Tags: culture

1995 Vannevar Bush symposium: closing Panel

So Doug Engelbart, Alan Kay, Ted Nelson, and Tim Berners-Lee walk into a panel…

Laser Age / The Dissolve

A great series of articles on the sci-fi films of the ’60s and ’70s:

The Laser Age examines a rich period in the history of science-fiction filmmaking that began in the late 1960s and faded away by the mid 1980s.

…all wrapped up in a nice responsive design too.

The Console Living Room : Free Software : Download

Here’s a nice Christmas gift from Jason and the archinauts at the Internet Archive: tons of games for living room consoles of the early ’80s, all playable in your browser, thanks to emulation in JavaScript.

Ted Nelson’s Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart - YouTube

A searing, angry, heartfelt eulogy.

What Screens Want by Frank Chimero

Frank’s fantastic closing talk from this year’s Build. There’s a lot of great stuff in here about interaction design, and even more great stuff about what’s been happening to the web:

We used to have a map of a frontier that could be anything. The web isn’t young anymore, though. It’s settled. It’s been prospected and picked through. Increasingly, it feels like we decided to pave the wilderness, turn it into a suburb, and build a mall. And I hate this map of the web, because it only describes a fraction of what it is and what’s possible. We’ve taken an opportunity for connection and distorted it to commodify attention. That’s one of the sleaziest things you can do.

STET

From the lovely people behind Editorially comes STET:

A Writers’ Journal on Culture & Technology

Thoreau 2.0 - XOXO Conference Talk

Maciej’s talk from this year’s XOXO—excellent stuff!

The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish by Rebecca J. Rosen in The Atlantic

Copyright correlates significantly with the disappearance of works rather than with their availability.

The Omega Glory

Michael Chabon muses on The Future, prompted by the Clock of the Long Now.

dConstruct: Artists grapple with the culture of technology surveillance

Honor’s piece for The Guardian on this year’s dConstruct.

Three themes from dConstruct 2013

A smart and thoughtful write-up of dConstruct from Lee, pulling together three emergent themes:

  1. how we interact with machines and each other,
  2. how we co-evolve with machines, and
  3. making the invisible visible.

A great, thought-provoking day that proved, once again, that there are many brilliant, generous minds working in or around the future of technology and human experience today.

dConstruct 2013: “It’s the Future. Take it.” | matt.me63.com - Matt Edgar

This is a terrific write up of this year’s dConstruct, tying together all the emergent themes.

The apparent difficulty of living in my head, freelancing, working for large organisations and then descending in to paranoia.

I have a lot of admiration for Reverend Dan Catt.

I don’t want to be in a position where I say “Hey, I’m working at Google, no no, don’t worry, the good bit of Google”, because goodness knows I did enough of that at Yahoo.

Improving Reality 2013

The line-up for this year’s Improving Reality conference looks great (as always).

It’s the day before dConstruct so why not come on down to Brighton a day early and double your fun?

A Few Notes on the Culture by Iain M Banks

I’ve linked to this before, but with the death of Iain M Banks it’s worth re-reading this fascinating insight into The Culture, one of science fictions’s few realistic utopias.

The brief mention here of The Culture’s attitude to death is apt:

Philosophy, again; death is regarded as part of life, and nothing, including the universe, lasts forever. It is seen as bad manners to try and pretend that death is somehow not natural; instead death is seen as giving shape to life.

The New Aesthetic: James Bridle’s Drones and Our Invisible, Networked World in Vanity Fair

James gets profiled in Vanity Fair …which is, frankly, kind of weird.

It’s also so bizarre to read about his SXSW New Aesthetic panel as being such a pivotal moment: there weren’t that many of us in the room.

Iain M Banks’ Universe

Francis Spufford—author of the excellent Backroom Boffins—writes a cover story for the New Humanist magazine remembering Iain Banks with the middle initial M firmly to the fore: it was Iain M Banks—and his creation, The Culture—that took the seemingly passé genre of space opera to new heights.

Break the Page

A lovely site with thoughtful articles on the long-term future of the web.

