Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Information Studies'

Christine Rosen on Multitasking

December 14th, 2010 · Comments Off on Christine Rosen on Multitasking

…okay, going back to 2008 for this, but what Christine Rosen writes is worth going back for. Christine Rosen is one of the writers for the New Atlantis, and one of her specialties is writing about the real impact of networked information technologies in people’s lives.  Her observations are insightful, and often disturbing, as you ‘ll see in this essay The Myth of Multitasking.  With the holidays upon us, and with the season one that ideally lends itself to reflecting upon one’s life and ways, the essay is worth a look.  Further, we have a number of titles in the collection that can be recommended as spring boards for long winter nights spent offline, doing one thing at a time:

The Postman text is a classic on the topic…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · Recommended Book

Updates on the Internet

May 12th, 2010 · Comments Off on Updates on the Internet

…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.

Tags: Information Studies · The Academic Internet

Facebook in Congress

April 28th, 2010 · Comments Off on Facebook in Congress

…the world of news is lit up by stories that Democratic Senators are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to take steps to insure user privacy and new social networking features have by announced by Facebook (this version of the story if from the Telegraph).

The news matters particularly if you buy Farhad Manjoo’s argument that Facebook is becoming the Web’s “killer app.” He writes, “We, Facebook’s hordes, are actively filling in the slots in its database, giving the company an extremely accurate picture of ourselves and our friends. No other company will have anything like Facebook’s towering database of human intentions and desires–not even Google.” It’s a convincing case, and one that makes me regret posting that I had ham and eggs for breakfast to my Facebook wall…

Tags: Facebooked · Information Studies

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

Google’s Algorithm, Google Ribbed

March 3rd, 2010 · Comments Off on Google’s Algorithm, Google Ribbed

…Charles Arthur has published a very interesting piece in The Guardian on Google’s algorithm. He argues that Google is its algorithm, and makes an interesting argument about what this means for the company at this point in time…

…today’s Onion is also featuring a brilliant parody on Google and that word which must not be uttered in Google’s presence (ergo, privacy…the Onion does feature adult language and themes…)

Tags: Google · Information Studies

Facebook Usage

February 17th, 2010 · Comments Off on Facebook Usage

Ben Parr at the blog Mashable reports that “user[s] spends more time on Facebook than on Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Microsoft, Wikipedia and Amazon combined.” Wow.  He’s got the numbers to make his case…I was wondering the other day if Facebook doesn’t take the place of postcards. That the sort of stuff we might have dashed off on a postcard is now the stuff of a Facebook post. That’s a lot of postcards. Of course, you can’t collect Facebook posts, whereas you could collect postcards. I can remember one of my mother’s neighbors who had a collection of Manchester New Hampshire postcards that numbered into the hundreds. I can remember some of the cards and I can remember him but I usually don’t remember what I do on Facebook…

Tags: Facebooked · Information Studies

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

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, 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

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

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