Items tagged technology

On conference calls, beauty, futile protests, and the impossibility of capturing the real world.
One of the problems with our information age is that there's always something incoming, demanding our attention. Podcasts and RSS feeds are great, but sometimes they can feel like a bit of a chore, another thing for the to-do list. I’m the kind of person who wants to live in a state of inbox zero - I have a minor freakout when I see the number of unread messages some people have.
Why we needed the MiniDisc to help us get Spotify, and why Uber for dogs makes sense to us
We're moving house soon, and we're planning to rent out the flat we live in now. We could use an estate agent, and get the flat up on all the usual property boards. But, in the spirit of the IndieWeb, and because we don't want to pay commission to agents, we decided to put up our own website advertising the flat. As with most developers, as soon as I had the idea of a project, my mind was racing with possibilities, and I had to stop myself from jumping straight into a code editor.
OK, so the title is maybe a little irrelevant and inflammatory, but what's wrong with a little clickbait once in a while? I like to feel as if I'm taking the moral high ground because I don't use Uber. They epitomise the worst excesses of Silicon Valley "disruption" and I think they are a negative force in the world.
I don’t want to perpetuate the stereotype of engineers as introverted geeks, but a lot of inventions lately seem to be ways to avoid talking to people. It may not be the actual goal of the inventions, but frequently a side-effect of progress is that we have less need to talk to strangers, less need of human interaction.
Writing helps to clarify your thoughts, and I should do more of it. I used to do it a lot, when I had more time on my own. Work, marriage and parenthood get in the way, but there isn't really an excuse - it's always possible to make time for something if you value it enough. You just have to stop spending time doing something else. The most difficult part is starting. Getting a first draft is an enormous step.
What is different about 'computer people'? Most of the working population of this country either use computers every day, or used them at school, so why are people still afraid of them? As Arthur C Clarke put it, "advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic", and a surprisingly high number of people just 'don't understand computers'. Or at least that's what they tell themselves.