Odyssey Online

Entries from January 2010

Friday Blogging, J. D. Salinger

January 29th, 2010 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, J. D. Salinger

…J. D. Salinger died January 27th, at 91. He is, of course, the author of Catcher in the Rye, a book that simply put should be read by everyone in their late teens.  Here is a sampling of the critical work we have on Salinger:

The Guardian has published a “round-up” of online commentary and reactions to the man’s death

Tags: Books · Recommended Book

China V. Google Anon

January 27th, 2010 · Comments Off on China V. Google Anon

Siva Vaidhyanathan is one of the most articulate and most provocative commentators on Google.  Recently on his blog, the Googlization of Everything, he has published a number of commentaries on the China hack of Google…long but well worth the time to read them, they make an interesting case that the situation is not a simply question of resistance to censorship, but rather the culmination of numerous complex legal, business, and security issues.

Tags: Computer Security · Essay on Technology · Google

Friday Blogging, Robert B. Parker

January 22nd, 2010 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, Robert B. Parker

Robert B. Parker died January 18th.  Parker was a crime fiction writer who authored 60 books, and is best known for the Spenser series–a Private-I series set in Boston that became a perfect stage for Parker’s crisp descriptive prose, his sense of humor, his wonderful ear for dialog.  He apparently died while at his desk, at work upon another Spenser novel.    The Canton Free Library has an excellent collection of books by Parker, and we have this sampling in ODY:

Perchance to Dream is a Philip Marlowe story…Parker took a one chapter fragment of a manuscript left by Raymond Chandler, and developed out a complete plot. Parker was a great admirer of Chandler, and so, with Parker in mind, some other recommendations on Chandler and kindred-crime-writer-spirits:

…to suggest a baker’s dozen.  Parker left several finished manuscripts that have yet to be published, so we haven’t quite read the last of the man’s work, and anything on this list would be a great mid-winters read, even if prompted by somewhat melancholy circumstances…

Tags: Books · Recommended Book

Google China Update

January 22nd, 2010 · Comments Off on Google China Update

…reported by CNN, China responds to the allegations about hacking Google

Tags: Computer Security · Google

Tuesday Internet Reading: Clay Shirky

January 19th, 2010 · Comments Off on Tuesday Internet Reading: Clay Shirky

…Tuesday a.m., and it finds us look at Clay Shirky’s essay The Shock of Inclusion. Shirky is writing about the future of collaborative thought, whether the quality of public thought is collapsing, and whether “publishing has become the new literacy.” Lucid and insightful, and most certainly worth a look…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · Licklider's Legacy

Friday Blogging, Google and China

January 15th, 2010 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, Google and China

…couple of things on the situation between Google and China (what does it mean that I’m writing about Google like it was a country)…the Washington Post is reporting that Google’s decision comes on cyber-attacks launched against Gmail, and that these attacks “on Google that the search giant said originated in China were part of a concerted political and corporate espionage effort that exploited security flaws in e-mail attachments to sneak into the networks of major financial, defense and technology companies and research institutions in the United States.”

Also of note, Peter Fallows, who writes on a variety of topics for Atlantic Magazine and is a frequent commenter on China, writes of the implications of the Google v. China stand off here and here and hereNational Review lauds Google’s decision here, useful reading on what is really an interesting, and in some ways frightening situation.

Tags: Computer Security · Google

Notes on Creative Commons Presentation

January 13th, 2010 · Comments Off on Notes on Creative Commons Presentation

On January 14th I’ll be part of a panel with Michelle Gillie (of ODY!) and Amy Hauber (of Fine Arts!) discussing the Creative Commons. My notes for the presentation are here.

So if you’re interested in documents related to either the founding of the Creative Commons, or documents foreshadowing the necessity of the Creative Commons, take a look!

Tags: Essay on Technology · Licklider's Legacy · SLU Library Event

Google’s China Decision

January 13th, 2010 · Comments Off on Google’s China Decision

…two good posts on Google’s decision to at least consider cutting off business with China.  Both are from Atlantic Online, one by Marc Ambinder on the immediate implications, and one by Derek Thompson on future implications.

…more soon, both men do point out that Google itself is not a transparent company and there is a lot to read into their decision/announcement…

Tags: Computer Security · Google

New Apples in ODY

January 12th, 2010 · Comments Off on New Apples in ODY

…in the reference area of ODY there are eight new beautiful white-as-bone art deco iMacs.  Brand new, ready for any Apple-leaning researcher who happens by and are first in line. These are networked machines sporting all the things you’d expect with a Mac, plus Photoshop and both Firefox and Safari.

And after a morning on the Mac, why not read about the company from which these beauties sprung.  We have a number of books in the collection on Apple, and on the implications of the technologies they’ve produced and so successfully marketed:

Tags: Recommended Book · SLU Library Event

Friday Blogging, Licensing Agreements

January 8th, 2010 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, Licensing Agreements

…just before the holidays Jessmyn West over at librarian.net got to blogging about e-books.  In objecting to some promotion Amazon.com was doing, she made the assertions that

The idea of owning materials or accessing them via digital technologies as a controversy withered years ago for librarians, just think about all the stuff we have only electronic access to.  Yet, with the Kindle this question now bleeds over into personal book collections, into everyone’s interaction with what we have, up to this moment, thought of as books, and it seems to have energized energized the ownership v. access question enough,  to give pause. Because, stated simply, Jessmyn’s right–you don’t own an ebook.

A big part of the issue is with Amazon is their inability to clarify what exactly the terms of the license for content are. As Thomas Claburn reported in Information Week, Amazon had to amend/clarify policies on deleted books (after one lease had expired) after controversy and accompanying rumors swirled. This and concerns of Google privacy policies have brought to the fore that licenses for digital content are not static, they aren’t, (I can’t resist) book-like. They can be changed, and changed without consent or even knowledge of the purchaser/reader. Remember shrinkwrap licenses?  Those we licenses you agreed to by removing the shrinkwrap from a package, only the terms of the license were in the shrinkwrapped box which you couldn’t actually read until you got the shrinkwrap off…licenses for software or digital content are not (nor do they show any signs of becoming) simple transactions.

This and the idea of the content of a book without the physicality of a book give, for me, an unfortunate feeling of a disposable object to the narratives that were books. Of all of the things that were commonly kept that are now commonly thrown away–table ware, razors, food scraps (for everyone who doesn’t compost), hay, clothes, spouses–books were a permanence.  The book as object was a ballast (as John Updike characterized it) to a well navigated life.  Jessmyn West links to a Cory Doctorow asserting the place of books in people’s lives.   He makes an interesting assertion about how the image of book burning is one that comes to mind for very diverse groups of being when thinking about barbarism.  His point is that technologies like kindles represent a kind of book burning…do I agree completely, no, but to dismiss the permanence of an on hand library is a misplaced thought on a Friday afternoon…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography · Essay on Technology · Information Studies

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