Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Essay on Technology'

Summer Blogging, Creative Commons

July 7th, 2010 · Comments Off on Summer Blogging, Creative Commons

…just a little ahead of the Creative Commons came Steven Harnard.  Out on a listserv Mr. Harnard published a short post called A Subversive Proposal for Electronic Publishing (the text of said and much commentary from others on his ideas can be found here).  In a word, Harnard calls upon scholars to forgo the traditional model of publishing in a scholarly journal, and instead calls on them to make their work available through a new freely available peer review system, to be built on the Internet.  While there is much scholarship now available on the Internet (as Google Scholar so ably reveals), the wholesale conversion Harnard hoped for never happened. However, he is an interesting precursor to the Creative Commons, and speaks to one of the glaring needs the CC tries to address.

A background on the unfortunate economics of scholarly journal publishing can be found here…

Tags: Creative Commons · Essay on Bibliography · Essay on Technology

Summer Blogging, Creative Commons

June 22nd, 2010 · Comments Off on Summer Blogging, Creative Commons

…last time we pointed to the work of Lawrence Lessig.  While Lessig’s work is not hard to Google-‘n-get, but we’d like to draw attention to a text by Lessig that is a little off the beaten path, and is titled Code and the Commons. It was originally a speech given at Fordham University on February 9th, 1999, and what is so interesting about the speech is how he demonstrates that html was the dynamic that drew the concept of the commons, and intellectual property together into what become the CC.  This narrative from the talk illustrates the convergence (it’s a little long (by blog post standards)):

The idea of Lex Informatica, or code, is this: That what makes
cyberspace so different is that it is constituted by these laws of
nature that we write. What defines the experience that cyberspace
is is a set of instructions written into code that we, or more
precisely, code writers, have authored. This code sets the rules of
this space; it regulates behavior in this space; it determines what’s
possible here, and what’s not possible. And as we look to this code
maturing, Reidenberg rightly saw that this code would become its
own type of law. That we could define life in cyberspace as we
wanted — with privacy, or without; with anonymity or without;
with universal access, or without; with the freedom to speak and
publish, or without — and then write what we wanted into the
code. The code would then regulate life there. And that regulation
through code Reidenberg called Lex Informatica.
It’s almost four years since Reidenberg first started talking
about this form of law, and we are just on the cusp of a time when
others can begin to get the point he saw then. For as the code of
cyberspace is maturing, we are beginning to see just how radically
different the world can be. And we are beginning to see how
important it will be for us to take a hand in this construction.

An early work by Lessig (he even uses the term cyberspace), but an important one I think in understanding the way the Internet is a foundation to concept of the CC, and how the concept of the CC might be an enduring legacy of the Internet.

Tags: Creative Commons · Essay on Technology

Summer Blogging, Creative Commons

June 15th, 2010 · Comments Off on Summer Blogging, Creative Commons

Remix is a core concept, and essentially an inspiration for the whole Creative Commons concept.  The idea is that as discourse becomes digital, it becomes quickly and easily interchangeable.  From this elasticity comes the idea (possibility?) of people showing their creativity in remixing songs themselves, or splicing different discourses together to create something new.  Think of it as making collages, only, collages with moving parts (film, music, animation, etc.) Therein lies the rub: does slicing together existing digital discourse constitute originality, or is it taking other people’s stuff?

The creative commons has stuff on remix here (with examples), and Uwe Hermann has some good “practical examples” here…

Tags: Creative Commons · Essay on Technology

Friday Blogging, the Future of Libraries

May 21st, 2010 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, the Future of Libraries

Walt Crawford is a long time and very interesting commentator on librarianship, and for years has been publishing his own newsletter, Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large.  In the most recent issue, he has a piece called “There is No Future” (it starts on page 3) where he cites to comments on a thread about the future of libraries that recently tied a bunch of library oriented blogs together.  What Crawford does that’s so good is contextualize this particular discussion by describing how many of the opinions blogged fall into patterns common in the literature of librarianship. He’s good at separating the wheat from the chaff…so if you are interested in reading an involved (it’s a bit long) librarian to librarian dialogue on what the future seems to hold for libraries as institutions, and a dialogue that includes both the thoughtful and reactive, give Walt a read…

