Categories
Tech

“Regulating Technology”

This is another great essay by Benedict Evans on what most people (lawmakers included) don’t think about when they talk about regulating tech. It’s an insightful piece coming from a true expert in this space.

That’s a lot of the appeal of a phrase like ‘break them up!’ – it has a comforting simplicity, but doesn’t really give us a route to solutions. Indeed, ‘break them up’ reminds me a lot of ‘Brexit’ – it sounds simple until you ask questions. Break them up into what, and what problems would that solve? The idea that you can solve the social issues connected to the internet with anti-trust intervention is rather like thinking that you can solve the social issues that come from cars by breaking up GM and Ford.

I just can’t agree more.

Read the essay, then read it again, then thank Benedict for enlightening us.

Categories
Tech

Dark Patterns

I discovered Dark Patterns only today. It shines a light on tricks used by websites and apps to make you do things you didn’t mean to, like buying stuff or uploading your address book so they can market to your contacts.

There’s even a fantastic reading list if you want to delve deeper, and there’s a lot of design and UX implications to this.

Kudos to Alexander Darlington for this excellent work.

Categories
Tech

Better late than never

I’ll be here after you finish your victory lap.
Categories
Tech

“Only Apple could do that”

I read this post when it was published last week. In usual Daring Fireball style, there were some rather subjective statements like this one:

Google makes a lot of software with terrible user experiences for users who have poor taste.

And this one:

An iPad email app that doesn’t support split-screen multitasking for five years is, by definition, not a good app.

That didn’t bother me too much, I mean, we’re all entitled to our opinions, no matter how biased they might be. Then I read this statement which got me thinking:

Apple undeniably wields great power from the fact that the App Store is the exclusive source for all consumer software for the iPhone and iPad. Why not use that power in the name of user experience? Imagine a world where the biggest fear developers had when submitting an app review wasn’t whether they were offering Apple a sufficient cut of their revenue, but whether they were offering users a good enough native-to-the-platform experience. Video app that doesn’t support picture-in-picture? You’re out of the store. App doesn’t support dynamic type size but clearly should? You’re out. Poor accessibility support? Out. Popular email client that doesn’t support split screen? Out.

Apple could get developers to implement features for security and privacy, and to block any app if they don’t comply to these widely-agreed safety standards and features. But I think it’ll be a stretch to categorically include nice-to-have features like split screen and picture-in-picture, because blocking a developer for these features could be misconstrued as monopolistic behavior. I think that’s something they’d rather avoid being added on top of their ongoing antitrust investigations.

It’s also rather naive to think that Apple didn’t already consider this. They probably did, and product counsel most likely didn’t want to take the unnecessary risk. I don’t think Apple would take business risks like these.

Rather than watch Apple face antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Europe with a sense of dread, I’d watch with a sense of glee. “This company is abusing its market dominance to take an unfair share of our money” is an age-old complaint to government regulators. “This company is abusing its market dominance to force us to make our apps better for users” would be delightful new territory. Only Apple could do that.

I’m quite sure this “delightful new territory” is not something Apple wants to be number 1 in. In this context, “only Apple could do that” might not be the badge of honor John gleefully thinks it is.

Categories
Random

It’s okay.

Some days are not so good, then some others are just bad. It’s okay to feel that way; these are unprecedented times we’re going through together.

And it’s okay to slow down during this time and not expect our lives to be as “productive” as it was before the pandemic. And it’s okay that things will never return to “normal” after this because hoping that life miraculously reverts to how it was in 2019 is an impossible dream.

It’s also okay to feel like there’s catching up to do once this is truly over. Yes, I think there will be a lot of life to catch up on and it’ll be a good chance to think of what is truly important in our lives. It’s okay to reprioritize different things and different people.

So it’s okay to just sit back and do whatever it takes for this to pass. Minutes will turn to hours and hours to days and days to weeks, and we will eventually cross the finish line. Then it’s okay to reflect back on these times and be glad that we were okay while we going through it.

Categories
TTRPG

Returning to D&D

It was 1985, and I remember we were hiding near the school library’s long, dusty corridor. I remember we had a couple of dices, scribbling numbers on some scraps of paper. I remember the DM describing a scene to us. I remember his lisp and I remember looking up a spell while someone kept watch in case a pesky librarian walked by. We were in the midst of the Satanic Panic of the 80s and growing up in a mission school made it doubly worse.

Fast forward to 2018. A friend in the office asked if I would like to join his group. I reluctantly rolled up 5th edition half-orc monk and that marked my return to the game.

Fast forward to April 2019 when my DM had to take a break and have a baby. I took the leap and started my own game as DM. I’m proud to say that I have more than 20 games as a DM under my belt.

I enjoy playing and DM’ing for many different reasons but there’s a big part of it that reminds me of my days in school, back in the simpler 1980s when the most complex thing in life is trying to figure out how many dice to roll for a critical hit.

Categories
Random

Restart

This isn’t my first blog so I’m no stranger to putting strings of words out into the internet.

I moved here, with a clean slate, because I felt an overwhelming urge to start anew.

To me, writing is one of the most liberating and creative forms of expression, but I am still not really good at it. It’s just easier to find an excuse not to write, and believe me, I found plenty in the past.

Here’s to a new start, again. I hope you’ll find these random ramblings enjoyable, or the very least, bearable.

Categories
Random

Endless Possibilities

“One of the most amazing things that can happen is finding someone who sees everything you are and won’t let you be anything less. They see the potential of you. They see endless possibilities. And through their eyes, you start to see yourself the same way. As someone who matters. As someone who can make a difference in this world.”

Susane Colastani