Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Information Studies'

Obituary on the Letter E

December 9th, 2013 · Comments Off on Obituary on the Letter E

In Wired Magazine Joshua David Stein argues that the Internet is dissolving the letter E.  Not a shocking argument insofar as the English language is constantly evolving (“selfie” is the newest addition to the OED),

gothic-letter-e-tattooand texts like Across the Pond : an Englishman’s View of America by Terry Eagleton, The Cambridge History of the English Language (6 volumes!), or The English Language: Structure and Development by Stanley Hussey will document the elasticity of English. Stein argues there is an economic imperative imperiling, he quotes Flickr’s creator: “‘Being E-free,” agrees Esther Dyson, a venture capitalist and an early investor in Flickr, “distinguishes you from the run-of-the-mill vowel-infested world.’” Between E and capitalism is a “vowel-infested world.” Today has taken on Miltonian overtones…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · Yikes!

Write or Die App

June 20th, 2012 · Comments Off on Write or Die App

…we’ve got new databases and new search features all to be rolled out this summer, so the posts here at Odyssey Online are about to turn to library services, library services, and library services.  Before they do, the Write or Die App (here detailed by Jenny Diski in the London Review of Books blog).  These Apps through one means or another are designed to keep fingers moving on the keyboard, keep words going going going, and thus encourage writing.  Ms. Diski has a fairly pointed critique of said observes that what is lost is, “…about the space in between the writing, when nothing seems to be happening…Almost always, you do eventually start to write, and it seems that you’ve been considering after all.” That is, what is lost is the pondering, the introspection that comes in searching for words, in crafting in the noggin.  Is that the rub?  That what we can expect from networked information technology is business: are all the measures of the efficiency of networked information technology quantitative and thus driven by measures like characters and not metaphors?  To put this another way, within Diski’s argument is certainly the suggestion that having one’s feet up and staring out the window is the most efficient way to render nature to advantage dressed…

…or the argument in Sallie Tisdale’s still relevant piece in Harpers from 1997 on the value in libraries…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies

Internet as Leveler & the Internet for Readers

June 18th, 2012 · Comments Off on Internet as Leveler & the Internet for Readers

…ahhhh,  mid summer blogging after a commencement filled lull…two articles to feature that touch on key underlying assumptions about networked information technology.  The first to note is by James Curran, and is titled Why Has the Internet Changed So Little.  His point is that while the technology has changed quite a bit, society hasn’t–that the idea of the Internet as a leveler in terms of social equity, access to information, access to power is more optimistic myth than biting reality.  Also in Atlantic Magazine Alexis Madrigal argues that the number of readers is growing, that the Internet as the grim reaper for reading is much overstated.  Madrigal acknowledges that the data he is looking at doesn’t account for the quality of the reading, but optimistically notes that the notion of the Internet ending reading may be a kind of inverse nostalgia.  Both are good pieces for a summer evenings pondering all things ‘net…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies

Good Reading, Internet-Wise

January 12th, 2012 · Comments Off on Good Reading, Internet-Wise

…ah, the freezing rain and snow is falling and what better than to, by the light and warmth of a computer monitor or iPad, read poems. Or articles about books? Or author interviews?  With the weather not fit for an outdoor trod, here is a short list of places to find good reads, and not reprints of that in print, independent Internet publications:

  • Harriet: Blog of the Poetry Foundation
    The blog from the publishers of Poetry, arguably the nation’s preeminent poetry quarterly, a great source for news and commentary on contemporary poetry, also provides a link to the incredible library of poems that the Poetry Foundation keeps online.
  • Failbetter
    First rate online literary journal–Failbetter publishes fiction, poems, and author interviews.  As good as any of the literary quarterly’s we take here in ODY, a great thing to curl up with these wintery days ahead.
  • A Public Space
    What we just wrote for Failbetter also goes for A Public Space.
  • Bookslut
    A great collection of book reviews, news on authors and forthcoming books, and author interviews.
  • The Daily Beast: Books
    Articles on forthcoming books, author profiles, and lots of recommended reading lists.
  • 18 Rants by Mark Twain About Bad Writing
    What better use of the Internet than ranting, and what better ranter than Mark Twain. Not only does the article have these gems from Twain but a nice summary in the introductory paragraph of recent articles on books and reading in The Atlantic.

Tags: Books · Information Studies

Adam Gopnik on “How the Internet Gets Inside Us”

March 1st, 2011 · Comments Off on Adam Gopnik on “How the Internet Gets Inside Us”

This is a review piece by Adam Gopnik, on 9 books about where the Internet is leading folks, and, more generally, society. Gopnik divides the book between the “Never Betters” (with the Internet  “…information will be free and democratic…cookies will bake themselves”), the “Better Nevers” (as in better it never happened), and the Ever Wasers (the Internet doesn’t really represent anything new).  His reviews are concise, eye-openingly sardonic, and Gopnik has many useful insights on technology himself.  One great one-liner for thinking about technology: “Yet surely having something wrapped right around your mind is different from having your mind wrapped tightly around something.”  This is a highly recommended article.

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · The Academic Internet

Watson as Search Engine

February 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on Watson as Search Engine

…this in the current issue of Nature, an article on Watson, the computer that recently did so well on the game show Jeopardy. The thesis is essentially that Watson could be a prototype for the next leap in search engines, namely, engines that are able to finally actualize natural language searching.  That is, computers you’d converse with and be doing so search databases.

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · Research How-To

Information Overload

February 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Information Overload

…this from the Boston Phoenix around Christmas, a convincing and frightening piece about how federal, state, and local governments are “drowning in data.” From the article, “Even with millions being spent on storage solutions, public workers warn that at the bottleneck of information flow sits a good old-fashioned shortage of manpower.”

Tags: Computer Security · Essay on Technology · Information Studies

Friday Blogging, This and That on the Internet

January 28th, 2011 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, This and That on the Internet

…a couple of follow-up’s for a Friday on the travails of the Internet.  In Slate Larry Downs wrote a piece arguing that if the history of the Internet tells us anything about assuring Net Neutrality, it’s to do nothing.  It’s an interesting contemplation on the “the Net” has always taken care of it’s own business.

…and I found this interesting, it’s an explanation of how the Egyptian Government could turn off the Internet as part of its attempt to quell the recent street protests…

Tags: Computer Security · Information Studies · Licklider's Legacy

Network Neutrality Update

January 24th, 2011 · Comments Off on Network Neutrality Update

Happy new year and welcome back to Odyssey Online and blogging in 2011.  An update on a topic vital to the future of the Internet…back on December 22nd the FCC created a new set of regulations to “…prohibit broadband providers from interfering with Web traffic and discourage them from giving some Web destinations preferential treatment…” effectively a version of Net Neutrality.  The ruling was widely decried by people on both ends of the political spectrum. Verizon has now challenged the ruling in court, and this piece by Brad Reed in Computerworld is a good summary of the lawsuit, and what the FCC rulings really is and does.    Chloe Albanesius has a useful article in PC Magazine about what is likely to happen in the near future (taking Verizon’s lawsuit into account), and Ars Technica has an interesting piece on the support for network neutrality from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the National Council of Churches

Tags: Computer Security · Essay on Technology · Information Studies

Map of Facebook Connectedness

December 16th, 2010 · Comments Off on Map of Facebook Connectedness

…since we do blog about Facebook here, this is a fun map created by William Easterly about Facebook Connectedness: ergo, which Nations are the biggest Facebook users.  Visually compelling and illustrative of just what a big deal Facebook is…

Tags: Facebooked · Information Studies