[NetBehaviour] Know Your Filesystem (and how it affects you)

Dave Young dvyng at riseup.net
Thu Oct 22 12:14:09 CEST 2015

Hi Rob,

> Xanadu was started a decade before the Star project, and Computer
> Lib/Dream Machines was published in 74. There may be something to the
> idea of epochs, or at least eras. :-)

Xanadu is a fascinating example, and the rules that governed its
development offer a good starting point for any software development

> Does this relate to the idea of "affordances"?

Yes indeed - that certain interactions are streamlined and prioritised,
whereas others are either inordinately complex or simply not presented
to the user as a possibility. The issue here is that it may take a
certain amount of 'technical literacy' to overcome these affordances -
many people do not have the time or the inclination to root their phone,
for instance.

> As we lose the ability to exercise our freedom we also lose the
> awareness that we can?

I think this is true, but also the incredibly powerful sense of
seduction around these devices means that people may not actually -want-
freedom in the first place. Many would rather a beautiful object in rose
gold with the latest hype feature (fingerprint sensors, 4k selfie

Olia Lialina has a very interesting perspective on the erosion of user
agency in Turing Complete User -

> At the same time that apps and search are firewalling users from
> filesystems more and more, Git, Urbit, IPFS, and other modern
> distributed/versioned/cryptogrphically secured filesystems are putting
> filesystems beyond the control of locked-down software and making them
> truly distributed tools for storage and communication. Escaping the
> lockdown in this way is good, at least relative to that lockdown.

This is a good topic for a follow up. I just barely touched on
distributed storage in the text, and mainly from a negative 'cloud'
perspective. It is true that there are some very interesting
alternatives, but often they are quite technical and exist outside of a
practical workflow for the mainstream user.

> On a related note, where has "View Source" gone in mobile web browsers?

Certainly a related note - and a good question.

> - Rob.
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