The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

The Warp and Woof

“The Warp and Woof” is a segment I’m adding to this blog to share worthwhile articles from the past week or so. “Warp and woof” is a term that comes from weaving. It refers to the strands of thread running at 90-degree angles as they were woven together into fabric. Today the term refers to the essence or the fabric of athing. What is the warp and woof of technology?

My hope is that the articles shared here will help us explore the fabric of technology so we can see and feel its textures. As the articles below illustrate, technology has a tendency to disappear—to go transparent—and this invisibility makes technology harder to get a handle on.

“The Warp and Woof” is also a nod to the Luddites, those riotous textile artisans and technology critics, who in the 1810s fought to keep their jobs by destroying the mechanical looms that were replacing them. As your clothes today clearly show, they lost.

Alright, here we go!

"Why The Human Body Will Be The Next Computer Interface" from Fast Company

UX design group Fjord imagines how easy it could be to use natural body movements to initiate computer programs and actions. They start with old computers that once read punch cards and end by imagining computers that will read your body language.

"Your Body Does Not Want to Be an Interface" from MIT Technology Review

A response to Fjord’s article above. John Pavlus argues that humans don't want an invisible interface like body language. They want an interface that is clearly separate but readily available—"ready to hand." Martin Heidegger is invoked.  

How Facebook Designs the 'Perfect Empty Vessel' for Your Mind” from The Atlantic

Speaking of invisible interfaces, Alexis Madrigal explored Facebook’s design philosophy, including their drive for a “chrome”-less interface—that is, sans technostalgia which would remind the user that Facebook is a completely-structured universe with a social façade.

I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet” from The Verge

Paul Miller, a 27-year-old writer for The Verge, left the Internet last May. Now he’s back. He reflects on how a year without the Internet (including no smartphone) left him without anyone to blame for his social habits but himself.

Technology is notoriously, exasperatingly indifferent that way: We think technology has no agency, so we bear all the guilt. Technology as mirror. But I disgress. My critique is here.

Why I Don’t Own a Cell Phone” from Pressing Pause

In keeping with being disconnected, here’s another nonconformist—a maverick, if you will. In short, the answer is, “You haven’t convinced me that your lives are substantially better with them.”

Never Underestimate the Power of a Paint Tube” from the Smithsonian

Finally, this delightful piece explored how tin paint tubes got the artist out of the studio and gave the world Impressionism.

Tools matter, and they change how we do what we do. They also change what we do.

Have a good weekend!