Technology

The Internet will be a fad with little value

The Internet will be a fad
He thought the Internet had no future. Merely a fad. A passing fancy.
We were reminded of scientist Clifford Stoll yesterday when we posted a photo from when the Internet first came to NPR. MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert recently stumbled upon a gem from the MPR archives, a 1995 interview with Stoll by MPR host Paula Schroeder. Stoll was promoting his book Silicon Snake Oil (at the same time he also published a Newsweek article titled, "The Internet? Bah!")

"STOLL: I'd say it's not that important. I think it's grossly oversold and within two or three years people will shrug and say, '"Uh yep, it was a fad of the early 90's and now, oh yeah, it still exists but hey, I've got a life to lead and work to do. I don't have time to waste online." Or, "I'll collect my email, I'll read it, why should I bother prowling around the Worldwide Web or reading the Usenet" simply because there's so little of value there."

The Library of Utopia

Over at Technology Review, a look at whether a true digital public library can ever become a reality.

"Google's ambitious book-scanning program is foundering in the courts. Now a Harvard-led group is launching its own sweeping effort to put our literary heritage online. Will the Ivy League succeed where Silicon Valley failed?"

A New News Aggregator and its SciFi Roots

More interesting than the beta launch of a news aggregator called Wavii, is the recap of of such things in Science Fiction novels and stories of the past at Technovelgy.com
"This same idea was first explored in science fiction decades ago. In his 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise. Arthur C. Clarke described the personal interest profile that could be used to gather all relevant items of information from news feeds."

Do Personal Analytics Make Google Less Creepy?

Do Personal Analytics Make Google Less Creepy?
Unquestionably, there are abuses of user data that go too far. But the truly troubling stories have a halo effect. Early adopter culture is hardening against the idea of any kind of data collection about users. But cultural norms are always changing. Isn't it possible that there are some kinds of data collection that could be valuable to users?

Google itself has begun trying to change the norms around this. It created a new opt-in monthly account activity report that provides Google users with some basic analytics about their Googling habits.

Some Notes on Tweeting for Public Libraries

Some Notes on Tweeting for Public Libraries
I've been thinking a lot about public libraries/organizations and social media lately, especially on the differences between Twitter and Facebook. I wanted to jot down some notes about what I think works and what doesn't, & figured I'd share them publicly so that folks can do anything from heartily disagreeing with them in the comments to potentially benefiting from them. I've had a personal Twitter account and followed libraries with it since fall of 2007, but have only recently started tweeting for a library system (about a month now). I still have a lot to learn, but I've also learned a lot. These notes take the form of advice, and it's advice I stand behind, but I'm not claiming to be an expert (highly recommended, by the way: this Geek Girls Guide podcast episode on The Cult of Social Media, which covers, among other things, how often "social media expert"/guru/maven is invoked and why it is often a misapplied phrase).

With no further ado, some thoughts (gentle and otherwise) on tweeting for public libraries...

Read It Later’s app goes free and gets a new name, Pocket

Read It Later is making its app completely free — no more premium version — and renaming it Pocket to express the fact that users can save any type of content, not just articles. Full article at Paid Content.

I know librarians that say that "Read It Later" is their most used app. I never got around to buying it but downloaded it today now that there is a free version. Slick little app. You can put a button in the toolbar of your browser and when you see a story you want to read on your mobile device you just click the button and the article is on your device. The text formats to be easily read on a mobile screen.

You can sign up for an account at: http://getpocket.com/
After you are registered at the site you are given directions for how to add a "pocket" button to your browser. You can then download the app to your mobile device and login with the account you created at the website.

For heavy users of online content like librarians this is a great app to have.

The next cyber security bill is even worse than SOPA

The next cyber security bill is even worse than SOPA
Just when you thought it was safe to go out on the InterWebs comes a new effort by Congress to put a snoop on every cellphone and two spies in every cable modem. Contrary to what you may have read, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is not SOPA II. But in many ways, it's worse.

3 Major Publishers Sue Open-Education Textbook Start-Up

3 Major Publishers Sue Open-Education Textbook Start-Up
The complaint attempts to distance itself from attacking the legitimacy of open-education resources, but goes on to argue that Boundless is building its business model by stealing.

“Whether in the lecture hall or in a textbook, anyone is obviously free to teach the subjects biology, economics, or psychology, and can do so using, creating, and refining the pedagogical materials they think best, whether consisting of ‘open source educational content’ or otherwise,” it reads. “But by making unauthorized ‘shadow-versions’ of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works, Defendant teaches only the age-old business model of theft.”

How We Will Read: Clay Shirky

How We Will Read: Clay Shirky
“Social reading,” the way I’ve always interpreted the phrase, is reading that recognizes that you’re not just a consumer, you’re a user. You’re going to do something with this, and that something is going to involve a group of other people. Read a book. The very next thing you’re going to do, if it was at all interesting, is talk to someone about it. Book groups and discussion lists are social reading. Because so much of our media in the 20th century was delivered in real-time, with very little subsequent ability to share, save, shift, store, we separated the consumption from the reproduction and use of media. We don’t actually think of ourselves as users of media, when in fact we are.

The Student Research Pad

The Student Research Pad
What if colleges were to set up a combination note-taking, bookmarking, citation management web service for every incoming student? The tool could be all set up and ready to go, accessible on the web to the student by means of the same authentication/login system they use to get to campus email, course management systems, remote access to library databases, etc. The “research pad” that I have been brainstorming off and on for the past few years would connect to lots of resources and tools automatically and would allow the easy manual import of new items (articles found in a database, for example) via a number of means (bookmarklets, import via a custom email address, RSS feeds from your Zotero account, etc.)

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