Category: autonomy

  • Don’t let federation make the experience suck

    I’m pessimistic about federated architectures for new end-user products, like Mastodon. But, I could be wrong. In fact, I’d love to be wrong on this one. So since Blaine fairly called me out for implying that the fediverse can’t be better than Twitter, I’m gonna try to help, at least at first by pushing on […]

  • the responsibility we have as software engineers

    I had the chance to chat this week with the very awesome Kate Heddleston who mentioned that she’s been thinking a lot about the ethics of being a software engineer, something she just spoke about at PyCon Sweden. It brought me back to a post I wrote a few years ago, where I said: There’s this […]

  • browser extensions = user freedom

    The web browser has become the universal trusted client. That can be good: users can mostly rely on their browsers to isolate their banking site from the other web sites they visit. It can also be bad for users’ freedom: Facebook can encourage the world to add “Like” buttons everywhere, and suddenly users are being […]

  • the genius of Steve Jobs: he makes you want the lock-in

    Steve Jobs is a genius for many reasons, but one reason that may be under-appreciated is his unparalleled ability to convince users that he’s locking them into his platforms for their own good. Consider Jobs’s latest letter explaining why he won’t accept Flash on the iPhone/iPad. Most of the letter is right on: Adobe’s Flash […]

  • What Nick Carr doesn’t get: hobbyists are the canary in the coal mine

    I told myself I wouldn’t write about the iPad anymore, but I have to. Nick Carr has joined the John Gruber club, by calling us Luddites: What these folks are ranting against, or at least gnashing their teeth over, is progress – or, more precisely, progress that goes down a path they don’t approve of. […]

  • Myth: the app store will protect you and prevent user confusion

    An interesting thing happened with the Apple AppStore this weekend: This weekend, as hundreds of thousands of people explored their iPads […] they found […] an application called Facebook Ultimate, featuring a sleek version of the familiar ‘f’ logo. The application quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the App Store’s top selling […]

  • “It’s a tradeoff” and other uni-dimensional thinking

    Many folks, like John Gruber, are responding to criticisms of the iPad’s closed ecosystem with the “it’s a tradeoff” idea: to have such a great computer, you need to lock it down. Some use the argument that Linux has never conquered the desktop, so there, open is incompatible with good usability (I’m looking at you […]

  • The Accidental Tinkerer, Unexpected Lock-in, and Fatherhood

    Ben Fry recently explained his concerns about the iPad: I want to build software for this thing. I’m really excited about the idea of a touch-screen computing platform that’s available for general use from a known brand who has successfully marketed unfamiliar devices to a wide audience. [..] It represents an incredible opportunity, but I […]

  • The Great Content Lockdown of 2010

    I had an invigorating and thought-provoking chat with my good friend Oliver Roup today. We agreed that the Apple iPad is going to be an unbelievable success. I’ve thought from day one that it would be huge, but I think it will be bigger than huge. Before the end of the summer, millions of people […]

  • a prediction regarding the Apple “Tablet”

    Why a prediction? Eh, cause it’s fun and cause I think the Apple Tablet will have a large impact on consumer computing. I think Apple will launch a tablet computer in January that will be aimed at saving TV and print journalism. On-demand video and on-demand print magazines and newspapers will be at the forefront. […]

  • The erosion of our expectation of autonomy, and the Kindle Pledge

    As much as DRM bothers me, I’ve tolerated some implementations of it, specifically Apple iTunes, Apple’s iPhone App Store, and the Amazon Kindle, because I’ve gotten more value than pain out of them. And, usually, the DRM didn’t get in the way. But the slippery slope of DRM has reached a dangerous point with the […]

  • Quis custodiet Hawk-Eye?

    This past Sunday, I watched the awesome Wimbledon Finals, and I couldn’t help but notice the number of times that Hawk-Eye, the computerized “line-calling” system, overruled the human judges, even the Umpire regarding one particularly important point. The sports commentators repeatedly alluded to “trouble” with the Hawk-Eye system, so today I looked it up. Sure […]