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The Real Revolution

This is also a podcast, from my weekly BBC piece.  While folks at the annual tech show in Vegas are getting all excited about a glass-encased laptop, the world’s thinnest 55″ TV and a washing machine you can control from your phone, they may be forgiven for missing the quiet sound of a milestone being crossed: there are now more smartphones in the world than there are ordinary phones. According to New York-based ABI Research, 3G and 4G handsets now account for more than half of the total mobile phone market. Those old ‘dumb phones’ and the so-called feature phones–poor relations to the computer-type iPhoneContinue readingThe Real Revolution

Social Media Phishing Hazards

As usual, I feel we’re not being smart enough about the way that scammers improve their skills. We demand everything to be easier, and they just reap the winnings. What they’re exploiting is the fact that we use a lot of different services (twitter, email, Facebook), and services within services (those which use those primary services as authorisation—in other words, borrowing the login name and password) to make things easier for us or to offer ancillary services (backing twitter, measuring the number of Facebook friends you have in Angola, etc etc). All of this leaves us vulnerable, because we tend to get overwhelmed by theContinue readingSocial Media Phishing Hazards

Locking Users In the Smart Way

I was directed to this excellent piece, A Victim Treats His Mugger Right : NPR, via Facebook last night.  And it made me realise how publishers don’t make the most of that kind of referral. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that nowadays we tend to get more and more of our reading from peer suggestions like this. Navigating News Online from the Project for Excellence in Journalism estimates that while Google still accounts for 30% of traffic to the main U.S. news sites, Facebook is the second or third most important driver of traffic. And yet all news sites do to respond to that is putContinue readingLocking Users In the Smart Way

How To Use Google To Get Round Super Injunctions

As you may know there’s been lots of talk about a so-called super injunction taken out by a British footballer against revealing his name in connection with an affair he’s alleged to have had with a minor UK celebrity. One British newspaper has ignored the injunction, effectively identifying him. Twitter has also been abuzz. It amused me to notice that Google has ignored the injunction, too, effectively. With Google Instant autosearch on, start typing “super injunction footballer imogen” and the answer–or at least what everyone assumes is the answer will appear in the drop down list below. As I’ve illustrated above, but with the nameContinue readingHow To Use Google To Get Round Super Injunctions

A Call for Diminished Reality

(a copy of my weekly syndicated column. Podcast from the BBC here.) By Jeremy Wagstaff I was walking the infant the other day, when I saw a vision of my future.  A mother and father, out with their son and dog.  The mother sat on a park bench, dog sitting obediently at her feet as she flicked absent-mindedly at her iPhone. In the playground, the boy wove his way through a tunnel, across some ropes, down a slide–the father nearby, lost in his own iPhone. Occasionally he would waken from his 3G trance and, without looking up, point the phone at his son as ifContinue readingA Call for Diminished Reality

A Call for Diminished Reality

By Jeremy Wagstaff I was walking the infant the other day, when I saw a vision of my future.  A mother and father, out with their son and dog.  The mother sat on a park bench, dog sitting obediently at her feet as she flicked absent-mindedly at her iPhone. In the playground, the boy wove his way through a tunnel, across some ropes, down a slide–the father nearby, lost in his own iPhone. Occasionally he would waken from his 3G trance and, without looking up, point the phone at his son as if scanning him for radiation.  The resulting photo probably went straight to hisContinue readingA Call for Diminished Reality

Nursery Rhymes: History’s Most Viral Startup?

(This is a copy of my weekly column for newspapers and radio.) As the father of a child born in the era between the first and second iPads, I am made acutely aware that technology is driving baby rearing–just as it is driving everything else. But I find the field surprisingly uneven. Nappies, for example. They’re definitely easier than in my day: Even I can change one. They carry logos of Winnie the Pooh and other lovable characters–all presumably a little surprised to find themselves so close, as it were, to the waterline. There are little adhesive strips on the side and wingtips for extraContinue readingNursery Rhymes: History’s Most Viral Startup?

Sharing on Evernote

Despite some competition, Evernote still owns the space where we save stuff we might need for ourselves. But is it up to the task of our increasingly collaborative world? I’ve gotten a bit confused about what can and can’t be synced and shared and with whom so I asked them. This is what I think I learned: (some corrections made after checking with Evernote) Syncing between devices If you’re a free user, anything you add on any device can be viewed (and edited) on any other device. If you’re a premium user then you’ll be able to download and store offline all notes to yourContinue readingSharing on Evernote

Social Media and Politics: Truthiness and Astroturfing

By Jeremy Wagstaff (this is a column I wrote back in November. I’m repeating it here because of connections to astroturing in the HBGary/Anonymous case.) Just how social is social media? By which I mean: Can we trust it as a measure of what people think, what they may buy, how they may vote? Or is it as easy a place to manipulate as the real world. The answers to these questions aren’t of academic interest only. They go right to the heart of what may be our future. More and more of our world is online. And more and more of our online worldContinue readingSocial Media and Politics: Truthiness and Astroturfing

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