…a lengthy essay/contemplation on the thesaurus written by Peter Mark Roget. When was the last time you thought about a thesaurus? Apparently the original Roget thought creating one to be a exercise in spirituality, an exercise in bringing order to the universe. Of course while thesaurus-speak can be justifiably sneered at, good Saxon based synonyms for management speak might be a reason to keep a thesaurus on the shelves (cyber or otherwise). Read Roget’s piece and decide…
Entries Tagged as 'The Academic Internet'
April 2nd, 2012 · Comments Off
March 1st, 2011 · Comments Off
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.
October 1st, 2010 · Comments Off
…an interesting little note on Term Paper Mills. With the advent of the Internet a fear arose that Term Paper Mills, those folks who, for a fee, will write you a paper, had been given the perfect delivery mechanism. A few years ago this fear on campus was palpable, and there was even services one could avail oneself to to create libraries of student work on foil these online paper mills at their own digital game. Dan Ariely, a professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, did an experiment this fall to text the quality of the product produced, which he concluded is “best described as gibberish.” His argument is that the papers are so bad intellectually and technically that an student submitting one would rue the day…one less worry?
September 3rd, 2010 · Comments Off
…as this overly heated week finally comes to a close, a few pointers here and there. One is to this guide on five things to keep in mind about interlibrary loan services that should help you make the best use of this service…
…also, on our other happening blog for the Friends of the Owen D. Young and Launders Libraries, a post about Oxford University Press’ decision (most likely) to publish the Oxford English Dictionary only online. You’ll see the post is titled “Lament,” but the New York Times opines that an online edition will best reflect that “Language is a living organism“…more commentary on this next week…
August 27th, 2010 · Comments Off
…with the new year upon us it seems like a good moment to set aside some part of a Saturday to read critiques, or recommendations, or memoirs of what goes for the life and times of the contemporary university:
- The Globalization of Higher Education Edited by Luc. E. Webber and James Duderstadt
- The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World by Ben Wildavsky
- Admissions by Jean Hanff Korelitz
- Fixing College Education: A New Curriculum for the Twenty First Century by Charles Muscatine
- How University Works: Higher Education and a Low Wage Nation by Marc Bousquet
- Financing Higher Education Worldwide: Who Pays? Who Should Pay? by D. Bruce Johnston and Pamela Marcucci
- The Great American University: It’s Rise to Preeminence, it’s Indispensable National Role, and Why it Must be Protected by Jonathan R. Cole
- Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University by Gaye Tuchman
- The Last Professors: Corporate Universities and the Fate of the Humanities by Frank Donoghue
- Save the World on Your Own Time by Stanley Fish
…these are all published 2008, 09, and 2010. Grist for the mill.
May 12th, 2010 · Comments Off
…getting going again, a few things on the “state of the Net.” This from Atlanticwire.com on the steady erosion of Internet Explorer’s market share. While still the biggest player, it continues to cede screens to Firefox and Chrome (to name two). While we’re at it here’s an interesting piece on the next iteration of Firefox, and something, maybe, on Chrome’s continued evolution into an operating system.
April 16th, 2010 · Comments Off
…okay, I promise, last one, but it appears that Israeli Security Forces are confiscating iPads. It has something to do with Wi-Fi issues, and is likely to end at the end of May, but for now taking a iPad into Israel is kissing it goodbye. Coverage on this from the Tech-Herald, Computerworld, and PC Magazine…
April 13th, 2010 · Comments Off
Google and Microsoft answer…
Further, there is more (here from the New York Times) about Apple restricting what developers can do with the product, putting the breaks on reverse engineering. Of course Apple’s answer is that it is providing a flexible platform that is all about user convenience…with the caveat that the gears are Apple’s–you own the chassis, not the engine. Maybe this isn’t an issue, but at $250 a pop plus it sure feels like we are moving away from a garage friendly environment for developing computing to one that is thoroughly proprietary, off limits proprietary. Human beings are at more liberty when they operate in a context of understanding…you could investigate analog technology, you could investigate HTML. Within investigation comes curiosity, to answer curiosity there is imagine. There is frankly something insidious about the iPad…
April 8th, 2010 · Comments Off
Earlier in the week Federal Courts ruled against the Federal Communications Commission in the FCC’s attempt to establish network neutrality for the flow of internet content (for a background on network neutrality see Edward Felten’s essay). This has debate about network neutrality back front and center…between those who think network neutrality is a thinly veiled attempt to over-regulate the communications industry, and those who argue it is an essential step in keeping the internet playing field level. A sampling of commentary on the ruling and opinion pieces on network neutrality below:
- Comcast’s Win Reignites Network Neutrality Debate FierceCo.com
- Network Neutrality Suffers a Blow Computerworld
- Net Neutrality Rivals Invest in Washington Influence Wall Street Journal
- Comcast Ruling Raises Questions on FCC Regulation Washington Post
- Broadband Monopolies 1, Net Freedom 0 Network World
- Network Neutrality is Anti-Consumer National Review
April 7th, 2010 · Comments Off
…in an essay published on Boing Boing Cory Doctorow states his case against the iPad, which is based on the iPad being a closed system, a proprietary technology resistant to reverse engineering. As he puts it, (remembering a piece called Maker Manifesto) “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it. Screws not glue.” Johnathan Zittrain had a similar thing in mind as the argument of his book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It where he argued that the morphing of the Internet into hand held devices would rob it of its generative quality. Tim Berners-Lee made HTML freely available, and that, coupled with the fact that the code could be readily understood (and then written) is what propelled the web forward. Zittrain and Doctorow both raise the point that has the Internet moves to proprietary frameworks (like iPads, Facebook, blogs software such as you see here) it becomes a consumable technology rather than a malleable one.
Some comments directed at Doctorow’s piece suggest that people writing APPs for their iPads is very much in the DYI-coding of the Internet, but, that strikes me as decoration. For the a period of time the world wide web was coded in readily learned ways that allowed one to build substantive, original, computer frameworks in ways that APPs just aren’t. I can’t help but think it is analogous to what’s happened with cars…anyone with some patience, the right tools, and a manual could repair and work on an air-cooled automobile (think original Volkswagon Beetle or Studebaker), but cars with embedded digital technology require mechanics with specialized diagnostic technologies. The digital technologies are expensive t00–my car has tire sensors that need to be replaced every so often and are $150 a pop, which would buy a lot of spark plugs. Life is change and succession, but it strikes me that much is being lost in turning from code to convenience…