Annalee Newitz

We can be heroes

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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Imagine a world where your genome isn't just the result of long-term natural selection and random mutation. Instead, its composition and expression actually mean something — not just about you, but also about the fate of the world.

No, I'm not talking about a genetic engineer's utopia with humans made by design. I'm talking about the driving fantasy behind hit TV show Heroes, now heading into the homestretch of its first season on NBC. Read more »

Myth of the universal library

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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION A lot of Web geeks believe that one day everything ever created by humans will be available online. Call it the myth of the universal library. Here's how the myth goes: because there is unlimited real estate in cyberspace and because media can be digitized, we can fill cyberspace with all human knowledge and give everyone access to it. Without further ado, I present to you three arguments for the elimination of the myth of the universal library.

1. Read more »

Stop getting things done

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> annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Among business-oriented tech nerds, there is an acronym that is a cult: GTD. It stands for "getting things done," and it comes from the title of a popular time-management book by productivity coach David Allen. Not only has Allen turned GTD into a multimillion-dollar consulting and advice business, but he's also infected the hearts and minds of an entire generation trying to work as fast as the processors in their computers do. Read more »

How to control my body

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> annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION The biological functioning of my body is all over the news right now. Lawmakers and federal regulatory agencies are asking themselves whether I should be allowed to have abortions, and whether I should be allowed to take a drug that prevents me from menstruating. Read more »

The trouble with Twitter

Your life, sped up and squared
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION All the Web geeks I know are playing around with Twitter. Basically, Twitter is an online tool for updating your friends about your life on a minute-by-minute basis using mobile devices. You sign up for a Twitter account, build a friends list, and then read and write little things about your day from your mobile or the Web. Read more »

Another digital divide

Low-income communties and high-speed wireless
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION A couple weeks ago I moderated a panel discussion about free wireless Internet access in San Francisco. The audience and panelists included people who work on tech projects for the city, activists from impoverished neighborhoods, and civil liberties wonks. Read more »

Smoking Yahoo!'s pipes

How could a tool designed to help you manipulate all kinds of information actually limit your control?
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION I've been playing around with Yahoo!'s latest technological experiment on the Web. It's called Pipes, and it's a system designed to help Web-savvy people write simple programs without ever having to read a book about Java. If you visit pipes.yahoo.com, you can take a peek. Visitors to the site are presented with a sheet of virtual graph paper and a list of modules that you can drag onto the paper and connect with pipes. Read more »

Vote Mac

A political machine and a fondness for gizmos
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION A Barack Obama fan, supposedly operating on his own time and not as part of the campaign, recently released a rather clumsy attack ad smearing Hilary Clinton on YouTube. No, it's not particularly amazing that spin-doc wannabes are splattering DIY attack ads on video-sharing networks. What's surprising is the content of this particular ad, which rips off an old Macintosh commercial from the 1980s. The message? Read more »

Exploitation

Testing the limits of vulnerability
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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION Among hackers, exploitation is a social good. Exploiting a piece of software means discovering a little chink in its armor, a vulnerability that could allow a crook to slip through and do unwanted things to innocent people's computers. Read more »

Web trenz!

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annalee@techsploitation.com

TECHSPLOITATION It's the time of year when we celebrate new ideas and fresh memes on the Interwebs. For some reason, March is the month for all the big Webbish conferences, such as South by Southwest Interactive and O'Reilly's Emerging Technology shindig in San Diego. Strange new Web apps are announced; venture capital is hurled forcefully at people who wear hoodies over button-down shirts; everybody does freaky shit with their cell phones. Read more »