Tag Archives: Technology


“Analog Hole Bill Would Impose a Secret Law”

I wonder what other such gems can be found in the land of the intersection between technology and law…

Freedom to Tinker » Blog Archive » Analog Hole Bill Would Impose a Secret Law


Don’t let the door hit you…

… wait, there isn’t a door. I think it’s pretty cool that the Web doesn’t really have much need for ‘exits’ because you’re never really stuck ‘inside’ somewhere. So if someone doesn’t like what they find on a site, it’s not even a matter of ‘you know where the door is’, it’s more like… well, a better analogy fails to strike me at the moment.

There are those who don’t like the fact that the Web isn’t sticky, and they have devised some methods that can psychologically or technologically limit users’ ability to surf along, but overall, it seems people are enjoying the freedom and will tend to preserve it.


Tabbed browsing

Ya know, when I first heard people talking about tabbed browsing, I was skeptical that there was any real value to it.

But now I’m rather addicted, and I’ve also kinda figured out why. What’s good about it is that it allows me to better manage my attention within a hyperlinked space. I can set the browser to work fetching a linked page of interest while minimally disrupting the reading flow on the current page. I can pop back and forth between the linked-from and linked-to pages as necessary. And I haven’t disrupted the history mechanisms in the meantime. So I’ve basically got a multidimensional space of recently-requested pages, instead of a linear one. That’s cool.


Social isolation

I notice that some people present a statement similar to “technology x is socially isolating” as if that was a self-contained argument that technology x is ‘bad’. Putting aside for a moment the fact that any technology which can be used in a socially isolating manner can also be used in a socially inclusive manner, I think it’s quite a good thing that there are technologies available to do things in a manner which reduces social interaction.

Looking at my personal psychology, and I don’t think I’m at all alone in this, I have limits in the amount and types of social interaction I have in a day. If those limits are exceeded, further interaction of the wrong types can be disproportionately annoying. Even if I acknowledge at that moment that I’m ‘overreacting’, I remain annoyed. If I was pushed way beyond those limits, I suppose I could end up alienating people or, ya know, mauling them.

I think many people labelled ‘jerks’ and many of the ‘random’ violent acts we hear about could be explained mainly by social overload. This world has a whole lotta people, packed in insane densities in some places, so the availablility of ways to modulate and balance one’s social interactions becomes an essential skill to reduce one’s stress and hostility.


An ounce of social engineering…

Things make me laugh. Like, for instance: Grins banned from passport pics, wherein it is declared that there are rules for passport pictures that say you can’t smile because it confuses face recognition systems.

What’s really going on is that the face recognition systems don’t work at all, and they just want to get people who don’t want to be found to run around airports smiling all the time.

It’s also interesting that in my three-and-a-half seconds of research for this post, the second hit in a web search reveals this paper: Smiling Faces are Better for Face Recognition. Har, and I mean har. Of course, we can’t trust that paper, right, cuz the first author is named Yaser.

And speaking of things that are amusing in various ways and simultaneously related to face recognition, I love the term ‘eigenfaces’ (Eigenfaces for recognition).