Month: January 2016

I’ve often wondered about how the working environments within which proponents of cloud computing exist have shaped their enthusiasm for it. If your work is never interrupted by the broadband going down then it’s easier to be committed to moving all your applications into the cloud.  In Battle of the Titans, the author quotes the […]

A bit later in Battle of the Titans, Fred Vogelstein transcribes a talk he saw Eric Schmidt give at a technology conference. From loc 1904-1918: We have a product that allows 82 you to speak to your phone in English and have it come out in the native language of the person you are talking to. […]

Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo by Nicholas Carlson In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy Zero To One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet by Finn Brunton How Google Works by Eric […]

From Battle of the Titans loc 1846: Anyone who has ever worked for Schmidt will tell you that he is one of the toughest, most competitive executives walking. Ask Rubin what it was like to be on the receiving end of a few “Don’t fuck it up” lectures from Schmidt. “Not fun,” Rubin says. But […]

In this extremely important paper, Alistair Mutch offers a realist critique of sociomateriality which I hope to further develop in my own work in the not too distant future. In it he argues that sociomaterial “approaches tend towards a perverse (given the promise of the concept) neglect of the specificity of the systems involved and an […]

From Battle of the Titans loc 1056: From his office on the second floor of IL 2 on Apple’s campus, Forstall started pulling in some of the best engineers from around the company, creating lockdown areas all over the building as he went. “If you were working weekends, you’d see the construction crews come in […]

In the last week, I’ve been exploring the notion of ‘business for punks’, the philosophy propounded by the founder of BrewDog, as the formulation of an increasingly dominant ethos in which ‘disruptive’ corporate activity is valorised as anti-authoritarian. I’ve been thinking about this mostly from the top-down, as a characteristic of founders and CEOs, but […]

Today you were far away and I didn’t ask you why What could I say I was far away You just walked away and I just watched you What could I say How close am I to losing you Tonight you just close your eyes and I just watch you slip away How close am […]

From Battle of the Titans loc 543. I’m intruiged by non-disclosure of non-disclosure agreements: why stop there? Surely this could be grounds for an infinite loop? More seriously, I wonder how this effects the framing of the proposition to potential staff: is there a performative element to this in order to convey the importance of […]

I wrote last week about the notion of ‘business for punks’ propounded by the founder of BrewDog. This little snippet from Battle of the Titans reflects a similar ethos. Is Silicon Valley full of people who understand themselves as ‘doing business for punks’: is this the ethos underlying a commitment to ‘disruption’? From loc 333: Jobs […]

From Battle of the Titans, loc 113-127. This dynamic seems likely to intensify with time: A lot of what we buy via Apple’s iTunes store—apps, music, movies, TV shows, books, etc.—doesn’t work easily on Android devices or at all, and vice versa. And both companies know that the more money each of us spends on […]

A remarkable passage by the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips at the end of his Forbidden Pleasures, pg 181. We have to choose between them: the stark nature of the dichotomy is often unclear but this is little more than wilful obsfucation, on the part of the social order if not the individual. To give up on hope […]

FutureVision?! Which life do we want? Vienna, 30 March – 1 April, 2016 The European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research will be held in Vienna from March 30 to April 1, 2016. It will be the first pop up conference meeting in the field of Systems Science, called emcsr avantgarde. The name reflects the vision and […]

A small collective is currently in the early stages of planning Making The Familiar Strange: A Festival of Critical Social Thought for summer 2017. See here for some background to the event. If you’d like to get involved, we’re having a planning meeting: Tuesday 23rd February 12:00-16:00. Room G05 (ground floor) of Cloth Hall Court Leeds Beckett […]

A weird little snippet I came across from Marissa Mayer, former Google high-flyer and now head of Yahoo, on how to avoid burnout by “empowering” yourself to “work really hard for a long period of time”. Find one thing you absolutely refuse to miss then completely subordinate the rest of your life to your work, safe […]

Very interesting snippet at the end of How Google Works, loc 3859: It’s called “cloud computing” because the old programs to draw network schematics surrounded the icons for servers with a circle. A cluster of servers in a network diagram had several overlapping circles, which resembled a cloud.