The Future of the World Belongs to Everyone and Nobody

Who Owns the Future Paperback Cover Page
Who Owns the Future Paperback Cover Page

Yes, the future; a backlash against the future. A future that let’s us capture, share, and view pictures. Or share everything with everyone known and unknown. This is a future envisioned by companies and individuals as a channel to mine data and user habits. And when the user base grows to a large enough scale, these services and apps in the cloud switch to a recurring revenue model. Every company wants a recurring revenue model. Each monthly customers – people – pay the company a certain amount each month; every month. We’re so entranced with simple services. Always seeking the next app or tool that you must know about or that you must use. Sometimes a valuable services is created and genuinely becomes useful though largely we see a series of copy cat services. None really offering any more service than the one before. Small and incremental changes seems to be preferences. Along the way with each iteration a nice fortune is made by charge users for the next version of whatever service with slightly expanded feature set and maybe a new look, but certainly for an all new price.

Yes, it’s a backlash and only now do we see that changing the present will also change the future. There are numerous references to Siren servers and the initial reading felt like a secret being whispered. Everyone doesn’t know about these Siren servers collecting and analyzing massive gobs of data with the end goal of learning behaviors and selling those statistical and trends to advertisers or using it themselves with the intent of selling more of whatever they’re selling. Certainly this isn’t new, but the capabilities of amassing such tremendous amount of information and then using that data for not so noble purposes is what changes the perspective of those otherwise pro-technology.

So then who owns the future? It’s undoubtedly owned by the companies who provide us “cloud” services. The companies that push us towards monthly subscription services. The companies that do not want us to download or to physically/digitally own what we purchase. Maybe if we reject these types of services or be more selective of what we consume can things change. Until then, we’ll continue using all the free services we can and distance ourselves from understanding the value of human effort.

Around the time when Amazon launched the second iteration of the Kindle did I completely embrace the cloud. Then the idea of owning no physical books or magazines sounded wonderful; especially to minimalist. Even purchased an Android Nexus tablet with the thought that I’d accomplish so much reading and the satisfaction of carrying all my books and magazines. The tablet itself became a deity that I prayed to each time I unlocked the screen. My perception of Amazon was pristine. No negatives. Over time though it jumped to the other side of the spectrum with their pricing ordeal with Hachette Publishing. And only then did the dangers of Amazon become clear.

The same can be said about laptops without a DVD/CD drive or small capacity hard drives. Combined with the concept of Siren servers you feel that a grand coordinated scheme was set into motion many years ago and just now is becoming fulfilled. Yes, it’s a backlash; a shock really. First thoughts turn to shunning these services or otherwise avoiding them altogether or simply discontinuing their use. It’s not simple to change your workflow and everything you’ve become accustomed to, but we must if we are ever going to take control of our digital lives.

Gained perspective and insight is to be gained from reading Who Owns The Future. The perspective to understand why companies give their services away for free and why it isn’t necessarily in your interest.

Everyone’s a Designer These Days and I Hate It

This is embarrassing to myself mostly since no one reads this shit. Several weeks since my last post plus with my Book Of The Month experience lagging my goals have been wobbly. Not that I don’t have a reason; I always have excuses and none that I’m going to share here because again no one reads my crap and I already know them well.

Design <for> Hackers, David Kadavy
A warm introduction to design.

Why do single purpose table lamps cost $900 and why are things like damn, them new loafers hurt my pocket. There’s only one reason for it: money lusting goblins of the Harry Potter variety. Close, but no. Within the pages of David Kadavy’s book, Design <for> Hackers, will you find the answer, but only after you deduce the reason from the book’s content. In other words, you’ll have to conclude the reason as there isn’t a chapter titled “Here’s the Answer.” Oh well, read further and I’ll decompose it for you.

The care and time and knowledge applied in selecting materials, colours, placements, function, practicality, everyday use, and more is the reason for the high cost of things. This is the design process. People who design (and I won’t call them designers for everyone is a designer these days or thinks they are) impregnate creations with their ideas for how objects should feels and function and be perceived. Objects become desirable because of their shape or colour or purpose or origin and many other perceivable and in-perceivable details. Combining these infinite variations into a form serving a purpose is beautiful and meaningful.

A description of anal might be attributed to these types, but its merely a character trait of those who see the design of things. But more importantly these individuals can appreciate the sometimes genius thoughts plunged into a work. Those that cannot are either untrained or lack mental dexterity. A title that I’m connecting to design is that of Curator. The purpose of a Curator is ever more important; their experience and knowledge on a specialized topic far exceeding that of the average Joe. Nowadays we find great excitement at anything curated: music, clothing, travel, etc. These curated experiences surpass what individually we would have experienced otherwise largely due to our insensitivity on quality.

Chapter 5 highlights proportions and is of great everyday use. The Golden Ratio is fascinating and reveals why some things look “right” or balanced or just otherwise pleasing to view. Later chapters delve into the granularities of colour creation perception and you may find yourself trailing off. The chapters begin to read like a textbook at times putting a drag on enjoyment.

A good introduction to design and a certainly a reference book, Design <for> Hackers is a gateway drug to the design world.