The humanitarian developers behind World of Warcraft have also discovered a way to bribe gamers into turning off their computers and going outside. If you log off for a few days, your character will be more 'rested' when you resume playing, a mode that temporarily speeds up your leveling.
The only reason we don't notice how absolutely interwoven our thinking processes have become with older technologies - pencils, paper, electric light, penicillin, fire - is that they're old, so we've ceased to notice their effects.
A textbook requires a consistent sense of style and a linear structure, hallmarks of a single authorial presence. An encyclopedia doesn't.
More than any other modern tool, computers are a total mystery to their users. Most people never open them up to fix them or to see how they work.
If you, or any public-spirited programmer, wanted to figure out what the software on your machine is really doing, tough luck. It's illegal to reverse engineer the source code of commercial software to find out how it works.
A huge amount of our everyday thinking - powerful, creative, and resonant stuff - is done socially: talking to other people, arguing with them, relying on them to recall information for us.
Politicians or pundits can distort or cherry-pick climate science any way they want to try and gain temporary influence with the public. But any serious industrialist who's facing 'climate exposure' - as it's now called by money managers - cannot afford to engage in that sort of self-delusion.
Truly huge artistic collaboration on the Internet seems to work only if the gang has a well-defined objective.
No consumer product improves more drastically, year after year, than the computer.
The genius idea of industrialism was the concept of the Model T: In exchange for something cheap and well-made, we'd forgo unique, lovely design.
Ambient awareness is the experience of knowing what's going on in the lives of other people - what they're thinking about, what they're doing, what they're looking at - by paying attention to the small stray status messages that people are putting online.
I lust after iPods or Mini Coopers not because they're unique, but because they've been so artfully made that I couldn't imagine doing it better myself.
The computer industry began with home-brew boxes that everyone had to program for themselves, but that was a huge hassle. The computer revolution didn't explode until the first Macintosh arrived, with its point-and-click simplicity.
The one complaint about the Internet that I wholeheartedly endorse is that most of these tools have been designed to peck at us like ducks: 'Hey, there's a new reply to your comment! Come look at it!'
The amount of writing that people do online is astonishing, and historically unprecedented.
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