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Digitization

Death Watch

A bit macabre, I know. But here begins a new category looking at the ways we talk about the death of books and other kinds of media. Its part voyeurism, part debunking of the hyperbole surrounding reading. The first exhibit belongs to Laura Miller’s recent piece in Salon, “Click here …

The Demise of Publishing

A long and thought-provoking piece by Steve Wasserman at The Nation on the demise of publishing at the hands of Amazon. There are many causes for concern about the business model of writing that he chronicles. But ultimately I’m not sure he’s right on either count. Here’s Wasserman: Not very …

Human Media

A recent, and very disturbing, ad-campaign pretended that homeless people were wifi hotspots. It was a gag, but they were paid to wear t-shirts that said “I’m [insert name], I’m a 4G hotspot.” What to do with vagrant, impoverished populations? I know, turn them into mobile transponders and pay them! …

The Price of Books

A debate on the debate of e-book pricing at the NY Times. The back and forth relates to the suit against Apple and the publishers, essentially on behalf of Amazon. Leveling a monopoly to ensure a monopoly is a nice sign of the times we live in. So is the …

The Unconscious of Labor

An amazing interview at Spark with Luis von Ahn, inventor of those blurry text boxes that you have to type in to prove you’re a human when you want to fill out a form. Ahn is one of those people whose mind just solves things. So after feeling guilty that …

Piracy and the Historical Record

A nice piece at The Technologizer on the importance of piracy for the preservation of digital materials. Like an ant that works as part of a larger system it doesn’t understand, the selfish action of each digital pirate, when taken in aggregate, has created a vast web of redundant data …

Going Postal

A funny new project by Giles Turnbull who along with a few friends decided to send their Twitter posts as postcards instead of electronically. It gives a renewed vitality to the word “post.” One of the most basic things it shows is just how expensive printed communication is by comparison. …