You Are Not A Gadget

It’s always two sides of a coin whenever people invent something. Human invented some tools to help them then those tools turned back to control them, sounds little like Sci-fi movie or Matrix. All the devices we made extended our ability as we, human are a lot weaker than animals. But I didn’t realize how my memory got extended when using Internet or Google, may be it’s like the mobile phone in the way that there’s no need to remember anyone’s phone number anymore. Something I little disagree with the writer is that we don’t have to break the rules all the time to create a new thing. Many electronic musicians these days still use midi to compose their music, but there are many ways to use it to form another structure for example, artist like Autechre used MaxMSP as algorithm and used MIDI to trigger sampler.

It’s humble and fun when the writer talked about computer problem comparing to the world crisis and good to know a little of developing history of information technology with the world.

This is the quote I like.

‘Being a person is not a pat formula, but a quest, a mystery, a leap of faith.’

Natural User Interfaces Are Not Natural

I started to have a question coming across my mind when I saw this topic saying that it’s not natural.

Gesture interface is what I’m quite interested as I saw some of the instruments like Theremin in Youtube before.

Pamelia Kurstin

And when the writer talked about gesture with different culture had different meanings invokes me to think of Latin people like Italian, they seem to have very interesting body language or even victory hand sign, with two fingers, if it turns backward in UK, it means f*** off. New gesture, that happened from new device eg. handsfrees headset, sometimes you might think they are talking to themselves or rehearsing a play, is also the interesting part for me.

Of course, as the writer mentioned, to use technology is somehow not natural but just the new way of gesture adopt to new device, since capturing natural human action is too complicated for computer. Still, I can’t wait to see what they would come up from NUI!


Great Wall of Facebook: The Social Network’s Plan to Dominate the Internet — and Keep Google Out.

As long as we are the users who happen to be in the bottom of pyramid. We somehow someway are victim of the system, which tends to influence us to get into new thing all the time. For me, it’s scary to imagine that these people, I’ve never even got to meet in real life, hold many of my important information.
Whatever they are trying to do, buying other company, would surely impact us as users. Our privacy free world would be intruded in the recent future.

I like how Zuckerberg is so rebellious and tough to stand for what he believed, especially when he compared information that he would have found from Wayne in Facebook and Google.
In my opinion, nobody can always stand at the top as we can see in this IT business, especially what happened to Myspace, Multiply, Hi5 and other popular pages. When Zuckerberg pointed out of Google issue, I totally agree and think that sometimes I spent too much time from Google just to find little information, since they informed too much.


The Web Means the End of Forgetting

In the beginning of using Internet in 90’s, I used to go to some chat page and there would be warning not to show your real photo and always come with the disguise name. I saw many friends of mine use Internet for their surrogates. Especially in Thai culture which people are quite shy to tell what they really think and try to avoid confrontation. Hence, Web board in that time was so useful to us. By the beginning of 21 century, I started to experience how visual reality blended with reality, when some of my friends could actually trade their money in the online game with real money. Everything became so clear to me after social network. There was no boundary between online and reality. For me, I like the fact that everything seems to be more crystal and more reliable than it was. Before Internet era, many Western people came to Bangkok and we couldn’t really perceive whether they are good or not, just knew that they were ‘international’. It might be bad that everything will be recorded, but once you know that, you would be more careful in what your action.

Things that make us smart

This is a very scientific article when a reader always got into the writer’s experimental, from his example. When I was an architecture student, I was taught that all data were mostly very complicated and hard to understand, hence we needed to visualize everything in graphic and tried to do mapping all data together to understand the requirement and criteria of the program. Data visualization plays important role in design. It has to be very clear and easy to understand. I’ve read that when we do data visualization, we should reduce ink ratio, ratio of ink used for essential information, to very low. Human mind is tricky, once we can discover new tools, we might come up with new perspective.

