There is this sort of subtext like anybody who’s not part of the tech industry doesn’t deserve to get paid a living wage. That was really disturbing to me.

You can download the episode on Soundcloud, from iTunes or download the MP3 directly.

More notes, plus the full transcript inside.

Continue reading

OLPC Cuts Staff by Half, Drops Sugar Development

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, has announced that his organization will be cutting half its staff and ending in-house development of Sugar, the Linux-based operating system that ships on its tiny XO Children’s Machine laptops.

Even though the OLPC project has been praised by the mainstream media, the free software elite and humanitarian organizations for its goal to supply low-cost, educational computers to developing countries with little or no technology infrastructure, the project has been beset by a host of problems and delays. The worldwide economic downturn has slowed hardware orders, but the project was largely sidelined by the revolution it helped create — a wave of low-cost, low-powered laptops built to run Windows, like Intel’s similar Classmate PC. Now, even the OLPC project is transitioning to Windows after realizing it’s what customers want. […]

Sugar will continue to grow, thanks to Sugar Labs, an open community founded by OLPC-er Walter Bender dedicated to building up the OS.

Full Story: Wired

Netvibes Founder Building Linux-based Operating System For Netbooks

His solution is an elegant new software stack called Jolicloud – users will download Jolicloud to their Netbooks and then install it. Whatever operating system and software is on the computer will be wiped off, and replaced with a stripped down Linux operating system and custom browser. […]

For competition, check out Good OS, which is another stripped down operating system that’s perfect for low end PCs. Good OS is different, though, in that the company is targeting device manufacturers to add it as a dual boot option. Jolicloud is going straight to the consumer to encourage them to try it out.

Full Story: TechCrunch

Coby $100 laptop was a hoax

A number of prominent websites have recently reported that Coby Electronics, a company that specialized in manufacturing low-end electronic devices is preparing to launch its own line of systems. Dubbed “Midget PCs,” it’s been widely reported that these Linux-based portables will feature 7″-9″ screens, use a Chinese “Longsoon” processor, and cost just $100. It’s Nicholas Negroponte’s dream of a $100 laptop made possible by Chinese technology, right?

Well, no, probably not. There are a couple of interesting hardware tidbits in the story—more on those below, but there are several more fishy things about this. For one thing, as Ross Rubin of NPD pointed out on his blog, the original story lifts a quote he apparently made two years ago, and presents it as a new statement. Rubin contacted Coby Electronics himself, and was told by the company’s PR representatives that “this story, or any announcement regarding a netbook, was not (emphasis theirs) initiated, condoned, or approved by Coby Electronics.” The story itself was dismissed as erroneous.

Full Story: Ars Technica

(via Robot Wisdom)

Popularity of hobbies by geographic location

An interesting thing about Meetup, a web site for organizing local interest groups, is that it ranks cities by number of people signed up for certain meets.

  • Burning Man City: Seattle
  • Body Modifcation City: Toronto, ON (# 2 is Tel Aviv)
  • Discordian City: Seattle
  • Magickal City: Charlotte, NC
  • Smart mob City: Denver
  • Coffee City: Chicago (Seattle was only # 6)
  • Comics City: New York
  • Dumpster Diving City: New York
  • Straight Edge City: Providence, RI
  • Pagan Parenting City: St. Louis, MO
  • Amiga City: Tel Aviv
  • Newly Single City: Toronto, ON
  • X-Men City: London (with a whopping 2 members)
  • Japanese Pop City: Houston
  • EFF City: Austin
  • Nanotech City: Minneapolis

    What’s big, city by city?

  • Tel Aviv: Pagan
  • Rio: Linux
  • Moscow: Britney Spears
  • Perth: Goth
  • Madrid: Russell Crowe
  • Cairo: Knitting
  • Stockholm: Body Modification
  • Prague: Vampire (not the game apparently…)
  • New Delhi: Sex and the City
  • Islamabad, Pakistan: Gilmore Girls
  • © 2019 Technoccult

    Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