0.0 Context Setting
It’s a sunny Tuesday, 7 June, 2022 in Portland, Oregon.
Last week, I did some more tests of my what if someone did a John Oliver-esque tech show and impulsively shared it because I’m actually quite proud of it.
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1.0 Some Things That Caught My Attention
I had always thought that the NS- prefix in Apple’s Cocoa classes stood for NeXTSTEP, but apparently it can also/also stands for NeXTSTEP/Sun.
Caught my attention because: I am, of course, a NeXT fan. Compare to the recent revelation that the Core- prefix in Apple’s libraries e.g. CoreImage, CoreAudio is also a pun on… Apples, despite me very reasonably believing that core is a perfectly acceptable and serious name for, well, a core library. Which, come on.
Recent Revelations in Pulse Oximetry
- A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine1 with an n of ~7,126 patients examined pulse oximetry in COVID-19 patients, potential bias (of which some was found in Asian, Black and Hispanic patients), and any association with “delayed recognition of eligibility for oxygen threshold-specific therapy”.
Caught my attention because: more in the “technology, in general, continues to show replication of current biases in the makeup of society” file.
Dean Takashi covered the first cross-chain event in Web3 games Million on Mars and Sunflower Land2.
Caught my attention because: oh boy, am I ever excitedly eating popcorn for metaverse and web3 game things. First: you don’t need the blockchain for this, but what I suppose it does do is make the events publicly visible? The particular cross-over event is not that exciting, in a way: in Sunflower Land, you’ve got to go do a quest to repair your rocket and it’s a multi-chain, multi-task fetch-type quest. Once your rocket’s fixed and you head off to Mars, then you get “directed to a special Million on Mars get started page”, granting you “free access to Million on Mars”. The completed sub-quest (repairing your rocket) is “treated as an NFT” in the farm contract. There’s a bit where you connect your wallet(s) (i.e. do the equivalent cross-game auth), then you can do the second part of the quest. So: do a quest in one game, there’s an authed endpoint for “was this quest completed” that would otherwise just be part of each game’s respective backend, and then quest logic on each game (which, given that this is a web3 game) is presumably implemented on-chain as a bunch of Smart Code Is Law contracts. There’s this exciting bit, anyway:
An important part of any successful blockchain game is to verify players are actual human beings, rather than bots.
I cannot wait until games start needing to include KYC!
Matt Webb has been at it, and I recently re-read his piece from late 2021, SAGE and a glimpse of group computing from before the PC.
Caught my attention because:
- SAGE, the U.S. Semi-Automatic Ground Environment Air Defences System, was a pre-Engelbart interactive computing system, and Webb links to a photo.
- It’s all very military in that there’s a bunch of very serious men, but what Webb notices is that they’re all sat around One Big Screen, and they’re all computing together in a way that we’re only recently starting to catch up to in things like Microsoft Giant Tables. The bit that Webb wrote that stuck out to me is this.
WHAT IF, instead of the Personal Computer, the dividend of SAGE had been the Team Computer?
A computer that wasn’t used individually but as a group, together in a room or perhaps remotely. Not desktops but environments. An alternate history of computing that doesn’t involve user IDs or ownership as primary concepts but is instead oriented around collaborative, co-created artefacts, spaces that are jointly inhabited.
No user IDs, no ownership, but fluid, group-focussed computing in physical spaces. Sure there’s a bunch of other stuff you’d have to solve for: authentication and identity in SAGE, for example, are solved I imagine out-of-band in that only people with the appropriate clearance are allowed in the room anyway. Would you care about who “owned” a file? Would you need to, if your computing/working environment had an Opinionated Default that pushed workers in a certain direction? What would’ve happened to the cubicle? Would this have been a physical computing environment purposefully built for, say, multidisciplinary teams?
Actually, I titled this section Groupware but even that feels not-quite-right. Teams are the thing here, teams have a very different connotation in my head from groups. A group is much looser than a team. A team implies membership for purpose. Grouping in my head is just arbitrary set-making, a sort of higher-abstraction of a team.
That’s it for today. Definitely under 20 minutes this time.
Fawzy A, Wu TD, Wang K, et al. Racial and Ethnic Discrepancy in Pulse Oximetry and Delayed Identification of Treatment Eligibility Among Patients With COVID-19. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 31, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.1906 ↩
Web3 games Million on Mars and Sunflower Land will do cross-chain event (updated), Venturebeat, Dean Takahashi, May 24, 2022. ↩