Reading Response Week 1

You are Not a Gadget:

I read this reading first, and was very glad I did because it allowed me to realize that technology has not only been something new that has come into the lives of everyone, but has sometimes taken over. The one part of the reading that I took most from was the idea that we are creating things with good intentions, but with the evolution of technology and the many new ideas that people have, what was once good, slowly gets polluted.  The quality of the idea that was there at the beginning is unfortunately lost. New technology can definitely be beneficial to everyone’s life, but we should not let it suffocate and drive our daily life.

Natural Interfaces are Not Natural

This article got me thinking about how as technology changes, what I grew up with and thought was so “advanced” is now something generations in the future will never know. Now kids are being introduced to technology at such a young age, that their interaction with everything is getting increasingly”not natural.” I never thought about the idea that we once lived in a world without telephones, computers, buttons, and switches but these are all now actively part of daily life.  I really like how Norman talked about how things become “locked-in” and as technology changes, we are more accustomed to certain devices always being there. Is what we have now “locked-in” to our daily life good, or is it just adding to the pollution of technology?

The Great Wall of Facebook & The Web Means the End of Forgetting
These two articles worked very well together because it tied in two ideas of how the web is a great resource for things, but terrible when things are posted, or seen that you never wanted to go public with. I like how Vogelstein talked about how Google knows nothing about their clients, but Facebook knows everything. Thanks to the web, we will never be able to forget anything we post. Good or bad? Both. It’s great to be able to access information from anywhere, but it’s terrible to create the “online identity” that you may not want people to see.

Reading Response- Week 1

Wired Magazine
Great Wall of Facebook
I was not aware how much of a rivalry was between google and facebook. Structure, design and utility as Fogelstein writes is at the core of the battle. The competition involves racing each other to who can make more revenue with online brand advertising. I was surprised to read that Facebook had about 40,000 servers. I never really thought about how their data is stored up until now. I use Facebook daily to stay connected to friends and family. Facebook executives are always trying to make the experience online more meaningful and personal. I agree with Fogelstein’s strong comment about Facebook being “right up there with Gutenberg and Marconi”. I do agree it is a revolution. Facebook’s privacy settings are important and I also agree with the comment Zuckerberg made about google at it’s extreme is invading the privacy of society. (Especially with site like

The New York Times
The Web Means the End of Forgetting
“The internet records everything and forgets nothing”,  Rosen makes a key point here that reminded me to be cautious with my postings online. We all have public digital files ad the internet as Rosen mentions never seems to forget anything is quite threatening. Mayer Schonberger wrote, “without some form of forgetting, forgiving becomes a difficult undertaking.” I don’t think we have second chances online. It’s a challenge to preserve our identites in a digital world that never forgets as Rosen points out. “Think B4 U Post!” was an interesting campaign. I found it fascinating that Reputation Defender can monitor your online reputation and contact sites that have offending material posted. Never knew that existed and I’m curious what their client base is like. Spokeo and pipl are creepy. The TigerText erases messages after a set amount of time and I would be curious to see how many people use this application. Mail Goggles is funny and I agree completely with Jeff Rosen’s final point about how our character can’t be judged from Facebook and Google profiles. That evaluation can only be done face-to-face to be fair and forgiving.
Natural User Interfaces Are Not Natural
Article discusses how speech, gestures, touch and vision all relate in designing interfaces. I thought it was interesting how across cultures gestures mean completely different things. It was funny when the author wrote about Nintendo Wii and the releasing of the bowling ball caused users to throw the ball because it felt natural. As a result of this human action Nintendo had to manufacture a controller with a wrist strap to prevent TVs from breaking because a remote was thrown at it. the article also mentions how gestures involve switches, hand-held devices, gloves and keyboards. Gesture based systems as the author notes includes people with learning curves. People with handicaps have to be considered. I’ll keep these tips in mind when designing projects at Parsons.
Things That Make Us Smart
Donald Norman
Norman writes the most important tool is paper and pencil. He notes, “A book is a cognitive tool only for those who know how to read, but even then, what kind of tool it is depends upon how the reader employs it. A book cannot serve reflective thought unless the reader knows how to reason, to reflect upon the material”. He discusses how representations are abstractions and how we value what we can measure or represent. There are complementary qualities between human and computer processing as Norman points out in the Tic-Tac-Toe example. “Representation that match our perceptual capabilities are simpler and easier to use than those that require reflection…with the appropriate choice of representation, hard taks become easy”. I found this quote to wrap up the examples he addressed about the maps, tally marks, and  the importance of hue. These are all elements that I will also consider when designing future projects at Parsons.
You Are Not a Gadget
Jason Lanier
Lanier makes an interesting point about how changing the height on one’s avitar increases self-esteem and social self-perception.  ( I would like that, haha)
“It only takes a tiny group of engineers to create technology that can share the entire future of human experience with incredible speed. Therefore, crucial arguments about the human relationship with technology should take place between developers and users before such direct manipulations are designed” –This is a powerful statement filled with great responsibilities for designers and developers to society. It’s a bit frightening, but at the same time an exciting idea that we have control over our work. We must be very careful with our design choices. We have to struggle through and recognize mistakes. I’m sure I’ll be doing that over the next two years while working on my MFA.

