All posts filed under “Innovation

Sniffing out censorship

Sniffing out censorship

Image from News Sniffer News Sniffer‘s Revisionista monitors alterations to published news stories from a variety of sources by comparing RSS feeds, sometimes revealing subsequently redacted information or changes of opinion (e.g. note the removed phrase in the first paragraph of this story about Cuba). […]

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‘Design Must Relinquish Control’

‘Design Must Relinquish Control’

Niblettes tackles the issue of designers and control, specifically, how much the user’s experience and methods of using a product or service should be defined by the designer. The conclusion – paralleling a theme in a marketing speech by Procter & Gamble’s Alan G Lafley […]

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Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Last month I mentioned some fascinating details on planned obsolescence gleaned from a review of Giles Slade‘s Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. Having now read the book for myself, here’s my review, including noteworthy ‘architectures of control’ examples and pertinent commentary. Slade […]

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Speed control designed to help the user

Speed control designed to help the user

Something with an interesting ‘forcing function’ story has been right in front of me all this time: the QWERTY keyboard, developed by Christopher Sholes and then Remington, with the intention of controlling the user’s behaviour. Until typists became proficient with the QWERTY system, the non-alphabetical […]

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‘Secret alarm becomes dance track’

‘Secret alarm becomes dance track’

The Mosquito sound has been mixed (sort of) into a dance track: “…the sound is being used in a dance track, Buzzin’, with secret melodies only young ears can hear. … Simon Morris from Compound Security said: “Following the success of the ringtone, a lot […]

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Designed to control rather than enable

Designed to control rather than enable

As Cory Doctorow says, “Your home and life are increasingly full of devices that seek to control, rather than enable you.” That, succinctly, is what this website’s about: design as something to restrict and control the user, rather than empower and enable. Products that enable […]

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Uninnovate – engineering products to do less

Uninnovate – engineering products to do less

Image from uninnovate.com I’ve just come across a very interesting new blog, uninnovate.com, which focuses on the phenomenon of “engineering expensive features into a product for which there is no market demand in order to make the product do less.” The first few posts tackle […]

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

An image from Hendricus Loos’s 2001 US patent, ‘Remote Magnetic Manipulation of Nervous Systems’ In my review of Adam Greenfield‘s Everyware a couple of months ago, I mentioned – briefly – the work of Hendricus Loos, whose series of patents cover subjects including “Manipulation of […]

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The illusion of control

The illusion of control

Scott Adams recounts an anecdote illustrating the ‘illusion of control’ and how important it is to many people – even to the extent that it is the single defining characteristic of mankind which one might use to explain human behaviour to aliens: “The maintenance man […]

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Review: Everyware by Adam Greenfield

Review: Everyware by Adam Greenfield

This is the first book review I’ve done on this blog, though it won’t be the last. In a sense, this is less of a conventional review than an attempt to discuss some of the ideas in the book, and synthesise them with points that […]

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Friend or foe: Battery-authentication ICs?

Friend or foe: Battery-authentication ICs?

Via MAKE, an article from Electrical Design News looking at lithium battery authentication chips in products such as phones and laptops, designed to prevent users fitting ‘non-genuine’ batteries. Now, the immediate response of most of us is probably “razor blade model!” or even “stifling democratic […]

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