what does that even meeeeeeean
Last February, I – piggybacking off a great short essay by Ed Felter on what he called “Property Rights Management” – said that I wouldn’t be surprised to see things like DRM making their way into other devices that don’t explicitly have to do with the kinds of software and firmware in which we’re accustomed to seeing DRM.
Literally one year later: Keurig!
The moral of the story is always listen to me.
oh no no no
Turns out that my very first post here was about Facebook (and DeviantArt) and gender identification.
This is obviously something to which we Cyborgologists are again paying close attention, what with Facebook now allowing a plethora of new choices by which someone might identify their gender. There have already been a couple of great posts on the subject – the new ways in which Facebook is making it possible to self-identify and the ways in which gender is performed – by Jenny Davis and Robin James. But this is also something that’s very personal for me, and not just in terms of my Cyborgtastic journey of the last couple of years.
In preparing to write this post, I found myself going back over Whitney Erin Boesel’s post a couple of months back on death and digital/social media mediation, and I found myself running into a lot of the same issues she discusses. She suffered from massive uncertainty regarding how to talk about what she had experienced, or whether to talk about it at all. I’m going through the same. I’m not sure I should even be writing this, or what it will mean when I have. At the same time, I’m not sure how not to write about it, and that in itself is part of what I want to talk about.
Note: this is not going to be particularly organized, or particularly intellectual. It’s in part personal Livejournal-esque navel-gazing, part working through some disparate observations regarding how we deal with traumatic life events on social media, part general flailing around. Please bear with me. Or, you know, don’t.
Of all the games that comment on themselves – and it seems like there are more and more of those – I won’t say that The Stanley Parable is the best, but I definitely haven’t played another that made its intentions more blatantly clear or went for what it was after so aggressively. The Stanley Parable, originally a Half Life 2 mod, has a lot to say about games. But I think it also has a lot to say about everything.
Once, many years ago, a friend and I Got Into It via a series of Livejournal comments.
Yes, you already know that this is going somewhere good.
I’ve long since forgotten what the It was about, though it was probably something exactly as silly as you’d expect. I don’t remember how it resolved itself; that friend and I are not friends anymore and haven’t spoken in nearly a decade, so I can’t ask them without things getting weird. What I do remember was one thing this friend said, which I’ve remembered as long as I have because it might be one of the single most ridiculous things anyone has ever said to me in any setting: I mentioned that I didn’t like their tone, and they responded, “there is no tone on the internet.”
You are standing in an open field west of a white house.
This is the second in a series of autobiographical accounts by Cyborgology writers of our early personal interactions with technology. Half autoethnography, half unrepentant nostalgia trip, this series looks at what technologies had an impression on us, which ones were remarkably unremarkable, and what this might say about our present outlook on digitality. Part 1 can be found here.
In order to understand my relationship with computers, you need to understand that I have terrible handwriting.
Do not try to tell me that yours is worse. It isn’t. I promise. My bad handwriting is a combination of a number of different things both contemporary and historical, including an inability to hold a writing implement in a way that even approaches comfortable, impatience, the fact that I literally never learned to form letters “correctly”, and probably some neurological stuff that goes formally undiagnosed. I don’t just write illegibly, I write illiterately: I skip letters, I place them out of order in words, I can’t space or block sentences. I completely abandon rhyme or reason when it comes to capitalization (my punctuation is impeccable, though). I’m not dyslexic, not that we’ve ever been able to determine, though again, there probably is something going on there. I just… can’t write by hand. At all.
And I’m a writer.
Part 1 of this series can be found here.
A quick recap: in these posts I’m attempting to establish some kind of loose theoretical framework for approaching the sexual aspects of “drones” as a concept rather than a specific technology, an enmeshing of surveillance, power, intimacy, and blurred boundaries. It’s that last that I want to close with, because when you combine technology and sex, something interesting always happens. And it’s no accident that the combination of technology and sexuality isn’t a rarity in contemporary society, or even in history.
One of the things about writing with as little possible between your head and your fingers is that things come out that you don’t consciously intend and that you don’t understand until much later. I believe it’s one of the parts of the process that causes some writers to say those (in my opinion kind of ridiculous) things about how they don’t so much create their writing as discover it. But everything we write means something, and it does come from some part of us that puts it all together and spits it out.
An email exchange recently brought up a concept I used in one of my short stories about drones, the concept of being dronesexual.
One of the most interesting things to watch in the usage trajectory of any form of technology are the ways in which it’s used that no one really anticipated, but that seem perfectly sensible and obvious after the fact. One of those that I actually found out about only this week – really, I should have known about it before – is Ingress, a game played on mobile phones that sorta kinda comes from Google, and whose players are intense enough about it that one of them flew to a remote location in Alaska in arguably dangerous conditions in order to complete a game task.
One of those interesting moments where my writerly/SFnal life and my academic life collide happened yesterday with the announcement/demo of Prime Air, Amazon’s new (planned) product delivery venture that will make use of package-toting autonomous octocopters to get your stuff to you within thirty minutes.