Cheap inclusive tech

“The Estonian experience also demonstrates that high rates of basic technological penetration pay off better than cutting-edge technology only in the hands of a selected few. Cheap, common technology that is inclusively used by society as a whole brings much greater benefits than exclusive ones only accessible to upwardly mobile populations.

Estonia is running its country like a tech company (Quartz)

We know the upsides of connectivity during social isolation. But that’s a privilege for those who have access. What about those who can’t afford it? Or those who are under-served by the infrastructure in their area?

Related:

Tech is the environment in which we function

“What this decade’s critiques miss is that over the past 10 years, our tech has grown from some devices and platforms we use to an entire environment in which we function. We don’t “go online” by turning on a computer and dialing up through a modem; we live online 24/7, creating data as we move through our lives, accessible to everyone and everything.”

We’ve spent the decade letting our tech define us. (The Guardian)

Remember when sharing your real name was a big deal?

ASPIRE: The qualities of an excellent website.

ASPIRE is an acronym that neatly covers some ideal qualities that I think we should… aspire to, when aiming to create excellent websites. […] I particularly love that the word aspire is about goals, and not necessarily rules. There may be no site on the web that truly nails every quality on this list, but it’s still useful to define what we think is great.”

ASPIRE: Ideals to Aspire to When Building Websites (Filament Group)

Covering the ASPIRE acronym:

  • Accessible to people of all abilities
  • Secure data transmission, storage, manipulation
  • Performant on most devices, even with shoddy connectivity
  • Inclusive of diverse audiences
  • Responsive and adaptive to all screen conditions
  • Ethical in the handling of user data

Kudos to Scott Jehl and Aaron van de Weijenbergh and their Twitter thread.

Running the gauntlet of content moderation

“Peter, who has done this job for nearly two years, worries about the toll that the job is taking on his mental health. His family has repeatedly urged him to quit. But he worries that he will not be able to find another job that pays as well as this one does: $18.50 an hour, or about $37,000 a year.

“Do you know what my brain looks like right now? Do you understand what we’re looking at? We’re not machines. We’re humans. We have emotions, and those emotions are deeply scarred by looking at children being raped all the time, and people getting their heads chopped off.””

The terror queue (The Verge)

I tweet, therefore I am

“I tweet, therefore I am? Internet participation can feel like being on tour in perpetuity, and the feedback loops can feel like a noose, one that you tighten yourself.”

How Everyone IPO’d in the 21st Century (Eugene Wei)

I read somewhere recently — can’t remember the source — that when you hit “peak social” on Twitter, everything you write sounds like something you’d pull out of a fortune cookie. Truisms to amplify and outrage to stoke. Hell, I’m guilty of it. So how do we keep it in check and not lose ourselves to the game of scoring internet points?

The next era of Instagram

“Forbes and a handful of social-media-marketing websites echo that appetites are changing. People are sick of unrealistic lifestyles and picture-perfect aesthetics, they say. The next era of Instagram is all about the “relatable influencer,” with trends like #nomakeup, #nofilter, #mentalhealth, #bodyimage, and “Instagram vs. Reality” memes. I now realize that in this essay, I’ve hit five out of five.”

— Who Would I Be Without Instagram? An investigation (The Cut)

Instagram started with snapshots of personal moments in filtered splendor. Then it swung towards influencers peddling products via over-produced photo shoots. Now it’s swinging back to something more real. (Hopefully.)

Technology is not the world

“It’s been hard to accept, at least for me, that each of our techy ideologies, while containing various merits, don’t really add up to a worldview, because technology is not the world. It’s just another layer in the Big Crappy Human System along with religion, energy, government, sex, and, more than anything else, money.

Why I (Still) Love Tech (Wired)

This essay from Paul Ford echoes much of how I feel about this industry I fell into. I love tech because of the opportunity it affords us. Tech isn’t inherently good or evil. It reflects the intent and decisions of those who harness it.

Also FTA: “Technology is just another human creation—like religion or government or sports or money. It’s not perfect, and it never will be. But it’s still a miracle.” — Amen.

Pinterest’s potential

“One of the biggest value propositions in retailers for Pinterest lies in creating as seamless of an experience possible for users to find something they like on Pinterest and go buy it. And while Pinterest hasn’t yet perfected the format for doing so — neither have any of its competitors.”

Pinterest’s long road to becoming a commerce platform (Digiday)

I like Pinterest. Sometimes I even love Pinterest.

It’s a source of inspiration; DIY solutions for household problems; and discovery for things I’d maybe like to buy. And because it doesn’t have any of the volatility of other social networks, it’s also like a mental break, a breather, from the rest of the web.