Touring the digital through type

Month: November 2008 (Page 2 of 4)

Thoughts – Study reminds us why we’re always fixing our parents’ PCs

200811181201Ars Technica has a jaunty little piece that puts hard numbers to the statement, “computers are confusing when it comes time to fixing them!” Something to take away from it is that “almost half of adults said they needed someone to help them set up or learn how to use their gadgets.” This says a few things:

  1. Gadgets are way too complicated in many cases – sometimes people just want a phone, not a phone/mp3 player/web browser/GPS device.
  2. Gadgets are generally becoming less and less elegant – companies should take a page from Apple’s book, and start thinking about design aethetics while they are actually developing their technology.
  3. Gadget ‘protections’, especially those intended to mitigate surveillance and privacy concerns, are too deeply hidden. The GPS should come ‘off’ on a phone by default, with a clear set of instructions of how to turn it on appearing when you activate the device. At the same time, devices should have their instructions and information about functions of the phone within easy reach when using it – design a nice, easy way for people to ‘learn more’ about a feature without requiring a data plan to go online.
  4. People are buying things that they haven’t done much research one – this is a no-brainer; if they had spent time researching the gadget, they likely wouldn’t be having such a hard time understanding how it works.

So what do I take away from this? It is just another confirmation that consumers, far from being ’empowered’ by all of the features from their electronic toys, are in fact being disempowered by the technological sophistication of modern electronics and the incredibly poor methods that the industry has taken to teach people. I read, and so a manual is something that is helpful to me, but I’m (at this point) an aberrant. New times call for new methods of guiding people through the items that they’re purchasing.

Update – Bill 85 (Photo Card Act)

200811181148

It looks like Ontario has managed to do what politicians in the UK have been struggling to accomplish for years. This morning the Liberal government of Ontario passed Bill 85, the Photo Card Act, which will see updates to the identity documents that Ontarians typically carry on their persons. While the UK government has been stymied at every turn by no2id when they’ve attempted to roll out a sophisticated identify card, the coalition and advocacy groups in Ontario that have opposed the inception of drivers licenses that contain biometric data and radio frequency identifiers (RFIDs) have been less successful. While the Conservatives had been expected to speak against the bill, this did not, in fact, happen. My money is that the politics didn’t cash out to oppose it.

I’ll post updates as they arrive, and be putting together a post-mordum report in a few days.

Update 1: CTV has an article discussing the EDLs

Study: Stolen Web Content Sees More Traffic Than The Original

200811172039The Inquisitor is reporting that a recent study from Attributor Corp., a copyright enforcement company, shows that content that is stolen makes more money than the original content itself. I don’t find this terribly surprising, but the solution (hunting down copyright violations) seems to be a Sisyphean task; no matter how many take-down notices that you send out, when content is taken across international borders it’s almost impossible to easily take it down if you’re dealing with an uncooperative content host.

What’s the solution then? The study suggests that content owners need to find a better way of monetizing their assets – figure out how to generate more revenue (potentially by studying how the thieves do it) so that even if content is ‘stolen’ you’re still ahead of the game. The nice thing about this solution is that it recognizes that you can’t ever, really, stop copyright infringement online – the best you can do is learn to roll with it. Continue reading

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