Technology

Observations on The New Millenium and How Technology has Changed Our Habits

A piece called DIARY from the London Review of Books from Rebecca Solnit. It begins:

"In or around June 1995 human character changed again. Or rather, it began to undergo a metamorphosis that is still not complete, but is profound – and troubling, not least because it is hardly noted. When I think about, say, 1995, or whenever the last moment was before most of us were on the internet and had mobile phones, it seems like a hundred years ago. Letters came once a day, predictably, in the hands of the postal carrier. News came in three flavours – radio, television, print – and at appointed hours. Some of us even had a newspaper delivered every morning."

The story of WebP: How Google wants to speed up the web, one image at a time

Google wants WebP to become the internet’s next dominant image file format. That’s not likely going to happen anytime soon — but WebP could still have a huge impact.

http://gigaom.com/2014/07/19/the-story-of-webp-how-google-wants-to-speed-up-the-web-one-imag...

Books out, 3D printers in for Reinvented US Libraries

How about that headline folks?

From New Scientist:

IN THE small town of Fayetteville in northern New York, you'll find the local library in an old furniture factory dating from the turn of the 20th century. The refurbished building retains hints of its industrial past: wooden floors, exposed beams, walls lined with carefully labelled tools.

But instead of quietly perusing stacks of books, many of the patrons are crowded around a suite of 3D printers. One machine is midway through a pink mobile phone case; another is finishing up a toy sword.
This is Fayetteville's maker lab – and it may very well be the future of libraries.

In 2011, Fayetteville became the first public library in the US to set up a maker lab. Besides 3D printers, the space features a laser cutter, electronics kits, workshop tools, Raspberry Pi computers and an array of sewing machines. It functions somewhere between a classroom and a start-up incubator – a place where people from all over the region can get involved with state-of-the-art technology.

Since the lab opened, similar spaces have been popping up across the country, including in cities like Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Denver and Detroit. According to the American Library Association, about 1 in 6 libraries now dedicates some of its space to maker tools and activities. The New York Public Library – one of the largest in the country – is watching these developments to inform its upcoming renovation.

The Second Phase of Technological Disruption

I’ve been thinking about a book called Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemo?lu and James Robinson. To (over)summarize, the coauthors say that nations fail because they resist, and try to stifle, the disruption that follows technological breakthroughs.

Technological disruption challenges prevailing power. Naturally, those established institutions try to fight back. But they rarely win. Disruption tends to release a dam of pent-up and democratic energy. Eventually, it overwhelms or transforms the established order.

Digital publishing is a case of technological disruption. Its challenge to the gatekeeper of a traditional publisher is now clear. Can’t get your book published? Do it yourself, and do it a whale of a lot faster—meaning you can capitalize quickly on issues of the day.

But I’ll propose that disruption has three predictable phases.

Full piece American Libraries

Check it out: Florida university library to lend drones to students

Students at the University of South Florida will be soaring to new academic heights, with drones.

College students will be getting their hands on more than just books at USF come the fall semester. The Tampa campus plans to offer remote-controlled drones for students to check out for school-related projects.
It's a bold move considering that more places are starting to limit the access of drones, including the National Park Service, which announced a temporary ban on the use of drones on Friday. The NPS announcement basically bars the access of unmanned devices to 84 million acres of land in the U.S.

Yet, USF is taking a different approach to drones, making the technology more accessible to its students. The library purchased two drones with some leftover money from a grant to remodel its facility with new technology. These drones are capable of taking aerial video and photography.

Full article

Because after all, it is not information that wants to be free, it's us

The beauty of hackers, says cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari, is that they force us to evolve and improve. Yes, some hackers are bad guys, but many are working to fight government corruption and advocate for our rights. By exposing vulnerabilities, they push the Internet to become stronger and healthier, wielding their power to create a better world.

After the Belfast Project Fiasco, Time For Another Look At Time Capsule Crypto?

http://it.slashdot.org/story/14/06/08/2117253/after-the-belfast-project-fiasco-time-for-anot...

"I'm curious whether there are good prospects for 'time capsule encryption,' one of several ways of storing information that renders it inaccessible to anyone until certain conditions — such as the passage of time — are met? Libraries and archives could offer such technology as part of accepting papers and manuscripts, especially in the wake of the 'Belfast Project' situation, where a library promised confidentiality for accounts of the Troubles in North Ireland, and then found itself amidst subpoenas from law enforcement looking to solve long-cold cases. But the principle could apply to any person or company thinking that there's a choice between leaving information exposed to leakage, or destroying it entirely. Some suggested solutions are very much out of the box."

Iowa City Library welcomes interactive touch table

For years, the Iowa City Public Library has provided computers in its Children's Room where youngsters can put on headphones and play video games.

Now, they can stand around an interactive touch table that looks like a giant iPad and play games together.

The Ideum PLATFORM 55 is the final piece of the Children's Room technology upgrade, said Susan Craig, director of the Iowa City Public Library. The 55-inch table, which cost about $15,000, made its debut Monday.

Full story with video

What's Really Wrong With Google? And Why Librarians Rock!

Nancy K. Humphries gets to the heart of the matter in this Huffington Post piece.

"Google often fails to serve people who search it or the people trying to get their sites noticed. All too often Google's results completely miss the mark....

Google will never equal the library in precision and accuracy because this company is too arrogant to even listen to a librarian. Google employees are young, so young they still believe that only they know how to do things.

I personally witnessed a speaker from Google tell members of The American Society of Indexers at a San Francisco conference that Google had gotten rid of the one librarian on staff in Palo Alto. She was a former cataloger; she was too "nitpicky.""

Inventables to donate 3D carving machines to libraries in 50 states

http://bluesky.chicagotribune.com/originals/chi-inventables-library-giveaways-bsi-20140512,0...
Chicago-based Inventables says it plans to give away 3D carving machines to libraries and other public maker spaces in all 50 states.

CEO Zach Kaplan says the inspiration comes from the success of the Chicago Public Library’s Maker Lab, winner of the Social Innovator Award at the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards. His company says it also wants to build the market for its 3D carving machines.

Kaplan, who often refers to what he calls the coming “third industrial revolution” of small manufacturers, plans to announce the giveaway Wednesday at San Francisco’s MakerCon, Inventables said in a statement. MakerCon is an annual conference and workshop for the growing maker community.

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