Lost in the Flow of The Digital Word

my weekly column as part of the Loose Wire Service, hence the lack of links. By Jeremy Wagstaff A few weeks ago I wrote about the emergence of the digital book, and how, basically, we should get over our love affair with its physical ancestor and realize that, as with newspapers, rotary dial phones and …

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The Dangers of Faking It

(my weekly column, syndicated to newspapers) By Jeremy Wagstaff A 40-ton whale jumped out of the water and crash-landed onto a sailboat the other day. The moment was caught on camera by a tourist, the whale suspended a few meters above the boat before it smashes into mast and deck, leaving behind a mass of …

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Nonsense Linking, Or the Rise of the Cheap Bot

I’m a big fan of The Guardian, but their auto-linking software needs some tweaking. It’s a classic example of trying to provide that extra value to data on the cheap. My argument for a while has been that the only lasting way for traditional media to make itself competitive again is not to create more, …

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We’re All Information Gatherers Now

When we talk about the future of newspapers, the future of education, the future of media, and the future of learning we tend to ignore the most important aspect. We tend to focus on information delivery and not on the nature of information seeking. We think, somehow, that we still need to get the same …

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Protect Your Privacy With Twiglets

I really hate being asked for lots of private details just to download a product. In short: People shouldn’t have to register to try something out. An email address, yes, if absolutely necessary. But better not: just let the person decide whether they like it. It’s the online equivalent of a salesperson shadowing you around the shop …

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Sudoku’s Secret: Open Source Collaboration

Great piece in the NYT/IHT on the company behind Sudoku and similar games. Their approach — no trademarking, harnessing users to help develop and perfect games — all sounds very Open Source: clipped from www.iht.com Nikoli’s secret, Kaji said, lay in a kind of democratization of puzzle invention. The company itself does not actually create …

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Whistling In The Dark

OK, this is not tech related but I’d like to know the answer. What exactly does ‘whistling in the dark’ mean? I found several different definitions (not including sexual ones. This is a family blog): To attempt to keep one’s courage up (from reference.com, Steve The Whistler ) Trying to make a point or convince people …

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Is Google Making Journalists Sloppy?

Interesting piece from MediaBistro about how journalists use Google searches as a fast and loose way to prove a point. The article doesn’t pull its punches. “What’s a simpler, or faster, way of quantifying a trend,” writes Lionel Beehner, “than typing a key word or phrase into Google? Type in almost any person, place, or …

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