Preliminary Thoughts Before Reading “S”

June 1, 2015

I am about to get way more interested in marginalia than I should. My friend Ames and I are embarking on a project where we are co-reading and co-recording our readings/reflections/insights into a fascinating book by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst called, simply, “S.” More and that project later. For now, I’m doing some of the background reading in preparation for that project. The most obvious conceit of the…

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What Books are Libraries For?

(cross-posted here at the Scholar Electric blog) Books take many forms, and that variety of forms constantly growing more expansive and fluid. This phenomenon is due in large part to the encroachment of digital technologies on the world of readers, writers, publishers, and other stakeholders. But one of the stakeholders often left out of public discussions (and most academic discussion, as well) are libraries and librarians. To the extent that you might…

September 14, 2012
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Highlight: digital textbooks (and Apple’s plan to ‘revolutionize’ them).

January 20, 2012

Apple and the Digital Textbook Counter-Revolution:   Sure, textbooks offer easier-to-digest summaries of the content, geared to the particular grade level of the student. They offer diagrams and illustrations and review questions and a glossary. But textbooks are always an assembly from a variety of sources, geared towards a classroom setting where the teacher leads students through the chapters and the exercises and the examinations. Neither the teacher nor the…

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Book Review: The Book on the Bookshelf (Petroski, 1999)

The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski My rating: 4 of 5 stars [via @trauman] The first half of this book focuses on the co-evolution of the physical/material form of the book (from tablet to scroll to codex) and the way Western culture has fostered access to this form. They evolve in tandem. Really informative. Very clearly written. Should be great resource for my dissertation: shows how objects must…

July 7, 2011
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Book Review: The Book on the Bookshelf (Petroski, 1999)

The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski My rating: 4 of 5 stars [via @trauman] The first half of this book focuses on the co-evolution of the physical/material form of the book (from tablet to scroll to codex) and the way Western culture has fostered access to this form. They evolve in tandem. Really informative. Very clearly written. Should be great resource for my dissertation: shows how objects must…

July 7, 2011
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Thoughts on an Interview of Digital Camera’s Inventor: Steve Sasson

Another quotation today. Inventor of the digital camera: Steve Sasson. He produced the first device for capturing and storing visual images as digital data… in 1975. Pretty good story at his Wikipedia page. There are two ideas that I find really important about this short interview at David Friedman’s Photography blog. The first idea is how Sasson thinks about the audience for whom he is innovating: The only more permanent…

April 17, 2011
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Thoughts on an Interview of Digital Camera’s Inventor: Steve Sasson

Another quotation today. Inventor of the digital camera: Steve Sasson. He produced the first device for capturing and storing visual images as digital data… in 1975. Pretty good story at his Wikipedia page. There are two ideas that I find really important about this short interview at David Friedman’s Photography blog. The first idea is how Sasson thinks about the audience for whom he is innovating: The only more permanent…

April 17, 2011
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The iPad’s Ironic Disintegration of the Book

The iPad is changing. Getting faster. Cameras. New toggles. Editing software. More and more, this little tablet is transitioning from a consumption-prioritized device to a production-prioritized device. Granted, the transition has only just begun. I’ve got my own criticisms of Apple: their treatment of developers, content providers, etc. And then there’s the way they’ve handled the cameras on the iPad. They could have had cameras on the first model. And…

April 4, 2011
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Unboxing: Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Tree of Codes”

Here’s a the trailer for the book that got me interested in the first place: And here’s his own introduction to the project: And finally, an excerpt -from and link-to his interview in the New York Times: It was hardly an original idea: it’s a technique that has, in different ways, been practiced for as long as there has been writing — perhaps most brilliantly by Tom Phillips in his…

January 11, 2011
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