Are You Paying Attention? On ‘The Social Dilemma’ and ‘My Octopus Teacher’

I don't have to go looking for synchronicity because it always finds me. This time it was on Netflix. The other day I watched Netflix's new docu-drama The Social Dilemma (trailer) based on the recommendation from a friend and a lively text thread about its implications. The film's thesis is that social networks are engineered … Continue reading Are You Paying Attention? On ‘The Social Dilemma’ and ‘My Octopus Teacher’

How to help someone use a [insert frustrating digital device]

Thanks to Jessamyn West for republishing Phil Agre's advice from 1996 on how to help someone use a computer. Swap out computer for "smartphone" or "e-reader" and it's still quite relevant. Some favorites: Nobody is born knowing this stuff. You’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a beginner. If it’s not obvious to them, it’s not obvious. … Continue reading How to help someone use a [insert frustrating digital device]

Refer Madness: Hate the change, love the library

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. A while back, my department’s email received this message: "What happened to the CLASSIC CATALOG? I am old, I hate change, but love my library. Thanks." I had to laugh. Funny but dead serious, succinct and self-aware, this missive captures a very real conundrum: … Continue reading Refer Madness: Hate the change, love the library

Lynda Barry: ‘Writing by hand on paper is becoming a revolutionary act’

Artist Lynda Barry writes: Writing by hand on paper is becoming a revolutionary act. Reading a physical book is becoming a revolutionary act. Protecting the books in our libraries, the arts and humanities in our colleges and universities is becoming a revolutionary act. Doing things with warm hand to warm hand, face to face, without … Continue reading Lynda Barry: ‘Writing by hand on paper is becoming a revolutionary act’

Ursula Le Guin on the ‘media golem’

A pox upon me for never having read Ursula Le Guin before she died last week. I'll get right on that, as her reputation is high among many different kinds of readers. Before diving into her novels, though, I encountered her blog (an 88 year old blogging!) on which last year she posted "Constructing the Golem", pretty … Continue reading Ursula Le Guin on the ‘media golem’

Steve Jobs Lives

This 1987 concept video from Apple predicts not only the iPad and all of its capabilities, but also Siri, the speech-activated personal assistant that will be ubiquitous technology in a few years given how Apple products usually work. (H/T to Andrew Sullivan for the video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WdS4TscWH8 Andy Baio finds this amazing: Based on the dates mentioned in … Continue reading Steve Jobs Lives