Posts Tagged ‘Brian Fung’

The New Technology That Aspires to #DeleteFacebook for Good

March 29, 2018

The title of this post is identical to the title of an article by Brian Fung in the 24 March 2018 issue of the Washington Post. That new technology can be found at . What makes Mastodon increasingly attractive, especially in a post-#Delete-Facebook world, is its attitude toward data and control. Mastodon’s code is open-source, so anybody can inspect its design. It’s distributed so that it doesn’t run in some data center controlled by corporate executives but instead is run by its own users who set up independent servers. Its development costs are paid for by online donations, rather than through the marketing of users’ personal information.

It is rooted in the idea that it doesn’t benefit consumers to depend on centralized commercial platforms sucking up users’ personal information. The developers believe they can restore some of the magic from the internet’s earlier days, when everything was open and interoperable, not soloed and commercialized.

From a business perspective, Facebook’s most important innovation was its aggressive collection and use of customer data for advertising purposes. Facebook not only gathers the information that we volunteer about ourselves, but also data that we generate by using the platform such as likes, friend connections, and so forth. As we learned from Cambridge Analytica’s whistleblower, this information can be extremely powerful in the wrong hands.

Mastodon is an open source social network. It is decentralized. Anyone can create their own server on Mastadon with it’s own rules. It can communicate with instances of other networks given that the other network agrees. Users are free to join whatever network they want.

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An Increasing Failure to Use Technology to Foster Cognitive Growth

May 7, 2016

Two concepts are central to the healthy memory blog.  One is cognitive growth, which stresses the importance of cognitive growth for healthy memories and a fulfilling life.  The other is transactive memory, which is the use of technology and our fellow human beings to foster cognitive growth.  Consequently I found an article by Brian Fung in the April 25 edition of the Washington Post titled “New data:  American are abandoning wired home Internet” distressing.

According to the article in 2013, 1 in 10 U.S.  households were mobile-only.  Now 1 in 5 U.S. households are mobile-only. There is also a relationship between household income and mobile only use, with poorer households being more likely to be mobile only.  So the problem of income divide and the effective use of technology is still prevalent.

Regular readers of the healthy memory blog should already understand my discontent. but I shall elaborate for those who are not regular readers.  Mobile computing can be extremely helpful when people are mobile.  However, use of mobile devices do have some serious shortcomings.

Previous posts have argued that exclusive or excessive mobile computing results in superficial interpersonal relationships (enter “Sherry Turkle” into the healthy memory blog search block).  To do “deep processing” that produces cognitive growth requires at least a notebook and preferably a laptop computer.  This is best done in a quiet location with minimal distractions.  The multitasking that is frequently done with mobile devices results in deficient cognitive processing and can result in possible danger to others in addition to oneself (enter, “multitasking” into the healthy memory search block).

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