Archive for the ‘Me Myself&I’ Category

MPG: over 9000

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Hey, that stuff was supposed to be quite impossible when I was a kid.

Combustion engines have gotten so much better and are still improving, that’s pretty crazy. We are going to need those old school gas-powered cars, as there will be a shortage of cobalt for car batteries in a few years. EVs are not going to become cheap anytime soon.

Fearbook

Friday, August 18th, 2017

I often think about FB these days. 2 billion people, what an achievement. The engineering part stimulates my brain like crazy. It’s a feature to connect so many people seamlessly, even more so earlier when they didn’t have unlimited cash flow.

But then of course I think about the implications of such a giant network. I keep thinking about the fact that FB knows when we give up. It’s one thing to know where we’re going online, what we buy or secretly want and sell that data to advertisers but it’s another thing to know when we stop giving a shit. The breaking point when we collectively don’t protest anymore. FB knows more and more how and exactly when we become docile. Knowing that at the scale of countries and entire regions of the world, for every generation alive and being able to run tests and tweak things to see what happens? That’s ridiculously powerful and unprecedented. FB learns more everyday, and with people on the Facebook’s board who also are heavily involved in politics and AI development, I feel concerned.

I’m not feeling it.

You have new notifications

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness.

Do not buy phones to your kids.

It’s interesting because it’s mobile screen activity more than others. On a laptop you can create, make things, play deep games. On a phone social media wins all the time, it’s the perfect form factor and perfect interaction for it.

Every generation deals with the world with new tools previous generations did not have. Because the world has not decided on a lot of things, kids compensate and do what they can. Gen X parents, brainwashed by news, think that the neighborhood is worst than ever –it’s not- and prefer to have their kids around, who are turning into zombies more than we ever have been.

The comments section focuses on who did what in the past. It doesn’t matter anymore. What we can ponder and think about is the future and VR/AR. It really feels like we should fix a bunch of stuff in the world –UBI, what do we do once we’re over 50- before a new generation grows up on almost 100% digital world being more important than the actual world.

It’s probably too late already. Maybe not!

UI Infantilization

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Beauty of the internet right there: I was reading Scott McCloud’s interview at No Don’t Die. In there, a reference to a Simon Pegg’s blog post. Who in it, talks about Jean Baudrillard, a well-known French sociologist. Simon writes:

Recent developments in popular culture were arguably predicted by the French philosopher and cultural theorist, Jean Baudrillard in his book, ‘America’, in which he talks about the infantilization of society. Put simply, this is the idea that as a society, we are kept in a state of arrested development by dominant forces in order to keep us more pliant. We are made passionate about the things that occupied us as children as a means of drawing our attentions away from the things we really should be invested in, inequality, corruption, economic injustice etc.

I was thinking about User Interface these days. Circled icons and pictures. rounded corners everywhere. Why? To make us feel like we are safe, playing. To make us feel like those companies are soft and cozy, that they are not harmful despite the fact that they have access to everything we do online and use that to leverage money in a way (ads) or another (investor’s money). Do not forget that they know exactly how long we stay online, what we click, what we look at etc.

Emojis is the culminating point. It’s not cute, it’s language’s infantilization right there. Icons everywhere instead of words is the same tactic. I was looking at iOS 11 and how there was one thing where they had to write what it was for (screen mirroring) because you can get confused on a sign, but not on a word. Words are strong, you can’ really interpret them. They say what they say. Images and symbols on the other hand are open to interpretation, always will be.

Those interfaces are not trying to help us, they are trying to keep us in a state.

Book

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

I’m writing a book. Not a big one, just my biography from a few angles. I thought it was time to do it before I forget some detail. It’s weird, it makes me feel like I might die soon or something but I do not plan to do that at all, thank you. Writing at the past tense, I guess. Remembering the good old, innocent days.

After writing thousands of blog posts, writing a book is not very difficult. I’m approaching 30K words at about 10,000 words a week.

Juicin

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Reading a lot.

Writing more.

Composing (here and here).

Fixing a damn phone.

Hustling.

Sleeping.

Cobalt is the new diamond

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Best battery tech ever made: lithium-ion. Born in the 70s. Barely made any progress in 40 years compared to computers that they power. Cobalt is ideal for cathode.

Biggest Cobalt producer? Congo, with 60% of the world’s production. Demand for cobalt is exploding with electric cars and phones and laptops supposed to last a full day.

