Technology peeves

access denied imageImage: Dreamstime

It used to be the Access denied was the most constant and regular annoyance you got with technology. Now we have a whole raft of annoyances to choose from. For some it’s the constant notification interruptions. For others it’s the constant spam and cold calls.

As soon as the New Year was rung in , I had non stop cold calls on my home phone and mobile phone. Over Christmas there had been a cease fire. I realised we still haven’t dealt  with this and it ought not be hard given most of the numbers are well documented on number look up sites as nuisance calls. The scams are getting worse, though and the people are becoming brazen. It’s a global problem which needs addressing as a matter of urgency.

Then there are the apps which suddenly won’t work wither because you have changed devices and the apps were not installed properly or they are no longer registered with the organisation for which the app has been created. So off you go re downloading things and then waiting in call queues.

Printers are probably the biggest annoyance. It is cheaper to buy a printer than the ink to fill one. You do not often need a printer these days but when you need one , you really need one. We need a better way of managing printers for those who might need one once or twice a year. The cost of printing a couple of sheets of paper is ridiculous and given ink dries up…not very clever of us.

Tech-Funnel has its top 10 pet peeves. Theirs includes so connections. Oh yes…watching the infinite wheel of death spin and spin and spin…MakeUseOf has its top technology annoyances and it includes passwords. Yes! Endless amounts of passwords and then you have to change them when you just mastered remembering them.

2019. I think we need to get onto these annoyances and make a real effort to a) make a very clear list of what annoyances we have with technology b) do something about it to make it a better technology world. We can all do this. We need to rectify  it because, truth is, we’d be lost without our technology.

 

Psychologist’s view of UX

how memory worksImage: Today I Found Out 

Understanding user experience is critical these days. Most of us are connected and using devices. Many of us have been using technology for a very long time. We all come with our habits, views and perceptions of how technology should work. UX (user experience) is about working with real people so they can use your software and can easily access your website. We have all been there. The app which leaves us clueless as to what to do next or find what we are looking for. The website which gets us so frustrated because we are following the links and they are not going to where we want or worse, take us back to exactly where we started. In my opinion a circular website is the equivalent of smacking people in the face. It’s rude. At least put up a message that you are working on something or traffic volume is too high or whatever the truth is.
There’s a very good article by a psychologist which looks at UX from a psychological point of view. There are 10 main areas and each one is explained very efficiently. If you are planning screen services of any sort for anyone then it’s good to look at the psychology of it as well as the visual impact and functionality of it.

1.People don’t want to work or think more than they have to
2.People have limitations
3.People make mistakes
4. Human memory is complicated
5.People are social
6. Attention
7.People crave information
8. Unconscious processing
9. People create mental models
10. Visual system

The article in UX Magazine explains it all really well. It’s worth a look.

Keyboard biometrics

Authenticating people online is used for all sorts of reasons. Tracking you on a website gives marketers an idea of what to tailor to your needs. It is good to know that someone enrolled in an online course is actually the person completing the course or that if you are logged into a bank account you are entitled to that access because you are you. Keyboard biometrics/keyboard dynamics are becoming increasingly important as part of an authentication method. Artificial Intelligence has made it easier to quantify a user’s keyboard habits and each person is unique in how they use a keyboard. I am different from standard keyboard to iPad keyboard to touch screen keyboard. Sometimes I use a stylus on a touch screen so I am not sure at this point how easy it is to track me across devices. Apparently how you type in a password is unique. How you swap between keys is unique. There is a whole lot to learn about keyboard biometrics.

The video gives you a good overview of what keyboard biometrics entails. PCWorld looks at it form an AI point of view. Tripwire looks at the security and privacy issues in particular. If your behavioural dynamics are being shared and utilised without your knowledge then that goes into the arena of what exactly is being collected as we use our devices , what does it entail and how is that information being used. It’s not unreasonable to want to know what we are unwittingly divulging just because we want to be on the internet. There is a balance between collecting information for the common good – like, for instance,  treatments of specific cases of illnesses, conditions and diseases and then collecting something which is our own personal data (keyboard biometrics) and not tell us. If it is protecting us, then that is a good thing. If it’s being used for something else it’s not. If it involves us, we need to know.

In any case, this is the way authentication is going to go and it’s important we know about it, discuss it and look at what it actually means in practical terms for us.

Working on your privacy

Two things you can do without going any further are switching off bluetooth unless you need it and turning off location if you  don’t need it. Location is still detected via Google but  you  do not need to go out of your way to tell everyone where you are. Turn location on when you really need it. For some reason my Linux Mint 17.2 has bluetooth on by default. For privacy’s sake it should be the other way around.

Now for some links which will help you to make some good decisions about privacy and know how to manage it:

Lifewire has 10 things for you to look at to help improve your privacy.

spreadprivacy has tips for iPad and iPhone users.

wired   has tips for managing privacy on android devices.

PC Mag has some good information to help you manage Google privacy.

The video gives you security information about Safari.

On websites and accounts you use, check your settings. Look at the privacy policy for the websites and accounts. None of this is perfect at the moment. Privacy and security are ongoing issues. You also need to be prepared to let key people know what you think are acceptable and unacceptable terms of privacy. If they don’t know they will do what they think is right.

 

 

Data Protection and Privacy

This video was prepared for the UNCTAD conference in 2016. UNCTAD stands for United Nations Trade and Development. It has been working on helping developing nations engage safely with global trade and development. Two years down the track and we all seem to be developing nations when it comes to data protection and privacy. The general consensus seems to be that it’s all out of hand and we are powerless in protecting our online information and profile. Our data doesn’t belong to us and that is the biggest bone of contention. This post serves as an introduction. The issues around data protection and privacy are many and varied. The video highlights some major concerns and things to look for. It will take a number of posts to look at all of this in more depth.

For me , it boils down to 3 things:

  1. Selling data for data mining is big business. People need a  lot of data so they can sell it and then people package it and make money out of selling it. Not unlike coal mining.
  2. We need huge quantities of data for artificial intelligence and developing humanoids/robots etc etc. AI is already serving some very good purposes. How can we help without putting our information at risk?
  3. Data is being ,and has been , collected from us and shared without our permission. What are our rights and how do we balance the need for data to further develop the technology we need and like and maintain integrity with regard to respect for individual privacy?

It has become clear to me that different people are concerned about privacy and data breaches in different ways and for different reasons. We need to have a decent conversation about all of this so we can benefit form data and information sharing .

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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