There’s audio too, which is unfortunately locked up in the unhuffduffable roach motel that is Soundcloud, but I’m hoping that might change.

An acquisition is always a failure

An acquisition, or an aqui-hire, is always a failure. Either the founders failed to achieve their goal, or – far likelier – they failed to dream big enough. The proper ambition for a tech entrepreneur should be to join the ranks of the great tech companies, or, at least, to create a profitable, independent company beloved by employees, customers, and shareholders.

Teenage Diaries Revisited

Fascinating fodder for Huffduffer:

Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to teenagers around the country to create audio diaries about their lives. NPR’s All Things Considered aired intimate portraits of five of these teens: Amanda, Juan, Frankie, Josh and Melissa. They’re now in their 30s. Over this past year, the same group has been recording new stories about where life has led them for our series, Teenage Diaries Revisited.

Ten tips guaranteed to improve your startup success by Anil Dash

It’s a big ask, but if you can action these ten tips from Anil, your startup will crush it.

Why Americans Are the Weirdest People in the World

A truly fascinating and well-written article on how changes are afoot in the worlds of psychology, economics, and just about any other field that has performed tests on American participants and extrapolated the results into universal traits.

Given the data, they concluded that social scientists could not possibly have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations. Researchers had been doing the equivalent of studying penguins while believing that they were learning insights applicable to all birds.

Mark Lynas » Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013

This is a superb talk by Mark Lynas who once spearheaded the anti-GM movement, and who has now completely changed his stance on genetically-modified crops. Why? Science.

You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food. More to the point, people have died from choosing organic, but no-one has died from eating GM.

The Web We Lost - Anil Dash

Oh, my! This excellent, excellent post from Anil Dash is a great summation of what has changed on the web, and how many of today’s big-name services are no longer imbued with the spirit of the web.

Either you remember how things used to be and you’ll nod your head vigorously in recognition and agreement …or you’re too young to remember this, and you won’t quite believe that is how things worked.

This isn’t some standard polemic about “those stupid walled-garden networks are bad!” I know that Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and the rest are great sites, and they give their users a lot of value. They’re amazing achievements, from a pure software perspective. But they’re based on a few assumptions that aren’t necessarily correct. The primary fallacy that underpins many of their mistakes is that user flexibility and control necessarily lead to a user experience complexity that hurts growth. And the second, more grave fallacy, is the thinking that exerting extreme control over users is the best way to maximize the profitability and sustainability of their networks.

Why George Lucas Is the Greatest Artist of Our Time - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Camille Paglia is apparently a Lucas apologist like me.

Data Visualization Reinterpreted by VISUALIZED on Vimeo

Peter Saville talks about the enduring appeal of his cover for Unknown Pleasures.

I like to think of all the variations and mashups as not just tributes to Joy Division, but tributes to Jocelyn Bell Burnell too.

Stories from the New Aesthetic : Joanne Mcneil

A lovely piece from Joanne on storytelling, identity and the internet.

The fetishization of the offline, and a new definition of real

A good recap of the recent online/offline/does-it-really-matter discussion …although it does lend a bit too much credence to the pronouncements of that king of trolls, Nicholas Carr.

How to Kill a Troll - Incisive.nu

What Erin has written here makes me want to be a better person.

Technology - Howard Rheingold - What the WELL’s Rise and Fall Tell Us About Online Community - The Atlantic

The history of the WELL, a truly remarkable community.

The Coming Technological Singularity

Vernor Vinge’s original 1993 motherlode of the singularity.

The Myth of Cyberspace – The New Inquiry

There is a there there after all.

The IRL Fetish – The New Inquiry

The backlash against the backlash against connectivity.

Welcome to the Future Nauseous

I, for one, welcome our Manufactured Normalcy Field overlords.

timoni.org - I love the internet.

This is a beautifully heartfelt post from Timoni:

Every day, I feel things because of the internet, and that’s amazing. Humans have been using abstracted communication for thousands of years, but it’s never been so instantaneous, never so capable of bringing folks of completely different backgrounds together in conversation. This is a huge step. Good job us.

