the forty-second parallel

Encouraged Behavior

William Van Hecke

The internet is like a car horn that you can honk at the entire world.

Posted on November 20th, 2014 | Culture, Technology

Yosemite’s Look and Feel

Khoi Vinh:

My biggest complaint, personally, is that this fresh coat of paint does a poor job on visual contrast. Interface elements are often so light in color and/or so close to one another in color that they “bleed” into each other all the time. The effect is a blown-out look, as if a novice photographer stepped up the exposure on her camera well beyond advisability.

Posted on October 24th, 2014 | Technology

Distracting Ourselves to Death

Arthur Hunt

We are losing the capacity for attention. By which I mean the ability to focus on something and to think about it. And if we lose that ability, how then is God going to be the central, organizing thing in our lives? How are we going to become God-centered in our thoughts if we are fragmented in our thoughts? And God-honoring in our lives, if in fact our lives are just bits and pieces of information? That’s the problem.

A great interview by Tony Reinke at Desiring God with David Wells and Arthur Hunt. There’s also a good summary if you don’t want to listen to the whole thing.

Posted on October 8th, 2014 | Culture, Technology, The Gospel

iPhone 6 vs. 6 Plus

Gabe Weatherhead

The ride up the hill was torture but the ride back home was like a two-wheel limo. That’s the best way I can explain the iPhone 6 Plus.

Posted on October 6th, 2014 | Technology

I love advertising because I love lying

I’m not sure which is better – the deadpan delivery or the awkward laughter.

Posted on October 6th, 2014 | Culture

Get Alone Undistracted

Arthur Hunt

We are now under a Technopoly, which says absolutely nothing is going to stand in our way of technological progress. We put so much cultural stock in sort of headlong rush into the future without any clear telos [goal]. The only real telos is it has got to be bigger, it has got to be faster, and it has got to be newer. Somebody might ask: Well, what is wrong with this? Well, it advances the notion that our purpose in life is to be a satisfied consumer of material goods. So the next big thing is not the coming of God’s kingdom, but the coming of the curved TV screen.

Posted on October 5th, 2014 | Culture, Technology, The Gospel

The frenzy of online

Dave Winer

This isn’t communication, or sharing. It’s growing more and more frenetic every day, it seems. And more pointless. I want a network that sheds light on things, not calls attention to nothing.

Posted on September 19th, 2014 | Culture

Union with Christ

Sinclair Ferguson on union w/Christ: “It’s as if all the medals & honors of Christ are pinned to your chest and all of heaven salutes you.”

via John Starke (@john_starke)

Posted on September 3rd, 2014 | Jesus

A Distraction-free iPhone

Jake Knapp

I wanted to get control, but I didn’t want to give up my iPhone altogether. I loved having Google Maps and Uber and Find Friends and an amazing camera.

So I decided to try an experiment. I disabled Safari. I deleted my mail account. I uninstalled every app I couldn’t handle. I thought I’d try it for a week.

Posted on September 1st, 2014 | Culture, Technology

A Pointable Me?

Craig Mod

It’s not about content being free or not, it’s about content existing or not. Can I point? No? Then it’s kinda not really there.

From the third of a three part series exploring what content publishing means in an age of publishing platforms (ie. iOS apps). I think it applies equally to content “published” on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

To a certain extent you can point to content on these platforms, but how long does that content exist? All those baby pictures that once had permanence in photo albums and shoeboxes, now only exist as long as it is useful for companies to sell your personal information to advertisers. I’ve long wondered to what capabilities someone like Facebook has for mining photos beyond the obvious EXIF data.

What happens when providing access to those photos costs Facebook more than you’re worth to advertisers? Think that doesn’t matter or isn’t likely to happen? A lot of people probably thought the same thing about Delicious.

Granted, a large portion of what we are creating and sharing today won’t ever be worth looking back at. But even so, I don’t think that means giving away our identities to whomever makes it most convenient.

And therein lies the rub – sharing baby pictures on Facebook is very convenient, not to mention a heck of a lot easier than setting up your own photo sharing system with restricted user access, commenting, sharing, etc.

(A quick aside: If there was an equivalent free, turnkey, self-hosted system, it would preclude such technical knowledge that 99.99% of people could never use it. And those that possessed the requisite knowledge would have to give up the easy Facebook integration that thousands of apps and websites provide.)

We as technologists, with an unreal access to computing power, have mostly failed to build systems and products that enable people to do what they want as simply as possible – and the companies that are doing the best job at that are making a killing in the marketplace.

Is a self-determined online identity even possible for the average person without the likes of Facebook and other third-party services? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth thinking about.

Posted on April 29th, 2012 | Culture, Life in General

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