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Category: Uncategorized

Out on the road today

I have been writing a lot about ‘openness’ recently. I am struggling with what it means to be an open academic and while my posts are confusing they help me think and even more importantly I get feedback and comments. I think one of the main things I end up talking about with people who have read my posts is that delivery is just as important as content. I am currently at an academic event at a University in the UK. There is security personal everywhere, not ‘beefed up’ for the event, it is always like this. The University itself is nowhere important, both in the league tables and in terms of physical location. The security, which could easily be replaced by automated swipe machine, isn’t there to make us feel secure, we don’t exactly feel threated out here in Nowhere Important, it is there to make us think we…

write more code

I am really unhappy with this post, I don’t think it describes what I wanted to get across. It took me two long train journeys to write, I’m fed up of it and don’t want to write anymore. In the spirit of ‘open’, whatever that may be, here it. I’ll go with a D+, at least I handed it in. Recently I have been thinking about the push of getting people to code, I have been thinking about it because the HE institution I am based in really seems to struggle with technology. The most painful aspect of the struggle are difficult conversations around what the technology can and can’t do. Frustration comes from users of technology who can’t get it to do what they want, frustration comes from the coders who either aren’t given clear messages about what to or are told to do something that is near impossible.…

It’s good that everyone is talking about loot crates

I’ve written quite a bit on here about how oppressive I find the techniques and progression systems in computer games – particularly, but not restricted to those found in ‘free-to-play’ games. Last year I wrote about the a Call of Duty game, a £50 game which among other purchases lets players buy random awards to improve their chances in competitive play. There are lots of oppressive systems at play to get gamers to part with extra cash in the Call of Duty games, but what worried me when I was writing the original blog was that while the game was an 18 – the series is known for being very popular with gamers much younger than that.  A particular concern of mine was that the series is rated 18 because of the violent content and parents often think that their children can handle it since it is ‘only a game’,…

The designers and the mechanics

I am quite interested in issues of automation and the issues that face us when tasks in for workforce are replaced with robots or A.I. In a way, I kind of think that as a society, we’ve messed up when this is a problem. There are two big themes in much of the writing around automisation that really intrigue me. The first is that automation of tasks by machines makes humans more mechanical. The second is automisation creates a divide between ‘designers’ and the mechanical. Both of these themes revolve around the same argument, and while I’m still reading lots of interesting and conflicting opinions on the subject, Varoufakois in his letters to his daughter, seems to nail it down to a few steps: A huge technical change occurs that allows expensive humans to be moved out of the production line, without having to pay them the cost of production…

Be more open

Recently I have been struggling with being told to be “Open”. The blog I am hoping to post this on used to be very popular and I would write every week. In that period, I used to write under a daft name to hide the fact is was me who was writing it, I’m not sure if that effected how open I was being, but I used to feel that it meant that spelling mistakes or poorly though out ideas where not mine, but belonged to my character. Around five years ago it became quite clear that I was going to lose my job, and the advice from colleagues/job centers/careers staff was ‘to be more open’. In a panic, and wanting to have something to show to potential employers, I changed all my online profiles from my characters handles of Paddytherabbit to my real name. Since changing from Paddy to…

Simulacra or Surrogates?

Facebook reminds me of my commitments. I noticed there are a few birthdays today, I haven’t seen many of them in years, but I still must say Happy Birthday and leave a string of cake emoji’s. There are some other prompts too; it has been 5 years since I went to place X with person Y, I should share this memory. Somebody else has just downloaded the messenger app, Facebook reminds me this is a person I know and should send them a message. I barely recognise them, they were a friend at school but they look different now. Off the top of my head I can remember about 5 birthdays, there are about 15 birthdays that I know the month but not the exact day. In the offline world it is my knowledge that creates a commitment. I know people’s birthday, who they are, what they look like. I…

Hate

drivel   Back in September, I remember reading this Guardian post detailing the shenanigans of Palmer Luckey, The Oculus Rift founder who had been funding users of social network site Reddit to post pro-trump images and text. What struck me most about the article, was just how little information was actually in it, the gist was ‘young tech guy funds hate and he doesn’t care that his technology might not be used for good.’ The pro-Trump and anti-Hilary images were posted on Reddit, which is a ‘forum of forums’ and has a wide range of users with different opinions. What I find really interesting about forums and sites such 4chan and Reddit is that while the communications on there are very complex, they generate a simple narrative that explains what the forum represents, but by the time that narrative reaches a wider audience it is part of an in-joke that…

The ascent

“Through the prescience of the great oracle (then known as Prism), Donald Trump saw a threat to humanity. The dependency on algorithms would create a lack in exploration and growth of our souls, creating a stagnation that would eventually mean the end of the humanity. Trump decided that the way forward to surviving was to teach the humans new skills through bad example and came up with a strategy he called ‘El oro de la pared’.  While the Trump rule had many bad examples that taught the human race well, there are two main ones that saved humanity: The first stage of the plan was to refuse action on climate change. Trump set the stage for an age of suffering, which would become known as the ‘Gran Hambruna’. Without any action from the United States the world fell in to a mass climate change. A great famine on Earth led…

Us and Them

I don’t have a point, writing drivel just helps. I had hoped we would stay. Britain woke up on Friday morning to be congratulated by racists and fascists, they thought it was great news that we were leaving the EU. Hate crimes rose, the market crashed and the Leave campaign started to simply deny that any of the things they promised were actually promises. Within hours on social media the response from the Remainers was to shove this in the faces of Leavers. The angry posts followed a two step thought process: Either Leavers were racist/fascist, because the French National Front approve of your actions Or, if they were not racist then they must be stupid, as things had happened just as experts had told them. The promises have already unraveled and markets already crashed. Leavers said ‘we are not racist or stupid’ and logged off. While offline, some Leavers…

The classroom panopticon effect

This was supposed to be a response to the best and worst of educational technology, But ended up a ramble. In 1999 I was in my 3rd year at a high school that despite having a couple of tennis courts, swimming pools and various state of the art drama/music rooms somehow only managed to fund a single computing suite with machines running Windows 3.1.   In your 3rd year at high school your parents are called in by different tutors to discuss how you are doing in their class and the possibilities of you picking it as a subject for GCSE . Despite the school refusing to believe that computers had a place in the future, that Windows versions past 3.1 were clearly unnecessary and there actually being no I.T options to pick, I was dreading my parents seeing my I.T tutor. All I remember from the I.T classes at this…

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