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Posts Tagged ‘control

This CNET article is one of many that tries to provide help to those who want to control the data that Facebook has on you.

Its advice is restricted to changing settings on 1) who can tag you, and 2) how you should review posts before they appear in your timeline.

But there is much more you can do. For example, you should also check app permissions and audit privacy settings.

Facebook app permissions.

Facebook privacy settings.

The most important thing you can do is not a Facebook setting. It is a mindset and practice — you should reduce postings or refrain from posting.

Video source

In the video above, Hank Green described a science fiction novel published in 1911 about “personalised news”. A century later, we now have news feeds.

The difference is that the personalised news in the novel was defined by the subscriber. The current reality of news feeds is that they are dictated by computer algorithms.

Neither extreme is healthy. If you choose only what you want to consume, you create a bubble. If you let something else choose what you read, you lose control. The latter process is also not transparent.

In the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica world, you stop becoming the customer being served products; you become the source of data and the product to be sold to others.

In between the novel and current Facebook fiasco is another reality. It exists only among those who take control. For example, I decide what I read with RSS. I decide who to follow and learn from with Twitter. Both lead me to reliable sources of information and carefully curated alternative points of view.

If you don’t control the feed, the feed is controlling you.

This video is an ad. As an ad, it does not paint the whole picture. In fact, it is designed to deceive.

Video source

Most people will connect emotionally with the message it delivers: Disconnect from technology in order to reconnect with each other socially.

But that is an old and unnecessary message. People have been ignoring each other since it was possible to look occupied in a different part of the tree with a stick or the cave with a stone.

The ad is also manipulative. The makers of the technology-blocker do not point out that they are using one set of technologies to prevent another from working.

There is a cheaper, technology-free, and longer term solution. It is called making and keeping social contracts.

The ad makers want you to buy a product that presumes that you must start with an external locus of control (the disconnector) in order to create an internal locus of control (the desire to socialize). They fail to address reality when their product conveniently goes missing, if a link in their system breaks, or when people find workarounds.

Making and keeping social contracts might not work immediately. They are designed for the long run. You might use both the technological and social solutions to address a socio-technical problem, but you have to decide what you want to rely on over the long term.

The makers of this product remind me of many vendors of educational “solutions”. You might know who they are or you might be one of them. Check what applies:

  • No or little experience with learners or pedagogy.
  • Do not speak the language of educators.
  • Presume to understand teachers, schooling, and education based on own experiences.
  • Make broad, unsubstantiated claims on superficial understanding of educational psychology or complex research.
  • Offer technological solutions that only work like hammers and where every problem, no matter how diverse or systemic, becomes a nail.
  • Sound sincere, but ultimately wish to address quarterly profit or non-educational KPIs.
  • Claim to believe in one thing, but operate in another.

To the consumer I say: You are smarter than that.

To the irresponsible vendors I say: I will do my utmost to nurture an even smarter leader, teacher, learner, parent, etc.

Video source

This video has been embedded in several techie blogs and surrounded by words that practically proclaim it as the next big thing. I would so love it to be!

The product is Leap, a gesture-based module for controlling whatever happens on a screen. It is touted to have no noticeable lag, detect fine motion, and is able to register all ten fingers or even a pencil tip.

While the Kinect offers coarse gesture control (you flap your arms and legs), the Leap offers fine control. This is a marked refinement in this form of human-computer interaction.

All Leap needs now is to be integrated into computers and gaming consoles. If that happens, the Minority Report style of interaction will leap off the screen and become a distinct reality.

It is Friday and it is time to chill after another busy week.

Video source

I found this video from Gizmodo of a developer who has released a proof-of-concept application that uses your computer’s webcam to recognize simple gestures just like the Kinect does.

Ah, innovation. It starts with small steps!

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