Tom Standage: How commonplace books were like Tumblr and Pinterest, drawing from the research for his forthcoming book.
See also: the distractions of social media, 1673 style.
I believe there’s a way to opt of the Tumblr bookmarklet on Flickr, but I’m not sure what it is, and it’s not that easy to find. Certainly these days I tend to use the Flickr-side sharing, since if that’s enabled, I assume the poster is OK with me using an image here, and the attribution gets handled automatically.
I’ve been meaning to write about URLs, text and non-web online publishing for a while, but now I don’t have to, because Craig Mod has, and he did it better than I could have done. (He’s also going to get more attention, which is great, because it’s more likely things will change.)
Some choice quotes (although you should read the whole thing):
Am I reading text? If the text in your ereader isn’t text but is instead an image (.jpeg, .png, etc) then, by golly, your ereader’s incompetent.
Can you copy text? If you can’t, your ereader’s incompetent.
Is there a publicly facing pointer (URL, etc) by which you can reference the content in your ereader?
As Mod notes, it’s amazing that things like the iPad Wired app, which fail all three of these points, have been so highly praised. However, I’m more inclined to put malice (or its close relation, “business reasons”) as the reason for some of these decisions, in some apps. Despite the fact that Twitter, Facebook and email can drive readers to a site, it seems some companies would rather their magazines and newspapers lived in hermetic isolation.
At least the Guardian’s iPhone app, which is far from flawless, has the ability to email a link and post to various services, although (oddly) it fails to have a simple “Open in Browser” option. From what I’ve seen, neither the Wired app, nor any of the Mag+ publications, have such obviously useful features.
At least, as Mod notes, we’re only six months into the life of the iPad (and barely a couple of years into widely-used mobile devices). Perhaps with time will come a realisation that locking things down isn’t the best idea.
¹ Hat tip to dan w for the links.
² In one of his footnotes, Mod approving notes Instapaper, which I agree gets almost everything right. Hopefully at some point I’ll write about the (somewhat weak) social aspects of the app, though.)
Mark Oppenheimer, in Slate Magazine, in a piece titled “Judging a Girl by Her Cover”, subtitled “Why I’ll miss a world where books make the first move.”
Sure, technology hides the name of a book, but it could also bring it back. In one of his books Cory Doctorow talks about a system where cars swap tracks wirelessly; similarly (and with less worrying for old-fashioned copyright) there’s no reason why you couldn’t have a system where iPhones advertised what book a person was reading.
Of course, it’d be possible to lie, but it’s possible to do that already: if you really get ashamed of reading Dan Brown, you can wrap it in a Stephen Hawking dustjacket.
He goes on: “Worse, they will no longer be that perfect lending object.” Well, with luck, they’ll be even better: an object you can give away, maybe even using something like Phil Gyford’s proposal for pay-per-point or Lee Maguire’s threshold pledge system.
Remember: for everything we lose when we move from physical to digital, there’s something we can gain, if we just think it through.
The report won’t mention upload speed either, which I expect will probably end up being, at most, 256kbps, although it may be as little as 128. That’s not enough to run a home MP3 stream from, say, and it makes uploading photos slow and video tedious. So much for the internet as a two-way medium.
(With apologies to Dan Hon, who mentioned this once and has now seen it turn into a particular bugbear of mine.)