Week 1.0 reading response

You Are Not a Gadget – Jaron Lanier

This chapter made me reflect about my own thoughts on how human behavior is shaped by technology. I think technology causes traditional social skills to suffer. I’ve noticed, especially in San Francisco, that people are attached to their gadgets. If you go out to a nice restaurant, for instance, you see people interacting more with their gadgets than their company. I had gotten so used to seeing people’s devices as an extension of their bodies that it took my traveling and leaving the country to realize what I had gotten used to. I don’t think it’s a positive change, although I find myself guilty of the same behavior.

Sometimes technology, although convenient, is not the best way to communicate. While working, I had coworkers that would send me 20+ unclear and frustrating emails to the point where I had to ask them if they were available to walk 10 feet to come talk to me and explain, in person, what they were asking for. Most of the time it took less than a 5 minute conversation to clarify their emails.

Or think of the times when you’re chatting with your friends or significant other and they ask what’s wrong, when in fact, nothing was wrong. How could they even determine emotion based on text?

Technology is not all bad, but I can see what Lanier means when he talks about the future of technology. It has brought people together from all over the world. I used to have a penpal from Thailand in 1993. I would send him a letter, and wait about a month for a response. Now that we’re Facebook friends, we can talk to each other instantly.

Technology has its positives and negatives. I’m hoping that the future pushes technology in a more positive direction.

Things That Make Us Smart – Donald A. Norman

Representation is very powerful, I agree. It simplifies things for the human brain so that it can quickly and easily comprehend the information presented. Reading this chapter made me think about iconography and data visualizations. Iconography is a visual representation at its simplest state. Below are some simple representations I created in 30 seconds. I tested these on my 5 year old, who was able to understand my representations. A person can be represented by a circle, and possibly a semicircle for the body. A tree can be represented by a circle and vertical line through the middle. It’s amazing how these simple shapes can create forms that we can see and understand.

Data visualization is a little more complex, but if represented well, it can be very successful. There are a lot of data visualizations out there that just complicate the data set. And I know, dealing with large data sets is very difficult to organize and comprehend, especially if the designer doesn’t understand the data him or herself. But once it is done successfully, it makes the data so much easier to understand. And sometimes when looking at data, you can start to see patterns that weren’t prevalent when organized in a different manner.

