Game-Changer • 21 January 2014
Everything speaks. Blogger Jorge Barba reminds us that every customer touchpoint is an opportunity to meet or exceed expectations. Check out his observations about FedEx vs. airline luggage handling and broaden your competition awareness. " . . . [W]e compete with any organization that has the ability to raise customer expectations. Just because you sell paint and another company sells burgers, doesn't mean you don't compete with each other. Specifically, you don't compete on functional attributes; but on how you behave."
He's right to point at the Disney motto because it's such a potent reminder about how every touchpoint is a communication. He's also right to wonder why his co-workers have time to tweet but not to acknowledge his communications. Oh yeah, and right to assert culture matters. (Michalko)
GigaOm • 24 January 2014
Surveillance mode. Check out the latest in video analytics techniques. Retail is leading the way, using video analysis to track customer behavior and compile consumer demographic information. Camera surveillance is ubiquitous—now video-based business intelligence is helping add new insight for bricks-and-mortar space management.
It is extraordinary how quickly improvements in computer vision have moved. What we thought revolutionary even ten years ago happens accurately for free on your notebook using freely-provided software. Think face recognition within Picasa. (Michalko)
Nautilus • 23 January 2014
Turbocharged. Author Tom Vanderbilt ponders our need-for-speed in visual stimuli. Along with split-second camerawork in film and television, we've come to expect lightning-fast search results and instant gratification in all things digital. Vanderbilt's essay explores the history of accelerating expectations over the last hundred years and forecasts that, "Whether we are actually getting faster, or our technology for measuring the brain is improving, these results point to new possibilities for speed. And when our brains' own speedometers do saturate, there will be tools promising to speed the brain to keep up with technology."
This was fascinating. The essay suggests that technology is just catching us up to the speeds where we are comfortable and would like to be. It is filled with wonderful if sometimes cumbersome terms of art e.g., "lived events per unit of time" which don't necessarily transform into experiences. He uses the acceleration over time of slot machine play as a metaphor. How about pinball machines? (Michalko)
LA Review of Books • 16 January 2014
Focus on the problem. UCLA professor Johanna Drucker ponders the frailties and foibles of over-reliance on digital technology and champions the cause of humanities studies as the nexus of knowledge production. "The hype around digital alternatives to print sometimes seems like a distraction . . . The technical issues involved are resolvable, the business questions harder . . . " Read on for Drucker's thoughts on the future of scholarship, publishing and sustainability.
This is a must read. It's not the usual I-love-the-feel-of-books essay. It's wide-ranging and summarizes a lot of complex issues with an authoritative point of view. And while not her primary topic she's more eloquent here on the topic of the humanities role in civil society than essays which take that as their topic. I've been told that most of the commentary on this essay has appeared on various closed lists like the AAUP one. There's very little in the blogosphere (most of it beating up on her for her "bit rot" observation) or on the LA Review site. (Michalko)
Psypost • 25 January 2014
Reassuring. It turns out that older brains operate a little more slowly than young ones because their hard drives are filling up. Read on for new findings from the University of Tübingen on cognitive abilities and why assessment techniques should accommodate individuals' information storage capacities.
I want to believe but . . . (Michalko)
Pew Research Center • 24 January 2014
Just in case you missed it . . . A recent Pew Research Center survey shows that more than 60% of the respondents said a local library closing would have a major impact on their community and almost half of young adults would like to use GPS technology to locate resources in the library. Read on for a snapshot of more results.
So which of these ten facts surprised you? For me it was #6. Why? It suggests a much stronger connection between schools and libraries in the minds of the citizenry than I had expected. On the other hand local public libraries have probably known and benefited from that connection for a long time. (Michalko)
Above the Fold Quiz
According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are the most edited records in WorldCat?
Get the answer.