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A while back I read this article in Newsweek by George Will . In it, Will warns us against the "chaos of constant connection." The ubiquitous barrage of battery-powered stimuli delivered by phones, computers, and games makes “the chaos of constant connection” an addictive electronic narcotic. As continuous stimulation becomes the new normal, “gaps between moments of heightened stimulation” are disappearing; amusement “has squeezed the boredom out of life.”
by Maria Popova What Gogol, Seth Godin and TED have to do with the fate of the written word. The year has barely begun and already it’s been a tremendously disruptive month for the publishing industry, with a number of noteworthy developments that bespeak a collective blend of optimism, fear and utter confusion about what the future holds for the written word as its purveyors try to make sense — and use — of digital platforms. Here are just a handful of important, potentially game-changing, events in the publishing world that took place in the past month alone: Amazon finally unveiled the highly rumored and anticipated Kindle Singles , a new format for non-fiction works between 10,000 and 30,000 words — that’s longer than a magazine article and shorter than a novel — that authors can self-publish and sell for $1-$5, an effort hailed as the last saving grace of long-form journalism.
You’ll soon learn why I’m posting shorter, but more frequent posts…In the mean time, I wanted to share with you something I’ve been thinking quite a bit about these days. Think about the generation or two before us. A significant portion of free time was spent consuming media.
F or a long time after its birth, just over two decades ago, Planet Cyber was dominated by the ideology of Kumbaya – everything about it spread joy. The web reunited long-lost school friends and lovers; it made us all smarter, shifted more product and even allowed us to revisit our childhood by watching TV shows on YouTube, such as Fireball XL5 or Champion the Wonder Horse. It also appeared to confirm the west’s technological superiority, and for advocates of democracy, Kumbaya promised a new era of political change: dictators would surely cower in the face of citizens now able to chat freely about their ghastly governments and the need to overthrow them. It was indeed the perfect technology to accompany the end of history, offering peace and harmony to all mankind. But in 2010, Kumbaya suffered a string of debilitating blows that is forcing us to reappraise its pre-eminence.
Yahoo’s Flickr may have another PR nightmare on their hands. IT architect and Flickr user Mirco Wilhelm couldn’t log on to his 5-year old account yesterday, and when he asked the Flickr team about this issue they flat out told him they had accidentally flushed his entire account, and the 4,000 photos that were in it, straight down the drain. Apparently Wilhelm reported a Flickr user with an account that held ‘obviously stolen material’ to the company last weekend, but a staff member erroneously incinerated his account instead of the culprit’s. Hello, Unfortunately, I have mixed up the accounts and accidentally deleted yours.
IN January 1986, Basit and Amjad Alvi, sibling programmers living near the main train station in Lahore, Pakistan, wrote a piece of code to safeguard the latest version of their heart-monitoring software from piracy. They called it Brain, and it was basically a wheel-clamp for PCs. Computers that ran their program, plus this new bit of code, would stop working after a year, though they cheerfully provided three telephone numbers, against the day.