All items by Alex Bowyer

Audio
Links

Who owns your digital media?

Shoeboxes of Tapes, on FlickrIn  this episode of NPR’s Science Friday podcast from last year, New York Times columnist Randy Stross talks about how we’re now entering an age where our digital “products” are no longer ours to own.

When you buy music as an MP3 (assuming it’s not protected) you can copy or transfer it freely, to be used as wish, just as cassette tape recordings used to be. But in a world of controlled devices such as the Kindle or Apple’s iPod and iPad devices, it’s no longer to separate the “product” (be it an app, an e-book or an interactive website) from the device you use to consume it. Companies now have the ability to change the content, the experience or your access, after you have purchased it. Sometimes the content will be hosted online, in the cloud, which means you can access it anyway, but you’ll also never truly possess it.

Should we just accept this change, and be happy we won’t be carrying our media around for the rest of our life in shoeboxes, or should we fight to hold onto our rights of ownership so that we can be free to watch, read and listen whenever and however we want?

Read more, or listen to the MP3.


Image credit: draggin on Flickr.

Links
Peter Serafinowicz: Shooting himself by pirating his own movies?

Once, we only bought movies on VHS or DVD, and books in bookstores. But with the digitization of all entertainment media, there are many reasons why this doesn’t make sense any more – portability, cost, transport. Actor and director Peter Serafinowicz finds himself in conflict as both a content producer and consumer as to what is the right thing to do:

With bandwidth and storage increasing exponentially, getting cheaper, and consumers becoming more tech-savvy, its becoming easier every day to grab free copies of books, movies and albums. This is why Internet users are thrilled. Including me. This is why people in the entertainment industry are terrified. Including me.

It’s clear that the media industry and the law have not caught up with the way people want to access and own their content, and the way technology can be used. Read Peter’s detailed discussion of the moral rights and wrongs of piracy on Gizmodo:
Why I Steal Movies… Even Ones I’m In

Links
Video

We’ve all grown accustomed to a free web, but the reality is, content creators including bloggers, artists or musicians, need to get paid if the creative economy is to flourish. But attempts to charge for newspapers online showed that people are not inclined to pay for access to lots of different sites. Here is a possible solution, Flattr – a flat rate payment which is split between all sorts of different creators by just clicking an icon.

Links

Usability expert Jakob Nielsen has carried out a detailed user study on the iPad, Apple’s new tablet computer. The study found that applications are inconsistently designed, possible actions are non-obvious, and users are often left confused. Also, there is a war of philosophies taking place: Should each publication be a stand-alone environment, controlled and defined by the author? Or should users continue to be empowered to consume, reorganize and manipulate their content as they have been on the Web? As this new device paradigm emerges, it’s clear that a new form of interaction design will evolve with it.

Read more at Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.

Audio
Links
Thumbnailed

The Ethics of Designer Babies

Commercial DNA service, by aprilzosia on Flickr

This episode of BBC World’s Discovery podcast looks at the science which is already allowing parents to choose those embryoes least likely to develop diseases later in life. At first these techniques seem like powerful tools to put in the hands of would-be parents, but since any genetic assessment can only give probability, not certainty, it has the potential to create agonizing choices. And the programme also looks at India, where pale skin is becoming increasingly desirable, especially for girls, and asks if legislation should stop parents from rejecting embryoes for aesthetic rather than medical reasons.

Listen to the episode (streaming audio hosted by the BBC)

Posts
Thumbnailed
Video
Man with camera attached to cycle helmet

What if you could remember everything? Not just birthdays and photos, but your entire life. Technology is now affordable and powerful enough to make this a reality. This is lifelogging – using computers to extend your brain and outsource your memory.

 

What is lifelogging?

Read more »

Links

I wrote recently about our ability to speak all languages. It seems that this power just got even greater, thanks to a new mobile application from Google. Called Google Goggles, it combines optical character recognition with their existing language translation technologies so that you can just photograph a sign in a foreign language and have a translation displayed on your screen. This could have quite an impact for international travellers.

Audio
Links

This episode of Digital Planet, from the BBC World Service, includes an interview with the director of the FutureEverything festival in Manchester UK about the winner of the Future Everything Award, a collaborative project called EyeWriter which is a collaborative project using eye-tracking technology to allow graffiti artist Tony Quan, who is paralyzed due a condition known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, to continue drawing his tags and art from his hospital bed.

The episode also features looks at how to design software for cerebral palsy sufferers, and how to re-use old computers in new ways.

Listen to the episode (28 mins audiostream)

Links
Video

French company Parrot demonstrated this impressive piece of technology at Web 2.0 Expo this week. It’s a flying camera drone, that hovers and stabilizes itself automatically in flight, is wirelessly controlled by an iPhone just by tilting the phone, and streams live video back to the phone. It uses augmented reality to overlay game elements onto that video, making it a “video game for real life”. It’s incredible that technology like this is now available to the general public – at one time only the military could access such technology. What will people use these for? Will it reduce the privacy of governments and celebrities?

Links
Satellite TV interference, by pkmital on Flickr

Galaxy 15, a communications satellite operated by Intelsat, has drifted off course while still transmitting, threatening to cause interference to communications networks and satellite TV reception for customers across North America as it drifts past competitor’s satellites. Here’s more, from the Register:

Engineers have sent more than 150,000 commands to the roving craft in an attempt to regain control of it. May 31 to June 1 will be the riskiest time for AMC-11 customers as its parent, SES World Skies, tries to position it as far as possible from the wayward Galaxy 15 while still allowing it to operate as normally as possible.

It’s a good reminder that when we design complex systems, we cannot always predict every eventuality, and should plan fail-safes and contingency mechanisms for when things go wrong. Read the original report from Space.com.


Image credit: pkmital on Flickr

Powered by WordPress, based on Mina theme.