The New York Times • October 7, 2011
Of note. Animal behaviorist and author Alexandra Horowitz recounts her love affair with footnotes and mourns their relegation to endnotes in e-book format. Worth reading, if only for the Noël Coward quote.
Knowing how fond I am of David Foster Wallace, my daughter first sent this on to me wondering what it would do to his work. Wreck it is the answer. ( Michalko)
The New Republic • September 22, 2011
Airbrushing history. The ease with which an e-text can be revised and reissued is allowing authors to update their novels based on current events. And while textbook writers have a long tradition of releasing updated versions, the phenomenon is fairly new to the fiction world, which leaves readers grappling with the ambiguity of what it means to "finish" a book. In addition, "There is another key difference between the updated e-book and the revised print edition, aside from timing and cost: In the former, the revision literally replaces the book that preceded it. Once downloaded, in most cases, a new e-book supplants the original version as though the flawed first text was never there. A second print edition can exist alongside its first edition—an e-book, meanwhile, erases the record of what came before it."
I really enjoyed the Fresh Air interview with David Carr a few days ago; particulary his take on this ability to revise: "... At least on the Web, you can amend. The ethic of the Web is to say what you know as quickly as you can, and then reiterate over and over again. The Web is kind of a self-cleaning oven, and what you have up there can grow more accurate as time goes by. That's never true of print. It's always there for the ages." ( Michalko)
Innovation Tools • October 12, 2011
Fat tails. Seth Godin's new book, We Are All Weird, urges us to adapt to a future of accommodating "fatter tails"—small groups of people with unusual tastes who band together online to form tribes based on these mutual (weird) interests. Check out economist Mary Kay Plantes' suggestions on what Godin's predictions mean for innovation.
Godin may be right. The opposite of mass is not niche it's weird. It's one explanation of the success of Etsy, where I have invested much time rummaging in a state of fascinated disbelief. ( Michalko)
GigaOM • October 12, 2011
Truth in labeling. A recent study by Factiva identified six personas to represent ways that people acquire and use information. Factiva's research was aimed at better marketing, but the concept may also be useful in thinking about interactions with our customers and co-workers. Meanwhile, are you a Connector or an Info Pro?
The categories are recognizable. You could sort your co-workers. What was missing for me was a persona I'd call the Pattern-maker whose consumption of information is all in service of identifying an underlying trend, direction or inflection point. ( Michalko)
Digital Tonto • October 12, 2011
Cavemen rules. We all know about Moore's Law, and some of us have heard of Kryder's and Nielsen's Laws, but Michio Kaku's Caveman Law reigns supreme: "Whenever there is a conflict between modern technology and the desires of our primitive ancestors, these primitive desires win each time." Apple Computer is an example of a company that has reaped success from adhering strictly to the Caveman Law—read on to find out how.
I've only recently stumbled on Science Fantastic podcasts by Michio Kaku. Love them. And he grew up and went to a Palo Alto high school not far from where I live. That school was closed long ago and is now artists studios but it's famous as the site of the Third Wave experiment. ( Michalko)
Above the Fold Quiz
According to an item in this week's News and Views section, in addition to answers to specific questions, today's students, scholars and citizens are looking to libraries for what?
Get the answer.