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The Origins of 'Big Data': An Etymological Detective Story - NYTimes.com
"The unruly digital data of the Web is a big ingredient in what is now being called “Big Data.” And as it turns out, the term Big Data seems to be most accurately traced not to references in news or journal archives, but to digital artifacts now posted on technical Web sites, appropriately enough."
NYT  2013  big_data  data  erymology  via:Preoccupations 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Difficult languages: Tongue twisters | The Economist
"“Gender” is related to “genre”, and means merely a group of nouns lumped together for grammatical purposes. Linguists talk instead of “noun classes”, which may have to do with shape or size, or whether the noun is animate, but often rules are hard to see. George Lakoff, a linguist, memorably described a noun class of Dyirbal (spoken in north-eastern Australia) as including “women, fire and dangerous things”. To the extent that genders are idiosyncratic, they are hard to learn. Bora, spoken in Peru, has more than 350 of them."
Economist  language  2009  Whorf  via:Preoccupations 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013
"there are ways in which technology is just another boom and the Bay Area is once again a boomtown, with transient populations, escalating housing costs, mass displacements and the casual erasure of what was here before. I think of it as frontierism, with all the frontier’s attitude and operational style, where people without a lot of attachments come and do things without a lot of concern for their impact, where money moves around pretty casually, and people are ground underfoot equally casually. Sometimes the Google Bus just seems like one face of Janus-headed capitalism; it contains the people too valuable even to use public transport or drive themselves. In the same spaces wander homeless people undeserving of private space, or the minimum comfort and security; right by the Google bus stop on Cesar Chavez Street immigrant men from Latin America stand waiting for employers in the building trade to scoop them up, or to be arrested and deported by the government. Both sides of the divide are bleak, and the middle way is hard to find."
rebeccasolnit  2013  siliconvalley  culture  technology  colonialism  gentrification  cities  class  via:Preoccupations  sanfrancisco  techsector  invasion  frontier  californianideology 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Spime Time | FutureBook
"What Evernote and Moleskine are doing is technologically unremarkable on the face of it (though actually making it work is probably pretty nifty coding) but it feels like the start of something exciting.

The Holy Grail of ebooks is the gorgeously tactile physical object which can be any book on Earth, or a notebook; which fits in your pocket and unfolds into a laptop; which is both beautiful and supremely functional. Maybe it will never actually happen. But in between that digital jewel-encrusted tome and the stuff we have now is a world of hybridised books and services which seek to make the reading experience more convenient, more seamlessly ubiquitous, more itself. Not to modify it or improve it, but to facilitate it and make the precise edition in which you chose to read at any given moment irrelevant."
via:preoccupations  internetofthings  howweread  reading  books  ebooks  annotation  notebooks  spimes  evernote  moleskine  2012  nickharkaway  iot 
september 2012 by robertogreco
ChristianLindholm.com: Dinner of a lifetime
"We also touched on the future of advertising and graphic design. They seemed to all note that advertising needs to be close to the product and that advertising should be a bridge from the product to the consumer. With Internet this bridge is shorter or even non existent. They clearly acknowledged that that will change everything, but a challenge for the next generation to grapple with.

Lessons learned:

1. Once you discover a life-work passion pursue it relentlessly.
2. Raw talent can be compensated by hard work and persistence.
3. Get yourself into places where you can learn."
howwelearn  learningplaces  placesoflearning  openstudioproject  lcproject  surroundyourselfwithgoodpeople  workethic  hardwork  talent  persistence  passion  2012  christianlindholm  via:preoccupations  education  advertising  learning 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The Spark File — The Writer’s Room — Medium
"for the past eight years or so I've been maintaining a single document where I keep all my hunches: ideas for articles, speeches, software features, startups, ways of framing a chapter I know I'm going to write, even whole books. I now keep it as a Google document so I can update it from wherever I happen to be. There's no organizing principle to it, no taxonomy--just a chronological list of semi-random ideas that I've managed to capture before I forgot them. I call it the spark file.…

