Posts tagged with ‘Wired’
A new iOS app called FireChat is blowing up in the App Store. But it’s not the app itself that’s causing such a stir; it’s the underlying networking technology it taps into.
If “Multipeer Connectivity Framework” and “mesh networking” sound like complicated technologies from the future, it’s because they kind of are (from the future!!! okay, kidding). But they’re not as complicated as they may sound. The app developers behind the new Firechat are harnessing this new technology from Apple to allow iOS device users to find and connect to one another - and then anonymously communicate - all without needing cellular service or WiFi.
There are numerous reasons this technology could have huge, revolutionary impacts if its successful. While Firechat is now just for exchanging messages and photos, mesh networking could open up the possibilities of a completely independent network for communicating anonymously and privately, sharing files and storing data, and even reaching out from places with limited internet access (think crisis areas, crowded conventions). The implications from this technology would completely disrupt the current cellular service provider system.
Site creator Brendan Chilcutt (or at least the online persona who represents the website’s creators) writes of his collection:
"Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. Imagine the generations of children unacquainted with the chattering of angels lodged deep within the recessed of an old cathode ray tube TV."
In a way, these sounds are oddly comforting for those who fondly remembering dialing up to the internet on AOL for the first time as kids, as well as those who still remember white noise of a record player.
Wired’s Evan Selinger describes what he sees as a new direction of the Internet, wherein platforms now focus on tracking and categorizing how users feel about the content they consume:
The point is that all these interfaces are now focusing on the emotional aspects of our information diets. To put this development in a broader context: the mood graph has arrived, taking its place alongside the social graph (most commonly associated with Facebook), citation-link graph and knowledge graph (associated with Google), work graph (LinkedIn and others), and interest graph (Pinterest and others).
Like all these other graphs, the mood graph will enable relevance, customization, targeting; search, discovery, structuring; advertising, purchasing behaviors, and more. It also signals an important shift in computer-mediated communication.
Several aspects of this “mood graph” concern Selinger, including the potential of the “pre-fabricated symbols” of digital emotional communication (emoji, emoticons, and so on) to simplify the range and complexity of our feelings as well as the monetization of emotional tracking by companies like Facebook into advertising revenue.
FJP: Selinger cites Bitly for for feelings and methods of user-reported emotional expression in his piece, but other applications attempt to track mood using “raw” data, like the MoodScope, which analyzes smartphone data with an algorithm that takes into account sites visited (both physically and online), apps used, friends contacted, etc. Biofeedback technologies, such as Affectiva, collect data like facial expression, skin conductance, and heart rate to measure emotional state. These extensions of the Quantified Self movement have the potential to provide a more nuanced measure of our feelings than tracking premeditated verbal communication.
I also just want to mention that Tumblr culture seems to have developed its own language conventions (purposeful capitalization, lack of punctuation, etc.) to facilitate emotive expression (see this great Tumblr meta-discussion for more thoughts on that). So there is a way for language to accommodate tone and emotion to more closely mimick “IRL” interaction. And we might already be seeing that shift in mainstream language use. — Shining
Ryan Tate in an article for WIRED, “The Personal Television Revolution is Horrifying—and Brilliant”.
I thought — hoped, really — that I was worrying too much about new technology, so I called Patricia Greenfield, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. I asked: Do tech-savvy people in healthy relationships (like, say, me) really need to worry that customized media and mobile devices will undermine our connections with others?
“I think you should worry,” Greenfield told me.
Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, in Lifehacker’s series, This Is How I Work.
Chris announced that he’s stepping down to focus on his robotics manufacturing startup, 3D Robotics. While manning the helm at Wired, Chris authored three books that turned him into a leading voice across schools of economics, technology, and DIY design: The Long Tail, Free, and his latest, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. (He also lead the magazine in nearly doubling its readership, racked up too many awards to count, and landed on the Time100.)
FJP: The series is quite fantastic. Something like The Atlantic’s What I Read, Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work is a collection of the personal, quirky, productivity habits and idiosyncrasies of great techies, entrepreneurs, writers and more. Some of our favorites:
Government Targets Wired for a Five-year-Old Article That Leaks Info on Weapons System That Doesn't Exist →
In its mounting campaign against leakers, the U.S. government isn’t just going after officials who revealed weighty secrets like the White House’s drone strike “kill list” or its plan to sabotage Iran’s nuclear sites. Federal agents are also chasing a leaker who gave [Wired’s] Danger Room a document asking for a futuristic laser weapon that could set insurgents’ clothes on fire from nine miles away.
