It’s obvious that in five or 10 years, most news will be consumed on an electronic device of some sort. Something that is mobile and personal, with a nice color screen. Imagine an iPod or Kindle smart enough to show you stories that are incremental to a story it showed you yesterday, rather than just repetitive. And it knows who your friends are and what they’re reading and think is hot. And it has display advertising with lots of nice color, and more personal and targeted, within the limits of creepiness. And it has a GPS and a radio network and knows what is going on around you.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Friday, June 04, 2010
Henry Jenkins is the creator of the Comparative Media Studies (CMS) graduate program at MIT, and can be considered an innovator in digital culture. At its core, his MIT program has encouraged students to think across media, across historical periods, across national borders, across academic disciplines, across the divide between theory and practice and across the divides between the academy and the rest of society. Although he has moved on to being Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, his blog entries continue to be as interesting as ever.
Blogs represent a powerful tool for engaging in these larger public conversations. At my university, we noticed that a growing number of students were developing blogs focused on their thesis research. Many of them were making valuable professional contacts; some had developed real visibility while working on their master's degrees; and a few received high-level job offers based on the professional connections they made on their blogs. Blogging has also deepened their research, providing feedback on their arguments, connecting them to previously unknown authorities, and pushing them forward in ways that no thesis committee could match. Now all of our research teams are blogging not only about their own work but also about key developments in their fields.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
One year after the release of Wolfram Alpha, the hoopla has come and gone. It just seems as if the world wasn't quite ready for Wolfram to come and grab the spotlight away from Google. Heavily weighted toward computational queries, with blended tendency of manipulating its data sets as opposed to simply retrieving what is actually available on the Web means its results can be more authoritative than a list of links.
As a result, Wolfram has "sold out" in a way, as it plans to make over its home page, and will start adding data for more pop-culture-friendly information such as sports, music, health information, and even its own take on local mapping. The problem is that Wolfram just doesn't know what it's for: as one pundit puts it, "Wolfram Alpha is like a cross between a research library, a graphing calculator, and a search engine."
Another challenge for Wolfram is that unlike Google, Wolfram expects to cash in on its enterprise: let's put it this way, it isn't doing this for knowledge dissemination. It plans to sell subscriptions to advanced users who want to do thing like blend their own custom data with Alpha's engine. The question remains: who's going to use it? Its business model is incumbent on a smaller, elite set of expert users. Google, on the other hand, has a business model that's shown a way to work based on use by just about everybody. There's a neatly aligned financial alliance between more users and revenue.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
An independent journalism outlet that syndicates content to various traditional news organizations but itself operates solely on the Internet, ProPublica specializes on investigative reporting who had won the award along with the Philadelphia Daily News. Competing against multi-million dollar New York Times, ProPublica still managed to win. A non-profit organization, it offers a resource for struggling news organizations that can't afford to focus human resources on investigative reporting.
In the other award, Mark Fiore won the award for his editorial cartoon work, a series of web videos on SFGate.com. Competing against the likes of established The Philidelphia Inquirer and Politico, this is a huge feat. Although it has only been two years since the Pulitzer Prize board first began permitting online-only publications, ProPublica and SFGate's achievements have significant implications in both the publishing and literary world.
Of course, with the ubiquitous availability of Internet access, it has become commonplace for academics to publish a scholarly article and have it instantly accessible anywhere in the world where there are computers and Internet connections. The possibilities of open access comes at a time when the traditional, print-based scholarly journals system is in crisis, as the cost of publishing can no longer match the demand of subscribers. As the number of journals and articles produced has been increasing at a steady rate, the average cost per journal has been rising at a rate far above inflation.
As a result, this all indicates that the web has become the great equalizer for publishers and writers. Until recent time, both academics and publishers have been skeptical about the quality and legitimacy of web publications. Perhaps the latest winners of the Pulitzer Prize by two creators of online content is an indication that open access is slowly making its way into the public consciousness.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
In a surprising splash of cold water, Malcolm Gladwell dispelled the anticipation and excitement of social media enthusiasts at the F5 Expo in Vancouver, BC. As a conference that converges interactive exhibits, peer idea-collaboration amongst fellow entrepreneurs and executives, and "edge-of-your-seat conferences into one explosive day," on topics such as mobile apps, search marketing, business blogs/webinars, social media, and web 2.0 . . . Gladwell came, and Gladwell left, with a debris of ideas for us to take home.