…the spark file itself is not all that unusual: that's why Moleskins or Evernote are so useful to so many people. But the key habit that I've tried to cultivate is this: every three or four months, I go back and re-read the entire spark file. And it's not an inconsequential document: it's almost fifty pages of hunches at this point, the length of several book chapters. But what happens when I re-read the document that I end up seeing new connections that hadn't occurred to me the first (or fifth) time around … it feels a bit like you are brainstorming with past versions of yourself. … The key is to capture as many hunches as possible, and to spend as little time as possible organizing or filtering or prioritizing them. (Keeping a single, chronological file is central to the process, because it forces you to scroll through the whole list each time you want to add something new.)"
stevenjohnson  2012  writing  hunches  sparkfiles  notetaking  notes  commonplacebooks  rereading  moleskines  evernote  habits  via:Preoccupations  ideas  memory  cv  scrolling  pagination 
august 2012 by robertogreco
On September 7th, 1982, Ogilvy sent the following... - Preoccupations-on-Tumblr
“On September 7th, 1982, Ogilvy sent the following internal memo to all agency employees, titled “How to Write”: The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches. Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints: 1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times. 2. Write the way you talk. Naturally. 3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. 4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinallyy, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass. 5. Never write more than two pages on any subject. 6. Check your quotations. 7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning – and then edit it. 8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it. 9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do. 10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want. David”
via:Preoccupations  writing  ogilvy  communication  tips  clarity  via:migurski 
august 2012 by robertogreco
What are questions? - (37signals)
"Paraphrased slightly, he said: “Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.” What an insight. He continued to talk about the power of questions. Questions are your mind’s receptors for answers. If you aren’t curious enough want know why_ ask questions_ then you’re not making room in mind stop asking can’t grow."
claytonchristensen  questions  curiosity  learning  2012  via:Preoccupations  asking  thinking 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The Singularity is not coming - Cognitive Social Web - A better web, for a better world.
"I would like to simply argue that scientific progress is in fact linear, and this despite the capitalization of past results into current research (“accelerating returns”), and despite an exponentially increasing population of scientists and engineers working on advancing it (resource explosion). And since I don’t want to argue in the realm of opinion, I am going to propose a simple, convincing mathematical model of the progress of science. Using the same model, I’ll point out that a hypothetical self-improving AI would actually see its own research progress and intelligence stagnate soon enough, rather than explode —unless we provide it with exponentially increasing computing resources, in which case it may do linear progress (or even better, given a fast enough exponential rate of resource increase). … Intelligence is just a skill, more precisely a meta-skill that defines your ability to get new skills. But imagination is a fucking superpower. Do not rely solely on your intelligence and hard work to make an impact on this world, or even luck, it’s not going to work. After all the total quantity of intelligence and hard work available around is millionfold what you can provide —you’re just a drop of water in the ocean. Rather use your imagination, the one thing that makes you a beautiful unique snowflake. Intelligence and hard work should be merely at the service of our imagination. Think outside of the box. Break out. Shake the axioms."
singularity  intelligence  AI  imagination  2012  science  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Everything I Know | The Buckminster Fuller Institute
"During the last two weeks of January 1975 Buckminster Fuller gave an extraordinary series of lectures concerning his entire life's work. These thinking out loud lectures span 42 hours and examine in depth all of Fuller's major inventions and discoveries from the 1927 Dymaxion house, car and bathroom, through the Wichita House, geodesic domes, and tensegrity structures, as well as the contents of Synergetics. Autobiographical in parts, Fuller recounts his own personal history in the context of the history of science and industrialization. The stories behind his Dymaxion car, geodesic domes, World Game and integration of science and humanism are lucidly communicated with continuous reference to his synergetic geometry. Permeating the entire series is his unique comprehensive design approach to solving the problems of the world. Some of the topics Fuller covered in this wide ranging discourse include: architecture, design, philosophy, education, mathematics, geometry, cartography, economics, history, structure, industry, housing and engineering. This printed work before you is a transcript of those lectures. Painstakingly typed word for word from audiotapes, these transcripts are minimally edited and maximally Fuller. In that vein you will run into unique Bucky-isms: special phrases, terminology, unusual sentence structures, etc. Because of this, as well as the sheer volume of words, we expect you may find places that need editing, refining and improving. Therefore, we invite you to participate! We hope that by your using it as an active resource you can, through your comments, suggestions and feedback, become a participant in the process of annotating, editing, footnoting, updating and illustrating the information it contains. This way it will become progressively more useful to more and more people. The more it is used the more useful it can become! Send us your edits by simply sending us a copy of the page(s) that you think need changes, marked with your suggestions and edits by mail or fax. We will then make the appropriate adjustments to be integrated and published in the newer versions of the work over time."
Buckminster_Fuller  transcripts  lectures  1975  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
What do the Olympics tell us about ourselves? | Snowblog
"This does not look like a dying gasp, but like a call for the liberation of minds caught in a belief that life is fueled by derivative trading, and that fortunes flow from super software alone rather than from the vital accompaniment of the hard graft of practical application, manufacture, and construction. This is what this Olympic Games tells us. As the political classes obsess about keeping power without risking too much change, and the banking classes wriggle between, risk, ridicule, and riches, could we not pull in a new direction? Could we not gather in the slipstream of athletic prowess and call up the best in each of us, for all? How can we allow such poverty and waste, when we have proved we can do so much?"
Jon_Snow  2012  Olympics  politics  Britain  UK  future  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Of Bears, Bats, and Bees: Making Sense of the Internet of Things | Blog | design mind
"Bears are the old guard of computation but are assimilating much of the communication attributes of IoT. Bats are an entirely new category of devices, starting off as solo beasts but slowly, haltingly, turning into an interoperable swarm. Bees on the other hand, are a fascinating flip on the entire problem, virtualizing even the computation within each device. What is clear from this exploration is that the old school capitalism of monopoly economics is not going to see us through. If every company wants to act like a bear, they win in the short run, but we all lose in the long run. We need to remember that the web is not the internet. The web tends to think in terms of winner take all systems like Facebook. The internet, on the other hand, was a fairly humble and simple means of discovery and access: the plumbing of the digital world that allowed the web, and eventually Facebook, to be built. We have to start thinking in layers. It’s perfectly fine if the very top layers are proprietary, that is not the problem. It’s when companies try to own every layer that things go wrong. We have to break up the concept of the internet of things from a proprietary play into a shared play: one where everyone can enter the playground. If we don’t get our head around this, we’ll be spending the next decade spinning from one tiny playground to the next."
internetofthings  internet  2012  capitalism  web  computing  computers  computation  winnertakeall  distributed  hived  swarms  via:Preoccupations  iot 
august 2012 by robertogreco
How low (power) can you go? - Charlie's Diary
"Today we are used to the public sensors around us being noticeable if you know what to look for. In 20 years time this may no longer be the case, and the social implications are worth exploring. … Let's look at London, a fairly typical large capital city. London has a surface area of approximately 1570 square kilometres, and around 7.5 million inhabitants (not counting outlying commuter towns). Let us assume that our hypothetical low-power processor costs 10 euro cents per unit, in large volumes. To cover London in CPUs roughly as powerful as the brains of the Android tablet I'm reading this talk from, to a density of one per square metre, should therefore cost around €150M in 2040, or €20 per citizen. … "It has been said that the internet means the death of privacy — but internet-based tracking technologies aren't useful if you leave your computer at home and switch off your smartphone. In contrast, the internet of things — the city wallpapered from edge to edge with sensors and communicating processors — really does mean the death of privacy. You'd have to lock yourself in a faraday cage and switch off all the electrical devices near to you in order to regain any measure of invisibility. … we're going to be subjected to more monitoring than most people today can possibly imagine. … The logical end-point of Moore's Law and Koomey's Law is a computer for every square metre of land area on this planet — within our lifetimes. And, speaking as a science fiction writer, trying to get my head around the implications of this technology for our lives is giving me a headache. We've lived through the personal computing revolution, and the internet, and now the advent of convergent wireless devices — smartphones and tablets. Ubiquitous programmable sensors will, I think, be the next big step, and I wouldn't be surprised if their impact is as big as all the earlier computing technologies combined."