The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic

An excellent longish-zoom article by Alexis Madrigal with an eerily accurate summation of the current state of the web. Although I think that a lack of any fundamentally new paradigms could be seen as a sign of stabilisation as much as stagnation.

The inadmissible assumptions - Charlie’s Diary

Yes! Charles Stross speaks the unspeakable: that advertising is fundamentally “wrong”.

He’s right, y’know.

An Essay on the New Aesthetic | Beyond The Beyond | Wired.com

Bruce Sterling writes about the New Aesthetic in an article that’s half manifesto and half critique.

Grab a cup of tea or hit your “read it later” bookmarklet of choice for this one—it’s a lengthy but worthwhile read.

This time, more than any other time

A cautionary tale from Stuart. We, the makers of modern technology, are letting people down. Badly.

We’re in this to help users, remember: not just the ones who think as we do, but the ones who rely on us to build things for them because they don’t know what they’re doing. If your response is honestly “well, he should have spent more on a phone to get something better”, then I’m exceedingly disillusioned by you.

Thinking About Futurism | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine

A collection of articles on the tricksy art of Futurism from—amongst others—Bruce Sterling, Annalee Newitz, and Matt Novak, creator of the Paleofuture blog.

Earth Station: The Afterlife of Technology at the End of the World - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic

The wonderful story of an odd place:

The Jamesburg Earth Station is a massive satellite receiver in a remote valley in California. It played a central role in satellite communications for three decades, but had been forgotten until the current owner put it up for sale, promoting it as a great place to spend the apocalypse.

One Cut - jonronson’s Space

This is one of the best pieces of journalism I’ve read …and it just happens to be posted on a blog. Please read it, particularly if you are a voter in the UK.

yongfook - Design is Horseshit!

There’s a good point buried in this tirade.

Here’s a more positive spin: with this much horseshit, there’s gotta be a horse in there somewhere.

Simon Collison | Colly | Journal | My digital preservation utopia

Colly’s thoughts on digital preservation are written in a lighthearted tongue-in-cheek way but at least he’s thinking about it. That alone gives me comfort.

We Are Historians | 1sixty

A beautiful reminder that by publishing on the web, we are all historians.

Every color you choose and line of code you write is a reflection of you; not just as a human being in this world, but as a human being in this time and place in human history. Inside each project is a record of the styles and fashions you value, the technological advancements being made in the industry, the tone of your voice, and even the social and economic trends around you.

The Social Graph is Neither (Pinboard Blog)

This post from Maciej might initially seem negative but read it through to the end: there’s a very powerful positive message.

The New Patterns of Culture: Slow, Fast & Spiky

A thoughtful piece from Matt on the changes in cultural transmission that we should be embracing instead of bemoaning.

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet on Vimeo

If you live in the States, please, please, for the love of the internet, write to your representative at fightforthefuture.org/pipa

Innovation Starvation | World Policy Institute

A rallying cry from Neal Stephenson for Getting Big Stuff Done.

The Deleted City

This is quite beautiful. An interactive piece that allows you to dig through the ruins of Geocities like an archeologist.

Such wanton destruction! I’ll never forgive those twunts at Yahoo.

Fuckers.

Science fiction, fantasy, design and cultural invention | Design Culture Lab

Asking what the difference is between science fiction and design fiction. The answer may be …usefulness.

My speech to the IAAC | Ben Hammersley’s Dangerous Precedent

A great speech by Ben Hammersley that ties together multiple strands of life in the 21st century.

The shape of our future book — Satellite — Craig Mod

Craig has written down his dConstruct talk, the one that completely polarised opinion. Personally, I loved it.

Times Higher Education - Memory failure detected

A worrying report on the state of digital preservation and the web, specifically in the UK. Welcome to the memory hole.

The Technium: Why the Impossible Happens More Often

A wonderful reminder by Kevin Kelly of the amazing interconnected world we live in, thanks to network effects.

History, our future - Preoccupations

A superb post by David that ties together multiple strands of personal digital preservation through homesteading instead of sharecropping.

Escaping the Digital Dark Age

Stewart Brand wrote this twelve years ago: it’s more relevant than ever in today’s cloud-worshipping climate.

