All posts filed under “Gadgets

Key issue

Key issue

Is this simply poor design or a deliberate feature? A friend tells me of his irritation with his Sony Ericsson W880i’s ‘internet’ key, which is positioned such that it frequently gets pressed accidentally when pressing the buttons above and below it – “three or four […]

Who serves whom

Who serves whom

Joel Johnson: Stop buying products that serve any other master than you. (via Boing Boing ) Bruce Schneier also wrote something along similar lines last year, though the context was different: When technology serves its owners, it is liberating. When it is designed to serve […]

Some links

Some links

First, an apology for anyone who’s had problems with the RSS/Atom feeds over the last month or so. I think they’re fixed now (certainly Bloglines has started picking them up again) but please let me know if you don’t read this. Oops, that won’t work… […]

Shaping behaviour: Part 2

Shaping behaviour: Part 2

Speedometer, rev counter and fuel and temperature gauges on the dashboard of my 1992 Reliant Scimitar SST. Photo taken on B1098 alongside Sixteen Foot Drain, Isle of Ely, England. In part 1 of ‘Shaping behaviour’, we took a look at ‘sticks and carrots’ as approaches […]

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 […]

Creating false memories

Creating false memories

An interactive camera demo from Corporate Communications, Inc. Clive Thompson writes about some interesting research [PDF] by Ann Schlosser at the University of Washington into how the use of interactive product demonstrations on websites can produce “false memories” of product capabilities, compared with more conventional […]

Epson messes up my day

Epson messes up my day

My Epson Stylus Photo R1800’s been running low on ink in a couple of cartridges for a few days now. I’ve been putting off ordering them until this weekend. Now I find that when the printer believes a cartridge has reached 0%, it won’t print […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Some links: miscellaneous, pertinent to architectures of control

Some links: miscellaneous, pertinent to architectures of control

Ulises Mejias on ‘Confinement, Education and the Control Society’ – fascinating commentary on Deleuze’s societies of control and how the instant communication and ‘life-long learning’ potential (and, I guess, everyware) of the internet age may facilitate control and repression: “This is the paradox of social […]

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 […]