charliestross  2012  sensors  future  tracking  surveillance  ubicomp  everyware  privacy  internetofthings  via:Preoccupations  iot 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Evgeny Morozov: The Naked And The TED | The New Republic
"I take no pleasure in declaring what has been obvious for some time: that TED is no longer a responsible curator of ideas “worth spreading.” Instead it has become something ludicrous, and a little sinister. Today TED is an insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering—a place where ideas, regardless of their quality, go to seek celebrity, to live in the form of videos, tweets, and now e-books. In the world of TED—or, to use their argot, in the TED “ecosystem”—books become talks, talks become memes, memes become projects, projects become talks, talks become books—and so it goes ad infinitum in the sizzling Stakhanovite cycle of memetics, until any shade of depth or nuance disappears into the virtual void. Richard Dawkins, the father of memetics, should be very proud. Perhaps he can explain how “ideas worth spreading” become “ideas no footnotes can support.”"
evgenymorozov  ted  memes  2012 memelaundering  memetics  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Ian Bogost on understanding what it's like to be a thing. : Observatory: Design Observer
"“The alien isn’t in the Roswell military morgue, or in the galactic far reaches,” Bogost writes. “It’s everywhere.”"
ianbogost  alien  things  interview  2012  objectorientedontology  ooo  objects  books  designobserver  via:Preoccupations  alienphenomenology 
august 2012 by robertogreco
On Bob Dylan And Jonah Lehrer, Two Fabulists : The Record : NPR
"This is the essence of the popular arts in America: Be a magpie, take from everywhere, but assemble the scraps and shiny things you've lifted in ways that not only seem inventive, but really do make new meanings. Fabrication is elemental to this process — not fakery, exactly, but the careful construction of a series of masks through which the artist can not only speak for himself, but channel and transform the vast and complicated past that bears him or her forward. Integrity arises in the process of solidifying your relationship to those sources. For a journalist like Lehrer, there's a code, and he clearly violated it. An artist like Dylan shows us a different way of operating: of using insight not to shore up a myth of originality, but to connect to all the tall tales and ghost stories that establish a culture's character, to walk through a dreamscape whose atmosphere sticks to us and makes us who we are. Dylan himself described this process in a 1963 poem he wrote for his hero, another truth-telling, self-made character. "You need something to open up a new door / 
To show you something you seen before / 
But overlooked a hundred times or more," read the lines from "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie." In art, originality is never that original. But that doesn't make it less real."
bobdylan  jonahlehrer  creativity  journalism  integrity  deception  2012  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
This is now!
"This is Now project is a visual composition which uses real-time updates from the ever popular Instagram application based on users geo-tag locations. The tool streams photos instantly as soon as they are uploaded on Instagram and captures a cities movement, in a fluid story. "
Instagram  photos  cities  real-time  geo  location  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer’s missing compass | The Panic Virus
"Since Monday, I’ve spoken with about a dozen people who know Lehrer in one capacity or another. A theory that several have raised is that when the 2008 publication of How We Decide made Lehrer a superstar — with Colbert Report appearances, huge speaking fee paydays, and bylines in the country’s top glossy magazines and newspapers — he became overwhelmed and started to cut corners. But the simultaneously pervasive and picayune journalistic misconduct cited above — and remember, that’s all in a single blog post that’s roughly half as long as the one you’re reading —  doesn’t illustrate sloppiness or corner-cutting. It illustrates a writer with a remarkable arrogance: The arrogance to believe that he has the right to rejigger reality to make things a little punchier, or a little neater, or a little easier for himself. This is not the work of someone who lost his way; it’s the work of someone who didn’t have a compass to begin with."
jonahlehrer  2012  journalism  deception  integrity  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer, TED, and the narrative dark arts | Felix Salmon
"TED-think isn’t merely vapid, it’s downright dangerous in the way that it devalues intellectual rigor at the expense of tricksy emotional and narrative devices. TED is a hugely successful franchise; its stars, like Jonah Lehrer, are going to continue to percolate into the world of journalism. And when they get there, they’ll be deeply versed in the dark arts of manipulating facts in order to create something perfectly self-contained and compelling. … TED isn’t going away: indeed, it’s so successful that it is spawning dozens of competitors, even as many publications, including the New Yorker as well as Wired, the NYT Magazine, the Atlantic, and many others, move aggressively into the “ideas” space. The cross-pollination between the conferences and the publications will continue, as will everybody’s desire to draw as big an audience as possible. Which says to me that Jonah Lehrer will not be the last person to trip up in this manner. In fact, he might turn out to be one of the first."
ted  jonahlehrer  2012  science  journalism  ideas  narrative  deception  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Apple design chief Sir Jonathan Ive: iPhone was 'nearly axed' - Telegraph
"However, the designer added that the firm does not get enough credit for its decisions to stop working on devices that are “competent” as opposed to “great”. "We have been, on a number of occasions, preparing for mass production and in a room and realised we are talking a little too loud about the virtues of something. That to me is always the danger, if I'm trying to talk a little too loud about something and realising I'm trying to convince myself that something's good,” he said."
apple  iPhone  design  2012  jonathanive  via:Preoccupations  jonyive 
august 2012 by robertogreco
FILM; Chris Marker: Already Living in Film's Future - New York Times
"Had she smiled? It was miraculous, as if one was seeing and feeling in an instant the revolution by which still pictures became cinema. It was a magical way of saying, ''Look, there is the message, there is the thing about movies: they have a special affinity for passing time, for change and evanescence, for memory or forgetting.'' … Mr. Marker is far less impressed by the camera's neutrality or its ability to record things whole. He loves imagery, but does not trust it. His essential influences -- Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov -- are filmmakers who explored montage (or editing) as a stimulus to argument. Pictures come to life if we are looking, thinking, testing; they demand definition, not just awed witness. Above all, Mr. Marker sees that imagery has become a chief resort of our collective memory -- but in a way that stresses our isolation as much as our involvement. To adapt the critic John Berger (another Markerian) a little: photographs evoke presence and absence at the same time. We are there, in the scene, yet cut off from it. It is the model for so much of modern experience -- our amazing ability to acquire information usually depends on some distancing mechanism. We do not know things so much as pretend to know them. … Mr. Marker is already at work on a more sophisticated version of ''Immemory'' (for the technology changes every year). What it already amounts to is a trip through one man's archive -- or memory. And to many people, it seems the most likely future for film -- a new kind of cinema, private, solitary, exploratory, yet full of epiphanies, like the breathing face in ''Jetée.'' Some may lament the loss of all the old communal atmospherics of moviegoing. Yet others see in such filmmaking a recognition of the essential loneliness of humankind -- and a return to the kind of information exchange exemplified by, of all things, writing and reading."
2003  chrismarker  film  cinema  memory  time  change  forgetting  isolation  knowing  via:Preoccupations  lajetée 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Olympic opening ceremony: Ai Weiwei's review | Sport | guardian.co.uk
"In Zhang Yimou's opening ceremony there was almost none of that. You could not push into a person's face and see the human experience. What I liked most with this was that it always came back to very personal details. And that's what makes it a nation you can trust; you see the values there. Anyone who watched it would have a clear understanding of what England is."
Ai_Weiwei  China  London  Olympics  Guardian  2012  via:Preoccupations 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Buzz Andersen: Knee jerk reductionism
"Simple is a life where you have few options. It’s a map that only has the most obvious information on it—one that makes no allowances for unforeseen circumstances (like a road under construction). Simple is “one size fits all” and “any color you want as long as it’s black.” Simple delivers little or no context and answers that don’t fit our lives.

