Weekly Review 2019-11-08

This is an experiment with trying the format of Tim Ferriss’s 5-Bullet Friday newsletters. At a minimum, I’ll hopefully gain some perspective on what I’ve been up to over time; ideally, it will also help others find interesting things.


Reading

Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman

Being a bit of a technophile, there are parts of this which are tough to absorb. That said, I also think that technology has taken society on some wrong turns along the way. Neil Postman gives a framework for thinking about how and why that happens. It’s a well thought out counterpoint to viewing all technological change as beneficial to humans.


Listening

The French Machine by Minitel Rose

I have fond memories of a PBS show from the 1980s which covered the Minitel system in France. At the time (and still many years later), it seemed far ahead of its time. I was trying to explain the fascination that episode engendered in me, went searching for the show, and instead found the RetroManCave episode on the Minitel. This led to further searching and, ultimately, the French electronic band Minitel Rose.


Mulling

Men have become the tools of their tools.

Henry David Thoreau

I’m unsure if I’m more worried or reassured that concern about tools using humans predates computers by this much. Probably a little bit of each — we’ve survived previous problems; but, it’s unfortunate that we still build tools in ways that end up driving us. I am trying to consciously think about the computer based tools I use regularly and who is in the driver’s seat during each interaction.

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