The week in quotes (2019W09)

Sebastian Greger

I do see the irony of posting the first quote below on a Saturday, but by now this has become just a weekly routine - pressing “publish” on the quotes I collected over the past week:

In “Who Killed the Weekend?”, Katrina Onstad contemplates on the value of free-time and how the role of hobbies has shifted in today’s economy:

A hobby is an activity undertaken purely for its own sake, but technology attempts to monetize it. A friend used to make beautiful earrings occasionally. Almost ritualistically, she would buy the beads, and carefully craft the small, colored jewels in a quiet workspace. Then came Etsy. Now she makes beautiful earrings and sells them, ships them and manages this business along with a full-time job and a family. What was leisure became labor.

Karen VanHouten’s tweet on the importance of thorough synthesis in user research:

Recently did interviews with a very specific user subset. Didn’t see many valuable insights until we did the the synthesis…and holy shit. So many insights we have to a second session to prioritize the info. Kicking myself for how often I’ve half-assed my research synthesis.

An Accenture report on “The Disability Inclusion Advantage” makes the business case for inclusion:

Empowered companies are not merely compliant or acting out of perceived obligation. They are excitedly embracing the advantages that come with employing more creative, industrious and well-rounded people.

In a paper submitted to the NDSS Symposium 2019, researchers Amit Klein and Benny Pinkas present a powerful web tracking method that is not easily mitigated:

We developed a novel user tracking technique, based on per-user caching of statistically unique DNS records. This technique covers the technologies used by a very large fraction of Internet users (in terms of browsers, operating systems,and DNS resolution platforms). It can distinguish between machines that were cloned from a “golden image” (i.e., have identical hardware and software), can overcome the “privacy mode” boundary, and in most cases can track users across different browsers (on the same machine).

Carole Cadwalladr reports on the UK parliament’s report on Facebook’s threat to democracy:

Facebook is an out-of-control train wreck that is destroying democracy and must be brought under control. The final report of parliament’s inquiry into fake news and disinformation does not use this language, precisely, but it is, nonetheless, the report’s central message. And the language it does use is no less damning.

Jussi Pasanen on the harmful impact of the anthropocentric bias in human-centred design:

By tirelessly making commerce easier, faster and more convenient, and therefore increasing material consumption and driving growth, what is the role of human centred design in directly and indirectly facilitating the destruction of the living planet by being the carbon-stained ‘velvet glove for the iron fist’ of globalised capitalism? reports stunning numbers on the Swedish Flygskam (“flight shame”) movement:

The instigator and main spokesman for Sweden’s “flygskam” trend is star athlete Björn Ferry. […] Even though the 2010 Olympic champion has to travel across Europe a lot for his job as an expert on Swedish TV, he has been taking the train for two years - lots of night trains in particular. His boycott of air travel has triggered a huge movement of like-minded travellers in the Scandinavian country […]

The Swedish railway company SJ is also clearly feeling the effects of the movement. On some routes, bookings have risen by more than 100 per cent, and as a result the railways are starting to make generous investments in their trains and expand their connections and destinations.

A (more or less) weekly collection of inspiring, surprising or otherwise noteworthy texts, talks and podcasts. Usually around my core topics of usability, ethics, and digital society. Previous issues in the archive.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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