Clear is a path to a new destination that doesn’t delete every landmark or context that might help orient us and, thus, get us there. Clear is alternate views that allow those of us who are visual, spatial, readers, or more comfortable with speech to learn, search, make, and understand in ways that make more sense than the “average.” Clear isn’t eliminating features from systems but arranging them to be found and available JUST when they’re needed in a context that is natural and “obvious.”"

—Nathan Shedroff, in response to Aaron Levie’s “The Simplicity Thesis” (via quipol)

"As I’ve said here before, way too many people in the tech business today equate fetishistic minimalism with compelling product design. Knee jerk reductionism is just as misguided in its own way as the bloatware of yore."
buzzndersen  design  simplicity  minimalism  2012  via:Preoccupations  complexity  software  business  fetishization  context  bloatware  reductionism 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The Most Important Social Network: GitHub
"Many claims are made about the nature of communication in online communities. But the GitHub difference is the overtly purposeful nature of the communication. Yes, I know that conversations on Facebook and Twitter have purposes, but at GitHub, there is real pressure to move a project along and keep it alive. If you’re a scholar interested in computer-mediated communication, you ignore GitHub at your peril. Increasingly we are seeing the GitHub model adopted elsewhere, for instance at Docracy (http://www.docracy.com/ – for legal documents), but for sheer volume and diversity, GitHub is the place. GitHub is writing — and writing about writing. It can be analyzed with a microscope: But there is also an API providing for machine analysis of the corpus (see http://developer.github.com/v3/). I took a quick spin through the recent tables of contents of major journals in rhetoric, composition, and technical writing, and I don’t see much if anything regarding GitHub. Scholars, hop to it."
2012  github  collaboration  socialnetworks  communication  community  via:Preoccupations 
july 2012 by robertogreco
gilest.org: In defence of Flickr
"Flickr costs money, which makes it less fashionable than sites that claim to offer more for nothing. But to me, Flickr is the better choice. It has never stopped being awesome. Long may its awesomeness continue."
flickr  photography  photos  yahoo  marissamayer  gilesturnbull  2012  via:Preoccupations  payment 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Fraser Speirs - Blog - The Web Kids' Kids
"The people Czserski describes are not today's pupils but the parents of today's pupils. Those who were teenagers coming of age when the consumer Internet arrived in the mid-90s are today's thirtysomethings whose five-year-olds are enrolling in your schools right now. The transition to teaching 'digital children' is long since past. In a sense, they're our missed generation. The children whose first baby photos were digital are about to enter university. We have five to seven years - maybe ten - until Czserski's Web Kids are the majority of parents. This is a trend that will never reverse itself, so we had better figure out how to meet these parents' aspirations for their children. These parents who grew up fast and online; who adopted laptops and mobile phones, then smartphones and who are now embracing iPad and Kindle. Computers aren't an afterthought for these post-digital Web Parents. They're not even a thought – they just are."
Fraser_Speirs  2012  Piotr_Czerski  technology  computers  via:Preoccupations 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The Machine and the Ghost
"Merely because something is possible, is it also desirable? And if it is possible, must we immediately accommodate ourselves to it? In The Forlorn Demon, Allen Tate noted, “We no longer ask, ‘Is it right?’ We ask: ‘Does it work?’” In our contemporary engagement with technology, we would do well to spend more time with the first question, even as we live ever more mediated lives relentlessly pursuing an answer to the second."
2012  technology  ethics  via:Preoccupations  bookreviews  man  books 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The Great Pretender
"This year, the centennial of Turing's birth, we rightly celebrate Turing's life and accomplishments, the impact of which is difficult to measure sufficiently. But as we do so, we should also take a lesson from the major cultural figure whose centennial we marked last year: Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan teaches us to look beyond the content and application of inventions and discoveries in search of their structures, the logics that motivate them. For McLuhan, television was a collective nervous system pervading every sense, not a dead device for entertainment, education, or moral corruption. If we look at Alan Turing's legacy through McLuhan's lens, a pattern emerges: that of feigning, of deception and interchangeability. If we had to summarize Turing's diverse work and influence, both intentional and inadvertent, we might say he is an engineer of pretenses, as much as a philosopher of them."
Ian_Bogost  Alan_Turing  Marshall_McLuhan  2012  computers  history  networks  via:Preoccupations 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Schneier on Security: Remote Scanning Technology
"The meta-point is less about this particular technology, and more about the arc of technological advancements in general. All sorts of remote surveillance technologies -- facial recognition, remote fingerprint recognition, RFID/Bluetooth/cell phone tracking, license plate tracking -- are becoming possible, cheaper, smaller, more reliable, etc. It's wholesale surveillance, something I wrote about back in 2004. We're at a unique time in the history of surveillance: the cameras are everywhere, and we can still see them. Fifteen years ago, they weren't everywhere. Fifteen years from now, they'll be so small we won't be able to see them. Similarly, all the debates we've had about national ID cards will become moot as soon as these surveillance technologies are able to recognize us without us even knowing it."
bruceschneier  2012  surveillance  scanners  tracking  milestones  via:Preoccupations 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Amazon same-day delivery: How the e-commerce giant will destroy local retail. - Slate Magazine