It’s an odd investigation, because the energy weapon doesn’t exist; the unclassified document describing it reads almost like a spoof of the laser system out of Real Genius; and this is 2012 — nearly five years after the leak in question.
But that hasn’t stopped the Naval Criminal Investigative Service from contacting Danger Room and its attorneys several times over six months regarding an investigation into the document, which describes a “Precision Airborne Standoff Directed Energy Weapon” and is marked ”For Official Use Only,” or FOUO.
“This investigation is currently being conducted as a counterintelligence matter to determine if a loss/compromise of classified information occurred,” e-mailed Special Agent Christopher Capps, who works for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s field office in Washington, D.C.
Capps also asked Danger Room to divulge the source who provided the imaginary weapon document.
FJP: Looking for more background on the war against leaks? Check our Leaks Tag.
Christina Bonnington on How Location-Based Apps Can Stave Off the ‘Creepy Factor’
FJP: Related is our post last week on the creepy app, Girls Around Me. Foursquare since revoked access to its API and the app was removed from the app store by its developers…for now.
The Big Question: What can be done to make users feel more comfortable sharing their information, especially when secondary uses of data (that are seemingly unrelated to an app’s functionality) remain unknown.
Thus, transparency and user control are key to keeping an app from coming across as untrustworthy or creepy. Developers already have the tools to make sure users are aware of geolocation features in apps, and it’s incumbent on them to use them.
Mobile devices could also employ “ambient notice” features to let users know when location data is being shared. For example, when you’re using your iPhone’s compass, you can see the phone’s arrow symbol and know your device is currently using that feature. Similar signposting could be used for location services. (via Wired)
Late last week, TechCrunch writer MG Siegler broke the news that Apple was buying an app-discovery service called Chomp — although he didn’t say where that news came from, just that it was a reliable source. The Wall Street Journa l reported the same news several hours later, confirmed by an Apple source, but didn’t link to Siegler, who then wrote a profanity-laced tirade criticizing the WSJ for its failure to include a link to him in its story.
A flurry of debate ensued, along with an especially interesting piece from Felix Salmon, who raised some interesting questions.
When reporting a story, should news outlets have an obligation to say who first broke the news?
FJP: A hat tip is always polite, even if the extra information doesn’t always interest the reader.
Q: Should news outlets link to outside sources in a story?
FJP: Primary sources? That would be wonderful. Secondary sources? A bit more complicated. Last year, the folks over at Nieman wrote about the purpose and value of linking. Still relevant reading if you haven’t checked it out. It’s a layered argument that Salmon breaks down well. On the one hand, why write out a lazy rehash of a story, when just linking to it allows you to move on and break or write something more interesting? Most bloggers do it, so why don’t big news networks? Enter here: the print vs. web issue. For starters, a publication like the WSJ still has a healthy print product, so pieces have to work both online and in print. Salmon explains:
The problem is that a journalist never really knows whether their work is going to be read online or offline, even if they’re writing solely for the web. The story might get downloaded into an RSS reader, to be consumed offline. It might be e-mailed to someone with a BlackBerry who can’t possibly be expected to open a hyperlink in a web browser. It might even get printed out and read that way.
Besides, the simple fact is that even if people can follow links, most of the time they don’t. An art of writing online is to link to everything, but to still make your piece self-contained enough that it makes sense even if your reader clicks on no links at all.
Q: What is fact? a) that X happened? or b) that a source said X happened?
FJP: The most interesting question of all. Salmon offers a scenario:
Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a journalist who was adamantly sticking up for her story in the face of criticism. The story included a statement of the form “X, says Y,” where Y was an anonymous source. Various other people were saying that X was not, in fact, true. But the journalist was standing firm. I then asked her whether she was standing firm on the statement “X, says Y,” which she reported — or whether she was standing firm on the statement that X. And here’s the thing that struck me: It took her a long time to even understand the distinction. A lot of American journalists stick the sourcing in there because they have to — but they very much consider themselves to be reporting news, and if X turned out not to be true, they would never consider their story to be correct, even if it were true that Y had indeed said that X.
This isn’t always the case, though. Facts do get attributed to people and Salmon goes on to explain how. So this brings us back to hyperlinks. Primary sources ought to be linked to and secondary sources too. At least this way readers have a chance to make informed judgments on what to believe.