Intriguingly, he thinks social media is still in its experimental phase. For someone as observant and bright as Gladwell is, he certainly makes a good point. In the brief history of the internet, it builds something up up only for it to be toppled later. Perhaps Facebook is just a flavour of the month. The web is not a world that respects loyalties and longevity. . . Will Twitter?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Instead of simply withdrawing from China, Google has decided to redirect traffic from google.cn to google.com.hk — their site hosted out of Hong Kong. This version of Google hosts unfiltered results — something that likely isn’t too popular with Chinese officials. Moreover, Google stopped censoring its search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where it offers uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk. Essentially, Google has decided to let China make the call — instead of shutting down the service themselves, it’s now going to be up to China to pull the plug.
As a snapshot in historical context, this is very much a tense standoff between multinational corporatism and state nationalism. As a result, Google Inc. partners in China are said to follow billionaire Hong Kong Li Ka-shing's lead and cut links with the U.S. Internet company after it defied the nation's self-censorship rules. Li's Tom Online Inc. has already stopped using Google's search engine on its portal and media buyer Zenith Optimedia; advertisers it represents may also switch to rivals after Google began this redirection of its mainland users to an unfiltered offshore site. Not surprisingly, China Mobile Ltd. has a deal with Google to provide mobile and Internet services. What is going to transpire? As we said earlier, this is a game of chicken, with both sides fairly rigid in its position and solidified in its respective empires.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
(2) State-Of-The-Art Multimedia - Called the Multimedia Information System, the MMIS is an example of all-embracing use of information technology and computer application in the Hong Kong Central Library. As such a three level audio-on-demand and video-on-demand system are set up. In order to enable more public use of the first level video and third level audio and video of the AOD/VOD system, about ninety Asynchronous Transfer Mode terminals are installed in the library. In other words, the library allows its users the most advanced technologies available.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver has come and gone. It has forever changed the city. Vancouver is also known for its unique Vancouverism. Characterized by mixed-use developments, typically with a medium-height, commercial base and narrow, high-rise residential towers to accommodate high populations and to preserve view corridors, Vancouverism is an urban planning and architectural technique pioneered in Vancouver, Canada.
Vancouver is somewhat unique among large North American cities with such a large residential population living in the city centre, and no expressways connecting the core to the suburbs, and still being able to significantly rely on mass public transit for its citizens. It these reasons contribute to the fact that it is consistently ranked among the most livable cities in the world. Not to mention its gorgeous landscape during the spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons. Perhaps Vancouver should also be known in Vancouverism for its knowledge capital. Why? Here are some main features:
Friday, March 05, 2010
This is one of the most historic, most beautiful libraries in the modern world. Tracing its origin to the royal library founded at the Louvre by Charles V in 1368, the Bibliothèque nationale de France expanded under Louis XIV and opened to the public in 1692. With library's collections swelling to over 300,000 volumes during the radical phase of the French Revolution when the private libraries of aristocrats and clergy were seized, the library became the Imperial National Library and in 1868 was moved to newly constructed buildings on the Rue de Richelieu following a series of regime changes in France. At one time or another - 1896 to be exact - the library was in fact the largest repository of books in the world.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
. . . when computing entered the realm of images, a new dimension was added to cyperspace (taking it literally from 1D to 2D) and the term 'virtual reality' started to be more than a daydream. (Cadognety, 2002).
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
1. Mobile computing - This is not a surprise as the iPhone has entered our lives as seamlessly and ubiquitously over the past couple of years. Handheld tools such as smart phones to netbooks are portable tools for productivity, learning, and communication, offering an increasing range of activities fully supported by applications designed especially for mobiles.
2. Open content - Although the open content movement is a response to the rising costs of education, it has been around since the open source and freeware movements in the software and gaming industries back in the 1990's. In the open content (also known as open access in the publishing and academic world), the desire for access to learning in areas where such access is difficult and an expression of student choice about when and how to learn battle against the corporate for-profit universe which for years has seen growing textbook prices, hefty rising student fees, and the ivory tower image of the babel of academia. The digital world is attempting to fight back, be it free online courses or video webcasts open to the world.
