A terrfic presentation from Matt Jones (with the best talk title ever). Pace layers, seamful design, solarpunk, and more.
His first popular book — The First Three Minutes, about cosmology and the Big Bang — became an instant classic and proved profoundly influential for both the general public and professional researchers. Many physicists, including me, started learning cosmology from this book.
The First Three Minutes blew my little mind as a teenager. It has stayed with me.
Draw an iceberg and see how it will float.
These diagrams of early networks feel like manuscripts that you’d half expect to be marked with “Here be dragons” at the edges.
Steven Pemberton’s presentation on the printing press, the internet, Moore’s Law, and exponential growth.
I just binge-listened to the six episodes of the first season of this podcast from Stephen Fry—it’s excellent!
It covers the history of communication from the emergence of language to the modern day. At first I was worried that it was going to rehash some of the more questionable ideas in the risible Sapiens, but it turned out to be far more like James Gleick’s The Information or Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet (two of my favourite books on the history of technology).
There’s no annoying sponsorship interruptions and the whole series feels more like an audiobook than a podcast—an audiobook researched, written and read by Stephen Fry!
Amber’s report from Indie Web Camp Nuremberg last week. I was blown away by how much she got done in one day.
Calum’s write-up of the workshop I ran in Nuremberg last week.
A wonderfully thoughtful piece from Robin, ranging from the printing technologies of the 15th century right up to the latest web technologies. It’s got all my favourite things in there: typography, digital preservation, and service workers. Marvellous!
Great photos from a great gathering.
It seems grossly unfair to refer to this as an article. It’s a short book. It’s a very good short book; lucid and entertaining in equal measure. A very enjoyable read.
It is, unfortunately, surrounded by some distracting “enhancements” but perhaps you can use your cleaner-upper software of choice to route around their damage: Instapaper, Pocket, Readability, whatever works for you.
A nice profile of BERG’s Little Printer. That Matt Webb is a smart cookie. He is also a very thoughtful cookie.
I like Matt’s observation here that the simple combination of a barebones data format like HTML delivered over HTTP is a good-enough low-level API for joining up all kinds of internet-connected things.
In the last 60 years, the biggest software platform for interop and integration – for new products, services, businesses, and value creation – has not been Android, or iOS, or Windows, or the PDP-11. The biggest and best platform has been the web.
One implication is that successful products are not necessarily those with seamless, beautiful, tightly-controlled “experiences”, but rather the ones that are capable of talking to each other.
Small things, loosely joined.
Just like in the Borges short story, you can now see everything at once …from Project Gutenberg, or from Twitter, or from both.
This may be the only legitimate use case for (truly) infinite scrolling.
Beautiful thoughtful work from the BERGians.
Dan makes a very good point about Little Printer: it’s not the “printer” part that matters; it’s the “little”.
A lovely piece from Matt examining agency and behaviour in the things we surround ourselves with: frying pans, houseplants, pets, and robots.
These are the droids you are looking for.
This evolution of Tom Taylor’s microprinter looks like it’s going to be absolutely wonderful (and packed full of personality). Watch this space.
A nice project from BERG that aligns numbers from your own world (like the number of people you follow on Twitter) to numbers in the larger world.