Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Collection of the Worldwide Internet


John McCain doesn't know what he's missing; the internet was particularly good this week.

Is the stress of virtually interacting with your electronic friends catching up to you? Can't stand to hear that another one of your friends became a fan of Michael Phelps? Do you hate knowing when everyone's birthday is?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be worth your while to check out the hottest new thing in social networking, what Kottke calls Fake Following.
This is a little bit genius. One of the new features of FriendFeed (a Twitter-like thingie) is "fake following". That means you can friend someone but you don't see their updates. That way, it appears that you're paying attention to them when you're really not. Just like everyone does all the time in real life to maintain their sanity.
I won't be insulted if you fake follow me; not everyone needs to know that I recently became a fan of Baseball Prospectus.

And remember, besides candy, online networking is the thing young people like the most.



The "Modern Dwelling" exhibit at the MoMa brought back some memories of weird stuff people are doing to the things they put inside their modern dwellings. Here's a really wonderful collection of 30 innovative designs for book-holders; shelves is probably too limiting a word for what's on display here. This one's my favorite, because it tightly focuses the attention of the viewer on the books themselves.

This dude disassembled many of his common household appliances. Very similar concept to what this guy did, but not nearly as creepy. These two examples of people getting to the figurative hearts of their robotic living accessories caught my eye mostly because it reminded me of this blender designed by MIT students which only works if someone is yelling at it.



I don't know the motivations of the people who came up with this, but one of the results of this type of mechanism is that the user needs to interact in a more obviously personal way with the blender. The speed of the blender is directly related to the sound of my voice, a more intimate interaction than is achieved by pushing a button.

We live in a time in which humans interact with a whole bunch of machines, from our computers, to our iDevices, to our eyeglasses, to our pacemakers. I'm glad that there are folks thinking about the ways in which people connect with their machines.



It's not about how our machines interact with us, it's about how we interact with our machines.

3 comments:

Joseph said...

is it just me or is this last writing of yours all over the place?

Joseph said...

also what is with this new security device that we need to type in specials words before we can post our comments?

joshua said...

@joseph
I think it's to keep away the rabble.

@avi
Yelling at machines seems like a pretty good way of making them want to rebel and conquer the world.