01 June 2005

Maiden Post

After several months of researching information technology, I've decided to create a live journal dedicated to the subject. Here you will find links, saved searches, and reflections on "intimate computing."


Personal digital assistants and 2.5-3G cell phones are examples of intimate computing. I made up this name on the spur of the moment to refer to data interface tools that you can carry about with you.


The title of this site comes from "Villanelle for Our Time," the lyrics of which may be found here; the poem is by Francis R. Scott, a Canadian poet who died in 1985. While Scott's words are ambiguous and can be bent to many types of ideology (Scott was a Christian Socialist), it is pretty clear that he is speaking for universality, brotherhood, and social democracy. The phrase "tricked the mass for private gain" refers to a feature encountered often in both Canadian and US economic experience, in which ambitious and skillful lobbying drives a government to buy some new technology (like the rails) and then "privatize" it by virtually giving it away. It comes up a lot in the consumer electronics industry. "Reshaping narrow law and art," in the poem, implies that the narrow (class-restricted) benefits of law and technology must be overthrown to end imperialism and oppression.

I believe that intimate computing represents a very important new tool of self-expression and communication that is both too profuse to censor, and too fast to anticipate. Some of you may feel ill at ease with an Anglican law professor from Montreal, PQ, inveighing against exploitation: the electronics industry is something of a reserve for Randians. All the same, I would invite you to consider what the social implications are for intimate computing.



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