Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This is What The Future Should Look Like!

Actually, I want to mention an instance of what The Future is possibly going to look like, and shouldn't, first. I've commented in a variety of places about the problems with Android's security model, and how it essentially made any security problem the users' fault by asking them to approve what the application says it wants to do--in broad terms--on installation, without any policy component behind it at all. Lo and behold, here's the first instance I've come across of (possibly inadvertent) Android malware: a memory optimization application which (I suppose) optimizes the memory on your G1 by simply getting rid of all those space-consuming files, contact lists, etc. I suppose whoever installed it said that they were okay with it messing with that stuff. The article calls this a failure of the Android marketplace, but it's exactly what Google promised: completely open. Social engineering wins again. Caveat downloader.

Now, onto more promising and uplifting things. I use two travel tracking social networks, TripIt and Dopplr, and while I've mainly concentrated on TripIt (since it had the ability to organize my confirmations from airlines and hotels first, mostly), Dopplr blew me away last week by sending me a beee-yooo-tiful PDF report of my various travels last year (not entirely accurate, since I didn't update Dopplr with every single trip I took, but close). Check this out, I think Edward Tufte would be thrilled (you can download the PDF by clicking on the picture):

This really provides an interesting overview of things, in an immediately accessible way. One small addition I'd like would be a more explicit legend of the color-coding of destinations outside of the top ten, but that can be figured out from the map (which, again in Tufte-inspired fashion, shows both where one has been and how much time one has spent there).

I've found something very similar for my cell phone use, SkyDeck. Once you get it initialized to your phone, you get a very illuminating weekly email documenting a variety of interesting things about your cell phone usage. Not as snazzy a use of graphic design as the Dopplr report, but still interesting stuff...

I've replaced my Lenovo X61 Tablet with a 15" MacBook Pro, one of the unibody ones. I'm having some interesting experiences getting back to OS X for the first time in a couple of years after the death of my G4 Cube....

3 comments:

Brad Jensen said...

I personally believe the future should be like in this video: Video Download Link.

If you don't want to watch the movie :( you can check out some short clips on YouTube by searching, "Jacque Fresco", and "Future By Design", or "The Venus Project".

:) It's filled with really cool stuff, with a lot of thought that went into it all.

Marius Gedminas said...

The PDF download link 404s.

Lefty said...

For the curious, the link points to a torrent for William Gazecki's 2006 film, Future by Design; use at your own risk. The DVD is also available through Amazon, etc...