Van Morrison, Crank and Google Scholar

In a Guardian article dated Saturday July 8 2006, Pico Iyer talks about how Google and other search engines have distorted the literary interview. He describes how interviewers prepare themselves by researching their subjects online and how search results tend to artificially highlight and emphasize interesting, but effectively trivial information about the interviewee. The author describes how he once, in some long-since forgotten interview, had mentioned Van Morrison as being an influence on his work and how almost every interviewer since has found this tidbit of information and incorporated it into their own interview....

August 19, 2006 · 5 min · gbilder

Early Social Bookmarking

I was recently pondering the characteristics of so-called “cult fiction” and was trying to remember how it was that I learned about certain cult authors back before this thing called the Internet existed. How did I learn about Vonnegut, Pynchon, Roth? As I dredged through my memories I realized that I most probably ran across these authors whilst using an early analog social bookmarking system- the library checkout card. For those who have never seen one of these things, they were little index-cards inserted into a sleeve that was glued to the inside back cover of library books....

August 2, 2006 · 3 min · gbilder

Backchannel

I was relatively late in learning of the term “backchannel”. It describes a phenomena that I have been fumbling to explain to people as being *one* of several reasons for them to use instant messaging (IM) as a regular tool in the office. Whereas the term backchannel seems to be most often used to describe how tech conference attendees use IRC, Wikis and blogs to carry on parallel conversations and commentary during conference sessions, I have observed the phenomena in the office, in meetings and conference calls....

June 13, 2006 · 6 min · gbilder

Beginning, middle, end

In the early days of the web, buzzword coinage relied on prefixes. Add an “e” or an “i” to any word or phrase and you had yourself a brand new business to flog. i-widgets e-grommits A few years later- the infix became the basis for the buzz-worthy. The numeral “2” became de rigueur. b2c b2b fan2team farmer2market dog2vomit And now it is the turn of the suffix and again it is numeric....

June 10, 2006 · 1 min · gbilder

User Behavior As A Music Rating Cue

The “My Rating” feature on iTunes has always felt a little clumsy. First of all, I hardly ever listen to music on iTunes itself- I listen to most of my music on my iPod. Secondly, I don’t want to have to *do* anything convoluted or extra in order to register that I like or dislike a song. I am surprised that Apple, given its user interface prowess, hasn’t managed to take better advantage of natural user behavior in order to more effectively drive the ratings system....

April 23, 2006 · 1 min · gbilder