"But now Amazon has a new game. Now that it has agreed to collect sales taxes, the company can legally set up warehouses right inside some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Why would it want to do that? Because Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy. (Disclosure: Slate participates in Amazon Associates, an "affiliate" advertising plan that rewards websites for sending customers to the online store. This means that if you click on an Amazon link from Slate—including a link in this story—and you end up buying something, Amazon will send Slate a percentage of your final purchase price.) It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember Kozmo.com?) But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.… Physical retailers have long argued that once Amazon plays fairly on taxes, the company wouldn’t look like such a great deal to most consumers. If prices were equal, you’d always go with the “instant gratification” of shopping in the real world. The trouble with that argument is that shopping offline isn’t really “instant”—it takes time to get in the car, go to the store, find what you want, stand in line, and drive back home. Getting something shipped to your house offers gratification that’s even more instant: Order something in the morning and get it later in the day, without doing anything else. Why would you ever shop anywhere else?"
amazon  sameday  tax  2012  via:Preoccupations  delivery  ecommerce  local  retail 
july 2012 by robertogreco
imbriferous, adj. : Oxford English Dictionary
OED WoTD, ‘imbriferous, adj.’, ‘Rain-bringing, showery’ —
words  weather  rain  precipitation  showers  via:Preoccupations 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The overlapping consensus | booktwo.org
"At the Do Lectures in Wales, in a field, overcome by irritation at the privileging of the artisanal and handmade, I remember writing in my notebook that “things virtual are more real than they are here, they stand better for ourselves than we do; it is us who are transient and insubstantial.” … This division, between online and off, is a mental illusion, one we propagate to keep ourselves sane for lack of better metaphors, just as we keep our physics safe through wave/particle duality. The notion of things coexisting along different axes of definition terrifies the animal brain—it always has. But we nevertheless live these dualities, these muliplicities, all the time. I am in a square in the Raval in Barcelona, I am everywhere. The network is here but not here but everywhere. These things are not the same, but they overlap in ever more concrete, confusing ways; the consensual hallucination is not dreamed but always with us and between us."
jamesbridle  digital  physical  irl  networks  networkculture  culture  2012  networkedculture  via:Preoccupations  digitaldualism  cyberspace  reallife  web  online  internet  offline  reality  life 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Thoughts on Project Glass making Smartphones Obsolete
"it is quite clear that in our lifetime there will be the ability to put together scenarios that would have seemed far fetched for science fiction just a few years ago. It will one day be possible to look up the Facebook profile or future equivalent of anyone you meet at a bar, business meeting or on the street without the person being none the wiser simply by looking at them. Most of the technology to do this already exists, it just isn’t in a portable form factor. That is just one scenario that not only will be possible but will be commonplace with products like Project Glass in the future." "I have to wonder what Apple thinks of all of this. When I look at [Google Glass] … I see a clunky and obtrusive piece of headgear that I can imagine makes Jonathan Ive roll his eyes and think he could do much better. Given Apple’s mantra is “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will” I expect this space to be very interesting over the next ten years."
Dare_Obasanjo  Google_Glass  Apple  design  future  wearables  2012  via:Preoccupations  wearable 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Elinor Ostrom | The Economist
"Her workshop looked somewhat like a large, cluttered cottage, reflecting her and Vincent’s idea that science was a form of artisanship." "There was, she believed, a great common fund of sense and wisdom in the world. But it had been an uphill struggle to show that it reposed in both women and men; and that humanity would do best if it could exploit it to the full."
obituaries  2012  economics  commons  collaboration  science  artisanship  craft  men  women  via:Preoccupations  elinorostrom  gender 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Secretive US military space shuttle lands itself at California base | World news | guardian.co.uk
"A secretive unmanned US space shuttle landed at a California military base early Saturday, having completed a 15-month clandestine mission. The air force craft, which was launched from Cape Canaveral air force station in Florida in March 2011, conducted in-orbit experiments during its time in space, officials said. It was the second such autonomous landing at the Vandenberg air force base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles. In 2010, an identical unmanned spacecraft returned to Earth after seven months and 91m miles in orbit."
space  USA  USAF  satellite  Guardian  2012  espionage  robots  via:Preoccupations 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Technology - Alexis Madrigal - Inside Google's Plan to Build a Catalog of Every Single Thing, Ever - The Atlantic
"The edge between the two nouns contains meaning and that makes all the difference." "After five long years, they had 12 million objects in the database. And they were purchased by Google. In the first year after the acquisition, they had 25 million things. What did Google bring to the acquisition, aside from money? Data, of course, of a very specific kind. Before, they were just guessing at what people might want to know (cheese, rivers, highways, etc). With Google's search data, they *know* what users are after, so they can go about finding and making that information available. With Google's help, their database has grown rapidly to over 500 million items objects." "what is most significant to Giannandrea is that "we're taking a baby step in teaching all our computers at Google something about our human world.""
Alexis_Madrigal  2012  Google  search  Knowledge_Graph  metadata  Metaweb  via:Preoccupations 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Long-Term Temporal Stability of Measured Inattention and Impulsivity in Typical and Referred Children
"children are no more or less inattentive and impulsive today than in 1983, suggesting that inattention and impulsivity are stable neurobiological traits largely unaffected by cultural, educational, and environmental factors"
attention  distraction  children  2012  research  via:Preoccupations 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Are video game soundtracks the new concept albums? | Technology | guardian.co.uk
"Does the brilliant soundtrack for Max Payne 3 hint at a future in which bands use game scores as a new creative medium?"

