Merit Badges for Things

I was awed for some reason today by this power brick for a Lenova ThinkPad thingie. The assemblage of certifications, warrants and authentication badges almost defines how large the brick can be. What this made me think of is the thicket of contested hurdles objects and devices must vault over in order to become certificated, first-class citizens in the world. Each of these indications are backed, I’m fairly sure, by thick volumes of rules, parameters, minimums and maximums and costs for laboratory verifications, all part of the knotted assemblages of social-political-technical blessings that make a thing into a Thing.

Why do I blog this? Been reading and listening to quite a good bit of Latour these days. Stumbled across this from Peter Ryan, a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto while looking for Latour’s statements about visualization.

2 thoughts on “Merit Badges for Things”

  1. Just wondering, but why can’t I find these merit badges on apple products? They must go trough the same certification process right? 🙂

    1. Yes, I wondered the same thing myself for a moment. I suspect one perspective would say that they are incredibly geeky for one. As a design accent they leave much to be desired in some sense. (Although there is something about the aesthetics that reminds me of the geek habit of plastering laptop covers with stickers and crap.)

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