Identity Management

The thought of disintegrating Internet services has led me to imagine an Internet drastically different from the one we have today—one in which the infrastructure of web applications could be decoupled from the applications themselves. The most obvious and most necessary service in need of disintegration is “identity management”. Both Google and Facebook have been providing some degree of identity management, and there has been a movement within IT to provide single-sign-on for business applications. The issue is also related to the issue of password security, which is fresh in the public mind due to the Heartbleed bug. Continue reading

Disintegration of the Internet

The technology industry oscillated between extremes. It comes in waves, tides go in and out, moving towards toward the terminal model, pushing functionality to the “mainframe” server for a few years, and then away again toward having powerful client computer that does all the work. Monolithic applications bloat for several years and then are split into simpler applications, which then join together and bloat again. There’s a constant tug-of-war between those who want more features and those who want simplicity. After years of moving more and more towards huge monolithic web application providers, I’m beginning to suspect that it’s time for things to swing back the other way. Continue reading

Digital collecting

In my last post, I wrote a little bit about my views on collection and the effect on content industries in the digital age. I argued that if people weren’t buying music anymore, it was probably because purchasing digital music does not satisfy the compulsion to collect. Some of this is unavoidable– collecting digital files will never be quite the same as collecting physical objects. However, I believe there are things that these digital content industries can do in order to court the purchases of collectors.
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Why people don’t buy music

I’ve read a couple of different articles recently about how people aren’t buying music anymore. I don’t know if that’s ultimately true, but obviously the nature of media consumption has changed. Whenever I read an explanation of how are attitudes toward media have changed, I feel like people are missing some important points.
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The Great Soda Controversy

Mayor Bloomberg recently announced that he’d like to see limits on the size of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces at movie theaters and restaurants. The idea seems to have a lot of people up in arms, but I don’t think it’s particularly terrible, and I’d like to address some of the objections.
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Aside

They say “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Luckily, the people living such a life will never find out.

Quote

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid.  Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities.  Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments.  Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy.  The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations.  But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

—General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

Overhaul iTunes

I just want to voice another one of my minor but long-lasting annoyances: iTunes doesn’t make any sense. It’s “iTunes”, but “tunes” are hardly the focus anymore. It’s a music player and a video library. It’s a store to buy those things, and also a failed social-networking site. It’s a media sharing/broadcasting application which allows you to push media around your house. It’s the “App Store” for iPhones and iPads and iPods, but not for Mac software– for some reason, that has its own store and its own application.
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Google+ so far

I’ve been trying out Google+, and overall I think I like it better than Facebook. It has the feeling of something more robust with more potential. Or maybe it feels more professional somehow. Of course, I don’t really use Facebook for much, and I still don’t know how people are really spending their time there. If Farmville is your thing, maybe Google+ will be a huge step down.
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Shirky/Pink in WIRED

Ok, so apparently I’m not the only one to connect Clay Shirky’s recent talk about “cognitive surplus” with Dan Pink.  Wired had an article a while back where the two converse about motivation and collaboration.  It’s a pretty good read (though suffers a strange overly-polished tone), but it won’t hold any revelations if you’ve watched their TED talks.
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