Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Yikes!'

Obituary on the Letter E

December 9th, 2013 · Comments Off on Obituary on the Letter E

In Wired Magazine Joshua David Stein argues that the Internet is dissolving the letter E.  Not a shocking argument insofar as the English language is constantly evolving (“selfie” is the newest addition to the OED),

gothic-letter-e-tattooand texts like Across the Pond : an Englishman’s View of America by Terry Eagleton, The Cambridge History of the English Language (6 volumes!), or The English Language: Structure and Development by Stanley Hussey will document the elasticity of English. Stein argues there is an economic imperative imperiling, he quotes Flickr’s creator: “‘Being E-free,” agrees Esther Dyson, a venture capitalist and an early investor in Flickr, “distinguishes you from the run-of-the-mill vowel-infested world.’” Between E and capitalism is a “vowel-infested world.” Today has taken on Miltonian overtones…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · Yikes!

Government Shut Down

October 2nd, 2013 · Comments Off on Government Shut Down

The shut down of the United States Federal Government has shut down the Library of Congress (arguably the cultural gem of the nation).  Web sites associated with the Smithsonian are functional, through the museum is closed. More the implications of the shut down as they become clear–an overview of what is and is not open is available from Firstgov.gov.

Tags: Uncategorized · Yikes!

Privacy and Personal Libraries

November 19th, 2012 · Comments Off on Privacy and Personal Libraries

Under the heading of “this just in,” at MobyLives Ellie Robins has published Your Reading Behavior Is Being Monitored describing the extent to which the major purveyors of electronic books track the habits of readers. It turns out they not only monitor the titles people select, but what exactly is read within a given titles…there is apparently a company that fancies it can sell this kind of technology to universities to track and chart student behavior.   While the article points out that railing against this kind of invasive digital undertaking is yelling at thunderstorms, it brings to mind an article featured on the FODYLL blog, Anthony Daniels’ I: Loss and Gain and The Fate of the Book.   In this particular essay, Daniels ponders the fate of his library after his death:

My library, for the moment so solid and reliable, will dissolve after my death as surely as will my body. Some people claim that the knowledge that the atoms and molecules of which they are composed will survive to be absorbed into the wider world consoles them for the prospect of their death; and I, too, derived, until recently, some consolation from the fact that I am not really the owner of my books, but only the temporary guardian of them until they are passed on to the guardianship of someone else. It is true that when, in earlier years, I bought a book a quarter of a millennium old I looked at the names of the previous owners inscribed on its cover or title page and thought, “Now, at last, the book has found its true owner, its final resting place—me,” and pitied the previous owners for their failure to understand this, and for their ignorance of the book’s final destiny. But now I am more inclined to recall that I have owned the book for thirty years; in another thirty years it will be owned, or looked after, by someone else of whose identity I know nothing, and he will suffer from precisely my delusion and that of all previous owners.

The power of the image here is how a library blends both possession and anonymity.  In collecting these books and amassing this embodiment of his personality, Daniels has to acknowledge that they will not follow him, and will even have lives beyond his possession of them.  By their nature, too, the books also will betray nothing about him, whereas the ethereal e-book will keep a record of your every read long after your gone.  The collection of physical books is possession as person and in being dismantled (the person gone) beings a new unacknowledged legacies.   There is nature in this, there is peace.

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography · Yikes!


October 28th, 2010 · Comments Off on Firesheep

Firesheep is a Firefox add-on.  Now, Firefox add-ons are generally good, utilitarian, useful things…this add on however allows anyone to hack someone else’s Facebook account and pretty much do whatever they want with it.  A man named Eric Butler created it saying he did so to illustrate the security vulnerabilities of social networking applications.  It strikes me that there is a “take pride in your work” issue when it comes to software that will do your hacking automatically for you, but leaving that for the moment here is other commentary on Firesheep’s implications:

Fear the sheep…

Tags: Computer Security · Facebooked · Yikes!

Burying Yourself in Google

October 20th, 2010 · Comments Off on Burying Yourself in Google

…an interesting piece in the Huffington Post by Peter O’Dowd on ways companies and candidates bury themselves in Google. That is, folks such as eMarketer who will help you not only maximizes your Google presence (there are dozens of books on this kind of Google hack) but minimize at least part of your Google presence so unflattering accounts of your company or candidacy will be well down a Google results lists.  On a certain level this kind of manipulation really is just a day at the office, but it makes the days of information wants to be free seem far away…

Tags: Blogging · Computer Security · Google · Yikes!

Google and the End of Privacy?

October 6th, 2010 · Comments Off on Google and the End of Privacy?

Atlantic Magazine recently pointed to a number of articles in which top executives at Google (such as CEO Eric Schmidt) have made statements that suggest they see Google applications so thoroughly embedded in people’s lives that any real sense of privacy, if privacy is defined as the ability to control information about oneself, disappears.  These articles are:

Now Google isn’t the only online company in the world with privacy issues (think Facebook), but vision of human computer interaction here is one that makes one pause over what Google could possibly mean by “evil” in their famous slogan…

Tags: Computer Security · Essay on Technology · Google · Yikes!


November 9th, 2009 · Comments Off on Scozzafavaed

…whilst somewhat off topic for Odyssey Online, Atlantic Magazine is reported that the recent congressional election in NY-23 has yielded a new bit of political slang: Scozzafavaed.

…our collection of slang dictionaries can be searched out by the subject heading English Language–Slang–Dictionaries, ready resources all for charting the fluid nature of the English Language…

Tags: Research How-To · Yikes!

Friday Blogging, New York State Budget

October 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, New York State Budget

…this from today’s edition of the New York Times on proposed cuts announced yesterday by Governor Paterson:

Hundreds of programs face cuts — libraries stand to lose $3.3 million, summer programs for special education students face a $10.4 million cut, and more than $14 million would be cut from Child Health Plus, a public insurance program. At least 31 H.I.V./AIDS programs also face cuts.

Tough situation. On a happier Friday note,  here are two new uplifting titles about libraries:

Optimistic reading for reading days…

Tags: Information Studies · Recommended Book · Yikes!

Final Exam Week Thought: Facebook and Grades

May 4th, 2009 · Comments Off on Final Exam Week Thought: Facebook and Grades

…researchers at Ohio State University have concluded a study which links Facebook use to lower grades.  While the researchers freely concede that Facebook might be more of a symptom than a disease, they can definitely point to a letter grade drop in excessive Facebook habitues.  Read Thoreau: simplify, for finals swear off Facebook, television, and popular music written after 1980….

Tags: Essay on Technology · Facebooked · Yikes!

Friday Blogging: Why I Hate the BlackBerry

April 24th, 2009 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging: Why I Hate the BlackBerry

…from the Boston Globe, all the reasons to dislike blackberries…a wonderful rant…reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon where a priest is looking out at his congregation saying,”We will now pause for a moment of silent texting…”

…lots of ranting about various things digital,  I realize. Summer hiatus from that coming up (but don’t worry, we’ll be blogging on this summer!)

Tags: Essay on Technology · Facebooked · Yikes!

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