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William Gibson on Watches | WatchPaper
“William Gibson is famously credited with predicting the internet. Early works like Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive established him as a major voice in science fiction and the worlds he created still serve as a template for how popular culture views the future. If you’ve seen The Matrix or read any cyberpunk, you’ve seen William Gibson’s influence at work. Equally important, but perhaps less famous are his essays, collected recently in Distrust That Particular Flavour. Highly perceptive and suggestive, they span a range of topics from Singapore’s totalitarianism and Tokyo’s futurism, to the Web and technology’s effect on us all. The volume also contains his glosses on those essays, which were written over a span of 30 years. Brief afterwords, they are his reflections on the content, and on the person who wrote that content at a point and time, and what’s happened since. In his 1997 essay, “My Obsession”, William Gibson chronicled his interest in watches for Wired magazine. [See “My Obsession” ] The essay is as much about the advent of the internet and sites like eBay as it is about watches, and his afterword to the essay reflects:
People who’ve read this piece often assume that I subsequently became a collector of watches. I didn’t, at least not in my own view. Collections of things, and their collectors, have generally tended to give me the willies. I sometimes, usually only temporarily, accumulate things in some one category, but the real pursuit is in the learning curve. The dive into esoterica. The quest for expertise. This one lasted, in its purest form, for five or six years. None of the eBay purchases documented [in the essay] proved to be “keepers.” Not even close.

Undaunted by his placing this interest squarely in the past, something he got over, I wanted to find out what had survived, physically or intellectually, of his obsession. It turns out, quite a lot. We corresponded via email and William Gibson shared his thoughts on collecting, how he got started, what “keepers” remain in his collection and why. We also talked about the Apple watch and what it means for traditional horology.”


"If “old” people, as you mentioned in our recent discussion, are concerned that what they’ve collected will be unwanted, how is that anxiety being manifested? Some watch brands like Patek Philippe use durability, inheritance and legacy as their explicit identity.

I was thinking of someone with dozens of rare military watches. Even if they have children, will the children want their watches? It could be difficult finding the right museum to donate them to, in order to keep the collection intact. I think Patek’s appeal to inheritance and legacy still has some basis, though the wristwatch itself has become a piece of archaic (though still functional) jewelry. You don’t absolutely need one. You do, probably, absolutely need your smartphone, and it also tells the time. Eventually, I assume, virtually everything will also tell the time.

Is there something authentic in collecting we as humans are striving for? What does the impulse represent for you?

I actively enjoy having fewer, preferably better things. So I never deliberately accumulated watches, except as the temporary by-product of a learning curve, as I searched for my own understanding of watches, and for the ones I’d turn out to particularly like. I wanted an education, rather than a collection. But there’s always a residuum: the keepers. (And editing is as satisfying as acquiring, for me.)

Do you think there’s anything intrinsic to watches (their aesthetics, engineering etc.) that make them especially susceptible to our interest?

Mechanical timekeeping devices were among our first complex machines, and became our first ubiquitous complex machines, and the first to be miniaturized. Mechanical wristwatches were utterly commonplace for less than a century. Today, there’s no specific need for a mechanical watch, unless you’re worried about timekeeping in the wake of an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. So we have heritage devices, increasingly archaic in the singularity of their function, their lack of connectivity. But it was exactly that lack that once made them heroic: they kept telling accurate time, regardless of what was going on around them. They were accurate because they were unconnected, unitary.

How do you think the notion of collecting has changed since your preoccupation with watches played itself out? Scarcity (but not true rarity) barely exists any more.

The Internet makes it increasingly easy to assemble a big pile of any category of objects, but has also rationalized the market in every sort of rarity. There’s more stuff, and fewer random treasures. When I discovered military watches, I could see that that was already happening to them, but that there was still a window for informed acquisition. That’s mostly closed now. The world’s attic is now that much more thoroughly sorted and priced!"
watches  williamgibson  ebay  horology  fashion  collecting  collections  learning  howwelearn  2015  esoterica  research  researching  deepdives  expertise  obsessions  cv  immersion  posterity  legacy  analog  mechanical  durability  longevity  inheritance  jewelery  smartphones  understanding  education  self-directed  self-directedlearning  timekeeping  connectivity  scarcity  objects  possessions  ownership  quality  internet  web  online  wristwatches  things  applewatch  pebble  pebblewatch  smartwatches 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
A list of writing tools is a displacement activity - rodcorp
"Writing, focussing, assembling, editing, collaborating, feeding back, researching, structuring, outputting and publishing.

Focus through constraint:

• iaWriter - "Keep your hands on the keyboard and your mind in the text". Has good reviews.
• Byword - "Simple and efficient text editing". Also has good reviews.
• Writeroom - appears a generation older than iaWriter and Byword.
• Textmate - does text , html and a zillion other developer's things.