I’d like to think that it’s ironic that I’m linking to The Wayback Machine because the original URL for this essay is dead. But it isn’t ironic, it’s horrific.

Why We Need the New News Environment to be Chaotic « Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky takes a long hard look at the present (and future) of newspapers and—more important—of journalism. A good read.

Archives & Museum Informatics: Museums and the Web 2010: Papers: Cope, A.S., Buckets and Vessels

Here’s one to add to Instapaper or Readability to savour at your leisure: Aaron Straup Cope’s talk at Museums and the Web 2010:

This paper examines the act of association, the art of framing and the participatory nature of robots in creating artifacts and story-telling in projects like Flickr Galleries, the API-based Suggestify project (which provides the ability to suggest locations for other people’s photos) and the increasing number of bespoke (and often paper-based) curatorial productions.

Post-Artifact Books and Publishing — by Craig Mod

Take some time out to read this. Read all of this. Craig’s thoughts on the nature of publishing today:

Digital’s effect on how we produce, distribute and consume content.

BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - The Reith Lectures

The entire archive of the Reith lectures is now online for your huffduffing pleasure.

Frank Chimero’s Blog - The Storm and The Line

A beautiful dose of perspective from Frank.

Why Preserve Books? The New Physical Archive of the Internet Archive | Internet Archive Blogs

Brewster Kahle explains how and why the Internet Archive is keeping physical copies of the books it digitises.

Open science: a future shaped by shared experience | Education | The Observer

A nice summation of the open science movement, courtesy of Bobbie.

In a Brooklyn Loft, Twitter Stars Find Common Ground - NYTimes.com

A profile of those whacky Brooklyn Studiomates.

One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age | Digging through the Geocities Torrent

A blog devoted to sifting through the gems in the Geocities torrent. This is digital archeology.

Google can’t be trusted with our books | Simon Barron | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

The threat to Google Videos shows businesses are not suitable cultural custodians — they can’t be held accountable to the public.

The Technium: What Books Will Become

Kevin Kelly asks “What is a book?” and provides some thought-provoking answers. There’s some inspiring crystal-ball gazing in here.

Tom Armitage on Vimeo

Tom talks about “Things Rules Do.”

Brian Eno - The Big Here and the Long Now | DIGITALSOULS.COM | New Media Art | Philosophy | Culture

Brian Eno’s original essay on the origins of The Long Now Foundation. It is ten years old—a long time on the web and 1% of a millennium.

Humans are capable of a unique trick: creating realities by first imagining them, by experiencing them in their minds. When Martin Luther King said “I have a dream…” , he was inviting others to dream it with him. Once a dream becomes shared in that way, current reality gets measured against it and then modified towards it. As soon as we sense the possibility of a more desirable world, we begin behaving differently – as though that world is starting to come into existence, as though, in our minds at least, we’re already there. The dream becomes an invisible force which pulls us forward. By this process it starts to come true. The act of imagining something makes it real.

A Memory of Webs Past - IEEE Spectrum

A detailed look at how French archivists go about preserving websites.

James Bridle on Phare Conference on Vimeo

Everything is worth preserving and protecting.

YouTube - TOC 2011: James Bridle, “The Condition of Music”

James’s talk from Tools Of Change. Great stuff!

Alex Payne — Content-Centric Networks and the Future of the Internet

A brave and probably unpopular stance; could it be that the fundamental technological bedrock of the internet needs to change to avoid the seemingly-inevitable rise of walled gardens?

Safe-keeping - Preoccupations

I wish I had a teacher like David when I was in school.

URLs, permalinks, archives … preservation. It all matters so very much.

Main Articles: ‘Domesday Redux: The rescue of the BBC Domesday Project videodiscs’, Ariadne Issue 36

The fascinating story of the BBC Domesday Project and its subsequent fate.

The purpose of the CAMiLEON project was to demonstrate the value of emulation in preserving not only the data stored in obsolete systems but the behaviour of the systems themselves - in this case one of the very first interactive multi-media systems. The aim was to reproduce the original user experience as accurately as possible, and the CAMiLEON team argued that the slight faults in images as displayed from the analogue discs were a part of that experience, and should not be cleaned up as Andy proposed to do. Our aim was different - we wanted to preserve the data with the highest quality available consistent with longevity.

