Monthly Archives: January 2004

Elizabeth has a great post on her blog (which is rapidly becoming a favourite) about the orthodoxy of ubicomp future visions:

“I love the ways our visions of the future never quite see the real changes to come: who could imagine now a world in which female military officers wear miniskirts? We’re always crucially wrong on those small details — and the larger cultural changes that create them.

But one vision of the future seems to remain constant: the idea that somehow computers will magically read our hearts and minds, then respond appropriately”

My shorthand for this sort of thing:

“There’ll be Spandex jackets – one for everyone”

Then Chris finds this neat counterpoint:

Aaron Marcus: 12 Myths of Mobile Device User-Interface Design

Developers share many illusions and delusions about mobile-device user-interface design. In the UI development world, there are many assumptions or myths floating around about the future of mobile devices. Myths are useful in civilizations. They summarize inherited wisdom and guide us to the future. Some become obsolete, like the ones about the flat earth and the sun as the center of the universe. Let’s make sure our ideas about mobile device UI design remain fresh and useful.A 35-year veteran of user-interface design pops a few conceptual balloons and puts a few new twists on others.

Myth: Users want power and aesthetics. Features are everything.
Myth: What we really need is a Swiss army knife.
Myth: 3G is here!
Myth: Focus groups and other traditional market analysis tools are the best way to determine user needs.
Myth: If it works in Silicon Valley, it will work anywhere.
Myth: The killer app will be games, er, no, I mean, horoscopes, or
Myth: Mobile devices will essentially be phones, organizers, or combinations, with maybe music/video added on.
Myth: The industry is converging on a UI standard.
Myth: Highly usable systems are just around the corner.
Myth: One underlying operating system will dominate.
Myth: Mobile devices will be free-or nearly free.
Myth: Advanced data-oriented services are just around the corner.”

Myth systems and orthodoxies in design and strategy for technology… Hmm. Kuhn I guess talks about it in science – what about design and technology, which goes through paradigmic change far more quickly I’d assume. Any notable thought and writing on this you know of? Peter?

As explored in The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet.

From Eugene Thacker’s review at Rhizome:

“One of the common dissatisfactions with interactivity on the Web is that telepresence is not, well, presence. Certainly some of the more interesting new media projects have deconstructed our assumptions concerning presence and the sense of “really” being there. But, when it comes down to it, we are faced with the experience that you and I in our separate computer-hovels chatting over CU-SeeMe, is not the same as you and I having drinks in a cozy bar. This difference has prompted talk of a qualitative difference between two essentially different modes of communication and interaction, each contingent upon a variety of factors (technology, class, cultural difference, race, geography, language, etc.). The “noise” that often comes through is not just technical, but
can also be social.

Part of the problem of computer-mediated communication has to do with the status of the body in the interaction–or rather, the state of “embodiment.” We all want our communication and interactions to be as transparent as possible, and there is a sense in which physical presence plays an important part in giving us that feeling of authenticity, of transparency. But how do we address the importance of embodiment when dealing with technologies such as the Web?

This is one of the main questions in Ken Goldberg’s new anthology, “The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet” (MIT Press, 2000) Using the term “telepistemology” to talk about how knowledge is transmitted, produced, and circulated on the net, Goldberg has assembled a collection of different perspectives on tele-robotics, as both a technological and a cultural issue

“To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

Sigmund Freud’s work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society’s belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man’s ultimate goal.”

A fantastic series, and unfortunately not available on bittorrent… First watched this in parallel to reading The Filth, which was a helluva combo.

» BBC Four: The century of the self