Casey Johnson at Ars Technica (“Fairphone” looks to give power back to customers):
The “Fairphone,” a phone that purports to approach smartphone design in the most ethical way possible from every conceivable angle, opened for preorders last Friday. The phone uses only conflict-free resources wherever possible, it has an open design, and it is marketed in a transparent way to customers.
Starting small. Android only, Europe only, and about $400. As a product, it probably won’t have a huge impact in and of itself. Hopefully it will serve as a very successful proof-of-concept that we can do tech in a way that both respects everyone involved (trying to improve practices along the way) and is financially viable.
Posted by Jim Caccamo on May 31, 2013
Intriguing reflection by Matt Buchanan at BuzzFeed (It Never Gets Better) about how strongly we buy into the promise of technology:
There’s an update waiting for you. For your apps, for your computer and phone and tablet and the box attached to your TV. Updates are so routine that when you buy a smartphone or a tablet, you don’t just hope it will be better tomorrow than it is today, doing new and wonderful things that it doesn’t already do — you expect it. That’s the magic of software.
Yet, for the most part, it never gets there. Buchanan’s advice is to buy things that work well now, not those that only offer the promise of working well, once the next update comes out, etc. Great advice.
It seems to me that we place a lot of faith in technology as a means to achieving what we hope for. Social media will put us in touch, easing our loneliness. Biotech will heal our bodies, extending our lives. Manufacturing and design will make our lives easier, improving the quality of our lives. We have so much faith in our tech to live up to our hopes, we will cut it some slack when it fails to live up to our expectations. And it pretty much always does. So, when will we start to accept the fact that tech doesn’t solve every problem? When will we learn to manage both our faith and hope?
Posted by Jim Caccamo on July 10, 2012
A severe patch of storms that rumbled across the Eastern U.S. [on Friday night] — leaving [thirteen] people dead and millions without power — also disrupted an Amazon Web Services data center, affecting service for social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Netflix, which host their services at Amazon’s data centers.
Netflix and Pinterest had recovered most of their service by [Saturday] morning. The worst affected appeared to be Instagram — the Facebook-owned social photo-sharing service remained offline for many users as of this morning, and as of 11 am PT, it hadn’t updated users on its status since its initial service failure. Some users reported on Twitter that service had been restored for them, while others said it remained offline.
via Storm Knocks Out Amazon’s Power, Takes Down Instagram, Netflix.
There are lots of funny quotes floating around from people who found themselves unable to overcome the crushing boredom of down web services. For tech junkies, Barb Darrow had an interesting analysis of the outage for cloud subscribers over at GigaOm (including a link to her story about AWS outage two weeks ago). Four our part, we were awakened by the edges of these storms here in Philly on Friday night. Scary stuff here, so I can’t imagine the scene down there. And I wasn’t online, so didn’t notice any interruptions myself.
Posted by Jim Caccamo on July 1, 2012