Everything is a Remix Part 2 on Vimeo

Part two of Kirby Ferguson’s series focuses on films. Creation requires influence.

Pulling the plug on the BBC’s internet history « 853

The BBC’s decision to actively delete old content (rather than simply allowing it to take up some space on a server) really gets my blood boiling.

The BBC asked the public to contribute their memories of World War Two to a website between June 2003 and January 2006…” and five years later some suit decided to bin them.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: A 12-Year-Old Explains the Information Age’s Facts of Life to Her Mother.

Cute.

Bletchley Park and History Hackday Request | Amplified

Let’s make the Bletchley Park data machine-readable so we can start mining the stories they contain (like Old Weather).

Bletchley Park need help to catalogue and create a proper archive of these decrypts.

I want in!

Carlos Bueno: A Paper Internet

Preserving the papernet.

We Didn’t Stop The Fire. – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report

Jeffrey points out another point of failure in our online storage: the willingness of site owners to sell their product (and your data) to a big company for a quick payout.

Forever / from a working library

Mandy writes about digital preservation:

The technological means to produce an archive are not beyond our skills; sadly, right now at least, the will to do so is insufficient.

Cyberspace When You’re Dead - NYTimes.com

An accurately-downbeat look at digital preservation.

YouTube - Il était une fois… les technologies du passé.

French schoolchildren are given technological tools that are less than thirty years old and asked to describe what they do.

The Web Is a Customer Service Medium (Ftrain.com)

An excellent piece of writing on the fundamental question of the web: Why Wasn’t I Consulted?

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Stuart McMillen - cartoon Recombinant Records

Pitching Orwell against Huxley in an argument that is ironically shallow: it only holds up if you accept the premise that activities involving the web, television and video games are inherently “bad” and anti-social: a pathetically, narrow-minded and condescending worldview.

RORY HYDE PROJECTS / BLOG » Blog Archive » ‘Know No Boundaries’: an interview with Matt Webb of BERG London

Matt is, as usual, eloquent and inspiring.

Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die | Magazine

Wired Magazine break with tradition by publishing a halfway interesting article (though you’ll still need Readability or Instapaper to make the experience of reading it bearable).

ASCII by Jason Scott / Yahoo!locaust

A viciously accurate assessment of Yahoo’s scorched earth policy towards our online collective culture:

All I can say, looking back, is that when history takes a look at the lives of Jerry Yang and David Filo, this is what it will probably say: Two graduate students, intrigued by a growing wealth of material on the Internet, built a huge fucking lobster trap, absorbed as much of human history and creativity as they could, and destroyed all of it.

..about validating

An oldie but a goodie. This is why we have standards.

Archive Fever: a love letter to the post real-time web | mattogle.com

Matt encapsulates a lot of what I've been thinking about recently: the real-time web is all well and good, but let's not forsake the enormous potential for fulfilment in archives.

Not such wicked leaks | Presseurop – English

A great piece by Umberto Eco on the real effect of Wikileaks: not in exposing dangerous secrets, but in exposing what we already knew anyway.

Culture Hack Day

There's going to be a Culture Hack Day in January, the weekend before History Hack Day. They're like buses; you wait for ages for one to come along and then two show up at once.

THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER 2010 — Page 8

How Has The Internet Changed The Way You Think?

Long Live the Web: Scientific American

An inspiring State Of The Web address by Tim Berners-Lee. He can't resist pitching linked data at the end, but it's mostly a stirring call to arms.

All Programs Considered by Bill McKibben | The New York Review of Books

A great piece on the golden age of radio ...which is right now.

Welcome to Open Library! (Open Library)

One web page for every book. I love this project.

Everything Is a Remix

It's well worth paying attention to this site, the accompaniment to the four-part series of videos entitled "Everything is a Remix."

URBAGRAM

A nifty exploration of architecture and urban planning that describes itself as "a set of interlinked concepts, models, speculations, probings, essays and artefacts based on urban systems."