All posts filed under “Black box

Code as control

Code as control

In the earlier days of this blog, many of the posts were about code, in the Lawrence Lessig sense: the idea that the structure of software and the internet and the rules designed into these systems don’t just parallel the law (in a legal sense) […]

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If…

If…

(introducing behavioural heuristics) EDIT (April 2013): An article based on the ideas in this post has now been published in the International Journal of Design – which is open-access, so it’s free to read/share. The article refines some of the ideas in this post, using […]

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dConstructing a workshop

dConstructing a workshop

A couple of weeks ago, at dConstruct 2011 in Brighton, 15 brave participants took part in my full-day workshop ‘Influencing behaviour: people, products, services and systems’, with which I was very kindly assisted by Sadhna Jain from Central Saint Martins. As a reference for the […]

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Heating debate

Heating debate

Central heating systems have interfaces, and many of us interact with them every day, even if only by experiencing their effects. But there’s a lot of room for improvement. They’re systems where (unlike, say, a car) we don’t generally get instantaneous feedback on the changes […]

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On the level

On the level

A tilt-detector from this 1984 US patent, with intended application on a packing box. The liquid detection stickers in mobile phones, which allow manufacturers and retailers to ascertain if a phone has got wet, and thus reject warranty claims (whether judiciously/appropriately or not), seem to […]

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Ticket off

Ticket off

Henry e-mails: “Perhaps this is too obvious: parking meters; and I mean modern digital ones, enforce arbitrary limits on how much you can pay for at a time (4 hours). Is this to share the enjoyment of democratic parking (at a dollar an hour), or […]

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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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The Privacy Ceiling

The Privacy Ceiling

Scott Craver of the University of Binghamton has a very interesting post summarising the concept of a ‘privacy ceiling’: “This is an economic limit on privacy violation by companies, owing to the liability of having too much information about (or control over) users.” It’s the […]

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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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