Ideas for Restart Radio


As suggested by Isabel, let’s have a thread to exchange ideas for future Restart Radio shows.

Watching the very weird The Rise and Fall of Nokia (not one mention of iconic phones such as the 7650 or of Symbian) and listening to Marcin Wichary (BTW if we ever plan another episode on keyboards he would make for an interesting guest) made me want to listen to a podcast looking into the relationship between the devices’ users and the devices’ creators.

There’s a very touching moment at the end of the Nokia documentary about a woman explaining how every time she still uses some old Nokia phone she remember her engineer friends who designed its aerial. Marcin was explaining that his book on typewriter and keyboard is not really a technical book but looking more at the people behind such devices. There was also a few years back the story of photographs of some factory workers still present on some iPhones. In the garment industry, apparently some workers have sewn some messages in some brand garments. Of course this could also involve concerns about the ethics of mining (Coltan mining).

Do some users think of the people involved in the design, creating and manufacturing of the devices they use? If so, how? Which users tend to think of this and which one are just interested in consuming. There are lots of potential angles with this.


Good topic, it would be very interesting to know the story of the people involved in creating a device, and also what they thought about the end user. There was a good radio drama recently that explored that question, the link between producer and consumer:

(No longer available to download at present, but I have an mp3 I can share)


If we look at the emotional attachment, for the people involved in creating a device, there’s the moment when their device is shipping, which brings closure but also means there can no longer make any more improvements (apart those possible in the maintenance phase).

In the Nokia documentary, the interviewee remembered the engineer friends that had made the aerial in the phone. These days it is rare for a device to be created by one person, so maybe ti would need to be looked at not as the people behind the device, but the people behind the parts or subsystem of a device.

Another way the humanity of the people involved in a device creation appear is sometimes through easter eggs. This could be a hidden message or game, and also something in the PCB design. Some of these hidden notes are sanctioned by the hierarchy, and some are not.


Yes. Monique (Brixton Restarter who I hope joins us here soon) shared this amazing “silicon zoo” - full of examples of these - here’s an example of a hummingbird


On the flip-side, just like @panda I would also be interested in examples of “SOS” or message-in-a-bottle left by assembly-line workers…