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Problem solving


Skimming Block, originally uploaded by superlocal.

I love the Far East.  I love the way they just get on and make stuff and then make more stuff to solve the problems of the initial stuff.  There’s no prevaricating, they just keep making instead of legislating, which is what we’re so good at in Europe.  Here we have a skimming block for RFID [which is embedded in credit cards over there and probably soon to be here].   
Makes me think of Matt Webb’s recent post on the excellent Pulse Laser blog about the rise of distributed manufacture in Japan and the use of interchangeable parts to make a complete product, rather than it being manufactured by one organisation.  This skimming block works the same way but for situations or experiences of the individual person –  in that rather than solving the problem for all in the ‘host’ technology [so working with all RFID chip users] you have interchangeable solutions for the range of technologies employed by the user.
In some scenario planning work I did whilst at the BBC one of the stories had the rise of technical ‘plumbers’ to solve problems you had with interoperability, or rebellious technology.  Workarounds necessary for the myriad of different socio-technical relations that emerged in the digital age.  That service and the sorts of products as this,above, seem increasingly plausible  cf. the discourse of the future which had all our ‘technology’ as pure, whole and inter-operable. But is the UK economy set up for that or are those products and services going to be imported or offshored?