Research speed and convenience:

• nvALT - Speeds up that did-I-already-write-about-this? moment, auto-saves, does text files, Markdown. Nice. I'm writing this post in it.
• Pinboard - elegantly executed webpage bookmarking.

Collaborating and community feedback:

• Draft - its drafts are neat version control, has premium "ask a pro".
• Poetica - "Get feedback about your writing from people you trust, wherever they are" - not released yet.
• Google Docs - good at collaboration and export, auto-saves. Has automated versioning but without actual version *control*.

Assembling, structuring, editing and eBook workflow:

• Ulysses 3 - "All your texts. In one place. Always." Not tried, but this review says "the app reimagines the text editor in a way that visually resembles Mail and conceptually sits somewhere between iA Writer and the project-based Scrivener". Which sounds like quite a thing.
• Scrivener - looks a bit of a mess to be honest. They also have Scapple, a mind map/words-on-sticks app.
• LeanPub - "Publish Early, Publish Often - Authors and publishers use Leanpub to publish amazing in-progress and completed books". Costs $0.50 plus 10%.
• Lacuna books - "the best way to write and publish a book". Big on structuring, rendering chapters and ebooks easily.

Formats and outputs:

• Marked, Mou - because between text and html, Markdown is the popular "intermediary" format, and these (and nvALT) are good at simultaneous preview.
• And a simple Google Apps script to convert a Google Drive Document to markdown

Online publishing and attention:

• Medium - "A better place to read and write things that matter" - becoming a centre of gravity for serious writing, per-para commenting interesting
• Wattpad - an ebook platform/store/agora that isn't Kindleland.

Back to it now."
writing  tools  onlinetoolkit  rodmclaren  2013  jawriter  byword  writeroom  textmate  nvalt  pinboard  draft  poetica  googledocs  ulysses3  scrivener  leanpub  lacunabooks  marked  mou  markdown  googleapps  googledrive  medium  wattpad  howwework  howwewrite  webapps  publishing  formatting  ebooks  epub  collaboration  editing  focusing  focus  feedback  researching  epublishing  collaborativewriting  digitalpublishing  epubs 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Researching a Research Paper Quickly and Effectively

1. Prepare:  Initial idea for research, creating initial questions to answer in the paper, and starting a research journal
2. Determine Keywords:  Using broad searches and generalized information to develop search keywords
3. Find the Granddaddy of the Field:  Finding the base to build the research upon
4. Find and Understand Your Research Base
5. Find Researchers Who've Cited the Granddaddy Authors
6. Reevaluate Your Questions and Start Writing
7. The Process Is NOT Linear"
classideas  instructables  research  writing  howto  tutorials  researching  researchpapers  tcsnmy  via:thelibrarianedge 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Writing about History
"Primary Sources and Secondary Sources: What is a Primary Source?...What are Secondary Sources?...Questions to Consider When Reading Primary Historical Documents...Asking a Good Historical Question; Or, How to Develop a Manageable Topic...How to Document Your Sources"
history  writing  researching  tcsnmy  howto  reasearch  via:cburell 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Essential Info
"Secondary sources are works of synthesis and interpretation based upon primary sources and the work of other authors. They may take a variety of forms. The authors of secondary sources develop their interpretations and narratives of events based on primary sources, that is, documents and other evidence created by participants or eyewitnesses. Frequently, they also take advantage of the work of other historians by using other secondary sources. For example, the author of the history textbook which you use in school probably did not use too many primary sources. Instead, textbook authors usually rely on secondary sources written by other historians. Given the wide range of topics covered by a typical textbook, textbook authors could not possibly find and use all the relevant primary sources themselves."
primarysources  secondarysources  history  teaching  socialstudies  tcsnmy  learning  researching  via:cburell 
september 2009 by robertogreco
SCIM-C: Historical Inquiry
"For Harry Potter and his compatriots, history lessons at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry took the form of brain-deadening encounters with a subject that appeared devoid of inquiry, imagination, interpretation, and personal meaning. This kind of history teaching, however, is not merely the 'stuff of fiction.' Lamentably, the teaching and learning of history as an officially sanctioned, neatly packaged chronicle of facts, people, and events, too often continues to be the experience of current students.
education  history  literacy  socialstudies  researching  teaching  tcsnmy  methods  inquiry  primarysources  via:cburell 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Replacing Grading with Conversations | blog of proximal development
"If I give my students a list of my own criteria or a rubric then I’m essentially asking them to listen and conform. They may have the freedom to do their own research but if all their work is expected to conform to a rubric imposed by the teacher then they are still just trying to reach some goal that may have very little to do with who they are and what they’re interested in. So, instead of giving my students a list of criteria, I want to talk with them individually and get them to develop their own."
teaching  writing  researching  students  assessment  conversation  tcsnmy  learning  grading  grades  commenting  blogging  blogs  education  evaluation  feedback  goals  via:preoccupations  konradglogowski  internet 
january 2009 by robertogreco

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