All posts filed under “Arbitrary

Paper Rights Management

Paper Rights Management

This delivery note from Springer informs me that the book I’ve bought “must not be resold”. Good luck with that. So have I bought it or not? Or have I bought a licence to read it? What if I give it away? Many companies would […]

comments 8
Cross-purposes?

Cross-purposes?

Last week I was at a seminar where a fellow student was outlining some (very interesting) research about how to adapt ‘professional’ products to be usable by a ‘lay’ audience (what functions do you retain, what do you lose, how do you deal with different […]

comments 4
Mosquito controversy goes high-profile

Mosquito controversy goes high-profile

The Mosquito anti-teenager sound device, which we’ve covered on this site a few times, was yesterday heavily criticised by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Sir Albert Aynsley-Green, launching the BUZZ OFF campaign in conjunction with Liberty and the National Youth Agency: Makers and users of […]

comments 11
Digital control round-up

Digital control round-up

Mac as a giant dongle At Coding Horror, Jeff Atwood makes an interesting point about Apple’s lock-in business model: It’s almost first party only– about as close as you can get to a console platform and still call yourself a computer… when you buy a […]

comment 1
Pier pressure

Pier pressure

   Deliberately routing users via a longer or more circuitous route is found in many forms (with a variety of intentions) from misleading road signs, to endless click-through screens, splitting up articles, periodic rearrangement of supermarket shelves, and so on. This kind of forcing function […]

comments 3
Another charging opportunity?

Another charging opportunity?

Last month, an Apple patent application was published describing a method of “Protecting electronic devices from extended unauthorized use” – effectively a ‘charging rights management’ system. New Scientist and OhGizmo have stories explaining the system; while the stated intention is to make stolen devices less […]

comments 13
The right to click

The right to click

English Heritage, officially the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, and funded by the taxpayer and by visitors to some of its properties, does a great deal of very good work in widening public appreciation of, and engagement with, history and the country’s heritage. […]

comments 13
Self-regarding nonsense

Self-regarding nonsense

As so often, slow on the uptake, I‘ve – or rather, this blog has – been tagged with a couple of blog memes*, and I really ought to respond. Hey, if I can find time to help Dr Charles Soludo transfer his funds**, I can […]

comments 3
No photography allowed

No photography allowed

A couple of recent stories on photography of certain items being ‘banned’ – Cory Doctorow on a Magritte exhibition’s hypocrisy, and Jen Graves on a sculpture of which “photography is prohibited” – highlight what makes me tense up and want to scream about so much […]

comments 4
Limiting frequency of cigarette use

Limiting frequency of cigarette use

 Images from nicostopper.com and Popgadget Nicostopper is an electronic dispenser which holds up to 10 cigarettes, and releases them one at a time at programmed intervals, to help pace and restrict the smoker. The screen “will also flash “self-help” messages each time to make you […]

comments 10
Some interesting aspects of built-in obsolescence

Some interesting aspects of built-in obsolescence

This San Francisco Chronicle review of Giles Slade’s Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America (which I’ve just ordered and look forward to reading and reviewing here in due course) mentions some interesting aspects of built-in (planned) obsolescence – and planned failure – in […]

comment 0
Dilemma of horns

Dilemma of horns

I was woken up (along with, I expect, lots of others) at about 5am today by a driver sounding his/her horn in the road outside – an arrogant two-second burst – then another replying (perhaps) with a slightly feeble one-second tone. I don’t know why; […]

comment 0