"The key challenge for musicians is to understand and exploit the non-linear nature of game music. Unlike a movie score, the audio has to be able to respond in real-time to the movements of the player, so it is usually chopped up into separate instrumental tracks and stems, which are automatically combined during play to match the on-screen action."

"With a film score you can cue music to specific moments, the way a character looks away, a shift in the eyes," says Davidge. "You'd also be scoring to the subtext of what's being said – the hidden intent.

With a game, because there's a lot of chasing around, a lot of action, it's often difficult to tie the different aspects of the plot together; music can play a hugely important role in helping the player understand the journey they're on, too feel that journey, so that the story hangs together and is less disjointed. It isn't just about scoring the movie snippets between each mission, the music is the undercurrent, it illustrates the emotional context of the scene."
music  bands  Guardian  2012  via:Preoccupations  videogames  games  gaming 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Take the mickey back | The Spectator
"Only a very privileged and spoilt westerner, who lives in a country that has not known famine for centuries, could afford to dismiss science and technology without a qualm. Only a know-nothing could reject an experiment in advance. And only a dilettante wills the ends of combatting global warming and food insecurity but screams with rage when anyone proposes means. The warm, vague feelings I had about the greens are cooling by the day."
Spectator  Nick_Cohen  Greens  environment  power  energy  nuclear_power  GM_crops  GM  science  technology  2012  Stewart_Brand  global_challenges  global_problems  activism  via:Preoccupations 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Five minutes with Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson: “Blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now”. | Impact of Social Sciences
"We don’t think single-author blogs are a sustainable or genuinely useful model for most academics – although all praise to the still many exceptional academics who can manage to keep up the continuous effort involved. By joining together and forming multi-author blogs, academics can mutually reinforce each other’s contributions. We have 350 authors now on BPP, so if they blog with us twice a year we can post two posts a day without too much difficulty (as we do). And there are many synergies – for example, readers who come for a blog on political developments may stay reading for comments on social policy, or constitutional reform. On a multi-author blog, you often benefit from the content that others provide, and they often benefit from yours."
blogging  knowledge  journals  multi-author  2012  academia  universities  via:Preoccupations 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The Greatness of College Lectures (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)
"you need to learn ways of thinking. These are what lectures, at their best, can provide. They show you how the speakers think about problems, how they feel about them, and, in doing so, provide a more fleshed-out notion than writing ever could."
lectures  presentations  thinking  edwardtufte  scottmccloud  aaronswartz  2006  larrylessig  education  learning  writing  speaking  via:Preoccupations  openminded  mindchanges  mindchanging 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The Awfulness of College Lectures (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)
"The other day someone asked me why more people don't watch the recordings of MIT lectures made available for free online. This is why. … How did this become the primary method of education?"
education  presentations  talks  lectures  learning  aaronswartz  2006  teaching  via:Preoccupations 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Harvard Releases Big Data for Books - NYTimes.com
"Harvard is making public the information on more than 12 million books, videos, audio recordings, images, manuscripts, maps, and more things inside its 73 libraries. Harvard can’t put the actual content of much of this material online, owing to intellectual property laws, but this so-called metadata of things like titles, publication or recording dates, book sizes or descriptions of what is in videos is also considered highly valuable."
Harvard  2012  metadata  libraries  via:Preoccupations 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Nielsen is wrong on mobile | Opinion | .net magazine
"Mobile isn't just 'mobile'. It's also the couch, the kitchen, the three-hour layover, all places where we have time and attention to spare. 42 per cent of mobile users say they use it for entertainment when they're bored. Those aren't 10-second sessions. That means we shouldn't design only for stunted sessions or limited use cases. Nielsen is confusing device context with user intent. All that we can really know about mobile users is that they're on a small screen, and we can't divine user intent from that. Just because I'm on a small screen doesn't mean I'm interested in less content or want to do less. Stripping out content from a mobile website is like a book author stripping out chapters from a paperback just because it's smaller. We use our phones for everything now; there's no such thing as "this is mobile content, and this is not." … Mobile isn't less. In fact, I think the real question is often, "how can I do more on mobile?" Because these devices, despite their smaller size, can do more than desktop. They're full of sensor superpowers. In many cases, there are opportunities to add content and features to mobile experiences, rather than strip them away. The ideal that we should all start with is that we should build a single website and then gradually enhance the experience to adapt to the capabilities of the specific device. With more mobile phones being sold than PCs, with a growing number of people using phones as their exclusive web client, the idea that we should treat the desktop as the 'real' website is simply becoming quaint."
usability  mobile  design  web_design  2012  via:Preoccupations 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Augmented Paper - Matt Gemmell
"For me, software experiences that feel like Augmented Paper are those that second-guess our (developers’) natural tendency to put functionality first, or to think of our apps as software. Apps are only incidentally software; software is an implementation detail. Instead, apps are experiences. Design an experience. Make it as beautiful — and as emotionally resonant — as it can possibly be. Then adorn the core experience and content with only as much functionality as is absolutely necessary. Functionality…is like seasoning. A little is an enhancement; any more destroys the flavour…and may well be bad for you. These new classes of devices, so immediately personal and portable and tactile, aren’t desktop-era shrines demanding incantation and prostration. They’re empowering extensions to our real, actual lives - and that’s a profound thing. They take what was once prosaic or mundane, and give us just a taste of superpowers. They’re augmentations, and they should be beautiful."
instapaper  aesthetics  tactile  clear  invisibleinterfaces  instinctivecode  digital  minimalism  skeuomorph  tablets  augmentation  mobile  ipad  iphone  applications  augmentedpaper  mattgemmell  2012  via:preoccupations  designasexperience  ui  ux  windowsphonemetro  windowsphone7  metro  windows  design  ios  apple  android  wp7 
april 2012 by robertogreco
world-weary, adj. : Oxford English Dictionary
Nothing new here, but the timing (that it pops up in my Pinboard network) is interesting:

