[Sixty Years Ago, NASA Scientists Found That Women Would Be Better Astronauts. Their Work Was Never Published.]

I’m only surprised that the shape of the rocket wasn’t uses as justification for making space exploration men-only for so long.

The Web0 Manifesto

Aral Balkan, in his usual no-nonsense style:

Towards the end of 2021, I started noticing more and more “articles” on “web3” cropping up, each one more grating than the last.

It was as if journalists public relations hacks were in a race to the death to see who could best parrot the latest right-libertarian techbro bullshit from bullshit press releases ejected out the fetid bowels of bullshit startups in Silicon Valley, the world’s capital of bullshit.

So, anyway…

I felt we could all use a little antihistamine – not to mention, a different term we could use to differentiate ourselves from the bullshit – so, over the holidays, I created the web0 manifesto.

“The web0 manifesto: a short and sweet middle finger to web3.”

I’ve already signed it, and I encourage you to do so.

As he has done before, Aral walks the walk, he’s not just talk.

Yesterday I came to the realisation that my use of tags in DEVONthink hasn’t helped me organise information, because I have too many of the damn things! Time for a rethink, and more cultivation of my personal digital garden.

The 'Thought Leader' Has No Clothes!

Tom Fishburne:

The term “thought leadership” was first coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor of Strategy+Business, with a narrow focus in mind. He wrote:

“Thought Leaders are those people who possess a distinctively original idea, a unique point of view, or an unprecedented insight into their industry.”

Since then, the meaning of thought leadership has devolved into a catch-all term that is interchangeable with pretty much any sort of content, whether or not it’s “distinctively original”, “unique”, or “unprecedented”. There are more people than ever claiming the mantle of thought leadership.

As soon as I hear the words ‘thought leader’ mentioned in reference to a person, I immediately know that it’s not worth my time reading what they’ve written.

Sadly, that applies to a lot of actual leaders too.

This is one reason why I left LinkedIn, it felt like every other person I encountered there had decided they were a ‘thought leader’ or were being promoted as such by LinkedIn.

"Think Of The Children!" #48672934

Revealed: UK Gov’t Plans Publicity Blitz to Undermine Chat Privacy

The UK government is set to launch a multi-pronged publicity attack on end-to-end encryption, Rolling Stone has learned. One key objective: mobilizing public opinion against Facebook’s decision to encrypt its Messenger app.

The Home Office has hired the M&C Saatchi advertising agency – a spin-off of Saatchi and Saatchi, which made the “Labour Isn’t Working” election posters, among the most famous in UK political history – to plan the campaign, using public funds.

According to documents reviewed by Rolling Stone, one the activities considered as part of the publicity offensive is a striking stunt – placing an adult and child (both actors) in a glass box, with the adult looking “knowingly” at the child as the glass fades to black. Multiple sources confirmed the campaign was due to start this month, with privacy groups already planning a counter-campaign.

“We have engaged M&C Saatchi to bring together the many organisations who share our concerns about the impact end-to-end encryption would have on our ability to keep children safe,” a Home Office spokesperson said in a statement.

They already know that what they’re asking for — backdoors into end-to-end encryption — is impossible without making everyone less secure online, but to hell with that, let’s spaff more money up the wall (this is Boris Johnson we’re talking about, after all, he’s rather good at that) to attempt emotional manipulation of the public so they’ll force the techies to do what we want anyway.

Frankly, that money would be better spent getting the security services doing a better job of stopping paedophiles before they can harm children. As it is, this has nothing to do with protecting children and everything to do with making it easier to monitor all the people and groups the Conservatives don’t like. You know, human rights campaigners, environmental activists, Labour, The Guardian, Channel 4 News and all the other ‘threats’ to the UK…

And Then There Were Two (Again)

I uninstalled Firefox from my Mac this morning. As much as I want browser diversity, it’s increasingly hard for me to like Mozilla’s work, they seem intent on ensuring they remain a bit-player — big enough for Google to claim there’s still competition, but small enough that they can be pushed around or just ignored. :(

I’ve also uninstalled the beta of Orion — it’s an intriguing idea, but I just can’t see any good reason for me to use it.

So that leaves just Safari and Vivaldi. Of those two, Vivaldi is the one that I enjoy using, because it lets me browse the way I want to. Safari is okay, but I get the distinct impression that Apple doesn’t care that much about helping people use the web beyond what will get them kudos and let them look virtuous.

Michael Tsai’s blog is one of those rare examples of places where the comments are not only well worth reading but add even more insight to the articles.

I was woken up at 4:30am this morning by an almighty racket outside — the local foxes getting amorous. 🦊🦊🍆

I was able to get back to sleep eventually by turning on music on my iPad to drown them out, but not a good start to the day. 😩

Accounting Firms Scoop Up Virtual Land in the Metaverse (Wall Street Journal, linking to Wayback Machine copy so hopefully you can actually read it.)

Not only are we in Dot-Com Bubble 2.0, we’re also in Second Life Hype Bubble 2.0. History be damned, chase those dollar signs! 🤪

Apps Designed for Everyone, Not Just for You

I’ve had My year in the rearview mirror by Riccardo Mori in my read-list for a while, and I highly recommend it. These pararagraphs in particular resonate with me:

Another area where the age factor is overlooked is in the design of user interfaces. (You thought I couldn’t find a way to talk about user interfaces in this context, didn’t you?) I keep seeing this: user interface elements, targets, designs, paradigms that require users to have perfect vision, flawless reflexes, constant adaptability, and time to waste readjusting their workflows and relearning how to carry out the same stuff they were used to carrying out in an operating system, application, device, 2 or 3 iterations ago. Some designers keep making the same error I think Donald Norman talked about in his book The Design of Everyday Things — the mistake of thinking that their target users are like them. They’re not. Often, they’re people who just need to get things done without losing an entire morning trying to figure out how and why the application(s) they rely on for work have changed after the last update. Or they’re people who really need tooltips in an app’s interface in order to understand what that control with the obscure icon does; who really need obvious interface cues and affordances you’re desperately trying to spirit away because your application or environment doesn’t look clean, trendy, or minimalistic enough.

I’m not saying applications, interfaces, and operating systems shouldn’t change and evolve. Only that they should do so by actually taking into account that end users aren’t this homogeneous mass that moves in perfect sync with your fancy designs and redesigns. But the kind of approach to do things right by many different types of end user involves more work and a generally slower pace of development, which is a big no-no for the stupid breakneck pace technology wants to move — and wants us to move today.

I’ve mentioned this before, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve become increasingly frustrated by the above, and that any affordances for those who don’t have the same physical attributes or mental capacity as the designers are an afterthought, sometimes even ignoring accessibility features that are part of the operating system the app or site is running on.

Well, the joke will be one them when they get to our age. Comedy is tragedy plus timing, after all.

Perhaps this explains why I’m increasing turning to pen and paper and trying to rely less on the vagaries of technology. It would be a hoot if people turned back en masse to analogue ways and means, in the same way that vinyl records returned. Digital devices and apps that run on them would have to adapt to offer a better option for us, not just for companies. Unlikely, but stranger things have happened these last few years…