I’ve often thought that the single most devastating cyberattack a diabolical and anarchic mind could design would not be on the military or financial sector but simply to simultaneously make every e-mail and text ever sent universally public. It would be like suddenly subtracting the strong nuclear force from the universe; the fabric of society would instantly evaporate, every marriage, friendship and business partnership dissolved. Civilization, which is held together by a fragile web of tactful phrasing, polite omissions and white lies, would collapse in an apocalypse of bitter recriminations and weeping, breakups and fistfights, divorces and bankruptcies, scandals and resignations, blood feuds, litigation, wholesale slaughter in the streets and lingering ill will.
Once, Wall Street bankers communicated with pagers. Then Bloomberg terminal instant-messages came along, followed by BlackBerry’s BBM function. Now, a growing number of Wall Street workers are becoming attached to another messaging platform: Snapchat.
Faced with reports of a “black spot” that interfered with the mobile network in several neighborhoods, technicians at Australian cellphone provider Telstra say they recently found the source of the problem: a man’s beer fridge in his garage. The refrigerator was tracked by “software robots” and workers wielding special antennas.
Processing seeks to ruin the careers of talented designers by tempting them away from their usual tools and into the world of programming and computation. Similarly, the project is designed to turn engineers and computer scientists to less gainful employment as artists and designers.
You simply log in, click on the little pencil icon, and type your little heart out. With the click of a button, you can republish posts from us, and we from you (with byline and credit, of course), in a grand frictionless content circle-jerk.
The assumption driving these kinds of design speculations is that if you embed the interface–the control surface for a technology–into our own bodily envelope, that interface will “disappear”: the technology will cease to be a separate “thing” and simply become part of that envelope. The trouble is that unlike technology, your body isn’t something you “interface” with in the first place. You’re not a little homunculus “in” your body, “driving” it around, looking out Terminator-style “through” your eyes. Your body isn’t a tool for delivering your experience: it is your experience. Merging the body with a technological control surface doesn’t magically transform the act of manipulating that surface into bodily experience. I’m not a cyborg (yet) so I can’t be sure, but I suspect the effect is more the opposite: alienating you from the direct bodily experiences you already have by turning them into technological interfaces to be manipulated.
However, despite reported problems with search results, Net Applications reported that for the last three days of July 2008, Cuil beat Google and Yahoo in the amount of time spent on a site after referral from a search engine.
The truth is this: Google destroyed the RSS feed reader ecosystem with a subsidized product, stifling its competitors and killing innovation. It then neglected Google Reader itself for years, after it had effectively become the only player. Today it does further damage by buggering up the already beleaguered links between publishers and readers. It would have been better for the Internet if Reader had never been at all.
This behavior is what worries people about any marketplace where one player dominates — even if it’s not a monopoly. It’s the threat of something similar in publishing/ebooks, for example, with Amazon, that drove publishers to attempt to enforce the agency model. The fear is once you have effective control over an ecosystem, you lose interest in innovating or, indeed, maintaining it.
cortesi - Google, destroyer of ecosystems
Unfortunately, and with great sadness, I must announce that Formspring is shutting down. While we’ve had great success in reaching a broad audience, it’s been challenging to sustain the resources needed to keep the lights on. Sunday, March 31st will be the last day you’ll be able to ask questions or post content on Formspring. You’ll be able to export your responses from now through Monday, April 15th, after which the site and apps will go offline, and any content will be permanently deleted.