Ambient reassurance is the experience of small, unplanned moments of interaction with colleagues that provide reassurance that you’re on the right track. They provide encouragement and they help us to maintain self belief in those moments where we are liable to lapse into unproductive self doubt or imposter syndrome.
In hindsight I realise, these moments flowed naturally in an office environment.
Thursday, October 15th, 2020
Tuesday, June 18th, 2019
An excellent piece by Maciej on the crucial difference between individual privacy and ambient privacy (and what that means for regulation):
Ambient privacy is not a property of people, or of their data, but of the world around us. Just like you can’t drop out of the oil economy by refusing to drive a car, you can’t opt out of the surveillance economy by forswearing technology (and for many people, that choice is not an option). While there may be worthy reasons to take your life off the grid, the infrastructure will go up around you whether you use it or not.
Because our laws frame privacy as an individual right, we don’t have a mechanism for deciding whether we want to live in a surveillance society. Congress has remained silent on the matter, with both parties content to watch Silicon Valley make up its own rules. The large tech companies point to our willing use of their services as proof that people don’t really care about their privacy. But this is like arguing that inmates are happy to be in jail because they use the prison library. Confronted with the reality of a monitored world, people make the rational decision to make the best of it.
That is not consent.
For more detail, I highly recommend reading his testimony to the senate hearing on Privacy Rights and Data Collection in a Digital Economy.
Sunday, December 30th, 2018
I love this use of e-ink to play a film at 24 frames per day instead of 24 frames per minute.
Friday, March 30th, 2018
On moving from silos to your own website:
Over the last year, especially, it has seemed much more like “blog to write, tweet to fight.” Moreover, the way that our writing and personal data has been used by social media companies has become more obviously problematic—not that it wasn’t problematic to begin with.
Which is why it’s once again a good time to blog, especially on one’s own domain.
But on the other hand…
It is psychological gravity, not technical inertia, however, that is the greater force against the open web. Human beings are social animals and centralized social media like Twitter and Facebook provide a powerful sense of ambient humanity—the feeling that “others are here”—that is often missing when one writes on one’s own site.
That’s true …which is why brid.gy is such an incredibly powerful service for, well, bridging the gap between your own personal site and the silos, allowing for that feeling of ambient humanity.
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017
A massively in-depth study of boundary-breaking music, recreated through the web audio API.
- Steve Reich - It’s Gonna Rain (1965)
- Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music for Airports, 2/1 (1978)
- Brian Eno - Discreet Music (1975)
You don’t have to be a musician or an expert in music theory to follow this guide. I’m neither of those things. I’m figuring things out as I go and it’s perfectly fine if you do too. I believe that this kind of stuff is well within reach for anyone who knows a bit of programming, and you can have a lot of fun with it even if you aren’t a musician.
One thing that definitely won’t hurt though is an interest in experimental music! This will get weird at times.
Friday, August 18th, 2017
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
Smart thinking from Alex on how browsers could better indicate that a website is a progressive web app (and would therefore benefit from being added to the home screen). Ambient badging, he calls it.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a button in the URL bar that appeared whenever you landed on a PWA that you could always tap to save it to your homescreen? A button that showed up in the top-level UI only when on a PWA? Something that didn’t require digging through menus and guessing about “is this thing going to work well when launched from the homescreen?”
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Taking apps out of phones and embedding them in the world around us …there’s a lot of crossover with what Scott Jenson has been writing about here. Good stuff.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
I want one! An ambient signifier (in lamp form) to let you know when the ISS is flying overhead. Geekgasm!
Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Friday, July 9th, 2010
A beautiful piece of musical mathematical poetry.
Thursday, May 14th, 2009
Where I’m actually living in augmented reality, Jefferson Airplane and what does this mean for photos. « geobloggers
Rev. Dan Catt's augmented reality future is here; it just isn't evenly distributed yet.
Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
An article about Twitter focusing on one threatened suicide and one averted break-up. Leisa and her excellent phrase "ambient intimacy" are quoted.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
Jason Kottke likes Twitter too.
Monday, March 19th, 2007
As usual, opinions are pretty polarised. Sometimes those poles swap over. The process goes something like this:
Signing up for Twitter.
This is stupid. I don’t get it.
Adding friends. What a pain!
Eating a cheese sandwich.
Trying to get some work done: getting distracted by Twitter.
@somebody: Really? Me too! Cool.
I love Twitter!
I’m surprised that Kathy Sierra doesn’t like Twitter seeing as it’s the classic example of creating passionate users. But as she freely admits:
I am not in the target audience for Twitter—I am by nature a loner.
Plenty of other people are hating on Twitter because it doesn’t appear to offer any practical value: it’s not productive. As I said before, neither is blogging.
Leisa nails the real value of Twitter. She calls it ambient intimacy:
Ambient intimacy is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible. Flickr lets me see what friends are eating for lunch, how they’ve redecorated their bedroom, their latest haircut. Twitter tells me when they’re hungry, what technology is currently frustrating them, who they’re having drinks with tonight.
While I was away at South by Southwest, Jessica found all the updates from Austin really helped her feel more connected to the people there. I need to get one of those giant plasma screens that were scattered around the convention centre and put one in my flat.
Just occasionally, Twitter is genuinely useful as Leisa can attest (Tantek has a similar story of narrowly-avoided airport confusion from his trip to Vancouver for Web Directions North). But it isn’t really about usefulness or long-term gain.
Lots of people are saying that Twitter is a fad and it won’t last. You know what? That’s fine. Not everything has to last. The whole raison d’être behind Twitter comes from answering a simple question in the present tense:
What are you doing?
If you don’t like Twitter, that’s fine. I understand completely. There’s loads wrong with it and it’s fundamentally not for everyone. But for the rest of us, let us have our fun. We’re not harming anyone and we’re getting some genuine emotional value from technology. That’s a rare thing these days. Yes, I’ll probably get bored with it and move on to something new but in the meantime, Twitter is fun. It really is as simple as that.
Oh, and if you think that Twitter is a waste of your time, here’s a real time-sink: Twittervision.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
An absolutely brilliant summation by Leisa Reichelt that nails Twitter's appeal: ambient intimacy.
Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
All those ambent background movie clips and adverts in Children of Men. There's a lot of attention to detail here.