All posts filed under “Vague rhetoric

Digital control round-up

Digital control round-up

Some developments in – and commentary on – digital architectures of control to end 2006: Peter Gutmann’s ‘A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection’ (via Bruce Schneier) looks very lucidly at the effects that Vista’s DRM and measures to ‘protect’ content will have – […]

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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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A vein attempt?

A vein attempt?

Blue lighting is sometimes used in public toilets (restrooms) to make it more difficult for drug users to inject themselves (veins are harder to see). The above implementation is in Edinburgh, next to the Tron Kirk. It was more difficult to see my veins through […]

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Disaffordances and engineering obedience

Disaffordances and engineering obedience

Image based on Don Norman‘s famous teapot, and the Obey Giant face Last month I asked, in response to some criticism, whether there was a better term than ‘architectures of control’ for the loose category of stuff discussed on this site. The response was great […]

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BBC: Surveillance drones in Merseyside

BBC: Surveillance drones in Merseyside

From the BBC: ‘Police play down spy planes idea’: “Merseyside Police’s new anti-social behaviour (ASB) task force is exploring a number of technology-driven ideas. But while the use of surveillance drones is among them, they would be a “long way off”, police said. … “The […]

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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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Shaping behaviour at the Design Council

Shaping behaviour at the Design Council

Photo by Kate Andrews I’ve blogged before mentioning the work of the UK Design Council’s RED research arm, which applies ‘design thinking’ to redevelop and create public services appropriate for societal changes right now and in the years to come. The previous post was specifically […]

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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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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; […]

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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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