Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Essay on Technology'

iPad Glued Not Screwed

April 7th, 2010 · Comments Off on iPad Glued Not Screwed

…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…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Research How-To · The Academic Internet

Essays Upon the Internet

March 30th, 2010 · Comments Off on Essays Upon the Internet

…a couple of interesting things out there about living and writing online.  Elizabeth Stone has a very interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how Facebook may be changing the concept of grieving (for those who spend their time on Facebook). On Techcrunch Michael Arrington suggests that the Internet’s ability to be a conduit for gossip may change the concept of reputation such that it becomes a null set. Also, Thomas P. Barnett has an interesting piece on blogger as writer in World Politics Review, where he reflects what he can do with a blog, and how it has changed him as a researcher and commentator.  One might not agree with all the conclusions, here, but worth a read, all three.

Tags: Blogging · Essay on Technology · Facebooked · Research How-To

The Future of Writing Reviews

March 21st, 2010 · Comments Off on The Future of Writing Reviews

…John Kottke has a very interesting piece on his blog about the future of review writing. He suggests that how a particular text (in the broadest sense of the word) works on an iPhone or Kindle is going to be of central importance to reviewers: “Format matters. There’s an old adage in photography: the best camera is the one you have with you. Now that our media is available in so many formats, we can say that the best book is the one on your Kindle or the best movie is the one on your iPhone.” Worth a look.

Tags: Books · Essay on Technology

Why Not To Put iTablets in Schools

February 25th, 2010 · Comments Off on Why Not To Put iTablets in Schools

Daniel Indiviglio makes the case at Atlantic.com, note in particular reason number two.  For years people with a vested interest in networked information technology have made the case that not providing students with digital technologies will mean they are left out or left behind (or suffer both fates).  The case has also been made that extensive use of digital technologies can mean less costly education as it will mean you need fewer people to teach.  The problem is networked information technology requires an infrastructure and this infrastructure costs money.  The problem is, networked information technology has a short shelf life (or cycle as technologists would say), and expensive computers must be replaced.  While Sergey Brin may opine that books are as transient as the rising tide, the fact of the matter is even paperback books last longer than e-book readers of any ilk.  Digital technology has a built in obsolescence which manifests in upgrades–in short, Indiviglio is right that an education immersed in digital technologies is going to be considerably more expensive than one that has at least one foot firmly on the print, one hand holding a piece of chalk…

…I know, I know, I’m blogging this…

Tags: Books · Essay on Technology · The Academic Internet

Chrome and Firefox in February

February 24th, 2010 · Comments Off on Chrome and Firefox in February

…while this article from PC World is largely about Microsoft, it does give current browser share numbers. In a word, more good news for Firefox and Chrome.

One of the real joys of Firefox are the add-ons. Recent news on new Youtube add-ons for Firefox has just come down the pipe…for an overview of Firefox add-ons see the notes for a presentation back a year or two ago, but still current in terms of the add-ons as concept, and the add-ons it covers.

For information on what Chrome is and how Google is positioning it to be a web-based operating system, see these powerpoint notes for a presentation I did last December. Even though it’s a powerpoint it will still provide commentary on what Google is up to (warning, some sardonic comments about Google along the way…)

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google · Research How-To · Uncategorized

Lincoln Papers at SLU

February 15th, 2010 · Comments Off on Lincoln Papers at SLU

The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a piece over the weekend, on a signed Abraham Lincoln document here in the SLU Libraries Archives, and it’s new “place” in a national digital collection of Lincoln’s papers…they are literally looking to scan anything he signed or touched!  Our Curator of Special Collections Mark McMurry has some interesting commentary on this document, and the ultimate “place” of the document now that it has a digital doppelganger…

Tags: Essay on Technology · SLU Library Event

E-Book Prices

February 8th, 2010 · Comments Off on E-Book Prices

…Virginia Postrel has an interesting piece in Atlantic Online about e-book prices, arguing that “E-books aren’t really cheap.” Frankly, I can’t get past the faint cold fear that e-books are going to all about control, and that we are going to find the purveyors of e-books putting all kind of stipulations and restrictions on e-book content that simply don’t (can’t) exist with print books.  I can’t get by the faint cold fear that the companies like Google, Amazon, etc., treat all text as information and that in this scenario Catcher in the Rye is treated as being identical to an advertisement that the opportunity to possess the e-version of this text won’t exist in any meaningful way.  I ccccoooouuuulllldddd be wrong…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography · Essay on Technology

Kindle V iTablet

February 2nd, 2010 · Comments Off on Kindle V iTablet

…there has been some quick commentary on whether the newly-released iTablet, the omnivore progeny of the iPod, will be the end of the Kindle.  Megan McArdle at Atlantic provides an intelligent reflection on whether or not this will be the case. Other opinions vary:

Needless to say, Steve is betting on the iTablet.

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies

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

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

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