"Weary of the world; feeling or indicating feelings of weariness, boredom, or cynicism as a result of long experience of life."
language  cv  words  via:preoccupations  weariness  boredom  cynicism  world-weariness 
february 2012 by robertogreco
designswarm thoughts » Blog Archive » Unexportables
"As I walked through the markets of Hong Kong, staring at jade jewellery & Angry Birds paraphonalia, it occured to me that I could order everything on eBay or Amazon. The foreign land’s treasures have been globalised to a point of total consumer disinterest. The only thing that was left to consume was food & architecture…

Could it be that When you are drowning in a digital culture that says that social is everything then you might forget what makes you special? When Amazon and every ad banner online knows what you like, what happens if you forget what you like. Anti-consumption…

When you can be anywhere, you have to celebrate where you are right then and there. That’s luxury.

True affirmation of identity and uniqueness has become tricky when you are constantly forced into relationships with “friends”, Groupon deals and “other people also bought this” prompts. Perhaps travel and food, as sensorial experiences that one cannot share, will become even more prized than they are now."
ebay  amazon  transferability  nontransferable  transference  postnational  homogeneity  experienceasproduct  anti-consumption  experience  uniqueness  travel  globalization  2012  kevinslavin  digitalnow  now  place  nomadism  nomads  neo-nomads  identity  via:preoccupations  food  luxury 
february 2012 by robertogreco
National Geographic Magazine: The Birth of Religion
""Twenty years ago everyone believed civilization was driven by ecological forces," Schmidt says. "I think what we are learning is that civilization is a product of the human mind.""
civilization  archaeology  2011  religion  pre-history  history  prehistory  humanmind  civilizations  charlesmann  klausschmidt  via:Preoccupations 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Searching The Library Of Babel - The Rumpus.net
"Esteemed as both a critic and author, Borges was as selective as he was well read. And, given all the accounts of his nearly superhuman erudition, he was probably one of the most well read men in history. The highly referential nature of his short stories and the disarming insight of his criticism both serve to underscore the range of his literary knowledge. He was a voracious reader, but also a good reader—and one of particular tastes."