You have to read this article to understand the insanity. We are, as usual, fucking black people over. An entire, huge ass African country is being destroyed in every way for that lithium-ion tech.

All tech companies are full of shit and hiding behind weak laws and questionable suppliers who in turn don’t care and make kids dig rocks to extract the precious metal. Tech companies know that if cobalt was actually extracted ethically –no children, decent pay, Congolese companies and not Asian holdings- it would probably cost ten times more which would make our battery-hungry electronics unaffordable for 99% of us.

It’s unreal: we have a country with its people crawling under the earth in their own houses to find some precious mineral to sell. And before that, Europe fucked Congo over for about 150 years. Belgium did unimaginable awful things there for over 50 years.

And now that this country has the luck to have something to offer to the world and capitalize on it? We fuck them over as hard as possible as if they didn’t have had enough. Battery technology is ultra hard to make better, if in four decades we barely made any progress, it’s not going to happen. Which is why cobalt will still be extracted, Congo will get fucked more and tons of people will die for that. I’m so disgusted to be honest.

4 days (follow up)

Friday, July 7th, 2017

I was reading that article yesterday. Comments on Hacker News are pretty good too. I’ve written about all that already but missing the mighty pocket computer for a few days made me realize a few things.

It’s clear that the internet being consumed mostly on small devices by generations who mostly grew up on videos, is killing text. Articles. Long form thinking is disappearing, it’s all about emotions. Even long articles these days tend to try to get to you with emotional content more than inspiring thoughts.

It really is all about attention and nothing else.

Second, phones as platforms do not care about legacy. If you were using an app for something, for years, and you have to reset, update or change your phone or whatever, that app might be gone. Fine, you get another one because there are plenty. But a UX/UI that was almost like the back of your hands doesn’t exist anymore. I’m not used to that at all.

I’m used to a world of computers where I can run anything, from any time in the past. I can right now in 2017 run a 1986 game from France on my 2012 Windows laptop in California, with minor to no friction at all. I take that for granted. But we can’t do that with phones and networks like Twitter and FB. They totally own us and yes we all know that but it’s different when it actually hits you in the face. Bye, app that I was using every day. Bye, memories. And the thing is, if we could host millions of apps in 2003 on the internet and have people use them as they want, we can do that now even more. We’re just not allowed to anymore.

The combo of not having control over my devices and apps+everything being about virality and immediacy… Where does it lead?

4 days

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Someone stole my phone last week and I could have had everything back the next day but decided to take some time off too. After all, four days is ridiculously short.

I’m sort of back. This sudden lack of smartphone made me realize things like, I’m still processing it.

First, you feel naked. Then you feel the need to check what’s going on, you feel lost not knowing what hundreds of people are talking about. Then you feel lost that you can’t but you know it’s better this way, so you’re conflicted. And the internet and its myriad of distractions is still here.

But then I wrote a 900 words article and read and watched things without micro-smartphone interruptions for the first time in years, seven years to be exact. It feels great! It feels like something is back to a human level. But I can’t help: I check quickly what’s going on Twitter on my laptop and it’s just overwhelming how we’re all just having uninteresting things to say and it’s not because of people so much as it’s because of the platform, the 140 limit.

My train of thoughts was back to a longer size, a  normal size. 2006 size.

I’m starting to realize how much the infinite feed, the impossibility to mark things as read, our necks looking down and cutting blood stream to the brain, short amount of texts with colorful pictures are killing our cognitive process, killing our capacity to overcome emotional thoughts. We become attention-seeking babies without even realizing it.

But also food tastes better and I digest better by looking/talking to someone, looking up or simply closing my eyes. Nothing new! But it’s scary to realize it. Even scarier to imagine generations not able to do that at all.

I miss the ol Email

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Email was so cool. We have the best email clients now but omg do we get spammed. And the spam is getting better while filters are getting worse, real emails stuck in the junk folder is expected now. And these days some spam looks ridiculously real, it’s easy to make a mistake in the morning and click a link from one of those.

Email was more central to communication, everything was happening there. Some notifications from time to time but mostly discussions. I loved that I had everything in one place. Short inquiries or long forms it didn’t matter but also we didn’t have access to it most of the day unless we were staying in front of a pretty big computer, which was a good way to curb addiction.

Damn.