Ramblings & ephemera

Wikipedia, freedom, & changes in production

From Clay Shirky’s “Old Revolutions, Good; New Revolutions, Bad” (Britannica Blog: 14 June 2007): Gorman’s theory about print – its capabilities ushered in an age very different from manuscript culture — is correct, and the same kind of shift is at work today. As with the transition from manuscripts to print, the new technologies offer […]

ODF compared & constrasted with OOXML

From Sam Hiser’s “Achieving Openness: A Closer Look at ODF and OOXML” (ONLamp.com: 14 June 2007): An open, XML-based standard for displaying and storing data files (text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations) offers a new and promising approach to data storage and document exchange among office applications. A comparison of the two XML-based formats–OpenDocument Format (“ODF”) […]

The future of security

From Bruce Schneier’s “Security in Ten Years” (Crypto-Gram: 15 December 2007): Bruce Schneier: … The nature of the attacks will be different: the targets, tactics and results. Security is both a trade-off and an arms race, a balance between attacker and defender, and changes in technology upset that balance. Technology might make one particular tactic […]

Many layers of cloud computing, or just one?

From Nicholas Carr’s “Further musings on the network effect and the cloud” (Rough Type: 27 October 2008): I think O’Reilly did a nice job of identifying the different layers of the cloud computing business – infrastructure, development platform, applications – and I think he’s right that they’ll have different economic and competitive characteristics. One thing […]

An analysis of Google’s technology, 2005

From Stephen E. Arnold’s The Google Legacy: How Google’s Internet Search is Transforming Application Software (Infonortics: September 2005): The figure Google’s Fusion: Hardware and Software Engineering shows that Google’s technology framework has two areas of activity. There is the software engineering effort that focuses on PageRank and other applications. Software engineering, as used here, means […]

Steve Jobs has changed 4 industries

From Tom Junod’s “Steve Jobs and the Portal to the Invisible” (Esquire: 29 September 2008): … Jobs has changed three industries forever — personal computing with the Apple II, music with the iPod and iTunes, and movies with Pixar — and is on the verge of changing a fourth with the iPhone …

How the settlers changed America’s ecology, radically

From Charles C. Mann’s “America, Found & Lost” (National Geographic: May 2007): It is just possible that John Rolfe was responsible for the worms—specifically the common night crawler and the red marsh worm, creatures that did not exist in the Americas before Columbus. Rolfe was a colonist in Jamestown, Virginia, the first successful English colony […]

If concerts bring money in for the music biz, what happens when concerts get smaller?

From Jillian Cohen’s “The Show Must Go On” (The American: March/April 2008): You can’t steal a concert. You can’t download the band—or the sweaty fans in the front row, or the merch guy, or the sound tech—to your laptop to take with you. Concerts are not like albums—easy to burn, copy, and give to your […]

How technologies have changed politics, & how Obama uses tech

From Marc Ambinder’s “HisSpace” (The Atlantic: June 2008): Improvements to the printing press helped Andrew Jackson form and organize the Democratic Party, and he courted newspaper editors and publishers, some of whom became members of his Cabinet, with a zeal then unknown among political leaders. But the postal service, which was coming into its own […]

Scarcities and the music, movie, and publishing businesses

In Clay Shirky’s response to R.U. Sirius’ “Is The Net Good For Writers?” (10 Zen Monkeys: 5 October 2007), he takes on the persona of someone talking about what new changes are coming with the Gutenberg movable type press. At one point, he says, “Such a change would also create enormous economic hardship for anyone […]

Like music, authors will make more money from personal appearances

From Douglas Rushkoff’s response to R.U. Sirius’ “Is The Net Good For Writers?” (10 Zen Monkeys: 5 October 2007): But I think many writers – even good ones – will have to accept the fact that books can be loss-leaders or break-even propositions in a highly mediated world where showing up in person generates the […]

Unix specs vs. Windows specs

From Peter Seebach’s Standards and specs: Not by UNIX alone (IBM developerWorks: 8 March 2006): In the past 20 years, developers for “the same” desktop platform (“whatever Microsoft ships”) have been told that the API to target is (in this order): * DOS * Win16 * OS/2 * Win32 * WinNT * WinXP * and […]

A very brief history of programming

From Brian Hayes’ “The Post-OOP Paradigm“: The architects of the earliest computer systems gave little thought to software. (The very word was still a decade in the future.) Building the machine itself was the serious intellectual challenge; converting mathematical formulas into program statements looked like a routine clerical task. The awful truth came out soon […]

CNN’s innovations & insights

From Joel Kurtzman, Interview with Gary Hamel, Strategy & Business (4th Qtr 1997): One of the most interesting cases of all is CNN, which “saw at least three things that had already changed in our world that others had not yet put together”: technology changes produced small satellite uplinks that made it possible to report […]

How much the Net will change things

From Robert Hertzberg’s “The Coming Shakeout” in WebWeek (3 February 1997): … the Internet [will] change things less in the near term than is generally assumed, but far more over the long term than anyone can imagine.