3. Electronic books - Going hand in hand with open content, electronic books promise to reduce costs, save students from carrying pounds of textbooks, and contribute to the environmental efforts of paper-conscious campuses. As pblishers are raising the costs of printing to justify the costs of doing business, the digital world is paving the way to break down those barriers and allow for portable, compact, and inexpensive options for all.
4. Simple augmented reality – This is the technology that has subtly entered into our daily lives with little notice or fanfare, but will ultimately change the way we interact with the Web. AR is the concept of blending (augmenting) virtual data — information, rich media, and even live action — into our physical world – with the purpose of enhancing the information we can perceive with our senses is a powerful one. This is what some predicts as the next generation 3D web (or Web 3.0).
5. Gesture-based computing - Allows our natural movements of the finger, hand, arm, and body which can recognize and interpret body motions. As we work with devices that react to us instead of requiring us to learn to work with them, our understanding of what it means to interact with computers will have a paradigm shift.
6. Visual data analysis - An emerging field, a blend of statistics, data mining, and visualization, that promises to make it possible for anyone to sift through, display, and understand complex concepts and relationships. Visual data analysis may help expand our understanding of learning itself. Learning is one of the most complex of social processes, with a myriad of variables interacting in highly complex ways, making it an ideal focus for the search for patterns. Indeed, Chris Anderson has argued in Wired Magazine that the explosion of data spells the ‘end of theory.’
Sensors everywhere. Infinite storage. Clouds of processors. Our ability to capture, warehouse, and understand massive amounts of data is changing science, medicine, business, and technology. As our collection of facts and figures grows, so will the opportunity to find answers to fundamental questions. Because in the era of big data, more isn't just more. More is different.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
What began as a journal article eventually expanded to How the Mighty Fall, which confronts these questions with some answers to how even the best can succumb to decline and collapse. One thing is even more true about the recent financial collapse: all organizations are prone to vulnerabilities, regardless of how well crafted and seemingly operated they appear. Collins' research project--more than four years in duration-- reveals five stages of decline. It's an excellent guide to libraries and information centres, particularly those nestled in the guise of large budgeted institutions. All organizations run by humans face mortality one day or another - it's important that we recognize its symptoms and confront the brutal realities of decline. And perhaps step in if it's not too late. Here are Collins' five stages:
Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success - All success depends on hard work and luck; however, success does not guarantee perpetuity. Every decision needs to be continually re-examined.
Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More - Success often breeds greed, which often leads to straying from the original elements which produced success.
Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril - Greed leads to blindness that there are signs of hazard, until it's too late.
Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation - Signs of failure arises, but blindness to reality reinforces the need to look for miracles. Often, the organization looks for a messiah from outside the organization to lead it back to the promise land.
Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death - Nothing is done. Demoralized, the organization accepts its fate of a slow death.
Collins' research argues however, that these are just five stages. Indeed, they are reversible. Some companies do indeed recover--in some cases, coming back even stronger--even after Stage 4. In fact, this is because decline is (believe it or not) self-inflicted, and the path to recovery lies largely within the organization's own hands. As long a company is not entirely knocked out of the game, hope always remains. The mighty can fall, but they can often rise again.
Collins' book impressed me as a book that can be applied to all organizations, profit and not-for-profit - technology or customer-service. Regardless of what sector, when large numbers of people work together to achieve a common goal, they are bound to irrationality and group think, politics and human egotism. The five principles of decline are a good reminder that nothing is indestructible if pushed to its limits.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Here is a library that I is close to heart, literally and figuratively speaking. I heart Seattle, one of trendiest urban living spaces in the world. Its Central Seattle Library also ranks as one of the most beautiful architectural spaces in the world, with state of the art technology. A remarkably postmodern rendition perhaps, even the floors have a classically labeled Dewey Decimal system as markers of shelf sections.
Designed by Rem Koolhaas, the Library is award-winning in architectural style, modern on both the inside and the out. The library uses RFID that allows patrons to check out their own materials. Its former city librarian Nancy Pearl even had a few books under her name and a figurine, too. So grab a Starbucks and your MS Windows laptop, and take a plushy seat in one of the world's most interesting libraries.