Natural User Interfaces Are Not Natural – Donald A. Norman

Again, I agree with Norman. I recently purchased a Macbook which allowed me to download and install OS X Lion, complete with “Gestures that feel real.” Apple has added so many gestures, that I’ve simply lost track. Maybe I’m getting old, and I can’t learn new gestures as quickly as I used to, but I feel as if these gestures are so unnatural, especially with the use of multiple fingers. What if my fingers are abnormally fat? If I use two fingers for a gesture, will it not work because it thinks I’m using three fingers? Also, the horizontal gestures cause your wrists to swipe at a very odd and unnatural angle. I also find it difficult to remember which gestures are supposed to do what. I became so frustrated with these gestures that I had to buy a mouse, a Logitech mouse, because even Apple’s overpriced Magic Mouse is gestural. I know a lot of time and money was spent on the research and development of these gestural tools, but I wonder what percentage of their users actually use and like all of these gestures.

The Web Means the End of Forgetting – Jeffrey Rosen

This article was not surprising at all. I think by now, most people know that whatever you put on the web, stays on the web. Yet people still make unwise decisions when putting drunken photos of themselves online when they know they’re in the active process of looking for a job. I agree that amongst their friends, drunken photos are hilarious. But amongst potential employers, it’s not always the case. Google+ sought to alleviate that issue with their implementation of circles. You can post whatever you want to your friends, and post entirely different things to your family. It’s a rather clever way of handling that issue, but still not a panacea for the whole cloud issue.

I recently hired a babysitter, and was surprised to find so much information about her online. I couldn’t find her Facebook profile, but I found her MySpace page which was even better because it had blog posts and information from as early as 2005, so I could really see her true character throughout the years. I know that she went to the Disneyworld in June 2005. I could tell from her posts that she has some body image issues. And I even know when her grandmother passed away. She probably forgot about her MySpace account which was why all this information was so easily accessible. That’s why I google myself and my family members every few months, to see what information people can find about us. Once I found my mom’s social security number through her employer. I immediately told her and she was able to contact her employer to take it down. I think it’s a good practice for people to adopt. I don’t see this issue getting any better any time soon. So in the meantime, “Think B4 U Post!”

Great Wall of Facebook: The Social Network’s Plan to Dominate the Internet – and Keep Google Out – Fred Vogelstein

Google and Facebook are scary. Don’t you think it’s creepy when you google, “cute purses” and all these ads for cute purses show up on Facebook or sites that you think are totally unrelated? I also recently noticed that my Facebook friends show up on Pandora. I don’t recall linking my Pandora account to Facebook, so it was definitely done without my permission. It’s very disturbing.

Week 1 Reading

Things That Make Us Smart

Donald A. Norman

Natural Interfaces are Not Natural

Donald A. Norman

It was really interesting to read Donald A. Norman books as I have fortunately had the chance of listening to his lectures back in undergrad. He was a visiting professor at my undergrad university KAIST (Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and students got to talk to him about his thoughts on future interfaces. It was interesting to read about his ideas on how people perceive interfaces and makes use of metarepresentations. There are so many ways to convert meaningless text into an understandable diagram. With the incorporation of NUI, there can only be so much more diversity. I remember Donald Norman’s saying that a small change can change everything. Donald Norman’s use of how people think and incorporating it to increase the power of representation interested and still interests me. As I read more articles about interfaces and link it with the success of Apple, I’m starting to believe that there is no perfect user interface. Whoever creates an effective interface and teaches it faster is the winner.

Donald Norman states that the unaided mind is highly overrated. I only half agree to this statement as although I wholeheartedly believe that external aids are necessary for the maintenance of memory, thought, and reasoning, we in ourselves use only the minimal portions of our brains before we die. I remember hearing that people usually only use 1/10th of their brains before death. In Korea, some children come out on TV shows in order to show off their memory. They can memorize a whole page of text in a few minutes or they can calculate long multiplications or divisions in just seconds. This is because some of these children educated in Korea are literally not allowed to use calculators at all. They are trained everyday to mentally calculate all math problems. This, I believe stirs and trains the brain so that it can adapt to more information and can manipulate with lots of information inside the brain. Honestly speaking, although I come from a science and technology school that requires intensive math and physics calculations, I kind of forget how to solve simple equations without the calculator. I believe we rely too much on technology and given rules nowadays that if the world experienced a total blackout, then all human would be rendered useless. We wouldn’t be able to carry out simple tasks such as making a fire for cooking or creating light without electricity. This thought sometimes scares me.

