Author: jedbrubaker

  • Wrap-up: Media for the Good and the Goofy

    This week on gnovis, the use of media (from the hipster glasses to old-school Museums) was the topic. We have filtered the Fools to bring this week's wrap-up.

    On gnovis

    Lauren tackles the ephemeral and ever changing tastes of the hipster. "Asking how the modern hipster came to be begs many questions around the diffusion of cultural meaning via new media technologies, the paradoxes inherent with trying to create a counter-culture within a capitalist model, and whether a true counter-culture is even possible at this moment in Western society given our increasingly globalized world." I was particularly fond of her historical account of the changing definition of the term on

  • Wrapup: "T" is for Technology, "t" is for thesis

    On gnovis...

    thesis typewritter

    In her debut post on gnovis, Venessa Miemis wrote about the potential impacts of social media and geospatial technology on social change: "Local level real-time mapping is making the world a seemingly smaller, more transparent and manageable place. The information it provides, like any map of value, helps us understand the patterns and relationships within our surroundings and gives clues about what action to take to achieve desired results."

    For the rest of the week, busy thesis writers began to introspect on how their projects related to CCT, and each other.

  • Twittering My Presence

    twitter-logoIt is a question as old as the fail whale itself: Why do we Twitter? Yesterday, the Valley Wag asked this question in a scathing critique of the usefulness of this service. Earlier this month, David Pogue of The New York Times in his for-the-masses review described it as a "time drain" and "one of those ego things." Yes, it is the season for critiquing Twitter.

  • Our New Cellphone Powered Mobile Lives


    Sometime last year, my friend Brett was reflecting on the difference Internet access on his cell phone had on his day to day life: "In the past, when I would go run an errand, I would figure out where the store was, figure out how to get there, and then hop in my car. These days, I just leave the house and let my phone tell me where to go and how to get there."

  • Facebook and the Price of Privacy

    Facebook Conference :: Facebook Connect

    Late last year, Facebook launched a new system called Facebook Connect. Haven't heard of it? Facebook probably thinks that is a good thing.

    Facebook Connect is a system that allows third-party sites to access your Facebook information and post your web behavior to your Facebook account. Sound more familiar? Facebook's first attempt to integrate with third-party sites via their "Beacon" system was received with such hostility that it eventually was disabled after Facebook was overwhelmed with privacy complaints. The most memorable case was probably that of a young man who purchased an engagement ring on, only to later find his purchase broadcasted to his friends via his Facebook newsfeed -- including his girlfriend. Facebook Connect, however, promises to be different, if for no other reasons than someone thought it might be a good idea to ask users for permission to access their data and post on their newsfeeds. Still, there is a lot of buzz in the blog-o-sphere, comparing Connect to Beacon and weighing the probability of a reprise.

    Yeah, yeah... so Facebook is awful at privacy. Am I a horrible person if I think we should cut Facebook a break?

  • Censor them with Content

    Internet Censorship in Singapore Imagine the following scenario: You are a policy maker for a country with questionable leadership, and an even more questionable economy. A new technology called the Internet has emerged which might answer some of your economic concerns, but you are concerned about the unintended consequences of adopting a technology that might undermine your county’s sense of morality, not to mention nationalism.

    This problem is not new, you saw the same threats emerged out of other media sources once they were able to syndicate content from across the world. But with newspaper, television and radio, the number of broadcasters was small enough that the appropriateness of content could be regulated. With the Internet, however, every media consumer is also a producer.

    With a population of less than 5 million, these were the concerns of the Singaporean government when it implemented a complicated array of Internet censorship practices, but these concerns could equally be applied to the United States as well. The anxiety of nation-states about the border/culture/economically-agnostic nature of information on the Internet, and the desire to control information must always compete with the thick ideological armor with which we protect our digital free speech. The design of our Internet infrastructure is so imbued with the ideology of free speech that unrestricted access to information seems preordained for anyone who chooses to plug-in.

    So how do you censor the individual? You launch MySpace.

  • Death of a User: The Overlooked Use-Case

    For all the time we spend detailing use cases for ever imaginable "happy path", when was the last time we stopped to create a use case that accounts for the "death" of a user? Are we good/humble enough developers to handle the potential that our users might want to, well... leave?

    "User death" was a topic that I kept running into at CSCW this year. Not in any papers or presentations, instead the topic was relegated to quiet conversations where people dared challenge the impenetrable user/technology dyad. During one of the first nights at CSCW, I spent a good deal of time speaking with Mike Massimi, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. He was kind enough to share some recent theoretical work he submitted to SIGCHI about what he calls "thanatosensitive design." Quoting one his professors, “It's an odd feeling seeing a recent e-mail in your inbox from someone who is no longer here to receive the reply.” Massimi suggests that we need to reconsider user-centered design to account for our inevitable deaths.

  • Blog wrapup: Election!, online behavior, and justifications

    at gnovis, election!

    Before November 4th @ 8PM PST:

    The election left us netizens awash with technical ways in which to observe, participate and predict the outcomes of this election. I wrote about a grass-roots initiative to detect voting problems via Twitter at TwitterVote. Ashley, talked about the proliferation of poll-watching websites, but reminded "everyone that no matter what all the projection polls say, the only poll that really matters is the last one... Isn't it time for us to get to call elections like the talking heads on TV? Yes. It. Is."