5 Quick Things: February 2024

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy πŸ™‚

>Number One<

All Glamor, No Use Case

This article is a few years old but I think this topic is actually pretty evergreen especially with AI at the front of everyone’s mind lately. The thing is that tech often looks extremely cool. We can make arms and legs that look very neat and have lots of built in ideas, you’ve probably seen those full body exoskeletons for lifting and walking and while these technologies are impressive, what they often aren’t is user-friendly. Both in that they’re often not designed with disability in mind (even if their primary use-case is disability) but they’re also not really designed for humans with many of these not featuring basic levels of easily getting them on/off without help or allowing the user to control them without sending them off for weeks (even if that’s someone’s arm!). Also when I think about tech in your body at all from glucose monitoring to bionic arms I just remember that Jon Deere tractors can remotely lock your tractor if you decide you want to repair it yourself. Or those car seats that charged extra per month to unlock heating, a feature they had installed.

>Number Two<

In My Grandma Era

The joke floating around social media right now is that Millennials are skipping their mid-life crisis and heading right for grandma (and grandpa) hobbies. It’s true in that sense that I also took up bird watching in the last 5 years but I’ve always been very interested in textiles and I’ve been sewing and crocheting since I was young (not necessarily well or a lot but I’ve just always done it). Textiles are probably one of the greatest human technologies ever created and they’ve influence everything in our lives from language and movement to defense and computers so it’s always nice to find texts about fabrics I don’t think as much about like silk, to round out those thoughts.

>Number Three<

When You Know Better…

I think the important take away from the entire James Somerton debacle isn’t that we should ruin the lives on the people who plagiarize and hurt the community but that we should all be working to do better at citation so people can follow not just where our thoughts may have originated but also the people who did the work to help spur those thoughts. And Council of Geeks agrees with me, in this deep dive about how we can make our communities stronger and more thoughtful as we learn from the mistakes Somerton made, they talk about the ways we can do better not just with citation but also collaboration and critical thinking instead of being passive watcher and listeners. Good stuff.

>Number Four<

It Won’t Fix Everything but It Helps

The phrase you probably have seen quite a lot over the last few years is “going on a stupid walk for my stupid mental health.” If you haven’t, welcome to the internet. The truth is that a walk won’t cure all your problems but it does, in general, help and it’s a good first step. If you want to feel better you’ll have to take a bunch of those but that can be overwhelming so instead here is a great list that looks at things you can do to feel a little better this year. I specifically waited for February to post this list because I understand that January has this overwhelming problem of people throwing get better / wellness at people and by this time hopefully it’s died down a little and you’re in a place to receive some good advice about moving your body a little every day, talking to someone if you need it, and making sure you regularly get check ups. It’s all still valid advice in February!

>Number Five<

A Whole iPod Worth

Do you have an interest in weird music that someone loves? Do you miss the discovery of going into a store and finding the coolest / worst / best / weirdest album no one has ever heard of? Well, do I have a download for you. No strings just 30 sweet gigs of music ripped from cassettes (remember cassettes!?). I’m still diving in this ocean of things but if you’re a specific type of digital hoarder or music fiend, you do not want to miss this.

That’s all for this month and hopefully I’ll see you back again next month with some more exciting and cool things!

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