I believe too – as mentioned in the book — that humans sometimes take in information in a much too simple manner and without thinking at all. Just like the book points out, the fault of not interpreting contents in books lies with the reader, not the book. We rarely question books or ideas from famous writers or CEOs. Instead, we believe all information provided is true and of maximum capability. We believe that because a famous writer wrote it or a famous CEO said it, it is always true. These types of actions are what I believe causes monopolies such as eBay and Craigslist. Because such sites were the first of its kind, people always conceive of it to have the maximum capability. The concepts are engraved in people’s minds and prevent people from rooting out of the basic concept. I strongly believe each and every one of us must question if every cognitive artifact is optimized to portray at its best.


You are Not a Gadget

Jaron Lanier

The Great Wall of Facebook

Fred Vogelstein

The Web Means the End of Forgetting

Jeffrey Rosen

The most impactful statement of this reading to me was about winning subcultures of technology being called “cybernetic totalists” or “digital Maoists.” It somewhat struck to me that monopolies are so prevalent in today’s technology that although we know we can survive without technologies such as google and facebook, we also know that we can’t survive without technologies such as google and facebook. I believe that privilege has now become necessity with the likes of search engines and social network services. Sure we can physically survive without such technologies, but can we actually survive mentally without catching up to recent technology? It is no wonder that Jaron Lanier considers digital cultures such as future of privacy and copy-rights as a future threat to human wellbeing. In a stage where global warming, avoiding wars of mass destruction, aging population, etc. are of great concern, we should also start to think about the web world and how to prevent people from “breaking” web laws. I somewhat believe that after we survive what is geographical, demographical and natural disasters, we will face problems where the intensity of breaking a “web law” is so severe as to imprison people.

“The most important thing about a technology is how it changes people.” As explained in the book, the web was something so many people were gladly working on developing without the presence of advertising, commercial motive, threat of punishment, exploitation of the fear of death, etc. Like the brand name FUBU (For Us By Us), technology should also have the same motto. This is why I am so interested in open source and want to learn how to maneuver with it. Jaron Lanier emphasizes the fact that people should innovate and stay away from given templates in order to further develop the world. This is what differs people from machine. In this context, I agree with Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for a more personalized, humanized Web, where networks of friends, colleagues, peers, and family are the primary source of information instead of a dispassionate atlas of the online world in Google as stated by Fred Vogelstein.


Week 1 Reading Response – Arshaan

Natural User Interfaces Are Not Natural:

Being a PS3 fanboy, I have always found the failings of the Wii hilarious. The use of actions too natural, like the example given in the article regarding the bowling ball is exactly what I laugh at. However, Sony launched their Move controller based a lot on the Wii controller. The Move controller has not fixed everything that was wrong with the Wii but it did make some improvements as listed on I do believe that besides the weird poses you have to make (a problem with NUI as mentioned in the article) the Xbox Kinect does a pretty good job at NUI. There are a set of gestures defined by the game itself but once that is done the interface works perfectly fine with my limited use of it. Overall, I do feel that NUI will become a definite in technology once a list of gestures can be standardized over time.

Great Wall of Facebook:

This article was really interesting because to start off, I had no idea that Google wanted to buy a share of Facebook. Also, I had no idea about the ways in which Facebook was competing with Google in the search engine department. It has never occurred to me that Facebook can act as a search engine, although I do search on it subconsciously. I personally feel that a merger of both companies into one would be amazing for users as it combines two of the most used things on the internet. I do feel that Google+ does do this to some level on it’s own. The problem is that with so many people already on Facebook, people do not move across to Google+. I do have a Google+ acount myself that I do not use at all.

