Posts Tagged: technology
Draftback is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch every keystroke of every revision made to a Google Doc played back to you, opening up a new way to study how writers write. Chadwick Matlin at FiveThirtyEight tried the extension, however, and he sees a dark side:
Embedded in Draftback’s ingenuity is also a certain kind of inevitability: that writing, like any commodity, is at the mercy of a technology that never forgets.
If there is an individual alive in 2015 with the genius and vision of James Joyce, they’re probably working for Google, and if there isn’t, it doesn’t matter since the operations of that genius and vision are being developed and performed collectively by operators on the payroll of that company, or of one like it.
On February 26, 1995, just about twenty years ago, Newsweek published an article by Clifford Stoll called “Why the Internet Won’t Be Nirvana.” In it, Stoll provides a litany of faults to be found in the nascent web. Although there’s a decidedly un-zen tone to the article, Stoll makes some surprisingly accurate predictions—right alongside some laughable ones....more
The Guardian reports on a playful man bites dog story from Dutch design firm Moore: a book that judges potential readers by their covers. The prototype uses facial recognition to identify expressions, and will only unlock the book if it finds a neutral attitude, keeping at bay both the skeptical and the overenthusiastic....more
Michael J. Gaynor visits Green Bank, the West Virginian town without wi-fi:
In Green Bank, you can’t make a call on your cell phone, and you can’t text on it, either. Wireless internet is outlawed, as is Bluetooth. It’s a premodern place by design, devoid of the gadgets and technologies that define life today.
The personal computer may have revolutionized the way writers write, but distractions from the Internet and social media may not make it the ideal tool for writing. Designer Adam Leeb has created a hybrid typewriter called a Hemingwrite. Long battery life, instant on, and a mechanical keyboard help make Hemingwrite feel more like a typewriter or word processor, but with one key distinction—cloud connectivity backs up and syncs documents to services like Google Docs....more
Salman Rushdie donated his personal archive to Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) in 2006. Much of Rushdie’s personal archive was digital, a form that creates new problems for modern librarians to contend with. Consider, for example, Rushdie’s PowerMac from the mid-90s....more
A world of enchanted objects is both alluring and deeply terrifying.
And now, a little about how Silicon Valley treats the LGBT community.
It’s every bibliophile’s wet dream, but is Kindle Unlimited worth it?
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to “Like.”...more
For the Atlantic, Shawn Miller argues that what we decide to erase, through our technology, is often more enlightening that what is kept. Drawing an analogy between Middle Age palimpsests and a 19th-century Italian priest, Angelo Mai, who dedicated his life to finding what past monks had scraped off parchment and written over, Miller wonders what deleted information of ours historians will be interested in examining in the future:
So, the questions we should ask ourselves today: What information are we devaluing now?
Most literate adults can tell e-disaster stories: information sent to the wrong recipient or group, or discovered by the wrong person, or issued in careless wording that gave offense, or did real damage. Some of these stories are funny. Some end marriages, families, careers.
Interactive digital storytelling: fiction’s next frontier? In the New York Times, Chris Suellentrop examines interactive technologies as used in Blood & Laurels, by Emily Short:
Exploring those possibilities is one reason Ms. Short became a writer of interactive fiction rather than of more conventional stories.
Technology has changed the way writers write, and that change is not just about the rise of e-books. Composition in a digital world is much more malleable and fluid, and changes in methodology alter the structure of sentences and words. Author Tom McCarthy tells the Guardian:
Writing with word processors has given a new organisation to shaping sentences but it has also given flexibility; paragraphs can be switched, flipped and thrown out with an ease that would’ve been impossible when working with a typewriter.
The digital era has brought on a new golden age of science fiction. Electronic books, self-driving cars, and video phones may not seem too fictional these days, but technology like the Internet has empowered all sorts of new distribution methods connecting sci-fi writing with the fans who support it. New science fiction magazines launch with crowd funding campaigns, while tools like podcasts make fandom even easier— and ultimately, it’s all about the fans:
Sci-fi and fantasy’s online success is down to the strength of its community.
Paper notes and postcards have all but joined rotary phones and singing telegrams in the history books of communication. Email and text messages might have the advantage of speed (and sometimes playful naughtiness), but neither can compensate for the tangible quality of a physical letter....more