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Yesterday for some reason I found myself digging through the scribblings I've recently entered in my various notebooks, both digital and analog; disjointed ephemera that consist of ideas, thoughts, random saved links and some simple clutter. If ever any one of those ramble points were intended for a post here I have to admit I've forgotten why. Here's the first batch:
  • 1. "I think people have gotten caught up with catching up. Time is compressing for us, and we think we’re narrowing in on the present when we’re actually doing the opposite. The notion of “now” is a really funny thing, and almost always concerns some form of delusion, distraction, or manipulation. I’m working on a book that may help rip that one open. I want us to have the benefit of traditional narrative, even in a non-linear, post-narrative world. Just because stories aren’t true doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. And I totally get why people feel there’s no time for them, anymore. But if what I’m trying to do works, we’ll end up with all the time in the world." Douglas Rushkoff

  • 2. The Fundamental Question of the Web

    "One can spend a lot of time defining a medium in terms of how it looks, what it transmits, wavelengths used, typographic choices made, bandwidth available. I like to think about media in terms of questions answered.

    Here's one question: “I'm bored, and I want to get out of the house and have an experience, possibly involving elves or bombs. Where do I go?” The answer: You could go to a movie. Here's another: “How do I distract myself without leaving the house?” You might turn on the TV. “I'm driving, or making dinner. How do I make a mundane thing like that more interesting?”

    Radio! Especially NPR or talk radio.

    “What's going on locally and in the world, at length?”

    Try this newspaper!

    A medium has a niche. A sitcom works better on TV than in a newspaper, but a 10,000 word investigative piece about a civic issue works better in a newspaper.

    When it arrived the web seemed to fill all of those niches at once. The web was surprisingly good at emulating a TV, a newspaper, a book, or a radio. Which meant that people expected it to answer the questions of each medium, and with the promise of advertising revenue as incentive, web developers set out to provide those answers. As a result, people in the newspaper industry saw the web as a newspaper. People in TV saw the web as TV, and people in book publishing saw it as a weird kind of potential book. But the web is not just some kind of magic all-absorbing meta-medium. It's its own thing."

    Paul Ford

  • 3. ‘Keisha The Sket’ is a fictional account of a young girl from North London and her romantic escapades. Written in a colloquial dialect, ‘Keisha The Sket’ was orginally written and distributed via text message, which would explain the spelling and grammar: ‘Yeh so wot u on?’ Ramel allerted me. He was 1 peng boi dt i had been chatin 2 4 tym.' ‘Keisha The Sket’ and similar tales have inspired a host of other people to write their own online novels using Facebook’s Notes application.

    This reminded me of the novel 'Riddley Walker' by Russell Hoban, written in 1979. Here's the opening paragraph -

    "On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Down any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen. He dint make the groun shake nor nothing like that when he come on to my spear he wernt all that big plus he lookit poorly. He done the reqwyrt he ternt and stood and clattert his teef and made his rush and there we were then. Him on 1 end of the spear kicking his life out and me on the other end watching him dy. I said, "Your tern now my tern later."

  • 4. Finally, Someone Gets iPad Magazine Subscriptions Right.
    A year after the launch of the iPad, I find it fascinating that someone felt that getting iPad magazine subscriptions "right" was even a story, never mind that bold headline. It is effectively a non-story. The real story is how media publishers were duped into thinking that the iPad would save their businesses, how Steve Jobs pulled the wool over their eyes. After years of being trapped in the pricing cliché, the one that says magazine subscriptions should be at least 50% less than the newsstand price, media publishers thought they could pull the wool over our eyes. Wrong.

  • 5. While others - technologists, businesses et al (cf. Pandora) - are concentrating on getting rich by devising applications that allow me paid access to music, I'm concentrating on my emotional attachment to music.

  • 6. Why Twitter’s Oral Culture Irritates Bill Keller (and why this is an important issue)
    "The shortcomings of social media would not bother me awfully if I did not suspect that Facebook friendship and Twitter chatter are displacing real rapport and real conversation, just as Gutenberg’s device displaced remembering. The things we may be unlearning, tweet by tweet — complexity, acuity, patience, wisdom, intimacy — are things that matter. … Then along came the Mark Zuckerberg of his day, Johannes Gutenberg. As we became accustomed to relying on the printed page, the work of remembering gradually fell into disuse." - Bill Keller, former Executive Editor, NY Times."

    But this comparison between Gutenberg and Zuckerberg makes little sense unless you realize that Keller is actually trying to complain about the reemergence of oral psychodynamics in the public sphere rather than about memory falling out of favor. If the latter were the case, his ire would be more about Google; instead, most of his frustration is directed against social media, and mostly Twitter, the most conversational, and thus most oral of these mediums." - Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor of sociology at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

  • 7. "the internet is the largest group of people who care about reading and writing ever assembled in history..." Clay Shirky

  • 8. I read a NY Times article recently that decried the lack of news coverage in local communities. I'm not sure if it was because it was a NY Times article or not, but the writers don't dig deep into considering how the Internet could be the way that people in those communities might now receive their local news. They did repeat this from the report though:"

    Breathtaking media abundance lives side by side with serious shortages in reporting,” it said. “Communities benefit tremendously from many innovations brought by the Internet and simultaneously suffer from the dislocations caused by the seismic changes in media markets. Because those newspapers serve as tip sheets for local television reporters and for reporters on the national level, the cutbacks have had “ripple effects throughout the whole media system,” Mr. Waldman said."

    More research is required into what is actually happening, I think. For instance, where does the idea of Twitter as oral history fit in? Andy Carvin a senior strategist at NPR tweeted this about Twitter recently - @BethOpal have tried to come up with various names for it, but journalism, oral history and storytelling still sum it up the best.

  • 9. Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott on movies - In Defense Of the Slow and Boring

    "For instance: “The Hangover Part II,” which I find boring, raked in $137.4 million over the five-day Memorial Day weekend. It’s the kind of boring that makes money, partly because it’s the boring that many people like, want to like, insist on liking or are just used to, and partly because it’s the sort of aggressively packaged boring you can’t escape, having opened on an estimated 17 percent of American screens. Filled with gags and characters recycled from the first “Hangover,” the sequel is grindingly repetitive and features scene after similar scene of characters staring at one another stupidly, flailing about wildly and asking what happened. This is the boring that Andy Warhol, who liked boring, found, well, boring.

    Of course, what I think is boring,” Warhol wrote in his memoir “Popism,” “must not be the same as what other people think is, since I could never stand to watch all the most popular action shows on TV, because they’re essentially the same plots and the same shots and the same cuts over and over again. Apparently, most people love watching the same basic thing, as long as the details are different.

    Personally I love slow and meditative.

  • 10. Who, what, why? When, where and how?

  • Brewster Kahle on preserving printed books

    McCann Worldgroup study: The Truth About Youth