"the problem of guessing which specific handful of stories Borges chose was daunting. And what was daunting became laughable when confronted by Volume 12: trying to guess which 16 of the 431 tales Borges chose from Pu Songling’s fantastic 17th century collection, Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, was like trying to find a copy of Borges’ “The Library Babel” in his own Library of Babel."
Borges  literature  2009  via:Preoccupations  readinglists  lists  reading  stories  books  thelibraryofbabel 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Talking to the Future Humans - The Future of Pointless Things | VICE
"Provocations are good for the soul. They force one to look at the world a bit differently. We’re largely conservative beings – change is hard to imagine and even harder to suffer through. It disrupts our routines. Provocations are like lenses that turn the world upside down, if only for a moment, in order to see what could be, or how things could be different. … I’d say that storytellers are the gatekeepers of innovation, even if I’m not entirely sure what innovation is. If you can tell a big enough story with a compelling plot line you can entice people with what could be and you may even entice them enough to get them to get excited and make things and self-assuredly valuate themselves as worthy of billions of dollars. … Cloud computing has a story. It’s not an especially great one, but it got out there enough that people got hopped up and started making everything cloud-enabled. It’s a shoddy story full of holes and an incredibly high chance of becoming an epic, systemic fail, but people got excited because a story was told that normally reasonable people believed. … If cloud computing or augmented reality are examples of what you mean by innovation, I’d take innovation in whoopee cushions over that stuff any old day. … the influence is arbitrarily predetermined by saying there is some clear distinction between fact and fiction. It’s like apologising for a great sci-fi film because it’s not real. You just don’t do that. You accept things as they are and you let them shape and influence and inform how and what you think about. That’s it. It’s that simple. We shouldn’t pretend to know fact from fiction – embrace them both as ways of trying to explain the world we are in and the world we want in the future. … Technology is a reification of culture—it’s a materialization of our rituals, practices and aspirations. It’s not so much a tool or something purely instrumental as it is itself culture. We make it not to do things but as an expression of culture—it just happens to be expressed in things that take batteries or have a screen or require technical specifications, industry standards, FCC approvals and tooling to manufacture. … you have to get a bit messy and figure out how you might make the thing beyond specifying it. In that process of making the thing—and it could be a little film or a bit of code or hardware or all of those things—all these questions are forced upon you. Responding to those questions by iterate and refining, that’s the soul of design"
julianbleecker  interview  2011  design  future  change  cloudcomputing  designfiction  sf  technology  culture  making  matter  via:Preoccupations 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Our Internet intellectuals lack the intellectual... | Final Boss Form
"who wants to bother submitting papers to conferences, hoping that it gets accepted and published so that you can talk about your ideas twelve months from now when you can affect tangible change by posting them to the fucking internet right fucking now?

Would we even have half of the internet we have now if people like danah and clay waited years to publish their work on online social behavior and community? And, by the way, if you spend any time in a half decent web community, you soon learn that’s it’s nothing but a giant critique machine.

The other, smaller problem with this “critique” is that Jeff Jarvis wrote a fucking business book. Faulting him for not wasting hundreds of pages on theory is like faulting Dr. Phil for not citing Abraham Maslow."
change  time  criticism  via:preoccupations  community  webcommunities  jeffjarvis  academia  publishing  online  web  internet  clayshirky  danahboyd  evgenymorozov  kenyattacheese 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Does the phone market forgive failure? | asymco
"One of the details of Nokia’s warning which did not get a lot of attention was the mention that profitability for the current quarter could not be guaranteed. That is to say that Nokia may make a loss, perhaps for the first time in more than a decade. This may not be that newsworthy except for the strange fact that as far as I’ve been able to observe, any company in the mobile phone market that ended up losing money has never recovered its standing in terms of share or profit (i.e. AMP index value has never recovered)."
Horace_Dediu  2011  mobiles  business  via:Preoccupations 
december 2011 by robertogreco
How the iPad 2 Became My Favorite Computer
"Based on my first three months as a mostly-iPad person, I’m convinced that I’ve arrived in the future of computing–or a rough approximation thereof–a little ahead of schedule. I’m glad I’m here, and I bet I have lots and lots of company soon enough."
ipad  2011  computers  apple  tablets  computing  via:Preoccupations 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Generation Make | TechCrunch
"We have a distrust of large organizations…don’t look down on people creating small businesses. But we’re not emotionless…We have anger…flares up to become Arab Spring & OccupyWallStreet…We have ego…every entrepreneur who thinks their tech startup is the best…We have passion, & an intense drive to follow…through, immediately. Our generation is autonomous…impatient. We refuse to pay our dues…want to be running the department. We hop from job to job…average tenure…is just 3 years. We think we can do anything we can imagine…hate the idea that we should ever be beholden to someone else. We do this because we have been abandoned by the institutions that should have embraced us…We are a generation of makers…of creators. Maybe we don’t have the global idealism of the hippies. Our idealism is more individual: that every person should be able to live their own life, working on what they choose, creating what they choose…"
socialmedia  makers  making  generations  millennials  2011  justinkan  williamderesiewicz  entrepreneurship  ows  arabspring  occupywallstreet  idealism  attitude  trends  passion  unschooling  deschooling  hierarchy  revolution  via:preoccupations  davidfincer  markzuckerberg  individualism  self-actualization  independence  work  labor  behavior  startups  startup  workplace  motivation  geny  generationy 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Alcohol's Neolithic Origins: Brewing Up a Civilization - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
"A secure supply of alcohol appears to have been part of the human community's basic requirements much earlier than was long believed. As early as around 9,000 years ago, long before the invention of the wheel, inhabitants of the Neolithic village Jiahu in China were brewing a type of mead with an alcohol content of 10 percent, McGovern discovered recently. … [McGovern's] bold thesis, which he lays out in his book "Uncorking the Past. The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverage," states that agriculture -- and with it the entire Neolithic Revolution, which began about 11,000 years ago -- are ultimately results of the irrepressible impulse toward drinking and intoxication. "Available evidence suggests that our ancestors in Asia, Mexico, and Africa cultivated wheat, rice, corn, barley, and millet primarily for the purpose of producing alcoholic beverages," McGovern explains. While they were at it, he believes, drink-loving early civilizations managed to ensure their basic survival."
alcohol  archaeology  brewing  history  pre-history  via:Preoccupations 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Google Ideas chief talks about how technology is changing world | The Columbian
"“In any field, if you’re not thinking about technology you’re not fully grasping what’s going on,” he said."
technology  Google  2011  disruption  change  via:Preoccupations 
november 2011 by robertogreco
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