Category Archives: technology

All Technologies Are Faustian Bargins

(Via Nick Wooster.)

You Are the Product

Most people would say ‘we’re the users, and the product is advertising.’ But in fact the advertisers are the users and you are the product. They say their goal is to gather all the knowledge in the world in one place, but really their goal is to gather all of the people in the world and sell them.

Don Norman on Google

(Via Michael Leddy.)



Related reading: Neil Strauss’s “The Insidious Evils of ‘Like’ Culture.”

Underseas Cables in 1901

Further reading.


A Salve on Our Communal Doubt

Technology acts as a salve on our communal doubt. ‘Will they like me?’ ‘Will I be accepted?’ ‘Are my teeth white enough?’ ‘Buy this and you’re OK!’ Can you imagine Picasso asking, ‘Will they like this painting?’ Or Van Gogh saying, ‘Will they understand what I’m doing?’ Those guys were like, ‘Fuck you, I got something to do. I have an idea. I don’t care what you think. Thick paint, you don’t like it? Then get the fuck out of here!’

—Melvin Sokolsky, Wraparound Magazine 1.4 (2004): 16.

A 19-Year-Old’s View of the Universe

Scott Berkun on The Social Network:

The film has been criticized for poorly portraying women, which is true, but this misses how the film poorly portrays everyone. Nearly every character is an embarrassment in some significant way, and the movie is largely criticizing the shallowness of elites (Harvard, Silicon valley, lawyers, VCs, the upper class, etc.). The movie is a critique of the kinds of people who would choose to profit from changing the world based on the model of “facebooks” (e.g. yearbooks), relationship status and friending people. The point is: it’s a 19 or 20 year old view of the universe, for better and, as the movie emphasizes, for worse.



Jonathan Franzen’s writing routine:

He writes six or seven days a week, starting at 7 a.m. He’s often hoarse at the end of the day because he performs his dialogue out loud as he writes it…. Franzen works in a rented office that he has stripped of all distractions. He uses a heavy, obsolete Dell laptop from which he has scoured any trace of hearts and solitaire, down to the level of the operating system. Because Franzen believes you can’t write serious fiction on a computer that’s connected to the Internet, he not only removed the Dell’s wireless card but also permanently blocked its Ethernet port. “What you have to do,” he explains, “is you plug in an Ethernet cable with superglue, and then you saw off the little head of it.”


Facts About the Internet

The History of RickRolling


Long Live Analog

To me, a printed Wired mag feels more “advanced” than its iPad equivalent. Bigger, flexible, cheaper, shareable. Long live analog.Tue Jun 01 18:12:29 via Twitter for iPhone

Related post: “Books vs. E-Books.”

What We Needed to Think About

What we needed to know about cars … is not how to use them but how they use us. In the case of cars, what we needed to think about in the early twentieth century was not how to drive them but what they would do to our air, our landscape, our social relations, our family life and our cities.

Neil Postman