Technology

Hi Mark, I just read your Facebook post: “Is Connectivity a Human Right?” and I thought I’d share my perspective (and answer) with you. First off, you’ve discovered that not every individual in this world has Internet access. Welcome. I’m a doctoral candidate in sociology up the road from you at UC Berkeley. Yeah, that other Bay Area university. I study social media and social class. In academic-speak, I study how claims of digital democracy clash with structural inequalities. No, I’m not looking for a job at Facebook (even though I am going on the academic job market this fall). In fact, I would never be hired by Facebook, or most any other tech company for that matter, because part of my research involves critically analyzing the Silicon Valley ideology that seeps through your...
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Dear Technology, We've been friends now for quite some time. I was hooked the first time I got onto our family's Tandy computer in 1988. (I would play Space Invaders and Frogger for hours at a time, enthralled at how those pixelly little characters moved.) I listened to vinyls on our record player, and I watched movies on the Betamax. My world was rocked (literally) with the invention of the walkman (later upgraded to a sleek CD model), and for my 13th birthday I got my very own boombox. I was in music heaven, thanks to you. You later blessed me with an iPod, DVD player and DVR, and oh, the bliss...the internet! You've revolutionized my world, affording me opportunities I never dreamed of - from banking and shopping online, to keeping in touch with friends via social media, to...
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Dear Technology, I love you, but if we can’t set boundaries, I will need to break up with you on behalf of my two daughters. Neither of our daughters are allowed to date boys, yet they seem to be dating….well, you. Yes, I’m talking to you, iPad and iPhone. I see the longing in my daughters’ eyes during dinner when you vibrate and light up from afar. And by “afar” I’m referring to a distance of about 10 feet while we attempt a family a discussion over chicken casserole. You and your needy bells and whistles. We need space! I have caught you, iPhone, in bed under the covers with my 11-year old last week. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Yes, it was awkward for both of us, when I pulled you from the grips of her tiny palms, but it was after 10:00 pm. 6th graders need sleep,...
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Dear Science, This is not an easy letter to write. You know I love you very much, and I've always been a huge fan of yours. But this is getting ridiculous, Science. It's 2013. I want you to know that I am not writing this letter from the moon right now. I want you acutely aware of that fact, Science, just in case you weren't sure. I am not writing this from a robot-proof bunker deep beneath the Earth's crust, or from the captain's chair aboard my starship. This letter is being composed on my four-year-old laptop, aboard the U.S.S "my living room reclining chair." I don't mean to pressure you, but we are way behind schedule here. Yes, I know you're working very hard, and sure, you've been doing some great things. But seriously? Where's my flying car? Where's my immortality pill,...
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I recently invested in the Witcher 3 on Xbox One and my what a game! Praise is always heaped on a lot of games during the build up to their launches and often it seems misplaced, but not in this case. But I am not writing this solely to big up the work of CD Projeckt Red, who are the designers. Rather I am looking at how they have set a benchmark to other games studios. It is one of those games that you play where you can immediately head off the beaten track and as a result you find you have no idea which part of the story you are in or how long you've been playing it for. The game is so rich in storytelling quality that it immerses you in its lore and you want to do it all. It has been reported that there is over 200 hours of combat alone in the game and it is the type of...
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Dear Government of India, I am a distressed and concerned Digital Marketer from India, who is very much afraid and in speculation regarding the future of the Digital India in 2015. And via this letter, I am trying to share my concerns in a logical way. To start with, I must admit that you have tried your best to ruin this New Year with your ridiculous decision of banning 32 websites, citing terror threat. Although some good sense prevailed and you decided to unblock 4 websites, but the damage has already been done. Freedom of Speech has been threatened and the whole concept of Democracy is in ruins. Let me share a tweet which our beloved PM Shri Narendra Modi shared in 2012, when the first strike against our fundamental rights was done by the Congress Government: clip_image001...
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Dear Mr. Cox, We have been following with growing concern that Europe has been extending patentability to computer programs. Now European Parliament is about to vote on a directive that could put a stop to this development, or make it worse, depending on how it is amended by the Parliament. US experience shows that, unlike traditional patents, software patents do not encourage innovation and R...
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Dear Mobile Health App Developers, We—patients and caregivers—need your help to reduce the demands of self care. Mobile health (mHealth) apps have enormous potential to lessen our burdens. But our needs are often only loosely related to what clinicians and/or the evidence expect us to do. Most mobile app developers have ignored this fact by designing tools that primarily reflect the imperatives of clinicians and evidence with little or no consultation with us patients about our experiences, our wishes or our requirements. While I can't promise you that consultation with us is the magic key to successful, well-used apps, I can tell you that without it, your app doesn't stand a chance. Two recent experiences prompted me to write you. Each illustrates the gap between the promise of...
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Dear Microsoft As a parent of a teenager, I find that I sometimes have to resort to drastic measures like withholding WiFi access until chores are done. Sometimes, I will change the WiFi password and leave a note in the Teen's computer saying "The WiFi password has changed - do your chores and then I'll tell you what it is" The problem is that Windows 7 then doesn't handle this at all gracefully. Why can't it just pop up a message if it encounters a WPA failure on a network it was previously authenticated to, simply requesting the new password? At the moment, it is necessary to drop the connection to the network, go to "Manage wireless networks" and "Forget" the network, then go back to the tray and re-add the network. This seems to be beyond The Teenager, and as a result...
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Dear Shareholder, As you are aware, Hewlett Packard remains locked in dispute with a group of its own shareholders and with the former management team of Autonomy over its purchase of Autonomy. I write to you today to raise serious concerns about the way HP has conducted this affair, and to put forward a number of questions that HP management should answer. The evidence shows that HP is not just smearing us, but also misleading you, its shareholders. I ask you to help put things right. On November 20th 2012, HP made a series of serious and damaging allegations about the management team of Autonomy. It couched alleged misdeeds in general, rather than specific terms. We emphatically denied all suggestions of wrongdoing. In the 16 months that have followed, HP has not provided...
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