Radio Without Radios, Books Without Bookstores: Welcome to the Era of Unbound Media

Xconomy • August 5, 2011

The medium is not the message. With streaming media and digital text supplanting broadcasting and hard copy, it's only a matter of time before the memory of physical artifacts like newspapers and albums fade into posterity. "The really interesting question to me is how the messages we create will mutate now that they're unbound from their original media," says science writer Wade Roush. Read on for his observations on how this transition is changing the way journalism presents information.

I think he's right that there has been a stability of form in the movement of media into its net forms. I, too, still think an article in the New York Times reader is a "newspaper" article but that won’t be true much longer. The freedom that net presentation modes provide to do longer pieces that abandon broadcast conventions is coming into its own. Subscribe to the Planet Money podcasts to experience it yourself. ( Michalko)

We Share Too Much, and It's Stifling Innovation

The Washington Post  • July 29, 2011

Invitation-only. Innovation incubator Francisco Dao debunks the myth of "crowd wisdom," noting that in his experience, "the tyranny of the public actually stifled visionary thinking, while the comfort of exclusivity released people from their behavioral and intellectual inhibitions, allowing them to consider a wider range of possibilities." His conclusions argue against today's tendency to seek broad consensus on every decision rather than empowering a few trusted individuals to lead the organization.

It's good to jump on the other end of the balance and it's true that the "wisdom of crowds" assertion doesn't actually allow for the nuanced conditions under which it's true. That said, check out the exclusive, invitation-only " adventures" the author's company sponsors. ( Michalko)

We Can't Teach Students to Love Reading

The Chronicle of Higher Education  • July 31, 2011

Skimming along. This excerpt from Alan Jacobs' book, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, posits that avid readers are not made—they're born that way and there are a lot of folks out there who simply didn't inherit the gene. As a literature professor and passionate reader, Jacobs touts the benefits of "deep reading" while acknowledging that successful skimming skills play a key role in our ability to manage the information deluge.

He quotes from Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age which we brought to your attention in the August 1 ATF. For those who want to know about it but not necessarily read it there's always the THE review. ( Michalko)

Your Face—and the Web—Can Tell Everything About You

MSNBC • August 4, 2011

Call to arms. Privacy alert. Off-the-shelf facial recognition software combined with data mining techniques can now be used to identify just about anyone who's posted a photo on Facebook, says Carnegie Mellon researcher Alessandro Acquisti. "The goal here is not to generate fear, but we are very close to a point where the convergence of technologies will make it possible for online and offline data to blend seamlessly. . . and for strangers on the street to predict certain information about you from your picture." Read on for more on the latest tech-based privacy invasion.

Another dystopian look at a technology that has gone from toy to remarkably effective. I continue to pause in wonder as Picasa quietly and correctly labels the faces in my photos (even the faces in the photos on the wall of the photo it's examining.) ( Michalko)

Art that Interacts if You Interface

The New York Times • July 28, 2011

Pros and cons. MoMA's flashy new interactive "Talk to Me" exhibit gets high marks for clever use of cutting edge communications technologies but reviewer Karen Rosenberg also wonders if there's something lost in translation to the small screen.

I'd love to visit this exhibit despite the caveats and angst injected into this review. The exhibit website is enormously fascinating, and per The Hierarchy of Digital Distractions included in the show trumps doing actual work. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are some methods to reduce cumbersome digitization-on-demand workflows?

Get the answer.