Tags: Blogging · Books · Essay on Bibliography · Essay on Technology

Facebook Users Using Privately

May 18th, 2010 · Comments Off on Facebook Users Using Privately

…or at least showing some considerable awareness that Facebook activity has privacy implications.  Two interesting pieces in the New York Times by Sarah Maslin Nir and Laura Holson chronicle young Facebook enthusiasts making very deliberate decisions about what they put online.  It all rings as good news these kids thinking about their futures through privacy savvy.

However, in thinking about the sum total of networked information technology that the whole concept of privacy is going through a significant change, a change with cultural breadth, and a change that ends up with privacy-lite as the norm, particularly if you accept that privacy is the ability to control who has access to personal information.  To a certain extent the articles linked here demonstrate individuals doing just that…exerting control…but to do so they have to game the system. The system isn’t set up for them to control personal information.  Perhaps the ability to control personal information was never one held in both hands, but a memory can’t be hacked…that has to mean something…

…neither of course, can an abacus…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Facebooked

Reading or Absorbing

April 21st, 2010 · Comments Off on Reading or Absorbing

Atlantic Magazine has an ongoing online series called What I Read, and the most recent contributor is Washington Post journalist David Corn. His essay is about information overload, about the sheer volume that some who is “information business” finds via Twitter and RSS.  I’m going to kind of ruin the essay (although you should read it, it’s short and very well written),  but the last line of the essay is so dead-on that it’s worth quoting: “I do miss reading. Nowadays, we absorb.”

It raises the question of how we use technology, or, better still, how we position technology. Mr. Corn could read books, he acknowledges, but doesn’t. People can coexist with networked information technology in an infinite number of ways, and ways very much divorced from the banter about “revolution” that the purveyors of said technology insist is happening.  John Freeman’s book the Tyranny of E-Mail provides an interesting model about how to position e-mail within the context of a life.  Also, when can settle accounts with the word revolution.  Technology doesn’t cause revolutions, nor does it enable them.  Revolutions are moments in either the history of a people or a person when an epiphany infused with either anger or joy that causes a dramatic change.  It causes curiosity to incite action. Social unrest brings revolutions, significant others bring revolutions, computers don’t.  In the history of commerce any number of products have caused a lot of people to alter their behavior one way or the other…but that doesn’t  a revolution make…think about that the next time the television tells you “There’s an app for that…”

Tags: Books · Essay on Technology · Facebooked

Library of Congress Collects Twitters

April 18th, 2010 · Comments Off on Library of Congress Collects Twitters

…an interesting piece by Jared Keller on the Library of Congress’ plans to collect tweets. As he puts it, “Twitter is [now] forever; make your tweets count.”  The article raises all sorts of interesting implications (not the least of which is the forever business) but it causes me to wonder about whether, well, the Internet was ever meant to be collected.  Is the Internet discourse in the sense that text is discourse, or is it discourse in the sense that human interaction is discourse.  Years ago John Perry Barlow characterized the Internet (and I’m paraphrases with a pencil in each hand here) by encouraging people to think of all of the activity on the Internet, all of the web pages, blog posts, tweets, Youtube uploads, Facebooking et. al. as a Mississippi River of text/images that one dives into and swims in for a while. And then gets out.  No more than one might want one’s telephones conversation from a given day remembered, is the Internet something of the instant, or is it, as the LOC as apparently decided, a sufficient snap shot of the doings and wooings of human beings to be saved and studied? Is this little paused here at OO worth a call number?

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies

Friday Blogging, iPads

April 16th, 2010 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, iPads

…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-HeraldComputerworld, and PC Magazine

Tags: Computer Security · Essay on Technology · The Academic Internet

More on the iPad

April 13th, 2010 · Comments Off on More on the iPad

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…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google · The Academic Internet

Network Neutrality Update

April 8th, 2010 · Comments Off on Network Neutrality Update

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:

Tags: Essay on Technology · The Academic Internet

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