Bookmarked The Story of Firefox OS – Ben Francis – Medium by Ben Francis (Medium)
I remember at a team dinner once Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Chairwoman and “Chief Lizard Wrangler”, talked about the importance of…
This is a fascinating read about the evolution of a technology project, how ‘good ideas’ fail and what is learned. It leaves me wondering if organisations like Google and Facebook have historians and documentation keeping track of where they have come or is it all hidden within the meeting minutes and test cases?

Marginalia

The problem with competing on price is that you soon get into a race to the bottom and whoever has the biggest economy of scale ends up winning.


The web isn’t a world of monolithic apps with clear boundaries between them, it is an experience of surfing from one web page to another, flowing through content.


With no real constraints put on the ideation process and an insufficient process for evaluating them, people were coming up with all sorts of suggestions from smart watches to reinventing the concept of currency!


The premise of Ari’s talk was that Firefox OS had set out to compete with Android and iOS and it had failed. Firefox OS was too late to market, the app store hadn’t taken off and the smartphone war had been won. It was time to move onto the next big thing — the Internet of Things.


The flagship Firefox team and supporting platform team had been complaining about a lack of resources for a while, and with Firefox market share slipping the finger of blame was pointed at Firefox OS.


There was a general feeling that Mozilla had “bet the farm” on Firefox OS and it hadn’t paid off.


It’s possible that rather than being five years too late, Firefox OS was actually five years too early!

Listened IRL Podcast Episode 12: Algorisky from irlpodcast.org
On this week's episode of IRL, we sit down with Luke Dormehl, author of Thinking Machines and The Formula, to explore the impact of algorithms, on and offline. Staci Burns and James Bridle , author of "Something is wrong on the internet," investigate the human cost of gaming YouTube recommendations. Anthropologist Nick Seaver talks about the danger of automating the status quo. And researcher Safiya Noble looks at how to prevent racial bias from seeping into code
Listened IRL Podcast Episode 10: Face Value from irlpodcast.org
From Snapchat filters to Apple’s Face ID, biometric technology plays a growing role in our everyday lives. What do we actually give up when we upload our face to these apps? Steven Talley shares his experience as a victim of mistaken identity. Joseph Atick, a forefather of facial recognition technology, reckons with its future. We head to to China, where biometric data is part of buying toilet paper. And artist Adam Harvey investigates how racial bias seeps into big data sets.
In this episode of the IRL Podcast, Veronica Belmont leads a conversation about mistaken identity, the Art and Culture selfie and increase in the collection of biometric data in China.

Glynnis MacNicol questions what we are giving up in using our face to log-in to our phone or sharing online. He suggests that we should become face-less:

Everyone get your faces offline. Yes, I can’t … What evidence is there that this is a good idea? I mean, really? Is there literally any evidence that this is going to benefit us? Let me ask you, why would you post a selfie?

That has me again thinking about the use of such platforms as Facebook and Instagram to share school-based images.

For Adam Harvey, it comes back to race:

I tell people that facial recognition is really racial recognition, plus some additional metadata.

In an article in the New Yorker, Joy Buolamwini suggests that this is a coded gaze:

Just as the male gaze sees the world on its own terms, as a place made for men’s pleasure, the coded gaze sees everything according to the data sets on which its creators trained it.

This is very much a part of the discussion of ethics in the new machine age.

Listened IRL Podcast Episode 9: Digital Overload from irlpodcast.org
Recent reports estimate that over 50% of teens are addicted to their smartphones. Veronica Belmont investigates the impact of growing up online.What does it mean to grow up online? We investigate how the www is changing our bodies and our brains. A college student shares his experience at rehab for Internet addiction. Bestselling author Nir Eyal breaks down what apps borrow from gambling technology. Writer Heather Schwedel talks about taking a cue from Kanye and breaking up with Twitter. And blogger Joshua Cousins talks about the Internet as a lifeline, in the wake of recent natural disasters.
Veronica Belmont brings together a number of perspectives on digital life. From a critique of the naive advice to ‘just turn off’ to a comparison of habit vs addition, this podcast is not about easy answers, but rather about developing a better understanding.
Listened IRL Podcast Episode 8: Bot Or Not from irlpodcast.org
Veronica Belmont investigates the rise of social media bots with Lauren Kunze and Jenn Schiffer. Butter.ai’s Jack Hirsch talks about what happens when your profile is stolen by a political bot. Lisa-Maria Neudert measures how bots influence politics. Ben Nimmo teaches us how to spot and take down bot armies. And Tim Hwang explores how bots can connect us in surprising, and meaningful, new ways.
This episode is dedicated to unpacking bots. Along with Crofton Black and Abigail Fielding-Smith’s investigation into the influence of Twitter bots, Kris Shaffer and Bill Fitzgerald’s guide on how to spot a bot, and Kin Lane’s reflections on the waves of bots and Nicholas Confessore’s exposé into the follower factory, these resources provide a useful starting point for understanding bots and there implication on society today.