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Thermal printers are a fast, cheap, reliable way to create mini paper documents. What happens when you connect them to the network? No one knows yet, but it’s going to be amazing. We’ve already sung the praises of paper in general . Let’s sing the praises of thermal printers in particular. You’d know thermal printers as the things that receipts come from.
In February of 2011 I saw a short video named Immaterials: Light painting WiFi by Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen and something about bringing part of the technical world of bits and bytes, RF and EMR into some sort of physical manifestation resonated with me. A little while later in June I seized the opportunity to be a part of the Operations team at DataSift and in the first few months we did lots of techy augmentations of a traditional nature such as installing our 42″ operations dashboards or installing a strobe light linked to Zenoss that warns us when the platform is unhappy (SMS’s just aren’t cool enough) . As I was working with the dashboards and looking at the sheer volume and diversity of the data that comes through DataSift I started thinking of how this data could be presented in a way more engaging way and then I remembered that video.
A code library, written in PHP , intended to make it ridiculously easy for people to manage RSS and Atom feeds. An easy to use API that handles all of the dirty work when it comes to fetching, caching, parsing, normalizing data structures between RSS and Atom formats, handling character encoding translation, and sanitizing the resulting data cool funny quotes. Free (i.e. no cost) open-source software, with a license more liberal than the GPL (BSD-licensed), that was built and improved over the course of years by people who have a passion for good software that makes people's lives easier. Well documented with a complete API reference, tutorials and screencasts for popularly requested uses, and details about the inner workings of the library.
Of all the sites that went dark on Wednesday to protest Congress’ misguided anti-piracy legislation, Reddit was the one I missed most. Sure, there were a couple times when Wikipedia would have provided the perfect answer for my mindless Web searches ( who invented the bidet? ), and I never like a day without BoingBoing , but Reddit occupies a unique position in my online diet. Though I visit the rollicking link aggregator a few times a day to find cool stuff on the Web, Reddit isn’t any better than the aggregators BuzzFeed , Hacker News , Techmeme , and Memeorandum in that respect. What’s different about Reddit is that it’s a real, vibrant community, one of the few big websites where the users have constructed an unmistakable moral and political philosophy.
Dallas Lawrence is the chief global digital strategist for Burson-Marsteller , one of the world’s leading public relations and communications firms. He is a Mashable contributor on emerging media trends, online reputation management and digital issue advocacy. You can connect with him on Twitter @dallaslawrence . If the past year has taught us anything about reputation management in the social age, it's that the past year has not taught us anything.