June 22, 2011

Upending Anonymity, These Days the Web Unmasks Everyone - NYTimes.com [12:17 pm]

This article went up a couple of days ago, Upending Anonymity, These Days the Web Unmasks Everyone [pdf], but now there’s also a discussion that’s worth a look. Maybe not earth-shattering, but at least it acknowledges that there are a lot of eddies in this particular swirl of internet technology and policy:

Not too long ago, theorists fretted that the Internet was a place where anonymity thrived.

Now, it seems, it is the place where anonymity dies.

The discussions:

  • The Virtues of Anonymity; Daniel J. Solove [pdf]

  • The Rage of Being Right; Philip Smith [pdf]

  • Promoting Repression; Kashmir Hill [pdf]

  • The Glue of Civility; Christine Pearson [pdf]

  • Practicing Self-Regulation; Peggy Post [pdf]

The Smith–Post axis of discussion is notable, and I am generally surprised by the frequent excuse in these articles that incivility is (mostly) thoughtless. (And Hill inelegantly raises the very important issue of what it means to delegate the interpretation of civility to institutions.)

The way I see it, the very root of incivility is almost always thoughtlessness. “Conscious incivility” evokes something entirely different — consider your likely responses to these two common situations: (1) Being cut off in traffic by an inattentive driver and (2) Hearing the car horn of the vehicle immediately behind you the split second the traffic light changes from red to green, possibly accompanied by a rude gesticulation by the driver. The first is incivility, the second is an act of aggression.

(Note that there *are* cultural referents that can matter. In Morocco, the second act listed is, in fact, common practice, because the car at the head of the line at a red light is expected to have pulled far enough into the intersection that the car’s driver can’t even see the traffic light — there, the honk of the horn is a practical requirement of all courteous drivers.)

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Apple Awarded A Patent On Multi-Touch Interface [11:25 am]

Wonder what the other capacitative display smartphones/tablets are going to do about this? From Patent 7,966,578:

Portable multifunction device, method, and graphical user interface for translating displayed content

Abstract

A computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display. An N-finger translation gesture is detected on or near the touch screen display. In response, the page content, including the displayed portion of the frame content and the other content of the page, is translated to display a new portion of page content on the touch screen display. An M-finger translation gesture is detected on or near the touch screen display, where M is a different number than N. In response, the frame content is translated to display a new portion of frame content on the touch screen display, without translating the other content of the page.

Filed: December 19, 2007; awarded June 21, 2011. Via Patently Apple

As a side note, the specificity of claims is quite a hoot to read, particularly the “M” and “N” specifics:

What is claimed is:

  1. A method, comprising: at a portable multifunction device with one or more processors, memory, and a touch screen display; displaying a portion of web page content in a stationary application window on the touch screen display, wherein [...].

  2. A method, comprising: at a portable multifunction device with one or more processors, memory, and a touch screen display: displaying a portion of page content in a stationary application window on the touch screen display, wherein the portion of page content includes: a frame displaying a portion of frame content, and other content of the page; detecting an N-finger translation gesture on or near the touch screen display; in response to detecting the N-finger translation gesture, translating the page content to display a new portion of page content in the stationary application window, on the touch screen display, wherein translating the page content includes simultaneously translating the displayed portion of the frame content and the other content of the page; detecting an M-finger translation gesture on or near the touch screen display, where M is a different number than N; and in response to detecting the M-finger translation gesture, translating the frame content in the stationary application window, to display a new portion of frame content on the touch screen display without translating the other content of the page.

  3. The method of claim 2, where N is equal to 1 and M is equal to 2.

  4. The method of claim 2, wherein the page content is web page content.

  5. [...]

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