I’ve previously written about dark patterns because, on their face, they represent an ethical problem in technology. Just because you can make it difficult for a customer to close a pop-up, for example, doesn’t mean you should. And, as we know now, technologists do not take an oath to behave ethically (quite the opposite with the proliferation of the ethos “move fast and break shit”) and the government has neglected to regulate.
However, time will tell if, like the CAN-SPAM Act and the Do Not Call Registry, the regulation will lack the teeth for any sort of enforcement. Wired Magazine contends that specificity on what will be covered is still lacking, leading me to believe that it will be difficult for this to result in real consequences for offenders:
California’s first-in-the-nation status on regulating dark patterns comes with a caveat. It’s not clear exactly which dark patterns will become illegal when the new law takes full effect in 2023; the rules are to be determined by a new California Privacy Protection Agency that won’t start operating until later this year.
The more I learn about the human condition, the more essential governance seems to become. We need rules and codes of conduct to help us navigate what’s pushing the envelope versus what’s just evil. We will need to watch what happens in California carefully as that will serve as a litmus test for the rest of the country making progress.
I write this in the midst of a global pandemic. A time when the British platitude of "keep calm and carry on" feels very relevant and necessary.
Have I been calm most of this year? Absolutely not – and yet, I persist and carry on. I continue to wear a mask. I build with my friends, both personally and professionally, despite the 6 feet or more that keep us apart.
And, in this spirit, I pick up where I left off here. I'll continue to write about tech gadgets and share photo essays. But, I'll also do my part to guide folks to appropriate resources or professional advice where help would be appreciated.
So, rather than focusing on the obvious (which may be negative) you can look forward to future content with a constructive and uplifting tone.
Over the summer, I was complaining to a colleague about my love/hate relationship with fitness trackers. I fell in love with the Fitbit for a few years but I found their trackers didn't really last. That's something I'm less inclined to be okay with given how much more I pay attention now to where my waste goes. And, the other factor important for me is a tracker that fits nicely under my boxing gloves — something that sometimes wrist-based trackers aren't always great at.
On the surface, I was excited so naturally I ordered it immediately. The price point ($199.99) made it not so expensive that it seemed unattainable but definitely pricey enough so that I had some expectations about it being moderately good going in. After using it for a couple of months now, I can walk you through the good, the bad and my closing thoughts on whether it's a good buy or not. Continue reading "A Fitness Tracker for Lightweights: the Motiv Ring"
Many of my best life decisions were made by saying, "Let's see where this goes!" When my husband and I started dating, for instance, I thought, "This will be fun for the summer until we break up; we'll go off to college in different cities and never see each other again." And then that never happened: we were both in New York and the rest is history.
I can say something similar happened when I decided to apply for the Smartly Quantic program. I had just finished paying off 27K of student loan debt and the prospect of going back to school (read: more debt) was not exactly tempting. And the truth is age is a major factor; going back to school in my 30's was going to put a major cramp in my life goals of owning a home and having a child.
I saw ads for what was then marketed as "Smartly" on the train (specifically their fee-free MBA program) and figured it was worth at least throwing my hat in the ring. What happened next was unexpected; I was admitted to their Executive MBA track given my work experience. This track normally comes with a fee and I was offered a full scholarship to cover the one year program.
When I'm not writing this blog, I spend a lot of my time at work. For a living, I manage digital products, specifically web applications, for a well-known and respected brand. And, if I'm being honest, I've been using and making for the web for the better part of half of my existence on this earth! All of this is to say, I know a thing or two when it comes to what works, and what doesn't.
I'd like to share a story about an experience that didn't work so well for me and how I'd recommend fixing it.
Ever since I moved, I've been thinking about switching up my gym routine. The other day, I was scrolling through Instagram (as one does) and saw something about Rise By We. Based on the post, it looked like they had a boxing or kickboxing program which I'd be really into since I've been doing Muay Thai for years now. Intrigued and because they mentioned something about a free intro class, I clicked on the link from my phone to arrive at RiseByWe.com.
The homepage set an odd tone. The "Refer a Friend" button is more prominent than I'd expect — it blocks the marketing copy that someone went to great efforts to write. Meanwhile, that copy is changing at an interval (in the screenshot below, the blue words are constantly changing so as I'm trying to make sense of what's behind that button, it goes away.
I can get around this, it's just some marketing, but I'm curious — where is this place? In essence, realistically, does this gym work with my getting to work/home routines? I decide to check out the navigation menu (the delectably named "hamburger" menu for all you insiders) to see where it's located. Continue reading "An Exercise in Frustration Online"
While it may seem trivial to some, moving is a big deal (especially for folks like me who enjoy nesting).
And, I need to take a second to write it all out to reflect on how much we’ve accomplished because too often I’m in “go” mode that I forget to look back on what I did right. In fact, looking back at my “anti-resolutions” for 2018, I made a specific point to mention reflection so, without further ado, here’s a very quick reflection on the past year.
One of the great parts of our old apartment was that it had 2 fairly large closets for clothes, situated right next to each other in the hallway. Both were about the same size so we had a his and hers — done and done!
The great part about not having to share a closet is that it's okay if his closet gets messy, because that's his own business. And similarly, if one day I want to take everything out of my closet and re-organize it (because that's how my mind works), I don't have to make that an activity that takes up his whole Sunday afternoon, as well.
Now, in our new house, I'm finding the closet situation isn't quite so great. Well, I should clarify, the master bedroom has the worst closet of all three bedrooms. In short, it's just not big enough for the 2 of us. I could probably write at length about its other short-comings, but I'll save that for the day when we finally replace it, but for now we have to live with it — until I can execute on my dream closet.
With stars in our eyes as we admired a little red house that was in our budget — and in a safe, walkable neighborhood near public transit — we overlooked a lot of little issues and placed an offer.
Fast forward to living in the house and we noticed a small, nagging issue (one of those we overlooked): no doorbell.
I figured we'd just go to Home Depot and buy a regular shmegular doorbell but my husband declined this option. He's not a technophile or super into keeping with the Joneses or anything like that. In fact, as a woman working in technology teams, I've always been the tech nerd of this couple. However, when it came to the doorbell, he insisted we get a video doorbell. Essentially, with the blank slate of nothing existing to replace, let's go big or go home!
Before we became homeowners, I used to think of gutters as the things that ruined my bowling game and where my mind sometimes goes. Now I'm acutely aware of the areas of our home that allow water to run off and not cause damage to the house. And thankfully, it's one less thing on the to do list! #homeowneringlikeaboss