What we read this week (5 July)

Overview about crypotcurrencies, on governance of technology, first hand insights about receiving a NSL, a definition of skeuomorphism and a brilliant paper by Mark Weiser about building computers for the 21st century dated all the way back to 1991.

Quotes of the week

Machines that fit the human environment, instead of forcing humans to enter theirs, will make using a computer as refreshing as taking a walk in the woods.

Mark Weiser, 1991

The essence of technology is by no means anything technological.

Martin Heidegger

Articles of the week

  • The crypto-currency ecosystem
    Andreas Antonopoulos gives an account of the spinoff technologies that have combined the fudamental elements of Bitcoin in various ways.
  • Technology: Governing the Ungovernable?
    An insightful paper by Daniel J. Paré and Jeremy Geelen about the governance of technology and how it is not about technology at all.
  • What It’s Like to Get a National-Security Letter
    Maria Bustillos in conversation with Brewster Kahle, one of very few people allowed to discuss ever having received a national-security letter from the US government.
  • What is skeuomorphism?
    The Economist explains what skeuomorphism originally meant and discusses the semantics of the term as it applies, or perhaps doesn’t apply, to digital interfaces.
  • The Computer for the 21st Century
    A bit of early 1990s future forecasting from Mark Weiser. It’s surprising to see how early tablet computing actually started. Researchers like Weiser envisioned ubiquitous computing in a way that has a lot in common with the way mobile computing has turned out, but the vision is more advanced, more integrated into physical life. It seems like we’re on our way to being in Weiser’s future, though in many ways we’re not quite there yet.