Devin Coldewey

Latest from Devin Coldewey

  • Shots In The Dark

    Shots In The Dark

    When our media is filtered and refiltered, bleached by content guidelines and automatic takedown algorithms, we run the risk of living a life with the objectionable and graphic and terrifying, in other words the real, strained out. The pervasion of cameras means the documentation of everything, and this is at odds with the prim, "curated" platforms on which that documentation is most often shared. Read More

  • Reach Out And Touch No One

    Reach Out And Touch No One

    If the Internet, at its most basic level, was built around the idea of one human connecting with another human, is it really changing how this is done? To make it easier and better is no insignificant accomplishment, but are actually changing the way people communicate with one another? It seems to me that we're not fashioning a thunderbolt, but greasing the lightning that's already there. Read More

  • Sandbenders

    Sandbenders

    It's a curious thing that the most popular devices in the world right now are also, arguably, the best designed. Apple essentially made the Lamborghini of phones ubiquitous, but its lustre is diminishing for several reasons. Among them is the vastly improved ability of small teams to insert themselves into the product creation process. The long tail (and haute couture) is coming to manufacturing. Read More

  • Flashbulb Memery

    Flashbulb Memery

    There is a kind of memory called a "flashbulb memory," which is particularly vivid, and forms when something surprising or particularly affecting occurs: JFK, a car accident, or 9/11. What we call memes are the flashbulb memories of the Internet, and they have emerged because there is a missing piece in the way we share and experience the Internet-based phenomena that are so important to us… Read More

  • Quick, Tie The Rafts Together

    Quick, Tie The Rafts Together

    To operate in the 21st century as if it is still the 20th is certain death for most businesses. Not instant, but certain. And it was certainly this practice that led two of the largest publishers to combine their lot. The resulting business will have to change all the same, but it's easier to navigate these waters as a single raft (of the Medusa variety, but a raft nonetheless) than as a flotilla. Read More

  • Buyer Beware

    Buyer Beware

    I've greatly enjoyed watching the petty controversies that erupted this week, controversies having to do with what can only loosely be described as buyer's remorse: indignant iPad owners, a mysteriously banished Amazon customer, and a host of people calling foul on Facebook's promoted posts. One of these is a legitimate and productive complaint, the others are nothing but a froth about the mouth. Read More

  • Where My Rights End And Yours Begin

    Where My Rights End And Yours Begin

    The boundaries of our personal rights have been summed up concisely in the observation that they end where those of others begin. And this is a perfectly good lamp by which to guide our actions in many cases. But the Internet has led to the destruction of location and identity as necessary considerations when calculating our rights and privileges. This week furnishes some examples - and… Read More

  • Flawless

    Flawless

    It strikes me as wrong that our most powerful and expensive and familiar objects should be the ones we love the least. We hold them and touch them every day, look at them for hours on end, sleep next to them. But how little we care for them! Here is the problem: we cannot love an object which knows nothing, which learns nothing, and which says nothing. Read More

  • Hate

    Hate

    It's a powerful thing, this Internet of ours. The greatest tool for the distribution of knowledge, the administration of compassion, and development of conversation ever created. And the events of this week have shown how it can be a platform for tolerance and understanding, for love and peace. Particularly touching was the story of a man who, with the assistance of friends and the Internet… Read More

  • Ground Truth

    Ground Truth

    I was always a smart kid. Did very well on tests all through grade school, didn't have to do much work because the work I did do suggested to my teachers that there wasn't an issue. Just a couple missing worksheets, he'll do fine. When I got to middle school, I took the usual approach to things, which, for me, was always to just do them. That had worked brilliantly before, so I kept right on… Read More

  • How To Disrupt Petty Inconveniences

    How To Disrupt Petty Inconveniences

    Depending on who you ask, Jack Dorsey started off the latest Disrupt on either a very controversial or a very non-controversial note. "We need revolution, not disruption," he said, words that would be easy to characterize as platitudes if he were not working hard at uprooting a few global institutions. Even so, the sentiment did not entirely match the tone of the conference that was to… Read More

  • All Your Metadata Shall Be In Water Writ

    All Your Metadata Shall Be In Water Writ

    The power of the internet lies in its near-infinite mutability. It's an edifice of information being added to and sculpted by as many hands as there are eyes viewing it. Truly democratic and increasingly accessible, it will soon be the vector for most communication that takes place on our world. But its mutability is also a weakness, as so many great strengths are. The weakness arises from a… Read More

  • Stranded Vessels

    Stranded Vessels

    The 20th century was owned and operated by middle men. Industry began as the creation of something for which would be traded other goods, services, or cash. As production centralized, distribution (as always) rose to close the distance between the product and the consumer. Facilitating consumption became a business unto itself: printing, shipping, packaging, and all the rest. A respectable… Read More

  • Iconoclasm

    Iconoclasm

    What can be said about the save icon? It is a diskette. It is often blue. And of course, as others have pointed out, many (soon to be most) people using computers today have never touched one and never will. Yet you could say the same for a the "home" icon (millions will never own a house), the "phone" icon (used a model 500 lately?), the lasso, the magnifying glass, the dodge and burn tools. Read More

  • Laocoön

    Laocoön

    Suppose you dropped your phone -- a real fall, like from the second story -- and it broke. You're picking up the pieces, cursing and trying to think of the last time you backed up your contacts, when you notice something. Deep within the phone's hardware, hidden from everyday use, you find a message -- etched right onto the chassis. What kind of message? Let's say you found a Darwin fish, or… Read More

  • The Way Things Work

    The Way Things Work

    Magic, they call it. And indeed we may add an appendix to that old saw: any sufficiently advanced, or sufficiently obscure, technology is indistinguishable from magic. You must know the story of the Mechanical Turk. How princes and tradesmen were amazed by this ingenious device's ability to play chess intelligently. In an age of steam and brass hinges! Yet at the time thousands were fooled. Had… Read More

  • Notion Ink Scraps High-Resolution Screen For Next Tablet

    Notion Ink Scraps High-Resolution Screen For Next Tablet

    We've always been interested in the Notion Ink project, which has always striven to be a true alternative to both the iPad and Android masses. Last time, it was through both a Pixel Qi screen and an interesting custom interface, but delays and yield problems more or less buried it and competitors piled up. The sequel to Notion Ink's Adam was originally going to have a 10" screen running at… Read More

  • Science Fiction

    Science Fiction

    In Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt," two children play in their "nursery," a sort of home holodeck where they can conjure up any scene in which to play. Bradbury always had a wonderfully clunky sort of technobabble; in this case, as the father tells the mother, "it's all dimensional superreactionary, supersensitive color film and mental tape film behind glass screens. It's all odorophonics… Read More

  • WTF
    Marriott Puts An End To Shady Ad Injection Service

    Marriott Puts An End To Shady Ad Injection Service

    Late last week, one Justin Watt discovered something suspicious going on with the wi-fi at his hotel, the Times Square Marriott. Not content to charge him hundreds for the room and $16.95 for internet access, it appeared that the service provider was using JavaScript injection to serve banner ads on every website guests visited. The story spread like wildfire for obvious reasons, and at last… Read More

  • Jack Tramiel, Founder Of Commodore International, Dies At 83

    Jack Tramiel, Founder Of Commodore International, Dies At 83

    Jack Tramiel, one of the PC industry's major pioneers, has died. He was born in 1928 and, after surviving imprisonment in Auschwitz and another concentration camp during World War II, first established the Commodore name in business in 1953. His most successful endeavor, and one of the most successful in the history of computing, was the legendary Commodore 64, one of the very first computers… Read More