Technology

David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

There are three basic reasons scientific data has increased to the point that the brickyard metaphor now looks 19th century. First, the economics of deletion have changed. Second, the economics of sharing have changed. The Library of Congress has tens of millions of items in storage because physics makes it hard to display and preserve, much less to share, physical objects. Third, computers have become exponentially smarter. John Wilbanks, vice president for Science at Creative Commons (formerly called Science Commons), notes that "[i]t used to take a year to map a gene. Now you can do thirty thousand on your desktop computer in a day. A $2,000 machine -- a microarray -- now lets you look at the human genome reacting over time."

The coming war on general computation

The coming war on general computation
Cory Doctorow: The coming war on general computation
The copyright war was just the beginning

The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only to have been a skirmish. The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.

The problem is twofold: first, there is no known general-purpose computer that can execute all the programs we can think of except the naughty ones; second, general-purpose computers have replaced every other device in our world. There are no airplanes, only computers that fly. There are no cars, only computers we sit in. There are no hearing aids, only computers we put in our ears. There are no 3D printers, only computers that drive peripherals. There are no radios, only computers with fast ADCs and DACs and phased-array antennas. Consequently anything you do to "secure" anything with a computer in it ends up undermining the capabilities and security of every other corner of modern human society.

Transcript: https://github.com/jwise/28c3-doctorow/blob/master/transcript.md

Vint Cerf: SOPA means 'unprecedented censorship' of the Web

Vint Cerf: SOPA means 'unprecedented censorship' of the Web
Vint Cerf, the legendary computer scientist who's known as one of the fathers of the Internet for his work on TCP/IP, is the latest technologist to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Cerf, a onetime DARPA program manager who went on to receive the Turing Award, sent a letter yesterday warning of the dangers of SOPA to its author, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The House Judiciary chairman, also Hollywood's favorite House Republican, has scheduled discussion of the bill to resume at 7a.m. PT today.

Libraries begin lending out Chromebooks

Libraries begin lending out Chromebooks
Google is getting the word out there on its Chromebook product, working with libraries to gain more support from consumers.

Google has been working with public libraries recently in order to circulate its Chromebook concept. At least three libraries have been working towards lending out Chromebooks to patrons for a period of time.

Libraries Make Room For High-Tech 'Hackerspaces'

Story on Weekend Edition Saturday (NPR)

As information becomes more digital, public libraries are striving to redefine their roles. A small number are working to create "hackerspaces," where do-it-yourselfers share sophisticated tools and their expertise.

The Allen County Public Library, which serves the city of Fort Wayne, Ind., has a modest hackerspace inside a trailer in its parking lot. Library director Jeff Krull says hosting it is consistent with the library's mission.

Full article here

What Writers Are Worth Saving? Web Service Runs the Numbers

One of the interesting things about the increasingly measured world of journalism is that new and surprising statistics are emerging about what kind of writing and writers are the stickiest.

Read It Later, the Web service that allows surfers to hit a button and save an article for future consumption, has been around since 2007, but it has really gained traction with the advent of tablets. Amid the hurly-burly of daytime activity, many readers don’t have time to devote to long stories, but devices like the iPad are ideal for leaning back and taking in something glorious, at one’s leisure. Read It Later offers a one-click way to save articles that might otherwise become lost and never read. Nate Weiner, the founder of Read It Later, wrote a post this year that noted that people were time-shifting content to later in the day, programming their evening hours with long-form material.

Full piece

The personal computer is dead

The personal computer is dead
The PC is dead. Rising numbers of mobile, lightweight, cloud-centric devices don't merely represent a change in form factor. Rather, we're seeing an unprecedented shift of power from end users and software developers on the one hand, to operating system vendors on the other—and even those who keep their PCs are being swept along. This is a little for the better, and much for the worse.

Liblime Versus Koha: What Is The Libraryland Opposite of Open Source?

Liblime Versus Koha: What Is The Libraryland Opposite of Open Source?
"Briefly, it seems to me that the core idea of Open Source is “Thou shalt not require money or otherwise restrict the use of the product in any form” while the core idea of Trademark is “Thou shalt not use this product in any form without getting my permission (usually by paying me money)”. These two concepts seem to be diametrically opposed. This isn’t a case of another company using the same name to mean something entirely different. This is a company that specializes in supporting open source software trying to trademark the name of the software that they support. They work in this field! LIBLIME SHOULD KNOW BETTER!!!"

The Future of Information Access

The future of information access, part 1 and The future of information access, part 2... from Jill Hurst-Wahl. Earlier this month, Sean Branagan, who is the director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship in the Newhouse School of Public Communications, asked that she guest lecture in his class on the topic of the future of information access. The class is seeking input from a wide variety of industries on what the future may hold and its impact on communications (e.g., news). In her 1.5 hour lecture, she spoke about the following ideas, some of which are evident in today's environment...

Plea for help from Horowhenua Library Trust

Plea for help from Horowhenua Library Trust
Horowhenua Library Trust is the birth place of Koha and the longest serving member of the Koha community. Back in 1999 when we were working on Koha, the idea that 12 years later we would be having to write an email like this never crossed our minds. It is with tremendous sadness that we must write this plea for help to you, the other members of the Koha community.

The situation we find ourselves in, is that after over a year of battling against it, PTFS/Liblime have managed to have their application for a Trademark on Koha in New Zealand accepted. We now have 3 months to object, but to do so involves lawyers and money. We are a small semi rural Library in New Zealand and have no cash spare in our operational budget to afford this, but we do feel it is something we must fight.

[Thanks to Brett for the link!]

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