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Technology content from Leo Nelson

Symbols Matter

Semiotics, or the study of symbols and sign processes and meaningful communication, has recently been on my radar because of a class I’m teaching.

Earlier this morning I stumbled on a post by Caitlin Winner on how she pushed forward with a small but meaningful change with the Facebook icon set used to display the now universally recognized Facebook Friends icon.

I shared my complaint with a designer friend and she helpfully pointed me to the poster next to mine which proclaimed, “Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem.” The lady icon needed a shoulder, so I drew it in — and so began my many month descent into the rabbit hole of icon design.

It turns out that others at Facebook have pursued similar changes. For e.g., the globe.

It turns out this kind of self initiated project is not unique at Facebook. Last year, designer Julyanne Liang worked with engineer Brian Jew to give the non-American half of the globe an accurate world view from the notification icon. Since then they’ve added an Asia-centric globe, too.

Symbols are important. The context in which they are used, the global recognition for certain symbols and the misuse of symbols shape our daily interactions. More importantly, this write up is a great example of how taking personal responsibility and ownership for changing things that seem small to some, but when implemented make a world of difference to others.

Source: How We Changed the Facebook Friends Icon

Using DNA for Access Control

You’ve probably heard of the genetic testing site, 23andMe. The site allows users to send in a swab covered in their saliva for genetic decoding. When that code is translated, it’s viewable online as a pie chart of ancestry. 23andMe even offers an API that allows you to share your genetic information with the REST of the world. Genetic information is some powerful stuff: It can countermand information that’s been passed down through a family, provide a clue to lost relatives, and even offer unexpected insights into one’s origins. But did you ever think that genetic information could be used as an access control? Stumbling around GitHub, I came across this bit of code: Genetic Access Control. Now, budding young racist coders can check out your 23andMe page before they allow you into their website! Seriously, this code uses the 23andMe API to pull genetic info, then runs access control on the user based on the results. Just why you decide not to let someone into your site is up to you, but it can be based on any aspect of the 23andMe API. This is literally the code to automate racism. The author offers up a number of possible uses, many of which sound fairly legitimate, however. Imagine a women’s support group online that restricts access to women only. What if JDate didn’t just take your word for it that you were Jewish, and actually checked your DNA to make sure?

Source: Using DNA for Access Control

Open Specific Windows 10 Settings from Run

Settings Page Command
Account info ms-settings:privacy-accountinfo
Airplane mode ms-settings:network-airplanemode
Backgrounds ms-settings:personalization-background
Battery Saver ms-settings:batterysaver
Battery Saver Settings ms-settings:batterysaver-usagedetails
Battery use ms-settings:batterysaver-settings
Bluetooth ms-settings:bluetooth
Calendar ms-settings:privacy-calendar
Camera ms-settings:privacy-webcam
Cellular ms-settings:network-cellular
Closed Captioning ms-settings:easeofaccess-closedcaptioning
Colors ms-settings:colors
Colors ms-settings:personalization-colors
Connected devices ms-settings:connecteddevices
Contacts ms-settings:privacy-contacts
Data Usage ms-settings:datausage
Date and Time ms-settings:dateandtime
Dial-up ms-settings:network-dialup
DirectAccess ms-settings:network-directaccess
Display ms-settings:display
Display ms-settings:screenrotation
Ethernet ms-settings:network-ethernet
Family & other users ms-settings:otherusers
Feedback ms-settings:privacy-feedback
For developers ms-settings:developers
High Contrast ms-settings:easeofaccess-highcontrast
Keyboard ms-settings:easeofaccess-keyboard
Location ms-settings:privacy-location
Lockscreen ms-settings:lockscreen
Magnifier ms-settings:easeofaccess-magnifier
Manage Wi-Fi Settings ms-settings:network-wifisettings
Messaging ms-settings:privacy-messaging
Microphone ms-settings:privacy-microphone
Mobile hotspot ms-settings:network-mobilehotspot
Motion ms-settings:privacy-motion
Mouse ms-settings:easeofaccess-mouse
Mouse & touchpad ms-settings:mousetouchpad
Narrator ms-settings:easeofaccess-narrator
Notifications & actions ms-settings:notifications
Offline maps ms-settings:maps
Optional features ms-settings:optionalfeatures
Other Devices ms-settings:privacy-customdevices
Other Options (Ease of Access) ms-settings:easeofaccess-otheroptions
Personalization ms-settings:personalization
Power & sleep ms-settings:powersleep
Privacy ms-settings:privacy
Proximity ms-settings:proximity
Proxy ms-settings:network-proxy
Radios ms-settings:privacy-radios
Region & language ms-settings:regionlanguage
options ms-settings:signinoptions
Speech ms-settings:speech
Speech, inking, & typing ms-settings:privacy-speechtyping
Start ms-settings:personalization-start
Storage Sense ms-settings:storagesense
Tablet mode ms-settings://tabletmode/
Themes ms-settings:themes
Typing ms-settings:typing
VPN ms-settings:network-vpn
Wi-Fi ms-settings:network-wifi
Windows Update ms-settings:windowsupdate
Work access ms-settings:workplace

Source: How to open various Settings pages directly in Windows 10