Free software advocate Benjamin Mako Hill's lecture on "Antifeatures" for the Free Technology Academy is a fascinating look at the ubiquitous "antifeature" -- that is, a deliberately designed product feature that none of the product's users desire. Examples include cameras that block saving images as RAW files, phones that are designed to identify and drain third-party batteries, and, of course, printers that are designed to reject third-party ink.
Mako makes a compelling case that these sorts of features are endemic to proprietary technology, and that free and open technology are the antidote to them.
Antifeatures at the Free Technology Academy
Claude Shannon is one of the great, heroic titans of the computer science revolution, a brilliant scientist and Feynman-grade eccentric whose accomplishments fill several excellent books.
Your Roomba vacuum cleaner collects data about the size and geometry of your home as it cleans and transmits that data back to Irobot, Roomba’s parent company — and now the company says it wants to sell that data to companies like Apple and Google.
The American “productivity paradox”: technology keeps marching, but the amount of profit generated by the average worker’s average hour is stagnant.
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