The Web Means the End of Forgetting:

This article makes so much sense. I used to always be afraid to post something related to my work place back in  Dubai in the fear that I might get fired if it was too negative. I had to keep telling my friends that they should not post pictures of me smoking as my family thought that I had quit. However, there is only so much you can tell your friends to do. A friend’s friend took a picture of me smoking and uploaded it to facebook where my family saw it. (I had to add them because how can I not be friends with them on facebook. That was their argument). If I had known about Diaspora I probably would have been one of the backers. The need for privacy, something which facebook keeps changing every month, is essential. The fact that any stranger can find out about me by just taking a picture of me in the near future is frightening. I do feel that legal solutions will not help us out. There are too many loop holes and besides that, it will take too much time. I truly agree with the part in the article that says that we are slowly coming to terms with the merging of identities. However, it is going to take some time for that to happen completely. I know that any embarrassing pictures that I might have on facebook are not what my friends or family(besides smoking because that was a lie & while I was working) use to judge me. The fact that they know me at face value is what really helps and I try to limit my online friends to people I know and converse with not just online.

Things That Make Us Smart:

I completely agree with the statement,”it is things that make us smart”. My grandpa used to live in a village that only had an oral culture. The fact that he was given the chance to go to a school outside his village and learn things like reading and writing helped him move to the city and land a good job. The point that Socrates makes about books is something I have never thought of before. He makes some excellent points on how it destroys thought.  I, however, from personal experience with books do not really agree with it. I do not usually read non-fiction books. I stick to fantasy and sci-fi. It is this love for books though that made me be imaginative. I am not saying this is the only way for people to be imaginative and creative. Whenever I read I take my time with a book, thinking about why the author would do something, have a mental dialogue with myself. I think this is why the author says that the fault lies with the reader. I do feel there is a lot of power in representation when done right just like the author. The amount of times I have tried to use objects to describe something that is relatively simple to explain and have people give me a ‘we are not dumb look’ is countless. The representations of the flights reminded me a lot about the data visualization project we had to do during boot camp. The data takes importance over design. Alas, if only I had Dave’s solution when I was taking a ton of medication for an injury. I kept forgetting when to take the pills. The method he uses simplifies it so much for a patient. Even though the book says that it is easier to add roman numbers, I am finding it extremely hard to work it out. However, I can see that if I was taught roman numbers as a kid, I would find this easier. I also see and understand the reasoning for why it would be a lot easier to add them up. I love the fact that they had to learn less. When I was looking at figure 3.3 I kept thinking that if I would have done this I would have used one shade and opacity to represent the percentages. It is something similar to what the author has done in figure 3.4. The most important thing to take away from this reading is to know figure out the choice of representation to make hard tasks easy.

You Are Not a Gadget:

This excerpt talks about how arguments about the human relationship with technology should take place before things are designed. It goes on to list a lot of technological innovations, that seemingly great at first, falls short and creates something called a lock-in. He fears that companies like Google and Facebook have created online environments that have restricted true individuality. He gives us a few pointers on how we can start humanizing the web again. I read a few reviews on this book and the conclusion in one of them really stood out to me. It takes a completely different and extremely interesting stand to some of the authors main points. I find myself agreeing with a review a lot more than I do with the author. “Mr. Lanier is nostalgic for that era and its homemade Web pages, the personalized outposts that have largely been replaced by the more standardized formats of Facebook and MySpace. The aesthetics of these newer options might be less than refined, but tens of millions of people are able to express themselves in ways that were unimaginable even a decade ago. And let’s face it: Those personal Web pages of the 1990s are hardly worth reviving. It’ll be fine with me if I never see another blinking banner towed across the screen by a clip-art biplane. Like a remote beach that has been discovered by the masses, the Internet is no longer the pristine preserve of the well-off few. But what it now lacks in exclusivity it has more than made up for in ease of access. And for all the problems that Mr. Lanier rightly worries about, the trend seems to be toward a Web of ever more striving human activity. Indeed, we are not gadgets.”

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