Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Essay on Technology'

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

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

Google Chrome Gift Wrapped

December 15th, 2009 · Comments Off on Google Chrome Gift Wrapped

…from the Washington Post, Google will now apparently gift wrap their browser Chrome for you, so that you can have a Christmas present from Google…

…while it is perhaps a temptation to read too much into this, it got me thinking about the Internet and lonely people.  Years ago, back in the days of when Gopher was the Internet, I heard a story about two tech savvy librarians who took a senior member of the faculty to a computer terminal to show him the wonder known as the Internet.  He sat down and started surfing one Gopher site after another, apparently fascinated. Some time the two beaming librarians returned to this gentlemen, and when he looked up from the screen he said, “I had no idea so many people were so lonely.”  There is a body of literature about the Internet and personality types and alienation and technology and all that, accessible through subject headings like, say, Internet–Social Aspects.  Thoughts on lonely people and browsing the web on a rainy December day…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google

Monday Morning Google News

December 7th, 2009 · Comments Off on Monday Morning Google News

…in a very interesting very quiet move, Google has personalized all searches. That is, based on the information Google keeps on searches an individual does, and based on information uploaded to Google by gmail and the like users, each Google search will be a little bit different.  Good commentary on what this means from Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land, and Mercedes Bunz in the Guardian. Sullivan makes a good connection to this and reference work done by librarians.  In a library every search is customized as a researcher works with a librarian to find the best materials…what Sullivan points out though, is that you wouldn’t expect a librarian to remember a conversation, verbatim, you had a half a year ago. That’s what Google does, and, I agree with Sullivan, that’s the creepy part.  What happens in the library stays in the library, even as the books leave…is that perhaps an advantage of a library.

Also, with criticism growing from the news industry of Google’s role in the economics of news delivery, Eric Schmidt takes a few pages of the Wall Street Journal to defend his company

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

Google Dashboard

November 11th, 2009 · Comments Off on Google Dashboard

…the BBC web site ran an interesting piece by Rory Cellan-Jones on Google’s new feature Dashboard. The article is titled My Life Online–Time to Delete? and ponders uploaded information.  Dashboard allows one to see what information that one has uploaded to save is associated with what Google feature. Ergo, what you’ve given Google to mind and where Google has put it.  It’s a fine check, but as Cellan-Jones reflects, it’s your information out of your hands and in Google’s…forever?  Does on want all of one’s online discourse (like this blog post) saved forever?

…the article mentions Viktor Mayer-Schonberger’s book Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age,  which is an extremely well written study of the social utility of forgetting, set against the new digital storage technologies. Well worth the time to read it…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google · Recommended Book

Information Appliances, Donald Norman

October 28th, 2009 · Comments Off on Information Appliances, Donald Norman

…recently Derek Thompson put up an interesting post at Atlantic.com titled Where is the E-Reader Revolution Leading Us? which argues that e-readers are pushing technologies toward a Swiss Army Knife model: a mobile technology that can do many things.  It actually seems to me that the e-reader (with all thy faults I love thee still…) is more akin to Donald Norman’s idea of an information appliance, well articulated in his book The Invisible Computer: Why Good Products can Fail, the Personal Computer is so Complex, and Information Appliances are the Solution. Norman makes a convincing case for what an information appliance could be and could do…

…his book The Psychology of Everyday Things (subsequent editions are titled Design of Everyday Things) is essential reading on the day-to-day implications of design…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · Recommended Book

Network Neutrality, Again

October 26th, 2009 · Comments Off on Network Neutrality, Again

…since the Obama Administration’s ruling on supporting network neutrality (reported on here at Odyssey Online), the debate has come more into public focus, the politics of said have become a little sharper.  The Washington Post reported that the FCC is drafting the specific rules that will keep ” Internet providers as acting like gatekeeprs,” and also reported that CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, favors network neutrality but thought it would be “a terrible idea for the government to involve itself as a regulator of the broader Internet.” Atlantic Magazine provides ran a useful Political Primer on network neutrality, identifying the players and what they are after.

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google · Information Studies

Waiting on Facebook Friends

October 21st, 2009 · Comments Off on Waiting on Facebook Friends

…today’s Boston Globe has an interesting piece on Facebook, friends, and guilt.  It gets gently to the heart of the matter, is Facebook really about friends.  I suppose that is one positive associated with Facebook: it encourages people to think about what friendship really is.  Can you sustain a friendship over Facebook with photographs and wall posts.  Try an experiment–take someone whom you regularly Facebook (is this a verb like google too?) and write them a letter. You know, stamps, envelope, the whole nine yards. If your immediate response is “But, I’m too busy to write a letter…” you can consider that the results of the experiment.

…and while it’s been promoted here before the best thing ever written about Facebook is by Michael Gerson…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Facebooked

Network Neutrality, Anon

October 14th, 2009 · Comments Off on Network Neutrality, Anon

…back to blogging, and with October break here plenty of blogging time. Network Neutrality is back in the news…a few weeks back we mentioned Network Neutrality here and linked to Edward Felten’s fine guide to what it is.  Network Neutrality is back in the news with a number of prominent Republican Senators asking FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s decision to create new network neutral rules, note here and here. Which perhaps caused the appearance of a few interesting commentaries on the whole thing–Preston Gralla details how Network Neutrality issues are playing out between Google and AT & T, and  interesting commentary in the Wall Street Journal by Holman Jenkins Jr. on how hand held digital technologies may turn the whole issue on its head.

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google · The Academic Internet

Kindles and Blogs

August 27th, 2009 · Comments Off on Kindles and Blogs

…while I spent much of the summer running up and down the shelves looking for books to recommend, it didn’t mean I wasn’t near obsessive about following blogs…couple of interesting pieces from that sphere…firstly a nicely titled Are Kindles and iPods the End of Culture Snobbery? which investigates…contrasts…books with content.  The piece also has an interesting take on how we translate people by what they read.  On a like topic the author of that piece, Derek Thompson, reports on Amazon’s trials and tribulations establishing the user-license that will to Kindle content bring. One of the elements to Kindle that may substantively change the human relation to discourse is whether, if the Kindle becomes norm, one will in fact own the book, I mean content, once it has been Kindle-ized.

Also, to file under knowing blogging, before retiring from Obsidian Wings Hilzoy (pen-name) wrote blogged Good to Know, a narrative about how an unsubstantiated report moves around the blog sphere. For all that is good about the “new journalism” which blogs create/inspire they are still a buyer beware market that beg critical reading…

Tags: Blogging · Books · Essay on Technology

St. Lawrence University